Observations on a tract entitled "Remarks on the Sufferings of the Lord Jesus: A Letter addressed to certain brethren and sisters in Christ by, by B. W. Newton."

J. N. Darby.

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The more the question treated in the following tract is weighed, the more important it will be found; and the doctrine taught in Mr. Newton's "Remarks" to be the destruction of the gospel of truth, and to subvert the foundations of Christianity. The denial that it is meant so to do is nothing to the purpose. Mr. Irving denied it just as stoutly; but a man's teaching is to be judged by what he teaches, not by his own opinion about it. What Mr. Newton teaches subverts the truth as to Christ. If he says it does not, it only proves that he does not know the truth which it clearly does subvert. The largest expressions of piety and holiness prove nothing. They were found in Mr. Irving's writings, and much most blessed and precious truth too: few writings could be named where there is so much. It is well known how widely Mr. Prince's books were circulated, how highly they were appreciated, and how many were supposed to be converted by him. Now all acquainted with the circumstances know the horrible blasphemies in which it all has ended. And now persons who examine the books judge that they find all through them the germ of the present horrors.

Now, as to the doctrine of the writer of the "Remarks," he states that Christ, associating Himself with man in the flesh at a distance from God, had to find His way to a point where God could meet Him, and which point was death under the wrath of God. Now if Christ was "obnoxious" to this wrath ("exposed" to it) from the place He was in, He could not bear it besides in a vicarious way for us. A man that has not himself incurred debts, but, being partner with one who has, is liable to them, cannot as surety in the way of kindness take them upon him. That is, vicarious suffering is set aside. If it be said that death under the wrath of God consequent on the distance man was at from God was wrath of chastisement, not vengeance, it is clear the whole truth of God as to man is set aside altogether. Was wrath of chastisement man's place in his distance from God? Was not condemnation, utter condemnation, his place? And what was death under the wrath of God as needful because in man's place? Is that only chastisement? But if Christ had this due to Him from His position, He could not also bear it for others.*

{*Irvingism taught that there was no personal sin in Christ, but that there was in the nature He took, so that He was exposed and liable to death.

Mr. N. teaches that there was no personal sin in Christ; and not that there was in His nature, but that He was liable to the consequences of it from His position in relation to God from the time He was born into the world. Both alike set aside the atonement.}

35 As to the nature of Christ's sufferings, there is another passage I would refer to.

The apostle desires that he might know the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death. Now we have here the nature of the sufferings of Christ even to death, not in the sense of vicarious sufferings. The apostle clearly could not desire to be obnoxious and exposed to wrath because of the position he was in at a distance from God. But in the devotedness of service in which, in denial of all will of his own, he found himself as acting for God, and manifesting Him in life and in word in opposition to the whole wickedness of man and power and malice of Satan, and in the suffering of that devotedness in love to them that were God's, he did desire to be made conformable to Christ by His grace. Now this came upon him from without, but it was weighed and realized in the Spirit of Christ beforehand within, so that all this suffering without was understood, and took its place in his mind from what was already spiritually there. Thus he was "pressed out of measure, above strength, so that he despaired even of life; but he had the sentence of death in himself, that he should not trust in himself but in God which raiseth the dead;" so, "always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may be manifested in his mortal body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal body." Here Christ's sufferings were not vicarious,* and such as we can seek fellowship with in the power of the Spirit of God according to our measure. That is not exposure to wrath from which a man by faith preserves himself. We get a clear view of what the sufferings of Christ are as in the world other than what was vicarious, and this even unto death itself.

{*So he speaks of filling up that which was behind of the sufferings of Christ for His body's sake, which is the church; the fruit of devoted love which brought him into them, not the effect of his relation to God inflicted by God upon him.}

36 As regards the statement from Mr. Bonar, it is obscure enough, as is also that on the application of the same type to the church, and in some respects certainly inaccurate. Such as it is, Mr. Newton's tract is much borrowed from it, and it is sufficiently obscure to furnish a handle to his doctrine. What the nature of it was, Mr. B. does not explain. But he does subsequently guard his statements, so as to secure himself from meaning what Mr. N. means. He says, "Chastisement* supposes sin; suffering does not, for Jesus suffered — nay, learned obedience by the things which he suffered." But chastisement does. "Some have, indeed, applied the word chastisement to Jesus also, for He was made perfect through suffering, and in the sense of passing through discipline, that He might know by experience our condition here, and be seen as the doer of the Father's will — the man that pleased not Himself, in this sense His sorrows might be called by that name; yet in no other." Now it is altogether another, to say that He was obnoxious and exposed to wrath in His relation to God as associated with us in the position we were in. That He experienced our condition here, every true Christian believes. But this is what Mr. N. says it was not; and that we never are in the position He was in under Israel's curse. Our discipline is in love; His under wrath and the curse.

The quotations from the "Words of Truth" are exactly the opposite of Mr. N.'s doctrine. Christ's being obnoxious to wrath along with the people, and so being glad at John's message, is precisely the opposite to His identifying Himself entirely with the condition of His people: His being baptized was taking their place. So in His really entering into the circumstances of man's condition. Blessed be God, He did. But Mr. N. distinguishes this from what he means, namely, inflictions by reason of the relation of God to Him who did so enter. Mr. Bonar, speaking of his knowing by experience our condition here, says, "in no other;" though he does speak so obscurely that Mr. N. himself says he could not use his expressions without defining them his own way. So defined, I have discussed their value in this tract. That is what we have to do with here. As to Mr. Bonar, I avow I do not understand, and therefore I do not condemn, him; I much doubt whether he understands himself, or ever defined to his own mind the sentiment he is expressing, and expressing in a way which is certainly not scriptural in its form; but he has entirely guarded himself against Mr. Newton's view. I may add, that other teachers of the school of the writer of the "Remarks," in borrowing also the expressions and sentiments of Mr. Bonar, have applied it to Christ Himself in a way that Mr. Bonar declares to be impossible. I refer to the chapter on purifying. The way in which statements of truth are made to sanction the teaching of error is shewn in page 25: — "If He was made to realize the distance into which man had wandered out of the presence of God," is sought to be sanctioned by "He must really enter into the circumstances of man's condition, into the misery and desolation in which man is, as wandering, yea, as departed from God" — two things as different as can well be.

{*This is the word chosen by Mr. N. to apply to Christ — wrath of chastisement, not of vengeance.}

37 It is important that the saints should well notice that the writer of the "Remarks" is speaking of actual inflictions from God due to man's sin but not vicarious; not of suffering, into the depths of which Christ surely entered. But these were "superadded inflictions from the hand of God." He shared "the fearful inflictions of God's broken law" — "inflictions in displeasure" — "inflictions because He was a man." These are often confounded, as in the last case, with the outward condition of man, as labouring in the sweat of his brow. But this is not all. "They depended upon His (God's) appointment." If He came under the special inflictions that had come on His own peculiar nation, He saw Israel's standing with all the terrors of that mountain arrayed against it. "God pressed these things on the apprehensions of his soul according to His own power and holiness." He is "speaking of the exercises of his heart from God; … not the spontaneous actings of His soul, but of the manner in which He was directly exercised of God." Thus, "in the Psalms … we find … not only the sufferings and reproach that pertained to Him as the appointed servant of God; but sufferings also which pertained to Him because He was a man, and because He was an Israelite;" and these, inflicted of God. He was "chastened by the hand of God," but not vicariously. That it is not vicarious, he says, "is very evident." Sufferings and direct infliction are often entirely confounded; but the reader must remember, while noticing the confusion, that that which the writer teaches is inflictions in wrath (as the curse of a broken law) directly from the hand of God — which are not vicarious but arising from His own relation to God — not by personal sin indeed, but by personal position.

38 How very remarkably is this contradicted by the word of God! This is the language of the godly remnant when they look on Him whom they pierced, as the truth of it is believed by the saint now. "Surely he hath borne our griefs [here He is associated with the people] and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed." How very plain and how very sure is the word of God, God be praised for it!

