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LETTERS OF ANDREW JUKES
edited, with a short biography,
By HERBERT H. JEAFFRESON
Author of 'The Divine Unity and Trinity'
'The Church of the Living God' &c.
with photogravure portrait
Longmans, Green, and Co.
39 Paternoster Row, London
New York and Bombay
PART 1: Life of Andrew Jukes
PART 2: Letters of Andrew Jukes
1851: The Roman Church 1862: The Fall 1865: Trials the Way to God's Kingdom 1866: Spiritism Marriage 1868: The Way of the Cross Regeneration 1869: Knowledge and Wisdom, Male and Female 1870: Salvation by Grace 1871: Substitution Priesthood Sacraments 1872: The Resurrection Body Male and Female True Spirituality Separation 1873: Objectors to Restitution God's Two Methods The Test of a Good Book 1874: Rest Imitation of Christ Magical States The Baptism of the Spirit The Lord Will Provide Rest in the Lord Separate from Sinners Christmas Unquenchable Fire Spiritism 1875: Christ's Living Blood 1876: The Spirit and the Cross Humiliation and Exaltation The Old Man Must Be Slain Only Needs Reveal Christ 1877: The Discipline of Self-Despair Doubts Mediation 'The Might of Sacramental Grace' Conformity to Christ 1878: The First Creation, Out of Light The Eucharistic Sacrifice Past and Present The Judgment of the Church 1879: Moving from one Section of the Church to Another The Three Ways Job and David 1880: The Spirit of Man, and The Fall The Ruin of the Church The Failure and Restoration of the Church Aaron and Melchisedek Sacramental Confession 1881: The Body and The Resurrection Prayers for the Departed Death the Way of Deliverance Suffering and Sacrifice Reality of the New Man Seers and Critics Little Children 1882: Faith, Hope, and Love in God Women's Dangers God's Consolation The Sacrificial Life of God God a Mourner Why a Fall was Permitted Seers Poets Christian Evidence 'The Word of the Lord Tried Him' Motherhood and the Blessed Virgin 1883: Bodily Healings Truth and Love Working and Waiting The Spirit and Outward Forms We Need All Things Christmas Misunderstandings High Churchmen Sympathy of Hearers Marriage with Wife's Sister Travel in the Holy Land 1884: Matter and Spirit: The Gnostics St. Andrew's Day Baptism: Maurice and Pusey Perfection Depression 1885: Bodily Healings Male and Female The Historic Christ Evangelicalism Psalm 118 1 Cor. 1:21 All Things Ours Two Ways of Loving Presence of the Departed 1886: Unconscious Service Origen Virginity Baptismal Regeneration Fasting Before Communion 1887: Babylon The Demoniac Beyond the Sea Four Ways of Knowing The Ideal Church The Apocalypse Health 1888: The Death of Lord Mound Temple 1889: Blessed are the Mourners Revivalism The Roman Church Prayers for the Departed Patience with the Young: All Souls War and Suffering Holy Matrimony The Wine-press 1890: 'Lux Mundi' and Inspiration The Holy Spirit's Home-coming All Saints and All Souls Prayers for All Men 1891: Redemption, Four Great Teachers Christ and Pagan Forms 1892: Church and Dissent Judgment: Capital Punishment 1893: What is the Church? Spiritism 1894: Fact, Faith, Experience Sorrow Turned into Joy Patience 1895: Pearls
LIFE OF ANDREW JUKES
The family of Jukes resided in ancient times in Cumberland. Thence, early in the fourteenth century, one Sidward Jukes migrated to Shropshire and Staffordshire, in which counties his descendants have continued to live.
A member of this family, Andrew, who was born in 1776, married in 1814 a daughter of John Ewart, Inspector of Hospitals in India, whose wife was the second daughter of Ephraim Lopez Pereira, Baron d'Aguilar. Andrew Jukes took his bride to Bombay, where he practised medicine; but being employed by the East India Company as an envoy to the Court of Persia, he died at Ispahan, November 21, 1821, and is buried in the Armenian cemetery outside that city.
His eldest child, Andrew John, was born at Bombay, November 5, 1815. He always remembered with pleasure that the day of his birth was the day on which the news of the battle of Waterloo reached Bombay.
His grandmother, Mrs. Ewart, had accompanied her daughter to India; and in 1820 she brought the little Andrew and his brother Mark home to England. Leaving the children under the care of their father's sister, Mrs. Worthington, of Moorhill House, Stourport, Worcestershire, Mrs. Ewart returned to India, where she found her daughter a widow; and in 1822 she brought her and her younger children, Laura and Augustus, to England.
For his grandmother, Mrs. Ewart, Mr. Jukes always had a deep love and veneration. To her apparently he owed his first instruction in the Gospel of Christ. When, at the age of twelve, he went to school at Harrow, Mrs. Ewart went to reside there in order to provide him with a home. A letter written by him to the Rev. and Hon. Canon Bridgman in 1890 gives some details of his school life.I went to Harrow in the October quarter of 1827, the same day with Frederick William Faber, when we and John Merivale were all three placed together at the bottom of the Third Remove of the Fourth Form. The next quarter saw us all at the top of the Remove. From that time till I left Harrow, we three always sat together in class, first one and then another being at the top. Faber first boarded at Dr. Butler's; but when Dr. Longley came, in April 1829, Faber removed to Mr. Mills's house, where I also boarded with him, though when I first entered the school I was a home-boarder. After he took his degree at Oxford, where he was Fellow of University, Faber, as you probably know, went over to Rome, and became an Oratorian. ... After my leaving Harrow at midsummer, 1832, I went into the army for three years, which made me a year or two later at Cambridge than the other boys who were at Harrow with me. ... But Robert Broughton, and his brother Henry, now of St. Mary's, Leicester, were Cambridge men—the latter one of my closest friends there, and ever since.
What a flood of boyish memories those old names bring back to me! 'All the burial-places of memory give up their dead.' Faber, whom perhaps I knew as well as any one at Harrow, was a remarkable boy. He was the only boy in my time who stayed for Holy Communion. (Note: Andrew Jukes was himself a communicant at Harrow.) I remember how he used (partly, I think, to perplex old Mills, with whom we boarded) to go down after the eight o'clock evening prayers in the house to Mills's study, and bore him with questions as to something in Sophocles or Aristophanes, which we might then be reading. ... N. was one who often amused the school. After one of the holidays, when we were in the Sixth Form, he came back to Harrow in a wig. During the holidays he had, either for a fancy ball or for some private theatricals, had his head shaved to represent some character—if I remember right, he had appeared as the devil. His wig in school caused great amusement. Sometimes in construing, when he stuck at a word, he would pull the wig away or push it off, and cause a titter round the class. ... If you care to go into the old school-room, you may see my name cut, just behind where I used to sit when I was in the Second Remove of the Fourth Form, at the south-west corner of the room, on the west wall. Faber's name, I think, is cut larger on the opposite side.
On leaving school, in 1832, Andrew Jukes received a commission in the army of the Hon. East India Company, and was sent to Poona, whither his grandmother followed him. To the end of his life his gait bore witness to his military training, and he traced a nobler lesson to that source. 'As a youth,' he writes in 1862 to a friend who seemed to him disingenuous, 'I was trained in a school—as a soldier, I mean—where to speak the truth without equivocation was almost the only virtue thought of.' We may conjecture that the reason of his retirement from the army was the deepening of his desire to serve God in the sacred ministry. 'Quite in my early years,' he writes, 'I was awakened to desire to live for God;' but in several letters he refers to a time of more decided conversion, which in an inscription in a copy of Scott's Bible he ascribes to the reading of that work when in hospital in India. In 1837 he returned to England, and the following year he entered at Trinity College, Cambridge. There it was his 'daily practice' to study the Bible in his rooms; and he was one of the undergraduates who taught in the well-known Jesus Lane Sunday-schools. He was too late to come under the personal influence of Charles Simeon, who died in 1836. He speaks of the help he received from Professor Corrie in the study, mainly historical, of the Prayer Book; and he has spoken of kindnesses rendered by J. B. Jukes, the geologist, with whom, however, he could claim no kinship. In 1840 he won the Hulsean Prize with an essay on 'The Principles of Prophetic Interpretation.'
About that date he met and became attached to Augusta, the third daughter of Admiral Hole, a distinguished officer, who, after serving at Trafalgar, had settled at Barnstaple. As Mr. Jukes had offered himself to the Church Missionary Society for service at Sierra Leone, Admiral Hole at first refused his sanction to a marriage which would carry his daughter to so unhealthy a station. But the plan of missionary work fell through, chiefly because Mr. Jukes felt it a duty to provide a home for Mrs. Ewart; and the marriage took place on January 27, 1842. Mrs. Ewart accompanied the young pair to their new home, and remained with them until her death, at the age of ninety-two, in 1852.
It would be presumptuous if the present writer were to attempt to describe Mrs. Jukes's character, the more because his knowledge of her extended over only the last six years of her life; but he recalls with affectionate veneration the sweet and gracious gravity of her careworn face as she would sit almost silent while her husband opened the mysteries of God, kindling at once when there was an opportunity of helping anyone. She was one who had learned prudence as well as love in the school of Christ; and many beside her children will rise and call her blessed.
On the second Sunday after Trinity, June 12, 1842, he was ordained Deacon by the Archbishop of York in his cathedral, and was licensed to the curacy of St. John's Church, Hull, of which the Rev. Thomas Dykes was Vicar. He passed so good an examination that the Archbishop not only exempted him from the usual examination for the Priesthood, but nominated him as preacher at the ordination in the following year, when he should be raised to that degree.
But a very different course lay before him. The time was one of intense excitement in the English Church. The storm which arose about the 'Tracts for the Times' was at its height. Bishops, politicians, journalists were raging against the Oxford theologians; and the earlier secessions to Rome among Newman's followers had begun. Mr. Jukes had not been to any considerable extent influenced by the Oxford Movement; though he already sympathised with its protest against the blasphemous Erastianism which made the Royal Supremacy a cloak for the tyranny of Parliament over the Church. He admired also the devotion and zeal for good works which were shown by the Tractarian leaders.I shall never forget (he writes many years later) my first reading of Dr. Pusey's first tract, in the 'Tracts for the Times,' on Fasting. In my poor way I had always tried to practise abstinence, but Pusey's tract gave me direction and encouragement; for the good Pharisees among whom I then was cast had improved upon the old Pharisee's prayer, and while they yet said, 'God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men,' they concluded by saying, 'I do not fast at all; I do not gives tithe [sic] of all that I possess.' What a change has come over the Church since then! It has been like spring-time after frost.
But he had not emerged from the tradition of his childhood, which identified regeneration with conversion; and probably the obligation which his office laid upon him of declaring that the baptised child is regenerate forced on his conscience the plain sense of words which in his study had seemed less cogent and less obnoxious. Nor was the language of the Baptismal Service the only difficulty which he found in the Prayer Book. He describes his difficulties in a letter which, though it bears no date, may be safely assigned to about the year 1860.I could not honestly say that I unfeignedly assented to all in the Baptismal Service. I could not say, as the Second Article declares, that 'Christ died to reconcile His Father to us.' On the contrary, I believe that the Father freely gave the Son, even when we were enemies, to reconcile us to Himself. Again, I could not say, as the Twenty-ninth Article asserts, that the 'wicked eat not the body of Christ in the use of the Lord's Supper.' So far from believing that 'they are in no wise partakers of Christ,' it is, I believe, their reception of Him which is their condemnation. 'If I had not come unto them, they had not had sin.' So, as to the Athanasian Creed, though I most fully believe the Catholic doctrine of the ever-blessed Trinity, I could not say that I give my unfeigned assent and consent to the assertion that 'to be saved' a man 'must thus think of the Trinity.' If I understand the Gospel, a man may be saved by Christ in spite of many mistakes in his creed and his opinions. So much as to some of the things 'contained in the Prayer Book.' But I had further to 'give my unfeigned assent and consent to all prescribed by it.' I well remember often asking, Do you really know 'all that is prescribed,' for instance, by such a rubric as that which precedes the Order for Morning Prayer, respecting the 'ornaments of the Church and of the Ministers thereof'?
These difficulties were, as we have seen, pressed upon him by the declaration required by the Act of Uniformity of Elizabeth from all those who were to be inducted to benefices, and endorsed by the Act of Charles II., of 'unfeigned assent and consent to all and everything contained and prescribed in and by the Book' of Common Prayer. The present writer has no love for those Acts; yet it must be owned in candour that no such relaxation of the terms of the declaration as has since taken place would have removed Mr. Jukes's difficulty; nor is it pertinent to remark that the declaration was only required of persons accepting a benefice, and thus could be escaped at the light cost (if it be any) of remaining unbeneficed. Expressions were placed in his mouth which he thought to be false; and a man of his candour could not say what he did not believe to be true.
He writes in 1896 a letter to the grand-daughter of his old Vicar about this time of perplexity:There is no place in the world so dear to me as Hull. The best years of my life were spent there, and I have left directions in my will that I wish to be buried there, in the grave where my dear wife already lies. I shall never forget your dear old grandfather, and all his kindness to me. ... How well I remember your brother and X. (then Curates of Holy Trinity, Hull) coming to me about their perplexities respecting the subscription which in those days was required of all the clergy. I could not help them, for I felt their difficulties as keenly as they did. But I could not follow them to Rome. X., I think, came back. But what they and I suffered was not in vain. The old subscription, which had for generations wrung tender hearts and consciences, was after a few years done away. There are still, and will always be, difficulties for tender consciences. But we have in the Church of England what it would be difficult to find elsewhere.
To another correspondent he writes in 1893:After many talks with my dear old Vicar, I went direct to the Archbishop to tell him what my difficulties were. Thus I never took Priest's orders.
Another letter, of 1870, gives further particulars about this time:When, thirty years ago, my mind was first exercised about the constitution, position, and services of the Church of England, the question seemed simpler to me than it does to-day; though even then, while I felt the evil in the Church, I shrank from schism or making a sect, and foresaw that many of the difficulties I groaned under in the Church would probably follow me in any separation from it. I remember a verse that greatly touched me then was Isa. 24:18, speaking of the day when the Lord would break up existing things, and bring in His promised kingdom. Since then I have seen in countless cases how he who was fleeing from the fear has fallen into the pit, and he who came up out of the pit has been taken in the snare; for the windows on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake. My way, however, at the time I speak of, was providentially hedged up, or, rather, opened. As my tract, 'The Way which some call Heresy,' will have shown you, I was suspended from my curacy, and thus a time of quiet was given me to wait upon God. I then began preaching the Word in the open air. The result was, souls were gathered round me. What was to be done with them? We began meeting in a room; and, as I then desired with all my heart in everything to be guided by the Word, and by the Word only, we met simply as brethren for mutual edification, leaving an opening for any brother to speak and pray as the Spirit might direct him. ... It would take days to tell you the sort of things which used to occur—what pretence, what assumption, what folly came to the top—how all real gifts were crushed and silenced by the hasty talk of the most ignorant among the brethren—how all sorts of false professors came among us, only to get out of us all the money they could; for at that time I had money, and tried literally every day to act up to the words, 'Give to him that asketh of you, and from him that would borrow turn not thyself away.' I proved in a way I cannot describe the truth of the words in Isa. 59:15, that 'He that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey.' I saw how, under the pretence of spiritual gifts and spiritual ministry, our meetings for mutual exhortation and communion became opportunities for the most manifest and miserable self-will, and even of self-deceit, for some of the talkers evidently thought they were speaking in the Spirit. But it was not in God's Spirit. The fruits showed this. ... One result was that the majority of the godly quiet brethren begged me as their spiritual father not to permit what used to take place in our meetings. I was urged to allow none to speak except such as had proved by ministry elsewhere that they could speak to edification. You may imagine the protests of the self-made prophets, the strifes and separations which followed. Gradually I learnt that one cannot act upon a mere direction of Scripture without power, and that the assumption of power may be a great pretence. ... For a fallen Church, or for a section of it, to attempt or pretend to take the ground or do the work of the Church in Apostolic days was about as absurd as to pretend to make an old man young.
In doctrine, then, and in practice Mr. Jukes and his followers resembled the Plymouth Brethren, a sect then about fourteen years old, which had for its distinctive mark the eschewing of all that was thought formal in religion, especially a stated ministry, and constant dependence on the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. We do not find, however, any indication that Mr. Jukes followed the Plymouth Brethren in another of their characteristics, the 'Breaking of Bread' every Lord's Day. It is hardly surprising that Mr. Jukes and his wife submitted to rebaptism at the hands of Mr. Daniell, a Baptist minister. Few letters survive, or at least few have reached the present writer, which deal in detail with the difficulties and disappointments to which the letter last quoted refers. In some of those which have been preserved there may be noticed a tone of asperity and assertion of his own judgment which is strange to those who knew the writer at a later time, when gentleness and largeness of mind were among his most conspicuous qualities. Meanwhile, he was constantly studying the Bible and the Fathers, and mystical writers such as Boehme and Law; and at one time he was in frequent correspondence with Frederick Denison Maurice. In 1847 the first of his longer books appeared, 'The Law of the Offerings in Leviticus.' The substance of this book had been delivered in the form of lectures to his congregation. When the author was about to print his notes with corrections he received a letter from one of his hearers, who told him that he had taken down the lectures in shorthand and intended to publish them. The law of copyright gave the author no protection for sermons which had been preached; and Mr. Jukes had to purchase his own work for one hundred pounds. The thesis of the book is that the different sorts of sacrifice in the Old Law represent different aspects of the Sacrifice of Christ, and that the varieties of each sort of sacrifice typify the degrees in which different believers apprehend His work. In later years Mr. Jukes used to speak of this book as immature, and at one time he was disposed to revise it and enlarge it, especially with regard to the perpetuation of the Sacrifice of Christ in the Holy Eucharist and in the life of the believer. His next work was on the 'Characteristic Differences of the Four Gospels,' a less original and less interesting work, perhaps, but notable as displaying a much greater familiarity with the Fathers. His advance in this study was still more fully shown in the 'Types of Genesis.'
Meanwhile, the congregation, which had passed from the street into a room, found its place too strait for it, and it was proposed to build a chapel. The events are narrated in a letter of 1864.My difficulty is not so much about a chapel as whether, having gathered so many poor souls here, I am justified in leaving them. I can say from my heart that personally I have not the slightest wish to have a chapel. I rather shrink from it, knowing what the state of the Church is at this time, and fearing lest, if a chapel were built, it would only be a scene of failure. At the same time, seeing I could not gather the souls whom the Lord had given me in our present room, I was willing to make an appeal to friends as to a chapel, desiring to accept the response they made as an indication of what the Lord's will might be respecting me. The result of my appeal to brethren was that I got nearly enough to buy the ground for a chapel; and for three years nothing more was sent me. Hence I concluded that it was the Lord's will I should not go on with the work; and this, with other circumstances, led me to think my work in Hull was done. I therefore make some arrangements about moving to London; and then, just as I was about to go, the love of the poor souls here presses them to offer me nearly all they have if only I will stay and still minister among them. They have within the last fortnight or three weeks promised quite half of what a chapel would cost; and if I will stay they will work to raise the rest. But the question on my mind is this, Is this after all the Lord's will? Has not the Lord rather seemed to show, by denying me a chapel for so many years, that it is not His will that I should serve in this manner? And might I not really serve Him, and serve His scattered children, better by writing than by making another sect, or even another congregation? My experience of what brethren are in these days; the trial, too, of watching for them—the frost by night and the drought by day, as Jacob said—and the grief, constantly recurring, of seeing some of them torn by wild beasts; my failing strength and spirits, too—all these have seemed to say, Do not attempt a new chapel; while, on the other hand, there is the cry of all the poor brethren here, Do stay and work with us, and build a chapel to gather us. So I am dragged hither and thither, nor do I know anyone who seems able to say a single word of advice one way or another. ... You can, however, serve me by praying for me; and I have no doubt that, through God's grace, I shall, even if I miss my way, have my error overruled to God's glory.
The chapel was built, a beautiful little cruciform structure, holding some six hundred persons, and was dedicated in the summer of 1866 to the service of Almighty God under the title of the Church of St. John the Evangelist. It is significant of the change that had passed over Mr. Jukes's views that some of his more extreme friends among the Plymouth Brethren felt themselves unable to attend the dedication when they knew that he intended to use the Church service; for they feared that in 'going down into the stream to reach others, he himself might be swept away.' A Protestant newspaper commented sarcastically on the combination of 'Ritualistic services' and a Baptist chapel, though indeed the 'Ritualism' went no further than a hymn translated from the Breviary, and the use of the surplice in the pulpit. It is worth notice that he prepared a Hymnal for his congregation, which, though for the most part intensely subjective in tone, provided hymns for the Christian seasons, and for the festivals of saints. 'He hoped,' writes one who knew him most intimately, 'his people would follow him, but comparatively few did so: the congregation was a new one.'
But another cause was about to put an end to Mr. Jukes's life at Hull. An old friend of his, who had long been in the habit of consulting him about difficulties of faith, was perplexed by the popular doctrine as to everlasting punishment. The subject was by no means a new one to Mr. Jukes. He gives an account of the growth of his thought in an essay in the 'Literary Churchman,' March 20, 1891. Even as an undergraduate he had been impressed by the fact that, in the Old Testament, many ordinances and judgments are said to be 'eternal' which nevertheless came to an end. Thence he gathered that 'eternal' and 'everlasting' are not interchangeable terms. He passed on to the consideration that the work of God is carried on in successive 'ages' or 'eternities.' He had, further, learned that God does not save us from death but by death, so that the expression 'the second death' suggests that this, like the first death, is part of the scheme of the redemption of man from a world of sin. And, finally, his attention was called to God's method of saving an election that through it He may save the whole body; and that the Christian Church, being an elect few, was chosen not only to inherit a blessing but also to convey that blessing to the non-elect. These views he expounded in a series of letters to his friend. The work was circulated in manuscript among a few persons; but for a long time he refused to publish it, not doubting its truth, but doubting whether the truth was one which was fitted to those times. Finally, he submitted the letters to certain persons in whose judgment he had confidence, and by their advice published them in 1867 under the title of 'The Second Death and the Restitution of All Things.' With none other of his works did he take so much care, revising it diligently for successive editions, and especially adding evidence that the hope which he advocated had been held and sanctioned in the early ages of the Church.
The publication of this book led to bitter controversy. Many of his old associates held strongly the doctrine of endless pain; more, perhaps, were in favour of the doctrine of the annihilation of the wicked. Both sections assailed him with vigour, and perhaps with acrimony; nor can we deny that in Mr. Jukes's own letters there is a tone of asperity. He seems to be surprised that the truth which had commended itself to him should not meet with instant acceptance at the hands of others. His letters at this period are plainly the words of one who was overstrained and in a state of nervous irritability. He had passed through twenty-five years of spiritual tension. He had borne the care of many souls who looked to him for guidance, and had learned what an exhaustive test of love it is to lay down life for friends. He had suffered the disappointment of an idealist who finds that the material with which he works does not accomplish his ideal. His own views had been greatly modified. On the appointment in 1860 of his old schoolmaster, Dr. Longley, to the See of York, he had been urged to return to the English Church, to be ordained Priest, and to accept the care of a parish; and the inability to accept his invitation caused him almost as much distress as his first secession. The strain of collecting money for the building of a chapel must have been burdensome to one who was never a man of business. He had adopted in the chapel the Church service, believing it would serve his flock, but they refused to follow him. And now, those with whom he had been in sympathy rejected him as one who denied the faith of Christ for which he gave his soul, and refused for themselves the doctrine which he conceived to be the vindication of the love of God and the hope of the anxious believer. Who can wonder that, under so complicated a strain, his bodily and mental health broke down, and that there are signs of his collapse in the irritable tone of his letters? Many years before, he had been thrown from his horse, and the skull had been indented, causing pressure on the brain which at times gave rise to acute pain, and to some of the symptoms of paralysis. In this condition of broken health he left Hull, never expecting to resume his work, and in the winter of 1867-8 he took a long tour in Greece, Egypt, and the Holy Land. The chapel was sold to a congregation of Presbyterians.
From the tour he returned in better health, but still unfit for work. He was at this time only in his fifty-third year. In April 1868 he left Hull; and after spending a year at Bridlington, in March 1869 he moved to Highgate, in order to be near his younger son, who, as a solicitor, was required to spend a year in London.
The change was in much more than locality. He had resolved to seek restoration to the ministry of the English Church; and the earliest letter from Highgate which is preserved is one which he addressed to the Bishop of London (Jackson) on this subject. It is mainly concerned with the correction of a vague charge which had reached the Bishop, that he had been unsound with respect to the Holy Trinity. Whether he sought for ordination to the Priesthood or not, we are not able to say. He never became a Priest; but he received from the Bishop of London (as afterwards from the Bishop of Rochester) permission to officiate. The time, indeed, was not yet come for him to act on this permission, for he was still in very infirm health, suffering from pain and giddiness in the head and from numbness in the side. He attended some religious meetings, and began to hold Bible readings in his house. In time he recovered the power of preaching occasionally without injury, and, indeed, he felt himself refreshed by proclaiming again the Gospel which was his life. And he speaks with thankfulness, in 1871, of having been able to write three letters to the 'Guardian' on the subject of Restitution.
