Narrative of the Facts, connected with the separation of the writer from the congregation meeting in Ebrington Street. [Plymouth]

J. N. Darby.

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The following narrative, though constantly demanded by brethren, would have never seen the light, had the work which occasioned the separation been confined to Plymouth, or its activity ceased. No desire of clearing up one's own grounds of conduct has influenced me, nor would such have induced me to publish any account of what passed. The best proof is that in a lapse of a year it had not. But convinced as I am that it is a work of Satan which has developed itself here, and finding that, as Mr. N. announced that he would seek to produce everywhere "united hostility" to the brethren who differed from him, the same system at present is carrying on elsewhere to propagate the work, and believing that many true-hearted saints become unconsciously instruments of this, I have thought well that they should be apprised of what passed.

The argument alleged against such an account would be the scandal of it. But that exists in the division already. The knowing the grounds of it will rather take it away. For it is a very serious thing indeed to separate from Christians, and indeed the saints have, in some sort, a right to know why it has been done. It may be very humbling to the saints concerned; but I do not think this is an evil. The strongest motive by far - the one which weighed with me - was the dislike of publishing evil. I never should have done it, but left it to the Lord, had the trouble occasioned by it stopped the activity of the evil. What overcame this motive with me was, that there was just as much activity as before in the evil, and the same unblushing unscrupulousness as to truth. It may perhaps be thought that I have exaggerated in this account. Far from it. None of the facts which did not enter into the public course of events are mentioned, though as numerous and in my judgment as grave or graver than what is here stated; and not only so, but were not similar facts now going on, which are not alluded to here, I should never have published these. Another motive might act, that is, the general discredit thrown on the brethren. But this must yield before duty to souls. I have never seen one who got into the active influence of the system, whose moral integrity was not ruined. Besides, I believe that this system had so puffed up the brethren, and worldliness had so crept in, that under such discipline as God has sent us, it is only our part to bow. Indeed the present influence of the spirit of the world is such in the system which has driven me out, that, unless the Lord corrected it, I should be thankful to be entirely free from it. Lastly, I do not expect to escape what Sir A. C., Mr. W., and others have been subjected to, that is, to have all my statements denied. I expect it. But this is no reason with me for not informing brethren if this latter be a duty. It cannot last long this.

2 It is possible that in a narrative extending over a year and a half, embracing many people, and even places, some inaccuracy of detail which may occasion cavil may have escaped me. I have given too many names not to give the fullest opportunity of confirmation or correction, indeed always, save where charity demanded their suppression, or in the case of females. Engaged in such a business I had no need to conceal those of brethren. They must take their share when they acted in public. There is nothing here of which I am not assured of my own knowledge, or which were public facts before all, or facts stated already in print by others, or with the authors' names with some exceptions; in a word, nothing of the truth of which I am not thoroughly satisfied. At all events, what is here related is with other facts that which has led me into the position I am in; and I give them as substantially a thoroughly authentic and true narrative of what has passed. I have only to add, that the ground of evil doctrine or teaching, and the unsettling the souls of saints on every thing precious and even vital, is acquiring every day very greatly increased weight in my mind. This from its subtle and fleeting character, though conclusive with me, is more difficult to give. Some specimens however are here. The "Examination" of the "Thoughts" gives many though on less important points.

I may add one here from a tract sold in the tract shop. It is there taught that the wicked will rise with their diseased bodies; as that a man that had the palsy would keep it for ever, they would receive again their corrupt and sin-worn bodies, in all their wretchedness. This is addressed in a gospel tract to the careless. The tract is printed in London, but it was sold at Plymouth in the depot, nor have I any doubt of its origin.

3 I have communicated this narrative to others, to take all the care I can, that it should be perfectly true; I give no names, as I feel in such a case it is the juster way to let it rest on my own responsibility. I add here one or two corrections resulting therefrom.*

{*[These have now been added as footnotes. - Ed.]}

This is all that I can find to correct in what follows. It is, of course, possible that something may have escaped me.

I add another mark of the enemy's work. It is this: where there is the sudden reception of a whole system, and the authority of the author of it set up at once over the mind. When truth is received into the soul by the Spirit, it is received and engrafted by God, so that, though a blessed door may be opened by any given truth, we are built up truth by truth, each being wrought into the soul so that there is truth in it, and the consciousness of God's teaching us that, and the instrument of it, if any, is not between us and God as to it, though inspired teachers were of course an authority. In the case stated the mind is at once shut up into the system, and real progress in divine truth is entirely arrested. The consequences of having thus taken a system of error for truth is often most deplorable for the whole life, even if the person be delivered from it.

The reader will find another example of the unsettling the soul as to fundamental truths in the confusion between the life communicated to the saint and the divine nature in Christ. Thus, "But did Jesus think that the life which was in Him, and which He communicated to others, was not heavenly?" Did He not Himself say, "The Son of man which is in heaven? Were they (the angels) ignorant of the existence of a life in earth, which they had known in the excellence of its own uncreated glory, above? … Were they ignorant that this life had, through the Son been communicated to persons chosen from among sinful men?" (See pp. 28, 29, of "Answer to Second Letter.")

I have felt unable, having reread this narrative after the corrections, to detect any inaccuracy. As to the expression "He will catch it" (p. 58), my memory is so vague that I could not pretend to give it as the word used. But this perusal has made me feel that such a publication of evil would be entirely unjustifiable, and evil in itself, had I not the conviction, the solemn settled conviction (not, I believe, led to it of man) that there is an active positive work of the enemy going on. That conviction I have. I do not publish it to justify myself, for in my own judgment it does the contrary. I feel, as I have stated in the body of the narrative, that I failed in spiritual energy, through human feeling, in letting the matter drop in April at the instance of others. I hesitated as to my own being, spiritual enough to do it in public then, though I had acquiesced in doing it in private. If it be asked why I do it in a worse way now, I answer that it became a public duty to the saints, cost me what it would. And I do not expect to meddle with such evil without its costing me something.

4 I have had, in journeys I have made since I wrote this account, abundant confirmation as to the doctrine taught and other points.


No one who was present at the meeting lately held in London can doubt that the brethren were brought (may I not in a certain measure say, brought back?) into the presence of the Lord - that the Lord has dealt with them in the manifestation of His presence, of His presence and dealings with them. This is a serious and solemn thought, and (I have felt) ought to take the lead and be as the source and spring of our other thoughts. I have myself been laid by, unable to read and write, so that, for my own part, I have been necessarily more particularly thrown into His hands, so that things should be more immediately judged as in His presence, viewed as they are seen there, and that what does not become His presence should alarm the conscience, man becoming little, but the saints exceeding precious.

After the meeting my conscience somewhat smote me for not declaring there in the plainest way what I believe to be the Lord's judgment of the work which has resulted in Ebrington Street at Plymouth: and it has been yet more pressed upon my conscience since I have been laid by. What prevented my doing so will be evident to every one who was there. The Lord took the meeting so entirely into His own hand, and so gave to it the character, and that of blessing, which He pleased, that I felt my part was to leave it exclusively with the character He had given to it. If it was a want of faith, my motives will be understood by every one who was there. But then this return into the presence of the Lord leads to dealing with brethren as in His presence. It is due to them. I feel I owe it to them to communicate to them as seen there, so to speak, what may press on my own spirit before the Lord. Now I believe fully that the work which has resulted in, what I may call in its present state, Ebrington Street, is a direct and positive work of Satan. And here I entreat brethren not to turn away as if these were mere hard words or a bad spirit. I mean simply and solemnly what I say. If such be the case, it is charity, unfeigned charity, to say so, and warn the saints of it. I so much believe it to be so, that I do not believe any one who meddles with or is within its reach will be safe from its influence till they treat it as such.

5 This may be always remarked, that where there is a work of the enemy even saints always fall into it if they do not treat it as such. It has power over the human heart, and where there is not in the soul the power of the Spirit to judge it as the positive mischief of the enemy (and so it will be judged where that power is), there the soul will fall into it, as if it were more perfect truth than what the Spirit teaches. See the early judaizing of the church, traced and detected in the Epistles to the Galatians and Colossians, and elsewhere. And see in the Galatian churches how the saints fell into it. See the same thing in Popery.

And here I would explain a little further. It does not follow by any means that there are no truths held by those who fall into such a snare. Many important truths may be held by them. Nor is it to be thought for a moment that true saints of God are not liable to fall into these snares. On the contrary, what makes it important to consider them, is that they affect the saints of God. Did they not, it might be sorrowful instruction, but no more: just as the awful darkness of heathenism, or the sorrowful condition of a poor unbelieving child of Israel. Nor does it follow (though it will generally have a legal tinge, because the flesh will in such case more or less resume its power) that many good works will not be done by those under it. They may abound. So that in saying that there has been a work of Satan I am not saying there are not many very dear children of God; I am not saying that they do not hold many all-important fundamental truths, as truths, nor that they may not be doing a great many good works. All this will be fully found in the system of Popery, for example, as it was in the Galatians, the earliest form perhaps of that amazing and deluding system.