The writer's notion is the notion of Jewish unbelief. It did please Jehovah to bruise Him. There were sufferings by His appointment. He hath put Him to grief — "when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin." The whole chapter is an instructive commentary on, and reply to, the doctrine of the tract. He subverts the work of Christ.

I have yet another remark to make.

Mr. Newton has been sought to be justified by some of his friends, by citing a paper of his in the "Christian Witness." From having been so much abroad, I do not know who are the authors of several papers; but I take for granted this is his as stated. I have in consequence looked into it. It is a paper written against Irvingism. I judge that the germ of his present doctrine is clearly to be found there, and escaped the eye or the judgment of the editor.

The germ of the doctrine is clearly found in volume 2 page 113. But I can quite understand its being overlooked,* as it was a paper exposing a more evident and glaring heresy, and the subtlety of a new one was not expected to be found there; and it is stated in the form of insisting on Christ's personal holiness, and expressed in a general way so as easily to escape observation and be construed in a good sense, as being in the form of urging Christ's excellency against the horrible doctrine of Irvingism; and thus value for Christ carried the editor along with the statement, the evil being merely introduced in general terms by the by. Now that we have the heresy full blown, it is quite evident that the germ of it was there, and the writer unsound in the faith from the outset, though undetected. Often, indeed, strange and painful expressions were heard, but what is called charity told us not to make a man an offender for a word. They were rash.

{*Alas! I have discovered, since sending this to the press, that the true account of this is quite different. The matter containing this doctrine was not at all in the first edition, superintended by Mr. Harris. It was introduced into the second edition issued from the tract shop under the control of Mr. N., so that the "Witness" was made to accredit the doctrine unknown to the person originally responsible. The fact of the long time Mr. N. has held the doctrine remains unaffected, proving its systematised character.}

And oft while Wisdom wakes, Suspicion sleeps

At Wisdom's gate, and to Simplicity

Resigns her charge, while Goodness thinks no ill

Where no ill seems.

39 But the citation of this paper in the "Christian Witness" is the proof that it is no rash expression which ought to be forgotten, or which is distorted by want of charity. Those who cite it avow that it was taught as a principle when none suspected, and none opposed, nearly ten years ago. And so it was. No one can doubt it who reads the paper in question; and we can understand now the value of all the private teaching meetings at which other brethren who laboured in the word were not allowed to be present. It was at one of these, when, from peculiar circumstances visiting the house where it was held, I heard it taught that Christ had to be judged after His death like another man: a teaching which has been again recently propagated among the poor elsewhere. But no remarks questioning what was taught were allowed at these meetings; and hence other brethren of independent spiritual judgment were excluded.

But there is another very important point which results from this paper of the "Christian Witness," and shews the subtle and guarded way in which heresy and the work of Satan grow up. The doctrines of Mr. Newton were then checked by the presence of men sound in the faith, and he was obliged, therefore, to ally his doctrine with that sound faith. And in saying this, I dare say that the heresy which he has now put forth had not ripened in his mind; for Satan is behind all this, and does not alarm those he deceives and uses. In doctrine as in practice a man might say "Am I a dog that I should do this?" Deceivers are deceived by one cleverer than they. They are but tools in the enemy's hand.

Now, while the germ of the doctrine is very clearly in the paper in the "Christian Witness," the possibility of such an error as Mr. N. now holds is denied, and the doctrine which he repudiates now is stated to guard what he had said, so that suspicion would be further lulled; just as he had sought in the second tract, since his views have been exposed, to lull suspicion by expatiating on the cross. But he does not here in the least return to the statements of the "Christian Witness," but maintains the substance of his heresy in worse and stronger terms than before. Further, remark that, by quoting this paper, Mr. N.'s friends confirm and establish very distinctly and positively, that there is a special doctrine deliberately taught by Mr. N., and what that doctrine is, being already discoverable in his writings ten years ago.

40 I now quote from the "Christian Witness" to shew the way in which he then identified the sufferings in question with vicarious sufferings.

"All that the soul of a saint recognizes as true in the writings of Mr. Irving, respecting Christ being in 'that condition of being and region of existence which is proper to a sinner,' will be found to be altogether comprised in the fact of His being born under the curse of the exiled family vicariously incurred. But He rose out of this 'region' through the power of His own inherent holiness; and, therefore never would have come 'into that experience into [read, of] God's action which is proper for a sinner,' unless He had chosen to abide it* for the sake of others; and when He had chosen this, then it pleased the Lord to bruise Him, and to lay upon Him iniquity; a burden which He felt just as if it had been His own iniquity. Without having any sin, He was made to feel the consequences of sin, even so as to say, 'Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head, therefore my heart faileth me.' But this was not because 'He was in our region of existence,' but because He was pleased, whilst being there, to become the sin-bearer for others."

{*Note particularly here, that it is expressly stated that what Christ incurred as born was the curse of the exiled family, which He had to abide, as making atonement, when He was Himself risen out of it.}

Now this might well lead an unsuspecting mind to suppose that he was opposing the truth of Christ's vicarious suffering to Mr. Irving's heresy of sin in Christ's nature. Now, however, Mr. Newton declares positively that this was not vicarious. Not that He never would have come into that experience into God's action which is proper for a sinner, unless He had chosen to abide in it for the sake of others; and that when He had chosen this, it pleased the Lord to bruise Him, and to lay iniquity upon Him, applying the passages in the Psalms to this. It is not this that he teaches now; but that He did come, was exposed to it all, that is, to experience God's action proper to a sinner without being one, not vicariously; and that He preserved Himself from it by faith, prayer, and obedience.

41 The doctrine of the vicariousness of these sufferings was taught in the "Christian Witness," is denied in the recent tract. What he, still ten years ago, said never would have come, he now says He was exposed to.

The doctrine in the "Christian Witness" is absurd: born under a curse vicariously incurred is itself nonsense. Rising out of this region, that is, vicarious suffering, through the powers of His own inherent holiness, is far worse than nonsense, nonsense though it be; and then choosing to abide there for others, and then having iniquity laid upon Him. But the writer has relieved himself from the contradiction of His being born subject to the penalties of Adam's guilt, as a member of the family and yet vicariously incurring them; not by holding fast the truth he had associated with this, but by denying it, and leaving the pure unmingled heresy of wrath on Christ, which was not vicarious. But nothing can make clearer what the heresy is than this reference to the "Christian Witness" — guarded there by truth so as to make nonsense — now taught in its naked evil. It may be seen by this how accurately I have stated it, in comparing it in a note with Irvingism, page 53. The doctrine of the "Christian Witness" ought to have been detected perhaps by a discerning eye. For it is this: that Christ was obnoxious to wrath, "penalties to which He had become subject on account of Adam's guilt" — "born under the curse of the exiled family" — "God's action proper to a sinner" — "but He rose out of this region through the power of His own inherent holiness;" "He might have entered into life by Himself alone;" "He was able to enter into life by keeping the commandments" — "able to fulfil the law, and so rise above the penalties to which He had become subject on account of Adam's guilt." This is, we know, death under guilt and wrath, though He rose out of it,* the law being strong unto him — it was "unto him life" — as it is written, "If there had been a law given which could have given life, verily, righteousness should have been by the law." But He "preferred to lay down His life that He might take it again" — "He had chosen to abide it [God's action which is proper to a sinner] for the sake of others. When He had chosen this, then it pleased the Lord to bruise Him." He was then there, rose out of it, but chose to abide it. Now this ought to have been seen; it was covered by the word vicariously. This last is now denied. But the doctrine that Christ was obnoxious to the wrath due to Adam's guilt is most plain; the curse of the exiled family vicariously incurred is not earning His bread in the sweat of His brow, nor are sinless penalties vicariously incurred.

