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

J. N. Darby.

<20001E> 37 {file section b.}

Section 1

But I must now turn to some other collateral minor facts which entered into this miserable history.

An aged person, whom it is needless to name, who had long been opposed to and kept aloof from brethren, who himself preached, but whose congregation had died away, came into communion and began to minister on Sunday morning. He did not do so, strange to say, in general, when Mr. Newton was not there; at least when I was. I cannot answer for other occasions. But I heard him on week evenings. Though there was nothing unorthodox or wrong in his teaching, yet I did not at all think he was led of the Spirit of God in it, and when he came to speak to me about these things afterwards, I told him so. I was not at Plymouth when he joined, but I told Mr. H. I thought his joining was, under the circumstances, a chastisement; but if they put away the chastisement instead of the thing they were chastised for, they would have worse. Mr. H. spoke to him with no adequate effect at any rate. But Mr. B. one Sunday morning, being left (practically) in charge of the meeting as was customary, the other chief leaders being absent, the old gentleman got up to speak while the alms box was going round after the communion. Mr. B. pulled him back to his seat by the tail of his coat, and on the return of the box closed the meeting. A brother, well known and esteemed, long suffering under the state of things, remonstrated; and another urging, just after when the first was not listened to, that the first had said that if this went on he must leave, Mr. B. replied, Let him.

This person however was not to be daunted by this; and one day, when he got up to speak at the Sunday morning meeting, the sisters tried to put him down by scraping with their feet. At this period I sat among the communicants, taking no part in general publicly in the service, though I once said something on a week evening. I was quiescent. That Sunday I was present. The next I was not, and then, as he rose to speak again, the sisters and some brethren began leaving, and before the close of the meeting one sister came and patted him on the back and told him, if he went on that way, all would leave. The Sunday following, before the brother who broke bread reached his seat to sit down, Mr. N. jumped up so as to prevent anyone's speaking.*

{* I was informed by several brethren that this was constantly the practice. I speak of what I saw.}

38 During the week I spoke to Mr. S., and said that it was impossible that all this could go on. He replied that it was very bad, it was regular jockeyship. I called his attention to his expression, and what would be said of me if I had used it. He repeated, Well, I say it again, it was regular jockeyship. I said, Do you feel the force of what you are saying? If the presence of God is thought of in the meeting, what jockeyship would be there? All this passed previously, and partly led to my putting the re-establishment of the Friday meeting on the consciences of the brethren at large. The present result was that Mr. Newton took Mr. H. and S. and silenced the person referred to, who left the meeting. No notice was taken of the means used to put him down in the meeting. I could not help feeling that all this was allowed of God as a humbling test of the state of things.

I now turn to another circumstance which occurred about this time. A brother, known at Plymouth (where the facts also are known, but whom I shall not name, as what I am about to relate is sad enough), rose up and spoke in the assembly after a hymn referring to the cross. He had never, I believe, spoken in the assembly, but had preached in villages. He was (I did not know him before this, but as far as I can give any testimony) a truly upright godly person, respected by those who knew him. It was a sad instance of Plymouth ways. He spoke a little nervously in manner, but gave a godly and useful exhortation on really crucifying self if we celebrated the cross, and then pressed the evil of aiming at any importance for oneself. I asked Mr. H. who it was as we went out. He said, He is a godly humble man, but it will make a proper hubbub, and he will catch it, or some such expression. He was accordingly immediately set at, so as to be effectually dismayed. Nor was there one, as is well-known at Plymouth, who spoke more strongly (unless perhaps one other not there now) against the kind of tyranny which was practised there, and the hindrance of all liberty in ministry or otherwise taking part in the meeting.

39 Mr. Newton went to Mr. H. the next morning, and pressed him as to what he was going to do as to the brother's speaking. Mr. H. declaring he had no intention to do anything, Mr. N. pressed the matter, that this brother was not fit to minister, and that it was a sin against the order of God's church for which he had been sweating his soul for the last twelve years.* Mr. H. declined. However he had been quite sufficiently cowed by other means used already. How did this history close? This brother, a respectable godly man, for such he has been ever esteemed, had given up a place of confidential warehouseman in the town, I believe conscientiously from the nature of the employment, and waited to see what would turn up. He was given** a weekly allowance, sent out to preach, and began to speak in the meetings.*** In one of the meetings held by Mr. Newton by invitation to explain things, after the brethren who came to inquire were gone, this brother stood up and testified that he never had been hindered,**** but always encouraged to speak, Mr. Newton and Mr. S., who knew all that had passed, sitting by.

{*If anyone knew all the pains taken to persuade me that, if there were evils they were unintentional accidents, they would be surprised. This was not the only occasion on which Mr. N. made use of this same expression.}

{**Since writing this, the state of things here related has ceased to exist; and the brother, whose godliness none called in question, not only has employment of his own, but his conscience, I apprehend, better informed as to many facts, is out of the snare that he was in. But I have had no communication with him. It is not his path I refer to, though he may have been caught unawares in the snare; it is that of those who were active in the matter - the system.}

{***As regards the brother alluded to, whom I have seen since the publication of this narrative, he assures me that the supplies which he received he did not receive as a fixed weekly sum; and that as to the villages in which he went to preach, he went at the request of those to whom they had been previously allotted, and did not consider himself sent by the leaders of Ebrington Street. I may add, that he has since ceased speaking in Ebrington Street.}

{****The reader must remember that he did not know what had passed between Mr. Newton and Mr. H.; but he certainly was inconsistent in this, that no one had spoken more plainly as to the hindrances there were.}

40 Having gone through this collateral subject, I return to the general narrative. After some time I returned from Jersey, my mind much tried about leaving, but my conscience allowing me no longer to stay. I arrived Saturday and had no wish to act in a hurry. On Sunday week I detained the assembly and told them it was a matter of the deepest sorrow, but that I was going to quit the assembly; I felt it impossible to enter into details. It would have been a string of miserable facts, the public ones of which have been detailed here, and practically an accusation of others. I therefore refrained from them entirely, and only stated the principles on which I went: that I felt God was practically displaced; and more particularly, that there was a subversion of the principles on which we met; that there was evil and unrighteousness unconfessed and unjudged; and, as a collateral point, that the Friday meeting, which was a means of inquiry and service, had been suppressed and refused to be restored, so that the remedy for much was taken away. I then left the assembly.

Mr. H. returned that week or the next, and, having communicated the day to Messrs. S-s and R-e, gave on Friday his reasons for declining ministering any more.* I had had no communication with him. Messrs. S-s and R-e had told him that they should gather the brethren to see what was to be done about his leaving. Accordingly, at the close of his address on Friday, Mr. Re proposed their meeting on Monday to see if anything could be done or what. Mr. S-s got up and said it would be well at the same time if I was called upon to say why I left. I was not present, being no longer of Ebrington Street. It was communicated to me afterwards.

