The Christian Annotator 1857.

(1854-58. Contributions by W. Kelly.)

The identifying code is the year, month, day, and page number of the contribution.

7_01_17 p. 8. — 2 Corinthians 5:9
7_01_17 p. 11. — Revelation 5:9, 10
7_01_17 p. 11/12. — Atonement
7_01_31 p. 28/9. — Greek Testaments
7_02_14 p. 37/8. — Romans 5:12-21
7_02_28 p. 59. — The Church
7_03_14 p. 71. — Daniel 9:27
7_03_14 p. 71/2. — Matthew 13
7_03_28 p. 87. — The Heavenly Calling
7_04_11 p. 101. — Veracity of Scripture — The Pool of Bethesda
7_04_11 p. 108/9. — Greek Testaments

7_01_17 p. 8.

2 Corinthians 5:9. Vol. III. 359, 401. — The discrepancy which appears in the English version of this text and Eph. 1:6, does not exist in the Greek: for the latter speaks of the acceptance, in full grace, of the person — the former, of the desire that our service should be acceptable to Christ. "We may be well-pleasing (or acceptable) to Him" would be, I apprehend, more correct in point of doctrine, as well as in point of rendering.

7_01_17 p. 11.

Revelation 5:9, 10. Vol. I. 324; III. 356. —  It is one of the special objects of the Revelation, as I judge, to disclose the position and intelligent worship of the heavenly saints, after they have been gathered to the Lord in the air, and previous to His epiphany, and this in connection with the intervening judgments set forth under the seals, trumpets, and vials. Another design is to show that even in those terrible days, "the end of the age," after the Church has been caught up to meet the Lord, God will not leave himself without witness, but will, by His Word and Spirit, commence a new work, suited to the times of special antichristian delusion. Daniel also (Dan. 7 — 12) makes known to us saints involved in these same trials, but they are, I think, Jewish saints exclusively. St. John was the appropriate instrument to reveal a larger company of holy sufferers, and that from the Gentiles, "out of every kindred," etc. The countless multitude seen in Rev. 7:9 et seq. is out of all nations, but, as to time, restricted to "the great tribulation." This transition period, after the rapture of the Church, and before the millennium, is one of great moment, and very little understood.

[from] Bath.

7_01_17 p. 11/12.

Atonement. — Vol. III. 401, 467.

Dr. Charles Richardson, in his new Dictionary of the English Language (2 vols. 4to. Pickering, 1844), according to his usual principle of accepting the derivation as the basis of all deducible senses, explains the verb "ATONE, to be or cause to be at one. To be in unity or concord, in friendship or amity; to agree; to return or restore to favour; to reconcile, to satisfy, to propitiate. See ONE and ONEMENT." This is followed up by citations from old English authors, which prove beyond question that the usage of the word once corresponded with its etymology. Webster seems dubious; but the evidence is, to my mind, convincing.

It is clear, however, that the proper current value of a term must not be confounded with its probable ancient origin. The lineal descent of a word is one thing, its present form and use a totally different. Thus, Dr. R. (himself a rigid stickler for, a parent groundform, and this too often after the unhappy model of Mr. Horne Tooke) informs the uninitiated that amerce and merce are used by the older writers indifferently; that to be subject to the king's "grievous mercy" was to be subject to a heavy fine payable to the king; that the remission of this is now called his "mercy;" and that, consequently, the modern word is no contraction of the Latin misericordia, but a transfer from the line paid to the pardon granted, and the feeling which thus commutes or forgives. Now what confusion would it not be if people, in discussing Divine mercy in Eph. 2 or in Rom. 12, were to allow themselves to be carried away with antiquarian questions about the force of the word in an old statute of Henry VI. or in Piers Ploughman? To me such disquisitions seem not only foreign to the real question of a fundamental doctrine in the Bible, but are in principle no better than serious jesting, if the expression may be allowed. They are a similar fallacia equivocationis to that which is found in the common pun — an ambiguous riddle, as logicians say. Exactly so; it is unsound to draw from the mere root of the English word atonement "another Gospel which is not another;" for the question in THE CHRISTIAN ANNOTATOR is Atonement as a theological question, or rather as a truth of the Bible.