6 But there is a further point which it is right to notice. Truly godly people may be the instruments of helping on a system which is truly Satan's. No one can doubt that Cyprian, who laid down his life for Christ's name, that Augustine, that Bernard, were godly men. Yet, though one opposed Rome episcopally, and the last declared Antichrist was risen there, no one can doubt that they helped on most eminently Satan's work in Popery. They did not perceive the bearing of certain points on the meaning and testimony of the Spirit of God.

Further, I do not call every evil I find a direct and positive work of Satan. Of course his hand is there. A saint I call a work of God, though Satan may mar it. Thus I believe there are serious defects and faults in the Establishment; but I believe it to have been a work of God, marred and spoiled by human considerations, which led those who framed it, to adapt it to circumstances and to the then state of the population, and to introduce principles which lay it now open perhaps to that work of Satan which is commonly called Puseyism. In that too itself, I dare say, several good men are labouring, because they do not by spiritual power discern Satan's craft who has a lovely religion for the flesh, a religion fairer to men's judgment and loveliest natural feelings than God's, which acts entirely on the conscience and gives all glory to Christ. So with Dissenters: I believe that was a work of God; with many defects, I judge, but still a work of God. And so of others. But Popery and Puseyism are the work of the enemy, though you may, and doubtless would, find many dear persons among them. Of course the degrees of evil or power may vary. I speak of its character and source merely.

Satan originates nothing. This is God's prerogative. The work of Satan is to mar and break down what God has wrought, when this is left, as an effect produced, to the responsibility of man. God created Adam. Satan spoiled the work through man's folly. There was but One whom he could not touch down here; in whom, having laid his defiling hand on all else as prince of this world, he could find nothing. He can originate nothing, but he can build up with vast sagacity an immense system, out of the corruption, suited to the evil which is in us; yea, and stamped with the character of the evil that is in us to which it is so suited. What would money be without avarice? or worldly power without ambition? or superstition without a natural principle of religiousness in the heart of man? Such a system may be a vast fact in the economy of divine government considered as a judgment, as Mohammedanism; or a subtler corruption, as Popery, pregnant with greater mischiefs, but where the enemy of souls has not been permitted to blot out in the same way the great facts of Christianity, as to the manner of the Divine existence and incarnation, nor the historical truths of the gospel; or it may be a marring where, in the main, truth abides; or it may be the ruin of some special testimony of God as far as it goes.

7 A testimony of some special truth may decay, or be lost, or lose its power by becoming mere established orthodoxy; but I do not call this directly or properly a work of Satan. I call it a work of Satan, when, blessing and testimony having been brought in by the blessed Spirit of God, a systematic effort is made, producing a regular system; an effort which takes up the truth whose power has decayed as to faith really carrying the soul out of the influence of present things, or some neglected truth generally, and, while it seems to adopt it as it stands in its basis as a fact, subverts and sets it aside; throwing the soul back on ground which is no longer a test of faith, though it be truth (for there Satan can adopt truth for a time), and bringing in apparent additional instruction, but really subversive of the power of what the Spirit taught, and making the authority of this teaching sectarian, or superstitious, or both, though they will not last together. I am not speaking here of Satan's work in open infidelity.

Now many may be quite unable to detect Satan working in this way, but there will be always enough, through the faithfulness of God, to guard souls really waiting on Him from falling in; or if listened to, through grace to bring them out. But then it will be and must be judged as evil, not dealt with as a mere measure of better and worse.

There is a distinction which may yet be made.

There are two distinct characters of work which Satan does, which may nevertheless merge one in the other. Of these however one, if alone, will be ephemeral, the other lasting. First, where power is not the true power of the Spirit, so as to detect and judge Satan's imitation, there he can easily set up the imitation of power, and that even where there is a measure of true faith and owning of God, but subjection, intelligent subjection by the Spirit to the word as of the Spirit, is not found. Where this is connected with the establishment of arranged human authority, this latter may subsist, but the work itself is ephemeral. Such a work as this will probably be connected with some of the most right-feeling, if not right-judging, persons among Christians, who have the strongest feelings of the decay which occasions it, but there will be generally shipwreck of the faith in some point or other. Yet it will afford exceeding difficulty to those who cannot discern the work of the enemy in the midst of this right feeling. I would instance as examples of this kind of evil work of the enemy, the Montanists, the Irvingites, and, in some respects, the Quakers or Friends. As to these last it is well known that what I now refer to has passed away, and that they remain amongst men a most quiet and, in many respects, most estimable body of persons. I speak of their early history. What remains is the authority that was settled among them, though with the old Friends very much defect in doctrine.

8 I have no doubt that this work began in a right feeling about the want of spiritual power. This may be easily seen in Dell's works. But no one who has read the remarkable history of George Fox, Naylor, and many of Penn's writings, or known much of the doctrines of Friends, can doubt the inroad of the enemy. I have added a few words on this because it was a more mixed and ambiguous case. I would not pass it over because it is one instructive to the church.

But there is another form of Satan's working.

In this orthodox truth is in general maintained. Any pretension to the possession of spiritual power is based on church position, not on any particular manifestation of power, and thus seems to honour the institution of the church and Christ in it. God is alleged to have set there, in that institution, the seat of blessing, and this also is an acknowledged truth, and the unity of the body of Christ is thereon connected with the institution. But the sovereign operation of the Spirit of God is set aside, and that which acts outside the actually formed institution is condemned as denying the authority of God's institution and schismatical sin. Thus the actual possessors of the power of the institution, in its then state, really take the place of God. His power is vested in them as far as it acts on earth. Divine condemnation attaches to all who act independently of them. Direct dependence upon God is unallowable. And thus whatever puts individual faith to the test (for going with the crowd under authority does not) is condemned as self-will and presumption.

9 The system which so judges is alleged to maintain the unity of the church. This may exist in different degrees, and in different circumstances; but it always attaches divine authority more or less to official position, and thus puts man in the place of God by attaching His name to man. It is not spiritual energy in man putting souls through Christ in direct relation with God, with the Father. There spiritual affections are happy and blessed. It is man eclipsing God, getting between Him and the soul. Not man revealing God, but the authority of God attached to man. Hence full love and grace will never be known. The Spirit of adoption and blessed assurance of salvation in the knowledge of Him will never be. It may survive such a system for a time, but it cannot be identified with such a system when matured. To be with God, while always rendering the soul submissive, must render it independent of man; that is, it asserts no rights, but when the need is, it says, "we ought to obey God rather than man." The first of these works of Satan then is the pretence to the extraordinary operation of the Spirit. That is ephemeral. It is suited to the ill-directed but righteous cravings after that manifestation of spiritual power which was and is the only true source of living blessing on the earth, when that power has faded away. The other is the orderly establishment of men in the place of that power. This lasts. It is suited to unbelief, and in its full development it always generates it. Montanism is passed. The spiritual pretensions of Irvingism are in fact passed; the system of men and ordinances set up by it abides. So practically among the Friends. This is common to both, as far as they go, that the manifestation of Christ in living power for the peace of souls, and the truth as to Him, is weakened and set aside more or less. Orthodox truths may, as we have seen in one of the cases I have supposed, be maintained; but (as it is the work of the Holy Ghost alone to present Christ to the soul, so that it should be in the power of that living faith which sets the soul in blessed fellowship with the Father in true joy, leaving the impress of its own everlasting nature upon it, which the Holy Ghost can alone give, and the Holy Ghost alone maintain) the consequence is that such communion with Christ is lost, and the conscience ceases to be before God.

10 In the former of the cases I have supposed Christian truth is generally lost, that is, saving truths connected with the person of Christ, and error substituted on these points. The Spirit's alleged presence eclipses, instead of revealing, them. In the latter they are plausibly subverted in their effect on the soul rather than set aside. As justification by faith in the Popish system, where, while every orthodox truth is maintained, the love and work of God in Christ is as to its efficacy denied by it as a system, as effectually as it could be by Socinianism itself. We are enabled in this case to speak of the full and awful maturity of this abiding corruption of the enemy; but those most conversant with history, and most spiritual, know how much spirituality it requires to detect its commencement and early growth: and that it sprang really from the best persons and most apparently godly principles that appear after the record of scripture; so that, though there were counteracting principles which Protestants can justly cite, yet full-grown Popery can quote the earliest fathers to establish in principle her claims, and support her pretensions. The blessed and perfect word of God reveals in one word this history: they began in the Spirit, and ended in the flesh. If you inquire who were the persons who laid the basis of this amazing evil, it will be found that it was those who insisted on good order and unity; yet it was not in the power of the Holy Ghost (God is not the author of confusion, but of order in the churches), but in arrangements which attached to office the authority necessary to maintain it. There may have been fleshly workings which gave occasion to it; but the remedy was not spiritual acting on the conscience and affections of those astray, for this is what we see in the epistles, but the authoritative arrangement of order, because power was so much gone, and spiritual discernment to know it. Hence the effect produced by the power, the institution itself, the church as an ordered system (not the church as redeemed by Christ), became the object presented, and was made the guard as an institution, instead of being guarded by spiritual care. Hence when the outward institution became the positive enemy of Christ and of His people, it retained its claims, and used its power as His.

