God’s Revelation or my Thoughts

This made me think – God has revealed Himself in Christ. We know this by the Holy Spirit. Our own thoughts get in the way, and the results are a disaster to us and those closest to us.

Last Saturday my wife and I visited some gardens in the south of England. These displayed exquisite Autumn colours at this time of year and we took some beautiful photos. What a Creator!

While there we bumped into a brother and sister whom we had not seen for some time. We asked after the brother’s elderly parents. They live in almost squalor, despite not having any finaancial problems. Simply speaking, our brother’s father just refuses any help.  Sheffield ParkMy friend made an observation. Not only does he refuse help, he does not seem to be at peace with God, despite being in Christian fellowship all his life. He insists on working things out himself.

It is sad that a Christian, in his mid 80’s, should insist on his own way. No help from his family; no help from God. His wife suffers in silence, having decided years ago just to let things take their course. And what misery!

On a practical level the couple could have all the help they needed, whether they remained in their own house or moved to somewhere more suitable and closer to their family. But more than that, our brother’s insistence in working things out himself has impeded God’s revealing His love by the Holy Spirit.

This made me think – God has revealed Himself in Christ. We know this by the Holy Spirit. Our own thoughts get in the way, and the results are a disaster to us and those closest to us.


‘Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts’ (Isa 55:7-9).



October 2016

J N Darby – Love Divine – Father, Thy sovereign Love has sought Captives to Sin, gone far from Thee

FATHER, Thy sovereign love has sought
Captives to sin, gone far from Thee

Hymn by John Nelson Darby (1800-1882)


FATHER, Thy sovereign love has sought
Captives to sin, gone far from Thee;
The work that Thine own Son hath wrought
Has brought us back in peace and free.

And now, as sons before Thy face,
With joyful steps the path we tread,
Which leads us on to that blest place
Prepared for us by Christ, our Head.

Thou gav’st us, in eternal love,
To Him to bring us home to Thee,
Suited to Thine own thoughts above,
As sons, like Him, with Him to be

In Thine own house. There Love divine
Fills the bright courts with cloudless joy;
But ’tis the love that made us Thine
Fills all that house without alloy.

Oh, boundless grace! What fills with joy
Unmingled all that enter there,
God’s nature, Love without alloy,
Our hearts are given e’en now to share.

God’s righteousness with glory bright,
Which with its radiance fills that sphere –
E’en Christ, of God the power and light –
Our title is that light to share.

O Mind divine! so must it be,
That glory all belongs to God.
O Love divine! that did decree
We should be part, through Jesus’ blood.

Oh, keep us, Love divine, near Thee,
That we our nothingness may know;
And ever to Thy glory be –
Walking in faith while here below.

J N Darby 1880

Edited version in Little Flock Hymn Book  (1962, 1973) – No 87, 88

Edited version in Hymns for the Little Flock 1962 and 1973 Nos 87 and 88 and in Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs 1978 – No 331


J N Darby – The Father’s Grace – Father, in Thine Eternal Power,

FATHER, in Thine eternal power,
Thy grace and majesty divine,
No soul, in this weak mortal hour,
Can grasp the glory that is Thine!

Hymn by John Nelson Darby (1800-1882)

FATHER, in Thine eternal power,
Thy grace and majesty divine,
No soul, in this weak mortal hour,
Can grasp the glory that is Thine!

E’en in its thoughts of sovereign grace
It leaves us all far, far behind;
The love that gives with Christ a place
Surpasses our poor feeble mind.

And yet that love is not unknown
To those who have the Saviour seen;
Nor strange to those He calls His own –
Pilgrims in scenes where He has been.

In Him Thy perfect love, revealed,
Has led our hearts that love to trace
Where nothing of that love’s concealed,
But meets us in our lowly place.

But grace, the source of all our hope,
From Thine eternal nature flows;
Could to our lost condition stoop,
And now through Christ no hindrance knows;

Has flowed in fullest streams below,
And opened to our hearts the place
Where, in its ripened fruits, we’ll know
The eternal blessings of that grace.