Now I deny that the Hebrew or Greek words, properly so translated, ever mean "to be at one-ment," to be or bring into concord. The true force is expiation, as rightly given even in the modern Jewish version of Dr. Benisch. And such is the actual (if not the old) meaning of the expression "atone for" in our language. How it came to acquire a force so remote from its alleged original composition, is an interesting inquiry for such as study the sources and changes of language; but it is outside a question of orthodoxy. It does not touch the point disputed, that is, whether atonement, in scripture doctrine, means at-onement? It ought to have been seen that, if the derivation of words could decide such a matter, we must look into the Hebrew and Greek originals. Now neither of these means to be at one: the Hebrew idea being, as I suppose, that of covering (i.e. sins); the Greek, that of appeasing or propitiating (i.e. God), or expiating sins. Loose statements may be found in old and modern writers on divinity: but the question is, What saith the Scripture?

In the Authorised Version, "atonement" occurs but once, and there mistakenly; for the Greek is καταλλαγη, and means there, as everywhere, "reconciliation" (so given in the margin). The proper word for "atonement" is ἰλασμος, with its kindred forms and compounds: it is translated "propitiation" in 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10. The interchange of these two expressions in our version of the Old and New Testament has given a convenient handle to Socinians, with whom it is a favourite statement, as I cite from one, that "Atonement always means, in the Bible, making two or more persons at one or agreed." My answer is, that, though the term is occasionally applied as a metaphor to human things, "atonement" never means there what Socinians say it always means. It is very often, for example, used of iniquities, where obviously such a term is no sense at all. The truth is that reconciliation is properly toward man, propitiation or atonement is toward God; and both are found by faith in the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I solemnly denounce and object to the denial of the substitution of Jesus for us as a sacrifice for sin on the cross. This is what is now called the atonement, as it is the basis of the believer's reconciliation with God. I abhor the notion, which some would insinuate through the sophism of "at-one-ment," that Christ became one with us in fallen human nature. The union of the Christian and of the Church is with Christ in risen life, grounded on the putting away of our sins. Vitally united by the Holy Ghost, we can then say as true of ourselves what is said of Him who died for us and rose again. His incarnation, though indispensable as a means and step toward the grand end, is a wholly distinct truth from our union with Him.

7_01_31 p. 28/9.

Greek Testaments. Vol. IV. 15. — As Mr. COOMBE desires further information on a matter of such great moment to the Christian student, allow me to contribute a further mite. Much depends on the condition of, those for whose use the work is intended. For instance, "the head master" spoken of has found Webster and Wilkinson's book "suitable to the higher classes of a school and the ordinary run of undergraduates." Now every person of fair acquirements knows that this, however well adapted for the mass of youths at a university, is saying very little for the wants of such as desire to search more deeply. Indeed the same individual owns the absence of what is of interest and value to "the more advanced student." Again, as to exposition, I may observe that, though Messrs. Webster and Wilkinson may rarely say as to fundamental orthodoxy what is wrong or injurious, there is a total blank, if not worse, as regards the proper hope of the Christian and the Church, and consequently the views are erroneous on almost every question of prophetic and dispensational truth, i.e. on a very considerable part of the New Testament, not to speak of its connections with the Old Testament. Moreover, even as to the gospel of God's grace, (i.e. essential saving truth,) there is that meagreness which falls in with common popular Arminianism — the reverse of that "boldness" which the Holy Ghost loves and blesses. Nevertheless, though the text is merely a reprint of the Text. Rec. with few allusions to various readings in the notes, it is at least a comfort to find a new book of the kind free from the poisonous German influences which pervade most of the critical Greek Testaments that are issuing from the press. Mr. ALFORD'S, for instance, is a far more clever and brilliant performance, in spite of Professor TISCHENDORF'S too depreciatory criticism (in 1850) that it was hardly fit for schoolboys. I do agree with this remark, if applied morally; because, in my opinion, Mr. ALFORD'S system, laid down in his Prolegomena and carried out in many of his notes, undermines the proper claim of the New Testament to inspiration. He distinctly teaches that the occurrence of demonstrable historical mistakes "does not in any way affect the inspiration or the veracity of the evangelists!" (Vol. i. p. 17, London, 1849.) Now, to talk thus is simply to deceive oneself if not the reader. Evidently he cannot believe that inspiration means God speaking or writing by man, so as to convey His mind perfectly, though in human language and in the style of the individual employed. For, according to Mr. ALFORD, inspiration is quite compatible with human mistake, whether of Matthew, or Luke, or whomsoever. What misleads the unwary, is, that Mr. ALFORD sets forth much truth as well as error in his book, and persists in using the word "inspiration" when he has really forsaken the true and sound idea conveyed by it: just as a still bolder and far more misguided man, Mr. F. D. MAURICE, continues to speak of the atonement, resurrection, eternal punishment, etc. though in fact he has long abandoned their proper meaning. I have read Mr. ALFORD'S letter to the "Christian Examiner" for this month (Jan. 1857), but it has in no way relieved my mind, while his Prolegomena and notes remain unretracted.