{*This teaches that He saved Himself from the curse of the broken law, to which He was subject, by keeping it Himself.}

42 Further, the article distinguishes three particulars which mark our condition as sinners: —

"First, Original or vicarious guilt imputed (or reckoned) tous on account of the transgression of our first parent.

"Secondly, Original sin or indwelling corruption.

"Thirdly, Actual transgression."

"The Lord Jesus was as free from indwelling sin as from actual transgression; yet, nevertheless, He was a member (so to speak) of the exiled family, and therefore was born subject to their penalties" — called lower down "the curse of the exiled family vicariously incurred." Under this "He was born," but He was able to rise above these penalties — He rose out of it. Now He was not, and did not, as regards labour and toil, and hunger and thirst, and weariness, which are called the sinless penalties. I repeat, the doctrine taught is perfectly clear. The recent tract only takes away the vicariousness.

I believe that what has been the instrument of ripening this terrible doctrine as to Christ, subversive as it is of the truth, is really the prophetic system of the writer. And in this way: he does not admit the existence of a Jewish remnant which has life, and which is consequently within the reach, and the immediate object, of the sympathies of Christ. Hence he is obliged to associate Christ in His condition with the sinful and rebellious nation, (and the consequence follows immediately,) instead of His being the gracious vessel of feeling, thought, and faith, for the believing remnant, in the position of which He did put Himself, and sympathy with which He perfectly has; though it must indeed, in its application, be based upon that in which He was alone — the atoning work which He wrought for them as for us. Psalm 16 shews this association. All their sorrow was His, and He enters into and associates Himself with it. He had that which was His own, whether bearing or feeling and anticipating the curse and the sin of others. But the means of falling into the error, though important as a guard to the saints, are nothing to the error itself, because the person, relation with God, and condition and work of Christ Himself, are concerned in it, and have been lightly sacrificed to these notions. The paper in the "Witness" shews that the principle has long been adopted by the writer of the tract.

44 Observations

I have now to turn to the publications on the sufferings of Christ; and first, of notes of a lecture by one of the teachers of Ebrington Street. Indignation at the destruction of everything that is precious in the truth and the glory of Christ Himself, and poignant sorrow that those I once knew well should be agents in it, contend in one's heart. But the very essence of the glory of the Lord and the foundation-truth of God, and mischief and ruin to souls, claim imperiously the warning that this teaching is the worst deceit and craft of Satan. The second publication, by Mr. Newton himself, only seriously aggravates the matter. It is not that there are not many truths, and precious truths, long taught by others; and, no doubt, he has corrected the gross outrage on truth found in the expressions of the first part. But precious truths put forward carefully for the purpose of introducing what undermines foundation-truth for the soul, without being suspected, is one of the surest marks of Satan's direct work Such is the case here. Mr. N. declares he cares for the cross, that it is the sacrifice for sin; but he refers in doing so directly to the matter of the tract Mr. Harris has printed. So that he does not, as he knows he cannot, deny that tract as to the doctrine taught in it (which came, indeed, from his own family, and was circulated by his friends) in Exeter, London, &c. The person from whom it came, residing in the house with him, was apprised that it would be kept, and stated that it was the substance of Mr. N.'s lecture correctly given. One can understand that he could not disown it, and that he dared not own it.

And now, one word as to the general principle of publishing such documents. I can understand that an honourable mind may shrink from the detection and exposure of evil and dishonourable means employed by evil men for propagating error. It is hard to touch pitch and not be defiled: I am glad to be spared it. But, for my part, I judge that the courage which is bold enough to do it is more to be respected than silence. A man manufactures poison and distributes it without avowing his name, and disseminates it assiduously in secret to destroy and ruin. It comes to the very house and family of those able to detect it. Is it evil, if the proof is clear of its character and origin, to shew what it is, and whence it comes? Is it not to be labelled because the poisoner, in order to facilitate his mischief, will not do it? Is not the character of what he produces to be made known, that people may be on their guard? Because he acts secretly and subtilly, am I to keep his secret, if, without any art or even seeking it, I have discovered it by the providence of God? No; I publish plainly what it is, and who it is.

45 I trust no one will seek to get at it by any art, but that every one will publish, or communicate to those capable of dealing with it, what falls into their hands by the providence of God, inculcated (as their doctrines are) in a way which itself demonstrates that the light is hated because the deeds are evil.

Let all be brought into the light. That which is upright will not fear it.

And now, to take up the doctrine. Any of us may err. Any of us much occupied by one side of a question may exaggerate it, and so fail in just truth. But there are certain things — a certain knowledge of Christ, which is a part of our life, our salvation, the glory of Him we love touch it, the whole soul is up in arms. If it be not, life is not there. The soul cannot, would not, dare not, bear that certain points should be touched. The soul is livingly roused, as if itself were touched and more. A surgeon may dissect and pull to pieces a dead body, but if a living one he may make mistakes — turn his knife wrong; but if he be a surgeon and knows what vital parts are, he dares not approach the danger of touching them, let his plans of operation be what they may. If he do, it is a proof he does not know what the vital parts are, or else that he means to kill. The ignorance of some things proves there is no knowledge of God. The woman that could quietly acquiesce in the division of the infant was plainly, to the eye of one taught of divine wisdom, not its mother: the tie of a mother's heart was not there. The first tract shews this in the things of God; the second still more (in the effort to save the writer's credit) — entire indifference to the truth and glory of Christ. He declares his value for things which not to value would discredit him; but fatal error is slurred and glossed over without a regard for the Christ it denies, and fatal ignorance of essential truth displayed. This I shall now shew, as a solemn warning to brethren, not to give heed to this seducing spirit. Had the second not been published, I might have left it simply to Mr. Harris's notes. But God has taken care that the second should come out, and that I should know nothing till it did, so as to be free to comment on what is authorized by the writer himself.

46 The system of the tract published by Mr. Harris is an elaborate and complete system, and undoubtedly, for the substance and system of it, Mr. Newton's.

This has been acknowledged by those to whom the notes belonged, when apprised that they would be kept.

Now, the system and principle of this is to present a third kind of suffering of Christ not vicarious — not His soul's entering into the condition of those amongst whom He was, and whose cause He had taken up, but suffering arising from God's relation to Him, and His relation to God, as being one of them: — "For it was not merely the sufferings He had because His soul entered into the condition of things around Him, but there was quite another question, the relation of God to Him while thus suffering. For a person to be suffering here because He serves God is one thing, but the relation of that person to God is another." "We there see [in the Psalms] what His relations to God were during those thirty years which passed before His baptism." "So Jesus became a part of an accursed people; a people who had earned God's wrath by transgression … so Jesus became obnoxious to the wrath of God the moment He came into the world. Accordingly we find many of the Psalms speaking of this."

Note here, it is not taking wrath nor being made sin: that the writer distinguishes: but God's relation to Him and His to God, not for personal sin, but as part of an accursed people. He was, in relative position, a child of wrath even as others. Mr. N. to clear himself may cite Hawker, and Hervey, and Witsius, as speaking of Christ being always vicariously subject to wrath. They may be wrong in this notion, but it is nothing to the purpose; they never dreamt of His being obnoxious to it otherwise than vicariously. Error as to the period of vicariousness has nothing to do with fundamental error as to the position of Christ Himself — His relation to God. They had no such thought as the writer whatever. Their names are a mere blind. "I do not refer," says the writer, "to what were called His vicarious sufferings." "He came to be baptized because He was one with Israel, was in their condition, one of wrath from God" — not, mark, His soul entering into the condition of things around Him, but His relation to God, and God's to Him. This was so much so, that "consequently, when He was baptized, He took new ground;" and "the moment He took that ground the Holy Spirit was sent down — God's seal was set upon Him. 'This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.'" "He found a new character of affliction as the servant of God."

