The Slain Lamb
A LECTURE DELIVERED BY R. ROBERTS IN THE TEMPERANCE HALL, BIRMINGHAM, ON FRIDAY JULY 29th, 1873
In reply to one given in the Renunciationist Interest* the Previous Evening
THIS meeting is necessitated by that which took place last night. As to some things which took place at the close having an untoward appearance, I would say, judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. Paul turned upon Elymas the sorcerer, with an emphasis apparently inconsistent with that meek and quiet spirit recommended under ordinary circumstances. We read also of Jesus being frequently stirred to anger by the perversity of subtle and hypocritical foes. Little wonder, then, if in our own weak days, under the goading presence of many evil circumstances, there should be a departure from that perfect equanimity which it is desirable at all times to observe. (Further references to the personal frictions of over thirty years ago are now omitted.)
The question, as a whole, is a difficult question, for one reason: it has to do with God's view of the case; that is, God's objects, God's intentions, God's principles in the manifestation of Himself through the seed of Abraham; and it is testified through Isaiah that God's ways are not as our ways; that "As the heaven is high above the earth, so are His ways higher than our ways." It is difficult for the mind of the flesh to enter into the Divine methods of working, and to realise Divine views and principles of action. It is only after a prolonged spiritual education that we come at this. Paul expresses the idea in a form of words that are unintelligible on the theory propounded last night (1 Cor. 2:12-14): "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the
*The reference is to the originators (or rather, revivers) of the doctrine here resisted, namely that Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh. They "renounced" the doctrine that he was a "son of man."
things that are freely given to us of God, which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for THEY ARE FOOLISHNESS UNTO HIM, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Now, one thing that distinguishes this disturbing heresy more than another is that it cannot express itself in the words which the Holy Spirit teacheth, but is obliged continually to employ invented phrases, and those invented phrases, I will shew, contain invented fallacies. I will to-night, place the theory of the truth side by side with the theory of this error, and I will explain the theory of the truth in the language of the Spirit; and I will show wherein the language of the Spirit is destructive of the language -- the artificial and carnal language --which this Renunciationist heresy is incessantly compelled to employ in defining its principles.
I employ the aid of a chart to do it, not because I think a chart proves anything; it is good to illustrate; it cannot demonstrate; but because a chart has been made use of to dazzle your eyes, so to speak, and to sorcerise your imagination, and to implant heresy in your minds -- I thought it well, by the same means to try and undo these mischievous effects; and, today, with the assistance of Brother Shuttleworth, I have sketched out this diagram, in which you will perceive the one submitted to you last night and one not then submitted, but which represents the truth, which I will endeavor to unfold tonight.
I will begin with that part of the diagram setting forth the truth. I call attention especially and prominently, to the central sun at the top of the diagram. That sun, as I daresay you will be aware, is intended to represent the Father -- God, of whom, and through whom, and to whom, are all things; and, this matter more particularly, for this is the contrivance of His wisdom, and not to be judged by carnal rules, such as the mind of the flesh may devise. I seek more particularly to impress God upon the mind to begin with, as the centre and focus and essence of the matter, for God is too much left out of modern theorisings and definitions of the plan of salvation. We want to get back to the apostolic method of expressing these things, and you will find that through the whole of the epistles, and in all the discourses of Christ, the Father is brought forward as the great initiator and operator in the case.
Paul speaks (Eph. 1:5) of the Father "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ TO HIMSELF, according to the good pleasure of His will." Again he says (Rom. 3:23-24),
"All have sinned and come short of the glory of God, being justified FREELY BY HIS GRACE through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." And again, in the 11th chapter of the same epistle, at the 32nd verse: "GOD hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all." Again, in his second letter to the Corinthians (5:18,19), he tells us that God hath reconciled us unto HIMSELF by Jesus Christ; and that God was in Christ, reconciling the world UNTO HIMSELF. And again, in his letter to Titus (3:4-5): "The kindness and love of GOD our SAVIOUR toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to HIS MERCY, he saved us." And in chap. 2:11: "FOR THE GRACE OF GOD that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men."
You also know that Jesus never disconnected himself from the Father in all his discourses. He always set forth the Father as the Instigator and Operator in all his proceedings. This is his style of language: "I came down from heaven not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me" (John 6:38). "I am not come of myself" (John 7:28). "The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself, but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works" (John 14:10). "I am come in my Father's name" (John 5:43). "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30). "He that sent me is with me" (John 8:29). "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. How sayest thou, then, Shew us the Father" (John 14:9).
And, therefore, the first idea which I seek, in those words of the Spirit, to impress upon your minds is, that the Source, Origin, and Mover in this whole matter of the appearance, life, and sacrifice of Christ is to be found in that which is represented by the central figure at the top of the diagram, and that we have simply to ask, What has been His way and object in the devising of it, and finding it out -- to believe it.
Let us go back to the beginning. We find God creating Adam, but not manifesting Himself in Adam, and therefore, the line from the Central Sun, in the diagram, proceeding towards Adam, is a broken line. The first man was of the earth earthy; the second was different from the first. Paul defines them in contrast. While he says the first is of the earth earthy, he says the second man, who will come into our consideration more particularly, when we come into this part of the chart, is "the Lord from heaven," by the manifestation of God in the flesh through the Spirit, as we learn from other portions of the testimony. The first Adam was merely a mechanism of "natural" life produced as the beginning or the basis of a plan which God had in His mind from the beginning with regard to this earth which we inhabit. Nothing is of chance. All things are foreknown of the Father, for all things are the work of His hands, and made to work out His ultimate designs. The rule in the working out of His plan on earth is "first that which is natural, afterwards that which is spiritual" (1 Cor. 15:46). Adam is the beginning of the natural, Jesus is the beginning of the spiritual. He is God manifest in the
flesh, and not a mere Adam. The Renunciationist heresy makes him a mere man. God-manifestation is denied, though in words professed. We shall see this more clearly as we proceed.
Looking back at the first Adam, we see him for a while in a state of innocence. An attempt was made, last night, to draw a parallel between this period of Adam's career and the probation of the Lord Jesus. But look, brethren, at the great difference. Adam suffered no evil, no pain, no weakness, no grief. His state was a "very good" state. He was no man of sorrows, had no acquaintance of grief, inherited no evil of any kind. But look at the Lord Jesus. From the very beginning he experienced in himself those results that came by Adamic disobedience. This is sufficiently manifest in the apostolic testimony that he was the subject of "crying and tears" (Heb. 5:7), "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isa. 53:3), "made in all things like to his brethren of Adam's fallen stock" (Heb. 2:16,17), and finally crucified THROUGH WEAKNESS (2 Cor. 13:4).
