In your last letter you asked me how I, without an alphabet [the basics?], want to make a grammatical, historical exegesis in order to penetrate into the meaning of Scripture. Academic exegesis is, all the same, an invention of the mind, and the mind did not come from exegesis, therefore, even though it helps many, it is not such an urgent necessity. By the way, if there will be the possibility, I will try to acquire exegesis. Many have the correct understanding even without exegesis, and many others are mistaken in their exegesis as a few Swiss pastors, who consider it unnecessary to believe in the Holy Trinity, in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the Name in which they were baptized. By the way, if you re-read my last letter you would see that I only asked what can be done without exegesis. I openly admit to you that in your letter I did not find any answer to my questions. So, for example, I asked you to explain the Apostolic words (Jude 1:19) that people, having separated themselves from the unity of faith, are natural [1 Cor. 2:14] and do not have the Spirit. You pass over that place in silence and say only that a Christian must strive for unity. Why does not the Apostle not say that about those who do not strive for unity, but only about those who separate themselves from it? You have not explained this. In place of this you object to opinions which I never said and against trends which our Church never had. For example, you speak about those who say that they already perfectly attained to the truth of everything holy and about those who want to cover up human errors in the Church with divine rules. What gave you cause for this I do not know. About the first, I never spoke and never even thought. The second has a bit of truth in relationship to the Roman church, against which you justly object to in many things, but that does not concern our Church, which you very often do not separate from the Roman Church. That which concerns the Church itself, I find contradictions in you. At first you, as it were, agree that it is from God, but then, as it were, reject its divine beginning and relate it to an institution. Well, no. The Church is the pillar and ground of truth [I Tim. 3:15], and the Lord said, I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it [Matt. 16:18]. What kind of comparison can be made here with an institution? I don’t understand.
Well, I wrote to you what came to mind and what was passed to the pen.
January 25, 1864