We have seen that, during his life at Hull, he had been a diligent student of Holy Scripture and of the Fathers. From these sources he had gradually learned to modify the theological views with which he began life. He had come to see the reality of sacramental grace, which, indeed, is implied in the conviction, so strong in his mind, that our salvation is to be traced rather to what Christ is than to what He has done. But at Hull Mr. Jukes probably had but few opportunities of coming into contact with the Catholic revival, which, starting from Oxford, had been permeating the English Church, but was perhaps less operative in the North than in the South. He had, indeed, some friendly intercourse with Archdeacon Robert Isaac Wilberforce, the most intellectual and learned member of a remarkable family; but this intercourse had been interrupted by the secession of Wilberforce to the Roman Church, and his death, which quickly followed. In London, Mr. Jukes came to form friendships with many men who were in a greater or less degree associated with this movement. His elder son became Curate to the venerable Rector of Clewer, and with him, as with Mr. Hutchings, then Chaplain of the House of Mercy, and now Archdeacon of Cleveland, Mr. Jukes was on terms of mutual affection and respect. About 1870 he was visited by Mr. and Mrs. Pearsall Smith, who came from America with the purpose of holding religious meetings; and through them he became acquainted with Mr. and Mrs. Cowper Temple (afterwards Lord and Lady Mount Temple), at whose houses he met many men of schools from which he had stood aloof. It was the charitable design of Mr. and Mrs. Cowper Temple to gather together at their houses in Great Stanhope Street, and at Broadlands near Romsey, men of various ecclesiastical positions and tempers, who were agreed in love for our Saviour. These meetings grew into the well-known Broadlands Conferences, the first of which was held in 1871. At these there was not a little to justify the good-humoured description of a writer in the 'Pilot,' October 26, 1901:The debate was animated, amiable, and desultory. No one kept to the prescribed subject. Everyone had his own gospel, and preached it. Everyone agreed immensely with the last speaker, and forthwith proceeded to launch some entirely novel theory of his own. There was no quarrelling, and the mutual admiration was perfectly sincere.
But a more adequate estimate of the meetings may be drawn from letters written by Mr. Jukes in 1879 and 1875 respectively:The Broadlands meeting this year was a very remarkable one. We reaped to the end what dear George Body sowed at the beginning. There were one or two little incidents which would have made you frown and smile. One dear very Evangelical soul who was present thought it his duty to tell Z., after one of his most beautiful addresses, that he (Z.) was not converted. Z.'s reply was like himself, 'Well, then, it must be a beautiful thing to be converted; for if the sight of the Blessed Lord gives such joy to a poor unconverted soul like me, what must He be to us when we are indeed converted!' P.'s answer, too, to L. (when the latter, wishing to prepare P. for any Ritualistic forms at the Abbey, told him that he must not be surprised if Mr. N., in celebrating the Holy Communion, made several bowings or genuflections) was beautiful: 'Don't say a word to me about that: I have seen Christ in that man (N.), and that is enough for me.'
Shall I tell you what I thought I heard after I left your door? I had just taken my seat in the carriage, and was lifting up my heart for a blessing on the house which we were leaving, when all through the park, as I sat silent with closed eyes, I heard, or seemed to hear, now rising, now falling, one reiterated strain of grand and stately music, and all through it just two words, and only two, came to my ears—'Praise Him, praise Him, praise Him'—till we had passed your lodge gates.
About this time I made the acquaintance of Mr. Jukes, and I cannot deny myself the pleasure of narrating the beginning of a friendship which has been among the chief blessings of my life. In the autumn of 1873 I was appointed to a curacy at Highgate, and the priest under whom I worked introduced me to a clergyman whom he described as a man 'mighty in the Scriptures.' He was a tall man, with a military gait, his long beard already grey, his eyes of that clear blue colour which seems proper to seers. A few days later, Mr. Jukes called upon me, and I returned his call. For a time our conversation flagged, until mention chanced to be made of a recent translation of Origen. 'Do you love Origen?' said Mr. Jukes; 'then we must be friends.' And a true friend he proved himself. It came to be our habit to take long walks together, during which he would talk over any subject he had in mind, and teach me still more by the Socratic method of drawing out my thoughts, helping me to see their defects, and leaving me with materials for a wiser judgment. After a lapse of more than a quarter of a century, I am not more impressed by the recollection of my own crudities than by the patient humility with which he would listen to them. It is characteristic of him that for a year at least he never spoke to me on the subject of Restitution, thinking that I 'had enough on hand without it. There is a time for everything.' Perhaps for the same reason he never spoke to me of the Bible-readings which he held at his house. Sometimes he would preach for us at All Saints' Church, though he would say that his days for preaching were over. His preaching was a practical exposition of the words spoken about our Lord, that 'He spake as One having authority, and not as the scribes.' He was very simple, he used much repetition, he did not shrink from the most familiar illustrations. 'We talk about our dear Lord,' he would say; 'what does dear mean? When we say that a cabbage is dear, we mean that we give much for it. Our Lord is dear if we give much for Him.' He sometimes caused a smile. But he always spoke as one who saw the truth which he was describing, and did not report it on the authority of others. He was always present at the early celebrations of Holy Communion. The first time I had the privilege of worshipping by his side was at the Holy Eucharist at St. Barnabas', Pimlico, when his devotion made me think of St. John when heaven was opened to him. That church was destined to be for him and for myself the place of much blessed worship. In 1877 he returned from Broadlands full of the beauty of face and character of a young priest, Alfred Gurney, then at Brighton, who in the following year was appointed Vicar of St. Barnabas'. To Alfred Gurney should have come the task of editing the letters of him whom we revered and loved as our master in Christ; but he was called early to his rest in 1898, and left the work to incompetent hands.
In 1879, Mrs. Jukes's health, which had long been infirm, rendered necessary a removal from Highgate, and a house was taken on a hill above Woolwich. Perhaps the choice was not very wise, for the bleak air tried her, and it was impossible to leave the house without a steep walk up or down hill. Before the winter it became necessary to remove her to a warmer climate, and Torquay was the place selected. At first 'the delight of getting down again to Devonshire, which was her native county,' seemed to revive her; and Mr. Jukes was able to preach at Torquay and at Babbicombe, and once or twice to go to London. But her 'delight in seeing the red cliffs and wooded hills' could not restore her wasted strength.
Rest came in May 1880. She was carried to Hull for burial; and Mr. Jukes returned to his solitary house at Woolwich, where his patience and faith soon enabled him to resume literary work, and to complete what seems to some of his readers the most perfect of all his books. During the months of anxiety he had endeavoured to write out the substance of a course of lectures on the passages in St. John's Gospel in which the phrase, 'Verily, verily,' occurs, and which he regarded as describing various successive stages of the growth of the New Man in us. The book was published in 1881 under the title of 'The New Man and the Eternal Life.' This was followed in 1888 by 'The Names of God in Holy Scripture,' in which the various Names given to God in Genesis were regarded as displaying various revelations of Him. At this time, though his health was somewhat infirm, he was able to attend many meetings in London, especially those of a society called 'Clerical Friends in Council,' which had been founded by the Rev. G. H. Wilkinson and others, and consisted of clergymen of very various schools, who met monthly to discuss theological questions. At these meetings he was always an honoured speaker. He was also engaged in an enormous correspondence; for his works were widely read in England and America, and had been translated into several languages; and many of his readers wrote to him of their difficulties or, perhaps, their crotchets. His last literary work was a little volume on 'The Order and Connexion of the Church's Teaching, as set forth in the Arrangement of the Epistles and Gospels.' This was published in 1893.
As old age advanced, it brought with it rheumatism and some affection of the heart, so that moving and writing were alike difficult. In other respects he was in fair health; he enjoyed visits from his friends, and at times was able to converse with them with little diminution of his mental power. He was always bright and thankful: the words, 'Thank God, all things are for us, and not against us,' were constantly on his lips. To one who loved him, and whom he had been the first to bless after her marriage in 1874, he continued his tone of affectionate teasing till she saw him last in 1896. As weakness increased, he was induced to give up his house at Woolwich, and to make his home with his elder son at Hackney. In the autumn of 1900 he went to visit his daughter at Southampton, from whose words is transcribed this account of his closing days:In March (1901) he had a slight attack of faintness. It only lasted a few moments, but alarmed his maid very much. I was not present. When I saw him about ten minutes afterwards he said he was all right, but he looked strange. In a few days, however, he was as active as usual again, taking his walk daily in the little park near the house, or on the western shore, which he much enjoyed when the tide was up. He went there nearly every day. On May 1 he brought me two baskets of strawberries for my birthday, and was distressed that he had forgotten it until the evening. This was the last time he walked so far. Ten days afterwards he was again very poorly, and I noticed a distinct change in him. The intense restlessness increased; and this was a marked feature throughout his illness. He was never quiet, and even when taking a drive it seemed impossible to get him comfortable. ... He generally fell asleep from sheer exhaustion after so much tossing; and then he wandered very much.
On Wednesday, May 22, he told me he knew he was very ill. ... On this day he spoke to me much of my mother. His thoughts seemed much with her, as indeed they ever were. ... On the 26th (Whitsunday) he remained in bed, and only once got up again for a few hours. The first few weeks in bed his mind was quite clear, and he enjoyed being read to, and asked every day if there were any letters. The last one I read to him was from Mr. Edward Clifford. He especially enjoyed hymns being read or repeated to him, and they seemed to quiet and soothe him more than anything else. ... He was very peaceful and restful in spirit, though the poor body was in such discomfort. He did not, after the early days of his illness, allude to his departure, though he was quite aware it was drawing near. ... One evening, after a day of unusual distress, I said to him, 'You have had a very trying day.' He said, so sweetly, 'Oh, I could not say that. We must have trials here. Through the Lord's mercy, I have no pain; but I am weary, weary, weary.'
The last week or ten days his mind seemed more cloudy ... he gradually fell into a comatose state, and passed away peacefully, but quite unconscious, at 9.50 p.m. July 4. His body was laid at Hull, by the side of that of his wife.
LETTERS OF ANDREW JUKES
THE ROMAN CHURCH
(To the Rev. F. W. Faber)
It was very pleasant to hear again, and to find that the old link of Harrow days still binds us so closely. Little did we think then how we might both some day be strangers to our brethren, or how far we might be carried apart even from each other, before we reached home. Outwardly you and I seem far enough apart; yet I find that many of those considerations which have, I may say, forced me into my present position of loneliness and outward isolation were also those which unsettled you from that home of our spirits, where we had been born and nursed together. That Act of Uniformity, ... together with the declaration of the Queen's (which, I suppose, means the Parliament's) supremacy in things spiritual as well as temporal, which has already swept away I know not how many bishoprics in Ireland, and may alter and sweep away everything we care for in the Church of England, has, I find, been to you what it was to me, the barrier which positively stopped my way, and forced me to find some other path. But I have not been able so quickly as you to find another home. I am yet in spirit one of those who wander about in sheepskins and goatskins, in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. Foxes have holes, but I have found no home on earth. There are indeed places where I can work, but none on earth where I can rest.
You speak, however, as if you had now found rest in the bosom of that which you call your true mother. But is the Church of Rome indeed your mother? Did she really bear you? Was it at her breasts that you were nursed? Is she indeed the 'mother of us all'? 'Jerusalem which is above is the mother of us all,' who nurses us even while we are in the flesh, but who is little known till heaven really opens to us. And indeed, if the Church could be seen, why put it into the Creed? Why say, 'I believe in the Holy Catholic Church'? For faith, surely, is the substance of things hoped for and unseen. If we see this Holy Catholic Church, why put it into the Creed among the unseen verities which faith alone can deal with? Not that I deny to the Roman Church a large share of precious truth. To my mind she seems to have perhaps more truth than any other local Church. She puts more bread upon her table, a richer, broader fare; but, unless I greatly err, all her loaves with the precious wheat of truth have the poison of awful lies mingled. And this poison seems to me in too many cases to outweigh the truth, and make it inoperative. The Catholic element is there, and this is truth. But the Roman is there also, the lust for boundless rule, which brings all into bondage, and this is false. So, at least, when seeking to weigh all this in the presence of God, it has appeared to me. Had it not been so, I should long ere this have followed you. But I could not be true to what I see of truth—I could not walk with God even according to my poor measure—and yet submit my conscience to Rome. Great as are to me the difficulties of the Church of England, I should find tenfold more in Rome. With others brought up by her I doubt not it may be different. God will judge them by what they have, not by what they have not. They have never known, as by grace I have, an open Bible, which, while of course it needs an interpreter, is yet 'able to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.' By this I have been formed, by this I have been led, to try to walk with Christ, to deal with Him, to hear His voice, to have Him speaking to me, to let His eyes of fire search me through and through in all things. ...
But I must conclude. I did not think of saying all this. I wished rather to thank you for your loving words, and for the promise of your prayers. Prayers always help us, if they are prayers of love and faith. Meanwhile, and ever, the Lord cares for both of us; for is He not the Good Shepherd? And in all our wanderings, and in our captivities, wherever for our own or the Church's sins we may be driven in these last difficult days, He can and will not only be a sanctuary to us, if we love Him, but will, I trust, overrule even our wanderings, so as to make them just that discipline which we each may need.
Consider whether nature and life, as it now is, is really normal—whether the condition of things as they now are is not a fall, out of which God is surely delivering us, but which nevertheless is a fall, and no more normal than hell is normal. Not to speak of any hell but what we see, you will, I am sure, allow that most souls are restless and unsatisfied, and that thousands are deluded, mad, miserable, helpless. This is simple fact. Now, is this normal? Is this misery, madness, hopelessness, and restlessness, God's creature, or is it a fall? Is it the proper progress of souls whose origin is from God? Is it the normal course of training His sons and creatures, or is it the result (surely overruled by His almighty power and wisdom for good) of a fall from Him?
An old book, which some people think helps to solve the riddle, says this present state is not normal, but a fall. To me it seems that nature and man declare the same. Man, even by nature, is ashamed of being what he is, both as to body and spirit. The natural functions of his body are a shame to him. ... And, as to his spirit, the natural tendency of it is ever to manifest shame at being what he is—witness the thoughts of the heart in all, and the attempt of all to hide from others what they are, and to appear different from what they really are; as, for instance, a coward to appear brave, and a fool a wise man.
Now, a dunghill within each of us, and a poor restless vain heart, may seem to you normal enough for the love of God, though we are all even naturally ashamed of it. And leprosy, palsy, blindness, deafness, fever, madness, and all the rest of the miseries which Christ cures in the Gospel, may seem to you a due 'order.' To me they are all disorder. And, because they are such, Christ heals them; humanity in its present order, or disorder, not being able to meet the evil. ...
Because I hold this state to be a fall, you charge me with 'deplorable hopelessness,' and with saying that 'God has abandoned the world.' Why, I abhor the very idea of God abandoning us. My faith is, that, in spite of the awful fall of spirits, be we where we may in our fall, in nature or in hell, God comes where we are for us, coming into the creature's fall to be its life again. This is the old Gospel. But this is very different from holding what I understand you to say, that the fallen state is normal and in due 'order.'
As to what you say of our extraordinary insensibility to the peril of those we love, and the death which is around on every hand, it is indeed a great mystery. But you might put your question much more broadly—not only, 'How can we eat and drink with the possibility of a future death for any near and dear to us?' but how we eat and drink with a present death around us, constantly smiting those nearest and dearest to us; how we can be easy while thousands of creatures, as innocent as we are, are in suffering and have to die to support us daily. It is a great mystery. I do not know why they perish. I do not know anything about their future. Their life is a mystery to me. So is that of beast-like, brutish men. Nor do I know why there are so many untimely births of children, perhaps as many as those which see the light.
The other point between us is the Bible. May I ask you to weigh one question? Is the book of nature a revelation of God? You say, 'Yes;' and I also say yes, though with reservation. For nature is to me a revelation of God, but only of God working in a certain sphere, and that a fallen one. Well, then, nature being God's book, and a revelation of Him, as you assent, how does nature reveal Him? Be honest. Look at death reigning in nature, and say, 'Is the revelation nature gives of God better than that the Bible gives of Him? Are not exactly the same contradictions and the same difficulties in both the revelations?' Either, then, you must say, 'Nature is a lying book, and therefore I will not believe the facts of geology, of death and judgment of whole races of creatures formed by my Father;' or you must confess that there is some riddle both in nature and the Bible as revelations of God, as yet too deep for you.
TRIALS THE WAY TO GOD'S KINGDOM
As to your inward trial and perplexity, is it not the universal experience, sooner or later, of all God's true children? ... Still, you may ask, granting that such trial is not uncommon, why is it permitted? Is it not a mark of our unfaithfulness? I answer by asking another question. Are thorns in the flesh and messengers of Satan marks of our unfaithfulness? Is it God's way to take them away when we pray, or does He not rather teach us under them, and even by them, that His grace is sufficient for us? For how does God's kingdom come in us? Is it by the removal of all outward and inward impediments to our spirit? Is it by taking away all hindrances to our wisdom, righteousness, or freedom? This would be my kingdom. This would result in self being exalted and strong, even if we were not conscious of it. How many have proved this, who, to get God's kingdom, as they thought, have disengaged themselves from all outward things, and have found at last that it is 'my kingdom,' poor self after all, instead of 'Thy kingdom.' For indeed it is by self-despair, the fruit of trial, and so of knowing our own weakness and wretchedness, that we come to God's kingdom. The Church will have to prove this, just as every individual must. It will not be her efforts, or her successes, or her rule, or her exaltation, that will bring in the real kingdom of God in the world. Such successes will always end, as we see in Popery, in being substantially 'my kingdom,' not 'Thy kingdom.' But our prayer is, 'Thy kingdom come.' And whenever this comes, either in us or in the earth, it comes by the breaking up of all that man can boast in. God will bring it in, as He pleases. We cannot do it, either by our solitude or by our preachings. When we have really learned this, the kingdom we sigh for is not far off. The truth is, we are such poor creatures, so easily puffed up, so soon conceited, that God can only save us by breaking us in pieces. And our goodness and religiousness needs to be broken to pieces as much as our badness; for self can get into religion, and cleave more closely to it, and hide more subtly in it, than in ungodliness. So in one way or another self is pursued to the death. 'Thou turnest man to destruction.' But all this is but the way to build up a better life. 'Again Thou sayest, Come again, ye children of men.' Come again, thou little child, who shalt be able unhurt to put thy hand on the cockatrice's den.
I have not a doubt that the departed are often very near us, and that it is possible (I do not say that it is right, or even desirable) for us to have communion with them. God, for wise and loving reasons, when man fell into selfhood, shut him out from Paradise or the spirit-world, because, being what he then was, a selfish creature, the laws of the spirit-world, by which like inevitably gravitates to like, would necessarily bring fallen man into contact not with the best but [the] worst part of the spirit-world. But, though man in selfhood, the Old Adam as the Scripture calls it, is lovingly shut out from Paradise or the spirit-world, the New Man is called to enter there, when he is fit for it, as we see in Christ, who, as Son of man, whilst He was upon the earth, at times, as at the Transfiguration, had converse with departed souls, for He then spoke with Moses and Elias. We see the same thing in St. John (Rev. 22:8, 9), and also in St. Paul (2 Cor. 12:2-4). The same is also true of all the prophets, who were clairvoyants. But whilst this access into the spirit-world is safe to unselfish and meek and loving souls, who are partakers of the Divine life through Jesus Christ, it is most dangerous to ordinary men, for the reason I have already given you, namely, that in the spirit-world like always meets with like; and therefore [it] is absolutely forbidden to natural men, as we see both in the Old Testament and in the New. (See Deut. 18:9-15, and Galatians 5:20.) Witchcraft or necromancy, that is, the power to deal with the departed, is a faculty of our nature, for man was made for the spirit-world; and yet to use it naturally, that is, in selfhood and self-will, is most perilous. In a word, there are two ways into the spirit-world—one by magic arts in self-will, when the thing is most dangerous; the other, by communion with Christ and His Cross, when the spirit-world opens of itself to God's saints, when it is safe; though even in this latter case, as we see in Peter at the Transfiguration, there is a temptation to make tabernacles for Moses and Elias, that is, to worship the departed: as we see in the Church of Rome, which is Peter's Church.
Marriage may be one of the greatest of your spiritual blessings if it is, as it ought to be, the constant witness of Christ's love to us—how He ends all separation—how He finds His joy in the creature which He has called to share His name.
THE WAY OF THE CROSS
If the dear souls who say every week, 'By Thy Baptism, Fasting, and Temptation; by Thine Agony and bloody Sweat; by Thy Cross and Passion, Good Lord, deliver us,' only knew the meaning of the words they utter, how it would astonish them. They have not thought that in this prayer they are asking to be brought out of nature on the same highway of the holy Cross by which our Head went forth; for while we are in nature we are in wrath—'By nature children of wrath.'
Regeneration, as St. Paul describes it, and as I feel it, is not a mere covering of the old man with any imputed righteousness, but it is a true bringing forth of a new life and a new man, which is Christ in us, the hope of glory. New clothes put upon an old man do not make a new man; and yet with some this is all the idea they have, and this is all that Evangelicalism teaches as to our 'being made the righteousness of God in Christ.' But the incorruptible Seed of the Word does not lie dead, but quickens a new man, which needs and has its proper meat and drink in the flesh and blood of the Son of man. I believe, yea, I know, that the holy blood of Jesus Christ is as necessary to form a spiritual, immortal, incorruptible body, garment, or house, for God to dwell in, as the blood of the woman under death is necessary to produce this present outward body of corruption, weakness, and misery. We become by faith in Christ as truly bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh (which surely is not the flesh of this tabernacle in which we groan being burdened), as we are bone and flesh, that is, of the substance, of our earthly parents.
KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM, MALE AND FEMALE
I am conscious that one characteristic of my mind, which, if it has sometimes through God's mercy helped me, has also more than once, especially in my earlier days, hindered me from learning, has been the liking I have to see things definitely, and the innate dislike I have always had to indefiniteness and indistinctness; and to this day the same natural tendency clings to me; though it is years and years since I saw that what is definite cannot, from the very nature of things, comprehend or express the infinite, and that all definitions, just because they are definitions, must limit and narrow any deep spiritual truth in its fullness. Defining seems to me to have been one of the curses of Protestantism, and one of the necessary results of its intellectual character. Definitions can indeed map out the surface for us, and they are useful for this, if we remember that it is the surface. ... We go on from the 'word of knowledge,' which deals with the surface of things, or things as they appear, to the 'word of wisdom,' or things as they really are. ...
I see ... how not only the Church is male and female in different aspects, sometimes symbolised by the Woman in heaven or by the Mother of our Lord, sometimes by our Lord Himself and His body; but also how our very Lord Himself is also Head, or masculine, to us, while God is Head or Bridegroom to Him. My question is, or was meant to be, Which is the perfecter state—to be as a Christed soul, embracing (to use Behmen's common expression) the Virgin Sophia; or that the soul as a bride, that is, passive and feminine, should be embraced by the heavenly Bridegroom? I suppose some souls here develop more of the masculine or intellectual, some more of the feminine or passive and affectional form, in their progress towards the glorious end. But the language at the end of the Bible seems to me to say that the end of ends will see the creature feminine, and God all in all.
SALVATION BY GRACE
Fancy a man only kept from stealing by fearing to be sent to gaol. What sort of honesty would this be? St. Paul says, 'The grace of God which brings salvation, teaches us to deny ungodliness;' and again, that 'hope brings forth fruit in us, since we knew the grace of God in truth.'
As to the question of substitution, while, as you know, I entirely dissent from the popular pseudo-Evangelical doctrine, that Christ took our place that we should not take it, and died that we should not die, and suffered that we should not suffer—all of which is not only opposed to Scripture, but to fact and experience—I yet hold that Christ did stand in our place and under our burden, which is the exact sense of the word substitute. ... If Christ did not stand in our place and under our burden, and so take upon Himself our weaknesses, our death, and our curse, why did He die? Why was He accursed? I answer, He was accursed because He stood in our place, in our nature, under our burden, for us. He did not stand under it that we should not stand under it, which is what the pseudo-Evangelical school teaches; but He stood under it because we were under it: by standing under it to make us one with Himself, and so lift us in and with and by Himself, by the resurrection of the dead, out of our lot into His lot. He stood under our burden. He stood under it for us. This is substitution. If you deny this true sense of the word, taught in Scripture and all the early Fathers, you give the pseudo-Evangelicals a strong handle against you. ... But this is only half the truth. He also stands in our place and under our burdens by uniting Himself to each of us now, so that it is not only we which live, but Christ liveth in us. ... Just as when He took flesh of the Virgin, and stood for us in our lot, He lifted the nature, into the place of which and under the burden of which He had come, by His resurrection up to God's right hand: so now, by coming to dwell in us, He stands yet under our burden, and bears it for us, bidding us cast all our burdens and cares upon the Lord, that so He may lift us with Him by a resurrection from the dead in due time to God's right hand. ... But, because some muddle-headed people, calling themselves Evangelicals, put a wrong and absurd sense on the word substitution, you deny the true sense of the word, which yet is the only ground on which you can hope for deliverance from the curse, and the only explanation of Christ's becoming a curse at all. As to your friend, the Independent minister, not objecting to your view of substitution, I am not surprised at all. The Dissenting bodies as a rule have all been brought up in the pseudo-Evangelical doctrine, that Christ died that we should not die, and suffered that we should not suffer. When they see the falsity of this, if they have not the Catholic faith to fall back on, there is every probability of their going to the opposite extreme, and denying that Christ took our place or standing for us; in other words, that He was a substitute. But truth is not to be given up because it is caricatured.
Your questions as to priesthood are weighty, and timely too; for the days are come for Israel to go out for ever from the house of bondage; and as a sign of this, the first-born of Egypt (the first-born are the priests and kings), of that Egypt where our Lord is crucified, are everywhere being smitten. Is not kingship and priesthood smitten everywhere throughout Europe?
I certainly do not object to the statement ... that a special priesthood of some for others remains in the Christian, even as it certainly existed throughout the Jewish dispensation. You say you now doubt this. ... You are now disposed to think that this special priesthood was peculiar to Judaism, and has no place whatever in the Christian Church. I do not think so. I think the allusion in St. Jude's Epistle to the sin of Korah as a thing not only possible but actually committed in the Christian Church shows that some in the Church must be priests in a special way; for Korah's sin was his saying to Moses and Aaron, 'Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation is holy, every one of them.' Do you not see, too, that if Israel's history is, as you confess, the type of ours, there must be some meaning in all that is laid down so distinctly respecting the old priesthood? Nor does the verse you quote from 1 Pet. 2 as to all Christians being a 'royal priesthood' disprove that some among them may more specially be called to priestly service; for the words you cite are a quotation from Ex. 19 and were originally used of the whole Old Testament Israel; and yet some of them, as you allow, had a special priesthood. ...