But I propose to strengthen this testimony beyond the power of resistance, by reading to you the words of the Spirit in the Psalms, describing the personal experiences of the Messiah in the days of his flesh. That there may be no doubt as to the applicability to the Messiah of what I shall read, I will use only those Psalms which are quoted by the Spirit in the apostles, as applicable to the Lord Jesus Christ and belonging to him. I cannot read all that I have chosen out; it would take too much time. I will give you one or two extracts, and I will give you the references to the other places, with the parts where they are referred to in the New Testament, in order that you may see that Jesus, in the days of his flesh, inherited and experienced the results and feelings that have come by Adam's transgression; from which I will argue, and prove otherwise my argument, that this inheritance extended to mortality itself, and that "free life," so-called, is a myth.
First, I will take Heb. 10:4-10. Here Paul applies the 40th Psalm to Christ. Let us be quite sure. I wish to establish, link by link, all my evidence, as I will undertake to destroy, link by link, the whole chain of sophistry by the which the minds of the brethren are being bewitched and turned aside from the truth Heb. 10:5. "Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou would'st not, but a body hast thou prepared me." Thus the Spirit in Paul says, Christ, in the 40th Psalm, speaks. Now let us go to the 40th Psalm: "I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings." At the 6th verse, we have the words quoted by Paul; and then, at the 11th and 12th verses: "Withhold not now thy tender mercies from me, O Lord; let thy loving-kindness and thy truth continually preserve me. For innumerable evils compassed me about; mine iniquities (the iniquities of his brethren laid on him in their effects) have TAKEN HOLD UPON ME, so that I am not able to look; they
are more than the hairs of my head; therefore, my heart faileth me." 17th verse: "But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: Thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God." Adam, in his probation, had not to ask to be delivered, and could not say that innumerable evils had compassed him about.
But you will find something more striking in other cases. In the 1st chapter of Hebrews, Paul quotes, as you perceive, at the 8th verse: "Unto the Son he saith" certain things; again, in the 10th verse: "And thou, Lord," and so forth. The things that the Spirit, in Paul, here applies to the Messiah you will find in the 102nd Psalm, from the 1st to the 11th verse:
"Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto Thee. Hide not Thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline Thine ear unto me; in the day when I call, answer me speedily. For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth. My heart is smitten and withered like grass, so that I forget to eat my bread. By reason of the voice of my groaning, my bones cleave to my skin. I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top; mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me, are sworn against me. For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping, BECAUSE OF THY INDIGNATION AND THY WRATH; for Thou hast lifted me up and cast me down. My days are like a shadow that declineth, and I am withered like grass."
I quote that to shew that Jesus, in the days of his flesh (as Paul says in the 5th chapter of Heb. at the 7th verse) with strong crying and tears made supplication unto Him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared, and not because he had "free life." I will show you before I am done, that he had not a free life, but bore our condemnation in his own person, as much as any of us, necessitating his death before he could be purified from the curse. This "free life" is a thing you do not read of in the Scriptures; it is a mere invention; a plausible thing, but a gratuitous thing; an unproved assumption, which is made the starting point of the train of reasoning by which it is attempted to establish this heresy. If the initial fallacy is taken for granted, the false conclusion comes with all the appearance of irresistible logic. But let the initial fallacy be perceived, and the whole argument falls to pieces like a rope of sand.
The fallacy is two-fold. First, it is a fallacy to speak of "life" as distinct from "nature." "Life" is used by the Lord and by the apostles in a way to cover the whole idea of existence; and not as an element of existence to be considered abstractly by itself. Thus the sacrifice of Christ is expressed variously, as the "laying down of his life," "the giving of his body" (Luke 22:19), "the pouring out of his soul" (Isa. 53:12), or "the offering up of HIMSELF" (Heb. 9:25), as the case requires. All these literally mean his submission to death, and not the disentanglement of a so-called "life" from his body for
presentation to the Eternal Throne. It was "a body" that was prepared for sacrifice, and not a "life." It was death and not life that was required for the putting-away of sin. But by the incessant iteration of the word "life," as if it were an element separate from being, the Renunciationists bewilder the perceptions of inexperienced minds, and throw them into confusion, from which time itself will, doubtless, enable them to recover, where they are given to reading and thought.
We are not unacquainted ourselves with this elliptical use of the word life -- I mean in ordinary talk. When we say a man's "life" is not worth a week's purchase, we do not mean that the vital energy in his body, considered as an element, is not worth purchase, but the body's possession of vitality is uncertain. So when we say a long life, we do not mean any peculiarity in the vital energy, but that the possessor holds it for a long time. Also, when we say a man's life is in danger, we do not mean that the invisible energy by which God preserves us in being is in danger; for that can never be in danger, because God is the fountain thereof, in Whom we live and move and have our being, and to Him it returns. We mean that the living man's continuance in being is imperilled. It is an elliptical way of expression. There are many other instances. How absurd it would be to construct a theory out of these elliptical expressions, which should assume, in every case, that the "life" was an entity, sustaining relations to length, danger, safety, etc. This is what is done with a few passages of Scripture, in the present case, with results vastly more mischievous, in a spiritual sense, than those led captive by the glamour are aware of.
But returning to the testimony of the Psalms, which Jesus, by his own lips, said were "concerning him" (Luke 24:44), I will, without further quotation, give you a list of them and the New Testament reference, in each case, where the Psalm is by the Spirit applied to Jesus. You can put them down in pencil and compare them at your leisure: Matt. 21:42 (Psalm 118); Matt. 27:35 (Psalm 22); Heb. 2:12 (the same Psalm); Luke 4:10 (Psalm 91); Luke 23:46 (Psalm 31); John 2:17 (Psalm 69); Acts 1:20 (Psalm 109); Acts 2:25 (Psalm 16).
And please remember that Jesus, in conversation with his disciples after his resurrection, reasoned with them and expounded unto them the things that were written in Moses, and the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning himself. These very words were spoken by him in proof of the fact that he was appointed to suffer. In these things there is Scriptural evidence of the entire dissimilarity between the position of Adam and the probation of the Lord Jesus Christ; and the difference arises from the difference of the position of the two, which I will proceed to illustrate.