47 "Observe, this is chastening in displeasure, not that which comes now on a child of God, which is never in wrath, but this rebuking in wrath to which He was amenable, because He was part of an accursed people: so the hand of God was continually stretched out against Him in various ways." "He felt the hand of the Lord rebuking Him in hot displeasure." "We do not read of such chastening after He began His ministry." "He was able to cure sicknesses and heal diseases, so that the last three and a half years were by far the happiest in His life, for He was not afflicted by the hand of God as before." All this is very distinct as a system; it is not a casual expression liable to be misconceived, but a well-matured system. In the new tract, the whole of which refers directly to the one published by Mr. Harris (p. 26), we find these two periods noticed among five into which the writer divides Christ's life, and he says, "It is the second and third of these divisions that I have been seeking to contrast."*

{*"He stood in a new position;" second tract (p. 23). "His (p. 22) baptism may be considered the great turning point in the life of the Lord Jesus … His life of service here … It was the introduction into the earth of the new economy of grace … If the soul of Jesus had realized, experimentally realized, and that too under the hand of God and to a degree that we little think, the fearful condition of Israel; if He had seen It, as it were, girt about by fiery indignation, and threatened by the full devouring power of that mountain of fire, blackness and tempest, under which they had been abiding." What kind of wrath was this — chastisement or vengeance? that which was supplanted by the new economy of grace at Jesus' baptism — "how joyful to His soul the sense of the introduction of new things!"}

All this is very clear: that He suffered during thirty years as part of a cursed people, and changed this position at John's baptism.

The next point is Gethsemane: "What gives the character to Gethsemane is weak humanity, and all the power of Satan allowed to be brought upon Him."

"I should regard this as the most terrible hour He ever passed through; we shrink from this more than from any other part of His history … He dreaded not the cross as He did Gethsemane!" What, I ask in passing, made Gethsemane terrible? What was the cup He had to drink? "When it was over, so conscious was He that the difficulty was surmounted, that He said to them, 'Sleep on now, and take your rest.' That is His word to the Church now: we may rest; the difficulties are over, and we may sleep on undisturbed in blessed and happy security and rest, for all is over now." What! before the atonement and the cross? "He dreaded not the cross as He did Gethsemane. The cross was the place where He was made distinctly the sacrifice for sin." The reader will see the contrast here between Gethsemane and the cross. They were two distinct objects of dread — Gethsemane the worst. They are distinguished as periods in the division into five (p. 26 of the second tract). Now, that Mr. Newton really owns this paragraph, is evident (p. 37 of the second tract). He there says, "But because I say that the end was virtually reached when Jesus delivered Himself up and was led unresistingly away, I do not on that account depreciate or undervalue that which remained actually to be done."

48 I shall just now consider why that, namely, humanity in weakness on the cross, was, in the garden, "firmness inconceivable to us, because perfect, such as can be found only* in God." But the question of the value of the passage I have quoted from the first tract, glossed over in the second, is discussed in the second, as that which Mr. N. recognizes as his. As again in (p. 33), the second tract, "It was the most terrible hour through which He had ever yet passed." Can any one doubt to what this alludes, adding the word "yet" to do away the effect? Now I say that no person taught of God in the foundation-principles of God's truth could say, that though the cross was the place where He was made distinctly the sacrifice for sin, Christ dreaded not the cross as He dreaded Gethsemane; for, though he may be forced to say the cross was a sacrifice for sin, such a statement makes it clear that the idea of the wrath of God does not exist in his mind, and that, having suffered what was not a sacrifice for sin, but a distinct character of suffering not vicarious, but weak humanity under the power of Satan allowed to be brought upon Him; that "Sleep on, take your rest" was His word to the Church now: "we may rest, the difficulties are over; and we may sleep on undisturbed in blessed and happy security and rest, for all is over now" — I say it is impossible one taught of God could say so, because it is not a question of difficulties but of atonement. The forsaking of God was not come; the subject of dread according to the writer was a distinct and more terrible one. The sacrifice for sin was not yet in accomplishment. Nothing vicarious was touched as yet. It was not anticipation of the cup according to the writer, but a distinct thing which Jesus dreaded, and which was over when Gethsemane was finished; and yet all was over, so that the Church was secure and at rest when the vicarious work of atonement was not begun! I say, no person to whom the faith of God's elect is precious, to whom the atonement of Christ is a reality and the centre of hope, could possibly have had such a thought, or (unless blinded of Satan) not have recognized that it was of Satan.

{*The principles of the two tracts are precisely the same. I have given the statements of the first tract, as shewing that the whole is a well-ordered system; but this quotation is from the second. The second says also, "the felt weakness of His humanity." I add here this monstrous statement as to Gethsemane from the second: "The danger that had approached so nigh the sleeping disciples, and which Jesus alone had appreciated, was driven away. A gulf unseen by them had yawned around them — but it was gone." What was gone? "His conflict just passed had given them deliverance from the danger that threatened them in Gethsemane … It [Jesus' will] had not wavered. And, therefore, was not Jesus justified in speaking [saying, Sleep on now] as if the end had been perfectly and fully reached? … If therefore, the danger that had just threatened was removed, and if that which He was then doing was to give them sure, unchangeable, peaceful security from all the power of Satan and of sin for evermore, why should He not regard them as those who had passed through their last dangerous storm, and who had virtually reached the haven. 'Sleep on and take your rest.'" What has their last dangerous storm to do with atonement? They could aid here, it is said? "'Sleep on and take your rest.' They are words not of upbraiding, but of comfort, or if anything like sorrow mingles with them, it is in the thought that the occasion was lost of aiding in a conflict such as that in Gethsemane had been … They might have prayed with Him in Gethsemane." So His seeking for sympathy and prayer from His disciples (tract 1, p. 18). He never sought their prayers. "Tarry ye here while I go and pray yonder." He certainly never sought their aid in a conflict where He found "the terrors of the Almighty set in array against him."}

49 Further, that Christ was obnoxious to wrath from His coming into the world as part of a cursed people, and changed His relationship to God at John's baptism, because he preached repentance and remission of sins, and the new economy of grace was introduced, and that He found relief in his message, so that, from the moment He took that ground, God's seal was set upon Him, "This is my beloved Son," and He ceased to afflict Him as obnoxious to wrath — is doctrine so destructive of the real human relationship of the blessed Jesus to God, so ruinous to His person, motives, and the path of Him who grew in favour with God, that no one who knows Christ could receive it for a moment.

That the writer means the relation Jesus was in is clear, for he speaks of His escaping much of it by prayer, faith, and obedience (p. 8, second tract), and extricated Himself out of it by His own* perfect obedience (p. 12); and, moreover, contrasts it in the first with His soul entering into the condition of others.

{*The statements of the writer are inconsistent and absurd enough. It was by the appointment of God and measured by that, and a positive infliction of God; yet, being from His birth obnoxious to it, He escaped a great deal by faith, prayer, and obedience. But it was His privilege and glory to have a great deal, and be chief in it. We, however, are never under Israel's curse, which this was. He extricated Himself out of this privilege by His perfect obedience, elsewhere by accepting John's message by a wise heart; and though measured by the appointment of God, and a dealing of the hand of God, yet there were "continual interferences of God in His behalf" to deliver Him from them. How truly those who depart from the faith and exercise their own mind in order to have a great appearance of knowledge, know not what they say, nor whereof they affirm! Nothing more strikes me, than the total absence of all divine teaching in all these statements. That total absence in the writer's teaching I have been fully convinced of now for several years.}

50 The writer talks of the privilege of suffering. There is no privilege in suffering under a curse not vicarious.

These statements, of which I can only give the briefest outline, would be impossible to any one to whom the reality of atonement was known, or the essence of truth clear. Being put out with pretension to entering deeply into the sufferings of Christ, and the literal acknowledgment of many truths which they undermine, they are evidently the work of Satan himself to destroy the truth, and to deny the Lord in His special work. The aim is evident; to set up service and sorrow in conflict in man above the great fact of atonement, in which we can have no part whatever (save our sins and the fruit in salvation).