{*The meeting held after Mr. H.'s return, at which he explained his reasons for ceasing to minister, was at the instance of other brethren, not at the suggestion of Mr. H.}

Accordingly on Monday, after they had spoken of Mr. H., and prayed without any definite proposal or result, I was sent for to give an account to the brethren why I had left. Every engine had been meanwhile set in motion to hinder any coming. It was called a sin to go, because it was not called by the authorities in the church. The sisters held meetings in their districts for the purpose. It was denounced as "an electioneering meeting," etc. About two or three hundred however assembled there. I stated my reasons, and, I can humbly say, with the presence of the Lord and in grace towards all; so that I know one very dear brother still in Ebrington Street went to Mr. S. and told him all would be well from the spirit in which I had spoken. It was at that assembly that I stated, in the narrative I gave, that the two printed tracts already referred to had stopped my ministering three months before my leaving. I brought no accusation against Mr. Newton in general at all. So far from it that facts, many many facts, which I thought much worse of I did not allude to, because they had nothing to do with my leaving. These had stopped my ministering, and I stated them.

41 I shall just now state one of the other facts, because it also was one of the most public points in the affair. The rest I shall pass by. But I will first close the matter of the meeting. As to the appendix and the letters, I stated that the first thing that made me uncomfortable was the circulation of three out of the five letters which had been sent forth against the brethren, with an appendix which related to the last two given at the end of the third and professing to relate to the first, while much related to the two last which were not there. Mr. Newton was not mentioned in this statement; though, as Mr. N-r remarked, he being connected with this part of the subject, it would naturally be referred to him, which so far is true. I did not mean to appropriate particularly the measure of wrong, as I knew the copy I had was in a sister's handwriting. It has been alleged (and Mr. Newton made it a public charge at a meeting he held after the brethren were gone) that I stated he had altered the letters, and that I stated he had altered them after I had been told he had not, and a great fuss was made about it. A Miss H., it was said, had been authorised to say he had not. Miss H.'s statement made to me by letter is totally incorrect.* Of this I have absolute proof. I never said the letters were altered. Had they been, it would have been no sort of subject of complaint. Mr. Newton had a perfect right to alter them if he pleased. Had I anything to complain of in this respect, it was that they were not altered; for they are full of the grossest calumnies against the brethren. Mr. N. had been remonstrated with about them; and in them brethren are called upon to have a categorical answer from any who teach, whether they agree with Mr. N.'s views on Matthew 24. What I spoke of was the suppression of the two last, and the adding the appendix which referred to them.* This was the fact. All I said of it was that it was the first thing which made me uncomfortable, without any other charge whatever. The fact of the last two letters not being there was stated, and so it was.

{*In saying this I have no doubt whatever of her entire uprightness, I merely state the fact.}

{**This itself was a publication of my private letter without communicating with me, but of the unsuitableness of this Mr. N. has no sense, and there I must leave it. It has been repeated in other cases and in much worse circumstances.}

42 Subsequently to this, the sister who had copied it sent for me to explain this, and of course I received all she said. I have published the statement elsewhere. I shall here say why I used the word "probably," because I could not honestly use any other. This sister put a copy of the letters (she was one of those employed to copy and circulate them) into my hand, and I observed that the three letters were there together also, and not the two last. This I noticed to her and said, Perhaps you copied them in two books, and that may account for it. She replied, Yes, I did so to give it to two to read at a time. This I of course accepted. But the sister added, that the reason the appendix was added at the end of the third, though it belonged to the first, was, that the letters were already written, and that she was obliged to put the appendix and notes in a space at the end. Now in my copy, written by this sister, this was not the case. The notes, which are very long, are all in their respective places. And therefore, though I let all this drop as utterly immaterial, I could (when urged to give the account) only say, the presence of the appendix there was probably accounted for; because, though I gave credit to this sister fully in what she said, it did not tally with the facts as to my copy in which the circumstance was to be accounted for.

As to changing the letters, not only would this have been no charge whatever (for what should hinder my altering my writings in a new edition?) but though Mr. N. made this a public charge among his own party at the meetings he held, that I had accused him of it after an authorised denial, and this was spread far and wide, he did not think of making it to me. I have his written authorized complaint, presented at his request by four of his friends, and there is not a word Of that; but only of what I have stated, the absence of the last two letters; the other, so publicly charged and widely circulated, was not ventured on in the account he gave of the charges he complained of in the communication with me on the subject.

43 Being now fairly out, and Mr. H. having declined further ministry, I received a letter from Mr. L.P-r urging me to assemble a number of the leading brethren to see into it before I broke bread elsewhere. At the same time I received a letter from Capt. H. pressing on me the misery of a second table. I wrote two letters to Mr. P-r, stating in general, what led me to it, and saying that, if he felt as he said, he had better come himself. I wrote to Capt. H. to say I felt as sorrowfully about a second table as he could do, but it was a question with me of having any, not of a second; and, further, that I did not ask him to come as he had been considered hostile to Mr. Newton's views, but that if H-y or any of the brethren they thought right at Hereford came, they could judge of the grounds. No one came thence. I communicated to Lord C. what I had done, and said I did not ask W. as he was considered an adversary to Mr. Newton. I communicated it also to Sir A.C. Mr. P-r, who brought with him C., Lord C., and Sir A.C., with whom was Mr. McA., came. Mr. N. or Mr. S. sent for Mr. N.'s friends.

In result there were Messrs. McA., C., P-r, W., R., R-s, M-s, N-r, who arrived from Jersey at that time to let his house, Mr. M., Lord C., and Mr. W-r, who left early before the inquiry (I understood through the illness of his child). There is one fact I will notice here, that all who were not, and did not come as avowed partisans of Mr. Newton, declined breaking bread* any longer in Ebrington Street; that is, Mr. McA., Sir A.C., P-r., C., W.: I am not sure whether Mr. N-r avowed it as the others, but I believe there is no doubt of his judgment of the matter.

{*I am warned that this might seem to say that they did not break bread at all. This is not at all the meaning. "Any longer" refers to after their investigation of the matter, which gives it indeed its whole importance.}

And allow me to ask a question here. Sir A.C. declares he cannot break bread there, and leaves Plymouth. Mr. McA. does so and leaves Plymouth; Messrs. C. and P-r the same. What were people to do who had come to the same conclusion in conscience, and that from much longer and fuller evidence, but who had shops and children at Plymouth, and could not leave? I could have left, but I should have failed in faithfulness to those brethren had I done so. The others had other places perhaps that claimed them; I was free.

