Brethren Archive
9th December 1866

Letter 31

by G.V. Wigram

4 pages.

Incomplete - Needs help !!



My dear Br Childs.

It may interest you to read the whereabouts of JNDs mind as it was on first getting across the Atlantic and as it is now as to the attacks made upon his doctrine – so I will give you extracts in this from two of his letters. The one received 8 Aug.

{cf. JND Letters I:452–454; mentionable differences from the printed text are indicated in blue}

“I had read carefully over the tracts {L: tract} on the sufferings & papers on the Psalms. But the meeting at Guelph turning my mind off to general truth, left it more free & fresh to look at what I had published, for one reads till one is half unable to judge by dint of reading sometimes. I have felt all this deeply. I was not a stone to be insensible to how it was done & who did it. But the main thing that exercised me was, however that might be, no matter, – if there was the slightest word or thought to the dishonour of Christ, it was intolerable. I was quite sure I had none such but I might have followed out a train of thought insufficiently checked by scripture so as to produce such in my writing. I was quite willing to distrust myself & to search & re-search lest there sd be. I felt the Enemy was in the attack, but no matter if it helped to remove any thing wrong as to Christ I should be glad of it. I feared withdrawing the papers might be a giving up truth as to the sufferings of the blessed Lord. The shape it came to me in {omitted in L} on the contrary did not commend itself to me at all. But further, knowledge puffs up & charity edifies. I had to consider whether love & the desire to save these Brethren would not lead me to suppress these papers, even if they were not wrong at all. On the other hand if it was {L: were} an effort of the Enemy to enfeeble the sense of the sufferings of Christ which the Saint should have, this wd only be {L: be only} playing into his hands. All this exercised me in prayer examination of my statements & examination of the Scriptures. As far as I can trust myself I examined it thoroughly without the smallest desire or thought of saving myself. Christ’s glory which was professedly in question made that quite immaterial. One of my accusers was too dark as to the whole question to let his statements have much result as such on {L: in} my mind. The effect on {L: in} another was {L adds: such as} to destroy its weight, but this did not hinder my examining it, because Christ was in question. But my mind having been directed to other subjects as I said at Guelph on my return here, I again looked over the {L: my} papers on the sufferings & on the Ps: The result is complete relief to my mind. I find one or two phrases to which I could {L: might} add a clearing word which are however fully cleared up in other passages destined to that. But I am satisfied that there is nothing wrong; but on the contrary edification in the statements where souls are able to enter into it. I have no wish to bring souls weak in the faith to doubtful disputations. But it is clear to me that those who have objected are either ignorant or mischievously defective as to the sufferings of the blessed Lord. That it is the darkness of error on this point in their minds not the light of God, & error in me. I have no thought of attacking them, God forbid, nor making the blessed Lord a field of battle on which to defend myself. But I shall not shrink from the conflict if they force me to it – nor from making matters plain; mere attacks on myself I shd not answer but if they do not sufficiently expose themselves, as I believe they would, if they came forward, & the truth of God is in question, then I will stand up & God will judge between us & clear His own truth. But I have no wish to drag Brethren into the controversy, nor make them & the testimony of God by them answerable for the Standing I take. I am not afraid to be alone. I feel I did right in proposing not to come nor to teach. It is because I believe Bn are the testimony of God in quiet peaceful unity that I would not engage them in my battles if I am forced into them. It is not their conflict they are not answerable for what I have stated, some may not be convinced I am right & they have a common path without this question, tho’ I am sure those who do not receive the substance of what I have written will lose by it. I am going on & shall go on quietly with my work, doing nothing as to it. So I intend to do having answered all those who honestly inquired, unless the truth is brought into question. Were I not satisfied that it would compromise the truth of Christs sufferings & that the enemy was driving at this, I would withdraw* myself. But I am. This is not what they want. The truth is in question at bottom & more than that. There is in Christ for us more than the truth. I am perfectly quiet till some occasion to act may arise. I trust the Lord for the rest. I hope I have learned a painful but a needed lesson, but with that I will not trouble others, God is gracious in every thing blessed be His name.”

The above from the date of it was written before Mr Halls & Mr Dormans books appeared – & was based upon the private correspondence which had taken place

* insert the papers for the sake of those who have been using them against me without thinking about”

Ive {?} one from JND wich {?} arrived last night 8 Decbr 1866

{cf. JND Letters I:464f.; mentionable differences from the printed text are indicated in blue}

I mourn over poor Dorman & Hall. I suppose they have a lesson to learn. The gracious Lord grant they may learn it. It may do good to us all. {omitted in L} I was informed Morrish {L: M.} would want a new edition of the paper on the sufferings. If that be so, it would be a just occasion for any remarks which {omitted in L} I have to make. I know not that there is {L: I have} much to add upon {L: on} the subject of {omitted in L} the sufferings of the blessed Lord. I understand, as I understood from the beginning, that few apprehend his interest in the remnant of Israel, still fewer, how the question of good & evil was met & settled. But I begin to suspect that very little spiritual apprehension of Christs true sufferings & very little true subjective capacity for it, by a work within & {omitted in L} the exercise of the senses to discern good & evil, to be the general cause of the difficulty. Of the truth of my teaching in general I have no {L: never had a} question, tho’ {L: That} many things have been more clearly defined in my mind since all the questioning is but natural, & the ambiguity of the word suffering in English, external infliction & internal pain used perhaps without drawing attention to it, may have been an occasion to those who did not seek profit but controversy. But what has been opposed to me I utterly reject as evil. It is the truth which is denied, not the ambiguity discovered. The gracious Lord deliver them. Poor H. is, quite unconsciously in Newtons system as I told him but he cannot even see it. {omitted in L} If I get out this new edition I shall freely point out, without changing them, all the passages which contained {L: contain} the accused statements & clear up any {L: from} ambiguity. But I have no wish to take it away from its character of edification. Scripture was followed in it with that view. The whole subject is more methodized in my mind now I have gained by it truth {L: but} not so much as the deeper apprehension of the Lord’s sorrows originally acquired, & that I wish others to have. Whatever ambiguous expressions have been cleared up {omitted in L} by the attacks is all gain I may be sorry at the way {L adds: and} yet glad & indebted for the result.”


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