And here we walk, as sons through grace,
A Father’s love our present joy;
Sons, in the brightness of Thy face,
Find rest no sorrows can destroy.

Nor is the comfort of Thy love,
In which we “Abba, Father” cry,
The only blessing that we prove:
Because that love is ever nigh,

A holy Father’s constant care
Keeps watch, with an unwearying eye,
To see what fruits His children bear,
Fruits that may suit their calling high;

Takes ever knowledge of our state –
What dims communion with His love,
Might check our growth or separate
Our hearts from what’s revealed above.

Oh, wondrous Love, that ne’er forgets
The object of its tender care;
May chasten still, while sin besets,
To warn and guard them where they are;

But ne’er forgets, but feeds them still
With tokens of His tender love;
Will keep till, freed from every ill,
They find their rest with Him above.

Oh, wondrous, infinite, divine!
Keep near, my soul, to that blest place,
Where all those heavenly glories shine
Which suit the brightness of His face.

Oh, lowliness, how feebly known,
That meets the grace that gave the Son!
That waits, to serve Him as His own,
Till grace what grace began shall crown!


Edited version in Little Flock Hymn Book  (1962, 1973) – No 120

How to Know the Father’s Will

Finally “the meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way” (Ps 25: 9).
I have given you all that comes to mind at this moment, and little satisfaction, I fear. But remember only that the wisdom of God conducts us in the way of God’s will. If our own will is in activity, God cannot be the servant of it; that is the first point to discover. It is the secret of the life of Christ. I know no other principle that God makes use of, however He may pardon and overrule all. You have asked me for direction: God leads the new man who has no other mind than Christ, and who mortifies the old man. He purifies us thus that we may bear fruit.

This was the subject of a letter, originally in French (JND French Letters No 436) and translated by myself.  The translation has been reviewed by another brother.  It is an alternative translation to that in JND’s Collected Writings.  How to Know the Will of the Father  vol  16 (Practical 1) p19
DJR Translation

Dear Brother

You could not suppose that a child who habitually neglected its father, and was always wholly indifferent to his mind and will, would not know what would please its parent when a difficult circumstance presented itself.   There are certain things which God intentionally leaves in generalities, in order that the state of a soul may be proved.  If, instead of the child, a wife was found there, there would probably be no hesitation in her mind; she would know immediately what would please her husband; even where he had expressed no positive will about the circumstance in question. Now you cannot escape this trial; God will not allow His children to escape it. “If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be fun of light.” (Matt 6: 22).  This easy and comfortable means of knowing God’s will does not exist without reference to the state of our own soul.
There is something else.  Very often we are of too much importance in our own eyes and we imagine, however wrongly, that God has some will for us in the circumstances in which one is working.  In fact, God has nothing to tell us thereon, and all the agitation provoked in us by the thing which concerns us is only evil. The will of God is that we should know to take our place quietly, an insignificant place.  At other times, we seek to know God would have us to act in circumstances in which His only will is that we should not be found there at all, and the first thing to which our conscience would lead us, if it were really in activity, would be to make us leave them.  Our own will has set us there, and we would like nevertheless to lean on the hand of God and to be directed by Him in the path of our own will. Such is a very common case.

Be assured that, if we kept ourselves near enough to God, He would not leaveus in ignorance of His mind.  In a long and active life, God, in His love, may make us feel our dependence when we have a tendency to act according to our own will, and does not immediately reveal His own; but the principle remains, whatever it is: “if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light”.  Whence it is certain that, if the whole body is not full of light, the eye is not single.  You will say to me, That is poor consolation.  No, it is sweet and precious consolation for those whose desire is to have the eye single and to walk with God – not only to delivered objectively, so to speak, by the knowledge of His will, but to walk with Him. “If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him” (John 11: 9-10).  It is always the same principle. “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8: 12).  You will seek in vain to exempt yourself from this moral law of Christianity: the thing is impossible.  “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing by the knowledge of God” (Col 1: 9-10).  The connection between these things is of incalculable value for the soul.  We need to know the Lord to walk in a way worthy of Him; and we grow in the knowledge of God.  “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ” (Phil 1: 9-10).  Finally, “the spiritual discerns all things and he himself is discerned of no man” (1 Cor 2: 15).
It is then the will of God, and a will of grace, that men should be capable of discerning His will other than according to their own spiritual state, and, in general, when we think that we are carrying a judgment of the circumstances, it is God who is judging us, us and our state.  Our only business, I repeat, is to keep ourselves close to God.  It would not be the love of God to leave us to discover His will without that.  Such a thing might be convenient to a director of consciences; but the love of God cannot allow us to be spared the discovery and the chastisement of our own moral state.  Thus, if you seek how you may discover the will of God in the details, and apart from this state, you are seeking evil; and this is seen every day.  You will find a Christian in doubt and perplexity, where another, more spiritual, sees as clear as the day, surprised at what is making no difficulty, and understanding that it is quite simply the other’s state which hinders him from seeing it. “He that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off” (2 Pet 1: 9).