44 I will now mention another circumstance, which though it were a publication subsequent to my leaving so that it did not influence it, did influence any thought of my subsequent return, or recognition of Mr. Newton in ministry. Mr. N., previous to the Clifton meeting, had taught assiduously in public and in private that the Old Testament saints had not the new spiritual life; that the Holy Ghost had indeed acted on them as men in the flesh, but the new life was not communicated to them. This, which was Lord C.'s account before the brethren, confirmed by Sir A.C.'s testimony, was what I had in a general form spoken about at the April meeting; that is, that they had not life. Other persons, whom it is not necessary to name, had full recollection of it. And Mr. N. does not now deny it, brethren having spoken to him on the subject. This at the time made me very uneasy. Mr. H. was very near being led by Mr. N. into it; but I spoke with him and he was preserved from it.* I spoke to Mr. N. at the Clifton meeting about it in Mr. H.'s presence, and he gave it up.

{*The reader will kindly efface from "Mr. H." to "from it." The circumstance alluded to, does not properly connect itself with this point.}

When at the April meeting Mr. N. was stating why he must pursue his purpose of seeking united testimony against us, he urged the notion that there might be a difference in the circumstances of glory in the kingdom between the Old and New Testament saints. I demanded how he could be so violent as to a supposition that there might be such a difference, which was after all a settled idea of no one that I knew, when he had held and taught that they had not life. He replied, That is false. I said I knew it was not; but what had he taught? He said, That they had not the new creature. I said, I know I am right, but be it as you say. He replied, But I did not say they would not have it in another world. I said with astonishment, Well! this is a new kind of life-giving purgatory. They lived a life of faith without the new creature, and get it after their death. He replied, No, they may get it at the instant of dying.* I left it there. This conversation is referred to in the publication I now proceed to mention. It had been very widely circulated, as every one knows at Plymouth and elsewhere, among rich and poor, that we denied that the Old Testament saints had life. This, and that I denied that redemption through the blood as to many, took away the Gospels, Hebrews, and Revelation, from the church, was the constant and assiduous charge by all the leaders at Plymouth, and still continues to be so.** I left them to destroy themselves, which in every upright mind they soon did.

{*To Mr. C., when the brethren were here, he stated that he always held at that time that they would receive it at the resurrection.}

{**Instances have happened while printing this narrative.}

45 At the time however I now speak of, Mr. N. published a second letter on my Examination. In this, in the coolest and most deliberate way, he charges us, and me particularly, with the doctrine which he, and he alone, taught, and says that, as people's minds are exercised about it, I ought to explain myself on it. There is not even the excuse, itself absurd enough, that though he had been brought out of it by those he charged with it, they had themselves fallen into and propagated it afterwards; because, in the publication in which the charge is, he alludes to the discussion held about it in April. The brethren P-e and M-l asked him as to this when I began to break bread. He stated that he had held as was stated, and that he was wrong; but that he had never charged us with holding difference in life, but only in glory. Every one at Plymouth knows whether this was true or not, but there is only need of appeal to the second letter itself (p. 17), where he says that it is no wonder we hold difference in glory, seeing we suppose difference in life. I must leave to every one to estimate the cool manner, and apparent zeal for the truth, with which this charge is made in the letter.

To proceed to what took place when the brethren came down. Lord C., Mr. M., and Mr. Wr arrived, Mr. W. and Sir A.C. about the same time; the others shortly after. Mr. N. had a very long interview at the Dispensary at Plymouth, with Lord C., Mr. M., and W-r, and with a physician of Plymouth, who sent a jointly signed letter to me, to name four persons along with Mr. Newton's four to inquire into the charges I had made. I replied that I should not name any four persons; that the matter was an affair of conscience before the church of God (the most of it had already been first before 15, and then about 300 persons). I thought it a worldly way of settling it. Nor can I yet see that, when a person is charged with sin in the church, it is a scriptural way that he should name four persons to investigate it, and the one who has charged him four more. Indeed I was justified in this by every spiritual person I know before whom it came. I shewed it to Mr. H. and Mr. McA. then arrived, and they said, What is the good for us of four people inquiring into this when we were there? Their report could not affect our judgment. However, I only declined having four on my side. I said that I was quite ready to meet the inquiry, that I would meet the four friends of Mr. N. individually, or all four together, and tell them everything, or I would go before the whole body, or (if a limited number were thought more suited to investigate) I was content it should be done in that way, or Mr. N.'s friends might reassemble the 15 who met in April, or if Mr. N. chose to take it up as a personal wrong (which is what in fact he complained of), he could follow the scriptural rule in that case.

46 All I demanded was that it should be fully inquired into before the church of God. I mentioned that the statement of the charges themselves was inaccurate. I received for answer that it was not a matter of conscience but of fact; that they had expected to receive a withdrawal of the charges, or an acceptance of their proposal; that it was evident I was not prepared to substantiate them, and that they therefore treated my statements as unworthy of credit, and had given a copy of the letter to Mr. Newton to do as he pleased with; that bringing it before a public assembly was repeating the grievance, and that Matthew 18 did not apply, because it was a wrong done in public. They had never been near me at all (save Lord C., and with him there was nothing to say to this). They had never asked me what my charges were; and they had never asked a word of five or six brethren present at the April meeting, then in or near Plymouth, not partisans of Mr. N., that is, Messrs. H., C.P., McA., N-r, R.H. I replied that I was sorry some I loved had put themselves in such a position, and begged for a copy of my letter, which, as writing to brethren, I had not kept.

It is not for me to state all that the inquiring brethren did, for I stayed perfectly quiet. I can only allude to some facts. They came to me once. Mr. N. was so anxious about his character that they had difficulty in getting at the question of principle, which all pretty much agreed, with more or less decision of conviction, had been departed from - some most decidedly who had not before suspected it. The facts were proved which I had charged. Indeed, as to one there was only to compare the publication professing to be the letter six years ago, and the MS. The testimony as to what passed at the April meeting, was such that Mr. N. himself at last, said, he supposed he must have said what I stated, as all said so.

47 Here I would only remark as to the complaint of not going to Mr. Newton about it, that he had been gone to about it. Mr. Newton held no communication with me at the time. When the brethren urged me to wait in April, and grace and patience were to be continued, I went to call on Mr. Newton, and, not finding him, told him I had; but he never came to see me nor renewed any intercourse. I did not therefore go to him about it; it was indeed no wrong done to me, but Mr. H. and Mr N-r did, and both told him that his account was an untrue one; and, in spite of this, he himself continued to circulate it, before even I brought it before the brethren, and that I never did (having mentioned it only to Messrs. H. and S.) till demanded my reasons for leaving.

