Dealing With False Doctrine; the Evangelical Body's Loss of Paul's Doctrine; Government of God; Hebrews; John and Paul Compared; Paulicians; the New Place; Union With Christ; the Wilderness

Hebrews; Hebrews 3:1
We cannot have too clear a view or Paul's teaching union with an ascended Christ, putting us in a wholly new position. The more I go on, the more I see that the loss of this by the Church is the secret of their state; and it is mainly that which brethren have recovered, which God has brought out in these last days. But it is just that that makes it so important that the truth should not be discredited, by denying or in any way discrediting any other part of scripture. It is curious that this was just the ruin of the Paulicians. They had nothing else but Paul's epistles and the gospels, and their adversary took up this very point against them, a certain Peter,* if I remember. But it is a mistake to think Paul only speaks of this new place; John does too. But that is not all: the other parts of scripture are the word of God, and if any have not attained to Paul's doctrine, we are to walk by the same rule. Besides, the other aspects of the truth are as important in their place as that. Where that truth is held alone, there is a hardness, a want of daily dependence which leaves the best christian affections dormant. Besides, the whole system is false. Those other parts of the New Testament were certainly available for Christians then, and if so, for Christians now. "Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling," is clearly christian ground; and wilderness life is a part of christian life, as Canaan and conflict are.
* [Of Sicily]
Further, the person who makes light of John's writings, makes light of the manifestation of God and of the Father, and makes his own acceptance before God the only thing of importance now. This is a very bad state of soul, and such are clearly on low ground. We have to maintain redemption against the Puseyite heresy of making incarnation the saving work. But if we hold redemption tenaciously fast, the Bread come down from heaven to give life must not be lost. And as to Peter, if I lose his writings I lose the government of God and the connection of this in christian times with Old Testament times. Now the glory of God is concerned in these things, and it is a poor boast of knowledge to leave that aside and think only of what exalts us. So of Jude, where it directly concerns the professing church. In no place is Christ's personal glory, as Christ, brought out more fully than in Hebrews. Is that nothing for the Christian, because the unity of the body is not brought out? Even Paul's epistles give different aspects of truth. The Epistle to the Romans does not hint at our resurrection with Christ, nor allude to Christ's ascension, save once in chapter 8, to lay the ground for intercession, which is really dropped out of their scheme. Ephesians never goes on Romans ground at all: Colossians takes up in substance both. Their vaunted clearness is not sound knowledge, but rejection of many important parts of truth, and uniformly produces self-sufficiency and hardness, not personal dependence on grace and on Christ.
Many have had difficulty in going with poor -, whose teaching could not go down in London, and they did not break bread with him: he is personally a lovable man, but I confess I should have myself, though I know not to what extent he has given ground for any active dealing with it. I know his views (as they were some few years ago) well, and reject them as alike false and mischievous. It may be the case of warning brethren not to go there, when the occasion calls for it, and presenting a clear determined front of utter condemnation and rejection when any come across it as you have, and as I heard of it in the north, and dealing with it as intolerable, and watching any sign of its spreading. People may be easily misled by it, because there are important truths, often dropped, which their system brings forward. And some may err without being heretical. But I should resist at any rate, and take up immediately any teaching of the error. It is gross and mischievous ignorance, not light, to say nothing of disposing cavalierly of the word of God. To whom was the Epistle to the Hebrews addressed—unbelieving, blaspheming Jews, or believing ones who had taken joyfully the spoiling of their goods? It is really wonderful how people can be so bamboozled; only, will is at work, and that must be kept in mind, and taken notice of.*
* [See " Collected Writings," vol. 15 p. 308.]
No great news from this. The brethren have been encouraged, and needed it, and souls have been added, and I trust several others blessed. They have taken the visit cordially. At Barbadoes there is more inquiry than here. Still the testimony has reached souls.... The brethren are going on well, though they have had cases of discipline and needed rousing and setting on solid ground—the most about 350 in the colony. Here, Georgetown, the work is comparatively recent. W. is arrived, and I (D.V.) leave for Barbadoes by next mail. All well through mercy. The heat is not so very bad, only always grapes ripening fast, etc.
Affectionately yours.
February, 1869.