I have also examined the recent publication of Dr. Christopher Wordsworth containing the four Gospels in Greek, with notes. His text is on the whole creditably drawn up, but he has not given such an apparatus criticus as to satisfy a careful scholar. The notes are derived chiefly from the early Fathers and from the theological literature of the Church of England — of course so far as the latter chimes in with the Editor's strong ecclesiastical views and his decided sacramentalism. A sample of the last will show how far Dr. Wordsworth's exposition can be trusted. On Matt. 22 he treats Augustine's view of the wedding garment as inadequate, contending that the parable represents the visible Church, and that therefore this garment must mean outward profession of the Christian faith, particularly in the sacrament of baptism as the germ. Hence he argues, (with a gravity which would be ludicrous, if it were not distressing, considering the subject,) that the question "Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment?" may be understood as specially addressed to those who, bearing the Christian name, etc. yet reject the sacraments! "And considering the title the Quakers have taken for themselves, that of 'Friends,' may we not be allowed to say that this question has a solemn and awful sense in reference to them?" May I not be allowed, in my turn, to regret that Dr. Wordsworth should have undertaken the task of scriptural interpretation, for which he is clearly incompetent?

[from] Guernsey.

P.S. Why does not Dr. Wordsworth proceed a little further, and press Matt. 11:16, and above all Matt. 26:50, into his service? What a crushing blow to the "Society" to find themselves identified with the traitor Judas? "Friend wherefore art thou come?" The same word εταιρος occurs in all three passages, a mere inspection of which is enough to expose this absurd misapplication. It is perhaps needless to add that I have  as little sympathy as Dr. Wordsworth with the Quakers as such, and with their sad and ignorant neglect of baptism and the Lord's Supper.

7_02_14 p. 37/8.

Romans 5:12-21. Though I cannot but dissent from those who consider this a difficult passage, it is plain that it is often misunderstood, as it is certainly momentous in its bearings.

First, I am of opinion that the parenthesis is rightly marked so as to help the sense, 13-17 inclusively being one of those full and instructive digressions so characteristic of St. Paul.