As regards circumstances, I believe that a person may be guided by them; and Scripture has pronounced on that, whatever it may be called: to be “held in with bit and bridle”; “I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye” (Ps 32).  Such is the promise and privilege of faith which keeps near enough to God to know only His mind towards him; He being faithful to direct thus and promising to do so.  God exhorts us not to be as the horse and the mule which cannot receive intelligently from their master the communication of his mind and his desires; they need to be held in with bit and bridle, which is better than to stumble, to fall or to run counter to the one who leads; but this is after all a sad state.  That is therefore what it is to be guided by circumstances.  God is full of goodness in concerning himself thus with us but it is a sad on our part.
Here, however, we must distinguish between judging circumstances, and acting in the midst of them; he who is led by them always acts blind as to knowing the will of God.  There is absolutely nothing moral in that direction; it is an external force that exercises a control.  Now it is very possible that I may have no idea beforehand of what I shall do, and that: I do not know the circumstances in which I may be found, and cannot consequently make any resolution in advance; and yet,the instant they present themselves, I judge with the clearest divine judgment what is the path of God’s will, what is the mind and power of the Spirit in the midst of these circumstances, and this demands precisely the highest characterof spirituality; instead of being led by circumstances, on is led by God in them, being near enough to God to be able to judge what is suitable, as soon as it is presented.  ‘Impressions’ are not everything,  God can suggest them no doubt, and by His Spirit, He does suggest a thing to the mind; but when it is perceived, its moral character will be as clear as the sun at noon-day. In response to prayer, God can remove from our heart certain carnal influences, and so leave their power in the spirit to certain spiritual influences which give importance to a duty, which had been perhaps entirely obscured by preoccupation caused by some object of our desire.  This may be even be seen between two individuals: one may not have the spiritual discernment to discover what is right; but if another shews the good to him, he sees it clearly himself.  All are not highway engineers, but a waggoner knows well enough a good road when it is made. Thus the impressions which come from God do not always remain simple impressions, but they are usually clear at the same time as they are produced.  I do not doubt, however, that if we walk with Him, and if we listen to Him, God often produces this clarity in the soul.

If Satan, as you put it, raises obstacles, it only shows that they are only obstacles (allowed God) for a good reason, obstacles raised by the accumulation of evil in the circumstances which surround us by the power of evil over other people.

Your third question supposes a person acting in ignorance of God’s will, which should never be the case.  The only rule that can be given as to this is, never to act when we do not know this will.  If you act without knowing it, you will be at the mercy of circumstances.  God overrules all, for this is the case supposed by your question; But why act in such a way as would be if I were ignorant of the will of God?   He will stop me perhaps, because, if I do not walk sufficiently near to God in the sense of my nothingness, I will perhaps lack the faith to accomplish what we have faith enough to discern.