However Mr. N. assembled by invitation the brethren who came from a distance at the house of one of his strongest partisans, to give his statements.* Some demurred to this as not the fitting thing. Sir A.C., Mr. McA., and Mr. W. one evening would not go (I know not that they ever attended such an one). Mr. Nr urged they should, as statements and impressions might be made of which they would be unable to judge; but they would not. Mr. Nr went; Mr. N. sent out Mr. C-w to hinder his coming in, and declared he would state nothing at all if he were present; and he had to go away. Mr. Nr went to Mr. Newton's the next day to know why, being one of the persons in the invitation, he was thus treated. Mr. Newton turned him (very civilly) out of his house, and told him that he did not want to have anything to say to him.** Mr. McA. was soon convinced that all was wrong. He lodged in the house where Mr. H. lived.*** Mr. Newton met him, and said to him, Mr. McA. I should like to know on what ground you are here: you are in very suspicious quarters; and declared with very great violence, that if he believed one of the charges**** brought against him, he would have nothing more to say to him.

{*At the moment of this meeting, Sir A.C. was not, I believe, in Plymouth}

{**Mr. N-r had been here before the other brethren, and had gone among the Ebrington Street people. They had as usual made all kinds of statements to him, but instead of taking their truth for granted as most have done (and no wonder) he had inquired in detail, and found many things to be wholly untrue; and hence he was very obnoxious.}

{***It is suggested that I should insert that I lodged in the house. Mr. McA. was not, however, with me, but in Mr. H.'s apartment Suspicious quarters may be corrected by "renders you liable to suspicion." Mr. Newton's friends who had come, were guests among his friends at Plymouth, which no one of course thought of calling in question, nor would it be noticed now but for the insertion of this correction, as explaining the force of the remark. }

{****Delete "one of," and read simply "the charges."}

48 There is one other important fact which I mention, as it bears on other points, such as the truth of Sir A.C.'s statements so publicly and carefully denied.* At Mr. N.'s first meeting with the brethren, before he made his statement he declared to them that if they came to meddle in Plymouth affairs he would tell them nothing at all. If they came to inform themselves, he could go on, and on this ground he continued. I may here add what is more important, that at their last meeting Mr. Newton (having had now months to consider, and many meetings to see the bearing of things, and his statement in April discussed) stated that his object would be to produce in every gathering united hostility to the brethren's teaching who differed from him on the points discussed.

{*It has been attempted to modify this denial. Any one conversant with the poor at Plymouth knows that the tracts of Sir A.C. being found to act on their consciences, it was publicly and privately declared to be entirely false, and by the secondary agents of these statements "willingly and wilfully," but by the principles everywhere declared to be false. Mr. Newton and Mr. S. both declared at the meetings they subsequently held, that if Sir A.C.'s statements were true, they themselves would have left Ebrington Street. As to the thing denied, it will come in by-and-by.}

Several efforts were made by Mr. Newton and his friends to obtain a vindication of his character from the charges, which issued in nothing, as several declined signing them for different reasons: not merely because they were not satisfied, but because they felt that the church ought to judge such a case. This was the feeling of many or most of the brethren who came, even of those who were more particularly friends of Mr. Newton, as of all the rest. I will recur to this as a very material point, but to close the narrative as to vindication. After the refusal, for whatever reasons, of a joint signature of such justification, five brethren in order to settle this point, agreed to sign a paper, which was in fact printed with their signatures, Sir A.C., Lord C., Mr. R., C., and P-r. Some refused, and I think I am authorized in saying that Mr. P-r was glad when the paper was withdrawn, as being more favourable than his conscience really permitted. It stated that Mr. Newton had read a paper which convinced them that he had no evil motive in the papers on which the charges were founded, but that he had given occasion to them by what he had printed. Before the document appeared, Mr. Newton came with Mr. D. and declared in great earnestness that he was ruined if this came out, and that he should go to Canada. It was accordingly suppressed.

49 Immediately after, a declaration was communicated that as the brethren had been able to come to no conclusion, the brethren at Plymouth itself had drawn up and signed a document declaring their conviction that he was completely cleared. This was signed S., and the names of C-w, B., D., -, were added as concurring. I am informed on the authority of Mr. D., by a brother to whom he stated it, that it was he drew it up, not Mr. S. However that may be, being the parties concerned in the charge, it certainly was a strange document, more particularly as Mr. D. (to excuse Mr. Newton) had declared that he had suggested the addition of the matter to the letter printed as six years old, and Mr. C-w present at the April meeting had had the other printed and circulated. So that two of them were personally concerned in the things they professed to examine and dear Mr. N. of. I had done nothing save be ready for every call of the brethren who came, and answer their questions when they came to question me. Mr. N. declined to meet me as I was in the position of an excommunicated person. At that time it was a common subject of triumph that I was so, and therefore could bring nothing before the church.

In connection with this I may proceed to mention what passed as to this bringing before the church. Mr. C., Mr. P-r, I think Mr. R., Lord C., as well as others, as is known by their letters, felt that this was right. Yet it was not only resisted but effectually resisted. Mr. C., with whom was Mr. R., went and pressed it on Mr. Newton and alleged Matthew 18. Mr. N. answered, The church could not deliberate nor hear any question. Mr. C. quoted, "Tell it to the church." Mr. N. said, The church might hear it but could not act. Mr. C. quoted, "Hear the church." Mr. N. replied that they might come as individuals and express their conviction, but that was all. Lord C. and Messrs. P-r and C. took it in hand. They came to me, and Lord C. stated that they could not get over the impression produced by my charges in the minds of others: would I meet the assembly if they could get it convoked, and undo the impression as to the charges? I said they must not ask me to state that my impression was not such, as I could not go beyond my conscience; but I would gladly meet the assembly, and urge upon them not to receive any impression from me; that I could do it with all my heart, as I earnestly desired that the conscience of the brethren should be aroused; that there was no good done, whatever judgment they arrived at, unless it was, that I thought the grand evil was that it had been deadened and dulled, and that they would be there to see whether I did it cordially; and that if these three brethren honestly brought before the assembly what they now admitted to be facts, and the assembly acquitted Mr. Newton of any evil in it, even if my individual judgment were not satisfied, I should acquiesce, because, being done as I should trust up rightly, the church's conscience would be clear before God. I left Plymouth to preach elsewhere, that this might be accomplished. Nothing was done. Sir A.C. made a subsequent attempt of which he has given an account. The church could not deliberate nor judge; nor could elders be judged by it. There was no person in the position of Timothy to do it. Since this has been formally denied (and persons authorized to contradict it) it was repeated amongst the poor,* and put to a person whether it was right for the children to judge their fathers, and positively stated by one of the leaders at Plymouth, as it had been by others before, that teachers were the representatives of the church, and that they decided, and that then the church could act. This was to meet the case of 1 Corinthians, where the church were called upon to act. The case of Mr. G. was put to Mr. D. thus. There at present is but one brother prominently active in teaching. Supposing he were to fall into some gross sin, what is to be done? The case where the person inquiring knew of only one active teacher was put, because they would admit that elders in the place could take up cases and judge them.** The reply was, No, they could not judge him. If he had assumed such a place, they must leave him to the consequences of it. If it was so bad as to be unbearable, they must only leave.***