But I shall now take up the second tract more directly, though briefly. For while glossing over many of the grosser statements* of the first, they save them for those who have received them, while they seek to save the writer's credit with those who have not. This is always the way with a seducing spirit. The first tract had gone too fast, had been seen and detected, and then, not withdrawn, but, while it worked, the credit of the system was to be saved, and confidence (ruined by the first) sought to be regained. But it could not be attempted to deny directly the first, nor has it been done in the second: some things it must be sought to back out of.

{*The reckless upsetting of truth as to the person of Christ by other teachers of this school, may be guessed by a lecture on John 15, where it was taught, that there were things in Christ which needed to be removed, and that, therefore, the Father used the pruning knife as to Him. Happily the hearers were guarded enough of God for it to strike and alarm them: the lecturer was spoken to, and it was of course explained away. The way in which the doctrine of the tracts used to be taught at Plymouth (for it is nothing new), was that Christ was a constituted sinner subject to death, and worked His way up to life. But not being in writing, it was hard, as regards others, to verify it. See Introduction, as to the "Christian Witness," however.}

51 Whereas in the former the periods were doctrinally distinguished in the nature of their sufferings, now His sufferings, because He was an Israelite, cannot be restricted to the years of His public service. Thus the grosser form of the error is obviated, for he does not, in this expression, get on to a new ground and position by John's baptism of repentance and remission, so as to be sealed; but the substance of the error rests, and though thus apparently set aside by the word "restricted," it is fully set up again (p. 23), where it is declared, that the difference of Christ's dispensational relation is illustrated by that of Sinai and Zion (the place of the Church of the firstborn). I have not attempted to go through the tortuous contradictions of error. They abound in the tract. They are convenient for partisans; because, while error is propagated by one statement, if detected, it can be denied by the other. (See the quotation also from p. 22, in a previous note.) He is obnoxious to wrath which is not vicarious, by reason of His own relation to God, such as He was, born part of an accursed people. Now how did being obnoxious to wrath in His own relation to God shew His perfectness? His conduct under it we may suppose did — were such a thing possible. It is the obnoxiousness to wrath in Him as soon as He was born into the world, a position out of which He had to extricate Himself, that is the point pressed by the writer of the tract.

And here let me notice what is believed by all.

Not only are the vicarious sufferings of Christ owned by every true Christian, but that He suffered also as the righteous One on the earth. The reproaches of those that reproached Jehovah fell on Him. He suffered being tempted, having come in grace, the sinless One, into our position. His holy nature, sinless and untouched by Satan; still as a man, suffered being tempted. His soul entered in the fullest way into the condition of sorrow and distress in which sin had plunged man, and Israel too, especially. In all their affliction, in this sense also, He was afflicted. His heart, fully feeling, entered into the fullest depths of it, so that under the sense of it He could groan deeply in spirit. Not only so: it is evident that He anticipated the trial and suffering of death to which He was to be subject. By the grace of God He tasted death, and we know that He felt it beforehand, not only from the Psalms and the solemn sufferings of Gethsemane, but from His own words, "I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened until it be accomplished!" He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And here note, Christ, because it was His soul entering into it, could go to the full depths of all this, unspared, and unsparing Himself. It was sinless grace and perfectness of love, which, having brought Him into this condition, made Him enter into it in all its fulness, and shrink from none of it. It became the divine majesty, seeing He had placed Himself there, to lead Him through the sufferings suited to this position; that is, it was fitting He should suffer.

52 Hence our souls, though unable to estimate it, can understand its perfectness, and in spirit pass adoringly with Jesus into the midst of His sorrow: nay, it is our privilege to enter into that part of His sorrow — His holy sorrow — which flowed from sinlessness and love, from service in spirit and knowledge of the mind of God in the midst of sin, to have the fellowship of His sufferings. His death itself can and is to be viewed in this light also, looked at as coming from man, and even Satan, however far this may be from being all that is found there, as indeed it is.

But the writer takes entirely different ground — ground which bases the sufferings of Christ on an entirely different principle. He speaks of sufferings. not into the depths of which He entered as the holy One, but of wrath, to which He was obnoxious by reason of the position He was in, from which God interfered to deliver Him, from which He extricated Himself by perfect obedience, so that He never felt the whole of it. It was the curse of a broken law He was under by position, not vicariously, without conflict with wicked men, not by the contradiction of sinners endured in grief by a holy soul, which it is our privilege to endure too for His and righteousness' sake, but what it was no privilege to endure, and no profit either; for if it was to be endured for the profit of others, how could He extricate Himself from it, and be preserved from suffering it all by the interference of God in comforting Him? It lay upon Him, and not vicariously, as that which it was well for Him to get out of as a curse not vicarious. Is it not sufficient to present this to the soul of a saint, for him to see that it subverts the faith of God's elect? It is not the true Christ of God, the Holy Thing born of Mary, that we have here, but one who participates, not by grace but by birth, in the curse, the fruitless curse which is fallen on man by reason of sin — not One who has taken the place in grace, for He extricates Himself from it, but one who is in it under the curse of the law by dire necessity of position. The substance of the truth of Christ's holy person is set aside, and His taking the curse on Himself is set aside, the two cardinal truths of the gospel of grace; and hence we shall find that all is confusion on these subjects, as it must be where the substance of the truth is lost, and the use of the Psalms as untrue and unfounded as possible. Under pretence of presenting the sufferings of Christ in a new and important point of view, the whole grace of them is lost; and, instead of in grace entering into the depths of the sorrows and suffering, whether of man or of Israel in their position before God — His soul entering into all the full depth of it in full purpose of soul without the least sparing, that, His soul knowing all, our souls might know His love had entered into all, and find its power there — it is a condition He is in necessarily by position as under a curse which He prays against, extricates Himself from, and is saved from enduring the full extent of, God interfering to deliver Him. I have already given the quotations which expressly teach this.*

{*The reader may see page 8 of the "Remarks," pages 12, 16, &c.}

53 It is in vain to present other truths to make good the writer's orthodoxy. It is a mere blind. They are not the truths in question. On the point which the tracts teach, the truth of God is subverted. It is not a true Christ which is taught there. Nor does Christ enter fully into our sorrow, for He is spared it, and extricates Himself from it.

I now refer to some points in the second tract, shewing the entire confusion on the subject of suffering and wrath, whether from intention or ignorance I do not pretend to say, but which, at any rate shew, if it be ignorance, fatal ignorance as to Christ Himself. (pp. 3, 4.) "Had He been a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, having drunk of that cup which Job and Jeremiah had tasted before." What cup was Jeremiah (though suffering, as Christ Himself did, under the outward consequences of Israel's evil), as a prophet in his Lamentations by the Spirit of Christ drinking? The cup of sorrow in sympathy. His soul entered into Israel's sorrow in love by the Spirit of Christ. But this the writer of the tract says is quite another question from Christ's sufferings from God's relation to Him. But what were Job's sorrows? Were they not personal discipline — Satan let loose at himself? It was no suffering on account of others: he was the occasion of his own sorrow (I do not speak of any type now), and confessed himself, when he saw God, a sinner, and repented in dust and ashes. Was "the interpreter, one among a thousand," shewing to man his uprightness, so that God restored him, saying, "I have found a ransom," to be applied to Christ as one who needed a ransom? or could Elihu speak to Christ in any sense as he did to Job? and did not Elihu much more represent Christ than Job? That Christ voluntarily took Job's case, looked at as a typical sufferer, may be also admitted, His soul entering into it; but this is distinguished as another thing by the writer — it is His own relation to God.