The key to the question lies, I believe, in the distinction between our calling and our attainment. In Christ all are called to be priests; yet only some have apprehended what they are apprehended for. What is priestly work but standing before God and offering for others? Do you really think all Christians offer for others? Do you think that the words in St. John 20 as to loosing and binding are said to all Christians, or even to all converted souls? You confess that they speak of special privileges; but are not the special privileges referred to distinctly priestly? I think they are. I think, therefore, that there is a special priesthood of some more than others in the Christian Church, some only entering into or apprehending that which all are called to in Christ Jesus. What the priesthood is to which these are called—whether it is carnal or spiritual—received by a knowledge of Christ in the flesh or in the Spirit, is another and quite distinct, but most important, subject.
I go on now to your second question. And here I quite agree with you that the outward and successional priesthood of the fleshly Church, though it has its place and was ordained by Christ Himself, is not, as you have experimentally discovered, the true Melchisedek-priesthood of the New Covenant. ... It is hard to speak on this or any other spiritual point without being misapprehended, for in speaking of the higher and spiritual knowledge of Christ, which you aspire to, I shrink from seeming to say a word against that lower and fleshly knowledge of Him, which in many of God's truest children precedes the higher knowledge. Yet the fact remains, that there are these two knowledges of Him. We may know Him after the flesh or in the Spirit; both of which are spoken of by St. Paul, when he says, 'Henceforth know we no man after the flesh. Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more;' and again, when, after he had suffered the loss of all things for Christ, he prays to 'know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.' The former knowledge of Christ, that after the flesh, is figured in the relation of the disciples to Christ as shown throughout the Four Gospels, when they knew Christ as separate from and outside of them: the latter, in their relation to Him after they knew His resurrection and the promised coming of the Holy Ghost. In the one, we see our experience when, like the disciples, though we may have left all to follow Him, and have been ordained and sent out to preach the Gospel by Him, yea, and to know that the devils are subject to us through His Name, we yet are carnal, as we prove when the Cross meets us with all its shame and bitterness. In the other, we see that later experience, only known when we have gone through the trial of losing Him after the flesh, and have come through an experimental knowledge of His Cross to that promised baptism of the Spirit which is our Pentecost, when tongues of fire are given us, and a mighty rushing wind works with us in our ministry. Of these, the first is connected with our knowledge of Christ in fleshly forms; that is, our knowledge of Him in His outward Church, His sacraments, His ministry, His written Word—all of which are, as has been most truly said, 'extensions of the Incarnation'—all which, like the knowledge of Christ in the flesh by His disciples of old, has to give place, if we go onward, to another deeper knowledge of Him, no longer as outside of and separate from us, but as living His own life and doing His own works in and by us; which last is only reached, now as of old, by an experience answering to that of the disciples, who, when they are brought by the Cross to lose Him in one form that they may know Him in another, seem to think that their hope has failed, for they say, 'We thought that it had been He who would have redeemed Israel;' though at this very point, and by this very experience of utter self-despair, they are being introduced to the deeper and higher knowledge of the same Jesus.
This, I know, is the appointed path. I myself have trod it. And it is through this experience that we are brought from the carnal or fleshly laying on of Christ's hands, which we receive of Him through His fleshly members, when we only know Him after the flesh, to another very different ordination, also from Him, when 'the hand of the Lord is upon us' (Ezek. 1:3), when our Pentecost comes, and we receive the promised power, answering to that which Christ shed forth of old at Pentecost, in virtue of which we are like Him made priests after the order of Melchisedek.
Christ's own life figures both stages. He is the pattern of His elect; and just as He, having been begotten of the Holy Ghost, and as such being from that very hour the Son of God and the Holy One of God, was yet for a while bound in Jewish swaddling-clothes, and then, as in the flesh, grew in wisdom and stature, and asked questions of the doctors at Jerusalem, all of which was in some sense carnal and Jewish, until in Jordan He came to quite another experience, when heaven opened to Him and the Spirit descended on Him, which was His Pentecost; after which went He forth in true priestly work, as dead and risen through that mystic baptism; so is it with His members; for we, though sons of God from the day when by the Word the New Man is formed in us, may yet, and must yet, be bound with Jewish swaddling-clothes, and in the flesh, and occupied with Jewish ordinances and passovers for a season, before heaven opens to us. But if we go on we shall surely reach the stage when, through an inward and mystic death, heaven opens to us, and the Spirit like a dove comes down, and the voice of the Father is heard, saying, 'Thou art My beloved child.' This is something very different from our first quickening in Christ; as different as Christ's experience after heaven opened to Him was from that which He had had to that hour. And it is after we have reached this stage that we are priests indeed, though called to the self-same priesthood from the first. In a word, 'As Christ is, so are we.' Even of Him it could be said, 'If He were on earth, He should not be a priest;' for His true priesthood is not the earthly priesthood. So it is only as we grow up in Him, as dead and risen with Him, and so brought from the natural and carnal to the spiritual, that we reach that priesthood which, I thank God, you are now longing to enter on.
If you understand this, you will see what I mean when I say that all Christians do not at once know this priesthood. The Corinthians, though Christians, did not know it, for they were 'carnal.' They therefore needed the priestly service of one like Paul both to bind and loose them in many matters. Nay, even Christ did not know it as in the flesh. He did not know it till, by a mystic but very real death, heaven, as He came up out of Jordan, opened to Him. He was only a priest in resurrection. We too, like Him, are only priests as we 'know the power of His resurrection.'
I would ask you to consider, if baptism is not the sacrament of our regeneration, what is it? You know how the New Testament speaks of baptism. Say that the statements refer to the baptism of believers, yet even then they are very remarkable; for who in baptising even adults, and with the greatest care as to the admission of proper candidates, can say that all have true faith? and yet St. Paul says to the carnal Galatian Church, of which he stood in doubt, fearing almost that his labour among or for them had been in vain, 'As many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ.' And so as to the Supper of the Lord. It was to the Corinthians, to whom he could not write as unto spiritual but as to carnal, that he says, 'He that eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.' And again, 'Wherefore, whosoever eats of this bread or drinks of this cup unworthily shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.' ... Surely, if Peter is right, there is a blessed sense in which our nature, condemned in Him by His cross, is yet 'begotten again by His resurrection;' and surely baptism, if it is anything, is just this profession of our faith, that, dead as we are by nature (and thus we are 'buried in baptism,' for we do not bury live things but dead things), we are also quickened again in Christ by His resurrection. Is not the sacrament a pledge and witness of what Christ is for us? We do indeed confess in it what we are—we are dead; but we also confess what Christ is—that all our hope is in Him, and that He, having taken our place, the place of all, is now for all at God's right hand. On this ground, and on this alone, can we go and baptise all nations.
I wish time and my limits would permit me to go into all that gathers round this question. To do it properly we should have to look at the truth which underlies what is called the 'Sacramental System.' For there is a great truth underlying that system; for the whole Gospel system, as a dispensation to men, is sacramental. Christ Himself, the Divine Word linked with and manifested in union with a creature, is the greatest of all sacraments, and the ground and reason of all of them. He is 'an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given to us.' He is 'a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof.' He is not only 'a pledge to assure us thereof,' which is all the so-called Evangelical party will allow to sacraments, but He is also 'a means whereby we receive the same.' To open all this would require one to go into the needs-be and reason for the Holy Incarnation. Why did God's Son come in the flesh? Why did the Word of God reveal Himself in human and creature form? The answer is found in man's state, and in God's love, which stooped to meet man where he was and as he could bear it; because being fallen he could not see God as He is, but could only apprehend and receive Him when He took some form which man could receive even while he was yet in darkness. Therefore the Divine Word all through the former dispensation came under carnal veils and forms; I mean, the Jewish ordinances; for only so could a carnal people apprehend Him. Therefore, for the same reason, He came in the flesh of Christ, not only by Christ's death to witness to the need of the death of self if we would re-enter Paradise, and in Him and by His sacrifice to slay the enmity, but also that He might by the bands of a man, by human love and truth and human sympathies, draw some to Him, who, having first known Him only carnally, or in the flesh, might in due time know Him spiritually. Therefore He gave us a Bible, not all New Testament; and therefore yet and always He speaks to man first by a letter or law, which is a form, before He speaks by His Spirit or in the Gospel. Therefore too He gave us baptism and the Supper of the Lord, forms like Himself, in which there is the union of the Word of God and a creature, that so by the creature-form, whether of water or of bread and wine, He might reach some who could not at first apprehend all that His Word is in itself, or even all that His Word in union with these creatures would say to them. Sacraments, therefore, in a very true and blessed sense, are, as some have said, not witnesses only but even extensions of the Incarnation, because in them the Word by a creature-form reaches some souls—because in them the Word yet comes 'in the flesh.' The Word surely comes to us 'in the flesh' when it comes out of the heart of some loving soul who preaches the Gospel; for the Word, in coming out of such a heart, takes the form of that heart, and comes in human guise, not as it would appear to angels or seraphs in heaven, but as it has appeared to him who proclaims it, and as it can appear to men. So too does this Word come likewise in sacraments, by an acted rather than by a spoken word—though there is ever also a spoken word in a sacrament—yet ever with a word speaking to men, if they can hear, and saying more to one and less to another, exactly according to their capacity. Thus sacraments are, and must be, to men infinitely different to different receivers; for some, the carnal, see only the outward form; and some, just as they become spiritual, see the Spirit which is speaking under it. With many, however, the objection to the sacramental system is really the objection to the Incarnation. Men see the form, and do not believe that the Word of God is with it, or the power of that Word, even in that humble form, if men will but trust it. Like the Jews of old, they say practically, 'This is only the carpenter's Son: His father and mother we know.' 'This is only water, or this is only bread;' not seeing that the Divine Word may be there with the outward form, able to give through it, or out of it, or at least by it, unfathomed draughts of God's fullness.
THE RESURRECTION BODY
To me for years it has been gradually appearing (contrary to all my received opinions, 'received by tradition from my fathers'), first, that the resurrection body is a gradual growth, formed (analogously to the natural body) on the germ of the spiritual and resurrection life, quickened at conversion by the Divine Seed, that is, the Word; which body, when it has reached a certain stage of growth, comes forth from the womb of present nature, this coming forth being what is called the resurrection; and that, therefore, the resurrection body is not (as so many say) an instantaneous creation put from without upon an unclothed spirit, which for years or ages has been unclothed in Hades, but rather, like all God's other works, a gradually formed and perfected work; and secondly, that for this reason their resurrection body is reached or gained at different times by different members of Christ, the Head coming forth first, and the other members just as they grow up into Him, each according to their fitness for this great change.
MALE AND FEMALE
As to the enigma with which you conclude (as to our being 'divided duals'), I may say that I have long been face to face with the riddle, but do not yet see the full answer to it. I see how, by Incarnation, Christ came into our divided humanity, that He was a man and not a woman, and consequently was circumcised upon the eighth day. I see, too, that as seen by John in resurrection, He has 'paps,' that is to say, woman's breasts. ... Further, I see that the first form of the New Man when it is formed in us by the Divine Word is, like Christ when born of Mary, in the divided humanity, that is, a man or a male (cf. υἱὸν ἄρσεν, Rev. 12:5, an apparent tautology, but with meaning), and not, as it becomes through the Cross, that new creature, 'where there is neither male nor female,' but where the two are made one in Christ. But what the two are I cannot describe, or how the man becomes the woman and the woman the man, or rather how each becomes both, I cannot say, save that it is through death. Certainly, I do not look for a fleshly helpmeet to a spiritual man; nor, as it appears to me, is 'some perfected female saint' the God-appointed helpmeet of the New Man. I do not say that we may not have to go through a divided stage even beyond bodily death, but I look for an end of all division. Here, however, at present I only see Noah's hill-tops. I see that, at first, as men we embrace truths as women—witness all the typical men, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all whose wives, according to Paul, ... are certain truths or principles—as Hagar, law, and Sarah, gospel. But I see that at last, when the marriage of the Lamb is come, He, the Truth, is Husband, and we are brides. ... One consideration which may contain the clue to much of this is the fact that we, or any other creature, may at the same time, even when still in the divided form, be either male or female, according as it is regarded in relation to what is below or what is above it. The man is head of the woman—he is male to her; but while this is so, he is feminine to Christ, who is his Head. So, again, Christ, who is Head of the body, or male to me, while male or husband to us is feminine to God, who is His Head, according to 1 Cor. 11:3. I see the same thing in Nature. Water is male to earth, quickening and making it fruitful. But water ... is feminine to air; that is, air has power to come into and cover it and be its head. Just as air, again, itself is feminine to light and heat, which in like manner can come into it and head it.
The Lord Himself seems now to me to be the true pattern of spirituality; and His spirituality, if I understand it, was not in getting up as high as possible, so high that few could reach Him, but in coming down in the likeness of sinful men, into their form, into their place, into their curse, for them. I can imagine no higher spirituality for man than that seen in the Incarnation; for that Incarnation was self-sacrifice, and self-sacrifice seems to me now to be the essence and test of true spirituality. Therefore, even when in our likeness and upon earth, in our place and bearing our infirmities, He could truly say, 'He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father;' for God is love; and herein was love, to come down into the place and form of sinners. And Jesus Christ, who once came in the flesh, inasmuch as He is ever the same, to this day comes in the flesh and in fleshly forms, which some who lack His spirit of self-sacrificing love think unspiritual.
If the state of the Church offends you—and, alas! it is too plain that the Church is fallen—would it not have been well if you could have sought some retreat for a while, where, like John or Paul, or the Lord Himself in the wilderness, you might in secret and silence, out of the stir of controversy, have asked not what is wrong, for this is pretty plain, but what is the right path with regard to it? It is easy to see what is amiss: it is difficult to know what to do to serve a fallen Church. You say, however, that you are 'now happily out of the world-church, and pastor of the Free Church.' As to the 'world-church,' I do not justify it. Let us assume that it is the woman taken in adultery, in the very act. But the question remains, What are we to do? Are we to stone her? The Master says, 'Let him that is without sin cast the first stone.' If the so-called Free Church is 'without sin'—if the various dissenting bodies are 'without sin'—let them stone away. Can you read the miserable extract you send me from the S. paper, and think that the writer, who flings stones so cleverly, is 'without sin'? And as to your 'Free Church,' is it a Church at all? And if a Church, what is it 'free' from? What is a Church? Where does it differ from a company, a society, an alliance? Is the Evangelical Alliance a Church? And what, I would ask again, is the so-called Free Church free from? You say the National Church is hampered by the State, and cannot put away the evil which is in it. Granted. What then? Can you put away all the evil which is within you? Are you, therefore, to go out of yourself and commit suicide? Can you really think that you will not be hampered where you are by persons holding a certain relationship to your 'Free Church,' who will do all sorts of things? Or do you think that you will be able to put away the evil which must sooner or later appear among you? What is the evil of evils but self-love and self-will? See it rampant in every form of dissent—in almost all Christians. How are you, in your 'Free Church,' to put away this evil? Is not the real truth this, that the Church is fallen, and, being fallen, is it not a pretence to say that we can make a part of it 'free,' while the rest is suffering? But the Lord will teach you, and teach you as He has had to teach most of us, by mistakes. The only way to help some dear souls is to let them go wrong and fall. Thus only are they delivered from their natural haste and self-confidence. Thanks be to God, He can, and does, overrule what He does not directly rule. He will, I trust, do so in your case. I am, however, astonished at the reason you give for joining the 'Free Church.' It is because Mr. Bennett and others like him are permitted in the Church of England. You could allow men like the Essayists and Reviewers, who denied the Atonement and Inspiration and nearly everything else supernatural, to remain in the Church. Their being there did not drive you out. But Mr. Bennett's being allowed forces you to secede. You will some day see clearer the difference between the cause and the occasion.
OBJECTORS TO RESTITUTION
When I think of my own life, though from my first conversion through grace I have only desired to give myself and all that I had for Christ; when I see how for years, just like a child, accepting much while others lacked, I could receive without a question to be, like Jacob, loved, while others, like Esau, were, I believed, for ever cast out; when, like Israel, I could without compunction be joyous at my freedom from Egypt, without a thought of the sacrifice of Egypt's first-born, or of 'Ethiopia and Seba given for me;' content if I found grace, though others by hundreds perished all around: when I remember all this, and how slowly my eyes opened to see why any are elect, even that 'if the firstfruit be holy, the lump should be holy also,' I cannot judge others who are satisfied with their own salvation, and are slow to learn why they are saved. If, therefore, there is any truth such brethren cannot yet receive, or if they judge me because I see in Scripture what they as yet do not, I do not press either myself or the truth God gives me upon them, because I know there is another present Teacher, and that when these brethren feel their need of further teaching and seek it, what they need will not be withheld.
GOD'S TWO METHODS
God is the only Teacher who has had, and yet has, two distinct methods, to meet two different stages of His children: namely, first law, then Gospel; first letter, then spirit; first nature, then grace; first an outward, then an inward, witness. At the earlier stages what is spiritual is above us. ... At such a stage souls need authority for truth. They cannot yet take truth for authority.
THE TEST OF A GOOD BOOK
The test I have found most useful to myself as to the real use of any book is to mark the state of mind in which I lay it down. If after reading it I am humbler and nearer to God, in the sense of my nothingness and His amazing love and wisdom, the book is a good one, at least to me. If, on the other hand, wonderful as the book may be, it leaves me, or I leave it, thrown off from love (for God is love) into all kinds of speculations, then the book to me, possibly through my own fault, has not been wholesome.
As to your question, growing out of the words or feelings of your friend on the subject of the Christian's immediate enjoyment of perfect rest, ... probably you mean one thing and she another when you speak of 'rest.' For there are many 'rests' in the Christian life. There is, first, the 'rest' which a poor soul has while yet a captive in Egypt, resting in safety under the sprinkled blood, though the destroying angel is abroad. ... This is a 'rest' which we are all called to have as soon as we hear and believe what is told us of the sprinkled Blood. But even here there may be souls safe under the sprinkled Blood who yet have fears, though, spite of their fears, they are in perfect safety. Then, again, there is the 'rest' of the Sabbath, which God gives to His people when they have got out into the wilderness. This is the rest from our own works, to which we are all called, but which souls yet bondsmen in Egypt cannot know till they have crossed the Red Sea. ... Then, again (not to speak of the many halts or resting-places by the way, some of which, like Elim, are very pleasant, and all of which, whether sweet or bitter, are providentially appointed for us), there is in due time the 'rest' of Canaan for us, that is, the rest we have when, passing over Jordan, by a death to self, we can rest on some part of the length and breadth of the rich ground of God's promise, of which the land of promise was the figure. Here we ought to be at rest, and the road here should not be long. Yet often it is long. But even when we reach this rest, it is not the perfect end. Souls may have reached this rest of Canaan who will yet find that there is, as the apostle says, something beyond it; for, as he says, 'If Jesus (Joshua) had given them rest, then would not David afterward have spoken of another day.' ... We may find, and must find, that there is not only conflict in the land but also failure, as the Book of Judges shows so abundantly—failure from resting too soon, 'resting from war' (Josh. 11:23), instead of going on to cut off the remnants of the adversaries. ... Just as in these days many souls, having found peace to a certain extent, fail to go on to obtain all that is promised. ... And whatever stage we may attain to here—even if we get on to know, as some have done, the glorious kingdom of the peaceful Son of David, when all seemed subdued, even then God's elect have to learn that there is a 'rest' yet further on; as it is said by the prophet even in Canaan, 'Arise and depart, for this is not your rest.' For Canaan is the type of the 'first heaven' or heavenly places; but the first heaven is 'shaken,' and is even seen by John to 'pass away,' before the perfect rest.
Of course faith can even now say of the last and highest of all these rests that it is already ours; for in this sense, if we believe, 'all things are ours, whether things present or things to come;' for 'faith is the substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.' But as a matter of experience comparatively few have reached the latter rests; for experience is the measure in which we have apprehended that which is ours already in Christ.
IMITATION OF CHRIST
How are we to walk so as to be conformed to Christ? Is it by setting this or that act or experience of His before us as the thing to be at once imitated? I should answer, where you are, there walk with God. Let every man abide in the calling wherein he is called. There live day by day by every word of God, eating Christ's flesh and drinking His blood; for the life can only grow by receiving its proper food. Covet, of course, the best things. But remember that the best thing is the spirit of love.
I am more than ever persuaded that all magical states, by which I mean states of mere illumination, however wonderful, terminate in Paradise or hell. But that this is not the true end seems clear, not only from the fact that Paul, who had been caught up into Paradise, did not regard it as an end; but still more [from] the fact that Christ, the Pattern of patterns, did not stay there, but came forth out of Paradise and hell by resurrection.
THE BAPTISM OF THE SPIRIT
As to your question, 'Is this baptism of the Spirit something apart and distinct from all that has gone before?' I answer, It is, I think, something 'distinct' but not 'apart' from it; by which I mean that it is a further experience, or a fuller measure of experience, in the same one life of Christ. Yet I could not say that it is 'apart' from what has gone before; for it grows out of, and is the crown of, what has preceded it; just as the bud or blossom in the plant is not apart from what has gone before, but is only the manifestation of the life which all along has been within. ... Christ is the pattern of it all. The eternal life was in Him just as truly when He was an unborn Babe, or a Child of twelve years old, as when He was a full-grown Man at His baptism. But at His baptism He came experimentally, as Son of man, to a light and power which He had not known before; and still more was this the case at His resurrection. Yet at every stage His life was by the Holy Ghost; for it was by the Holy Ghost that He was at first conceived; it was by the Holy Ghost that He was baptised in Jordan; and again it was by the Holy Ghost at His resurrection that He was declared to be the Son of God with power. All is by the Holy Ghost; yet there are different measures, if one may say so, in the manifestation of this One Spirit. Just so is it when 'Christ is formed in us, the hope of glory;' for the life of the last Adam, as of the first, is re-enacted in all that are His, who therefore can say, 'Christ liveth in me.' The Christian writers of bygone days, in speaking of all this, used to compare the stage before the baptism of the Spirit to that of espousal, that after it to the marriage union; so that, according to this view, the experience of the disciples as set before us in the Four Gospels, which is the first experience of Christian disciples, would be that of being espoused to Christ; that described in the Acts of the Apostles after Pentecost would be that of being united in marriage to Christ. It is of little consequence how you speak of these stages. But it is well, when we can bear it, to see that there are such stages—that there is, first, a separating stage; then, a purifying or illuminating one; and, last, a uniting stage. ... Each stage is beautiful and perfect in its season; and it is a mistake to hurry. We do no good by making our children into little men or women, or by wishing to marry them too soon.
THE LORD WILL PROVIDE
It is now many, many years, not long after I married, since I and my dear wife offered ourselves and all that we had to be the Lord's. In a groaning world and a groaning Church it did not take many years to bring our little store far lower than would once have seemed enough for us. But from that day to this, though children have been given to us, and boys have had to be educated and started in life, I have never lacked any good thing, God always providing. If only some dear souls, who doubt some things in the Gospel, could but go through my path, and could see, as I have done, that giving to Christ and receiving from Him is a reality—far more real than dealing with the truest earthly friend—that He is not a dead but a living God—that He is really with us, really not only able but delighting (as I should delight) to help us when we are helpless and can do nothing—they would know what a Rock of Ages is under our feet.
REST IN THE LORD
Rest in the Lord. Rest in Him as you rest in your bed at night; with heart beating all the while, with lungs breathing all the while; yet casting yourself and your burden on that which you know will support you. So rest in the Lord; not without heart-exercise or without ceaseless prayer for those you love; knowing that underneath are the everlasting arms.
SEPARATE FROM SINNERS
What is the separateness of Christ? Having in my young days gone all lengths in outward separation—having been a Pharisee of the Pharisees, and by my example and ministry at a certain stage of my life led others into the same sort of outward separateness—having watched for their souls as one that must give account, and having seen what the tree is by the fruits it brought forth—and having since then by grace had opened to me what was and is the life of the true Son, who was holy, harmless, separate from sinners, but who yet took their place, and took their form, and took their curse and burden for them—[I see] ... the difference between Christ's separateness and that of many who desire to follow Him.
Many thanks for your kind Christmas greeting, which I heartily re-echo for you and all yours. God grant that this Christmas may be a Christmas to you all—a time for Christ really to come and dwell with you, and that we may all show in our lives, what in word we all confess, that God has indeed made our nature His tabernacle, and dwells in us. But now as of old poor welcomes here await Him, for even when we receive Him in our hearts there is so little room for Him that He is laid away among thoughts and wishes which are too often beast-like. So at least it has been with me. We find room in our poor hearts for almost any other guest—for the world, or for the things of the world, which ask admission so importunately. But for Christ there is no room in that poor inn. And yet not for one moment does it alter His unchanging purpose to bless us. If we have little room for Him, His answer is, 'I have prepared My feast for you, and yet there is room.' Room, not only for those who have no room for Him, but for those who again and again despise the provision which He has made for us because He knows we need it. But oh, the soul-hunger such souls must one day waken up to, when, without creatures, they find themselves also without God. For hearts are made for God. All the things which fill them, though they fill, can never satisfy. But God satisfies. Some of us have proved this. All must prove it. And blessed will that hunger be, however painful its coming to some, which forces them at last to cry for God.
You ask, 'What is the work of the unquenchable fire after it has burnt up all the chaff?' I suppose it is to be the light and life of all things. ... If, as St. Paul says, 'our God is a consuming fire,' inasmuch as He is eternal and everliving He must be an unquenched and unquenchable fire—a fire which burns up all that is corrupt, only to bring forth and quicken what shall be uncorrupt. ... Even natural life, the life of this world, is fire, though it is a fire only lighted by and akin to the sun, the light of this world. All hellish life in like manner is only a fire of another kind, a fire which through God's mercy will, I believe, be quenched some day, but which is kindled or lighted, like all other fires, from the light of its own world, the light or sun of hell being only self-love. So heavenly life is fire also, fire kindled and lighted from the Sun of the heavenly world, Who is love; for 'God is love,' and, as David says, 'The Lord God is a sun.' To bring this heavenly fire and life of love into this world Christ came down; for He said, 'I am come to cast fire into the earth; and what do I desire but that it should be at once kindled?' And this heavenly fire, like the fires of earth and hell, depends on its own Sun, only that the Sun of heaven is eternal Love, Who will burn up all dross, and yet shine in and with those whom He has kindled with His own life for ever and ever. And we must, if we are to dwell in God, have a life which, because it is of the fire, can stand unhurt in it. For a natural man to dwell in God would be like my hand staying in a furnace. But God gives us a life which can abide in Him.