Adam's innocence ended with the fall; and here a little dazzle is thrown into the eyes. Instead of taking the simple testimony of the Word that death came, you have it that your life was forfeited -- that your life came under pledge -- that a debt was incurred which the
theorists describe as "eternal death" -- and you are asked to look at the third upright line in the Renunciationist diagram, as the "debt" which had to be paid. And by much more of such artificial unscriptural jargon, you are argued into a conviction the very opposite of truth. Has it never occurred to these Renunciationists, that if "eternal death," so called, was the debt to be paid, as they say, and Jesus paid that debt, that the resurrection of Jesus was impossible? I will show before I have done that our inheritance in Adam is not eternal death; that that which stands in the way of our resurrection by nature, is not our hereditary mortality in Adam, but our personal offences; and that what has brought resurrection is not "free life," but the personal righteousness of God's own anointed, specially provided in our mortal nature that he might open a way [out] of mortality by obedience, death, and resurrection.
Adam was condemned, and we have the testimony of the Spirit that his condemnation hath passed upon all men. Now what is that condemnation? Is it a condemnation against the nature or against the life in the nature? Which? It cannot be a condemnation against the life in the nature: that is what immortal-soulism says; and, in this respect, the new theory makes an advance towards immortal-soulism. The abstract life in all nature is the same. Men and animals have all one breath. With God is the fountain of life. God is the life of all; and He giveth unto all life, and breath, and all things; and when death happens, the dust returns unto the dust, and the spirit or the life returns to God who gave it. It is not the life that is condemned, for it is not the life that is the sinner. It is the person, the individual, the nature that is condemned, because it was the person, Adam, who was the sinner. Condemnation in Adam means, therefore, that we are mortal in Adam: mortal in the physical constitution -- the organisation. Look at any of us when we are just newly born. Why are we mortal at that moment? We have not sinned. "Oh, but we sinned in Adam," says this same theory. Did we sin in the individual sense in him? How could we sin individually when we did not exist? Paul says No! He says death reigned over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression. Why is it we are mortal, then? In what sense is the sentence of Adam upon us when we are born? Well, we are Adam's organisation. It is in the organisation that the law of mortality resides. It is in the physical substance that the principle of death is at work. Hence the phrase, "this corruptible." If the substance were not corruptible, "life" would be ours for ever.
Here suggests itself the question with regard to sin in the flesh, which I will enter fully at a subsequent part of the lecture. I will endeavour to make manifest the most unscriptural, the most carnal, and the most untrue and mischievous character of the new philosophy, with which it is now attempted to inoculate the brethren, on the subject of "the flesh." Enough on that point when we come to the cross in the diagram.
"Death reigned from Adam to Moses." This fact is represented by the perpendicular line from the angle where you see the word "fall." The line stands for the posterity of Adam, between these two epochs, without taking cognizance of the flood, because posterity was continued through Noah: therefore, there was no break; death reigned in them all, though not without the light of hope through faith.
Coming down to the time of Moses, we note particularly the fact that God had chosen the "seed of Abraham," according to the flesh, as a nation for Himself, as the basis of the development of the purpose He had conceived in Himself from the beginning, which Paul styles "a purpose of grace," according to the good pleasure of His own will, "not of works lest any man should boast."
What do we find in connection with Moses? A law is given to the chosen nation. This law condemned to death all who disobeyed it in the meanest particular. Those to whom the law was given were, of course, under the Adamic curse; that is, they inherited Adam's mortal nature, because in him when he sinned. This Adamic curse is represented by the horizontal band between "Death reigns," and the cross; the Mosaic curse (for none kept the law in all particulars) is represented by the corresponding band below; the nation of Israel, "the seed of Abraham," between the two. The seed of Abraham, whose nature Paul testifies (Heb. 2:16), Jesus took, are here represented as enclosed between two curses, the curse in Adam and the curse by Moses.
But before we consider how these two curses converge upon the Messiah (represented by the cross) that he might bear them away, let me ask what the law was given for. It was "added (to the promises) because of transgression" truly; but suppose the Jews had been able to keep it, what would have been the result to them? Now here let special attention be given to the testimony of the Word. Paul says, in the 7th chapter of Rom., 10th verse: "The commandment (speaking of the law) was ordained to life." Does that mean eternal life? Yes. This is shown by what we read at Luke 10:25: "And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him saying, Master, What shall I do to inherit ETERNAL LIFE? He said unto him, What is written IN THE LAW? How readest thou? And he answering said so and so (recapitulating the chief points of the law). And he (Jesus) said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, AND THOU SHALT LIVE." Now there is the word of the Master himself confirming the statement of Paul, that the law given was unto life, if they kept it.
It is by the righteousness of one that resurrection has come (Rom. 5:18; 1 Cor. 15:21); it is not by the "free life" of one. "Free life" is a myth; an invention of the new heresy. Adamic mortality would not be to our "eternal death," if we were ourselves "without spot" of disobedience. God will keep no man in the grave because of Adam's sin, if he himself be individually righteous. How came it, then, that life could not come by the law, as Paul says, in the 3rd chapter of Gal., at the 21st verse: "Is the law, then, against
the promises of God? God forbid; for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law." Let me give the Spirit's answer, Rom. 8:3: "What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God" has done in the way which we shall consider when we come to that point. Here, then, is the Spirit's teaching that the weakness of the law, in relation to the bestowing of life eternal, lay in the incapability of the flesh to keep it; as Jesus said to his disciples: "The Spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." This is the teaching of the Word, and the teaching of God's Word is decisive in such matters.
We next come to the question, Why was the flesh weak? Could not God have made human nature after such a pattern or constitution that it would have been able to keep the law? Doubtless He could. Why did He not? He had His own reason, and our wisdom lies in simply seeing and accepting it. I will give it you in the words of the Spirit: Gal. 3:22: "The Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given TO THEM THAT BELIEVE." But this suggests another question: why was it devised that the promise should come in that way? The Spirit's answer is: "That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God" (Rom. 3:19). But again, we ask why? The final answer of the Spirit is, "That He may have mercy on all (Rom. 11:32); that no flesh should glory in His sight (1 Cor. 1:29); not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:9).