{*It is now held amongst them avowedly, to my knowledge, where this influence extends, that the church itself cannot judge. They have told me that they did think it was right, and so understood Matthew 18, but now they understand it is not.}

{**At Plymouth it was the persons who assumed the place of elders who were charged. One poor person on whom following the elders was urged, replied, But are not Mr. Darby and Mr. H elders as much as Mr. Newton? Which am I to follow? She was told it was not denied we were, but God had raised up Mr. Newton to a special and peculiar place in the church. A paper to this effect and assuming the place of Mr. N., of displacing leaders here and there by his own authority, was widely circulated at Exmouth.}

{***The last two lines are to be omitted. They are only an imperfect repetition of the preceding.}

51 The paper signed by the Plymouth leaders to clear Mr. Newton did more harm than good to their cause at Plymouth, as they were known by all to be the parties implicated, and it implied that the strangers would not do it. But the brethren from a distance having in fact come to no conclusion, for whose inquiry I had waited to give time, I had no longer now any reason for delay, and I proposed breaking bread. I hesitated whether I should demand Raleigh Street and do it as a public testimony; but praying over it I felt the humble and more gracious way would be to do it for my own need. I procured a small room, knowing about six who wished to do it, for I had most carefully avoided seeking any, and had entirely ceased visiting since I left, lest I should have even the appearance of making a party, though my heart was in that work. Sir A.C. would no longer break bread; nor W., nor C., nor P-r, nor McA. N-r still I think at that time did, or might, though strong in his judgment, but left for Jersey; that is, excepting Nr, all who were not avowed supporters and partisans of Mr. Newton. Mr. W-r had left. Mr. R. came to me on leaving, and while blaming my beginning to break bread said what I said as my reason was very strong, and that I ought instead of declining to invite Capt. H. and W. because they were considered hostile, to have got a number who took my view of it to balance the others. He left me saying that I had acted with the greatest forbearance.*

{*Mr. R. did not hesitate then to declare to strangers to both parties that they had ceased to lean upon God, and that the Spirit of God was not practically owned. I have not had an opportunity of communicating this to Mr. R., but my informant is one whose authority is above suspicion, and respected alike by Mr. R. and myself.

52 This part was now closed. I began to break bread, and the first Sunday there were not six, but fifty or sixty.

As soon as the brethren were gone Mr. Newton began to hold tea meetings by invitation, at which he explained everything. The statements of Mr. W., Sir A.C., and myself were declared to be entirely untrue; and both Mr. Newton and Mr. S. declared that, if there had been any truth in them, they would have left themselves. This was carefully insisted on in private visits, and repeated by all those under them. Sir A.C. in particular was declared by these last "willingly and wilfully false." Mr. Newton also said, publicly and privately, he had never sanctioned but always objected to the Friday meeting; that it had been begun by a brother who had semi-Irvingite views, on a wrong ground, etc. Unhappily a letter of his was in existence, appealing to it after years of attendance as a proof of godly order. It was then said, it was not the meeting which was objected to, but the composition of it. But alas! this same letter speaks of the persons composing it as recognized and submitted to by all. Subsequently it was declared that he had never objected to the church judging, nor to the brethren from elsewhere interfering.

This certainly was astounding to those who knew what had passed, if anything was so at Plymouth, his opening declaration to the brethren on their inquiring his statements of the matter, and all he had repeatedly said, as well as his associates, to so many. He declared that all he had objected to was the manner of doing it - that it ought to have been done scripturally: first come to himself, then take two or three more, and lastly the whole body put him out if need were. This was said at one of the last Monday tea meetings, a very large one.* Mr. B. has stated the same thing to others - it was only the manner which was objected to. Now, this scriptural manner which was declared to have been the only thing that would have been required, I had formally proposed, and had received a written refusal from the four persons employed by Mr. Newton, Lord C., Mr. M., Mr. W-r, and a physician at Plymouth, which written refusal was communicated by them to Mr. Newton at the time.

{*I know it to have been frequently repeated since, and recently.}

53 At these meetings, at which being by invitation, of course there was no one to answer, though invited friends were allowed to put questions, and did before the poor, a justification of Mr. Newton is stated to have been produced from the remaining part of the brethren who came to inquire, who had advocated Mr. Newton's cause all through. Indeed one of those who were thus sent for by Mr. Newton had privately written* to him to say he might count on his standing by him in any way, though inquiring now as if an impartial person. It was further most carefully repeated and urged at these meetings that we denied the Gospels were for the church, and equally took away the Hebrews and Revelation; that we denied redemption through the blood as to some, and denied the heavenly glory to the Old Testament saints.

{*This letter was circulated, because it contained statements of all the errors the writer had been led into by the brethren.}

These things drove from them many who knew it was not so, but were believed of course by others. These meetings were continued for many weeks, after each of which some came amongst us. Meanwhile a system, such as I never saw save in Popery, was carried on to influence the poor. Long utterly neglected, save as to the sisters' district rule, they were visited, caressed, and fed, threatened and literally worried, and what I must call open bribery employed, and the most positive and direct persecution. I declined visiting any who had not already come amongst us, unless a case of special invitation; and that there were not more than two or three of They did not dare. A few complained to others of my not doing it; but I had decided on my path, and declined exercising any kind of influence over them. This system went to such a pitch that, in one case under the exciting influence of sisters, a poor man refused to dine with his wife if she did not come to Ebrington Street, and when she wished to go and hear in the evening at Raleigh Street, said he would be master; she is now in Ebrington Street. The custom of the rich was withdrawn from the tradesmen also in general who came, though any they hoped to win back were sent for, caressed, and invited, and persecuted with solicitations. Soon after this, deacons were balloted for in Ebrington Street (though indeed the persons had been openly spoken of before), and there they are now.

54 I will now turn to the paper circulated privately to the number of three thousand - not to answer it (it is its own best answer to every true and upright mind), but merely to notice one or two things in it which connect themselves with the history. Nor shall I say a word on the meanness of courting the pity of strangers by publishing every word they can scrape together out of its context, when for years they have been calumniating their brethren and undermining them everywhere as subverting Christianity, and it has been borne with; and when resisted openly and honestly, crying out as if they were persecuted and oppressed. Does any one believe that they have not accused of falsehood, for example, myself, W., Sir A.C., over and over again? Everyone knows publicly and privately that their charges of falsehood were the most violent: aye, and in print, whilst they ventured to answer in public. No one need fear that I shall rake together here the proofs. The truth is, there was not a matter of which conscience told them they would be accused, but they anticipated by charging it on me or others, that, if it did come out, it might seem like retaliation and lose its weight. They must forgive my now saying "they." They have clubbed together in it themselves. Here the gravest complaint is "veracity even is impeached." Why in a previous letter of Mr. Newton's, in the correspondence of which this forms a part, he declares "there have been falsehood and misrepresentation to an extent I could not have believed before the late events."