Next, be it observed, that the Apostle traces sin up to its source, beyond the Jew or the law. "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Sin was theirs through one; besides, all had sinned. It was not the law of which the Jews boasted which brought in sin; for it existed anterior to the Sinai covenant. And, though sin was not put to account, or imputed to man, in God's government of the world before the law, still death reigned, the proof and wages of sin, even over those who had not transgressed a known commandment like Adam (or like the Jews after the law was given). That is, while in the nature of things there might not be transgression between the two points of Adam and Moses, there was sin,* and God marked His sense of it, for death reigned. Now, if Adam were confessedly typical of the Messiah who was to come, should not the free gift be as the offence? For if by the offence of the one the many (the mass connected with him, who in this case were all mankind,) have died, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man Jesus Christ, has abounded unto the many. And shall not, as by one that sinned, be the gift? For the judgment was of one [thing] to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences to justification. For if by the offence of the one, death reigned by the one, much more shall those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness, reign in life by the one, Jesus Christ. This closes the parenthesis, nor could reasoning be more compressed in itself, or more conclusive to a few. For he, of all men, could not deny the sorrowful facts of Genesis, or the universal ruin entailed by Adam's sin. The principle then is conceded. From the beginning God had recognised something more than mere individualism. If the first and earthy man had sent down to all his family sin and death, why should not the second man, the Lord from heaven, transmit to His family righteousness and life? Verse 15 compares the persons or heads; verse 16 contrasts the things, or the judgment grounded on a single act with the state of accomplished righteousness (δικαιωμα) in spite of many offences; and verse 17 presents the crowning result, the evident propriety that, if by the offence of one death reigned, how much rather should the fist Adam's family reign in life through their glorious head.

{*In 1 John, 3:4, the true force beyond a doubt is, "sin is lawlessness," and not merely "transgression of the law," which is a different phrase and idea. Man was corrupt and violent before the law. Under the law he despised and rebelled against the authority of God. Transgression is always sin, but sin is much more than transgression.}

Then, we have the general thread resumed with light and force derived from the parenthesis, and this in the most abstract way possible. "Therefore, then (in allusion to the intervening verses, but in direct reference to verse 12), as [it was] by one offence unto all men to condemnation; so also [is it] by one accomplished righteousness unto all to justification of life. For as by the disobedience of the one man the many have been constituted sinners, so also by the obedience of the one shall the many be constituted righteous." That is, verse 18 gives us the pure and simple tendency of Adam's offence on the one hand, and of Christ's righteousness on the other. The direction of the one, as of the other, was towards all men. But verse 19 adds the very important information that, whatever might be the scope of action in either case, the actual and definitive effect was a different matter. All men were not left in their ruin, nor were all, in result, delivered through Christ. Hence the change from παντες to οἱ πολλοι, for it is mere ignorance to take them as equipollent. In certain circumstances they may mean the same persons, but the terms are invariably distinct in themselves. Thus, in verse 18, where "all" occurs, we have the universal aspect of the act, whether of Adam or of Christ; but in verse 19, where the positive application is treated of we get "the many" who are in fact affected thereby.

But law did come: why it entered, and as it were, by the way, the apostle answers in verse 20. It was that (not sin, but,) "the offence might abound." God forbid that anything God gave should be said to create evil! Sin being already there, the law came to bring out its real character as directly violating God's command when he gives one. "But where sin abounded, grace has super-abounded, in order that, as sin has reigned in death, so also might grace reign, through righteousness, to eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."

May I just say in closing, that the Authorised Version is clearly wrong in twice rendering εις παντας ανθρωπους "upon all men." In such a sentence it ought to be, "unto or towards all men." The distinction of εις and επι strikingly appears in Rom. 3:22; where we have, first, the universal tendency of God's righteousness, by faith, of Jesus Christ, and then, the actual application of it to all those who believe. This is accurately given in our Bible, "unto all," the first and general presentation, putting all under responsibility; and then, "upon all them that believe," the special portion of all such as believe. To any who desire to understand the Epistle to the Romans, I would strongly recommend a version published by Gregg, and the admirable exposition of it, which is the opening article of the Present Testimony," part 35, just issued by Groombridge. Guernsey.

7_02_28 p. 59.