54 Again, what was the nature of the wrath? In the first tract it is left as but displeasure and terror, quoting Psalms which evidently do go as far as possible in the wrath of God, as Psalm 88. Here it is attempted to be distinguished as wrath, as chastisement from wrath in vengeance. It is not chastisement in love* as we have it; it is not vicarious suffering; it is wrath on Israel, the consequence of sin. Now what is it the writer refers to as that which had-fallen upon Israel? Not the process of government which accompanied the law, and formed terms under which Israel held certain blessings. They were already Lo-ammi indeed under that. Messiah could be presented to them according to the promise of Deuteronomy in grace, if indeed their hearts, under whatever affliction, turned back to the Lord and to obedience; but in this respect Christ presented Himself to them as a witness and a prophet, and their heart was as the nether millstone. But what is the position of Israel to which the writer refers? "They had earned, by their disobedience, the fearful inflictions of God's broken law."** Mark that. Did Christ take that not vicariously? And what is meant is clearly stated enough: "for it had been said, Cursed is he that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them (Gal. 3:10)"!! I repeat: Did Christ take this place otherwise than vicariously?

{*This, after all, is confusion, for, as a nation, the iniquity of Israel is declared to be purged by the chastisement which she has received at the hand of the Lord, "double for all her sins."}

{**So page 23: "The difference between Sinai the mountain of blackness, and Zion the mountain of light, and grace and blessing, the place of the Church of the firstborn, might be used to illustrate the difference between the two dispensational positions held by the Lord Jesus in the midst of Israel previous to His baptism, and that which He dispensationally and ministerially took when anointed by the Holy Ghost." That Christ was born under the law, and, being sinless under it, was not obnoxious to wrath, and that He took its curse on the tree: that scripture teaches. But that He was obnoxious to wrath under it by identification with Israel, and the relation He was in to God thereby, is unknown to scripture. That relation is vengeance, certain inevitable vengeance: as many as are of its works, as mere men, are under its curse, which is vengeance. Christ, exempt from that, took it on Himself. That there were curses written in the law which were come on the people, as recited by Daniel, is unquestionable, and that Christ's soul entered into the sorrow of them. But that is not the question; and, to reduce the curse of a broken law to the level of this, and cite Galatians 3:10 as referring to it, only shews that the bearing of the apostle's teaching, the light which the rent veil has cast on the true extent of the curse of the broken law, does not enter at all into the mind of the writer. What is Sinai's mountain of blackness in the eye of the apostle, if it be not condemnation and death, even in spite of the grace in government introduced by the mediation of Moses? For it is the law after, and in spite of this, which is spoken of in 2 Corinthians 3. As if to heap inconsistency on inconsistency, though it is useless to point all of them out, especially when far more solemn things are in question. the place of the Church of the firstborn, used, in page 23, to illustrate Christ's place after John's baptism and the anointing which followed, is declared, in page 31, not to have been His place during His ministry. "Man was yet in his distance from God. There was as yet no glorified humanity on the right hand of the throne of God," &c. "The mighty power of God [in resurrection] not yet put forth; the Spirit, not yet become the unfolder and seal [of things to come], &c.; and Jesus, as man, was associated with this place of distance, in which man in the flesh was, and He had, through obedience, to find His way," &c. And note here, this goes on to the cross. Where, then, is all the grand difference on John's baptism, illustrated by a change from Sinai to the place of the Church of the firstborn? Is it not pitiable to see souls bewildered and misled by such things, under the pretence of deep knowledge? In page 16 of the first tract it is said, that Christ's place, during the time of His ministry is granted to us, and that we never come under the curse of Israel, which was His first place; in page 31 of the second — during His ministry on earth, He came into a place dispensationally lower than that into which He has now brought His Church. If we are not in the first condition, and not in the second, it is hard to tell how Christ is an example If it be said: As man (here, page 31, referred to the place He took in ministry after all), He is associated with man at a distance from God, which is said not to be our place at all. On the last paragraph I have referred to, I shall comment on its own account. But how, in this confusion, is Christ lost to those under this instruction? Thus at sea, with Jesus not really known, they are a prey to any thoughts imposed upon them. But my object is not to shew the confusion, and leave souls in it to fly in despair they know not where, but to shew the very distinct, positive, deadly error insisted on in the midst of this confusion into which the soul, lost in it, falls, having no true knowledge of Christ to keep them.}

55 In Galatians 3 there is not a semblance of security, not an appearance of reference to Christ's life or identification as obnoxious to God's wrath with Israel from the moment of His birth, a position changed by His taking the place Israel ought to have taken under John's repentance and remission. "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." Nothing can be simpler, or more blessed for us in grace, perfect grace. It is the simplicity that is in Christ. But what becomes of the distinction of vengeance and chastisement, or what the meaning of the inflictions of God's broken law according to Galatians 3:10? Was what they had earned by disobedience under the curse of God's broken law inflictions of chastisement? The writer adds: "Inflictions consequent upon this [this follows immediately the citation of Gal. 3:10] had long begun to operate both on individuals in Israel, and upon the nation as a whole." "Consider the sufferings of the prophets: the chastenings and sorrow of Ezekiel." It is then added, "One thing at least in this list of woe — He must be allowed to have experienced in no ordinary degree — toil unrecompensed by results." Was this — the curse of the broken law according to Galatians 3:10? It is sorrow in service, which the writer has distinguished, as he has the soul entering into the condition of the people, from Christ's relation to God as identified with them. Sinless penalties have nothing to do here: no one questions Christ underwent them; but that is not the sense of Galatians 3:10.

56 I will now refer to some of the Psalms which are quoted to shew Christ's sufferings in them, and we shall see if they are not connected with the contradiction of sinners, that is, with His service in respect of them and suffering from them; not His relation to God as being in the same place with them; ending (after faithfulness through it all) with their outwardly getting the mastery over Him, and therein (because making atonement) being left to them and forsaken of God. Whereas, the remnant of Israel in the latter days, to which much refers in the sympathy of Christ, will for the most part be delivered as others had before. They had trusted in God and been delivered; whilst the enemy could taunt Him with trusting in God, and not being delivered.

In Psalm 6 itself, we find the contradiction of sinners, and reaching onward in spirit to death, not a common relationship along with them to God, of wrath to which He was obnoxious, and inward visitations of God in common with wicked Israel:* only there is no present deliverance.

{*See Remarks, pages 14, 22, and many other passages. This sixth Psalm, as I shall shew, entirely contradicts the writer's theory, for its appeal is "for thy mercies' sake."}

57 "Mine eye is consumed because of grief, it waxeth old because of all mine enemies. Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity, for Jehovah has heard the voice of my weeping. Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed." Here the Lord, looked at in His connection with Israel, is oppressed by wicked enemies, and cries to Jehovah against them. Death staring Him in face, He prays, entering as He does in spirit into the deserts of Israel as identified with the saints in the earth, the excellent, not to be rebuked in anger; as elsewhere not to shut up His soul with the blood-thirsty; the providing,* having entered into it, for the comfort of the faithful of Israel in the latter day. So in Psalm 7 ** this contradiction of sinners is fully brought out. For thus it was. The Lord ordered*** that certain persons should be in trial and oppressed, that they might be fit vessels of Christ's Spirit, who alone could enter into all sorrow. The expression of what was true perhaps of them as to sin became suited to Christ as entering in spirit, in grace, into the condition of Israel in the remnant — fully and entirely entering into it, not escaping or extricating Himself from it as naturally under it by position — and thus providing most blessed instruction as to Him for us, and what shall instruct and sustain the remnant of Israel as of His spirit prophetically, when really in the circumstances and state and guilt which He entered into in spirit.

{*Not extricated Himself out of it.}

{**The same thing is found in Psalm 26 very distinctly.}

{***Not as the only reason, but He so ordered it.}

And here remark, that if it be not Christ entering into it in spirit, or vicariously, these Psalms go a great deal too far; for they do not merely speak of relationship to God, but of actual guilt and sin.