If we are doing our own will or are negligent in our walk, God in His grace may warn us by a hindrance if we pay attention to it, whilst “the simple pass on and are punished” Prov 22: 3).  God may permit, where there is much activity and labour, that Satan should raise up hindrances, in order that we may be kept in His dependence; but God never permits Satan to act otherwise than on the flesh.  He does evil, if we leave the door open between us and him, because we are away from God; but otherwise God uses it only as an instrument to test us to take us away or correct what would be a danger to us, or something that would tend to exalt us.  God allows Satan to cause suffering, and the flesh and the outward mind, in order that the inward man may be kept clean and safe.  If it is a question of anything else, we have only to take our “buts” and open the door to the enemy to trouble us by doubts and difficulties as if they were between God and us, because we no longer “see far”, for “he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not”.

Finally, the question is wholly moral. If any particular question is raised which at the first blush we cannot solve, we shall find very often that it would not have arisen, if our position were good, if spirituality had guarded and kept us instead of making us err.  In such a case, we have only one thing to do, which is to humble ourselves as to matter which it is about, then to examine whether Scripture does not present some principle suitable to direct us. Here evidently spirituality is everything.  Where it can be applied, the principle of looking at what Jesus would have done in such and such a case is excellent, but how often we are not in the circumstances in which He would be found.
It is often useful to ask ourselves whence comes such a desire with us, or the thought of doing this or that; I have found that this alone decides more than half of the difficulties in which men can be found.  The rest of those which remain are the result of haste, or of a former evil.  If the thought is of God and not from the flesh, then we have only to wait on God as to the manner and means by which we shall soon be directed.  There are cases we need direction without motives, as when we hesitate about whether to make one or another.  A life of more ardent charity, or a charity exercised in a more intelligent way, or set in activity in communion with God, will clear the motives of charity which were not but selfishness.  And if, you ask, charity or obedience are not in question?  Well!  Then it is for your first to give me a reason, a motive, for acting in whatever way it is.  If it is your own will that you are pressing, you cannot make the wisdom of God te servant of your will; this is another numerous class of difficulties that God will never solve.  In these cases, He will in grace teach us obedience, and will show us how much time we have lost in our own activity.

Finally “the meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way” (Ps 25: 9).

I have given you all that comes to mind at this moment, and little satisfaction, I fear.  But remember only that the wisdom of God conducts us in the way of God’s will.  If our own will is in activity, God cannot be the servant of it; that is the first point to discover.  It is the secret of the life of Christ.  I know no other principle that God makes use of, however He may pardon and overrule all.  You have asked me for direction: God leads the new man who has no other mind than Christ, and who mortifies the old man.  He purifies us thus that we may bear fruit.

J N Darby Letter Why I could not be a Baptist. – Believers’ Baptism – Infant Baptism – Household Baptism – the House and the Assembly

Baptists are a sect, and enough to say, in my opinion I would not be part of it. If a brother believes he should be baptised, I would never seek to dissuade him, even though he had already been baptised and I believe him mistaken in the way he sees it. However, if he believes that it is according to the Word, he would be well, I think, to have it done. That does not break the unity of the body.

J N Darby on Household Baptism
John Nelson Darby

The following letter (Letter No 431) written in French by John Nelson Darby, outlines his position on baptism – particularly believers’ baptism as practiced by the Baptists and other Evangelical Christians.   I translated it as part of an earlier task as assisting a brother who desired to have some 475 letters of JND translated into English.  However, I feel that due to the large amount of confusion that exists as to this important subject it is as well to publish my translation (slightly edited) here.

My French is far from perfect, and whilst this translation has been revised by another, I have also included the original text as a separate posting. Click here for …  

Pourquoi je ne Pourrais être Baptiste. – Baptême des Croyants – Baptême des Enfants – Baptême des Familles – la Maison et l’Assemblée

Montpelier, 1851

To Mr L.F..

The State of the Church

In the state of confusion in which the Church finds itself, if its existence is even remembered, it is very natural that in such a matter one acts according ones individual conviction.   But when it is a question of the destruction of the unity of the Church, it is a more serious question.  The Baptists are a sect, and enough to say, in my opinion I would not be part of it.  If a brother believes he should be baptised, I would never seek to dissuade him, even though he had already been baptised and I believe him mistaken in the way he sees it.  However, if he believes that it is according to the Word, he would be well, I think, to have it done.  That does not break the unity of the body.

The Baptists quote, “Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.”