This answer is symbolized on the chart by the lines proceeding from the sun toward the cross and the resurrection point, and by the concluding motto to the right. The Spirit and essence of the plan of God's redemption by Christ is that the praise and the glory may be to Him, and that no flesh should glory in His presence, in which we see at once the profoundest philosophy when we remember that God only exists inherently; that all things exist by His permission only; and that the highest delight of created beings is the recognition and adoration of the eternal prerogative of the Creator. In the proofs, I quote, I use the words of the Father Himself. I give you the Father's own declaration of the Father's mind, instead of condescending, like the lecturer of last night, to quote heathen poets and the Doctors of the apostasy. I will read further testimony. Rom. 3:9: "What then, are we better than they? No, in no wise; for we have before proved that Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin" (19th verse). The reason of which you will find in the 1st chapter of 1 Cor. 1:29: "That no flesh should glory in His presence;" "Mine honour I will not give to another;" "Unto me every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess" (Isa. 45:23). As Paul otherwise expresses it, the glory shining in the face of Jesus is the glory of the Father, not of mere man (2 Cor. 4:6). He is the central point of our adoration and the source of our indebtedness, upon a principle I will now proceed to illustrate.
Paul says, "But now is the righteousness of God without the law manifested." Does that mean that God set aside the law which was ordained unto life? No, for Christ (who is to us "the righteousness of God without the law") came to fulfil the law, and did fulfil it, entirely and absolutely, during the whole of his life. But, observe, to do this, it was necessary he should be under the law. Let me show that point. Paul says, "God sent forth His Son, made under the law" (Gal.4:4). Now how was that done? By the mode of his introduction into the world. His mother was a Jewess of the house of David, under the law. Consequently, he was a Jew, as much under the law as any other Jew. He was no new Adam, such as the Renunciationist theory makes him. He was the seed of Abraham, and the seed of David, and, therefore, stood in all the constitutional relations of David as to the law, both Edenic and Mosaic.
The object of Jesus being made under the law was that he might die under its curse; but how could the curse of the law lay hold of him so that he might endure it in his own person, seeing he kept the law spotless? Here comes that beautiful point set forth in Jesus Christ and Him Crucified, about which a joke was attempted last night; but which shows the beautiful contrivance of God in working out the scheme of His redemption, without setting aside a jot or tittle of His requirements of those who were to be redeemed. It is written in the law, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law." Here let us realise what the curse of the law means, as regards its effect on the subject of the curse. Paul says, and I quote his words, because I wish to make my ground Scripturally sure upon every point -- that your faith may stand in the wisdom of God, and not in my speculation or reasoning; he says, in the second epistle of Cor. 3:7, "If the MINISTRATION OF DEATH, written and graven in stones, was glorious," etc. Here he styles the law "the ministration of death." Again (6th verse), "the letter," he says "killeth" (speaking of the law); "but the Spirit" (that is the work of the Spirit of God in Christ) "giveth life."
"Cursed is he that hangeth on a tree." Jesus is represented by that cross in the diagram. He hung on a tree, and by that fact the law cursed him. Thus he was made a curse for us in so far as hanging on the tree brought the curse of the law on him. Now what was the argument which the other vainly attempted to upset? Brother Andrew argues thus in Jesus Christ and Him Crucified, that it was necessary for Jesus to keep the law in all things, and yet that he should be cursed in this particular of hanging on a tree. But why? Why did Jesus incur its curse in that particular in submitting to be hung on a tree? Because the Father required it of him, which I will prove. "This commandment I have received of my Father." What commandment? To lay down his life. How? He says "The Son of Man goeth up to Jerusalem, and he shall be mocked and spit upon, and shall be crucified, and rise again the third day." Therefore Jesus knew that it was crucifixion which was required of him, when the moment came for him to submit -- for, mind you, it was his own voluntary submission so far as man was concerned; but those who are misleading the brethren do not distinguish between God and man in the case. Jesus meant to say that although sinners would destroy him, it would not be the triumph of sinners' violence, but a submission required of him by the Father. In the garden of Gethsemane, when the hour had come, he said, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not my will, but THINE be done." In this connection we can understand what Paul means by saying that he was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, which implies that he was commanded unto the death of the cross; for how can a man be obedient unto that which is not commanded?
If Christ had refused to do that which was commanded, would not that have been sin? And if Christ had sinned, could Christ have been saved? Where, then, is the talk of Christ having it in his power to enter eternal life alone, without dying? It is a carnal mind that talks thus; a mind not understanding God's plan. God required Jesus to submit to the death of the cross, in order that he might come under the curse of the law, in that particular way, because any other curse (involving his own personal transgression), would have prevented his resurrection. If he had stolen or lied, or worshipped Baal, he would have been a transgressor: in submitting to the cross, he was not a transgressor but an obedient child doing what the Father required of him; and therefore he did his Father's will in submitting to be placed in a position which the law cursed. When he died, the law obtained the utmost triumph it could claim. When God raised him because of his obedience, it had no further claim. So far as he was concerned, the law ended with his death. Its handwriting was nailed to his cross (Col.2:14). He took it out of the way. Hence when Jewish believers buried themselves in the symbolic grave of Christ in baptism, and rose to a new life IN HIM (the risen Christ), whose name they thus took upon them, they became related to all that had been accomplished in Christ. Christ was "the end of the law for righteousness" to everyone of them (Rom. 10:4), because Christ kept the righteousness of the law, and yet came under its curse, and gave it all it could claim. In Christ they were therefore free. As Paul said to them "Ye are become dead to the law by the (slain) body of Christ, that ye should be married to another (in baptism) even to him that rose from the dead" (Rom. 7:4).
Now if it was necessary that Jesus should come personally under the curse of the law in his own person, in order that he might bear it away in his resurrection, and so open a way for the redemption of such under the law as should accept of his name, what about this other curse? What about this upper band, bounding the seed of Abraham in the chart, and like the curse of the law, passing over the cross? We will consider that now. Was not Jesus to bear away all curse? Surely no one can say no. If it was necessary he should have the
curse of Moses on him to bear it away, was it not necessary he should have that other curse -- the hereditary curse of Adam on him also? Yes, beloved brothers and sisters, he did have it on him, and he did bear it away? for what is the testimony? That he took not on him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham; "forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh, it became him, likewise, to take part of the same, that through death he might DESTROY THAT HAVING THE POWER OF DEATH, that is, the diabolos." (Heb. 2:14-15).