The Church. Vol. IV. 15. — The Holy Ghost, in the Old Testament, brings before us either individual saints or a nation as the objects of God's favour and counsels. It is of that nation (Israel) that the Spirit uses the term "congregation" in the Old Testament, which our translators have given as the "church in the wilderness," in Acts 7:38. But Bishop Pearson admits, as indeed every fair man must, that this is a quite distinct thing from what is called "the Church of God," etc. in the New Testament. For the Epistle to the Ephesians, with great fulness, shows that the body of Christ, God's Church, is founded on the abolition of the distinction between Jew and Gentile, and therefore could not be till the cross broke down the middle wall of partition. Nor could believing Jew and Gentile be builded together for an habitation of God, till the Spirit came down in a fuller way than before, as the fruit of Christ's victory and ascension on high, where He took the new place of Head of the Church (not merely of King in Zion). Does not F. L. W. understand that this was an entirely novel work of God, and that Scripture gives to this new assembly of believing Jews and Gentiles (bonded together by the Holy Ghost, sent down from heaven in the name of Jesus) the name of "the Church of God?" It is not merely that the term "Church of God" is never, in the sense now spoken of, applied to the Old Testament saints; but the state of things could not be before Christ's death and resurrection as the basis, and the Holy Spirit's personal presence (not influence, gifts, etc. merely) as the power of this unity. It is founded on Christ exalted in heaven, after having accomplished redemption; and it is formed by that operation of the Spirit which not only quickens but unites Jewish and Gentile saints now to Christ in heaven and to each other on earth as one body.

Now, indubitably such was not the case in the wilderness, nor in the promised land: Jew and Gentile, whether believing or not, were rigorously severed by Divine command, and the saints were sustained by a promised Messiah, instead of resting on the accomplished work of the Saviour. Life of course, Divine life, they had through faith, else they would not have been saints. But there was no such thing as union with a glorified head in heaven. Nay, it did not exist even when our Lord was upon earth. The disciples had faith and life, but they were forbidden to go to the Gentiles, instead of being united to them, till Christ rose from the dead. But the moment the Spirit came down, consequent on Christ's exaltation above, the various tongues proclaimed God's grace to the Gentiles as well as Jews; and for the first time we read of "the Church," in the full and proper sense, as now subsisting on earth. (See Acts 2) Christ had now begun to fulfil His promise, "Upon this rock I will build my Church." How could this mean the old assembly which fell in the wilderness? It was a new and future building, as I hope F. L. W. will feel. I am surprised that he should say the quotations made (Vol. III. p. 149) on Eph. 4:4, have never been answered, seeing that they were answered carefully, though briefly, in p. 178. I am not aware of a single point evaded, as indeed there was no temptation; for the truth on this subject is to me clear and certain, though I do not expect to convince every one. What I have remarked in this paper spares me the need of replying to what is urged now, which is altogether beside the mark. The only thing of the least shadow of weight is Acts 7:38, which has been fully explained (1 Cor. 10), and proves that Israel was typical of us. How does that show that they and we form "one body?" Christ was the Lamb foreordained before the foundation of the world (not slain from it). How does that prove that believing Jew and Gentile formed one body of old, as unquestionably they do now?

7_03_14 p. 71.

Daniel 9:27. Vol. IV. 13. — I believe that it is impossible legitimately to connect the death of the Messiah with the covenant confirmed with the mass, or many, for one week (i.e. 7 years) in this passage; and that for several reasons. First, the Messiah was already regarded as "cut off" at the close of a previous division of the weeks, viz. after the first 7 + 62 = 69 weeks = 483 years. Secondly, the disastrous end of the city and the sanctuary is supposed to have come before the seventieth week begins. (Compare the conclusion of verse 26.) After the Messiah was cut off and before the last week, it will be noticed by the careful reader that there is an interval of indefinite length, filled up by the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and a course of war and desolation which is not yet terminated. Thirdly, after all this, comes the last or seventieth week, which has to do with Antichrist as clearly as the first 69 weeks bring us down to Christ's death, the interruption of the chain being left room for, and supplied in the latter part of verse 26. Fourthly, it is clear that when the Messiah has been cut off, another personage is spoken of as "the prince that shall come," whom it is absurd to confound with the Messiah, because it is His people who ravage the Jewish city and sanctuary: that is, it is a Roman prince, and not the promised Head of Israel. Fifthly, as this future prince of the Romans is the last person spoken of, it is most natural, unless adequate reasons appear to the contrary, to consider that verse 27 refers to him, and not to the slain Messiah: "and he shall confirm covenant" (not "the" covenant, as the margin shows). Sixthly, this is remarkably strengthened by the time for which the covenant is made, namely, for seven years, which has, in my opinion, no sense if applied to anything founded on the Lord's death, but exactly coincides with the two periods of 1,260 days (Rev. 11) and 42 months (Rev. 13), during which the Roman beast acts variously in the Apocalypse. Seventhly, it is yet more fortified by the additional fact that, when half the time of this covenant expires, "He shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease," just as might be gathered from Rev. 11 and other Scriptures.