Having said that, I will give you a few general principles on this subject.  I am not convinced at all by the rationale of the Baptists.  I find in their reasoning, without their suspecting it, inversion of the basic principles of Christianity, and a complete ignorance of what Christian baptism is.  They speak of the baptism of John, and that the Lord says “thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.”  Matt 3:15.  Think about it.  Does the Christian achieve righteousness in fulfilling ordinances?  Is that a Christian principle, or is it an perversion of Christianity?  Moreover the baptism of John means absolutely nothing for Christians; it was a baptism just for the Jews, a baptism, which assumed the entrance, through repentance into the privileges of the kingdom, and did not assume the death and resurrection of Christ, rather exactly the opposite.  The baptism of John was not done in His name, nor in keeping with the truths announced in the gospel.  Consequently those who had the baptism of John had to be baptised again later in the name of the Lord, as if they had never had received any baptism beforehand.(Acts 19:4-5) .  I am then urged to be baptised in obedience to an ordinance in order to fulfill righteousness (principle which inverts the fundamentals of Christianity), and a baptism which excludes the death and resurrection of Christ (only true sense of Christian baptism).  This baptism however belongs historically to a system which predated Christianity which one both Jews and heathens received.  The death and resurrection of Christ formed the basis of a new creation, to which the baptism of John did not have any bearing.  When I hear similar arguments, I am the more convinced that that those who use them (though they are very sincere) do not understand the first elements of the subject they are dealing with, and unwillingly and unknowingly invert the foundation of Christian truth.

But there are further points which make me reject the Baptist system.  That is,that I deny their principle of obedience to an ordinance and in particular to the ordinance (they say) of baptism.  Baptism is a granted privilege, and the act is that of the person who baptises, not of the person baptised.  I say that the thought of obedience to baptism is not in in the Word, or that there is a commandment addressed to men, it is that to be baptised

Baptism as a Privilege

Firstly, I say that the idea of obedience to an ordinance does not belong to the Christian system.  I recognize that Christ established baptism and the supper, but obedience to ordinances was destroyed, in principle, at the cross.  (Col 2:14 target=”_blank” Eph 2:15) target=”_blank”.  When it is a matter of the supper “This do in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19), it is a directive as to the purpose of the symbol.  Every time that we eat of it, we should do it with this purpose.  This is not a commandment to do it, but a directive to make one intelligent in doing it.

For baptism in particular, the commandment is to given to go and baptise, that is to say that the act was the act of the apostles in receiving the gentiles into the Church.  And this is so true that the apostles could not be baptised, but they did baptise those who received their teaching.

Through examining the cases presented, I find that the baptism is considered to be a privilege granted to somebody whom one admits in the house of God, and is never an act of obedience nor of testimony.  The apostle says ”Can any one forbid water that these should not be baptised, who have received the Holy Spirit as we also did?” (Acts 10:47).  ”What hinders my being baptised”, says the eunuch (Acts 8:36)  Evidently in this case it was not a matter of obedience, but an accorded privilege, an admission into the privileges that others enjoyed.  I would remark in passing, although an adult, heathen or Jew, must believe to be baptised, the words “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.”  Acts 8:37KJV as foreign to the Word by everybody who are concerned with the authenticity of texts.  The apostles received the order from the Lord to baptise.

I would add that the Baptists’ idea that baptism is a symbol of what we are is also contrary to the Word because it says “buried with him in baptism, in which ye have been also raised (Col 2:12).  That is then not based on the assumption that we are already dead and raised.  On the contrary, in figure, we die and are raised in baptism itself, that is to say that we were not that beforehand.  That is the sign of the thing through which we enter, not the sign of our state to ourselves.

I totally reject the whole Baptist system, because I have received teaching from the Word of God.  I am fully convinced that it is entirely false.  There is an order to baptise given to the apostles, but baptism is not the subject of a particular commandment to the one who is baptised.  The difference is from beginning to end in the character of the act.  If I give to my business agent an order to remit a hundred francs to such and such a person, he is obligated to obey me.  If I give a letter of title to somebody, the obedience the recipient is totally a different matter.

