The Character of Divine Communications; Ephesians

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Very Dear Brother,—It is indeed the force of Eph. 4 that you particularly point out, but you must not forget to what the church is destined in the age to come and forever, when there will be there no power to counter-balance, as in 1:11, 12; 2:7; 5:27, &c.—our own relationships with the Lord; but what you say is truly what ought to be at the present time, and it is this which has failed so sadly. Alas, my heart is always most painfully affected by it; but we await His glory. We must remember that priesthood does not apply to the church as seen in Christ, but to individuals such as they are in fact; and it maintains the relations of such beings with, or in a position such as, that of the church seen in Christ; that is to say, perfect, leaving out of count that which is down here in it. Here may come in the idea that applies to every thought of God, with regard to that which is down here, that is to say, as having sentiments, movements of heart, &c., in view of what is passing; and in a certain sense the expression of it is human, but it is the imperfect expression of a reality. Priesthood does not touch the question of our perfection, save that that perfection has placed us in a heavenly position before God in Christ, in regard to which it is a question of maintaining poor feeble creatures on the earth. Sometimes the idea of our heavenly perfection in Christ obscures the thought of priesthood; for me it is the basis of it. Is it your thought; or only that that which is done necessarily and perfectly in heaven is presented as a function which is in exercise? The word of God speaks in fact as to children, but it is in order that that which is true may thus be within the reach of children.
As to my movements, dear brother, I am more than ever ignorant; I have just had a short but very severe illness. I had an attack in my head by the hand of God, in such a manner as to cut the thread of my moral life; of what will result from it for my career I know little. I was habitually throughout that illness in deep peace, which has done me good, but it has greatly separated me from the course of my ordinary life, and I do not know when that will be resumed. I am better, but I do not yet apply my head in an orderly way. The mountain would do me good, but there are two accounts on which it is possible that God will raise up work to me, and until I set to work I can hardly say. Also I am very poor for traveling at this moment, but I will write you a line, God willing; but I should like you, beloved brother, to develop a little your thought as to priesthood.
I do not doubt that there is a divine manner of seeing, which differs from the communications made to us who understand but in part, but the communication that is made to us is divinely suited to produce in us, as far as that can be according to our finite capacity, the effect and idea of the reality of that which is seen divinely above, so that it is the truth as far as we are capable of it, the truth for us. Nothing else would be expressed: otherwise in its elevation we should understand nothing; in a lower way the height of the divine thought would not be expressed. It is like Christ Himself, God manifest in flesh; God, but within reach of man, always such that He could say, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father"—so with divine communications. I do not know if this is your thought, tell me in one word. I have not F.'s address, otherwise I should have written to him. Tell him there are many things to cause joy in the winnowing, though one may be feeble in it.
Your very affectionate.
I am still feeble, but much better.
June 12th, 1849.