This, if I err not, is what is coming upon Christendom. Men will believe a lie if only it is confirmed or authenticated by a miracle. And they will have miracles enough. Spirits of devils are coming forth to work miracles. Awful trial surely for all. How awful for those who know not Christ!
CHRIST'S LIVING BLOOD
The key to all this question of eating Christ's flesh and drinking His blood lies in the words, 'The blood is the life.' And the thing man wants is not a dying, human, earthly life, but an undying, Divine, and heavenly life. ... To drink in a dying life, or dying blood, would never make man undying.
THE SPIRIT AND THE CROSS
To my mind there is a most direct connection between N.'s general teaching and his last error. For he was so possessed with the one idea of the baptism of the Spirit that he could see nothing else, and often spoke as if souls could and ought at once to take a place beyond conflict, where their whole nature was so filled with the Spirit that it lost its innate proneness to sin, where struggling ceased, and where what he called the 'sabbath' was come, and 'Canaan' reached. The idea which lay at the foundation of this teaching, the idea of God possessing us, was a grand and true one, one which needs to be brought out especially among those who were resting too much in what they called justification by faith. But grand and true as the idea was, to be safely pressed it needed its proper complement, namely, the daily cross and daily death to old Adam, which indeed ever goes with the indwelling of the Spirit, but which is often practically overlooked by those who have only recently got hold of the blessed doctrine of that indwelling. Knowing, therefore, how this doctrine of the indwelling of the Spirit might be abused, and was almost certain to be abused, unless the daily cross, that is, a daily self-mortification, were also preached, and practically set forth in equal measure, I did what I could by calling attention to Job's experience, which witnessed what could come out of the perfect man if he were sufficiently tried; and then by the lesson taught also by the healings in Canaan on the sabbath day, which showed what wretched sicknesses cleaved to some in Israel who had reached Canaan and knew the sabbath rest; and still more by calling N.'s special attention to the awful fact that even after Satan was bound for a thousand years, the same Satan could and would be loosed for a little season. ... This is always the peril of great ideas. They are only safe under a daily cross, or to a long-schooled or long-tried soul, who is carrying the burden either of poverty or pain or bereavement, or some daily rule of self-denial. Without these the soul is like a boat without ballast, upset even by a favourable wind; or like Noah, intoxicated even in a new world beyond the waters by his privileges. Noah's drunkenness has been repeated in the Church a thousand times. The very blood of the true Vine becomes his shame. For a grand idea is an idea which can turn men's heads. We do not become giddy by standing on a hassock or on a chair. It is standing on the top of the Monument or of St. Paul's that upsets us. Some one says, 'A great idea, like a great hero, must slay its thousands.' Any great truth, therefore, has this peril, that souls at first do not see that there is always some equally great truth, which seems almost antagonistic to the first, which is required to balance it. Here was N.'s fall. No blame to the truth he held (which nevertheless will be blamed), but only to the weakness of him who taught it.
HUMILIATION AND EXALTATION
Of course you have noticed the way St. Paul speaks of himself as he gets onward in his Christian life. Writing to the Corinthians, in the year 59, he is satisfied to say of himself that he is the 'least of the apostles.' Five or six years later, in a.d. 64, writing to the Ephesians, he calls himself 'less than the least of all saints.' A year or two later, and just before his death, writing to his beloved Timothy, he puts himself among the 'sinners,' yea, he confesses himself to be the chief of sinners for whom Christ died. So he gets on, and is going up when he seems to be going down; for God's way of bringing up His children is to bring them down. Indeed, this is the drift of all the 'Psalms of Degrees,' or 'of the going up.' One of the latest of them begins, 'Out of the deep have I cried to Thee, O Lord.'
THE OLD MAN MUST BE SLAIN
The 'evil man' and the 'violent man' and the 'enemy' whom the writer of Psalm 69 would fain see utterly overthrown is really the 'old man,' the 'carnal mind which is enmity with God,' ... who must be destroyed and brought to dissolution, that out of the destruction the new creature may emerge in all its proper beauty. Therefore it is written again and again in the prophets (which so few understand in their spiritual sense), that 'the Lord's sword shall go forth out of its sheath against all flesh, that all flesh may know that the Lord Himself has drawn this sword against it; nor shall this sword return to its sheath any more' (see Ezek. 21:4, 5). And all this is done that 'every heart may melt, and all hands be feeble, and every spirit faint, and all knees be weak:' in other words, that they may be brought into that state where God can lift them up. ... The Lord can no more spare our earthly fallen nature than the priest of old could spare the sacrifice which was brought to him.
ONLY NEED REVEALS CHRIST
You say you think that 'the people who turn to Christ because they are tired and disappointed will never know Him best.' But who ever turns to Him until they want or need Him? And can He ever show what He is except in supplying some need either of head or heart? A mother, a physician, a friend, a husband, is only known really as each supplies some need. All through the young days of the world, in the old Greek, or Jewish, or Roman days, Christ was never known as He has been since, simply because human nature was younger and fresher and stronger, and had not learnt, as it has since learnt, that all flesh is grass. As we need Christ, so we know Him.
THE DISCIPLINE OF SELF-DESPAIR
In what you tell me of yourself, dark as it may seem to you, I see marks of the experience of Christ; and therefore I feel sure that what is now dark to you will all one day be light, even as I think I may say it is already light to me. For you speak now of what you never seemed to feel or know—the utter sifting and self-despair by which the Lord perfects us. You tell me of the 'anguish of a long night of involuntary doubt, if not of God, yet of His dealings with you, which, after so many years of undivided communion, was like being cast into a measureless abyss, ever falling, and never ceasing to fall yet deeper from God into darkness;' and you say, 'Why this awful world of agony and suffering, so often proportioned almost to the soul's utter devotion to God? Why, having committed the keeping of my soul to God, was it suffered so terribly to mistake its way? Why bless and curse without measure the same things?' In a word, Why, to use old John Newton's well-known hymn, is prayer always answered by crosses? Read again and again his well-known hymn, beginning,I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace,
and you will get the true answer, namely, that this experience, so humbling, so trying, is the one only appointed road, known by all the saints, testified of throughout all Scripture, seen above all in Christ, the perfect Pattern, yet rarely seen in the earlier stages of the Christian life, but most sure to be known sooner or later if ever we are to be conformed to Christ. It was the lack of any reference in your ministry to this sort of experience which made me, more than anything else, often tremble for you. For this self-despair is the one only appointed way; and in the way to this we are at times so tempted that we seem almost to despair of God. You may, indeed, know death and resurrection with Christ by faith, and only sing triumphantly, as Moses and Israel sang when they crossed the Red Sea. But you cannot know this death and resurrection in experience, as Israel knew it when they crossed Jordan, without having, instead of a song, the pain and wound of circumcision, and the helplessness which such circumcision brings for a season, and this in the presence of your enemies. Is it a mistake in Scripture that there is no song after crossing Jordan, but instead of it the painful circumcision of full-grown men—not painful only, but for the time crippling? So in the well-known passage in Isa. 64, where we have the prophet's earnest cry that God would 'rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might flow down at His presence'—a prayer which, I doubt not, you have prayed—have you not noticed how it is answered? The prophet immediately adds, 'When Thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, the mountains flowed down at Thy presence.' The thing asked was granted; but how and when? 'When Thou didst terrible things which we looked not for.' We did not expect that the answer would come, and could only come, through such 'terrible things.' 'For,' as the prophet adds, 'from the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside Thee, what Thou hast prepared for him that waiteth for Thee.' For we are all slow to learn that the Cross, or crossing of our will and nature, is the one only appointed way. For 'Thou meetest,' that is, comest in the opposite way to, 'him that worketh righteousness; those that remember Thee in their ways:' in a word, Thou seemest to cross and oppose them. See how St. Paul quotes this text in the passage where he speaks of Christ's Cross (1 Cor. 2:2, 8, 9): 'They crucified the Lord of glory; for it never entered into the heart of man that those were the things which God had prepared for them that love Him. But God has by His Spirit revealed these things to us,' even that 'many are the troubles of the righteous.' But in spite of these words, and of all the testimony of the prophets, even 'disciples understand none of these things, and the saying is hid from them,' though it is repeated in their ears by One who is a true Cross-bearer (Luke 18:31-34). All showing that an open Bible is not an opened Bible, and that we only see what we have learned to see.
The fact is that the utter ruin and judgment of the flesh must be felt as well as believed before the true Spirit is fully given. Dispensationally this was shown in Judaism being utterly broken up before Pentecost. In our experience we have to prove the same thing. A fleshly form of the Spirit, indeed, there is before this ruin and judgment of the flesh is known; as when the Spirit came upon Samson and Jephthah, and they did mighty works. For, as there is a fleshly knowledge of Christ as well as a spiritual, so there is a fleshly knowledge of the Holy Ghost; but the outpouring of the Spirit of the Son, who says always 'Not My will,' comes only through the Cross; and the Cross is not the improvement or glorification of the old nature, but its entire judgment and dissolution. The lack of a distinct utterance on this point I always noticed in your teaching. You spoke often of the Spirit and of the transports of true joy, but rarely of the 'much tribulation,' or 'threshing' (for 'tribulation' means only 'threshing'), which was and is the road to it; rarely of the anguish, the shame, the humiliation, which is ever brought by the consuming fire we long for, and which is the one unfailing prelude to the transfiguration of the sacrifice in all the true elect. Of course, visions and transports and catching up into the third heaven, may be all right; yea, they are all, if true visions and true transports, truly blessed; though when they are so they always bring with them 'thorns in the flesh and messengers of Satan, lest we should be exalted above measure.' But visions and transports without such balance, and without a daily Cross, are not, as it seems to me, the royal road. The Cross is the one true token—do we suffer? Where this is we are safe—where, crossed in our will and service again and again, we say, 'Not my will, but Thy will.' Often, therefore, did I feel a sort of tremor come over me while I listened to you; for I felt what a shaking there might be from the foundations. Yet, knowing the goodness of the Lord, I was assured all would be right; and all will be right, and what is now dark will one day be perfect light.
In one word, dear brother, 'the life of Jesus' is all, and the life of Jesus is a tempted, suffering life. It is the life of a 'man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;' the life of One 'despised and rejected of men;' the life of One 'numbered with the transgressors,' whom men 'esteemed stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted;' yea, the life of One whom 'it pleased the Lord to bruise;' a life which yet is kept in perfect peace, though it may, and must, in a certain hour cry out, 'My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?' Thank God, I have known something of this life. You, too, have prayed to manifest this 'life of Jesus.' How is it to be done? Paul says, 'We are troubled on every side, but not perplexed; we are cast down, but not destroyed: always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.' There is no other way to manifest this life but by a daily death and cross. Let us not stumble at the royal road. But, indeed, all disciples first stumble at the Cross. ...
I may perhaps help you if I say that, in sifting trial, the one safe way is not to write or speak at all except to God; for God speaks for those who do not justify themselves. And we cannot, even in the most righteous way, justify ourselves without losing some blessing. ... God can, and will, justify you in due time, and give you back all and more than all that has been lost, even all the days and years which the locust and the cankerworm have eaten.
To speak more directly as to your doubts touching revealed religion, I suppose a man (I do not say a woman) will always be open to some such doubts until he has himself seen and experienced the very things which revealed religion speaks of. But all may see those very things, if only Christ is formed and grows up in us. We are not left to hearsays or tradition, which may be corrupted, or to a mere letter or book, which may be a fable or which cannot be understood. What God has given us is an eternal life. Christ and His saints had it of old. We have, or may have, the very selfsame life at this day. Till we have it, and have it in its fullness, there must be more or less uncertainty. But the Gospels not only tell me what happened 1,800 years ago. That would be but little help to me. They tell me what I see and feel; and I really see no further into the Gospels, or into Scripture generally, than I see the selfsame things now done or doing by the same one blessed Worker, who is still with and amongst us, though few see Him, and fewer understand Him. Thus the truly converted man is himself not only the comment but also the fulfilment of all Scripture; for it all speaks of but two things, namely, the old man and the new; and both these are in us, and still go on their old way, as unchangeably as vines and brambles now grow exactly as they did four thousand years ago. Nothing but the formation of Christ in us, His conception, birth, life, death, and resurrection—that is, the fulfilment in us of all that we read in Scripture was fulfilled for us—can ever perfectly free us from such doubts as those you speak of.
The question which you asked ... has more than once come back to me, as to the needs-be for some one to represent man to God, or, as the apostle puts it, to 'appear in the presence of God for man,' as well as to represent God to man, or, in other words, to appear in the presence of man for God. ... The illustration given by Claude St. Martin, or in his correspondence, came to my mind. It is this, and I think it meets your inquiry. Suppose we want to introduce to each other, or rather to bring together, two substances which are naturally too far apart or too dissimilar to unite, what must we do? How can the union be effected? Chemistry teaches us that it can be done by adding or bringing in a third substance, which has affinities with the other two. Thus, for instance, if we would unite oil and water, we must add a fixed alkali, when the water and oil will combine intimately. Here we have a natural, and therefore a Divine, type of the intermediate agents, such as the priest or the apostle, who are needed to introduce and unite God to man and man to God, the first of whom, that is the priest, brings man to God, just as the other, that is the apostle, brings God to man: in either case the union being accomplished by an agent who participates in and also assimilates with the natures of the beings they have to bring together.
'THE MIGHT OF SACRAMENTAL GRACE'
Touching the expression of your bishop which you refer to, 'the might of sacramental grace,' which you say is 'Dutch to you,' I could say much if I had time. I believe in 'the might of sacramental grace.' Truth, the truth of God, can only come to fallen creatures sacramentally, that is, by sensible media or mediums connected with the senses, which are channels by which the truth of God, which has all power, gets into us. The Word of God, the eternal Son, by Whom all things were created, and in Whom all things consist, is much nearer to all men than any man or means of grace outside of them can be, for in Him they live and move and have their being; and yet, such is our fall out of the spirit-world into outward things, that is the things of sense, that He in Whom we live can only get at us at first from the outside. The Word is nigh us; but to be heard, it has to come to us first through the senses—either by preaching, addressed to the sense of hearing, or by acted words, commonly called sacraments, addressed to the sense of sight. In both, whether in preaching or in sacraments, God tries to speak to us. In the one He speaks to our ears, in the other to our eyes. For, when we are very little babes, words addressed to our ears are not enough: we want something which speaks to our eyes also. Therefore parents smile and nod at their babes, the smiles and nods being acted words, or sacraments, meaning and saying, 'I love you.' Therefore in speaking to the deaf and dumb you must speak by your fingers. ... That this should be needed shows how fallen we are. But that it is needed is a fact; and a fact which God meets by giving His Word in a creature-form, which thus reaches man from without.
Now, all this, imperfectly as I have expressed it, shows the needs-be for sacraments or sense-mediums for communicating truth to fallen man; but what I have said does not touch the 'might' of these sacramental mediums, or 'the might of sacramental grace,' which you say is 'Dutch to you.' Yet these mediums, creaturely as they are and acting through the senses, are divinely mighty. You, with your early training and your present views, doubt this as respects the acted words, which are generally called sacraments, in which, by some outward act, as by dipping a person in water, and raising him out of it again in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, you witness or teach that man is by nature dead—therefore you bury him—but that in the place of death, even in the grave (for we are 'buried in baptism'), God meets him with life, because His Name is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—you, I say, with your present and probably inherited view of sacraments, doubt whether there is 'might' in them. Yet you believe that there is 'might' in preaching by word of mouth. But preaching by act may be just as efficacious. At all events, preaching by word of mouth, or by spoken words, is really just as sacramental as the acted words which are more commonly called sacraments; for, as I have already said, when you preach you are simply getting at the soul by the sense of hearing, through the vibrations in the air made by the movements of your tongue, all which is physical and sensible; and, further, when you so preach, the 'might' or power which goes forth, and gets into the soul, far transcends any intellectual apprehension of what is said. Take as an example the words, 'The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.' Souls get a blessing from these words who, if asked to explain them, will, in nineteen cases out of twenty, certainly give you an entirely wrong explanation of them. And yet the words are a real blessing to them; just as baptism and the Lord's Supper are blessings to those whose explanation of these acted words is wholly wrong. Ask your truest converts to explain what blood of Christ cleanseth, and how it cleanses them, or touches their sin, and see how utterly ignorant and wrong they are, first, as to whether it is the literal physical blood which was shed on Calvary that cleanses, and, secondly, how this outward blood has ever touched them; or, if it is not this outward blood, what blood it is. Yet the words have 'might,' and the might in them is the 'might of sacramental grace.'
CONFORMITY TO CHRIST
God's will is that we should be 'conformed to the image of His dear Son;' and even while we are here, if with open face we will behold as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we may be changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord. ... Not only may we be conformed to Christ's sufferings and death while we are here, but further we may also surely know the power of His resurrection, and even here attain to that resurrection from among the dead which Paul so earnestly prayed for. ... The work has all already been wrought for us in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ; but that which has been wrought for us in Him is all to be wrought in us by Him, so that as He is so may we be even in this world. For 'Jesus Christ is of God made unto us wisdom, even righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.' ... But though all these three blessings are ours in Christ, we do not personally experience them except as we look for them and expect them and wait for them from Christ. Till we feel that we want righteousness, though all righteousness is laid up for us in Christ, we do not draw it out of Him. Then, having obtained righteousness, till we feel that we want sanctification, though all measures of holiness are laid up for us in Christ, we do not draw them out of Him for our joy and God's glory. And so again, having obtained sanctification from Christ, till we feel that we need redemption, that is, the redemption of the body, though this too is laid up for us in Christ, we do not receive it, simply because we do not look for it and expect it and wait for it from Him. For He is able to change, and will one day change, these vile bodies; but will He change any who are not looking to Him to be changed? ... As Paul says to the Philippians, it is only as many as be, or wish to be, perfect who can be thus minded, or have these thoughts. To others, such thoughts seem merely dreams or imagination; as if any of us could possibly imagine a higher or better destiny for ourselves than God our Father has in store for us. But the way to this is not in seeking visions or transports or great things for ourselves, but in meekly and humbly every day taking up our daily cross and humbling ourselves, knowing that when we come down into Jordan with Christ then heaven opens to us, and when we die to our own will, and say in all, 'Thy will be done,' then from the cross and grave and apparent defeat of all our hopes, not in our own strength, nor in selfhood, but in the power of God, we are raised up as from the dead to live and walk in God.
Of course, in this state, as it was with Christ, so will it be with us. 'The world seeth Me no more, but ye see Me.' In resurrection we can only deal with quickened or converted souls, even as Christ after His resurrection only appeared to disciples; but through them we may reach many more. We seem to be useless—the world thinks we are dead—the worldly, carnal Church thinks with the world. Yet the life of Christ through death is even stronger than before, and will rule and subdue and bless all. Thus the veil rent for us in Christ has to be rent in us also with Christ. I know it is so, and I think you will know this also.
THE FIRST CREATION, OUT OF LIGHT
Did God originally bring life out of death and division, or life out of life? Was His first creation a creation arising out of confusion and imperfection, or out of His own fullness and perfection? Is not matter itself a state of fall, and a fallen form of spirit? The analogy you refer to, of the conception, growth, and birth of man, is all resurrection, for the womb is the grave, and is always so regarded in the typical language of Holy Scripture. Was the grave the beginning? Certainly all present nature advances, as you say, from imperfection to perfection. But present nature is fallen. Was this the law of God's unfallen creation? Did He first begin to work on darkness, division, and disorder; or did He not bring forth life out of perfect life? Was the first man, wherever he was created, formed through all the stages you refer to, or was he brought forth a God out of God?
THE EUCHARISTIC SACRIFICE
Your view of the Eucharistic Sacrifice is this, that 'it is our sacrifice, the entire surrender of self, the pouring out of our lives as a sweet savour of praise and love to God.' Do High Churchmen deny this? Not one of them. They, quite as much as you, say, 'Here we offer and present unto Thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and acceptable sacrifice unto Thee;' while their life is certainly not less of a sacrifice for others than that of their Low Church brethren. But (and here High Churchmen differ from you) in addition to this view of our sacrifice they see in the Lord's Supper Christ's sacrifice—that He is ever pouring out His blood, that is, His life, for us, that we may take it in and drink it; and that He is ever giving His body, that is, His very Divine nature and substance, that we may feed upon it, and so be built up in the same nature. In a word, while you look upon Christ's sacrifice as a merely temporal act, and therefore past, a thing once done and ended eighteen hundred years ago, they look upon it (just as they look upon the generation of the Son and the Procession of the Spirit) as an eternal, and therefore ever-present, thing, still continuing, as long as we need His substance and life to build up and sustain His life in us. And all the misapprehensions or contradictions which they may mix up with this true view, that Christ is yet giving Himself for us, and that therefore He is still sacrificing Himself, cannot and do not nullify or take away the real blessing which this view of Christ still giving Himself to be our Life must communicate to every needy, hungry, wanting heart. Your view of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, that it is only our sacrifice of ourselves, does not meet the heart's full need. With all his mistakes, the High Churchman in all this is contending for a truth which you and your pamphlet wholly overlook.
And Christ's words at the Institution of the Supper show that He did not look upon it as only expressing our sacrifice of self, but, much more, His own sacrifice, a sacrifice which is eternal, that is, ever-present. For He said, as He sat with His disciples, and before what you would call His blood-shedding, 'This is My blood, which is being poured out for you.' Must it not still be poured out, if it is true that we are to 'drink it;' and that 'except we drink it, we have no life in us'? And must not His body still be given, if we are to 'take and eat it,' as He said, 'He that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me'? And if this blood is still poured out for us to drink, and if this flesh is still given us to eat, is not this most literally and truly a sacrifice of Christ?
The fact is, the Ritualist whom you judge really believes that he wants Christ's body and blood as the very food which supports his new life, and that Christ really gives this flesh and blood to him; and though his explanation of how this is done may be incorrect, he nevertheless comes to Christ desiring to take in that promised 'flesh and blood,' that is, the substance and life which shall build up and keep alive the new life in him. His doctrine of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, therefore, is that Christ yet pours out or gives His blood, and that the sacrament is a 'memorial' of this, a memorial of that body and blood which the Lord gave and is giving for us. Your doctrine of the Eucharistic Sacrifice is that it is only a sacrifice and surrender of yourself, and a memorial of a past act of Christ, which indeed healed the breach between God and man in Christ, but which was ended eighteen hundred years ago.
PAST AND PRESENT
You say that, because Scripture speaks of Christ's sacrifice as an accomplished thing, therefore it cannot go on, and therefore Christ cannot yet be pouring out His blood for us, to give it us to drink. This is an apparent contradiction which necessarily cleaves to all our first conceptions of the facts of our redemption, because our redemption is an eternal thing. But Scripture does not hesitate to accept the apparent contradiction, for only thus can it express the blessed fact. Thus we read, 'Ye are dead, and risen with Christ;' 'Ye have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new;' 'Put on, therefore, as the elect of God, bowels of mercies, ... and put off all these, anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy' (see Col. 3:1-12). The New Testament is full of this, and must be. So, though 'Christ once suffered for sins,' and 'in that He died, He died unto sin once,' He is still 'crucified afresh, and put to an open shame' by those who yet call themselves His people.
THE JUDGMENT OF THE CHURCH
Sad as it is to hear of dear Carter being worried by Lord Penzance, it may be better for the Church than that smaller and less respected men should be assailed. For, if Carter is attacked or suspended, even the bishops may wake up to ask what it all means. Still, the end to me is quite clear. It is the old story of Israel once again. The fourth great form of Gentile or worldly power will certainly crush and sweep away the priesthood and the temple. For the Church's sins this must come at last. But the Church's judgment and failure, like Israel's, are but the prelude to a wider blessing ... not for the elect only, but for all. Aaron's priesthood, with its threefold order and temple, was great: Melchisedek's, without temple, was greater still. Consider how great this man was, to whom Abraham, and Levi and Aaron in Abraham, paid tithes. The one is the priesthood of the elect; the other is the priesthood of man—a truth which, as St. Paul says to the Hebrews, even yet can hardly be spoken of without danger. Both priesthoods are fulfilled in Christ; though what the Church has ever gloried in has really been Aaron's order, not Melchisedek's. ... The fourth and last form of Gentile power, with its S.P.Q.R., that is, the assertion of the will of the people, will be the instrument for shaking and sweeping away all that can be shaken. And the heaven must be shaken, that is, the Church; yea, it must be rolled up and depart as a scroll, to bring in the full final redemption. My heart aches when I think of the anguish of those who, like Israel of old, assured that what has been dispensed to them has come from God, will fight to the bitter end to save what is already doomed. We have not felt sufficiently for the difficulties of the high priests of old, when a new ministry and a new dispensation and a wider priesthood came upon them. We may have, we shall surely have, the same trial. But how many of the priests of Aaron's line, like John the Baptist, are prepared to welcome the coming truth, which lays the axe to the root [illegible word in book] is now standing?
I did not think to write all this. But it has been upon my spirit for years and years. And I feel assured that it is true. What the Church now wants is prophetic light—light, that is, to know God's present will, His will as to existing things—whether this is 'a time to build' or 'a time to throw down.' No study of the letter of the dispensation will give this. No study of the old law would have shown that in Hezekiah's day the right thing was to 'defend Jerusalem;' in Zedekiah's, to forsake it and 'fall to the Chaldeans;' and in a still later day to 'flee to the mountains.' No mere letter of the Gospel will show the Church's real need to-day. Direct prophetic light is needed—men to whom the Word of the Lord yet comes expressly. And yet these are the men whom the Church always rejects.