I could cite plenty of like things, but surely I shall not. Everyone that has been at Plymouth knows it. The difference is this, Mr. N. charges in general with misrepresentation. Of such a general charge he can quote no instance as against himself. In his case specific acts are charged with being untrue; his account of the April meeting is said to be untrue; his addition of a quantity of matter to a tract professed to be written six years ago is complained of; his charging me and others with teaching a heretical doctrine, which he himself, as he does not now deny, and he alone ever taught, and out of which he was brought by those he charges with it; his declaration that all he required was acting on the scriptural rule of Matthew 18, and that he never refused to be judged by the church when it was positively refused; his declaration that he had always objected to and never sanctioned, the Friday meeting, when we had and have his letter appealing to it as proof of godly order. These which refer to the public course of events here (for I pass over all private ones), and not vague charges, are what he has to answer. Mr. N. was asked, as he charged me everywhere with falsehood, what it was. He said, saying he denied the unity of the church, but this was all he alleged. I say so still. And further I here add, I have no expressions save "intellectual process," and "eking out an argument" already apologized for, to regret or expunge - not one. If any, let them be produced with their context. The reader will say, but what of those quoted in this letter, and regularly between inverted commas? I answer, they are dishonestly charged. They are untrue, save that I do not own the table at Ebrington Street. The difficulty in this case is, that people have depended on idle statements of this kind, and it was impossible to answer them without charging the authors with untruth. This made me keep silence month after month. I did not know what to do. But the details I will enter into in their place.

55 Some phrases, though in inverted commas, are not in the tracts to which they are ascribed at all; others quoted and put into sentences which wholly alter their application (an application often expressly guarded against), in the tract referred to. In my judgment this letter signed by the five is perhaps the worst thing yet put out.

But to resume: it is a saddening and yet an instructive thing, to see at the moment that under the Lord's special leading, and surely without their own wisdom, the brethren from every quarter were humbling themselves before the Lord for their own individual and common failure, the leaders at Plymouth, having refused to come because it would turn to an investigation on their conduct, were making out a case for themselves. It is an epitome of the whole matter; but I leave it without any remark, to notice one or two statements merely. And first of all, what is the meaning of this joint disclaimer and declaration, saying, we do not hold such and such doctrines, unless the pure clubbing of a party, hand joining in hand? Who ever charged them with holding such and such doctrines? What has Mr. C-w, or Mr. S., or Mr. B., or even Mr. D., to do with my charging Mr. Newton's book with denying the unity of the church? Mr. D. indeed has carefully in public and in private maintained the thing he here denies, as many intelligent Christians well know, but he never was charged with it. Many well know that he and Mr. Newton, as others, have assiduously maintained that the Epistle to the Ephesians refers to all saints from the beginning of the world; and 1 Corinthians 12 to a local perfect church, with some idea of a sort of model at the beginning; but that the unity of the church, as such, with Christ at its head on high, in this dispensation, was denied by the constant teaching at Plymouth.

56 But Mr. Newton has published certain views upon it. These views are plain enough. They have been answered. What have, save as uniting in a party spirit, these other persons to do, to come and say we do not hold? But to such an excess is this carried that these five proceed to say that "even personal veracity is impeached." And now let me ask whose? This is an unfortunate sentence in which to have talked of Jesuitism. While calling for sympathy for the five, and in a sentence beginning with "we," it is stated personal veracity is impeached. It is not ventured to state whose. Mr. Newton's has been openly and fairly. These four may of course identify themselves with him, if they please; but they cannot put their names as honest men to having their joint veracity impeached, because this impeaching is another's act, not theirs. Have they been charged with a joint lie, or have they been severally charged with one?

The same plan was resorted to at the April meeting. I was said by Mr. Newton to have charged all with sectarianism, because a person could not be a sectarian alone. This, though unfounded, had some semblance of reason in it; but a man may surely tell falsehoods alone. I charge Mr. Newton with sectarianism alone. He tried to make a party with the charge, as if others were accused by me of it. I charged none but him. Others might have helped him, but he could not say I charged them. I charged Mr. N. with untruth in certain definite acts; I believe him guilty of it still. But if others choose to take his part, and identify themselves with what I judge to be utter want of principle, do not let them, in signing an ambiguous expression say, or leave to be concluded that others have impeached the veracity of the five together. Mr. Newton's veracity has been impeached. I impeached it.* He has declined all means of clearing himself where those who charge him could meet him unless before eight persons, half to be nominees of his own, shutting the church out. Does he mean to involve the other four who sign this letter in the charge to relieve himself? No one else has.

{*Only however before brethren, of course.}

57 Nobody doubts that I think the table in Ebrington Street one with which I cannot hold communion. I have left it. Can anything be plainer? The present narrative will say why: which I have never done yet. I have stated that they deny the real unity and holiness of the church of God; I say so still. The Lord will judge who is right in this. They may escape by the support of a party; but it is not the position of any one, nor the numbers which support him, which can make evil good or good evil, or clear the conscience of the church of God.

Mr. N. may talk of manner of doing this. It has been done in no manner; not at Plymouth, because the elders should take it in hand, and they had assumed that place; not by strangers down here, because they did not belong to Plymouth; not in London, because the gathered servants of the Lord had no right to judge them. What is the manner it could have been done in which Mr. Newton has not refused, with the aid of the co-signature of these same persons? I appeal to Mr. C., Lord C., Mr. P-r, Sir A.C., Mr. R., and all who tried to effect it, whether they secured the investigation of alleged evil, as they sought it, before the church of God. The holiness of the church of God is then given up.

I think it a very sad thing, a very great evil, when any thing of the kind has to be brought before the church at large. It is the extreme case of discipline. I take this opportunity of saying, that I think the bringing every case of evil, or alleged evil, at once before the body wrong and unscriptural. "Tell it to the church" is the last resort in every way. I think it still sadder if the person in question be one who has been looked up to in the church. It tends to shake confidence in all. But judgment has been refused in every shape to save character.

If it be said that I after the April meeting, when sectarianism was avowed before fourteen of us, ought to have brought it before the body, I have indeed nothing to reply, but that I refrained at the instance of others, particularly Mr. R., to spare Mr. Newton. Here I have always felt I may have been wrong. Further, I still state that unity has been denied, practically denied. And it is in part because of the way in which this has been disclaimed in the letter I am considering that I notice it.