Baptism is the Reception of a Person into the Christian Assembly down here in this World

However to reject what is false is not the only thing one has to do.  It is a matter of knowing the truth in order to be able to glorify God; but the question has become much simpler.  Baptism is the reception of a person into the midst of the Christian Assembly down here in this world.  I do not believe that one who reads the New Testament freely could deny that.  Who then must be received into this assembly, baptism being recognized to be the means of receiving them (for I agree with the Baptists on this point)?  I accept that in regard to the persons baptised, heathen or Jewish, in a word as to any who have not received baptism (as also for a Quaker or the child of a Baptist), those who believe ought to be baptised, because one can only receive an adult (who can act of his own accord) on his won responsibility.  It is all simple so long as one does not try to push the tide back, with the big stick in his hand as Charlemagne harassed the Saxons.

But the remaining question is this – Should children of believing parents be received into the Assembly?

I should say a word as to the Assembly itself, because what has given rise to a lot of difficulties is the ignorance of what the assembly of God is on earth.  I say ‘the Assembly’ not assemblies.  Those baptised become, by baptism members of the Christian Assembly on earth, not of an assembly.  However this assembly is the house of God where the Holy Spirit dwells.  The world is the desert where Satan dwells.  The Assembly is “a habitation of God in the Spirit” Eph 2:22).  In this Assembly one is admitted by baptism, and it is true that it is the habitation of the Spirit for Hebrews 6 supposes that one can be partakers of the Holy Spirit without having been converted.  In this case the one having the Spirit thus, was not really part of the body of Christ, but he possessed the Spirit, in the sense of a gift, being in the house where the Spirit lived and acted.  So Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit.  In this case, it was in the Spirit’s presence, not the gift, but for the point we are concerned about it is the same. However it is a matter of knowing if the children of Christians can be received into this house, or are they to be left in the world where Satan reigns.  It is  not a matter of commandment.  I deny any commandment for any ordinance, baptism in particular.  There isn’t one for an adult.  It is a matter of knowing God’s will is in regard to this privilege.  However it is clear to me that according to the Word, children should be received.   It is fully evident that there would have to have been a change in God’s system of things in order not to receive them – a change which moreover has never been announced.  However, here are a few passages which makes me see in a positive way the thoughts of God in regard to this.  Before citing them I pose a recognized principle, because I believe it scriptural, that baptism is the Lord’s desired way to be received outwardly into the assembly of God, and its meaning is the death and resurrection of Christ.  But here, in passing, I must also again remark that the views of many on this point are decidedly unscriptural.  They assume that the ordinances, baptism in particular, are the sign of the state where somebody finds themselves and participates.  However this idea is opposed to the testimony of the Word.  The baptised person participates in an act of ordinance which is no sign at all that he participated beforehand.  Thus, baptism is not a sign that a man participates in the death and resurrection of Christ.  Baptism is (in figure), the participation in these things by the act itself.  The testimony of Col 2:12 is positive in this regard:  ”buried with him in baptism, in which ye have been also raised with him”.  That is an act that the participation has taken place; it is not a sign of the participation that precedes it.  It is the same in regard to the Supper.  One eats (in figure) the body that was broken (1 Cor 11:24 KJV & Martin/Osterheld, not JND or JND-French and the blood that was shed.  It is not a figure that one has done it already.  The same principle is found in Rom 6:4.  Other passages confirm the same.

Baptism and Little Children

Having made this principle clear, and having shown that the Baptist principle is not well founded, that the Word contradicts their idea that baptism is the sign that one is already dead and risen again, whereas the Word teaches that we figuratively die there and are raised.  Having, as I say, brought all this into the light, I come to the passages which authorize me to believe that children of Christians are objects of this favour, baptism being the means of their being able to enjoy it.