Now, however subtilly at first, so that none scarce perceived it, if any, we now know what a work of Satan this was. It has, so to speak, usurped the world.

11 I feel satisfied that, as to the principle of it, a similar work has been going on at Plymouth. It will be ever founded on practically setting aside the power of that truth which has been, in any given case, the gathering principle, and the testimony of God to the world.

I do not exactly expect that in itself every one could see through such a work; but, as I have already said, there are sufficient proofs always afforded of God to the single eye: there will not, and cannot be, to others. I shall add here some of the points which seem to me to mark the presence and influence of the enemy in general.

The first sign of weakness is the gathering itself becoming the object of attention instead of their being a people enjoying the blessedness of their position by the relationship and fellowship it gave them with Christ, who had become and was their abiding object, revealing withal God the Father. But I would speak with more detail, for this is rather the occasion of Satan's power than the fruit of it as a positive word Where this last is, you will find holy spiritual affections broken and set aside to give place to the claim of the institution. And so are even natural affections, whilst the latter are given all their natural force and weight in practice to hold persons in the institution, and even largely used for this purpose. In the same manner people are won and brought under the influence that acts there by them. The activity and zeal will be for the system. It will be to make proselytes, and establish them in what will keep them there, not to save souls or lead them on in Christ. There will generally be a good deal of acting against or depreciation of others who even hold the faith of Christ.

Paramount importance will be attached to the views which distinguish that institution, not to what saves or to what brings faith to the test by the revelation of Christ.

Good works will be found generally much pressed, and that in a systematic way in which it works for and into the system. Truth I mean truthfulness will ever be lacking. This I have always found where the work of the enemy is.

Connected with this is the pressing much certain doctrines, when it is safe, which form the bond of the institution, and denying them in the alleged meaning, or explaining them away, when they are pressed on them by those who detect the evil. This any one conversant with the subject cannot but have noticed. The denial of the doctrine positively stated where the influence exists, as held in any such sense or its explanation, is the very thing that marks the power of evil. With this will be found the attributing to those who hold the truth, every kind of doctrine they abhor, where there is influence enough to have their statements believed. Popery is the plain example of this.

12 Another mark, whatever the apparent devotedness, yea, and real devotedness sometimes, is that the spirit of the world is acquiesced in. The poor will be nursed as instruments, and the rich (and so the clever) flattered for support. Another mark is the extreme difficulty of fixing them to any definite statement, save as they have power to enforce it; and then it is bound on others; and there is the sternest rejection of all who do not bow. Calumny of the saints, and of their doctrines has been known from the testimony of the blessed Lord Himself onward. The influence of females and of money will be found also largely employed.

In cases of the second character of evil I have noticed, the combinations of a party will always be found.

There is another mark, often incomprehensible to one not under the influence, and that is an incapacity of conscience to discern right and wrong, an incapacity to see evil where even the mere natural conscience would discern and an upright conscience reject it at once. I speak of this incapacity in true saints. The truth is, the soul is not, where under this influence (for it may be upright in other things), at all in the presence of God, and sees everything in the light of the object which governs it; and, as to these things, the influence of the enemy has supplanted and taken the place of conscience. The moral marks will be found to attach to every case of evil power.

I am satisfied that I have seen these principles distinctly at work in what has produced the system established at Plymouth. Some may think I have copied it for the picture. I have not. Let them, if they have ever been conversant with it, recall what the ways of Popery are, and they will easily find the same there. It is not because there are no saints among them, but because there are many and very dear ones, that I speak of it.

But having stated these general principles, a statement which I leave to work its own effect, I shall briefly narrate what I may call the public facts which have come under my knowledge; for much never has. I have never done so hitherto. I did not feel led to do it, and certainly had no inclination. I do not think a mind for which holiness has any charm at all will ever love the detailing or publishing evil: and, if one has any heart, most surely not what has passed among those he loves: but God's truth and His church are sacred things. I shall still endeavour to pass over in silence the private facts which seem to me to be evil. They might be called for in a case of discipline; but here they would only aggravate, without increasing, intelligent apprehension of the evil.

13 I will not detail the origin of the "brethren," but certainly that which characterized their testimony at the outset was the coming of the Lord as the present hope of the church, and the I presence of the Holy Ghost as that which brought into unity, and animated and directed, the children of God; and they avowed their dependence upon it. The distinct condition of the saints of the present dispensation, as filled with the Spirit abiding with them and risen with Christ, marked their teaching, while the great truths of the gospel were held in common with other true Christians, only with the clearer light which God Himself directly, and these other truths, afforded. The distinct heavenly character of the church was much insisted on. Though the "brethren" insisted on a spiritual ministry, and the recurrence to the original principles of ministry were urged, they did not, for the same reason, pretend to appoint ministers, nor organize any church or special membership; for they held the unity of all saints. Themselves outside the camp, whatever saints had faith to follow them were companions in their position, and they were not separated in life, love, or essential unity, from those who could not, though blamed by them. In this spirit they walked for a good while. I now turn to details.

From an early period Mr. Newton isolated himself much from the other brethren. He held reading meetings, and would not allow the labouring brethren to attend them; saying it was bad for the taught to hear the authority of the teachers called in question, as it shook confidence in them. At the later prophetic meetings in Ireland he did not attend.* At one of them, instead of going, he held a meeting for himself at Plymouth on the questions proposed and discussed among the brethren in Ireland, and published his views on them under the title of "Answers to Plymouth Questions." Particular meetings of his own for inculcating his peculiar views were multiplied without end, and sisters instructed in them, and provided with notes, employed to hold smaller meetings among the poor, and to write letters elsewhere to propagate them. Every visitor was at once brought under the most stringent process for imbuing him with them, and instruments sought wherever possible.** Indeed I have known a meeting closed the moment any remark was made on a statement of Mr. Newton's. "The Christian Witness" was denounced as the most mischievous book that ever was written. This process of course grew up gradually. This, with a train of similar conduct, I sorrowed over as an unhappy trait of isolation, and love of acting alone, and having his followers for himself; but I had no suspicion whatever of any purpose of any kind, bore with it as a failing of which we all had some, and left perfect individual liberty complete and entire untrenched on. I should not have so acted without my brethren. I should have rejoiced to have my views corrected by them when I needed it, and learn theirs; but there it was, and there for my part I left it.*** At the Clifton meeting Mr. Newton, speaking of ministry and the points connected with it, told me that his principles were changed. I replied that mine were not, that I felt I had received them from the Lord's teaching, and with His grace I should hold them fast to the end.****

{* I have what I believe to be a correct statement of the meetings Mr. Newton attended. He did not attend 1834, 1835, but he was at 1836; that is, I believe, the last Irish meeting. He did not attend London or Liverpool, that is, the two last English.}

{** One meeting of a smaller number of brethren was at once broken up, that is, never met again, on some objection to critical remarks being made by another brother.}

{*** Mr. Y. made, it is true, a mistake in his tract as to the Clifton meeting, which he states Mr. N. not to have attended: but, though this was made a handle of, the truth is that, though he mistook the particular meeting, the case was much stronger than that, as may be seen above.}

{**** Mr. Newton can easily deny this, as he and I were alone, walking up and down before the Gloucester hotel. This, of course, will not now hinder my stating it, though it did my referring to it publicly in the inquiry by the brethren. There is One who will judge who is truthful in the matter, if he does deny it, and to Him I leave it. I might here refer to the testimony of an intelligent brother, a physician, who plainly states that Mr. N. ten years ago pressed the principles I have done now, and which he resists; but then he declares he always thought them a delusion, that he joined the "brethren" as a sect, and continues with them as such. Loudly, as this is denied, a sister, whose zeal for Ebrington Street would not be questioned were I to name her, said to me that it was quite evident there were two systems among the "brethren" which would produce their fruits and gatherings everywhere. My reply was, I did not doubt it, and respected her sincerity. I would that others had the honesty to own it: they were all assuring me there was not.}

15 This, however, subsequently went farther. Mr. N. got rid of Capt. H. at Plymouth. I do not enter into any details here, but I use advisedly the expression 'got rid of'* This also was let pass. My own mind acquiesced in it, though grieved, because I felt it possible that there was a tendency to accumulate labourers on one spot; and that, in the want of spiritual energy which led them, God might use this as a means of sending the testimony farther. In fact, the gathering at Hereford soon followed on this. Thus I consoled myself with what I felt the unhappy disposition of Mr. N. I was not indeed acquainted with all the facts which I have learned since. I saw what was public before all. I knew what had happened to myself. I suspected nothing; and from beginning to end of this history the truth is that grace has kept smothered up what pained individuals in the character of Mr. N. For my own part, much as I mourned many things, I was the last to suspect any plan or purpose. I sought for years to soothe and make peace, to maintain union and link all together.