Upon what Scriptural authority does this new theory say that he took the seed of Abraham without taking the curse inherent in it? What ground is there for the contradictory proposition that Jesus wore the nature of David, which was mortal, but was not himself mortal? There is no proof. A sign is gratuitously set up in the chart, and it is said "There is Christ free." Where is the evidence? The evidence is all the other way. Only one passage is quoted having at all the semblance of proof, and that is the saying of Christ: "As the Father hath life in Himself, even so hath He given the Son to have life in himself." But this does not bear on the subject. Any one may see by observing the context that Christ is speaking of resurrection-power. The verse before is John 5:25: "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live." The verse after is: "And hath given him authority also to execute judgment." The matter in question, therefore, is the power given to Jesus by the Father over the lives of men, as he afterwards said in prayer: "Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given him" (John 17:2). But the time had not come to exercise that power. He had not become the "quickening (life-giving) spirit" (1 Cor. 15:46) till after his glorification. He was said to have received life and "glory" (John 17:22) only in the sense in which we are said to have received eternal life! that is, a prospective title only. The days of the flesh of the Messiah were days of weakness (Heb. 5:8), and "through weakness he was crucified" (2 Cor. 13:4). "He was declared to be the Son of God WITH POWER, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Rom. 1:4).
If it be contended in spite of the evidence that Christ's words literally mean that life was, at that time, in him in the same sense as in the Father, the objector's attention has to be called to the fact that such a construction of his words would not prove "free life" so-called, but the deathlessness of Christ; for the Father is Spirit, and immortal and glorious and indestructible. Are the defenders of this heresy prepared to maintain that Jesus was so, "in the days of his flesh?" This "free-life" is a myth -- a mere invention. Its advocates do not prove the starting point. The truth is the other way; the cross, as you see in the chart, is planted in the channel of the Adamic and Mosaic curses to illustrate the fact that Jesus was born in the channel of both.
And now let me ask why? And we begin again to enter upon a region of thought not congenial to minds little less than carnal. God is righteous. God will not do wrong. He will not do evil that good may come. This heresy represents God as doing wrong; for it says of the Christ, the Lamb of God, "here is a free life." If so, why should a free life die? But Christ, instead of being what is called a free life, was in the condemned nature of the children of Adam. Hence, when he died, nothing wrong happened, so far as God's doings were concerned. The obedience of the Son of God led to his resurrection, and the triumph was complete.
Here I recur to Paul's statement: "What the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh," -- weak through the flesh which all men have, the flesh of Adam, the flesh of Noah, the flesh of Abraham, the flesh of every man that ever lived -- "God hath done." And if you ask how, the doctrine of God-manifestation comes to our aid. The power of the Highest came upon Mary and quickened her womb, causing germination and the formation of a child in nine months according to the ordinary gestatory law. This child was God manifest in the flesh-- the sinful flesh-- not all at once, but gradually as the Divine impress developed. You see it pretty much from the very beginning: as instance the boy of twelve puzzling the doctors in the temple.
I have not altered on this question. I have understood this question. I require not to make the lamentable confession that was made last night; I cannot say as the leading champion of this heresy said: "I have taught it 15 years from the platform without understanding it." This is something for those to think about who have been misled. This confident teacher of heresy for ten years at all events, taught from the platform, with all confidence, a thing he did not understand. This is his own confession. If so, what confidence are brethren to put in him now? How are you sure that he understands it now? I know he does not. . . These unpleasant things it is necessary to say in the interests of the warfare provoked by him.
Now, with regard to the subject of the flesh, you have had the doctrine propounded to you that the flesh is a good thing; that there is nothing evil in it; and some wonderful remarks were made which I shall notice. But I would ask how comes it, if the doctrine be true, that Paul should say, "If ye walk after the flesh ye shall die" (Rom. 8:13). "He that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption" (Gal. 6:8). "In me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth NO good thing" (Rom. 7). "The carnal mind" (the fleshly mind), he says in the eighth chapter of Romans, "is enmity against God; it is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be." Let us look into the philosophy of this, and I think we will see how shallow are some things that appear profound -- but only profound because delivered with an air of profundity.
I will quote from the notes I made. "There is nothing evil in the flesh." "Sin is not in the flesh, but sin is in the character."
"Sinful applies to the character and not to the flesh." "We have sin in our character but not in our flesh." "Sinful is not the proper word to qualify flesh, but qualifies character." "So ignorant was I on this subject," he says, "that I expected" so and so. Very well! Now what is character, brothers? Is it not the manifestation of the qualities of the flesh? I could understand an immortal-soulist talking like this; but how you can understand a man talking in this way who recognises that the flesh thinks, and that character is but the outward manifestations of that thinking flesh, is difficult to say. It is a marvellous piece of new-born wisdom to say that "sinful" applies to the character but not to the substance that produces the character. That it does apply to the thing that produces it we shall see. Paul's definitions are more philosophical than Edward Turney's; for Paul goes to the root of the matter, and says, that in the flesh dwelleth no good.
Let me ask you to realise how true that is. People, you know, are apt to judge in this matter by their own particular experience at the moment when they happen to be thinking. That is not the way to judge of it. Our present mental state is the result of many external influences operating for a long time, and no clue to what the flesh would produce of itself. To see what the flesh would produce of itself you must look at a child with only what is native to its brain, and realise the result that comes when put away by itself in a wood, brought up with wolves say, like a boy of whom I read only a week or two ago; what sort of mental manifestation was there in that case? Pure barbarism. The man was a brute with two legs, with more aptitude in brutishness than his four-legged companions. You do not require so extreme a case to perceive the natural vacuity of good which is characteristic of the carnal mind.
Take a far more common case, where some members of a family are educated and some are not. Suppose the first-born is brought up as an illiterate labourer, and later members of the family, through a change in the fortunes of the family are sent to first-class schools: do you not see a great difference at manhood? Whence this difference? Because in the one case, the mind has been left to its own resources, whereas in the others, it has been helped from without. The same rule applies in all the varying degrees of human experience. In all society, men are barbarous or carnal in proportion as they are left to the unaided resources of the carnal mind; not that many, (or in the world, any) are spiritual; for though they differ in their artificial acquirements, they are almost all carnal, from the clod-hopper to the squire, only the differences in the form of mentality is illustrative of the original poverty of the brain left to itself. The power of the Spirit as an educator in the Word is not brought into play, by reason of human neglect; therefore, though most rise above the dead level of nature, they do not in many cases attain to the spiritual, which only comes in subjecting the mind to the Spirit's teaching.
