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p375 [L E Lovef (Indistinct writing)] MY BELOVED BROTHER, - I have not the hope of satisfying every restless mind, unless they judge their own way of dealing with these questions, and the views by and from which they judge. I do not find a statement in any paper (it may have escaped me) that Christ entered into the experiences of souls conscious of sins, and not knowing the fulness of grace. I think I recollect it in Mr. Hall's accusations, but could not find it then. But such a soul, when upright through grace, dreads death, dreads judgment - is before God in view of it. Christ was perfectly upright, feared death, feared wrath, cried to God under the sense of it, and can enter into such a soul's exercises, so as to minister needed grace to it.

As to smiting; I do not believe there was any direct infliction of wrath from God on Christ by reason of any state or relationship He was in, save only as atonement, when made sin for us. But since all these questionings, I have examined scripture, and I cannot find there smiting used for atoning work, but always for the fact of the cutting off of Messiah, and not for the atoning value of His work. I have no objection to the vague using of it, giving it this force; because as I said, all infliction of wrath from God was atonement, and smiting is so understood. But the question having been raised, I have done my best to ascertain what scripture says, how it speaks, and "let God be true and every man a liar;" as far as I can find it speaks so. Divine wisdom has decided how to speak, and how to express itself. I have sought here by positive statement as to what I do not believe, to relieve the mind of a brother from the effect of false statements; but a Hebrew and Greek Concordance will give the best answer to the question, where the word smite (nakah) or πατάσσω are used in scripture.

I believe Christ is competent to enter into all the sorrows of the human heart by means of what He went through, sin apart. I believe in a special manner He entered into the sorrows of Israel. The fundamental and mischievous error of my accusers is, assuming (just Newton's error) that entering into the sorrows of any one's position meant being in the state or relationship which brought the sorrow on. But I think the doctrine of my accusers horrible, and a total denial of the truth of Christ's sufferings. It is those who have been under the pestilent influence of thinking sorrows or sufferings of heart in Christ implied the state that had brought them on man (an error on which all H.'s reasonings with me depend), who are troubled and uneasy. My good friends will have to learn that they can go wrong as well as those they are in such a hurry to condemn. If they fall into the snare of taking other people's representations of my doctrine, or read my words under the effect of them, they will have to deal with God about it, and see why.

As regards my taking up the matter on my return, I did fully take it up, and searched my own publications, scripture, and my accusers' correspondence, as fully as I could. I replied to every one who wrote to me honestly to inquire. If brethren think I am going to give up my direct service committed to me (however unworthy I may be) by the Lord, to pander to what I believe to be mere wicked accusations, I can only say I cannot do so. I am persuaded that more spiritual apprehensions of the sufferings of Christ, and true knowledge of conflict in their own souls, would have made brethren capable of juster decision in the matter. Not suspecting the kind of attack and accusations, expressions might be found in my papers which gave a handle to them; hence I have taken no high ground, but patiently awaited brethren's minds clearing up.

I do not think an upright willing mind could for a moment have interpreted what I have said as has been done. It amounts to the allegation that Christ was a condemned sinner, a saint through grace, and learning when a sinner. I do not believe my adversaries think I hold this, however my expressions may afford a handle to what they say; and I must take them (my accusers) as I find them, seeking to feel as God would have me feel, but I do think that their views ought to have awakened brethren's minds to a sense of the false grounds on which their accusations rest. What they deny forms an integral part of my Christianity. I should as much think of giving that up, as of accepting their views. But I have not neglected the subject since I left England. … But see what I have to deal with, or rather what troubles the minds you speak of. It is alleged that I say Christ entered into the experiences of souls, etc., which I cannot find - this means in their minds that He had these experiences, and He is then considered as Himself involved in them from God. And it is next added, it must be from the relationship He was in; not one word of which I have ever said or thought, and it flows from the abominable false principle that Christ suffered only from atonement or sympathy; that is, that besides atonement He never really suffered at all, and if there were any other, He must have been in the relationship that caused it. I must again express my astonishment that such doctrine, which is avowedly Mr. H.'s, has not opened people's eyes.

The only real ambiguity I know in what I have written is the word suffering, because suffering may have the sense of outwardly inflicted pain, and inward sense of any evil; and when I say Christ passed through these sufferings, it may be taken as inflicted on Him (and as to circumstances, outwardly in the main He did go through them), or as inwardly entering into the pain and grief of it, in whatever way brought to His soul. As to His being in the relationship and meriting it (or, as Mr. H. wrote to me, God smote the wrong person), I can only look at as an evil denial of all Christ's true sufferings except atonement. But the ambiguous sense of the word suffering gave probably a handle to those who sought it.

You will please to bear in mind, as to my not satisfying people, that I have answered to every one who has written to me. I much prefer giving people's minds time to get clear on the subject, than being in any hurry to defend myself. I can trust the Lord if they cannot; nor do I expect to be able to satisfy the cravings of those who do not. When I think of what doctrine it would have been the acceptance of, I am quite thankful I did not withdraw my papers.

As to the alleged entering into the experiences, allow me to ask: Do you think Christ can enter into the sorrows of a broken and contrite heart, fearful, and pressed within? If so further, do you think what He went through on earth enables Him to do it in a special way? Yet it has nothing to do with His being contrite - though I by no means think this is the highest way of looking at it. The true aspect of it all is objective, the "man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." I believe I have no more to add as to the papers called in question.

Ever your affectionate brother in Christ.

Those who have written against me were fully aware that I denied holding what they allege to be my views long before their pamphlets came out. There is another source of their error. Having assumed that smiting is infliction of atoning wrath from God, or, at any rate infliction from the state or position Christ was in, they have concluded I involved Him in this position. Now Messiah was cut off, the necessary consequence of Israel's state. In this He did go to accomplishing the work of atonement, or wrath against sin, which He bore from God; but in scripture it is not used for the atoning part of the work. In God's wisdom that in which Messiah was cut off was made to be the accomplishment of atonement for Israel and for us. It is this the Jews discover in Isaiah 53. The mingling both would not stumble me, but it makes the Psalms unintelligible and has led those who deny scriptural language as to it, to deny all Christ's sufferings, except atonement.

New York, November 21st, 1866.