58 I will now examine the statement as to No. 1. If these brethren had stated what they held about it, we should have known what to think. The question is, what is taught in the Ephesians on this point, and whether they hold it. They tell us they hold it as revealed in the Epistle to the Ephesians. This is exceedingly satisfactory. But what they hold we are evidently as much in the dark about as before. Now I allege that they really merely mean unity in heaven of all saints since the creation. It is clear there can be no other unity of all saints since the creation than unity in heaven. And this is what they have most assiduously taught as to the Ephesians. They have insisted that prophets, in chapter 2, verse 20, means Old Testament prophets; and the whole Epistle to apply to all saints from beginning to end. It is quite clear therefore it has nothing to do with the present unity of the church by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. If they deny this teaching, the answer is, it is a dishonest denial. We have all heard it, whatever their partisans may say. Further, Messrs. S. and C-w (in reply to the brother B-i, who, from reading Mr. Newton's books, had come to the conclusion that he did deny the unity of the church as taught in scripture) stated distinctly to him that the unity he urged was in heaven. Each of them, that is, did, severally and distinctly. Further, when intelligent Christians began to be exercised about it, and referred to the teachers at Plymouth to clear their minds, not believing what I and others affirmed from what we had heard and read, they were in explanation distinctly taught the same thing, and it was stated by some that none at Plymouth had ever taught or held anything else, I among them. Now if public and private teaching, deliberate argument on the question, and explanation to clear the minds of those exercised, does not prove what men hold, what will? This second paragraph is then a fraud on the reader; because it conceals the fact that it only means a common unity in heaven, and has nothing to do with the church now more than with Abel, that is, that an individual now will be finally a member of the whole assembly of God. That is, it denies any special unity now by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. Hence we have a second paragraph for unity of the saints on earth, as by one Spirit baptized into one body. Here however church is not used. But of this just now.

59 There is another circumstance connected with this I may here record. Mr. Newton has publicly taught (strange for one who complains of Matthew 24 not being considered to be exclusively the church), and taught after being remonstrated with by Mr. H.* when he taught it in private, that John 17 has no application now till you come to verse 22; which I beg the reader to note. Mr. H. urged the verse, "Sanctify them through thy truth." Mr. Newton replied, that a saint might appropriate it individually by special faith, but that it had no application to the present time. Evidently verse 22 applies to the future, and is absolute in its form, so that the denial of the unity of the church of God down here was confirmed in every way.** Indeed I would repeat here that in the teaching I heard from Mr. Newton one object was evident as the object, and this was teaching something contrary to the other brethren, so as to set them aside with those over whom he had influence, or who gradually took in his teaching. Nor was I the only one that remarked this. But as to the unity being in heaven, I had asked, Was the doctrine that the Gentile churches together constituted the one church St. Paul's statement of the unity of the church? Mr. N. answers (page 56, of his second letter), "I should think not, because St. Paul speaks of the invisible unity of the church in heaven." Can anything be plainer than such an answer where the charge was made, and, an explanation given? St. Paul's teaching, St. Paul's statement, is of the unity of the church in heaven! Mr. N. had "been speaking of the visible unity of the churches on earth." But "this visible unity of churches constitutes the one church of the living God." "The churches (page 60) were members of one body." "The Catholic unity of the body would have been marred and lost, the moment one church had forfeited its place and had its candlestick removed."

{*Mr. H. remonstrated with others, and spoke very strongly about this teaching; but I cannot confirm the fact that he spoke directly to Mr. N. I give the statement therefore as to the remonstrance merely as I heard it just after, of which I have an absolute certainty. The fact of the teaching is unquestionable. I will add here the ground on which it was based: Christ's prayer could not but have been answered; hence He could have asked it only for the apostles in their time; that we have the heavenly blessing in this respect; they had the heavenly and earthly. It will be seen how entirely this confirms what is stated as to the assertions made as to unity in the letter of the five to the London brethren commented on.}

{**Mr. Newton has also distinctly stated, as is well known to many resident at Plymouth, that as to the heavenly calling, or the unity of the church, no new light whatever had been developed from the word amongst brethren; that others, before the present movement, had held it just as clearly. The only fresh light given was to be found in the prophetic views he insisted on.}

60 Now what is the good of five persons coming and saying we have not dropped the unity of the church into churches when one of them has printed it as plainly as words can be, save in the sense which is concealed in these numbered paragraphs, in the sense that the unity of the church, means its unity in heaven, "invisible unity in heaven"? And I ask here if St. Paul's statements refer, as Mr. N. has printed and published, to invisible unity in heaven, which are the passages in scripture which refer to the unity of the church in this dispensation on earth? It is totally untrue that St. Paul's statements refer only or properly to that (though of course it remains true), for he is speaking of joints of supply in the one body on earth. Which is right, or the truth, page 4 of the letter of these five, or page 56 of Mr. Newton's letter? Or, I repeat, what is the meaning of five persons coming and saying we do not hold what one of them has printed and published he does hold; and as every one who has heard it knows, taught constantly by word of mouth? Nay, the holding the contrary view, namely a special unity in this dispensation by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, was the very ground of the charges against brethren, and made the plea for accusing them of denying life and glory to Old Testament saints.

But further, as to these second and third paragraphs, they entirely avoid the question. No one says they deny the unity of the church, if it be meant of all saints from beginning to end in a glorious and heavenly state at the close of all things. But there is not a word in the second which would not be satisfied by this truth. The point in question, of the unity of the body by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven now, is entirely avoided. And so it is in the third, strange as such an assertion may seem to a simple-hearted saint. It is then changed into "unity of the saints upon earth"; not the body. But it will be said, but it is added as baptized into one body. So it is But what body is this? On earth is not added here. And the unity of the body here is not mentioned nor spoken of. There is the unity of the saints on earth (not as a body). Perhaps (as stated by Mr. N.) unity in faith, doctrine, manners, in independent churches, all alike, but all independent.*

{*"Separate one from another - all equal, all alike: connected by no visible bond, neither revolving round any common centre. They were independent one of another; but not independent of Him who invisibly walked amongst them, and who was able to preserve the likeness to Himself, and to one another, which His grace had given them; to keep them what He had made them alike in faith, manners, and testimony"; and again, "in faith, doctrines, manners [they] were emphatically one."}

61 The body into which they were baptized is, as far as any one can tell here, the general universal assembly of all that surround Jesus eternally. Of this we all own they are. But the unity of the body, as by one Spirit sent down from heaven after the exaltation of Christ, is entirely avoided here. Now that is the whole practical question.

I may add that Mr. N. teaches, or did teach, that the Old Testament saints had received the Spirit as much as we, only that it was a spirit of bondage in them. He had taught of old, that the difference was, that it did not then abide in the saints.