The point illustrated is, that there is nothing in the mind of itself, except certain blind cravings, desires, and impulses. These are inherent: they are native to the flesh of the brain. The knowledge of God is not native to the flesh of the brain. The knowledge of how we ought to do is not native. What Paul says is absolutely true, that the mind of the flesh is an evil and a sinful thing; for its natural impulses resident in the brain flesh, are all in directions opposed to God. As Paul says, "The carnal mind is enmity against God. It is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Paul is truly philosophical in going right down to the root of the thing -- to the source of the thing. He talks not as a child of the mere manifestations upon the surface, but of the origin -- the flesh -- in which, by natural constitution dwells no good thing.
Now, consider Adam in the garden of Eden; he had the instruction of the Father by the Angels; for, as I admitted on Tuesday night last, he would not have known, in the absence of experience, how to walk or how to look at things, without this super-natural instruction. Those impressions which we get slowly from experience as children he got direct; as in the case of the apostles on the day of Pentecost upon whose brains the Spirit wrought those scholastic results which in the natural order of things could only be got by five or seven years' grinding: and who were, therefore, able to speak foreign languages in a moment without learning.
Adam was driven out of Eden because of disobedience. He was therefore thrown back upon himself, so to speak, and he soon found in himself and his progeny how weak and evil a thing the flesh is, for his first son was a murderer. And because disobedience, or sin, was the cause of his expulsion, and that sin was the result of the desires of the flesh, and because all the desires that are natural to the flesh organisation are because of native ignorance, in directions forbidden, there is no exaggeration, no high figure in talking of sin in the flesh. It is Paul's figure. He speaks of "sin that dwelleth in me," and as he defines me to be "my flesh," sin that dwelleth in me is "sin in the flesh" -- a metonym for those impulses which are native to the flesh, while knowledge of God and of duty is not native to the flesh. I cannot do better than read what Paul says in Rom. 7:
"What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin but by the law; for I had not known lust except the law had said Thou shalt not covet! But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead."
That is to say, so long as a man is not forbidden to do a certain thing, the doing is not sin. But when the law says "don't do it," then you are made conscious of the activity of the propensity to do it; and, therefore, without the law, sin is in a state of quiescence; but as soon as the law comes, you are made aware of native rebelliousness. He proceeds "For I was alive without the law once:" that is, while he was in ignorance of it:
before he had woken to the bearing of the law upon him, as in the earlier part of his life; "but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin -- taking occasion by the commandment-- deceived me, and by it slew me." Sin in me, Paul, by the commandment, which I disobeyed by reason of sin in me, or impulses which lead to sin, slew me. "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. Was, then, that which is good," that is the law, which was a good thing, outside of him, "made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin, by the commandment might become exceeding sinful."
It is God's purpose to make us realise our native tendency to disobedience, and our native inability to conform; for there lives not a man who has, in all things, conformed, except Christ. "For we know that the law is spiritual, but I (that is, the natural Paul) am (by constitution) carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not; for what I would that I do not, but what I hate, that do I." The natural Paul was not destroyed, but only brought into subjection, and even in that state of subjection there were many things, as every son of God experiences, such as forgetfulness of God in sleep, for the sake of illustration, which the new man would rather not be subject to, and many aspirations and spiritual achievements to which it is impossible a saint in the flesh state can attain.
"If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then, it is no more I that do it, but SIN THAT DWELLETH IN ME. For I know that in me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good, I find not. For the good that I would I do not, but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but SIN THAT DWELLETH IN ME. I find then a law, that when I would do good EVIL IS PRESENT WITH ME. For I delight in the law of God, after the inward man. But I see ANOTHER LAW in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to THE LAW OF SIN WHICH IS IN MY MEMBERS. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death? I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but, with the flesh, the law of sin."
Look at the 5th chapter of Galatians; you will there find the same doctrine taught at the 16th and 17th verses: "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For THE FLESH lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." Let us now look at the works of the flesh -- this good flesh -- for we are asked now to believe that the flesh is a good thing. This is one of the most abhorrent features of this heresy. Here are the works of this good flesh: "Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath,
strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like" (vs. 19-21). It is only those who sow to the Spirit that shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Those who sow to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption. The flesh is weak, unclean, and sinful.
Now, what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God has done, in sending His own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh. Let us consider this. What about this likeness? Moses informs us (Gen. 5:3) that Adam begat a son in his own image and likeness. You would not say the word "likeness" means that Seth was, in any wise, different from Adam. There is the word, "image." Suppose the word "image" had been used in this remark of Paul's: "sent His Son in the image of the earthy nature," we should then have had this argument -- "Ah, you see it is only the image; it is not the nature itself." Whereas, what does Paul say concerning ourselves in 1 Corinthians 15:49: "We have borne the image of the earthy, and shall also bear the image of the heavenly." Shall we say we have not borne the earthy? Do not we bear the earthy? Yes. Therefore in apostolic language "earthy" and "the image of the earthy" mean the same thing. Upon the same principle, sinful flesh and the likeness of sinful fiesh mean the same thing. And we shall find that the same they are.
And now we have to consider in what sense did Christ come in sinful flesh. I do not go away from that phrase, although "the flesh of sin" is a more literal translation of [Greek words] sarx area tou. "Sinful flesh" is the English idiomatic equivalent. Word for word is not always a good translation of any language. There must always be an accommodation to the idiom: and in this, the translators of the English version have shown themselves fitted for their work. Romans 7, immediately preceding, supplies the sense of the words "flesh of sin" used in Rom. 8:3. Galatians 5, and all New Testament allusions to the subject, teach that the flesh of human nature is a sinful thing. "Sinful flesh" in English, therefore, represents the Spirit's idea, which is of more consequence than a lexicographical equivalent.
Now Christ took part of the flesh and blood of the children, that he might extirpate in it that which was destroying them. This is the apostolic testimony: "Forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of THE SAME; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil" (Heb. 2:14) -- the serpent principle, the death-power in us. Christ took on him the nature of Abraham and David, which was sinful nature. How, then, some say, was he, with sinful flesh, to be sinless? That -- (placing the end of the pointer on the sun at the top of the chart) -- is my explanation, brothers -- that is my explanation. And it is Paul's explanation. God did it. The weak flesh could not do it. Jesus was God manifest in the flesh, that the glory might be to God. The light in his face is the light of the Father's glory.