7_03_14 p. 71/2.

Matthew 13. Vol. IV. 14. — The connection between these several parables is asked. It will be observed that they are in all seven, the number of spiritual completeness in good or evil. (See Leviticus and the Revelation passim.) Next, it is manifest that the first differs from the rest, inasmuch as it is not a likeness of the kingdom of heaven, which the following six are. Further, of these six, three were said (besides the "sower") to the multitude outside, as well as the disciples; the last three to the disciples alone within the house. All this bears upon the true interpretation, not as deciding, but as confirming it. For the first parable is evidently general, if it do not particularly refer to our Lord's personal ministry on earth, before the kingdom of heaven was introduced by His ascension. It is not here the heir sent to receive the fruit of the vineyard; Jesus is "a sower;" and his sowing is hindered and opposed by the world, the flesh, and the devil, is we find in the explanation (verses 19-22), though a portion of the seed takes root in good ground.

The three public comparisons of the kingdom of heaven follow — the wheat and tare field, the mustard seed, and the leaven. The sower here is still the Son of Man, but it is His work from heaven (just as in Mark 16:20; Eph. 2:17). It is the kingdom of Christ when rejected by the Jews — of Christ absent, not present in visible power and glory. It is the kingdom of heaven on earth, entrusted to servants who, alas! are soon asleep, and the devil sows his wicked children in the midst of the true children of the kingdom. The general teaching then, is, that the new dispensation, as far as man's responsibility was concerned, would see ruin introduced by the enemy, which nothing could remedy but the judgment executed at the end of the age. But this is not all. Christendom would grow from a diminutive beginning into "a tree," emblematic of a towering earthly power, which would even shelter the instruments of Satan. (Compare verses 4 and 19 with 32.) Nor this only: for a system of doctrine, nominally at least Christian, should spread over a certain defined mass, till the whole was leavened. Whether this mixture, this worldly aggrandizement, this propagation of, not life or truth, but profession, such as it was, was of the Lord or His enemy, must be gathered not merely from hints here, but from Scripture generally.

Then, upon the dismission of the multitude, the Lord explains the chief of the first three similitudes of the kingdom, and adds three more, which develop not its external appearances, but its internal aspects to the spiritual man. Treasure hid in the field, the pearl, and the drag-net comprehend their further instructions. Christ buys the field for the sake of the treasure, His own that He loved in the world. This, nevertheless, did not fully tell out either His love or their beauty in His eyes. Therefore, as it seems to me, the parable of the pearl follows — "one pearl of great price," the unity and the peerless charms of the Church in the Lord's eyes, for which he gave up "all that He had," as Messiah here below — yea, life itself. The net evidently presents the closing circumstances of the kingdom, as to which I would briefly call attention to two facts often confounded, that the fishermen gather the good into vessels, casting the bad away, while the angels at the consummation sever the wicked from among the just. Our part is to take forth the precious from the vile; theirs to separate the vile from the precious.

[from] Guernsey.  

7_03_28 p. 87.