See one of the very psalms quoted by the writer of the tract as being Christ's condition — His relation to God: "There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger [this would be taken as a proof by the writer of His position, but it is added], neither is there rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over my head: as an heavy burden, they are too heavy for me." Now this is not relationship, nor position, nor sinless penalties. Either Christ is speaking as charging Himself with the iniquities, or His soul is entering into their condition, both of which the writer says it is not; or in some way Christ must be responsible for iniquities otherwise than vicariously. According to the writer Christ was not in this condition after His baptism, but often before, referring to this very Psalm. And mark, it is not what is earned in the way of punishment which is spoken of here (that may be understood); nor merely of the anger and hot displeasure (the same terms as in the sixth), but He speaks of Himself as involved in what earned it. That He can thus take it on Himself for the remnant, the full consequence of which was the cross, is readily accepted and understood; but that it was a position out of which He extricated Himself, and God interfered to spare and relieve Him, is nonsense indeed, but nonsense which destroys the whole truth as to Christ. And note here further, that He is in the presence of active enemies seeking His life.

58 Many psalms answer to this. And as further explanation of this we have Psalm 40, where the testimony of Christ in the great congregation is declared to have been delivered in faithfulness on God's behalf; and after that He declares Himself in the very condition out of which He is said to have emerged on entering into this ministry, His whole state being changed from Sinai to Zion: "For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head; therefore my heart faileth me." So also we find Him in presence of His enemies.

Cry there was — but it was well seen here, that it was a longer patience and a better deliverance than John's baptism — and a testimony which only made the clouds gather darker and darker around Him, till the forsaking of God upon the cross closed the scene that the Lord speaks of in this Psalm. Yet we have the very same elements as before and His heart failing Him.

In Psalm 18 the reader will find the way in which Christ, as in this trial, takes up the whole history of Israel from Egypt to their final deliverance, as based on this cry and suffering of His, just shewing Him in all their affliction afflicted — not under curse of law (for it begins before law); but as interested in the people who derive their deliverance from enemies, evil, and oppression, from the cry of Him who was pleased in grace to identify Himself with them and undertake their cause — afflicted in all their affliction. That His perfect obedience was available to this — and this integrity He pleads often — that He went to the full depths of the consequences and cause in the sorrow of His heart (not escaping it, I repeat, for His own sake, as the writer states), is most true, and most blessed; but this is not what is allowed.

59 It is for the writer a personal suffering, though not personally deserved, to which He was obnoxious from position, which He was partly spared through obedience and from which He emerged by John's baptism. And note, this as a system, is fully confirmed by the second tract, though the expressions are modified, and the writer hardly knows what to say: for, in the second tract, it is illustrated by the change from Sinai to Zion. And yet he speaks to get rid of the abominableness of the system of its not being restricted to His ministry. How is a Sinai-state not restricted to a Zion-state illustrated by that of the Church of the firstborn? But it is the thing itself, restricted or not, which is the grand evil. Whatever Christ took of the curse of Sinai He neither escaped in part by prayer, obedience, and faith, nor extricated Himself from.

I turn now to the difference of Gethsemane and the cross, not to repeat any of the remarks of Mr. Harris, but to notice what is in the second tract. The first was too bad, too grossly offensive to every christian mind, too plain a proof that the idea of the curse and wrath Christ endured there was wholly wanting. To say that Christ was a sacrifice for sin, but that Gethsemane was more terrible though there He was not, was too open a denial of the reality of the atonement to be allowed to pass, or not to discredit any one that wrote or even circulated it. Hence in the second tract all this is carefully modified and explained. To say, as some advocates of Mr. Newton do, that the second tract, does not refer to the first is too flagrant an imposition on common sense, and the direct and positive evidence of the tracts themselves, to do anything more than excite pity. But it is a part of the same system. The sorrows of Gethsemane are dwelt upon in the terms for the most part in which Christians sound in the faith have spoken of them, as if that was the full force of the statement of the first tract; and, instead of "the most terrible hour He ever passed through," we have "the most terrible hour through which He had ever yet passed;" and then we are told "that the unequalled hour of pressure was indeed still to come; for that was on the cross. Yet on the cross He seems to have manifested no feelings such as these. There was no such bloody sweat — no such development of agonized human sensibilities. Observe, I say, development. I know well that the hour of the cross was an unequalled hour," &c. Why then were there no such feelings? "And yet how peculiarly calmness and strength mark the whole period of the crucifixion. His care for His mother; His reply to the supplication of the thief; … all these … mark also the incarnate God … In Himself alone power of sustainment was — for He was God, and therefore He endured … The divine character of the human sufferer is thus made very prominent on the cross; just as the human character of the same Sufferer is made, I think, prominent in Gethsemane. Even that Psalm, which is so peculiarly the Psalm of the cross, and commences with the cry of His most bitter anguish, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' concludes with thanksgiving," &c.

60 Such is the attempt to undo the effect of the horrible statements of the first tract. It contradicts the statements of the first tract clearly enough, while referring plainly to them, and adopting the substance of the principle. But how low must that soul be fallen which can give garbled statements as to the cross itself, and the infinite and sacred sufferings of the Holy One there, when He made His soul an offering for sin, in order to save its own credit and character! Was there no shame, no pang in the writer's heart, when penning all this? Alas! alas! and alas! for those, that for the credit of a man, amiable as the feeling may be, can sacrifice, ay, one sorrow, or one feeling of the blessed and holy Jesus. I pity the man that is not revolted and indignant at these tracts.

The writer has changed "weak humanity and all the power of Satan allowed to be brought upon Him" into "the felt weakness of His humanity, with the terrors of the Almighty set in array against them." But in this even he is in error; for He was praying to His Father in full communion with Him, with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death. The hour was that of wicked man and the power of darkness. He anticipated death. The power of it was on His spirit in prospect, but the cup was not then drinking; it was His Father's ascertained will that He should drink it. In this sense it was not the time in which the terrors of the Almighty were in array against Him, that is, as from the Almighty Himself.

And hence it was, according to the system of the tract, what He had often suffered before, instead of being a distinct position (see pp. 10, 19), when through "many years of sorrowful experience" before the mission of John Baptist, He could feel and say, "I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up; while I suffer thy terrors, I am distracted. Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off. They came round about me daily like water; they encompassed me about altogether." So that the terrors of the Almighty set in array were not, according to the writer, peculiar to Gethsemane. Here, however, we are told that the experiences of Gethsemane were not assigned to Him by God till the great appointed time (p. 33).

61 But as to the cross, it was a time of calmness and strength, because the incarnate God was there. That Divine power and nature sustained Him everywhere, and there especially, yet so as to enable Him to endure not to screen Him, had been said, by those from whom the writer has borrowed it, long before him. But here it is used to put the cross as a place of "strength," in contrast with Gethsemane as a place of weakness.

Frightful, really, is it to read their efforts — frightful almost thus to discuss the cross, instead of its awakening the adoring feelings of a heart that bows at the thought of the blessedness of Him who endured it. But let us turn to scripture. Blessed be God, it meets every error, let it be ever so guarded or subtilly put, or shrouded in beautiful forms of thought. Is the cross a place of strength according to scripture? "He was crucified through weakness, but he liveth by the power of God." What is the statement of the first tract as to this very event? "For example the veil was rent." — We know that was His flesh in death. "It was of purple, and scarlet, and fine linen; but nothing that could not be rent was intertwined in it, and this is strictly preserved through all the types, that we may never mingle the thought of Divinity with the humanity of the Lord Jesus."

Now, He is so sustained by the Divinity, that there are no such agonized human sensibilities — sustained by the divine nature in Himself. It is the divine character of the human sufferer which is prominent, so that strength marks the whole period of the crucifixion. And when the thought, which would instantly suggest itself as the reply to every holy soul, comes into the mind, on recalling "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" — is that the divine character of the human sufferer, His saying that God has forsaken Him? — it is sought to elude it (I am ashamed to write the word) with, it "concludes with thanksgiving." This is really worse than error. What can one think of one who can reason thus?