{*Capt. H., of course, went freely at the time, and the influence of Mr. N. may even at that time have been shaken by circumstances; but the main fact of the statement remains unaffected by this.}

After the departure of Capt. H., two other brethren became the objects of attack, R-e and S-s; and in the first instance the latter. I myself interfered at that time to soothe and tranquilize matters, and soften the effect of the evident assumption and conduct of Mr. N. Subsequently to this I was, as is known, much abroad, and do not pretend to give the detail of what passed.

There is only one circumstance to which I may allude in passing, as it has been often referred to. At a time when Capt. H. and myself were leaving Plymouth, there was some anxiety as to pastoral care, the value of which I fully recognize. Some minds were restless as to the nomination of elders, or recognized authorities; some fearful of it. The, question had been slightly mooted in a private meeting after one of the Irish prophetic meetings. I had been there, I may say, accused of swamping the question. I stated what is my present conviction, that the right-minded saint would surely own and "know" those who laboured, admonished, and took by the Holy Ghost a pastoral interest in them; but that still it could only be, in the present state of the church of God, by spiritual power, wisdom, love, and faithfulness, that such a place could be acquired and maintained. To attempt to authorize them would unsettle every right principle. There was no competency for it. The moment an authorized position is assumed - a title to it, I raise the inquiry, what is this title? and I defy any one to allege any which is not at once the formal recognition of a sect; or otherwise the Popish ground of being the church, and then you must recognize succession and apostolic authority in the clergy.

16 Under these circumstances, on the departure of Capt. H. and myself, this question having been raised, I stated to the assembly that Messrs. H., N., and Sir. A.C., who were already labouring and visiting, as is well known, would still remain, and be under the responsibility of continuing the visiting I refer to this only because it has been frequently referred to lately. It was really avoiding the question, which none could have solved, calming the minds of others who were uneasy at those who had first laboured going away. And this I desired. I remember being blamed by some who desired something definite; and there were those who had difficulty as to Mr. N.'s being so named from distrust of his ambition. I have been told lately that some brethren were dissatisfied at my having done too much. It is of course possible, though I never heard it till lately, nor have I the smallest ground for thinking so. I merely relate the fact without comment. Mr. N. indeed has stated that Mr. R.H. advised me to leave Plymouth on account of the feeling it produced; but this is without a shadow of truth in it. Of this Mr. R.H. is equally certain with myself. It has no sort of foundation whatever. Mr. R.H. had nothing to say to the matter, good or bad.

On my returning from abroad, about six years ago, I was spoken to by brethren well known amongst all as to certain letters written by Mr. Newton, and circulated in MS. far and wide,* begging me to read them, as it had excited the feelings of many brethren, and made them very uneasy. I replied that I did not want to enter into these questions, that I had hitherto acted as a peacemaker, and sought to link and unite by going with all, and I had rather now keep out of the question. It was urged upon me that I must take a part in it, as the letters were making brethren uneasy everywhere. Thus urged, I read the letters. They were an elaborate argument on Mr. N.'s prophetic views, denouncing all who held the views of the rapture of the church before the end, and insisting on the evils of applying any part of the New Testament to any but the church, or of supposing that there were saints on earth, subsequent to the church's rapture, who could be spoken of in it prophetically. In these (besides accusing the brethren of rejecting "all** the Gospels," if they held principles contrary to his interpretation of Matthew 24, for this was the only and avowed ground, as may be seen in the passage in the note) he declared that, if they were listened to, "the foundations of Christianity were gone." And will the reader believe the reason which so many have swallowed down? for this is the grand cry at Plymouth still. It is this, "for the foundations of the city are the twelve apostles of the Lamb." He presses the duty on all, that a categorical reply should be received as to this from all that professed to teach, because ambiguities were to be avoided in the church.*** "With respect to such passages, we have a right to expect a clear unhesitating answer from all who teach in the church." Meanwhile brethren who took the opposite view were carefully kept away from Plymouth,**** and letters in one unceasing stream went out from the sisters against the brethren who did not receive these views, and everything was said to discredit them to those who visited Plymouth. The whole teaching there was to settle people in them. In this no pains were spared, as to either strangers arriving or those who had leisure at Plymouth. The sisters in particular were carefully taught, and held meetings in their respective districts to retail what they had heard at the principal meetings held for that purpose. The poor were in general starved as to feeding them with Christ.

{*These letters have been sent to Ireland, India, Canada, and wherever an opportunity was afforded, as Mr. N. avows and (I may say) boasts of.}

{**"Thus this passage, and with it the whole Gospel, and all the Gospels, are swept away as not properly pertaining to the church." Till I found this passage of large inference, I never could conceive what gave rise to this charge of rejecting the Gospels.}

{***It is well that it should be known that, though this is the ground still taken as the reason for denouncing the "brethren," Mr. Newton has entirely given up the main point of his prophetic views, insisted on in these letters. The whole of the second letter, to refer to nothing else, is occupied with the proof of the saints of the Christian church being in tribulation. Indeed every one conversant with these matters, knows that it was a test of the holding of Mr. Newton's views. We were told what a mercy of God to prepare us for it by testimony. Indeed the fact is too well-known to require further proof. People were planning leaving the limits of the Roman earth, to be out of it; Mr. Newton now (both by argument in the "Thoughts on the Apocalypse," and in express terms in the "Thoughts on the End of the Age") declares that they will not.}

{****I am well aware that this is denied by the five signers of the letter to the brethren in London. But in the first place it is perfectly well known to multitudes of the brethren. Moreover Mr. Newton had been spoken to about it before I arrived at Plymouth. He answered, that he could not help their breaking bread, if they came, but it was a yoke he was obliged to put up with, and that they would have no welcome from him. Anyone can understand the effect of conduct answering to such language, unless a person came to contest the point with Mr. N. Mr. H. was asked, when saying at the last meeting in April that he should invite the Irish brethren, could he give them this invitation from the others at Plymouth, and he could not say he could. Further, confession, public confession was made of it by two of those who signed that paper by one with "if any have been kept away," by another without. It was owned in private by one of these, and Mr. N. was spoken to by him about it, saying that they had done so, and that he had participated in the sin. I am fully aware everything will be denied But this must not arrest the plain statement of facts for brethren. The writing of letters by the sisters discrediting the brethren was attempted to be called in question too; but brethren being present in the April meeting who had seen them, and having declared that heretic* was too good a name for the Irish brethren in their letters, it was no longer attempted to be disputed.}

{{*"Heretic was too good a name." Though I have a perfect recollection of these words being used, yet as being in animated conversation and a general representation, it is desired to correct this by saying that what Irish brethren held and taught was spoken of as heresy.}}

18 This had come to such a point before my last return from abroad, that the gospel had been formally sent away from Ebrington Street, and teaching substituted for it, the gospel being banished to Raleigh Street, where some thirty or forty went. It was said in so many words they did not want the gospel - it was a bad sign to wish for it; they ought to be going on to more complete knowledge. It is not astonishing if a great body of the Christian poor were thoroughly miserable: they understood Mr. H. only. He was their visitor and friend.

But to return to the letters: I spoke to Mr. Newton about them (I refer to about five or six years ago), though I had no idea then of the assiduity with which they were circulated, and the views pressed. It was done by letter out of Plymouth, and I had been abroad. I read the letters, and I told Mr. Newton that T could not see that the Spirit of God had led to or guided in them. He told me thereupon, that all friendship between us was at an end, and that he should have nothing more to say to me in the way he previously had. I replied that this would not change me towards him or others, and I walked up and down the street with him till I got him to give me his hand; and, save writing to him to soothe him, buried it all. I wrote, at his request, some of my objections to the views in the letters; and this, furnished subsequently to a sister, formed together with his answers the famous appendix, of which so much has been said. But I speak of an interview, six years ago or thereabouts. Since then the letters were constantly copied and circulated. From that time I was a good deal abroad, though I visited Plymouth. I saw clericalism creeping in, but at first thought it was merely from circumstances. The deaf people were placed round the table, and consequently the speakers were to stand at it. This soon evidently defined them. I saw the tendency, and sat in the body of the congregation, and spoke thence when I spoke. I was remonstrated with, but retained my position. On the last visit before the present one, finding the teachers always breaking bread, I urged some other doing it, or this union of the two things would soon be a regular clergy. Mr. H., to whom I spoke (but as to all), made no difficulty, and something was done.