If you ask me how the Father could be manifest in a man with an independent volition, you ask a question not truly founded on
reason. Do I know how the Almighty causes substance organized as brain to evolve thought? No; do you? No. But do we doubt the fact the less because we are unable to comprehend it? By no means. Do we know how the Father performs any of the myriad wonders of His power? Know we so small a matter as the modus operandi of the germination of grain in the field, to its multiplication twentyfold? Nay verily; though we know a thousand things as facts, you will find, on a close scrutiny, that we are utterly ignorant of the mode of invisible working by which these facts have their existence. If it be so with things in nature, why must our inability to define the process be a difficulty to our receiving a heavenly fact, not only commended to us on the best of all testimony, but self-manifest before us? For who can contemplate the superhuman personage exhibited in the Gospel narrative without seeing, with his own eyes, so to speak, that the Father is manifest in him?
When did ever man deport himself like this man? When spoke the most gifted of men like this? Is he not manifestly revealed the moral and intellectual image of the invisible God? Is he not -- last Adam though he be -- is he not "the Lord from heaven?" But what are we to say to the plain declaration emanant from the mouth of the Lord himself, that the beholder looking on him, saw the Father, and that the Father within him by the Spirit -- (for as he said on the subject of eating his flesh, it is the Spirit that maketh alive: the flesh profiteth nothing) -- was the doer and the speaker? The answer of wisdom is, that we must simply believe; and true wisdom will gladly believe in so glorious a fact. What if our understanding be baffled? Shall we refuse to eat bread because we fail to comprehend the essences in which flour subsists? A childlike faith is alone acceptable in this matter. The words used by Jesus to his disciples we may presume to be applicable to us, if they are true of us: "The Father himself loveth you because ye believe that I came out from God. "Those who make the mistake of the Pharisees, and "judge after the flesh," stand back in gloomy quandary and talk of "mere man;" others who think to make a great mystery "simple" and plain, speak of the flesh of Christ as a mixture of human with "divine substance." Wisdom takes her stand between the two, and seeks to dive no deeper than the testimony that God was in Jesus manifest in the flesh: she troubles not herself with the impracticable question of "how?" Seeing the fact and the reason of the fact, she rejoices and gives praise to God, from whom "the dayspring from on high hath visited us."
As for the question asked, that "if God gave Jesus greater power than we, has He not dealt unjustly with us?" It is not the question of a child of God. What was done by Christ was God's work out of love to us; that we, subject to His will, and recognising His supremacy, should become heirs of His nature. Such a question as the one referred to is enough to secure for the questioner the grave of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.
"What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God (has done), sending His own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh." It was the same flesh, full of the same propensities, and the same desires. But, in Christ, all those desires were kept in subjection to the mind of God, because the Father, by the Spirit, taught him and led him from the beginning. "I do always those things that please Him. I do nothing of myself. I do those things that I have learned of Him." These are his own words. God gave not the Spirit to him by measure; therefore, the praise is entirely of the Father. Christ is God manifested in the condemned flesh (for it is flesh and not life that is condemned), and justified in the Spirit. And in all he did for us, he was individually comprehended. What he did "for us" was not "instead of us," but on our account. The notion that it was "instead of us" is the old orthodox superstition being foisted again upon the brethren. He was born for us. "He hath raised up for us, in the house of David, a horn of salvation." He hath not raised instead of us a horn, but for us; but of course the babe born was born for Himself as well surely. "He hath gone to appear in the presence of God for us;" not instead of us. Begotten of God in the channel of Adamic and Mosaic condemnation, he died on our account, that we might escape, but on his own account as the first-born of the family as well; for, in all things, it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren.
What is the result then? This: that God is pleased, the sin-and-death law of our race being carried out upon His hereditarily-mortal, but righteous though law-cursed Son, to raise him for His righteousness sake; and then asks us to look to him to whom He has given the power of dealing with the rest of mankind. If we bow down to Him and recognise our position, He is pleased, for Christ's sake, to forgive us. He is not obliged to forgive us. Christ has given Him no satisfaction; paid no debt in the commercial sense. Christ's birth and death is the arrangement of His own mercy. We cannot claim it; it is all of grace: not of works lest any man should boast. The scheme of salvation is never comprehended by those who embrace this "free life" heresy.
And as for hearing of this one and that one accepting it, of whom better things were to be expected, I have only to read the response that Paul made under similar circumstances: "Those who seemed to be somewhat, it maketh no matter to me. God accepteth no man's person. They who seemed to be somewhat, in conference added nothing to me." Again: "False brethren brought in who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage, to whom we gave place by subjection; no, not for an hour: that the truth of the gospel might continue with you." Therefore, if I am left alone on the top of a mountain; if all the brethren and sisters forsake me, I will stand alone, waiting for the coming of the Lord from heaven. But there are to be some ready for him. There are to be five wise virgins, if there are to be five
foolish: and, for that reason, I have taken upon myself a great deal of labour, and have brought upon myself the infirmity of the flesh. But, for this I care not, if the truth be saved. I will die, if necessary, in the attempt to stem this tide of corruption which is streaming in and sweeping away the brethren.
The remaining part of the chart will be intelligible at a glance. The resurrection of the offered body of Christ was the Father's work as you know; and therefore a stream of light connects the central sun with that event. The glorious personage resulting from it, was by that means filled with the fullness of the Godhead bodily; consequently, when he was presented to men as the only name given under heaven whereby they must be saved, it was the name of God that was presented: the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, comprehended in the name Jesus Christ. This glorious personage was exalted to heaven, and is absent from the earth for a time, as indicated by the elevated line, marked "the Saving Name."
During his absence, the work of taking out a people by faith, through the preaching of the remission of sins through his name, goes on, as indicated in the chart by the continuation beyond the cross of the broad band, representing the seed of Abraham, and the mottoes above and below. The Gentile element is not separately represented, because, in relation to the Saving Name, Jew and Gentile were all one after the apostolic sending forth. The return of Christ, to consummate the results of the preaching, is indicated by the line descending from the Saving Name, and his re-appearance in the earth, by the square of light, marked the Second Appearing. The result of this, after the kingdom, is the abolition of death, a result which will be directly due to the Father's own work of mercy, and not at all to the flesh, which He has expressly excluded from all share in the glory.