Brethren, it is the cross, the atonement, the foundation of our faith — the sufferings of Jesus we are speaking of. Can you rest under or endure for a moment the work of Christ being thus trifled with? Did the thanksgivings come before the atonement and work of expiation was over? Could Christ declare God His Father's name to His brethren before the offering was accomplished which made it a declaration of righteous love? You know He could not. Was this declaration a testimony to Christ's being calm and full of strength on the cross as a divine character while enduring the wrath, so that there was no development of agonized human sensibilities similar to Gethsemane?

62 But I turn to the psalms which speak of His death — the psalm and psalms of the cross. First, Psalm 22 — I shall copy a large part of it; and it is well to refresh one's spirit with the truth, instead of contending against error.

"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on Jehovah that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. But thou art he that took me out of the womb … Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me; strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me; the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. But be not thou far from me, O Jehovah: O my strength, haste thee to help me."

Is this the self-sustaining and divine character of the human Sufferer, giving calmness and strength, marking the whole period of the crucifixion: this which is indeed so peculiarly the psalm of the cross? Is it not evident that the forsaking of God, as to the condition of His soul, crowned the sorrow and accomplished the holy dread of One whose soul was poured out already like water, His heart melted like wax in the midst of His bowels?

63 Take again Psalm 69, also a psalm of the cross.

When they gave Him gall for His meat, and in His thirst vinegar to drink: — "I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty." The Lord then refers to His zeal and faithfulness for God, and righteous and gracious dealings towards men, and continues, "Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink … Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." And afterwards, "But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high."

The Lord, as a man, did never indeed go out of the perfect position of dependence, not even on the cross. What distinguished that was, as we have seen, not only that men, His enemies, were lively, but that that dependence, while His soul was an offering for sin, was not, and could not be, answered. This was infinite sorrow as well as expiation.

Psalm 102 may also be referred to: "He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days." But these amply suffice. Ought they to be needed?

There is another statement here also which really sets aside all the previous efforts to save the doctrine taught in these tracts from the charge of falsifying the very relationship of God with Christ, by distinguishing His being under the wrath of chastisement and the wrath of vengeance. The whole career of the Lord is thus described, page 31 (all being put together, the dispensational position of Christ and the wrath and curse of God in vengeance): "Man was yet in his distance from God … Jesus, as man, was associated with this place of distance in which man in the flesh was; and He had through obedience to find His way to that point where God could meet Him as having finished His appointed work — glorify Him, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places: and that point was death — death on the cross — death under the wrath of God."

Now that Jesus as captain of our salvation, a place He had taken in voluntary grace, was exposed to suffering and trial, arising from the place He had taken amongst us, every Christian recognizes; but that is not the point here. The writer's doctrine is, that from the moment He came into the world He was obnoxious to a wrath which He escaped in part by prayer, faith, and obedience.

64 Now here "man was yet in his distance from God," and "Jesus, as man, was associated with this place of distance in which man in the flesh was." Now His having personal sin is not the question here. The writer is not charged with saying that; and hence his clearing himself of that is clearing himself of nothing at all.

What was the place of distance in which man in the flesh was? What was due to it? Was it not condemnation? Christ was there by association. He was in this place; not as made an offering for sin, not vicariously, but by association.

The doctrine of truth is, that, perfectly acceptable and accepted in His person and sinless under the law, He was made sin, and by one offering, offered without the gate, perfected for ever those that are sanctified — a sin-offering once for all. The doctrine of the writer of the second tract is, that Christ was personally sinless indeed, but was associated as man with the place of distance in which man in the flesh was. Not as earning His bread in the sweat of His brow: that is not the meaning of the distance from God of man in the flesh." "He had through obedience to find His way to that point where God could meet Him as having finished His appointed work — glorify Him, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places: and that point was death — death on the cross — death under the wrath of God." Can anything be plainer than this? Is this wrath of chastisement? Is death on the cross — death under the wrath of God — the meeting-point obtained for man at a distance from God, because the appointed work was finished — is that chastisement, or wrath due, in the full sense, to man as in the flesh and at a distance from God?

This, then, according to the writer, was Christ's place. Not He who knew no sin made sin, but from the beginning of His life finding His way through obedience out of a place of wrath naturally due to man as at a distance from God, and which was not reached till it arrived at death under wrath. But there He was from the beginning. It is idle, then, to speak of appointment of God as to the extent of His sufferings, not merely because it contradicts God's alleged interference to deliver Him from them; but because His position was the position of man at a distance from God. What had God appointed? What, by the very nature of God Himself, was the necessary result of that? Hence it is not merely terrors as an occasional thing which might reach His Spirit: He was associated with man's place of distance, and therefore under wrath for sin. When He said, Mine iniquities are gone over my head, it was the place He was in (for man was there), not vicariously: He had to extricate Himself out of it,* to escape what He could by faith, and obedience, and prayer, "to find His way to that point where God could meet Him as having finished His appointed work" — that is, "death under the wrath of God."** He was under this wrath then all the time in His relation to God in the position He had taken — not vicariously, but by association. It is another gospel, which is not another; for death under the wrath of God is not here itself vicarious — not the bearing of the sins of His redeemed — but finding His way, by reason of the position He was in Himself, to that point where God could meet Him as having finished the work which death on the cross, due to the position He was Himself in, closed. It is not (as Irvingism) that He partook of sinful nature, so that He was obnoxious to wrath as such; but it is that He was from His birth, by the position which He took as man, Himself at a distance from God. Not that He bore sins and took wrath on the cross: it was His own position; out of which He had to find His way to that point where God could meet Him, which point was death under wrath, which is what indeed is due to man in the flesh at a distance from God — the place where Christ always was.

{*Page 12, Second Tract.}

{**Page 31, Second Tract.}

65 If any man has a respect for Christ, or the fear of God; if any man values the essential truth of the gospel, he will flee from such teaching as from a serpent, and much more earnestly. "Cease, my son, to hear the instruction which causeth thee to err from the words of knowledge."

I warn every saint, that it is destroying Christ in what is most essential — subverting the gospel — the error of the enemy himself. Souls may be foolish enough to go and ask him who teaches such things, does he mean to do this? Of course he will say, No The answer is: I have no need to ask him; I know he does it. I have read his own authentic publication — a publication professedly put forth to clear up his views, because of circumstances which have arisen. This proves, in the fullest way, that he does subvert it. I know well that this is the doctrine that has been habitually taught: that Christ was a constituted sinner, and under death, and worked His way up to life. But it would have been hard to catch flying words.* God has taken care that the doctrine should be printed and published. Every one now who countenances them is answerable to God for the doctrine and for the souls that may be ensnared by it; and therefore it is that I speak plainly of it, as the teaching of a seducing spirit contrary to God. With the motives of those who teach it I have nothing to do — there may be seducers and seduced. The point is to guard souls against the teaching itself, and to warn them against those who teach it.

{*Very recently, a brother under the teaching of this system stated that Christ had to be judged, after His death, like another man. This alarmed a brother who heard it, and he spoke of it. The circumstance struck me much, because I had myself heard Mr. N. teaching this from Hebrews 9 at least five years ago, or more, at a private teaching meeting at which I happened, as just arrived at the house where it was held, to be present. I spoke about it, on going out, to Mr. Harris, who was present, with astonishment; but said nothing about it at the meeting, as Mr. Newton never could bear anything to be called in question. I supposed it was some rash view or statement; and as I did not (though unsatisfied by his teaching, and already miserable at the state of things) suspect any design or system of doctrine, I went no farther than to speak of it anxiously to Mr. Harris. There is daily more of this extraordinary teaching coming out since attention has been drawn to it, but I advert no farther to the particulars here. The ground of this was, that, as it was appointed unto men once to die and after that the judgment, Christ being a man, these things were for Him too. The same ground was stated in the recent case referred to.}