19 At this time, about three years ago, I suppose, I was thoroughly unhappy in the meetings. I felt the Spirit utterly quenched, and, if I went to the meetings happy, returned miserable. It was only at the last I was at I found it in my heart to pray. I had communication on the subject with Mr. H., who remonstrated with me. I returned abroad. While abroad (I cannot here give the date) Mr. Newton wrote to me that I was an apostle.* This did not, I confess, inspire me with confidence. About three or four months before my return to England I had a correspondence with Mr. H., one of whose letters, from the great change in its tone, convinced me that every barrier was gone at Plymouth; for he had long sought to keep himself free from the influence that ruled most things there. From that moment I felt that conflict and trial awaited me, though I knew not what: but I was satisfied before God that nothing which could be ventured on would be spared. I passed through much more conflict of soul then than after I came to England. Nor was I mistaken in my judgment.**

{*This explains to me a statement in the letter sent to the London brethren, signed by the five leading brethren at Ebrington Street, saying, that they recognized no one in the position of Timothy now. At the time he wrote the letter alluded to in the text, Mr. N. in England denounced my views as subverting the foundations of Christianity.}

{**Prior to my previous visit to England, Mr. S. had issued a tract holding up a most beloved brother as a public warning, on account of holding prophetic views discordant with Mr. Newton's. I answered thus by shewing that Mr. S.'s arguments could not be sustained, hoping to check these attacks on brethren, made as if truth, "the truth" as it has been called since, was at Plymouth alone. What was unsold of Mr. S. s was suppressed, and the whole of mine, at the instance of a brother who hoped controversy might be ended. I had stated no system of my own. It was a mere effort to check the tide.}

20 Mr. H. invited me, however, to come to Plymouth. I was greatly exercised as to leaving Switzerland, having the conviction that troubles, which nobody else then believed, would certainly break out, and I lingered there till violence and revolution took place, and all the brethren judged me better away than there. Ministry was impossible, and I should have rather occasioned trouble to them, as well as been particularly obnoxious myself, as having been the active person there.

I returned to England, and came directly down to Plymouth.

I may now relate what took place then, and what had been going on with others before my arrival.

About four years ago Mr. Newton and Mr. B. held meetings at Devonport on ministry, where the following statements were made: that there had been, indeed, the fisherman system, and that Christ had previous to His resurrection chosen poor men to be His instruments: but that after His resurrection this was all changed, the Paul system was then set up, and the Lord chose educated gentlemen,* as Paul was. This had been the case at the Reformation, as Luther and Calvin proved; at the modern revival as Wesley and Whitfield shewed; and now recently, as Mr. Darby, and I know not who else, proved. The result of this was that one poor man who had preached among the Methodists, and still did at times, went out of his mind, and was in that state for a couple of years from the conflict of feeling, pressed to declare the Lord's love for sinners, and harassed by the thought, as he had been now instructed, that it was wrong for poor men to put themselves forward. The application of the word of God to his soul, in the hands of one who then knew nothing of the circumstances, but who entered into his then state, has happily restored this poor brother.** To finish with Devonport, which was a place exclusively under the care of the Ebrington Street leaders. Since my return those who assumed the lead there arranged an assembly of those they judged elders, that they might recognize and own one another among themselves. Two however of the persons they included declined. A number of the brethren then met to know what was to be done, and this was broken up by authority. A good many left, and the rest, I apprehend, are tolerably peaceful and at liberty. Those who sought to govern all in connection with Ebrington Street having been stated by all who left as the persons whose assumption drove them away, they were withdrawn for the time, and now, I apprehend, go on pretty quietly.***

{*The confirmation by Mr. R.H. does not apply to the words "educated gentleman," but the general idea that God now made use of talent and worked by it, and, as he apprehended it, not in uneducated persons and these statements of Mr. N. were commonly current at that time.}

{**These statements were at first denied, then explained, and then confessed and apologised for. I add this note on account of the last circumstance. The person concerned (a brother, whose integrity no one would dispute) freely forgave Mr. Newton, and thinks no more about it as a wrong to him. But this does not affect the historical state of things, and it is in that way that I bring it forward here. Mr. R.H. declared, when this came to be known, that it was no isolated case, but the constantly inculcated doctrine at that date.}

{***I have some doubt of the stability of this gathering, from what I have heard since, but I do not pretend to know much about it. Others can give more exact details of this than I can, as 1 took no part in it; but I give the substance of what passed, as I had it from the mouths of those concerned; and I myself know many of the facts.}

21 As to Plymouth, there was a constant labour to reduce the meeting to a clerical form, and to invest certain leaders with the sole direction.

This went on in a thousand minute and many private circumstances which it is impossible to detail, which made gracious brethren uneasy, but afforded little or no ground for any specific interference; if it did, there were few or none that dared.

For indeed one of the scarcely intelligible phenomena of the case to me was, the way people were cowed, and heart and conscience disposed of, I know not where; save that the quiet and gracious were oppressed and unhappy. I have remarked that it is the art and skill of some men to turn every conscientious man, every one who cannot or will not become an instrument, into a radical or a schismatic. But it is a sad state of things. I could name persons here that were denounced to us as radicals and busybodies, that I have found when not tortured and harassed in conscience, as quiet, unassuming, happy Christians as possible. Indeed in these cases, it is generally the truest-hearted and the least of a party spirit, who are thus miserable; if they stir, it has that uneasy unhappy character which is thus characterized by those who rule. With such it is only as in a famous Latin passage, when "solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant." When they make a solitude around them, they call it peace.  

22 Mr. R.H. has mentioned in his tract some of these circumstances; little by themselves, but together gradually changing the whole character of the meeting. But he has wisely passed over many, many, private ones, which helped largely to alienate him from Ebrington Street.

I may add here, as it was a public one, that he himself was stopped praying in public. How many a gracious person, esteeming himself and his doings of little importance, has yielded in this way, till power was gained to change principles!*

{*At this moment there are some twelve or twenty persons that take part, who never opened their lips nor ventured to give out a hymn till the separation. Of these I refer to several, even in Ebrington Street, where, since the separation, it has taken place as to speaking, praying, and giving out hymns.}

But thus things went on. A poor brother gave out a hymn. Nobody would raise it. He felt it, spoke of it in private. The simple were disheartened. They feared to give one out. Whose fault was it? Nobody's, and the point was gained. When tolerably disheartened it went farther: for Mr. Newton himself, at a prayer meeting, got up and went and sat down by the side of a young brother who gave out a hymn, and laid hold of his book. The hymn was, I believe, at last raised, but he was asked if he meant to pray too. The young man left, and goes to a free church, where the gospel is preached. Brethren have been hindered speaking; and not only so, but there is not a person resident at Plymouth who frequented Ebrington Street but (as Mr. R.H. has remarked) knew when it was Mr. Newton's and when Mr. H.'s day: and it became the common language to speak of it so by all, rich and poor; and people took their measures for going accordingly. I speak of Sunday mornings at breaking of bread. Now it may happen that there may be only one habitually able to edify in a body; though it is a sad thing if there be no diversity of gift in a large body. But a regular alternation of two, and if absent a sort of manager left, for so it really was, and the speaking prepared as previously considering the state of the congregation and preparing a discourse (and such was the ground avowedly taken with me as the right thing, when I arrived), is certainly not that dependence on the Spirit which characterized the profession of the brethren. I do not like the expression "going to meet the Spirit," but the devoted brother who used it expresses in it (badly, I think,*) the substance of an all-important truth, which those who cavil at it have been assiduously undermining: and, I may add, in such language as I am bold to say no one under the guidance of that Spirit could use, and which expresses real unbelief as to the substance of the matter. The church is the habitation of God through the Spirit. It is by the Holy Ghost God dwells in the church, though He cannot be separated from the Father and the Son. It has been formally, and expressly, denied that the presence of the Holy Ghost should be looked for in the assembly. It has been perhaps affirmed too. And this is one of the sad circumstances, as it strikes me, in Ebrington Street - not exactly unorthodox teaching, but important truths dealt with in so rash and daring a manner, and the authority of the teacher leant upon for them, and his wildest notions put upon the level of certainty with justification by faith; so that were his authority once shaken there would be danger that no one would know what was certain. It would be scepticism as to everything. So I have seen it with Roman Catholics.

{*"Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." Now the presence of Jesus, though of course in Spirit, implies many associations of heart which His name peculiarly bears, and His authority too as Lord. But when met, the Holy Ghost is the acting power in every ministration which is not mere fleshly worthlessness.}

23 I have myself heard it taught from Hebrews 9:27, that Christ had to be judged after His death as another man! as it was appointed to men to die, and He was a man. It has been taught that Christ was born under death, being a constituted sinner, and worked His way up to life by His obedience. So on Leviticus 1, that covering sin was not merely by sacrificial atonement making satisfaction for it, but that Christ's devoting Himself, as typified by the burnt-offering, made up by a thing of the like kind for our imperfect devotedness, and what a blessing it was that it should be of the like kind, and so filled up and completed, its defects covered. The statement as to the Holy Ghost was, that they did not look for His presence in the assembly, but for God to be over it to bless it.