The other chart, illustrating the Renunciationist heresy, is altogether an anomaly, considered in the light of the Father's work in Christ. The first figure is well enough, as showing the individual history of Adam; but the second figure is a misrepresentation of the work of Christ. It represents Christ as independent of Adam; whereas he was born in the channel of Adamic generation. In Adam the human race fell into a ditch, and Christ is God come down into the ditch -- so to speak -- to lift us out. This finds no representation in a diagram which presents Christ, not in the ditch, but on the mountain top of "free life." In the death of Christ, the Divine principles were not violated, because he was the mortal nature of the seed of Abraham, bearing the curse upon it; but here in this diagram you have the outrage of a so-called unforfeited life subjected to the fate belonging to forfeiture only, as represented by the cross at the end of the "unforfeited" line. Then you have, from the foot of the cross, an uprising line, which is logically unpermissible in the Renunciationist theory. That line is to represent Christ's resurrection; but how could that resurrection be possible if, as this theory says, the debt we owed
was "eternal death," and Christ paid that debt? The theory is contradictory and self-destructive, and brings with it principles which lead far more widely and deeply astray from the purity of apostolic faith, than some who are beguiled may conceive possible. They may awake to the discovery when it is too late. It is very natural for those who do not discern, to be cool and complacent, and respectful in their treatment of this heresy; but those who do see will by this class be considered harsh and intemperate, and unjustifiable in the strength of their denunciations. To this they can but submit, as one of the trials of the situation: the end will justify them. When the serpent, which is considered an inanimate and useful ornament of personal attire, is discovered in its true character as a venomous, living reptile, it will be thrown away and stamped under foot with all the vehemence of those who understood what it was in the first instance. Let us hope the creature will not by that time have fatally used its fangs on the necks of those for a time deceived.
Before concluding, I would notice a few points of detail in the Renunciationist lecture of last night. I had intended going through them all seriatim; but I find on looking at them, that I have virtually answered them all in the course of what I have said.
Upon one thing I feel called upon to animadvert. You listened to the suggestion, last night, that Dr. Thomas Jesuitically trimmed his words in writing to The Rock upon this subject, in 1870. The question was asked, How came Dr. Thomas to express himself in such a style as the following: "Christadelphians mean to say neither more nor less than Paul said." And because it occurred not to the lecturer to discern the caution imposed on the Dr.'s speech when writing for the Episcopalian readers of The Rock, he chose to answer it in a style in harmony with his own state of mind. He deliberately stated that the Dr. expressed himself as he did "because he saw rocks ahead." Do you think that if Dr. Thomas had been sitting in the audience, instead of sleeping where I laid him over two years ago, in Greenwood Cemetery, by the American margin of the Atlantic Ocean, that Edward Turney would have dared to insinuate such a dishonour against him? Nay, verily; he would have been dumb in his presence, and would have been found sitting at his feet as a listener, with the abjectness of that personal admiration which none appreciated less than the Dr; but which certain minds render and imitate in the living presence, and, like children, forget when the object of it is far away.
In the Providence of God, I have been entrusted with the affairs of Dr. Thomas while he sleeps, and his honour is as tender with me now as in the day when he came in and went out among us. I feel, therefore, called upon to rebut this foul accusation, which comes strangely from the man that wrote the following words: "You know I have held him as the only man commanding my full and entire admiration ... He hears no more the voice of his traducers, and his work is finished. I hope he will be stronger in his death than he was in his life. I hope those who hold the grand truths he discoursed will
redouble their efforts to spread them far and wide, so that when he gets up again, he will rejoice in their works." And again: "Well, we are left, and we must do our best to surprise the dear old man with joy when he wakes up again." What will "the dear old man's" surprise be when he gets up, to find that Edward Turney, one of his strongest personal admirers, two years after his death, publicly "renounced" his teaching on a vital element of the Mystery of Godliness, and, before a large audience in Birmingham, in 1873, sought to create the impression that he was a trimmer of words under the influence of "rocks ahead"? The Dr.'s surprise will, doubtless, be great; but those will not share it who now withstand this shameful attempt to undo the "dear old man's" work, and to cast dishonour on his name. Dr. Thomas understood his subject, which Edward Turney, by his own confession, did not; and therein is to be found the explanation of some things at which he now affects great surprise. And God, in His mercy, when Dr. Thomas is in his grave, has placed others in the work who understand it, and who will spend, if need be, the last drop of their blood in the attempt to resist the Satanic effort now being made to corrupt it.
He talks of "confusion worse confounded" in the Dr.'s writings. In this he only gives expression to the confusion that reigns in his own mind, and that must reign on this subject in all minds that judge after the flesh. The understanding of it is not a matter of "learning." It is only to be got at by dwelling in the presence of the Word, and by listening reverently and implicitly to its voice. "Learned men", so-called, are the wise of this world, whose wisdom is foolishness with God. That Edward Turney should invoke their name and aid in this matter, shows how much he is away from the Spirit's standard. You would observe how much he made of the fact that my copy of the Septuagint lacked the book of Daniel, except a brief Apocryphal version of it, and of my forgetfulness of the fact that two ancient copies of the Septuagint contained it. You were asked, with indignant scorn, if you were to accept such a man as I for an authority. Brothers, I do not put myself forward as an authority, and never have done so, as you know. I put forward the Holy Oracles as an authority, and for them I shall fight so long as God pleases to continue life in this body. I am not learned in the conventional sense. I know more of God's book than of any other document under the sun; and in this I am content and thankful. To cause men to know what it contains is a higher work than making them acquainted with the oddities and quidities of human intellect, in past or present times, in countries near or far off. I leave those who are content with husks to make their bows at the shrine of human wisdom. I am determined to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified. Shortly with him I hope to stand, when human learning and human pride, with all its rusty paraphernalia of parchments, papers, ink marks, books, libraries, contradictions, disputations, bewilderments, and general craze, shall have disappeared in the abyss of rottenness and eternal decay.
The following is not in the 1915 Edition of the printed pamphlet, but was in the original article on page 453 of the Christadelphian, Oct. 1, 1873]:
There are one or two other points in the lecture last night, which I must reserve for some future occasion. They are in substance answered in what I have already said, but a more detailed treatment of them might have been, had time and strength allowed. If necessary, I will soon make good my present omission. Meanwhile, I undertake to solve any difficulty, or explain any passage, in harmony with the truth I have presented this evening. I had intended inviting questions publicly tonight, but after this prolonged effort, I feel I must ask to be excused. At some other time, I will invite the advances omitted tonight. I will stand any number of nights, health permitting, to be questioned by anyone on this subject, and to be put to the test in the most searching way. Meanwhile, I think I have said enough to show that Dr. Thomas has no more failed to reach Divine truth in this particular, than in any other. But that he has exhibited to us the mind of the Spirit, in teaching that in the flesh dwelleth no good thing, and that it was necessary for God to interfere, to open the way from present curse, by operating through the nature suffering that curse, to the production of obedience unto life eternal, for all who should receive in faith the work done