MOVING FROM ONE SECTION OF THE CHURCH TO ANOTHER
The worst of going from one section of the Church to another is that, in so doing, souls generally are taken up with the points in which they differ from other and temple rather than with that common ruin and common salvation in which they all are one, which last, surely, is catholicity.
THE THREE WAYS
The dear old saints of bygone days used to map out the road as consisting in the main of three very distinct stages—first, the purgative way, when the soul is mainly occupied with the question of purification from sin, first from its guilt, and then also from its indwelling power. All this is the first stage. Then comes the illuminative way, answering to the last half of the Six Days' work, when the soul is being furnished with gifts and light and power, not only to be blessed itself, but to be made a living blessing to all around. Lastly comes the unitive way, figured by the Seventh Day's rest, without an evening, when the creature's will has in all things been made one with God, when we come indeed to fellowship with the Father and with His Son, even to the Communion of the Holy Ghost, in which God can rest in us, and we in Him. These stages run into each other, but the dear old saints were right in speaking of this growth.
JOB AND DAVID
As to Job and David, I cannot add much to what you say. The one is the man that was 'perfect and upright,' with all sorts of gifts and blessings for a while entrusted to him; but this perfect man had not as yet been delivered from himself. With all his perfectness, self was still strong. So he says, 'When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, then it gave witness to me; because I delivered the poor, and I caused the widow's heart to sing with joy; and I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame;' and so on, at very great length, all about me and I; till, like the veriest sinner, he is brought by losses and sorrows to find he needs not gifts and blessings only, but a living, loving God; when instead of saying, 'When the eye saw me,' he cries out, 'Now mine eye seeth Thee; therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.' And when he is brought to this, all is well again, ten times better than it was before. He has been emptied, to be filled with better things. Compare David and his Psalms with all this. In them you find the cries and songs of one who is anything but a perfect man. David had fallen into more than one very grievous sin; but through all, his hope was still in God. God was everything to him, and he himself in his own eyes was nothing. 'I am even as a beast before Thee: nevertheless, Thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but Thee; and what is there upon earth that I desire like Thee? The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, and my God, my strength, my buckler, and the horn of my salvation.' In a word, in David, God is all. His wretchedness is the vessel for God's fullness. This is what we have to be brought to, if we would sing as we are called to sing and rejoice and give thanks, come what will within us or around us.
THE SPIRIT OF MAN, AND THE FALL
The difference between us seems to be this. According to your view, man as man, fallen as he is, is regarded as having in, and as part of, his nature all he needs; because his spirit is a son of God, which neither can sin nor die; though his soul, which is the body of his spirit, has died and fallen.
According to my view, man, though a son of God, has had his proper life poisoned by the false word, and so has died in spirit, soul, and body, and is therefore a dead and fallen son of God; who needs God's life to be raised up in him, though he is a son of God. And my view is that the renewal of the Divine life in him is the result, not of his spirit having remained unfallen, and so by its innate power overcoming his fallen psychical and bodily life, but of the incoming of the Word of God, in whom is life, whose incoming gives God's life and power to man's dead spirit, and hence to his soul and body in due season. And I believe that in the process of man's regeneration the working of the Word is first in man's spirit, then in his soul, and lastly in his body.
Of course I believe that, through grace, there is in all an inspoken Word of God in Whom is life, and in virtue of Whom the Divine life is requickened in our nature. This inspoken Word, if I am right, came with the Promise immediately after the Fall.
Where we differ is, that you think man's spirit is the Seed of God, and that this human spirit could not and did not die. I believe that the Divine Word is the Seed of God, which requickens the spirit which was slain and poisoned by the serpent's lie, and so makes man again a living son of God.
You argue that the words, 'Whatsoever is born of God cannot commit sin,' prove that a son of God can neither fall nor die; and that therefore the Divine life has never died in man. If this be so, I do not understand the possibility of any fall, or the entrance of sin at all, among the sons of God. To say nothing of the devil, who abode not in the truth and fell, and who was a son of God, Adam at least was a son of God, and yet sinned and died. ...
My belief is that the Fall began in the spiritual world, and that it is because spirit fell that we have matter as it now is: in other words, that the present state of matter is a sign and witness of the fall of certain spirits, who, I believe, will one day be restored.
There are other subordinate points in your letter which are full of interest; as, for instance, man's being placed by God to subdue the earth, which you regard as describing what was ordained for man's own progress and advancement, but which, according to my view, speaks rather of his relation to another prior creation or family of sons of God who fell, into whose place man has been brought, ultimately to save those who preceded him, that is, the devil and his angels.
THE RUIN OF THE CHRUCH
As to the E.C.U., I have of late been strongly tempted to join it; for the assumption of the lay courts to alter, first direct Church doctrine, as in the Gorham case, and now ritual, seems to me simply monstrous. Could anything be more ridiculous than Mr. Justice Manisty's remarks the other day, when he gave judgment on Mr. Dale, as to the duty of Ritualists leaving the Church? But spite of all this I cannot join the E.C.U., for I think I see distinctly that it is God's own purpose to overthrow the Church, even as it was His will to overthrow Jerusalem of old, when her time had come. There is a time when the Holy City is called Egypt; when our Lord is crucified in it; and I think I already see the last plague of Egypt, namely the smiting of the first-born; for priests and kings are being smitten everywhere throughout Christendom. Of course this is a question involving prophetic light; for at one stage, in Hezekiah's day, the command is to 'stand by Jerusalem and to defend it;' at another stage, in Zedekiah's day, it is to 'fall to the Chaldeans,' that is, to go out and submit to them; while later on, when the end is at hand, it is, 'then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains.' This is when 'the abomination which maketh desolate is seen to stand in the holy place.' For a time comes when the Lord does nothing to save Israel as a dispensation, though to the end and ever He must heal all sickness and disease and die for all, because He loves all. But when the end has come, He leaves others like Barabbas to fight against the Romans; only bidding those who follow Him, when a certain evil comes, to 'flee to the mountains.' Those 'mountains' are the high ground of promise, for Canaan is the ground or land of promise. There are two whole chapters about these mountains in Ezekiel (chaps. 35 and 36), all of which in their spiritual sense apply to us who by grace 'inherit the promises.' The city and temple must fall, fall at least on earth, like Christ's body, which must be slain to overcome all things. The truth will not fail, but the vessel in which it has been contained is judged because of sin. I may not be able to express for others what I see. Certainly I could not express it in a hasty note. But what I have said or hinted is my reason for not doing what nature in me would like to do, by joining the E.C.U., against the fourth and last great form of Gentile power, namely the Roman, whose ensign, now as of old, is S.P.Q.R., the P. or populus being the mainspring, and ending in lawlessness which breaks and tramples on every other form of power, till it is at last headed up in the lawless one, whom the Lord shall consume with the brightnesss of His coming.
But the Church has brought this on herself. When I think what the Church has done—I am not now thinking only of our English Church—when I think what even our English Church has done, with her Act of Uniformity, with its 'unfeigned assent and consent,' and oath of the Queen's supremacy in spiritual things—how she has by this made thousands of dissenters, and made me a stranger to my brethren, for I could not take the oath, and therefore could not take priest's orders, when I felt an inward call to minister—when I think of all the sins of the last three hundred years, and the State-subserviency of the bishops, though there have been exceptions—I do not wonder at anything which may come as judgment on that which was set here to be God's chosen witness. But I have written more than enough on this sad subject. Thank God, out of all our ruin God will bring better things. And first or last, let things around be dark as they may, there will always be room for faithful service and its reward.
THE FAILURE AND RESTORATION OF THE CHURCH
How I feel with you about the Church's state—how it has touched me in years past, till I hardly knew where I might not go. Now I see that all are equally fallen, all broken, all in one common shame, and that the remedy will not be in restoring or uniting the old thing, but in bringing in the new, which, like Christianity from Judaism, will be a stem out of the old rod, ever in it, yet to shine out more gloriously.
AARON AND MELCHISEDEK
We considered Christ as the substance of the Aaronic priesthood and sacrifice, in the tabernacle with outer and inner courts, and with a veil which is now rent, and with the blood to be taken even into the Holiest. But all this is not the priesthood after the order of Melchisedek, though the same One Blessed Lord is the substance of both. He fulfils both. Melchisedek's priesthood is not for sinners, as Aaron's was, but to bless him who had received the promises; and so its main feature is benediction—benediction of the elect. It has nothing to do with inner or outer courts, or with blood, or with all those things which the Book of Leviticus so fully brings before us.
I must write you one line, not only to thank you for your pamphlet, but to say how thoroughly I go with it and with you from end to end. The only point—which, by the way, you have not touched—on which I might differ with you, would be the question of habitual confession to a priest at stated times. If confession were a thing of the head, not of the heart, there would be less peril about this. But the confession is of the heart, that is, of the woman in us. Women must, of course, uncover themselves at times before their medical advisers. But to be always doing this, or to be habitually and constantly running to a doctor, as often as they feel themselves unwell, is surely not the way either to modesty or settled health. It impairs that proper shame which is Divinely implanted in our nature, and, further, appears to me to tend directly to increase weakness. Exercise and good food are better remedies. I speak here, of course, of spiritual exercise and spiritual food, as the best remedies for common soul-sickness, better as a rule than fifty doctors, or than one, though there are occasions when the heart must uncover itself.
THE BODY AND THE RESURRECTION
The body answers to the soul's wants, being the soul's wife, the soul's friend, the soul's house, the soul's office, the soul's universe, being shapen into usefulness by the soul's ministrations. Some live in their bodies as savages would probably live if suddenly introduced into Buckingham Palace, with little or no knowledge of the use of the things they see and have on every hand, understanding nothing of the use of tables and chairs or knives and forks or baths or towels. It seems to me that the house in which we dwell at present is not the true body, but only a temporary house suited to the present state of the soul, which, as diseased and fallen, ... is disciplined by the house in which for a season it is called to sojourn; but that a new and better house even now is forming within us, growing from and around the grace of the new life quickened by the Word: which new house when complete will be the resurrection body. ... The resurrection body is not a resurrection of relics, but a spiritual thing which grows from the new life implanted through Christ. I do not think it is put on ab extra, as a cloak upon a naked man, but is the covering rather which life forms for itself, as the life in a tree forms its body and clothes itself with leaves and buds, which break out from within. My belief is that matter is itself full of spirit, and can go back into spirit—it is the woman (mater or matière) who for a season, like Eve, is taken out of the man. The woman is the glory of the man, fallen and divided as she is, and destined some day to come back into the primeval union. But the very division brings things into manifestation which to some eyes would otherwise be unseen. I should therefore say that the body is the house and δόξα of the soul, as the soul is the δόξα of the spirit. The woman is the glory of the man, but the man is the glory of God. While masculine in relation to the woman, man is, or should be, feminine in relation to God. So it is, I think, with spirit, soul, and body.
PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED
I am glad to see the reference you make ... to intercessory prayer for the departed. It is now eight-and-twenty years since the loss of one very near and dear to me led me to begin this practice. All increase of light has shown me that this is not mere natural affection. If Protestantism were not as blind as it is, it would have had eyes to see this long ago.
DEATH THE WAY OF DELIVERANCE
Death for sinners is the only way out of the dark world into which, through sin, man's soul is fallen—a lesson sealed to the Church by the two baptisms, of water and of fire, both of which seem to me to show the reason for the Second Death. For death, whether the first or second, though in one aspect it is judgment and destruction, in another (as baptism shows) is the one and only way of deliverance, for only 'he that is dead is freed from sin.' The wicked go out of this world with the hellish life of selfhood still unslain in them. Though dead to the life of the body, they ... are not yet dead to, or delivered from, the dark world or 'power of darkness.' At the death of their present bodies their souls are yet in it; though for a while, like a babe born into this world, they may not fully know the awfulness of the world into which they have entered. What is the one only possible way out of it for them? Simply death. Therefore God's judgment and the Second Death. For God and Christ change not. It is all one plan—one way—the 'one baptism for the remission of sins:' carried out here and now in the elect, who will here live and die with Christ: to be carried out in due time in all, I believe, for all are redeemed in Christ: but only carried out, whether in Christ or in the elect or in the so-called lost, through the same one process of 'the waters and the fires.'
SUFFERING AND SACRIFICE
This letter of yours, telling me what you are trying to do for poor X., has touched me much. She is indeed a sufferer; but in cases like hers (and I have known more than one) I think those who try to help the sufferer are more pained and hurt even than the sufferer herself. Certainly, to help any, you must bear their pains and sorrows for them; and the higher sympathy and tenderness, which is in the hearts of those that help, makes their pain often greater and keener than the pains of those to whom they minister. ... She is, as Dr. E. here told her, a mass of disease; and as far as earthly remedies go she is almost beyond help. ... Such cases have greatly tried me in former years, when I have cried to the Lord for help for those who are beyond the reach of earthly help. But the Lord has allowed some to suffer on without apparent alleviation for many years. I feel sure that in all such cases the Lord by the suffering is doing far more than any of us know. He may, by the suffering, be serving even souls in another world. They may possibly see what their sins have done to those they love, and this may bring on a repentance not to be repented of. The suffering, too, may actually serve other members of the Church here. Disease in the body always fixes on and comes out in the weakest members, and its so coming out relieves the rest of the body. I think it is so in the Body, the Church. Its sickness settles on the weaker members, and comes out in them; and naturally by this suffering others may be freed from what otherwise would touch them. All suffering is in one aspect sacrificial, even if it is penal, as in the case of the Sin and Trespass Offerings; and poor dear X. by her pains may be relieving others. Certainly, she is a member of the Body of which Christ is the Head, and she suffers, and you suffer with her, even as I too have suffered to see her. Can all this suffering of those very near and dear to Christ be without some good fruit? Only let us cast her and ourselves more and more upon God, and give up our will to Him, saying, 'Father, if it is Thy will that this suffering should continue awhile, by it fulfil Thine own purpose.' Then there must be blessed fruit of the suffering. I feel that there are some evils which for a while are permitted, to the glory of God. It is a mistake to think that they are to be removed at once. Some day they will be removed. The day is coming when there will be no more crying and tears. But they are permitted for a while. Has not Christ all power in heaven and earth? yet He permits them. Only let us cast ourselves and our dear ones on the Lord, not over-anxious even respecting the greatest pain. The time is short. Let those who weep be as though they wept not. The burden is not yours, but Christ's. Do you not know how, even with the best intentions, we may be attempting what the Lord has never laid upon us? At first we do all from self for self. Then the stage comes when we do much from self for Christ. At last we reach the rest, to do all from Christ for Christ and His creatures. The proof that we are doing things from self for Christ is that we undertake what is beyond us. We say, 'There is no one else to do this, therefore I must do it; but it is too much for me.' I hardly think a soul can say this who only does all from Christ for Christ. He does not lay upon us more than we can bear; though I know He often lays a Cross upon us, the fruit of the sins of others, it may be, under which we seem to fall. Yet the heart may be at rest under it all. The Lord give you this heart-rest in this sad case. And may His grace be sufficient for you.
REALITY OF THE NEW MAN
One thing is quite clear to me, that Christ in us is as real as Christ for us. The New Man in me or in you, and the new birth, and the new life, to me are no figures of speech, but the most real of all things; the outward man, and the outward birth and life, to me being the phenomenal, and only shadows of the true.
SEERS AND CRITICS
As the old saw has it, 'Truth may be blamed, but cannot be shamed.' It may, and will, be crucified, but it must rise again. Every true word once spoken is stronger than all the reviews ... if they only repeat some mere tradition of men. Meanwhile, the seers for a season are all 'stones which the builders disallow.' Do not, therefore, be surprised if your book is abused. As Wendell Holmes says, Every true thought on every real subject knocks the breath out of somebody. You may be sure you have said nothing of much consequence if no one finds any fault with what you say.
What is it to become 'like a child'? Little children are very foolish, and often very wilful. But there is one thing a little child never does—it never thinks about its own safety. It never says, 'I wonder who will bolt the door to-night, or who will get me the milk for to-morrow's breakfast.' It always trusts its father. Be a little child. Give up questions, and rest in the Lord.
FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE IN GOD
I write a line at once in answer to your friendly critic's remonstrance with you as to Faith, Hope, and Charity being in God. Whoever your critic is, if he denies this, he is wrong. The first thing, if I remember right, which set me thinking on this matter was the fact (alluded to in the note on p. 250 of my 'Types of Genesis') that the early Fathers, Ambrose, Augustine, and others, while they distinctly teach that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are types of the life of Faith, Hope, and Charity respectively in the believer, no less distinctly say that the same Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are types of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. ... Further, if our life as believers, sons, and servants of God is the Divine Life, and if our life is one of Faith, Hope, and Charity, must it not follow that Faith, Hope, and Charity are parts of the Divine Life, that is, the Life of God? So long as we are without His Life, we are without Faith, Hope, and Charity. Just as His Life grows in us, Faith, Hope and Charity grow likewise, and grow simply because He lives in us. And St. Paul's words as to Abraham's faith (Rom. 4:17), that it was 'like unto Him whom he believed' (see the margin of our Authorised Version), 'even God, who calleth things which are not as though they were,' prove that Abraham's faith was 'like' or 'answering to' (κατέναντι) that of the God in Whom he trusted. The way, too, in which all through Heb. 11 πίστει comes in in every case to show the force or power by which all the wonders there recorded were accomplished, proves to me that the use of this word in verse 3 must be in accordance with all the rest, showing the power by which God worked in the creation. I translate this 3rd verse of Heb. 11 thus: 'By faith (so we understand) the worlds were framed by the word of God,' &c. As to God's faith, St. Mark 11:22 has this very expression, calling on us as sons of God to have the faith of God our Father. Other passages of Holy Scripture teach the same.
Would not your 'kind critic' allow that in the Persons of the ever-blessed Trinity there must be faith or confidence in each other? Could the Eternal Son really be Son, and yet not trust the Father? Could the Father be the Father, and yet not hope in the Son? Is God indeed love? If so, can there be any love without faith or confidence in the beloved? ... How, if you read verse 3, 'Through faith we understand,' can our understanding through or by faith be the 'substance of things hoped for'? But God's creation by faith is proof that 'faith is the substance of things hoped for.' ... As to hope, it seems to me that such language as 'the God of hope' as much shows hope in God as the words 'the God of patience' and 'the God of all grace' prove that 'patience' and 'all grace' are in Him. ... This I am sure of, that the life of hell is not only loveless but faithless and hopeless. Take faith and hope out of the life of heaven—say that love only is required there—do you not impoverish heaven?
As you most truly say, 'This is a dangerous time for women.' For powers of all kinds are pressing into the world, and the most sensitive natures are those which will be most sorely tried.
The fact that God is love, and not a stoic, makes much possible in Him which at first we might perhaps suppose impossible. If He can be 'grieved,' why should we refuse Him παράκλησις also? especially when again and again He uses such words as, 'I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the first-ripe in the fig tree at her first time.'
THE SACRIFICIAL LIFE OF GOD
I go with every word you say of Sacrifice being inherent in God. I wanted to say something about it in my book on the 'Sacrifice of the New Man,' and indeed have just glanced at it (p. 180); but the subject is too deep except for a very few. But the mystery of the Eternal Generation of the ever-blessed Trinity contains it all; and so does the outgoing of the Word in nature. It is all sacrifice, if man could but see it. Christ only revealed God. He showed what is. His Incarnation is the great sacrament.
GOD A MOURNER
Your letter touches me, for the chord you strike of sorrow for loved ones lost or gone is one which vibrates very loudly in me. But I feel assured that all is well—that 'blessed are the mourners'—because sorrow is the very stuff that real joy is made of. You will see it clearly some day. I see it dimly even now. I see that love must suffer in this world; yet who would therefore wish to be without love? God is love: therefore He also suffers. And God too has, if I may say so, once lost His loved ones. For man is His dead son. But He has found His lost, and so shall we; and because He has suffered through the loss of His loved ones, He can feel for us who so suffer. Do you know that the Gospel actually puts these words into the mouth of God, 'Rejoice with Me, for this My son was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found'? Oh, what comfort for mourners! Death is overcome in Christ. By Christ's death and resurrection God has got back His lost ones; and by the same death and resurrection we shall surely find our own.
WHY A FALL WAS PERMITTED
Why any fall was permitted is a far deeper question. It may suffice here to say that we must be outside a thing to see it. The valley sees the hill, the hill the valley. Without sin we should never have fully known what our God is. How could Christ have shown His love and power if there had been no sickness to heal, no death to conquer?
Real seers do often misinterpret their own true visions. Even the gift of tongues by the Holy Ghost requires an interpreter. ... My own conviction is that all our first seeings always need to be corrected.
I am a great debtor to poems. Poets always seem to me to say deeper things than other teachers; perhaps deeper than they themselves are conscious of. For they speak out of the heart, and the heart is the real seer, often shaming the head, which thinks it knows so well.
To me the Gospel is its own witness. If I am in the sunshine, do I need proofs that the sun gives light and warmth? Here is a book which has fed and taught men as no other writing has ever done, which has been not a dead letter but a living friend to thousands. And some now profess to have discovered that it is all a pious fraud. Does a pious fraud feed souls and open eyes and give new life? According to this theory we gather grapes of thorns and figs of thistles. There are still some who not only doubt the authenticity of the Gospel according to St. John, but who cannot believe that there ever was such a man as Jesus Christ, or at least that He was such as the Gospels describe Him. As for His resurrection, it is 'incredible.' And so-called believers are not a little to blame for the current unbelief. Christ is little known, or at least He is known rather as One who once was than as One who still is present with us. Is He, or is He not, really present with men, as in the days of His flesh? If He is, must there not be some other evidence accessible besides the historical? Does not the stress which is so generally laid on the outward or carnal evidence of the past prove that too many so-called believers have not yet attained to the knowledge of the spiritual evidences of the present? Those who doubt now would have doubted had they been on earth when the works were wrought which the Gospels tell of. All did not then believe. Why not? This is a great question.
'THE WORD OF THE LORD TRIED HIM'
I feel that the Lord Himself is coming out of His place, and that the veil which so long has hid Him will be taken away, so that books like mine may not be needed. Still, there may be years and even generations before the final crisis comes, and during these years God may still use what He gives me to write. I feel that He gave it to me, and that it was His will that I should write it, and therefore I commit it to Him to do what He will with it. With any child of promise there must be special trials of faith. Others may be fruitful when they will. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with the promise that their seed shall be as the stars of heaven, are one and all for long years barren; and Joseph, with the vision of the sun and moon and stars bowing down before him, is himself long years in an Egyptian prison, where 'until the time that his word came; the word of the Lord tried him.' Of course he had trials from men—to be rejected by his brethren, and to be forgotten by some whom he had comforted; but the main temptation was not this, but rather that God's promise seemed to fail, though indeed it never failed and never could fail; and so 'the word of the Lord tried him.' There is only one path for the elect. There can be no real rest here, save only in the living God our Saviour. The battle lasts to the very end of this pilgrimage, though spite of the outward battle there is also perfect peace. Do you remember, or did you ever see, the old lines—Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.
But every step of it is for us, and it is blessed that it is all 'uphill' and not downwards, ever upwards and onwards, till we come where Christ has gone before.
As to your dear husband, whom I constantly remember in my prayers, speaking after the manner of men, I can truly say that I grieve to hear of his continued suffering. ...
May we not both—I mean your dear husband and myself—rejoice in this and in all things, that by all these things we are really being delivered from ourselves? Even our very failings are for us, for they make us despair of self, and fall as poor, empty, needy, helpless creatures into the loving arms of One who cannot fail us. Better, far better, to go hence with low thoughts of ourselves, however these may have been produced, than with the awful notion that we are 'not as other men.' It is the great saints that I tremble for, who have a character to keep up with men, and who are praised and flattered here by everybody. True saints have always been rejected. Look at the Lord—look at Paul and John, and the Apostles, who were made as the filth of the earth and the off-scouring of all things. But in their prisons or in their Patmos heaven opened. When they were weak, then were they strong.
MOTHERHOOD AND THE BLESSED VIRGIN
The mystery of the Holy Incarnation seems to you to show some special relation which ordinary mothers, far above fathers, hold to the children which are conceived or begotten naturally. To me, the miraculous conception of our Lord speaks of another matter altogether. To me, therefore, your assumption that the Virgin Motherhood of Mary resembles ordinary motherhood, or can teach any special lesson respecting it, is a mistake. Motherhood of Christ is only granted to a Virgin. And the relation of the Virgin to her Son is the relation not of ordinary mothers to their children, but of the virgin-affection in every soul, whether in man or woman, which receives the Word of God, to the New Man, or Christ, which is conceived or brought forth in us. ... Surely, outward and earthly motherhood has enough to stand on in its special powers over those it bears, without assuming that the peculiar prerogatives of the miraculous and Virgin Motherhood of Christ are the distinctive lot and right of all mothers. Unless I greatly err, the two motherhoods are most distinct and different.