24 I admit that since the question has been raised, it has been stated otherwise. But the explanation recently given, to which I have alluded elsewhere, was, that they went to meet God, not the Holy Ghost; we the Holy Ghost, not God. I leave any sober and intelligent Christian to judge what the state of those must be, as to steady certainty on fundamental truths, who were habitually under this kind of teaching. I have given but specimens; I may add from my own experience that most decided legalism took the place of Christ and grace. I could not have recommended a person about whose soul I was anxious to go there, nor was I singular in this feeling. And these things are urged with all solemnity of the most important fundamental truths. The godliest of the poor happily never understood Mr. Newton at all.

But I return to the history of the circumstances.

When speaking was really impossible for unallowed brethren, some of these read a chapter in the Bible sometimes. This was stopped as hindering the ministry. This happened to three different brethren; to one of them it was one of the ruling sisters who went. The brother, a reserved and blameless brother, was told that he could read his Bible at home, and that he hindered the ministry. He read no more. In another of those cases Mr. Newton himself interfered, and when asked whose ministry had been hindered, and having stated, the brother went to that person, who replied that it had only been hindered by Mr. Newton.

As to the teaching I heard in Ebrington Street from Mr. Newton, the one undeviating object seemed to be to teach differently from what brethren had taught, no matter what, so that it set their teaching aside. This was so marked in many cases as to draw the attention of others besides myself.

And now as to the circumstances connected with rule and authority. It is alleged that we are radicals, and look for democracy. I trust brethren will seek nothing but the guidance of God's blessed Spirit. But what are the facts? There was a meeting from the earliest period called the Friday meeting, where those who laboured habitually among the saints and were occupied with their concerns met to consult together, instead of acting apart or isolatedly; and where many little things, such as arise everywhere, were settled in the fear of God, while what became matters of public discipline were presented to the assembly at large. There may be trouble between brethren happily terminated without the need of shewing them up in public before a whole assembly. If public discipline be needed, then it is clear from scripture the assembly must judge, and act to clear the consciences of all, their own consciences. But then this is a very painful case. However such a meeting there was, and, with the difficulties and trials incident to all things, went on with the confidence of the saints. Latterly, but after the lapse of a good many years, when Capt. H., Sir A.C. and myself were no longer at Plymouth, Mr. Newton absented himself: only, when any case arose on which he had formed an opinion, and wished to interfere, he came down at the close of the meeting, inquired how it was settled, and insisted on its being judged his own way, setting aside what had been done where it did not accord with his mind. Mr. R.H. remonstrated once or twice against this procedure. This was received with great anger by Mr. Newton, and the practice being still followed, Mr. R.H. told Mr. H. that it was idle their meeting if things went on thus, and left. It lingered on awhile and finally closed about two years ago, it being impossible to bring them together again. Mr. H. however laboured at its restoration, but in vain, the following circumstance having occurred. On the occasion of the burial of a poor person on Sunday (which the poor always desire as their attendance is more easy, and which had been disallowed at Ebrington Street), the son of the deceased insisted on it. He came from a distance. Mr. S-s, who was habitually the resort of the poor in similar cases, sent him to Mr. H. He was away. Mr. S-s then told him to go and get the grave dug, and on Sunday morning he mentioned it to the assembly at the close of the meeting. Mr. Newton went over to him in great anger and told him it was impossible to go on with him any longer, etc.

26 On a weekday Mr. Newton sent down Mr. H. to summon Mr. S-s to the back room of the tractshop where he remained himself.* Mr. S-s asked what for, and was told to come up to be instructed in the principles on which the meeting was conducted if he did not know them. He declined going. Mr. H. declined going again, and Mr. Newton was obliged to go down himself; and there he told Mr. S-s that there were those whom God had raised up and given authority to, and his business was to obey. Mr. S-s asked who they were, and Mr. Newton replied, himself, H., S., and B., and that neither did he recognize Mr. S-s at all. Mr. S-s replied, that neither did he recognize Mr. Newton. This closed the attempt to re-establish the Friday meeting. The two brethren S-s and R-e were now the objects of every annoyance and dishonour. I found stories against the latter, which were totally false, circulated far and wide, which I knew to have been spread by sisters. These two brethren took care of the money, and paid the expenses, and distributed any allowances to the poor. Mr. Newton insisted on an arrangement, against their remonstrance, which separated the expenses from the poor; and soon after I arrived at Plymouth, it had to be announced that there had been no means of paying for more than a year's gas, and wine for communion for half a year.

{*Before I arrived at Plymouth, Mr. H. used to call this room the Chamber of the Inquisition. [Lest this note should identify unduly this name with Mr. Newton, it may be right to state that the name was given to the upper (not the back) room as much through Mr. H.'s use of it for the purpose as Mr. Newton's. Mr. S. went down as well as Mr. H. He stated in the conversation that they were not acting on the principles they began upon: if they were, he should leave. At Exmouth this departure from original principles was avowed by one brother distinctly.]

Such was the state of things when I arrived, ignorant of all these details, but since my last visit having felt that clericalism and worldly principles had usurped the place of the Spirit of God. I had received no complaint, no letter about it. It was a letter, as I have stated, of Mr. H.'s which shewed me that all barrier was gone against evil which I knew to be at work, but which had been hitherto borne with as individual evil. The tractshop had become a violent party sectarian instrument. It was an institution I always indeed thought objectionable. One tract was sold there shewing how the universal consent of the church was against those who differed from Mr. N. and that it could easily be shewn that those who did were "subverting the first elements of Christianity." This tract had been published on a resolution of the Plymouth teachers, taken after a remonstrance* from some London brethren.**

{*I do not mean that the remonstrance turned on this sentence. It was, I believe, rather on the earlier part, and practically imputing certain views, and on other points.}

{**'London brethren' should be a London brother. As to the letters only one, which was the material one, was taken about by Mr. Newton. The word 'furnish' is merely meant to convey the fact of their communication.}

27 It has been supposed that it was my sudden arrival which occasioned the feeling and conduct which followed. This is all untruthful pretence. Mr. Newton had ever since my letter to Mr. H. (I have the date from Mr. Newton himself) been labouring to prepare the minds of all he could against me. This I learnt after my arrival. It is only since the London meeting that I have known that Mr. H. had furnished him with my three or four private letters to him, which Mr. N. took about and pressed on people, with his own reasonings, to prove that I was subverting the truth. Mr. H. did it most innocently.

In the letters (which I have not seen since*) I apprehend there was nothing. At least the brethren who came down to inquire asked me if there were others than these of the date in question, in which I had said something to Mr. H.: an inquiry of which I could not well tell the meaning till I heard the use that had been made of them (a use which was not confined to Plymouth). Of all this I was happily ignorant when I went there, and desired only in ministry to raise, if God enabled me, the spiritual tone of souls which I felt to be grievously sunk - I acknowledge I was a poor instrument for it. But the public weekly meetings in Raleigh Street were trebled in spite of all the prejudice raised.

{*Since I wrote this, I have seen them, and, though written with the unguardedness of private communications, there is nothing that I can see unscriptural. I suppose brethren thought so too by asking me if that was all.}

But this is the way the letter-shewing worked. A great many took Mr. Newton's statements as to my views without further inquiry, and at the same time it was based in their subsequent statements on my own letters. If not, distrust was produced, and this was something. Those who were disgusted with this way of getting on were known, and set down and discountenanced as Darbyites.

28 I leave to others to recount, if they please, the meeting and consultings of the leaders to ensure united opposition to and rejection of me, as I have only known it since the London meeting.* Such there were. I can only mention the facts as they occurred. I went to stay at Mr. R.H.'s the next morning after my arrival. There Mr. Newton came, and I met him cordially in manner, however pained. He sat down at the opposite side of the room, whereon I resumed my seat by the side of one I was speaking to, and Mr. N. after a few words with Mr. R.H., who seated himself beside him, got up and said, Good morning, sir, and went out. Three brethren, Messrs. H., S., and B., then came, or were sent, separately, to ask me what I had come to Plymouth for.**

{* But in truth, when I think (knowing now something of what passed there) of all the professions and protestations made to me, and how I was assured all was suspicion on my part, and accident without design, if anything had crept in, it is sickening.}

{**I would just ask what, now that I know such a meeting was held to get rid of me, I must think of the statements in the letter to C-w, that every door was opened to me, and that Mr. Newton would have a decided objection to its being otherwise; though why they should have opened it, if my doctrines subverted Christianity, would be hard to tell. I must add here that Mr. C. declared that the statement as to him (a brother from Ireland) in that letter was not the fact; that he was asked what views he held on prophetic points, and when he replied that he had no fixed views, but was open to receive anything that could be proved to him that then ministry was opened to him.

