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The Slain Lamb PART 2
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:
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.
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
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