Your question as to bodily healings by faith is an interesting one. The subject for many years has been before my thoughts. I have not a doubt as to the power of faith, now as ever, to obtain and work not healings of the body only, but almost all sorts of earthly deliverance. It must be so, for God is the same unchanging God, and 'all things are possible to him that believeth.' We have, too, so many authenticated cases of healing, not only in our own day, and from men of all creeds, but also in the centuries since the Apostles' days, that I do not see how we can refuse to acknowledge them. Almost everything except death is said to have been cured by some believer. I do not know that since the Apostles' days there is an authenticated instance of a dead man being raised up again to live this present dying life, though there are many such cases in the old Jewish dispensation. But while I believe that there have been and yet are healings wrought by faith—physical or bodily healings, I mean, for there can be question about the spiritual—I greatly doubt whether such bodily healings properly belong to this present dispensation. I see from 1 Cor. 12:28 and James 5:15 that such healings were acknowledged in the transitional period from the Jewish to the Christian dispensations. They seem to me to belong rather to that which was in the flesh. For we, as Christians, start from baptism, which is death to present nature, and not any saving or improvement of it; though we look for a new and spiritual body, a house not made with hands, and indeed 'have' (as St. Paul says, 2 Cor. 5:1) the beginnings of it already in the new man, ... that new man, though unseen, being even now 'created in righteousness and true holiness.' I know many believers still live after the flesh, and hate the Cross, and strive to make themselves as comfortable as they can on earth, and shrink from anything and everything that involves a daily death. But this shrinking does not prove that this living after the flesh is according to the mind of this dispensation. Of course, faith upon any platform will always get what it seeks from God; and many truly believing souls are yet practically, that is, as far as their experience goes, only in the 'Jews' religion,' still 'through fear of death subject to bondage;' and God being ever unchanging, must necessarily meet their prayer and faith as He met those of David and Hezekiah. But such faith may be rather Jewish than Christian faith. Even in Christian faith, 'faith in Christ' is one thing, while 'the faith of Christ' is quite another. You have, of course, noticed how St. Paul speaks of 'the faith of Christ,' which we are called to have, as well as the 'faith in Christ,' which draws all blessings from Him. Faith in Christ was shown by the leper, and the woman of Canaan, and others, who were healed by Christ while He was in the flesh; and a like faith is yet shown in Him by those who seek a blessing from Him. But this faith in Him is very different from the 'faith of Christ' which we are called to have, and which, even in the presence of death and darkness, though it could call for twelve legions of angels and get them, yet only says, 'If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless, not My will, but Thine, be done.' The eleventh chapter of Hebrews also shows that there is a faith which obtains promises, and another, perhaps a greater, which 'received not the promises.' It seems to me that the healings of the Gospel wrought on men's bodies, at the end of and during the continuance of the carnal dispensation, are the external witnesses of the spiritual healings which Christ is working daily, and will work to the end by His members, to meet men's real sickness. I see that to this day lepers are cleansed, the dead are raised, the storms are stilled, bread is increased; but the works are wrought not in the flesh, but in the spirit; for, as I have said, we are come, or should be come, out of the carnal dispensation into a spiritual one, the body being now dead by the Cross of Christ, and to be reckoned dead by us, while a new man is formed or being formed in us. But cannot God change these 'vile bodies' by His Spirit, and make them conquerors over death as well as over sickness? Surely He can and will. But when this is really done, it will not be the 'vile body' kept from sickness by faith, but a transformation of the whole man, making us, like Christ, conquerors over death and hell for ever.
TRUTH AND LOVE
The peril ... is that souls are tempted and caught, not by a lie, but by a truth. Truth is the bait. As I said to your dear people, if you want to catch birds, you spread some good seed near the trap—husks will not catch them; and if you can only get some sweet-singing bird, who is already caught, to act as a decoy, so much the better for the bird-catcher, so much the worse for the poor birds. ... A zealous young convert, full of zeal, with little knowledge of the bitter fruits of sectarianism, is used even through the very Gospel he preaches sometimes to pull souls into some trap of sectarianism. What is the remedy? Love first, love second, love third. Live and die for the dear souls, even as Christ did. Love must conquer, for God is love.
WORKING AND WAITING
One of the commonest temptations of this and of every age is to rush into work before we are distinctly called to and fitted for it. God's work needs preparation. Think of the years of unnoticed toil at Nazareth in the case of our Blessed Lord, and the years, too, in Arabia with the Apostle Paul. Of course, if you have a distinct call from the Lord, and plainly see that it is a call, your duty and privilege is at once to answer it. But he that believeth will not make haste. The Lord may call you suddenly, but that which comes suddenly from the Lord is always gradually prepared for. Meanwhile and always walk in love and grace to all.
THE SPIRIT AND OUTWARD FORMS
The subject of your letter is an important one, and one, as the Quakers and so-called Brethren have shown us, on which it is easy to err on the right hand as much as on the left. In the narrow way of the true life we must 'turn neither to the right hand nor to the left.' The truth, or 'right hand,' which the old Quakers and so-called Brethren rightly pressed, was, that the Spirit of God was needed by the Church, and that without the Spirit all our labours would be more or less fruitless. The error, or 'left hand,' into which they wandered is manifold, arising mainly from their practical, though unintentional, denial of the Incarnation, and from their looking for a vague spirit in their assemblies to guide them, instead of a Christed, that is, an anointed, Man. God's way of salvation is by a Man, and men who are Christ's members, who are indeed anointed with the Holy Ghost and power, but who act as men, and not as a vague influence, in guiding and feeding the Church. Thus, when St. Paul speaks of the gifts of the Spirit, he does not say, 'He gave some apostleship, and some prophecy, and some pastorship, and some teaching;' but rather, 'He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers;' for the gifts of the Spirit were men, even as Christ is a man. Therefore the Corinthians, though they had all sorts of spiritual powers among them—'every one with a psalm, or a doctrine, or a tongue, or a revelation, or an interpretation'—needed a man like Paul, who was anointed with the Spirit, to direct and keep them in order, saying that the meetings were to be arranged thus or thus, and ending with the words, 'Let all things be done decently and in order;' which last words are literally, 'according to arrangement.' And all this, because in Christ man is one with God for ever, at His right hand, far above all principalities and powers. But this is what both the Quakers and the Plymouth Brethren object to. 'Nothing is to be arranged,' they say, 'all is to be left to the guidance of the Spirit at the time.' If they were only consistent—but happily they are not—they would never fix the hour for the Lord's Supper, or indeed for any meeting. It would be 'left open,' as they are so fond of saying; which practically means that disorder is better than order, and that the most forward person may talk and do just what he likes. Of course I believe that, in a carnal dispensation and among carnal people, the Spirit may at times come suddenly on certain people, as on Samson and Jephthah, leading them to do this or that at some special juncture, and that God may yet so work with carnal souls. But if we are really 'Christed,' or anointed, the Spirit abides; and a truly Christed man is, after that anointing, always able to speak, and always able also (which may be harder) to hold his tongue.
One special mistake both of the Quakers and of Plymouth Brethren is the notion that a form hinders the Spirit. Nothing can be a greater delusion. The Spirit, like air or water, can fill any form, if only it is received. You may, indeed, have bottles without wine; but if you wish to keep the wine the bottles are useful. It is the miserable fact that so many professed believers and ministers are 'bottles without wine' which makes these Plymouth people cry out so much against bottles. But bottles have their use. All forms are bottles. Life always makes itself a form to dwell in. The body without the spirit is dead, but the spirit without the body is vagabond. Christ and His Apostles are the pattern—the Spirit in a man, that is, in a form—not the Spirit without a form. And the fact that so much of Holy Scripture is written acrostically, that is, according to the letters of the alphabet, shows that the Holy Spirit is not hindered by a form, but can fill any, as air fills any vessel. ... The Spirit of God is not weaker than the spirit of the world. The spirit of the world, the spirit of self, can get into any form, even God's form—into prayer, into fasting, into almsgiving. Cannot the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Love, fill the forms of this world? The Incarnation is the answer. God's fullness dwells in a man, that it may dwell in us. The Quakers were consistent in rejecting forms. They would have no Bibles or hymn-books. The Spirit was to be all and to do all. See the retribution for practically denying the Incarnation. Their hat is a form, their coat is a form, their tongue, with its 'thee' and 'thou,' is a form. The Plymouth Brethren, happily for them, are inconsistent, but they too are receiving their retribution in the spirit which is among them causing endless splits and quarrels. The sad fact is that neither Quakers nor Plymouth Brethren understand the Incarnation. I speak, of course, of their system. Some individuals among them may see more, or at least be prevented from gross mistakes, through what by grace they learnt before they became Plymouth Brethren. But in each of these bodies, Quakers and Plymouth Brethren, the sacraments, which are extensions of the Incarnation, are undervalued. It must be so. Comparative anatomy is a real science. From one limb you can make out the whole body. Both these systems look rather for some vague influence than for a present Christ, an Anointed Man, who lives and works and helps us by His flesh, and by His Spirit in His members. The fact is that, wherever and whenever God works, He works by a man, or by men, that is, by a form, whether in Gospel preaching or in instructing believers. And the reason is, because God's method is the Incarnation.
WE NEED ALL THINGS
How we learn by all these things that really we need all—that there is no one whom we can do without, for indeed Christ needs (if we may say so), and will surely one day possess, all. I know how at an early stage of our heavenward journey we seem to think that we can get there, if not alone, yet without a vast multitude of those who have been bought by the precious blood of Christ, and whom surely He loves, for He is love. I know how, in the same imperfect and partial spirit, there are many things in ourselves which we would destroy, simply because as yet, through our weakness, we cannot rule them. I think I begin to see how everything is needed, and all are needed. The very flesh, which so grieves us, is, to use the old alchemical formula, something of a solvent, and helps to melt the hardness of the poor captive soul, who even by the very badness (as we say) and weakness of its environs, while here, learns something of its own imperfections. The old alchemists used to say that in the perfect transformation and transmutation, accomplished by the stone, nothing could be thrown away without some loss, and that every portion even of what seemed dross was needed for bringing about the glorious end, when the dark earthly creature should be transfigured into transparent gold. If I do not see this fully, I at least begin to see it. We need everything and all. God has made no mistakes, even though through our blindness we think some things are simply horrible. They are horrible, if they were the end. But they are only the stages to the end. So for all things, for pictures, which some despise, and for music, and for dress, and for things far lower than these, which, even to a converted soul, seem at first unnecessary, let us bless and thank our blessed God. All things are ours, even if, as children, we cannot use them.
Christ is the witness and sacrament of God's will and purpose touching men, even to dwell in man in all His fullness, to make man His heir, by man to overcome all evil and sickness and sorrow, by man to cast out devils, by man to break the gates of death and hell. It has all been wrought for us in One Man, Christ Jesus. God's will is that it shall be wrought in man, and first in those who by grace are first-fruits. Why do we not even now know more of this eternal life? Only because we do not enough accept the humiliation and the cross, which is the way to it, through the waters and the fires to the right hand of God.
You are 'not understood' as you would be. Is God understood? Was the Perfect Lord understood, even by His disciples? Did His words never 'scare' any? Was it 'wounded self-love' in Him which made Him groan? Do not judge yourself or your work too hardly. 'Judge not' applies to self-judgment with tender souls.
I thought you ... would be interested in J.'s letter. It is one of the thousand proofs which I have had of the very true and simple faith which there is in some of the young so-called Ritualists. Being such a one as I am, who can find work anywhere, while as yet I have had no place of my own on earth where I can lay my spirit's head, I have, by God's providence, been led to see, what so few see, ... how true and simple, and how really alike also, is the faith and love which exists in schools of thought apparently the most opposite. In High Church and in Low Church I see the same one light of God—in one the red, in another the yellow, in a third the blue ray. Very few have all the rays united in the one white light; yet all are lovely in their working. C. at the East End, with his rough Protestant Evangelicalism, is beautiful in his place. The red ray is very strong in him. The Broad Churchman, too, has his beauty. And to me the High Churchman, if true, is no less beautiful. I see in the last, I mean in the High Churchman, the beauty of having a mother, or rather, of having a very devoted appreciation of a mother's claims and of her value. 'Mother Church' is always in their mouths and in their hearts. For they feel they owe her not a little. Of course there is an evil in boys having been brought up only by a mother, good as she may be. But children brought up without the training of a mother lose immensely. I think I see this with those who think little of Mother Church, because they have never known her. As a result they are brought up by the servants and catch their vulgarities, and very rarely have their self-will broken. They may gain independence, like boys cast on the world without a mother: they lose manners. Dear J. is one who shows in every word that he has been brought up near his mother. Surely there are perils on this side also. The child may be spoilt, or the mother may be fallen and unfaithful; yet it is always beautiful to me to see this reverence for the mother.
SYMPATHY OF HEARERS
Well do I remember that meeting, and dear Mrs. B.'s eagerness to draw all sorts of things from me. Such hearers are like magnets. ... At least, they always act on me; for my addresses depend much on my audience. Some shut me quite up, and some open my heart. Women as a rule are receptive, and therefore help a speaker. They 'assist,' not only in the French sense of the word, but in our more practical interpretation of it.
MARRIAGE WITH WIFE'S SISTER
It is indeed cause for thankfulness that the abominable Bill as to marriage with sisters is again rejected. I could not but exclaim from my heart and with my voice, as soon as I opened the paper this morning, 'Thank God!'
TRAVEL IN THE HOLY LAND
What A. K. says of the relative and comparative influence of imaginative and so-called strong practical natures struck me as being singularly correct—that imaginative people, however able, are weak in forcing their will on others, being influencers rather than repressors; and yet that these imaginative sympathetic souls do alter those with whom they live, by persuading them by their influence, even more than those apparently, and perhaps really, stronger natures, who subdue others by their strong will. All that A. K. says, too, of the distastefulness of those who bear their brethren's burdens to those who are always judging everything, though it is the common experience of the saints, is rarely put so well and clearly. ...
But all this must be somewhat alien to your thoughts on first entering Jerusalem; though indeed the Blessed One, Whom above all others we cannot help remembering in Jerusalem, was marked by these two characteristics as much as any, first—that He was an influence rather than a repressor, and altered those around Him not so much by forcibly subduing as by permeating them by His holy quiet influence; and secondly, that His not judging, but rather bearing with, the faults of others was one of His greatest offences in the eyes of the self-made saints of His day, for which they upbraided Him in the well-known words, 'This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them.' How you will delight to trace His steps! And of some spots there can be no doubt. ... I shall never forget those days I spent going round Jerusalem, especially when I could be alone for a while in some place where I knew the Lord had been. The Egyptian temples magnetised me: I mean, they seemed sometimes, as I sat among their ruined columns, to be alive again almost with the kings and priests and slaves who once thronged them. I shall never forget how the nearly choked-up passage in the temple at Eleusis affected me in the same manner, when I remembered that every Greek of note, whose names I had repeated from my childhood, had there been initiated into the so-called 'lesser mysteries,' that is, some of the first-learnt secrets, as far as the Greeks understood them, of this wonderful riddle of our present life and death. But no place, I think, so touched me as some of the scenes in and around Jerusalem. And the tears of some poor Russian peasants, who had come as pilgrims from (I think) near Moscow, and who were kissing every stone of the little path up the Mount of Olives, by the side of the Garden of Gethsemane, seemed to call out fresh sympathy in me. To them it was all so real—Christ had so really been there—that their faith and love stimulated mine. And when I thought what it must have cost them to get there, and how poor and suffering some of them looked—women, who had certainly walked every step from Jaffa—I could not rest till I had shared my lunch with them. How on such journeys, and indeed all through life, one meets souls for a moment whom we may never see again, but yet are linked to one in Christ, and, though in very different ways to ours, yet trust and love Him.
MATTER AND SPIRIT: THE GNOSTICS
The question of the use of so-called 'matter' for the redemption of fallen 'spirit' is a deep one. There most [sic] be a loving and wise reason for all that is or exists; and certainly the trials and sorrows of this outward life are used of God for the perfecting and cleansing of the fallen soul or spirit. It is wonderful what glimpses or gleams of light there are, mixed with error doubtless, in some of the views or speculations of the early Gnostics. I have lately been going through Hippolytus again, and find that there is nothing new. Almost every speculation of later days has been anticipated by some one or other of the Gnostic schools. I was greatly interested among other things to see how some of the Gnostic sects used up all or a great part of the Greek mythology as an imperfect prefiguring of the Lord. Among other things, connected with the spiritual sense of the story of Proserpine and Ceres (to which I have alluded in my 'New Man'), I see that Hippolytus dwells on the mystical name of the place where these mysteries were celebrated, namely, Eleusis, or 'Coming,' for the mystery of birth, and of the new birth from the grave, is a 'coming.' What wonders there are everywhere, if we could only see them!
ST. ANDREW'S DAY
Last night's post brought me your very welcome letter, ... timed so exactly to reach me on the Eve or Vigil of St. Andrew's. Would that I had some greater claim than your loving imagination to link me with that first Apostle, whom I have often longed to be conformed to, but to whom I have as yet had very little resemblance, save perhaps in this, that I have borne his name, and have wished also both in life and death to be more like him. I well remember, at Patras, looking at the exact spot which tradition yet points out as the place, just facing the heathen temple of Ceres, where for two long days and nights, after a week of imprisonment and severe scourging, the true St. Andrew hung lingeringly, tied with cords to a cross, to die there of exhaustion. And I saw there, what you too, I think, have seen, how not a little of that old heathen temple is now built in as a part of the cathedral of St. Andrew, which for centuries has stood close to the spot where the poor mocked disciple breathed his last as a bound malefactor. I wish nothing better myself than to be like him; and not least in this, that, though the first of all to follow Christ, he was content to be not first in honour, but to be placed lower than his brother, anywhere the Blessed Lord was pleased to place him. Certainly the words to him and to his brother, 'Follow Me, and I will make you,' have for I know not how many years been a sort of sentence for me. And, wretchedly as I have followed, even in my poor following I have been 'made' and 'made by Christ,' and have seen and found things which have given me more delight and deeper glimpses of wisdom and beauty than all the sights of Italy and Greece, though these too have delighted me. I feel sure that what the Lord can 'make' us if we 'follow' Him is more than all the world can make us. I think too that seeing what the Lord opens if we 'follow' Him, though in one way it spoils us for looking at the world, yet also surely opens to us a depth of meaning in all things here, which we shall never see until the Lord has opened something of the so-called unseen world to us. I know that my dear old friend and fellow-traveller ... who in bygone years went with me through not a little of the beautiful land where you are now sojourning, used again and again to say of me that I was 'the worst sight-seer he had ever travelled with;' while I yet believe that I saw some things which he never saw. For instead of rushing from sight to sight, really seeing nothing, it pleased me more to contemplate a single face or picture, perhaps of Raphael's or Giotto's, which thus became to me, as I think it was to the painter, a sort of shadow of something far fairer than even the lovely thing it represented.
BAPTISM: MAURICE AND PUSEY
I have a very vivid recollection of [the controversy between Maurice and Pusey as to baptism], for what both those beloved men wrote upon the subject helped me, brought up as I had been in a very different school, to whom baptism was almost nothing. Pusey's words as to what we receive of life through Christ, I shall never forget. Both my first little books, that on the 'Offerings' and also that on 'The Differences of the Four Gospels,' quote a long passage from Pusey's Tract on Baptism, which I shall remember as long as I live, showing how really we receive eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ. After this, and not long after, Maurice helped me in another way, by leading me to see that God's relation to man, which the Incarnation witnessed to, was the revelation of an existing fact, and that baptism was the continual and abiding witness of the fact of this relationship. The first of these beloved men pressed that the Incarnation is the means by which we receive the life: the other, that the same Incarnation is the pledge and sign which assures us of it. Both were right in what they affirmed.
The way of our perfecting is not at all as we think it will be. Christ in His own perfecting was troubled, and much more have His dearest children, when they can bear it, to know something, however little, of the same experience. ... The first walk with Christ, when we are just emerging from being disciples of some burning and shining light like John the Baptist, who has said to us, 'Behold the Lamb of God,' and when we say to Jesus, 'Master, where dwellest Thou?' and He answers, 'Come and see,' and we come and see and abide with Him for a season, is to our poor thoughts a far more blessed walk than that of the two disciples, some years later, when 'their eyes were holden that they should not know Him,' and when He said, 'What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another as ye walk and are sad?' Yet the latter walk is a long way in advance of the first, though to flesh and blood far more sorrowful. It was the beginning of their real understanding of the Cross, and the way to their knowledge of the resurrection. It is hard to explain these things. Experience only really explains them. Yet one to whom the way is familiar may say to another, Be of good cheer under the trial—it is the appointed way for all who have really desired to be conformed to Christ. I am sure of this. For it is thus that the selfhood dies. And till it dies we are not perfected. Of course, even from the first, we all of us understand something of the movements or working of self in the sensual or social spheres of life; but who at first is aware of the immense strength and subtlety of this same self in all of us in what we count religion, when, as is the case in our earlier days, we throw our whole will into the discharge of religious duties, and make great progress in the religious life, and seem to ourselves and others to be growing rapidly in heavenly gifts; and yet all this may be the life of truth if not from self yet still in self; and the utter privation of such a life is not the extinction of truth and love, but rather, though at the time we do not understand it, its vivification.
I am so thankful to hear that, through the Lord's mercy, the depression of spirits which burdened you has passed away. I feel sure that, trying as it was, that very depression was all for you and not against you—that we are never safer than when we are depressed and burdened, even as we are never in greater peril than when our cup of joy, whether temporal or spiritual, is overflowing. Yet we naturally long for more than safety, even for comfort; and the Lord gives it us when we can bear it.
You seem to think that I possess a power which I am unwilling to exercise on your behalf. It is not so. If I could heal you, I would. But the gift which Christ exercises through me lies more in healing spiritual diseases ... than in restoring sick bodies. And my conviction is that, with truly converted souls, healing of the body is not always granted, because pain and sickness may be doing for our soul's eternal good far more than health of body can do. Would sickness be allowed, if it were not to fulfil some gracious end? I feel assured that by sickness souls are taught more than by health.
You say that your 'health and sight are matters of the greatest importance to you,' and hint that the state of your eyes may possibly hinder your professional career. This is surely a great trial for you. And, in my judgment, you are entirely justified in seeking and using every lawful means for your restoration. But, after all, there is something more important than our work or living in this world. And the trial which lies upon you may be the very cross which is sent to perfect you. It cannot be in vain that in Holy Scripture we have so many exhortations to patience, and to 'count it all joy when we fall into divers trials or temptations.' If we are ever to be conformed to Christ, it can only be through trials, in which we learn to say, 'Thy will be done.'
Do I then advise you to do nothing, or do I blame you for using all probable means, whether spiritual or physical, for your recovery? Not at all. I think it one of the mistakes of our Faith-healing brethren that they blame souls for using all the ordinary means at their disposal. God is a God of means. Christ Himself is a means, and Himself used means, as in the clay and saliva, and in the pool of Siloam, and the priests to whom He sent some. Food and clothing are means of health, which we are bound to use; so, in my view, is medicine and the skill of the physician. These are all God's gifts to do us good. You are therefore, I think, quite right in using such or any other like means. Only, use them as God's gifts, not as in His place, but as His ministrations to you. Use the faith of brethren, too, if they have faith. Then leave all to God. If your body is not then healed, there must be some loving reason for it. If you wish to come here, I will specially pray with you and for you. But I can do nothing without Christ. And Christ is with you and in you where you are. He could of old heal by a word and at a distance as well as by a touch. He can still through me or without me heal by His word, which is in you and with you. Will you sit quite quiet and think of Him in you and with you, your very life? Will you, in entire submission to His will, lay your burden fully before Him? Tell Him everything—how you wish for health, that you may continue in your profession and support those whom He has given you. Tell Him that you are sure He can help you if He will, and that if the sickness comes as a chastening for any known or unknown sin, you ask His pardon and deliverance. And then leave all with Him. If you are still left to suffer, be sure it is for your eternal good.
MALE AND FEMALE
Thank you for Mrs. Oliphant's book. ... If I understand it, its purpose is to teach that the advance or perfecting of our nature is by union with and reception of the creaturely spirits which are around us, whose union with us is to complete what is lacking in our present divided state. Is this the teaching of the Gospel of Christ, or is it not rather a going back to that of which all heathen antiquity is so full, and which Christianity when it was very full of life swept away for a season—namely, the seeking to creaturely spirits within the veil, rather than waiting to be filled with the Creator Spirit? If I understand the Gospel, its teaching is that man is perfected by union with God. Christ is the model of men's perfect restoration. Was He perfected by creaturely spirits as counterparts, or by God's indwelling Spirit? If He is the 'Way,' then the right path seems to me that the Word of God should come into our divided nature to bring into it the seed of the true and perfect humanity, that is, the seed of a Divine Nature; and that then, by death to present nature, that is, by the Cross and by a resurrection from the dead, the fallen and divided creature should be brought out of its division into the full enjoyment of its true and real being. The question really is, Was Christ made perfect? Was He, as man, 'made perfect through sufferings,' as the Gospel teaches, or by some creaturely spirits uniting themselves to Him to enlighten His darkness and to give Him power? Did He come to highest heaven by any creaturely counterpart, or by the Creator Spirit? The Gospel answers, He was anointed by the Holy Ghost, and then, as man, brought by the Cross out of the divided life to man's true place of perfect union with God. Is there now any more perfect way than this old way of the new birth, and Cross, and resurrection?
Of course, in any testimony to catch souls in these last days there must be some, and perhaps much, precious truth. Some forgotten truth, which the carnal Church has lost sight of, would of course be attractive. The truth of God's and of man's duality is such a truth, familiar to the saints, though few now understand it. So is the truth of man's having been clothed with a fleshly beastlike body when he was turned out of Paradise, the 'coats of skins.' So, of course, is the great truth that Two are One in a Third in God. All this you will find in St. Ambrose and St. Augustine. But the old Church held that a mixture of creaturely seeds, the 'sons of God' with the 'daughters of men,' brought on the Flood, the saved family being marked by separation from such a mixture. I cannot go into all this now. Of course spirits are pressing into the world, for the Lord is coming. Many of the spirits, as it seems to me, are weak, false, and evil. But holy angels are always ministering to us. Thank God, too, the Blessed Spirit of God is also calling us to conformity with the life and death of Christ. Are we not 'complete in Him'?
