To Correspondents.

1866 192 {Refer to JND "Jesus the Willing Captive" John 18:1-10 BT 1866, p.127. C.W. 21:170. This article was duplicated with the last footnote incorporated at the end of the article in BT 1868, p. 17.}

Two sentences of two papers have been attacked with sufficient readiness to suspect evil.

One is in the August number, on John 18, p. 128. I might be surprised that any discerning reader should not have gathered from the drift of the paper that morally (not "totally") ought to have been printed.

The other occurs in Remarks on Mark 14 (Sept. 1866, p. 137, Mark 14:26, also published as "Exposition of Mark" W.K.), where the writer says that expiation properly is "not the pure, however precious, act of Christ's death." This has been tortured to mean a denial that Christ suffered for our sins, or that such suffering up to death is atonement! Can perversity go farther? One main point of the passage, which extends over a long paragraph, is that while His death was necessary for expiation, His endurance of divine wrath, forsaken of God for our sins, was the essential thing (not without this the act of dissolution). Possibly those who found fault here are not aware how far enemies of the truth go in destroying the atonement by making it consist in the bare death and blood of Christ without the bearing of God's judgment of sin — a fatal error. None but the divine person of the Son, become man, can meet the case; without the shedding of His blood was no remission; His death was absolutely requisite to free us from sin: but all this availed only because He endured the forsaking of God for sin.

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"One really distressed" does not understand the meaning of that which is in question. The uniform doctrine of the papers on the "Sufferings of Christ" (which appeared in these pages in 1858, since then reprinted exactly) is that the smiting of Christ actually took place only on the cross. He did feel anticipatively in Gethsemane what He was about to undergo; and the more deeply in grace, because He was not under it by any necessity of His person. That is, He entered in spirit before the cross into that which only came upon Him when crucified. To quarrel with this language (which is only the reflection of scriptural statements, as has been proved without the semblance even of an effort at disproof from God's word) seems to me petulance, where it is not a deeper opposition to the truth, and malice against those who are content with Scripture. The actual smiting of Psalm 69:26, as far as Christ was concerned, was on the cross, but atonement is not there contemplated; for others are similarly spoken of in the same verse, and are they, too, atoning? Does not every upright and intelligent saint see that this association of others puts atonement out of the question? Produce one passage which makes the actual smiting before the cross; or own yourself mistaken. {See also B.T. Vol. 6, p.192, 205-206.}

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To Correspondents.

1867 238

1. The "Distressed One" writes, unfeignedly owning his mistake, and feeling that he wants further light.

2. Tertius's pamphlet is to hand, but calls for no particular notice. He finds "seven" strange doctrines in his brethren: might he not have filed a bill of "seventy times seven" as well-founded as his complete number? It is true that strange engines have been put into requisition to give appearance to the present indictment; but the end and the means are worthy of each other: who can say what they may achieve yet?

3. It is surprising that any should have interpreted as a publication the statement (in the "Bible Treasury" for January, p. 205, col. 1) that a certain person had just written on the subject of Christ's Sufferings (14 November last). It is not usual to notify a book but a letter thus precisely. The fact stated is correct, and it is not without God's hand in it. How far it is in circulation by copies I know not; but I have seen two. Let me add that it exhibits the usual lack of plain honesty which characterizes both real heretics and those who would make others seem such who are sounder than themselves. It denies what the author is not accused of, and conceals what he really maintained. False itself in doctrine, it confesses that those who have of late been wrongfully charged with his views, he knows to be his strongest adversaries; and it presses the same error or ignorance as to Christ's sufferings which has been broached in other recent assaults.

4. A. F. (M., Ireland) will feel, the more he weighs both 1 Peter iii. 18 and the use of the word "spirits" in scripture, how harsh it is to deny it to the disembodied (angels and other purely spiritual beings being excluded by the nature of the case), and to predicate the whole phrase as a description of the state of the antediluvian unbelievers while alive. They are characterized as in prison, but there is no hint that they were so when preached to. The legendary view (which is not A. F.'s) fails also in moral connection and import. The judgment of all flesh at that time came in the flood; their spirits are in prison since, kept for a more solemn judgment in the resurrection of the unjust.

To Correspondents.

1867 336 The Editor is not able to inform C. B. C. who published the life of Mdme. de K., alluded to in the last Number of the "Bible Treasury," but probably any intelligent Swiss or French Protestant bookseller knows the book.

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A. B. may be assured that the course of education pursued in every university is highly objectionable. The classics are bad enough as the effusion of heathen mind; but the books of the day on metaphysics, logic, ancient history, and physical science, not to speak of theology, are even worse, as emanating from nominal Christians, who are nevertheless tainted deeply with rationalism and Pantheism, if not open Atheism. There is a decided return to the naturalism of Aristotle, which bodes ill for those exposed to it. Sir Wm. Hamilton, Messrs. Mill, Grote, Dr. Donaldson, etc., will illustrate what I say.

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To Correspondents.

1876 367  I am sorry to think that any should need a word of explanation on a phrase or two in page 319, col. i. Nothing I venture to say is farther from the author than denying the resting place of his soul, and the doctrine he has ever preached — the atoning death of Christ. This is not the question, but the value of "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit" as compared with "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Is not the one the expression of Christ's total abandonment by God on the cross for our sins? Does not the other equally convey His departure after this in perfect confidence in and dependence on His Father? Is this last the expression of God's judgment on sin? The author does not deny death in the fullest sense by speaking of Christ's passing through it in His soul; and when he speaks of its being "more than pure," the meaning is explained by what follows — "which has put away sin." Is this questioned? is it not more than pure? Pure it always was; now that He had thus died, it went to His Father more than pure, i.e., the witness of redemption already effected. And this was proclaimed to man in resurrection. Curt and abrupt phraseology I admit; but I repudiate the wicked imputation put on our brother's words. Even the greatest of inspired men presents things hard to be understood; is he to be blamed? or the Spirit who used him?