It is of no small moment to bear in mind that, while the "heavenly calling," as a developed

system, depends on the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ into heaven, the faith of Old Testament believers was far in advance of their calling and circumstances. Thus, the Lord called Abram from his country and kindred and father's house to a land that He would show him; and it was certainly by faith that be obeyed and went out, not knowing whither he went. But Heb. 11:9, shows us the further action of faith; for when he got to the land he sojourned in it as in a strange country, because a ray of the distant heavenly glory had dawned on his soul. "He looked for a city which hath foundations," etc. Thus he and the other patriarchs died, as they lived, in faith, not in actual possession. Nevertheless, such strangership as this neither amounts to nor implies the "heavenly calling." Doubtless, the "heavenly calling" now produces and enjoins strangership also; but this in no way proves that itself was published and enjoyed of old.

For the "heavenly calling," brought before us in Hebrews, grew out of the position of the Lord as having appeared, and when He had by himself purged our sins, as having sat down on the right-hand of the Majesty on high. Hence the earthly tabernacle and the rest in the land, and the Levitical priesthood and sacrifices entirely disappear, for the partakers of the heavenly calling who are addressed in the epistle. This state of things was not true either of the fathers or the children of Israel. Their hope was intimately bound up with the land (no doubt, under the Messiah and a glorified condition, but still their land and people as the medium of blessing for all others); but the "heavenly calling" was not revealed, nor could be till He came whose rejection led to it and whose redemption and consequent glorification in heaven became its basis. Hence Abram had his earthly altar. Hence he sacrificed, as did his descendants, in due season, of the flock, or the herd, or the appointed clean birds. Then comes the worldly sanctuary and its most instructive furniture and rites, that spoke of better things looming in the future. Nobody that I know disputes that individual saints saw beyond these shadows, dimly perhaps but really, to a coming Saviour and a heavenly country. Still the land to which the patriarchs were called was an earthly land, and the entire polity of Israel was that of a nation governed under the eye of a God who displayed himself on earth in their midst — in contrast with "the heavenly calling," of which not the less it furnished striking types, mutatis mutandis. Accordingly, in Heb. 11, after having traced the precious individual traits of the Spirit in the Old Testament saints, not only from Abraham but from Abel downwards, we are guarded against the error that would merge all in one lump, by the incidental statement of the last verse (See also Heb. 12:23). The elders have not received the promise; they are waiting till the resurrection for that. Meanwhile God has provided unforeseen some better thing for us. He has given us not promise only but accomplishment in Christ. He has made us worshippers once purged, having no more conscience of sins. He calls us boldly to enter into the holiest by a new and living way consecrated for us. None of these things could be so predicated of them, and yet these things are but a part of the heavenly calling. Truly, then, has God provided some better thing, for us, even if we only look at what is now made known through the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. It is also true that they without us shall not be made perfect. They and we shall enter on our respective portion in resurrection glory at the coming of Christ. Meanwhile we have no earthly calling, nothing but an heavenly one.

So far is it from being true that the early ecclesiastical writers erred by distinguishing too sharply between the dispensations, that their main characteristic is Judaising the Church by denying the real differences. Jerome did this no less than others, even to the confounding of Christ's ministry with Jewish priesthood.

7_04_11 p. 101.


Permit me to join with VIGILANS (Vol. IV. 53) in putting the unsuspecting reader on his guard. I had just closed the "Later Biblical Researches" of Dr. Robinson, recently published by Mr. Murray, when my eye fell on the warning note touching the earlier volumes of the same author. What will grave Christian men say, when I tell them that this American scholar and divine is bold enough to affirm that, in certain particulars in John 5 (the angelic troubling of the waters, and the cure of the first comer, whatever his disease,) "we have the unerring marks of a current popular belief; which the evangelist has chosen to make the basis of his representation"? And what follows is, if possible, worse. "The same was sometimes done by an authority higher than John." A footnote is subjoined to this effect: "See especially our Lord's parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, founded on the Jewish popular belief as to Hades and the state of the dead; Luke 16:19, sq. Comp. Luke 23:39, sq." Need I prove how fallacious it is to draw an argument as to an historical fact — so at least St. John states it — from the pictorial imagery of a parable? In the Lord's language to the converted thief I utterly deny that there is the smallest semblance of a popular legend. It is evident that Dr. Robinson denies any thing supernatural in the troubling of, and healing by, the pool. But, not content therewith, he appeals to our Lord's authority on two separate occasions, as if He sanctioned the principle and the practice of "pious frauds" no less than the Apostle John! If Dr. Robinson does not mean this, language and logic have lost their customary force: if he does, his imputation upon the Lord, and the Holy Ghost who inspired John, is hardly short of blasphemy. This is strong language, I know; but is there not the gravest cause? It is not charity but latitudinarianism to palliate such unworthy dealing with Christ and His Word, were it in an angel from heaven.  