THE HISTORIC CHRIST
Some of the members of the Hermetic Society, you tell me, object to or deny the 'outward or historic Christ.' These objectors wish, I suppose, to be philosophical; but are these denials philosophy? For is there or is there not such a thing as the flesh or outward body? If it is all Maya, or illusion, what do these objectors object to? If, speaking after the manner of men, there is such a thing as flesh, what are its relations to man, and what are its destinies? The Gospel says that this outward body is of the earth earthy; the present seen world being a creation out of the débris of a former spiritual outbirth; and that Christ came into it to redeem it, as well as the man who is now captive in it: this redemption of the fallen nature in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth being the pledge that all outward nature and creature, which yet groans in travail, shall, because God has come into it and is in it, be delivered. Is there not an outward world: an outer as well as an inner court? If so, what is to be its end? The Gospel of Christ, that is, Christ Himself, says that it is all to be transmuted—to 'perish and be changed'—wonderful and blessed words, and that this work has already been done in a part of the fallen creation, in the 'first-fruits,' even in the flesh of Christ, which was and is the witness that God will dwell in the creature, even in its present divided state, through death to bring it back to dwell in Him, of twain thus making one again for ever. All this has been done in the flesh or Incarnation of the Lord. He is the sacrament of our redemption; and, as a sacrament, is Himself the union of the Word of God with flesh or a creature form, which henceforth becomes, as the Church teaches, 'a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof.' The old Greek students of the Hermetic Mystery saw something at least of this; as we see not only in the myth of Ceres and Proserpine, but in the direct witness and warning that, though at first we think it would be well wholly to be quit of flesh and blood, yet these are needed, if only as a solvent; and that all, even that which is most outward and carnal in us, has its place and use, and can and will one day be transmuted perfectly. At all events, the Gospel teaches that, whatever this outward nature is, Christ was. If nature is 'historic,' then Christ is 'historic.' The Word, which at creation was made nature, and which was then made letter in the written law, was made flesh in Jesus of Nazareth. For He came into the outbirth to go through its necessary dissolution, and bring it back through dissolution to its true and real being. To say that, because every recorded fact in the history of Christ is typical of the progress of the regenerate soul, therefore that history was never enacted in the plane of the seen creation, is as wise, or as foolish, as to say that, because all visible creation is a parable, therefore it is not outward or physical. Surely, all nature, in seed-time and harvest, and birth and death, and darkness and light, and indeed in everything, is preaching the selfsame story as Christ's life and death and resurrection. It is the same tune, now sung in chorus, now in solo, now played upon a larger, now upon a smaller instrument. I do not touch the question whether man is the greatest or the least. He is certainly the epitome and hieroglyphic of the universe, with all worlds or kingdoms in him. And in the literal outward Man, Jesus of Nazareth, born of a woman, the whole story of the way in which divided nature is to be brought back again into God is told out and shown before our eyes sacramentally. These objectors to the 'historic Christ' are Quakers in another form. They object to sacraments, or outward and visible signs of the inward and spiritual grace given to us. Well, only give them time and rope enough, and they will be punished, or punish themselves, exactly as the Quakers are, by becoming slaves to some other form, which is not of God's but of their own making, some idolon specus, if not idolon fori. ... The history of the early Gnostics, who objected to an outward and historic Christ, professing to be seeking what was more spiritual, shows what such spirituality is worth. I say nothing of the shameless immorality which some of them at last openly professed. I only ask, Whom did they help? Did they ever reach or save sinners? It seems to me that nothing is so spiritual as true love, which can stoop to every form, even to coming in the flesh as God has done, even to the form of the slave and captive, to change it back into the lord and freeman.
The question of the truth or error of so-called 'Evangelicalism' ... is too wide for such a letter as I can now write to you; nor do I much care to write on what appear to me to be simply imperfect views of doctrine; because in our Christian course we must all at first be wrong in many things, and because such mistakes, in my judgment, do not really hurt souls if they are meek and loving. What seems to me the real evil in this matter lies not so much in the error of certain views as in the self-conceit of those who hold them as their party-badge, and as the truth of God, which makes them, as they think, the special guardians of the Gospel. For you proclaim yourselves to be 'Evangelical,' and do not scruple to say of others that they 'do not preach the Gospel,' simply because their views of the sacraments and the Atonement differ more or less from yours. ...
First ... it seems to me that one great mistake of so-called Evangelicals lies in their practically making consciousness rather than fact the basis of what they call religion. Of course, in a large party there are shades of difference, and all good men are always better than their system; but with Evangelical people so called their state towards God is generally measured by their sense or feeling of their state, rather than by the fact and faith of what has been done for them by the Incarnation, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are not children of God (so they generally teach) until they feel or know it, and can cry or say, 'Abba, Father.' They are not, according to their Gospel, forgiven till they feel and know that they are forgiven. As a rule, they think they can tell exactly when the life of God began in them. That time was when they felt their sins were forgiven them. Consciousness or feeling is the test. Strange to say, and yet not strange, none louder than these men in teaching that by Adam's sin we are all fallen and utterly condemned and dead in sins, whether we are or are not conscious of it: Adam's sin has ruined us apart from any act of ours, or any consciousness of our death and ruin in and through him. But Christ's work, so you teach, has not done as much for us in the way of our restoration: till we are conscious of our regeneration, that is, till our conversion, we are not regenerate; though St. Peter distinctly says that we are 'begotten again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.' I think that naturally we are all too prone to make our feelings, rather than Christ's work and faith in it, the test and measure of our standing before God. Yet it seems to me that the so-called Evangelical system encourages and nourishes this tendency. ... The two other great doctrinal mistakes of the so-called Evangelical party, as it seems to me, are their views of the sacraments or the Incarnation, and of the Atonement. As a rule, they undervalue, or at least think lightly, of all sacraments, not seeing that the Incarnation itself is a sacrament. ... So, as to the Atonement. Their doctrine of substitution generally is that our Lord suffered that we should not suffer—that He died that we should not die. Some have gone so far in their explanation of vicariousness as to say that 'any act of our Lord's in which we can follow Him is not vicarious.' The logical conclusion from this statement would be, either that His death was not vicarious, or that we do not die. Some see this, and distinctly say (it has been said to me), that we do not die, and that, since Christ died for us, our death really is not death nor sin's penalty.
The 118th Psalm, the great concluding Passover hymn, which our Lord and His disciples sang just when He went out to be betrayed and crucified, tells the whole story—not only that we must be 'compassed about' with cares or cursing like 'bees,' while there is one who 'thrusts sore at us that we may fall,' but that 'the Lord Himself also chastens us sore.' And yet that of all this, if only our eyes are open, we can say, 'This is the gate of the Lord,' and 'This is the day that the Lord hath made.' There is no other gate or entrance into the spiritual life. 'Therefore we will rejoice and be glad in it.' This very day of trial is of the Lord. It is not the devil's doing. It is 'the day which the Lord hath made.' Dear W. will some day understand this psalm. How many years it took me to understand it, and really to say, 'Bind the sacrifice with cords.' 'Blessed is he, or blessed is that, which cometh in the Name of the Lord.' ... It is the angel with the plagues which says, 'Come, I will show thee the Lamb's wife.'
1 COR. 1:21
The words are generally said to mean that 'after that, in the wise purpose of God, the world, by its wisdom, knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.' According to this interpretation, the same word, 'wisdom,' in the same sentence is made first to mean the wise purpose of God, and then to mean man's wisdom. But the wisdom which St. Paul speaks of is in both cases the same wisdom. The true sense is this: 'After that, in the book of God's wisdom (which men now call nature), the world, by and in all this display of wisdom, failed (in consequence of its blindness) to know God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching (that is, by speaking about Himself) to save them that believe.' 'You cannot learn by My book of wisdom,' says God, 'or by My works, which show what I am on every side. Then I will teach you by talking about Myself, which is foolishness.' 'Preaching' is called 'the foolishness of God,' because in it God speaks about Himself. The Gospel, or New Covenant, is all, 'I will, I will, I will;' or to better instructed souls, 'I am, I am, I am.' It is not enough for fallen man to have on every side in the works of God, that is, in His formed word, witness of what God is, and that He can, and will, and does bring life out of apparent death, and flowers and sweetness out of dunghills, and colours out of soot, and running water out of hard hailstones, and light from buried coal, and diamonds out of charcoal, and rubies out of mud; and that He opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing. Men are so utterly blind and dead to all that the formed word teaches as to God's love and wisdom and care for His creatures, that, to make us know Him, He is obliged actually to talk about Himself, and to tell us that He loves us and will have mercy upon us. And this speaking about Himself, as St. Paul says to the Corinthians, is 'speaking as a fool.' It is like a gentleman, whose behaviour as a gentleman goes for nothing among ignorant villagers, being obliged to say, 'I am a gentleman—I will really deal justly with you;' or like a father, spite of ceaseless kindnesses, forced to say to his children, 'I really will have mercy upon you, and will give you bread and butter.'
ALL THINGS OURS
Have you not noticed how little children stretch out their little hands for everything that comes within their reach; for hard things or soft things, or even for the moon, as if all things were theirs, and as if they could accept and welcome all? I have asked myself, Is not this instinct of a babe a sort of prophetic lesson for us, that all things are really ours?
TWO WAYS OF LOVING
God is Love. But Love may be, and is, of two kinds—Love in virtue of relationship, and Love in virtue of quality. A father's or mother's love is an illustration of the first, which loves on unchanged, spite of the naughtiness, blindness, or madness of the loved one. A friend's or husband's love is the illustration of the second; for a friend or husband should choose his loved one according to quality; and with love of this kind, if the friend turns out a rogue, or if the wife is unfaithful, there follows a breach—the friendship is broken, and the wife is put away. Now, the first two Names of God in Genesis are given to reveal these two varying forms of love. In Elohim we have love according to, or in virtue of, relationship; in Jehovah, love in virtue of quality.
PRESENCE OF THE DEPARTED
I seem at times to have felt so really the presence of some at least of the departed, as we call them, that I find it hard to think of the outward court and the inward one as two distinct places. There is, I know, a veil between the two, for a short season—'the veil, that is to say, this flesh;' but it is already rent to faith, and before it is taken away it becomes, I think, sometimes transparent; and as we see through it or beyond it we see that the temple is really one, not two, and that those within and those without the veil are 'one Body.' If Christ is in us, the saints who are in Christ must also be in us. This may seem absurd, so long as we are tied by conceptions formed from this hard and outward sense-world. It will seem plain when in the Spirit we see how one inflows into another, where One is all, and all are One.
I send you this note at once to tell you, who complain that you are sorry you do not more help your brethren, that I at least feel that you and your dear mother, by your love and sympathy and receptivity, do greatly help me, though you may not be conscious of it. And I may tell you, further, what I have long proved to be the truth, that our unconscious service is often the best that we render to any one. I suppose that the rose is hardly conscious how it delights others by the perfume it gives forth. I fancy the stars hardly know how many ships and wanderers they have guided and lighted on their weary journeys. I am sure the poor woman of Samaria little thought how she was refreshing Christ by receiving what He had to give. God is wounded in being rejected. God is gladdened when we receive Him. The lover is gladdened simply by being received, even as he is grieved by being rejected. So each member of the body, by its receiving as much as by its giving, serves the others. You do not think you serve me by receiving my poor words, yet you do really so serve me. ... The Buddhists say that a spiritual man must be tested by his willingness to receive as to give.
I have great reverence for Origen, and owe him many thoughts, especially as to Holy Scripture being an Incarnation, and that it is the Divine Word in creature form, and as it comes out of the heart of man, that is, as man can receive it. For as it is in itself, though so near us always, it is above the apprehension of fallen carnal man.
How could you for a moment think I might 'scorn or laugh at you' for being exercised in heart as to the virginity of those who win the prize of being the firstfruits? No one, I think, can have longed perfectly to be conformed to Christ without at some time having been led to ask what is the meaning of such passages of Holy Scripture as those which you refer to. The Church's history shows how deeply many have felt on this subject; for through many hundreds of years, from earliest ages, thousands in every land gave themselves up to live a virgin life, or at least to attempt to live it, at all cost, in hope thereby more to be conformed to Christ. For in those days the Church distinctly taught that a virgin life had special glories; and even now in the Greek and Roman Churches, monasteries and nunneries show how the doctrine of the celibacy of the spiritual, or of those who wish to be spiritual, is accepted as a settled truth by the greater part of Christendom. It has only been since the Reformation, when the dreadful abuses which resulted from the attempt of unconverted men and women to live a celibate life made the very profession of it appear to be a downright lie and mockery, that any have questioned the old Church teaching as to poverty, chastity, and obedience being 'counsels of perfection' for such as are 'able to receive them.' Protestantism and Protestants have much to answer for as to the way in which 'justification by faith alone' has been preached and pressed against the old Catholic teaching of self-denial and self-sacrifice. I, at least, for more than forty years have had my heart exercised upon this question; and I do not hesitate to say that I accept the old teaching as to the so-called 'counsels of perfection;' ... for I think I see it distinctly taught by our Lord Himself in that section of the Gospel according to St. Matthew which follows His teaching as to the Church, ch. 16:13-18:35 giving us seven great and distinctive truths as to the Church, and then ch. 19-20:29 distinctly teaching the Evangelical 'counsels of perfection' to 'such as can receive them;' for 'all men cannot receive these sayings.'
But while I believe all this, and think that Protestantism has suffered much from denying what Scripture teaches so clearly, namely, that these two are two stages in the Christian life, the carnal and the spiritual, and that the one calls us to sacrifices which at the other stage are simply impossible—while, I say, I believe all this, I do not therefore think that marriage, or the fact that a man has ever had intercourse with any woman, cuts him off from the highest prize to be won in Christ's kingdom. For, if marriage is any hindrance to disciples ever becoming parts of the Bride of Christ—in other words, if the virginity spoken of in Rev. 14 is virginity in the flesh—then certainly St. Peter and other of the Apostles who were married cannot win the prize; nor can all the 'bishops and deacons' who, according to St. Paul's direction, are to have wives, ever hope to win that glory. Nay, more, at this rate, St. Paul's direction in 1 Cor. 7:3-5, or St. Peter's exhortation to husbands to 'dwell with their wives according to knowledge' ... would be a direct exhortation to them to do that which would cut off souls from the promised glory of being joint-heirs with Christ. I think, therefore, that in the passage you refer to, it is not virginity in the flesh which is spoken of, but rather in the spirit. And the words in St. Luke 20:34, 35, if I understand them, simply contrast this present world with the coming resurrection. Here, in this world, unless there is marriage the race would soon die out: there, in the first resurrection, they cannot die. Therefore marriage is not needed to continue the race. But one who in this world has been married may reach the first resurrection, where marriage is not needed; for in our resurrection-bodies there is neither male nor female, the division which exists here, and which was not in the beginning, being then done away.
I think, too, that such a verse as Rev. 2:20, where we read of 'teaching My servants to commit fornication,' seems to show that the fornication spoken of is spiritual; for what Church has ever permitted fleshly fornication to be taught? Babylon, the mother of harlots or harlotries, is, if I understand it, the mother of spiritual harlotry. To be 'defiled with women,' therefore, seems to me to be the same as the adultery and fornication which Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and St. James speak of, ... namely, to adulterate and falsify the truth; while, to be a 'virgin' means to love the truth alone, and to be waiting to be joined to the Lord; as St. Paul says, 'I have espoused you to one Husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.' ...
While, then, I confess that chastity, poverty, and obedience—and poverty as much as chastity—are to be not accepted only but sought by those who wish to be truly spiritual, I cannot say that those who are married may not be virgins before God; for cannot we 'become as little children,' as our Lord teaches? and if we are such little children, must we not be also virgins? ... Has the Church been wrong in teaching her children to sing the Blessed Virgin's song, 'My soul doth magnify the Lord. And behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed'? ...
As to regeneration, ... brought up as I had been among the Evangelicals of the Church of England, I had great difficulties, when it pleased God to bring me consciously to Himself, in receiving some of the statements of the Prayer Book. I had been taught to regard regeneration and conversion as identical. With such views, of course, the doctrine of the Prayer Book seemed a mistake. Was it not absurd to say that unconscious babes are 'regenerate,' if regeneration was indeed conversion? This difficulty I felt so strongly that I declined to use the service, and so for several years was practically an outcast from my brethren.
But there were always two or three plain texts which more or less raised another difficulty. I had been taught, and believed, that infants dying before actual transgression could by grace be saved, and therefore enter the kingdom of God and heaven. And yet our Lord's reiterated 'Verily, verily,' distinctly asserted that 'except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' If, therefore, children could enter heaven, they must somehow be born again. Then the statement of St. Peter struck me, that 'God hath begotten us again ... by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead;' seeming to teach that as we died in Adam so we were made alive in Jesus Christ. And the language of Gal. 4 seemed in the same direction, that 'because we are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts'—not (as I had been taught) that because God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, therefore we are sons. We were 'heirs' when we were 'children, and in bondage under the elements of the world.' Then came my experience with my own children, linked in my mind with St. Paul's statement as to the Jews (the fleshly seed of a man of faith, I mean Abraham), that 'to them pertained the adoption, or sonship, and the promises'—a line of thought very specially forced on me when I had to teach my children how to pray, and by what name they should address God, and whether they might truly say, 'Our Father.'
Gradually one of the sayings of Charles Simeon, the leader of the old Evangelicals at Cambridge—that we should never perfectly understand the Gospel till we saw there were but two men, Adam and Christ, and that we were lost in the one and saved in the Other—came to me with fresh light, as showing that regeneration, even as degeneration, might be wrought for us, and that baptism might be the sign and witness of this accomplished regeneration. Gradually I began to see, what I had always confessed, that as the most innocent child is degenerate in Adam, dead, ruined, helpless, lost, irrespective of any actual transgression committed by it, and even when to outward eyes it seems full of life and health, and manifests none of the distinctive ways or unbelief of old Adam, so the same child might be regenerate in Christ, irrespective of any good work wrought by it, and while as yet it manifested none of the distinctive works of faith of the New Man, our Lord Jesus. Could Christ's work do less for us than Adam's? Of course, if baptism was the witness or token of the recipient's true conversion, no unconscious babe should or could ever be baptised. At this rate Simon Magus ought not to have been baptised. But if baptism was the sign of man's regeneration in Christ our Lord, and that through His grace we might at any age come to claim and apprehend that for which we are already apprehended, then the Church might be quite right in confessing over her children that, while they were all dead in Adam, they yet were quickened again in Jesus Christ, even though at the time they had no personal experience or consciousness of this regeneration.
One thing at least the Gospels seemed to teach, namely, that the faith of friends or parents obtained the very highest blessings for those whom they might bring to Christ—witness the Centurion and the Syro-phenician woman, and many others. As I weighed all this, I could not but feel that the Church had not been so far wrong as I once thought in her doctrine of baptism.
FASTING BEFORE COMMUNION
I thought your paper the other day very telling, its tone and spirit as much as its facts. But I feel (what, indeed, you allowed) that the rule you pressed must have many exceptions in the case of the sick, the aged, and the weak. If the Church's rule as to fasting generally cannot be pressed on them either in Lent or in the weekly fasts, can it be pressed in reference to the Holy Communion? I used to fast constantly and regularly, and at times severely. I cannot do it now. If age has a certain dispensation, so, I think, has poverty. Therefore, as I hinted, I think Rom. 14:5, 6 has an application to the question. At all events, we are not judges of our brethren. And I say this while I feel with you how weighty is the Church's judgment upon this question through so many centuries.
If, in my last hurried note, I seemed to say that Babylon was exclusively Rome, I must have expressed myself very carelessly. Babylon, to me, is something far wider than Romanism. 'In her was found the blood of all that were slain upon the earth.' She is that system of confusion, if confusion may be called a system, which is the result of Lucifer's fallen kingdom, and as such represents not so much any outward place as a certain character; and yet, because outward things are the manifestations of inward principles, outward persons and places may, and will, be partial and temporary manifestations of spiritual good and evil; and thus a city or a man may be the manifestation either of God or Satan. In this way Rome has been, I think, the City of confusion; though that City is far wider than Rome, and may include the Church of England, and every other system which confounds truth and falsehood, love and self-love. ... The truth is, that in Roman Catholicism there are two distinct and different elements. There is the Catholic element, which is true, and the Roman element, which seems to me untrue. The sad thing is that, in practice, the Roman element, which is the lust of rule at all price, is put first; and what is true and good and catholic is too often misused to hold souls in bondage to what is merely Roman.
THE DEMONIAC BEYOND THE SEA
The healing of the demoniac 'on the other side' of the deep waters, which we all have to cross, is Divinely significant. On this side Christ heals leprosy, fever, palsy, and casts out devils, and frees us from the bonds of the dead old man, who must be buried, if not by us. Christ further is with us in the storm as we cross the deep waters, but Christ does more than this. 'On the other side' there are poor souls, 'possessed by devils,' of whom it is said that they are 'unclothed' and 'among the tombs,' and miserable enough. There is help even for such. But the Gospel for such as are 'unclothed' (in St. Paul's sense of the word, 2 Cor. 5:4), and who are 'coming out of the tombs,' though it is Gospel, is hardly for all, at least during this life.
FOUR WAYS OF KNOWING
According to the old Church view there are four different ways of knowing anything, figured by the four streams of the one river which flowed forth from Paradise. We may know a thing, first, on testimony, that is, by being told of it. This is to fallen creatures the first way of knowing the love of Christ. Again, we may know a thing by reasoning it out. In this way, too, we may know the love of Christ, by reasoning that, if we that are evil will give good gifts to our children, how much more will Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, give good things even to His lost and wandering creatures? Again, we may know a thing by feeling it, or by sense. I suppose we have all known the difference between knowing the love of Christ by being told of it and by feeling it. This third way of knowing is experimental, and full of comfort to those who by grace possess it. But there is a fourth way of knowing anything, the intuitive way, which comes by having the thing itself. This is the way of ways to know Christ's love—yourself to have it—so to live that it is not you that live, but Christ Himself who lives in you, and who, because He lives in you, loves all with His own love.
THE IDEAL CHURCH
Mr. H. speaks, and speaks truly, of the ideal Church, that is, of the Church as it is and shall be in our Lord Jesus Christ. His words remind me of the wonderfully beautiful words respecting the 'Church which was in the wilderness,' as seen by the prophet in vision when he said, 'How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel. ... He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath He seen perverseness in Israel. The Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a King is among them.' This is the Church according to God's purpose, as seen in His dear Son. But there is another side of the same picture, as all the faithful prophets teach, who see not only God's purpose but the Church's sin, and who in God's Spirit say, 'Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom: give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto Me: it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.' Nay, even more, 'As I live, saith the Lord God, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters.' I cannot understand Matt. 24 if Israel's history and end is not a shadow and figure of the spiritual Israel. Christ in the flesh was slain by the seed of Abraham in the flesh. Christ in the spirit is rejected, and, if I err not, will be still more rejected, by the seed of Abraham in the spirit. It seems to me that the state of Israel of old when our Lord came answered very nearly to the Church's state in these days. Ten tribes had long been lost. Samaria was practically apostate. The 'land of Zebulon and Naphtali' had become 'Galilee of the Gentiles.' Only in Jerusalem did they preserve the true order and succession of the priesthood. Yet in Jerusalem was our Lord crucified, while He lived a Galilean and ate in Samaria. All this is an awful voice to me. Like Daniel, I have been 'astonied [sic], and there has remained no strength in me.' But, like the same Daniel, I believe that you and I and many more by grace 'shall rest and stand in our lot at the end of the days.'
It has for years been clear to me that none of the three popular schools of interpretation—I mean the Continuously Historical, the Futurist, or the Praeterist—... can possibly be the true, or at least the full, solution of the mystery of the Apocalypse. It is, what its opening title declares it to be, 'the Revelation (or unveiling) which God gives to Jesus Christ,' showing the way in which the life of God is manifested in the fallen creature in body, soul, and spirit, through varied and successive judgments; for it is only by a succession of meltings and transmutations that, in the creature's renewal unto God, the Divine Life, growing out of, and for a season linked to, an earthly fallen nature, is dissolved and purified till it is seen as perfectly immortal. Dr. Milligan has in a measure grasped this idea; but he would, I think, have seen it even more clearly had he received the truth that the selfsame 'revelation' is being fulfilled in each individual soul and body, and that for every one of us the process is the same; the general law of God's dispensations, which is more or less confessed in the outward world, having its fulfilment in every particular in the kingdom of God which is within us.
There is no secret of health and recovery like a heart which with all its failings rests on God. Fear is the certain cause of disease: faith and hope the certain cause of recovery, even for these poor dying bodies.
THE DEATH OF LORD MOUNT TEMPLE
The world, the seen world, must henceforth be colder to us. But what is real never passes away. We cannot lose what we truly love. And the love of which Broadlands has been a centre and witness will never leave us. The departed are still very near us, though we may not see them. And Lady Mount Temple will be supported, and know perhaps as she has never known the love of him whose love has been through a lifetime so much to her. I am exceedingly sure that our Lord's words touching Himself, 'It is expedient for you that I go away,' are true of all those to whom to live is Christ. Through their outward departure we get, even from them or through them, what we never got while they were with us visibly. Surely they yet are with us. 'We are come to the spirits of just men made perfect.' ... Yet I feel the chill and the blank the last few days have made. How many others too will feel it.
BLESSED ARE THE MOURNERS
I can tell you for an eternal truth that troubled souls are always safe. It is the untroubled that are in danger. Trouble in itself is always a claim on love, and God is love. He must deny Himself if He does not come to help the helpless. It is the prisoners, and the blind, and the leper, and the possessed, and the hungry, and the tempest-tossed, who are His special care. Therefore, if you are lost and sick and bound, you are just in the place where He can meet you. Blessed are the mourners. They shall be comforted.
As to your special perplexity and distress, it may arise from any one of many causes. I do not know what you have been going through. But I know that a serpent's bite, or a scorpion's sting, or a poisoned cup, or even unwholesome food, or overwork, or anxiety, may all cause the body sharpest pain. Just so may the temptation of a poisoned word or thought distress and sting the soul, and cause it for days or months or years the sharpest anguish. Some, indeed, not many, can take up serpents and any deadly thing unhurt. Most men suffer from such things. But the joy for sufferers is that the very suffering must in the long run work for good. We should never have been allowed to come into a world of pain had not perfect Wisdom seen that suffering and death could be made not only the remedy for all our ills, but even the means to bring us to a higher and securer glory. Therefore, whatsoever the trouble, rest in the Lord. And if you cannot rest, then in all your restlessness and doubt, be the darkness what it may, sink down and down till you come to the everlasting Arms which are underneath us all, and which will surely bring you up in due season. And as a remedy which cannot fail, say often, and say always, 'Lord Jesus! Lord Jesus!' and you will find that there is a magic in the words. ... He who writes this can say, 'A day and a night I have been in the deep,' yea, I have been swallowed up like Jonah, and felt as if 'hell with her bars were around me for ever;' and proved that this is the way of life, the one appointed way.