Matthew 18 is a striking passage, showing how God considers the children.  The Lord takes a little child (v2), not a converted person (He even distinguishes in v6 the difference between a believing child and others) and declares that one must become such, and that their angels continually see the face of their Father who is in the heavens (v10), that is to say that they are the objects of His special favour.  But the testimony is something much more exact than that.  They are lost; Christ has come, He says (v11) “to save that which was lost.”  “For it is not the will of your Father who is in the heavens that one of these little ones should perish.” (v14).  In receiving a little child in His name, I receive Christ, and I recognize that, even being children, this little being is lost; but that it is the object of the Father’s love which I know, and whom there is not other means of salvation, even for a child, than the death and resurrection of Christ.  So I introduce it into the house by this means.  The testimony is therefore very clear, we are born children of wrath.

I have already shown that baptism is not a witness rendered to the state of the individual,  but the admission that the individual is a testimony to the value of the work of Christ.  The Baptist will now say to me, I know “But you admit a little heathen child”  The Word tells me totally the opposite.  It says that if one of the parents is a Christian, the children are holy.  However they are not holy by nature, it is a relative holiness, that is to say as a right of entry into the house.  That is the sense of this word in the Bible.  They are not soiled or profane.  A Jew who married a woman from the nations was profaned, and their children profaned, and the woman was to be sent back with them.  But in Christianity it is a system of grace, and the woman, instead of making her husband profane, is sanctified and the children are holy.  And this is the proper force and the evident bearing of the passage, because it concerned the question of whether a believer should divorce his unbelieving wife.  Thus the children, being holy, have the right to enter into the house and it is a real advantage that they enjoy.

To speak of legitimate children is nonsense, because only modern laws have made a distinction in such a case.

One may perhaps ask me, why then do we not give the supper to children?  I answer:  Because the light of the word prevents me.  The supper, considered from this point of view, is a figure of the unity of the body.  We are all one body, and so we all participate of the one loaf.  For in the power of one Spirit we have all been baptised into one body, (1 Cor 12:13), that is to say that one must be baptised of the Holy Spirit to take the supper.

“Children, obey your parents” could not be said to children who were not inside.  One does not address such precepts to heathens.  I see then that Christ, who received the child, wants us to receive such in His name, and by doing that we receive Him, Himself.  Notice that in Matt 18 the Lord applies the parable of the lost sheep to the little children (or to the letter it was to a little child who was there).  I repudiate entirely any dedication to God apart from baptism.  Not only is this Baptist practice a human innovation, but (without wishing it I admit), it pretends to be able to present the children to God without the death and resurrection of Christ.  If one cold present them to God by the death and resurrection of Christ they are then subjects of baptism.  To do otherwise is to deny Christianity:  not to devote them is impossible for a Christian.  In my opinion, the Baptist deprives his child of the protection of the house of God and of the care of the Spirit and leaves it in the world where Satan reigns, instead of (though it is fortunately inconsistent) to bringing it up in the discipline of the Lord…


Finally I deny entirely that there is a commandment to be baptised, as a matter of obedience.  I say that the principle is false and that baptism is always presented in totally the opposite way from that which is the basis of the Baptist system.  Reception into the church, the enjoyment of privilege of being brought into the house where the Spirit is, by citing the baptism of John, is to be ignorant of the first principles of Christianity and of the nature itself of Christian baptism.  Baptism as the Word considers it, is a reception by the church, according to the favour of God,  because they are holy.  It is the opposite of the profanity of a Jew who had married a foreigner.   In the case of a Christian the children are holy, whereas in the case of the Jew they are profane.  I repeat this because I am seeking to use this word not to weaken the scriptural proof, whilst it only makes the truth and the bearing of these passages of scripture clearer.

Here is an outline of what, I am perfectly convinced, is the true idea according to the Word.  This Word allows absolutely nothing of the Baptist system.  Nevertheless if somebody, individually thinks that he has not been baptised, I do not blame him if he gets baptised.  Rather, I respect his conscience like the conscience of one who believes he should only eat herbs.  But if one makes a sect out of this lack of light, then I condemn it totally.  However it is obvious that the Baptist position is one of pure ignorance,  It is truly impossible that a man can speak of fulfilling righteousness, in being baptised according to the example of Jesus with John the Baptist, if he has the lest light of the ways of God in Christ.  He may be sincere but his ignorance as to the truth of the gospel is very great….