Mr. Newton then wrote me word, that he had met me with intentional coldness, considering I had come as an antagonist to them, but on the report of B. and H., he could walk on peacefully in separate paths. I replied, that I objected to his "having acted very badly towards many beloved brethren, and in the sight of God." He withdrew thereon the former kindly-written note, and applied for names and circumstances. I confess I felt this miserable. He had been writing for six years to every quarter of the globe (Mr. Newton boasted of it at last before the brethren who came), saying, the foundations of Christianity were gone if brethren were listened to; sisters had been employed in copying these letters; tracts had been published, declaring that we all subverted the first elements of Christianity! and he asks for dates and circumstances. I replied, it was the sectarianism and denouncing of brethren I complained of. This, he replied, was a new charge! And, as it involved all the rest at Plymouth in the charge as well as him, he would consult with them about it and meet, but demanded the dates or circumstances of the former charge or its withdrawal. As I well knew, and any one could see, that it was a mere explanation and enlargement of acting badly towards beloved brethren, I declined further communication unless before brethren; the rather as he alluded very incorrectly to past circumstances, and I thought such correspondence very useless. I had his letters declaring the foundations of Christianity were gone, and the tract saying we subverted Christianity, not to mention that there were letters without end written under his influence.

29 But there are other circumstances I must now mention because it has been supposed Mr. Newton was charged publicly all at once, and no steps taken, and this has been even much insisted on. Before ever I came to Plymouth, and without any communication with me, Mr. H.Y., who felt equally the sectarianism and that every principle was set aside, had been to Mr. Newton and spoken to him. Mr. Newton answered him with the greatest violence, and declared that we were destroying the fundamentals of Christianity, that he was justified in what he was doing against us, and should continue. Mr. A.P. went also to him just about the time I came, and was met with the same avowed determination to persevere.*

{* It has been already stated that Mr. Newton had been complained of as to these letters by brethren all over the country, and I had been compelled to read them, and had at the instance of others remonstrated with him four years before. Mr. S.'s letter has also been referred to as hewing that it was going on and remonstrated against.}

To continue, Mr. H. came down to me to say that Mr. Newton would not consent to have a sort of jury formed on him, but that they could have a meeting, to see whether sectarianism had been introduced. I replied, that they would have had no difficulty in having what he called "a jury" on a poor brother, but that I was content to have such a meeting, as I could go and take my part in the inquiry like any one else. He asked me who should go. I said, I suppose Y. and P., as they had been already to Mr. Newton; for the rest, any Mr. Newton wished to bring as his friends. I declined bringing any. I have always avoided the very semblance of party. Subsequently Mr. R.H. desired to come. Mr. N-r from Jersey, having been conversant with affairs at Plymouth, was there, and Mr. P-'s brother, and Mr. McA. The rest, thirteen in all besides Mr. Newton and myself, were Mr Newton's friends. Messrs. H., S., B., D., C-w., J., R., A.P.; C.P., N-r., R.H., Y., McA. from Exeter.

30 Being called upon to state what I objected to, I said, As an inquiry into sectarianism, any could inquire as well as me, any judgment on Mr. Newton's conduct having been avoided. Being pressed, I began by stating, that what I objected to was the sectarianism (I had previously declared to Mr. H. that I would not enter on the prophetic question as a doctrinal thing; it was a moral question to me).

Mr. Newton broke out in great anger, saying, that he waived all formal objections, that he did seek to make a focus of Plymouth, and that his object was to have union in testimony there against the other brethren (that is, as explained and is evident, their teaching), and that he trusted to have at least Devonshire and Somersetshire under his influence for the purpose; and that it was not the first time that I had thwarted and spoiled his plans.

After this declaration, I produced of course no proofs, and Messrs. Y. and P. said, that they had no need to state anything that passed, as Mr. Newton had declared his object as plainly as they could have alleged it. I called upon the brethren to say, If this was what Plymouth was to be, as, if it was, I should not go next Sunday. Mr. Newton said I had no right to ask that: it was his own affair, and he should go on with it. I however persevered. Mr. H. said, this made it difficult for him to act with Mr. Newton, as he could not seek union against anything. None other stated his feelings on the subject.* It was arranged, that those present should meet, to know what were the heresies which made such a course as Mr. Newton's desirable. There were two meetings, at which I attended as desired, and stated my views. Some there said, the mountains were molehills; but Mr. Newton declared he was farther apart than ever; and that the differences were fundamental.

{*This silence was subsequently taken notice of, and by some as matter of self-reproach.}

Mr. H. had interviews with Mr. Newton on the subject of the union in testimony, against the teaching of the brethren. He obtained from Mr. Newton the statement, that it would be an object, not the object, of his labours; with which he, Mr. H., was much delighted, as a means of peace. To me it was the proof of deliberate perseverance in a pursuit which anger had disclosed. Subsequently Mr. D. and Mr. H. obtained verbally from him, that his statement was objectionable, if taken irrelatively. But there was no explanation of this, but an unauthorized one by Mr. D., that Mr. Newton would go on with "brethren" on other points, but continue his own pursuit of the avowed object. I was dismayed, not at the existence of the evil, but at the utter insensibility to such a statement, the only thought of most being to save, not the church, but Mr. Newton from its effects; and all silent (save what I have stated). But on Mr. A.P. saying that brethren ought to say what they felt, Mr. B. replied, You may ask me, but I will not answer you. When I had asked at first, whether brethren acquiesced in this statement, Mr. Newton (as I have mentioned) interfered instantly, and said I had no right to put such a question. At the close of the last meeting, which was to know whether there was any disavowal of it, and at which the term "taken irrelatively," was discussed, Mr. R. indeed asked Mr. N-r why he said nothing, and he said he was a stranger, and Mr. R. excused himself on the same ground.

31 I left for Somersetshire to leave time for those less obnoxious to Mr. Newton than I, to obtain some disavowal of the purpose - the "objectionable if taken irrelatively" was all that could be obtained. I then stated that perhaps I had better leave and ask for Raleigh Street. Mr. R. said that very great good had been done, that I ought to be uncommonly thankful, and urged me not to press any further disavowal then, lest it should produce a rupture with Mr. Newton, but wait and see. I said it was a sorrowful position to be in, but it was all that I was then doing, and acquiesced in the wish, and I continued to minister on the general topics of the grace of the Lord Jesus.

But I must now relate what my journey to Somersetshire further opened to me. I went there, quite unconscious of it all, to evangelize where none of these questions were. These circumstances were important as to Plymouth, as unfolding the working of the plan there. As at Plymouth they treated what wonderfully blessed new light they had got as to their church position, so here it was taught that, as the brethren had first learnt brotherly unity and fellowship, now they had been, as fresh instruction, led to church order. This church order was the authority of the teachers, who were exclusively to judge of, and recognize or the contrary, others as teachers.* This was founded on "Let the rest [others] judge," in 1 Corinthians 14:29. This was said to be the prophets, to which the teachers now answered. They were to try, and approve or not, of a person's being a teacher. Mr. Newton had gone up and held a tea meeting there and expounded this. This came to such a pitch in these quarters that one brother, on these points being mooted, having urged that after all the Bereans were more noble than those of Thessalonica, because they searched the scriptures whether these things were so, he was answered by a young, and, as far as I know, very nice-hearted young man who was associated in the ministry there, that it was Jews searching Jewish scriptures, but that, now that God had raised up teachers and given gifts, all that was changed, and they must listen to the teachers. The brother replied, Surely, sir, if Jews searched Jewish scriptures, Christians may search Christian ones. It was there taught by Mr. Newton, that Puseyism was the devil's imitation of a truth, and that, if brethren did not adopt it, God would set it up elsewhere. It was stated at Plymouth, at the close of these matters, on the question as to judging in the church, that the teachers were the representatives of the church, and that they were to decide, and the church to act on their decision. This may be and probably has been denied; but I know it to be true, and to have been stated as well since, as before all the debate about it. As to the explanation of the chapter there can be no doubt about it; not only because it was urged upon me and numbers of other persons; but even before I arrived, H. had objected to this interpretation, on the ground that it could not be approving and sanctioning teachers, for it was the teaching that was to be judged; and the person was assumed on their own shewing to be a prophet already. Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

{*The doctrine decidedly taught there was that the Holy Ghost, who was sovereign, wrought in the body by members, and that these members were the gifted teachers. I am aware that the five brethren who signed the circular letter say, "we do not hold that the Holy Spirit resides only in the teachers." I am aware they do not. But they did teach that it was by gifted members He acted in the body, that is, by teachers. And every one knows, that anyone's taking a part in the meeting as led of the Spirit to do so was denounced as "impulse." Moreover I know that, since this has been under press, it has been pressed at Plymouth, that it was by instruments prepared before they went to the meeting that God acted in it. And long ago, when praying and hymns were urged as not being gifts, it was admitted, but answered that only gifted persons would take part in either. It will be remarked in the statement referred to, that it is carefully avoided saying, that the Holy Spirit acts in the assembly. But on this hereafter.}

33 At Exmouth the principles were sought to be introduced first, rather roughly by one, and then more prudently by another; but the first person alluded to, acting on the principle, excommunicated a person on his own authority. He had withdrawn because the principles were abandoned, and it was asserted that no one could leave the church, and he was excommunicated. I know it has been sought to shew that this met the mind of others. Some may very likely have been under the influence of the same principles, so that I should not deny this in a measure; but the excommunication was refused to be received by two bodies of the brethren, and at last the most of the other brethren at Exmouth took courage and restored him.