I should try to show some special kindness to the girl, and rather press on her some good thing, such as more prayer, which her conscience will feel is surely right, than enter into any protests against this or that particular error which the so-called Revivalist has encouraged in the parish. These exciting doings are really like an attack of measles or some other infectious disease in a family. They are very catching. But they pass away, though sometimes not without the loss of a dear child. The best way of meeting such an epidemic is by keeping the patients warm by very kind and tender ministry of love. The fever then runs its course sooner. ... Be like a nurse, tenderly nourishing the sufferers. You will get them all back by love. And be not over-anxious. All these things are in God's hands.
THE ROMAN CHURCH
All you tell me of the Roman or Spanish services and ceremonies of 'Holy Week' was more or less familiar to me. ... It is all carnal and in the flesh, and not what our souls need; yet it is not perhaps more carnal than the slaying of oxen, and the washing of their inward parts, and the burning of their flesh or dung, and the washing of hands or vestments, all of which were once appointed for a carnal people, by the self-same God whom we now worship in spirit, to be some shadow of the great sacrifice and of the great purification which is wrought for us by the outpouring of the precious blood of the Blessed Lamb of God. You may say that these things were appointed of old because the time for better things had not yet come, and men were in the flesh, and God therefore stooped to meet men where they were. This is true. But what God once does He is ever doing for souls in a like state. He never changes. And therefore there may not be so great a mistake as some dear brethren think in these carnal presentations of the great facts of the great sacrifice in a land and among a people very few of whom are prepared by grace for better things. This is a very deep subject, though some, who by grace have been brought out of the darkness into the light, speak as if the shadows and even the darkness for a while were a mistake. But God makes no mistakes. The 'shadows' surely have their place, and the carnal service was a 'shadow;' and even the 'darkness' has its use. Souls may be brought into light too soon, and, like unborn babes brought forth from the womb before their time, may suffer lifelong weakness through the haste of those who do not see that 'there is a time and season' for everything. Think of the Eternal Son, the Word, the Light of the world, waiting all those ages before He gave even the Law; and then again waiting all those other ages till he gave the Gospel. Think how He sent John the Baptist with one message, and then came Himself with yet another. Think how He came in the flesh, under a veil, before He comes in the Spirit. Think how, when He came in the flesh of Jesus of Nazareth, though 'He had many things to say,' He did not say them. Think of His reserve with even His disciples, and His reserve with us: how He allows years and years to pass—-their whole lifetime here with some dear brethren—before He opens to them fully the meaning of the very words which are their strength and comfort. It is all a loud voice to me, though there is no speech which men hear. ... You may perhaps say, Carnal ceremonies and shadows were permitted in Judaism, but now the great Sacrifice has been made, and shadows and carnal forms are not now permissible. Do you say this? I know some say so. Of such I ask, When did the Sacrifice of the Lamb of God begin? Was He, or was He not, 'the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world'? If the Old Testament saints had the Divine life renewed in them (and you will hardly deny this), how could they get that life but by the outpouring of the 'blood of the Lamb of God'? for 'the blood is the life.' Do you say, They got that Divine life by the Word of God, for the Word is the seed, which quickens God's life in man? If you say this you are right. But all seed, whether of God or man or beast or plant, is the essence of the blood or life. And the Lamb of God, from the foundation of the world, and from the Fall, was pouring out for us His life, that as many as receive it should again receive God's life, and in that life obey and please God. The blessed Incarnation of the Blessed Lord was an outward and visible sign of an eternal truth, even of the truth that God was giving His life to men, by which death should be conquered, and man be brought out of his fall to God's right hand, to be His heir and first-born in restoring and reconciling all.
PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED
I know many good people think it wrong to pray for the dead. I was brought up in this tradition, but I believe it is merely a tradition of men, and has nothing to justify it in Holy Scripture or reason. It is at least certain that the Jews of old used to pray for the dead, and yet our Lord never said a word against this practice, though He corrected other mistakes as to prayer. ... It is quite certain that the early Christian Church used to pray for the dead. ... In the Communion Service we pray that 'we and all Thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of Christ's passion;' and surely 'Thy whole Church' must include the departed. ... It seems to me that nature itself teaches us to pray for the dead. Who is there who has lost a dearly loved one, who has not followed that loved one with thanksgiving and prayers? At all events, it is many long years, more than thirty, since, in spite of all my Protestant bringing up, I have felt constrained to pray for the departed. ... For though they are, I believe, at peace, I cannot say that they are yet perfect; and I pray for their perfection.
PATIENCE WITH THE YOUNG: ALL SOULS
Of course your hands will be full of work, and your heart full of cares, as you move about among these boys and girls who are now your charge. But you need not be anxious, for the Lord Himself cares for them. While they are children they must think as children and speak as children. I would not have it otherwise. There is an appointed time for that which is first and natural; and we are not wise if we try to hasten the bringing forth of what is spiritual before its proper time. Think how God has waited with mankind for ages, and how He has waited with us for years, bearing our manners till the fullness of the time was come for the new man to be quickened and brought forth out of the old. Let us also learn to bear with those who are yet unfit for the best things. As to All Saints' Day, with you I rejoice to think of the loved ones who are at rest, who have finished their course here, and are with Him they loved. To-day, too, All Souls' Day, is a precious day to me. ... I can rejoice, and do rejoice, that all souls are yet the Lord's, and that the day is coming when they shall be seen to be the inheritance of the Lord and of His chosen.
WAR AND SUFFERING
There can be no question as to the awfulness of the acts and scenes referred to. But the real question which faces us is not, Are such things awful? but rather, Why do they exist, and why are they permitted, if there is a God, and if God is really the Ruler of the universe? Is it or is it not true that not a sparrow falls to the ground without His knowledge? And yet, is it not an awful fact that disease and madness and death are on every hand? Do they come by chance, or are they the result and manifestation of something yet more terrible than the worst suffering in this world? Surely the real evil is not pain or suffering, but sin. The suffering, terrible as it is, is God's means to free man from the real evil. Therefore, so long as sin remains, its punishment, whether by disease or war, terrible as the punishment is to flesh and blood, is real mercy. Which was really worse, the sin of Sodom, or the judgment which brought the iniquity to an end? Which was worse, the sin of Israel, or 'the sword, the famine, and the pestilence' which cut off old and young, and so put a stop to their pollutions and idolatries? God forbid that England should be invaded; but if, for our sins, London should be sacked, and the streets filled, as Jerusalem was filled, with corpses innumerable, which would be the real evil—the sin which brought the judgment, or the judgment which, whenever it comes, comes to make the evil cease? Of course, the innocent suffer not only with the guilty, but for the guilty. This is the great mystery of the Cross. But there is no mistake in it. A sinful world without suffering would be the great mistake. Some day sin will be done away. But it is yet in the world; and while there is sin there must be judgment.
[Ingersoll's book] seems to show that, on your side of the Atlantic, the thoughts even of educated men and women as to the marriage-union are very different from those of most people in this country. In England, marriage is called and is regarded as 'Holy Matrimony' ... the marriage-union being the earthly figure of the union of God and man, of which Christ, our Blessed Lord, is the witness and sacrament. Of course, as St. Paul says to Titus, while 'to the pure all things are pure,' 'to them that are undefiled [sic] and unbelieving nothing is pure, but even their mind and conscience are defiled.' Just, then, as some of the impure Gnostics of old held and taught that God could not really come in the flesh, because such coming in the flesh, they thought, would be defilement, so impure souls may still think the marriage-bond, which is the figure of God's union with our nature even in its present separation, is unclean also. The Church has always protested against such a denial of the truth; and St. Paul's words (1 Tim. 4:1-4) show us his thoughts, which are the thoughts of God, on this subject.
Augustine dwells much on the lesson of the winepress, which seems to crush out not only the beauty of the grape, but all its sweetness also, leaving to be seen only some tasteless skins; but which through this very process brings the juice, or life, into another place and another form, where it will no longer feel the frost, or be preyed upon by the caterpillar, but where it will make glad the heart of God and man as it never did in its first verdant earthly beauty, and where it will be rectified and purified, so that it cannot see corruption.
'LUX MUNDI' AND INSPIRATION
Gore's essay ... I have twice read, and both times carefully. The earlier part of it is very good—some portions of it beautiful. The latter part, as to the Inspiration of Holy Scripture, seemed to me not 'incautious' only, but unsatisfactory, confounding between Inspiration and its results, and, while clearly bringing out the human side of Holy Scripture, not sufficiently emphasising its real Divinity. This, if I am right in my estimate of this part of the essay, is surely a defect. For as, in reference to our Blessed Lord, the Council of Nicaea, with its ἀληθῶς ('truly God'), was needed as much as the Council of Constantinople with its τέλεως ('perfectly man'), so the real Divinity of Holy Scripture is as much to be contended for as its true and perfect humanity—more to be contended for, perhaps, in these days when rationalism is practically pushing God out of His own world, occupied with the wonderful beauty of what is His work, but seeing in it the work rather than the Worker. Gore's essay ... seemed to err in this direction, and, as I thought, also to lack precision of thought and language. Take for instance his words in pp. 343-4. He asks, 'What is meant by the Inspiration of Holy Scripture?' and then, after speaking of what the Bible contains, he says, 'These are the fundamental principles of true religion and progressive morality, and in these lies the supernatural inspiration of the Bible,' &c. Had he said, 'In these is manifested its supernatural inspiration,' one could not object. But in p. 351 he again repeats the same thought and the same word: 'The inspiration of the recorder lies primarily in this, that he sees the hand of God in the history.' Does the inspiration really 'lie' in this, or is it not rather 'manifested' in this? ... The words, too, on p. 346, that 'the prophetic inspiration is thus consistent with erroneous anticipations,' seem to me similarly imperfect and uncertain. If they only mean that prophetic inspiration may co-exist with imperfect understanding and interpretation in the prophet, they may of course be true; for, as St. Peter tells us, 'the prophets searched what, or what manner of time the Spirit which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow;' but Mr. Gore seems to mean more than this, even that the prophecies themselves were 'erroneous anticipations.' Is not the truth this rather, that the prophets, though speaking in the Spirit, failed to take in or understand the perfect sense of what they truly saw or uttered? ...
I am writing more than I intended. But to me, such an essay as C. Gore's, from the Head of the Pusey House, is a sign of what is coming and must come. Holy Scripture must as surely be rejected by professing Christendom before the end comes, because of its perfect humanity, as the Christ was by the Jew because, being in the flesh, He claimed to be the Son of God. But even thus, now as of old, spite of the sin, man will be led on from what is seen and outward to the wider opening of another world and of still more direct communion with it.
THE HOLY SPIRIT'S HOME-COMING
We don't expect half enough from Him. If the evil spirit is so ready to return to what he calls 'his house,' with seven other spirits more wicked than himself, what will the Holy Spirit do, if only we can 'wait for the promise of the Father'? Will He not come with all His sevenfold power, to turn carnal disciples, who have only known Christ in the flesh, to do His works and minister His Spirit as they have never done before? Shall the evil, selfish, hellish spirit do more for his slaves than the Spirit of God does for His own children?
ALL SAINTS AND ALL SOULS
Touching All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, it is true that All Souls was originally intended to refer to the baptised, who as such might be regarded as 'the faithful,' that is, 'believers' in Christ, though their lives had been such that they missed the prize of being numbered among All Saints. But if such souls could and should be prayed for, who can be excluded from our prayers? for there is no sin so great as the sin of those who, having been baptised, live godless lives. ... The Church, with her faithful and unfaithful members, is a witness of God's purpose towards all.
PRAYERS FOR ALL MEN
As to prayers 'for all men,' I have not a doubt about them. None are out of God's hand, or beyond His reach. All Souls' Day has for many years seemed to me an opportunity for reminding or teaching people on this point; though strictly speaking the Festival of All Souls was originally intended for those of the baptised whose lives showed that they in no true sense were 'All Saints.' The Church, like all the prophets, has often taught more than she understood. St. Peter on the Day of Pentecost preached about the Spirit being poured out upon all flesh, and yet very slowly apprehended even after this that a Gentile could be baptised. It is not every true believer, [nor] even every saint, who to-day has learnt what the 'great sheet let down from heaven' taught Peter—'God hath shown me that I should call no man common or unclean.'
REDEMPTION, FOUR GREAT TEACHERS
Redemption (as Coleridge says somewhere in a book, 'Aids to Reflection,' which in my time was much read at Cambridge) is brought before us in St. Paul's epistles, or in the New Testament, under several distinct aspects, as sacrifice, or ransom, or satisfaction, or reconciliation—the last view being rather atonement than redemption. I have long thought that the old view, of the ransom being paid to Satan, though stated ridiculously by some of the early Fathers, is nearer to the truth than the view put forth, if I remember right, by Anselm in his 'Cur Deus Homo,' that the ransom was paid by the Son to the Father: which ended in the monstrous perversion that the Father held us captive and the Son freed us, which has been the creed of not a few Protestants. What Scripture says is that we are 'ransomed from the grave,' and 'redeemed from the enemy,' as Israel was of old from Egypt; that therefore it is evil, or death, or sin, or Satan that held us captive, and that from this captivity we are delivered or bought back 'by the blood of the Son,' that is, the life, so freely given and poured out for us, which frees us from our bonds, and makes atonement also, so that we are not only redeemed from bondage but brought into communion with God also. ...
All Law's works have for years been on my shelves and in my hands. He is one of the three men who, more than any others outside the Bible, have helped me; the other two being Augustine and F. D. Maurice. Perhaps I ought to name a fourth—I refer to Origen. To him also I am a great debtor. He, too, as you know, holds that the ransom was paid to—that is, that we were redeemed from—Satan.
CHRIST AND PAGAN FORMS
The Tract calls attention to a question which has often, and especially in early days, occupied Christians, namely, whether the worship and traditions of the old world, both Jewish and heathen, were or were not originally 'shadows of the true;' and, further, whether He who came into our fallen form and into our flesh, to fill it with another life, can or cannot fill all forms, whether Jewish or heathen, with His Spirit, if only He comes and takes possession of them. The question is not whether our fallen form or nature has or has not been perverted, and for years possessed by Satan, but whether Christ and His Spirit can come into those forms, once filled by Satan, and fill them with His own Spirit. Two answers were given to this question in early days—one, the Puritan answer; the other, the Catholic. Marcion (I think it was Marcion, but my memory fails) and many others, who took the Puritan line, said that not only all heathen forms, but Jewish also, were all of them from the devil—that the God of the Jews, who commanded white raiment, and the blood of beasts, and fleshly cleansings, could not be our God, for all such forms were evil; and that as to the heathen traditions, of the woman and child, and of a virgin-born deliverer, and of the purification of the mother, or nature, which bore the man-child, and of the cross or Tau, which figured perfection, and of the serpent lifted up upon a pole, and of the resurrection of the deliverer, who had many names, and that spring, when all nature is bursting with life, was the time of his resurrection, as winter, when days are darkest, was of his coming into the world; and that the Saturnalia, the feast which said that all men once were brothers, and that masters should serve servants, and servants act as masters—that all these things were not only vile pagan superstitions, but were invented by the devil as caricatures of what God was going to do in Christ, and only invented to keep men from Christ and His salvation. On the other hand, there were other teachers (and the Church generally accepted their view) who held that Christ's Incarnation, or coming into our form and nature, spite of man's perversions of that form and nature, was the witness that He could cleanse everything—that as our fallen nature, in its first form, came from God, so the Jewish and heathen forms, however fallen and corrupted, had once been figures of eternal verities—in a word, that both the heathen and Jewish tradition was originally true, the Jewish more perfect, but the heathen also wonderful; who therefore, instead of saying that the ceremonial law of Moses came from an evil spirit, tried to show that it all pointed to Christ; and who in like manner saw even in the heathen traditions a shadow, perhaps less perfect than the Jewish shadows, of the same old traditions which had come down from Adam and Noah, that 'the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head.' These brethren therefore thought that Paul was right in 'becoming a Jew to gain the Jews,' and that indeed he was only doing what God and Christ had done, for Christ too was circumcised and kept the law before heaven opened to Him at His baptism.
The Tract you have sent me shows that there are still some who are so shocked and offended by the old-world forms that they do not see the truth which once lay under them, and that to the pure all things are pure, while to the defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure. St. Paul could say that even 'an idol is nothing in the world,' even while he saw that others 'with conscience of the idol' are 'defiled' and stumbled by it. It seems to me (though I may be wrong) that a person's 'conscience' must be 'weak' indeed who thinks that now in England we are in danger of 'Tammuz and Nimrod and Saturn,' or that it is wrong and perilous to say, 'Saturday, Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday,' because all these names are the names of heathen gods. Is any one really hurt by calling March 25 'Lady Day'? But you cannot make men's minds or consciences alike. Some, like flies, light on sores and dunghills: some, like bees, get honey from every flower. Both have their use in this world. But I think if we could be more like Him who came in the flesh to bring His life and Spirit into it we might more serve others. All, however, have their own gift, one after this manner, another after that.
CHURCH AND DISSENT
The question you ask is, 'Granted that the Church, spite of its fall and division, is one, what ought to be the relation of the Church to Dissent?' By 'Church' here you mean, I suppose, the Church of England. Shall I answer this with another question? What was, or ought to have been, the relation of Jerusalem, in our Lord's day, to Galilee, or Samaria, or to the dispersed Jews scattered through Pontus, Galatia, and Cappadocia? Jerusalem had the Temple with its priests and the appointed service, though without the Ark. It was the Divinely ordained centre for true worship. Galileans and Samaritans, the mixed children of the ten tribes, were in more or less schism and darkness. What was to be done? Could any one unite divided Samaria, Galilee, and Jerusalem? Did our Lord attempt it? Or was it His work to bring in and manifest the heavenly life, which would make not only Jews and Galileans one, but which would also make Jew and Gentile, that is, Church and world, 'a new creature'? Christ's way and life and death, if we ever really see it, are the answer to your question. I, at least, cannot imagine how, as outward organisations, the Church of England can be united with the various divisions and constantly increasing splits of Dissenters, who now, even to the last new sect or split, are claiming to be independent Churches. What the divided unite to do is always a sham. The Dissenters are divided and separate from the Church of England, and are doing what they can to ruin it, as they think, by disestablishment. Can you join them in this work? I once thought Dissent was a religious thing. It was so at first. The sin of the Church in former years almost forced true hearts and tender consciences into separation and dissent from her. Even in my young days, Dissent was to a great extent religious, though mixed with not a little self-will. Now it is everywhere mainly social and political. ... Political power is sought at all costs, even by alliance with Romanists and infidels, if only the Church of England can be pulled down, as they think, by disestablishment. Of course, disestablishment is coming, in the State as much as in the Church. Universal anarchy and lawlessness are almost at the doors. The timid cling to the old thing. But the things which are must go. Still your question asks an answer, What is the right course under such circumstances? My answer again is only Christ's life. What shall we do but, like the Lord, be sacrifices for all, seeking to minister Christ's Spirit to those who will receive it, and to the end praying for all, that the promised end may come in due season.
JUDGMENT: CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
Is it wrong to execute a malefactor? Are we right in taking the life of a man like N., who was hanged the other day? I say, Yes, certainly. God and His angels judge, and judgment is right, and we too shall judge some day. And it is not right only, but it is mercy also, not to the world or society only, but even to the malefactor. I do not hesitate to say with St. Ambrose (in his book 'De Bono Mortis') that 'it is better to die in sin than to live in sin.' Still more evident is it to me that it is better for a malefactor to be judged here than to be unjudged, and so to go unpunished into the spirit world, for punished he must be, sooner or later; and, as St. Peter says, 'He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.' Death puts an end to some part of the evil in a sinner. Death is no mistake or real evil in a fallen world. It is the way out of it. Is God's sending the sword or famine or pestilence wrong? Certainly not. 'The Lord killeth and maketh alive.' It is one part of His wondrous work 'by death to destroy him that hath the power of death,' and so to bring some evil to an end.
As to the fact that men and women with lusts, like Samson, treachery, like Jael, and lying, like Rahab, can yet by faith do wonders, he must know nothing of the world or of himself who doubts it. Some of the very best men have had the vilest natures, and even in seeking to serve God, and actually in serving Him, have done some of the vilest things; and yet, through all their faults, faith has been their strength. What mistakes have I not made? What wretched things have I not done? What a want of perfect truth and love in little words and little things there has been in me too often, even while my most earnest desire has been to serve God. When all secrets are made known, what will not be seen, even in some of the most faithful of the saints. Paul knew that he was 'chief of sinners.' No flesh shall glory—no, not even the best. This may seem incredible till we know the hidden world within us. Ask any old Christian ... and he will tell you what awful confusions, spite of their faith, have often been within: the result of the fact that earth and heaven and hell, and flesh and spirit, are all in conflict in us.
WHAT IS THE CHURCH?
My feeling is that it is almost, if not quite, impossible to answer the question, What is the Church? in a single statement. For the Church is Christ's Body; and it needed four Gospels, differing in many respects, to bring before us Who and What Christ is. Even to show us His sacrifice you need the Passover in Egypt, and the sweet-savour and non-sweet-savour offerings when out of Egypt. And just as there were different stages in the life of Christ, in the flesh and in the spirit, as a babe, and young man before heaven opened to Him, and as a victor over Satan after this experience, so must it be with His Body the Church. The early stages of Christ's life were Jewish. Therefore He was circumcised, and to the end of His earthly life here kept the Passover. Must it not be so with His Body the Church? Must we not, though Gentiles, be 'grafted into the Jewish olive-tree,' from which we may and must at last be broken off? I have more than once greatly scandalised both parties in our Church meetings ... by asking, When did our Lord become a Christian? Was it Christian to be circumcised, and to be presented in the Temple? The answers to this question which I have received at some of our clerical meetings would astonish you. Some have said, Christ was always a Christian. Some have positively held that He was never a Christian. And when I have asked how this last view can possibly be true, seeing that we are only Christians as 'Christ is formed in us,' I have been told that all this is 'dreamy mysticism.' Mysticism or no, I believe that when Christ is first 'formed in us' He is unseen as the Babe in Mary's womb was unseen when Elisabeth greeted her—that at this stage what the outward eye sees is only the nature which has received the Word and Spirit, from which in due time the New Man is brought forth; and that, even when so brought forth as to be seen separate from the mother or nature which has borne Him, the New Man is, and must be, yet bound by Jewish swaddling-clothes. All this and much more to the same effect is true of Christ. But, because it is true of Christ, it must be true of the Church which is His Body. How can you make this clear to carnal souls? You may 'speak wisdom among them that are perfect,' as St. Paul did; but with the mass even of converted men, who are carnal like the Corinthians, you must, if you are like St. Paul, determine to 'know nothing among them' save the great lesson of the Cross.
The question which you ask me is a difficult one. It seems to me that the answer depends not a little on the past history and present spiritual state of the lady who asks your guidance. Had she not been, as you say, 'much mixed up with spiritism,' the answer would, I think, be easier. If the spirit-world opens to us according to the will of God, independent of our self-will and carnal attempts to enter it, then, as it seems to me, the communications which we receive thence are not dangerous, but often may be most blessed, as in the case of the visions granted to our Lord in the days of His flesh, and to His apostles and prophets. A Divine Life, as it seems to me, cannot but open heaven. But to have attempted in worldliness and self-will to pass through the veil, and to have succeeded in measure in doing so, may, I think, leave results upon the organisation of the inquirer which cannot easily be shaken off. Thus the communications which have recently come to Miss Z. may be—I do not say they are—the necessary results of her bygone action. The reason you suggest as perhaps justifying Miss Z. in accepting, if not in seeking, these spirit-communications, is that to refuse to do so might show a want of love towards one who is struggling towards a knowledge of God; while on the other hand the accepting of these communications might show love. This was the ground upon which one beloved and beautiful friend of mine justified intercourse with spirits, even granting that they might be devils. 'Ought we not,' she said, 'to run some risk to serve them if they are miserable?' My fearful heart thought rather of the prophet's words, 'To obey is better than sacrifice.'
FACT, FAITH, EXPERIENCE
We have in Rom. 6:8-14 three things: fact, faith, and experience, as to our death and resurrection in and with the Lord. St. Paul begins with the fact as wrought for us in Christ: 'Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.' All this is fact—all certain fact, fact wrought for us in Him Who came into our nature and took our place for us; in Whom we were reconciled and redeemed before we were born, even as before we were born we fell in old Adam. ... The apostle then goes on from fact to faith, faith in the fact wrought for us: 'Likewise reckon yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Jesus Christ our Lord.' This reckoning ourselves to be dead and alive again in Christ is simply faith—believing what has been done for us, which gives full peace with God, though we may be, and are, yet most imperfect. Then comes the experience, when that which was wrought for us in the Person of Christ as to death to sin and life to God is step by step by the same Spirit wrought in us also. So the apostle goes on again, 'Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body to obey it, but yield yourselves unto God, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God;' even as Christ your Head and Life did in everything.
SORROW TURNED INTO JOY
Christ's Cross is the witness that God's dearest children must suffer, and there is a sacrificial use in our sufferings as well as in Christ's. In them we fill up what is wanting of the sufferings of Christ; and God Himself, our Father, also shares our troubles with us, for in all our afflictions He is afflicted. This mystery of present pain is to some a riddle they cannot solve, but I feel sure that sorrow is the very stuff that joy is made of. So our Lord says, 'Your sorrow shall be turned into joy.' He does not say, You shall have no sorrow; but 'Your sorrow shall be turned into joy,' as milk is turned into butter, which you cannot have without the milk. I once believed this, but now I know it.
'The life is the light.' Live the truth; and, as you can bear it, all things you can bear will open to you. You may rush into the spirit-world before you are fit for it, and only suffer loss by it.
Have you ever noticed that all the Gates into the Heavenly City are Pearls? Do you know how pearls are formed? that they are all the result of the suffering and disease of the poor little mollusk in whose shell they grow. Oh, what 'pearls' are coming, and are now forming, out of our daily sufferings.
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