7_04_11 p. 108/9.

Greek Testaments. Vol. IV. 15, 57. — Professor TISCHENDORF's letter is so moderate as to call for few remarks. Textual critics have to beware of confounding their own private judgment about readings with God's authority in His Word. For instance, Professor TISCHENDORF'S seventh edition acknowledges much to be Scripture which his previous editions had hesitated about or discarded. Of course I am rejoiced at a change for the better; but, where such changing is habitual and extensive, it is impossible to reconcile it with the respect which is due to God's Word. It is not true that we have to choose only between the authority of Rome and the vacillations or the systems of particular critics. The Roman, Greek, and other churches have handed down certain writings as divinely inspired; they have not been as faithful keepers of' holy writ as became them; they have admitted, accredited, and perpetuated mutilations, additions, and blemishes. The critics have undertaken to separate the wheat from the chaff, and they as a body have failed as egregiously, and more daringly, than the churches of the West and East as to the sacred deposit. I do not therefore allow the force of the Professor's dilemma, because I believe not merely in Providence (not at, all in critical infallibility), but in the guidance of the Holy Ghost, who is not unfrequently forgotten, and especially, I must say, by editors. Few have followed in the path of that godly pioneer, Bengelius.

As to Mr. WILKINSON, I regret that he should have put so exaggerated a construction upon my opinion of his book. I in no way supposed, or meant to convey, that his confidence is not in the Lord Jesus Christ. But his "University Sermons," kindly forwarded to remove my impression, leaves no doubt on my mind that he does not understand the hope of the Christian and the Church as set forth in the New Testament. The very text (Phil. 1:23) on which his discourse on hope founded shows this, and it is proved throughout by all that follows. I deny that our hope is to depart and to be with Christ. It is a blessed truth and comfort doubtless, but our hope is the exact converse: it is Christ's coming for us, that we, body, soul, and spirit, may be ever with Him. Scripture lays the utmost stress on the return and presence of the Lord as the proper hope of the Church. If we are unclothed and absent from the body, to join the Lord, it is far better; but till Christ comes, and whether here or in heaven, we have not our hope in possession, but wait for it. The "millennial earthly reign" is not the Church's hope any more than the disembodied state. Both views, I am persuaded, impair and obscure the truth; both are substitutions for the proper hope of the heavenly saints. Of course no Christian denies the Lord personally to be our hope; but the question at issue recurs — Does not God's Word uniformly present as the hope Christ's coming, and not our going individually in the separate state? If Mr. WILKINSON persists in regarding this as a mere "accident," or temporary mode and circumstance, my conviction is that such a reply justifies my accusation. The true and apostolic hope is not found, but another which is not another — a blessed spring of joy to the departing or anticipating spirit beyond question, but as truly an usurper, if it supersede the scriptural hope, as are the sacraments when Rome puts them in lieu of simple living faith for justifying a sinner. When we reject sacramentalism as false, they charge us with calumny, and maintain that they too hold justification by faith. But not more surely does the Romanist darken and virtually deny the justification of the ungodly by faith, than does Mr. WILKINSON'S system set aside our true and proper hope, by putting in its room the intermediate presence of departed saints with the Lord. I do not forget that it is an error which began early enough, and which is held alas! by the mass of professing and by many real Christians. But God's Word is so express that we owe it to Him to state boldly what we know is the truth, and what we know is not, especially if we are looking for the Saviour from heaven, as the scripturally proximate no less than proper hope of the Church.