It is alleged that government and order are rejected. But let it be remembered that it was Mr. N. who deserted and broke up the Friday meeting, a point on which we shall see more just now. And, as to the brethren who laboured according to what was given them as servants of all to administer and guide as helpers of the body, Mr. B. in the counties I here refer to (and he acted on the same principle elsewhere) urged that five ciphers never could make one, a statement which 'became such an accredited one that it was repeated elsewhere by another as original; so that I was very near getting into a scrape by attributing it to him before those who had heard it from another. The excellent answer of a brother in those parts then was that, if the Spirit of God was there as one before them, the five ciphers would be 100,000.

All this be it remembered had happened before I came back to England. Mr. B. himself urged the point on me soon after I came. Yet, when things began to come out, it was repeatedly urged upon me, that some things had happened as accidents, but that there was no plan nor principle in it. It closed at Wellington by some of the leading brethren stating to Mr. Newton (in what terms I do not pretend to know) that they could not be distracted by these proceedings any more.

Mr. H. went to Ireland and was very happy there with the brethren who were the great objects of Plymouth denouncement.* This, after the open avowal of sectarian objects at the April meeting, I have no doubt acted greatly on his mind. At his return he spoke in the way of admonition. Such a party spirit blazed out against him, that I ceased ministering for a time. However, they seemed softened, and I began again. Mr. H. then laboured again at setting up the Friday meeting; as, except the few things Mr. N. wished to govern, which had now to be more cautiously done too, all common matters were in disorder. If it was a funeral, no one knew rightly what to do, nor a person wishing for communion; and he felt bound too to those who had been practically ousted. But he could do nothing.

{*At the April meeting of 15 when I referred to the sisters' letter-writing, denouncing the Irish brethren, I was challenged to prove it and produce instances. Of course, though I knew of it in every quarter, the letters were not to me, and I had none of them. But a brother who was there stated he had seen the letters - some that is, of course, and that in them 'heretic' was too good for the Irish brethren.}

34 At this time appeared the two documents upon which the famous question of the charges arose. Mr. C-w had printed a letter written to him by Mr. Newton to give an account of the April meeting of 15 - both having been there. Mr. S. got it suppressed as soon as he saw it, but Mr. N. himself subsequently circulated it again. This (though so bad and sectarian, that some brethren counted it as bad as what was said) is, confessedly now, not a true account of the meeting. This rests not only on (besides myself) the testimony of Mr. H., N-r, McA., and many others, but Mr. R. (who, the most openly of all, took the part of Mr. Newton, and was cross-examined at length by Lord C. to get some modification of his testimony) persisted in the same account as myself. The only modification was that, instead of saying that he trusted he should have at least Devonshire and Somersetshire under his influence for the purpose, he understood him to say, that wherever he could get influence in Devonshire, Somersetshire, and Cornwall, he should seek to do the same thing. Mr. N. himself at last said, as I understood, that as everybody said he did, he supposed he did say as alleged. Lord C. at last asked Mr. R. whether, if he had read that paper, he should say it was an untrue account of the meeting. He replied he must, but that Mr. N. was so angry (so chafed, I believe, was the word) that he did not think he ought to be charged with what he did say. This passed in my room when the brethren who came to inquire came to examine me.*

{* Mr. Newton declares in his letter to Cw that every door of ministry was thrown open to me, and that he should have decidedly objected to its being otherwise. At the time he says this was so, was assiduously insisting that we denied the Gospels, redemption through the blood as to some, life in the Old Testament saints; and that the fundamentals of Christianity were in question. Can anyone give credit to these things together? It is a mystery, I confess, to me, how Mr. H., who knew of the meeting held to arrange united opposition to me, could have got on at all after this letter was published. He did go to Mr. N. to speak to him about it, telling him he regretted it for his own credit and character, as he (Mr. H.) must say (if asked) that it was true; but I confess I do not see how common action is to go on in such a case.}

35 The other thing which formed the subject of charge was this. Mr. Newton published the first letter of the five, which had been circulating six years in MS., denouncing the brethren, with the following advertisement: "The following letter was written some years ago, in reply to the inquiries of a friend, who resides in Norfolk. It is now published with some omissions and alterations, but in substance it remains the same." What was my astonishment to find, on comparing it, that a quarter nearly of the printed matter was not in the MS. letter at all; partly mixed up, but chiefly added at the end; and that the new matter consisted of reasonings against the doctrines he was charged with holding now as to the authority of teachers. So that these charges appeared most wanton and unfounded, inasmuch as six years ago the person charged had actually written against the things he now was charged with. This is all woven in at the end of the letter, so as to form part of it.

I had been already pretty well disgusted with diplomacy and special pleading, but this was too much for me. I said to H. and S. I did not know what to do, and ceased ministering. But I still went down to the room, and sat in the crowd at communion, and went to villages to preach. I was greatly exercised about leaving - prayed much; and at last it occurred to me that, if the Friday meeting were set up again, these things might be inquired into there, and the body hindered from being responsible for it, or God might lead to some remedy, though humanly speaking it was a forlorn hope. But I said, I will not leave till I have tried all. I spoke to Mr. H., and he said he had twice tried, and it was no use.

36 I then spoke to Mr. S. He said there ought to be such a thing - it was absolutely necessary, but that he could take no step in it, as it would produce a rupture with Mr. N., as he would have nobody but the persons he approved of. I asked if everything was to be sacrificed to the caprice of an individual. In another interview Mr. S. said he had spoken to Mr. B., and referred to a particular brother as objectionable, not the one who had been chiefly obnoxious before. As to him Mr. S. said he must be of the Friday meeting. I said I should object seriously to some that thought themselves unquestionably entitled; but though I had difficulties as to some most looked up to, and which I could justify by Mr. S.'s own statements, I was content to waive them, and take them as they had been together.* Meeting him a third time, I found nothing was done, and I told him I must then act on my own conscience. Again I thought of leaving, when it occurred to me, that still I ought not to charge the whole body with the matter, when it was only some party leaders and their followers that had yet been dealt with.

{*At this time Mr. S. spoke most freely on all these points, taking a sort of independent place. I think it better not to repeat what he said to me as to people, but merely relate the facts.}

I therefore begged the assembly to stop after the service one Sunday morning, and told them that Mr. H. having laboured to restore the Friday meeting, things being in disorder or dealt with summarily and irresponsibly by one or two, I had pressed the point on those more immediately concerned, but to no purpose; I now laid it on the consciences of the saints themselves. Mr. H. was at this time absent, and Mr. W. H-n wrote to him that I had sought to turn the meeting into a dissenting body,* but that nobody thought it worth taking the least notice of, and that it had dropped to the ground. This letter, I know, contributed very greatly to the emancipation of Mr. H.'s mind from the bondage it was under.

{*It is objected that the statement as to Mr. W. H-n's letter is rather too strong; that he blamed my act as being rather a dissenter's principle to bring it before the whole assembly.}

I then went to Jersey, etc., to give all the fullest time to consider the matter. As Mr. H-n stated truly, not one stirred. The fact is, while I attempted to heal or remedy, and walk with the evil, God, though He sustained me, never (after the April meeting) gave any efficacy to a step I took. I do not doubt I ought to have left then, or brought it publicly before all the brethren. I did not do so at the instance of Mr. R., Mr. Y., and some others. I can only sorrow now I was not more decided. The case would have been infinitely simpler, but God graciously overrules all. But no brother could have expected me to have stayed to have made Plymouth a focus, and join in helping a union in testimony against myself, not to speak of other brethren. It has been asked why I did not go on and teach at Plymouth. I answer, I did. Why did I not bring it before the leading brethren there to be remedied? They had been broken up, and their meeting was refused. Mr. Newton would not hear of it from any one. He had claimed, as already related, sole authority for himself and three or four others he had approved.

Section 2