On the fourth I shall say little. The Holy Ghost present and acting in the assembly is here avoided to be admitted. This is again the whole question. Any such action was denounced as impulse. It was stated that those at Ebrington Street went to meet God, and not the Holy Ghost, and we the Holy Ghost, and not God. But since even this letter the effect of the teaching on souls has been to make them believe that the Holy Ghost dwelt in individuals, but not in the body. When Capt. H. taught both, they were warned that they were likely to fall into Mr. Prince's snare. It was taught most positively that the Holy Spirit dwelt in individuals, and that the aggregate of these increased the blessing, but this was all. It was not taught that "the Holy Ghost resides only in the teachers"; but it was that the Holy Ghost worked by members, and that these members were the teachers, and that, though it was not a gift to pray or give out a hymn, none but gifted members would do it. It was stated, though here I believe the contrary was afterwards also stated, that the Holy Ghost was not in the assembly, but God over it to bless it. No intelligent brother can mistake the meaning of all this.

It was most distinctly taught, that it was wrong for the saints to meet, unless they had a responsible teacher to direct them; so much so, that a brother of known uprightness (who was never in communion, but had long known the brethren) said to his sister who was there, all the brethren's system is gone; because he had heard this statement from Mr. N. Nor were the most glaring facts wanting to demonstrate it.

62 Now turn, reader, to paragraph five. You would suppose that all these extracts were from "Darby's Remarks on the Tracts on Signs." You will be surprised, I trust at least, to learn that in the postscript to those "Remarks," which postscript is the statement alluded to, I have stated that the question had nothing to do with tradition. Mr. D. in that tract had appealed to "universal consent" as sustaining the doctrine taught at Plymouth. About this not a word is said in the paragraph; but tradition introduced which I said had nothing to do with it. I stated that "the demon of Popery is the active demon of the day"; and so I think, not that they were associated with it, and that in appealing to the principle of universal consent, and in addition to scripture, "its leading introductory principle was advanced" in that passage, referring to the wellknown canon of a father, always cited by high churchmen, who have a leaning towards Popery. I have spoken of a principle here printed and published, using these last words in the postscript. Is it not so? Why do they introduce extracts, I really know not whence, referring to tradition a subject I had expressly rejected as inapplicable, and put my name as the authority they quote, leaving out the point I did assail, and which is printed and published by one of their number in a tract on the express words of which I was commenting? Is it honest to conceal what was attacked and implicate me, trusting to the confidence which would be had, that quotations with inverted commas must be truly given, in charges which he perfectly well knew I had nothing to say to It was Mr. Newton drew this up. And even in what is found in that postscript the citations are garbled. I have stated the course clericalism takes and its issue in the full-blown Romish clericalism, but I have never charged it on them, but urged the danger of introducing its leading principle in the doctrine of universal consent. I have said I did not allude to them, but to a system.

The reader may also remark that "uphold" is not of the quotation, nor "associated with"; and that the use I have made of the words which are so, may be as different as possible from what is here stated. The truth is in the postscript, in the sentence quoted from, I have carefully set aside individuals. I have stated, that I have introduced other principles of Popery not advanced, as a matter of general warning, because this one of universal consent, which drew forth my comments, shewed the door was not closed against evil on this side. "Advance its leading principle," is a false quotation. I have said that its leading introductory principle is advanced in appealing to "universal consent."

63 As to the sixth, no one speaks of the doctrines of Independents. Mr. N. has stated that the churches are independent.

As to the seventh my answer is that it is, as regards Mr. Newton, a bold untruth. I appeal to Mr. C., Mr. P-r, Lord C., Sir A.C. I ask the whole number of those who came whether Mr. Newton did not preface his communications to them by saying that, if they came to meddle in Plymouth affairs, he would tell them nothing at all. They all know that every opportunity was not given; that Mr. Newton would not meet me before those brethren, nor the brethren at large, nor a limited number of them. He told them what he pleased, but no other opportunity was or would be afforded. When was it afforded? Will it be afforded now, with this letter added to the subject of it, and the brethren who were there come down again? Either these five, or Sir A.C. and others, are guilty of flagrant untruth. That Mr. N. sought the presence of brethren who supported him is quite true, so that Mr. R. blamed me for not making a balance.

As to the eighth, how Mr. S. could sign this after his statements to Mr. R.H., for it is to him Mr. R.H. alludes in his tract, I leave him to answer. Everybody knows many were hindered, and many stopped. I may add an instance here. A sister went to one very gracious brother who has ministered both before and since with blessing to many, and told hum he must attend Mr. Newton's prophetic meetings. He replied that he did not wish to do so, that he felt pressing peculiar views on either side tended to division.* He was told that then his ministry would not be allowed in any of the gatherings round. Of course he was shut up. But I will here give the sequel of what refers to him. He was offered his expenses and a weekly salary to go out and labour, which he refused.** Subsequently he left Ebrington Street. Whereupon it was circulated at Horrabridge that I had offered him a salary. Happily the brother at Horrabridge mentioned it to one who had just heard from the brother in question himself that it was just the opposite.

{*The reason first given for not attending one of the more private meetings was somewhat different. This brother felt himself out of his place there; subsequently he ceased attending the more public meeting on the ground stated. The material fact however was rather stronger than stated here, that, unless he received Mr. N.'s views, his ministry would not be received here or in the meetings around.}

{**I know myself a second instance of Mr. Newton's doing so; besides which penny-a-week collections have been a long while carried on for similar purposes. After I came, the collectors were desired not to go to persons I visited; a foolish direction, for I visited everybody. The sisters were the agents in this.}

64 But to return to the paragraph. Mr. S. stated to Mr. R H as Mr. R.H. has stated in his tract (I only add Mr. S.'s name, as having now signed this), that he had said to Mr. Newton that he had participated in the sin of keeping brethren away, and instanced Mr. B-t and asked Mr. N. if he could now receive him. Mr. N. with some hesitation, said, Yes. Mr. S asked him why there was this change. Mr. N. replied that the people, he thought, were now sufficiently made up* to resist his teaching. Let any one only compare this with the eighth paragraph.

{*For "sufficiently made up," read "sufficiently instructed."}

As to the ninth, I appeal solemnly to all the brethren who came to inquire. Either their statement to me, that is, of several of them, was an invented calumny, or this article is a direct positive falsehood. From first to last Mr. Newton took this ground.

As to the tenth, my answer is, You do. Mr. Newton has published in his "Thoughts on the Apocalypse" what, as an expression of thought, is justly so designated. The grand doctrine of Buddhism is that a sort of absorption into Deity is perfect bliss; now Mr. N. states that the glorified saints will be omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, using the terms; only they would still worship. And therefore I say, his doctrine does make a sort of Buddhism of Christianity. As to their views and opinions on open ministry, my object is not to discuss views but relate facts here, and I pass them by.

I have only one more statement to allude to. There is a scripture appropriate to everything, and I confess the one which at once suggested itself to me was, "The unjust knoweth no shame." "We are virtually excommunicated persons." Did any one ever dream that I excommunicated Mr. Hatchard, or Mr. Courtenay, and a thousand other saints, because I do not go to the Established Church? Was ever such nonsense palmed on people? And yet one of my reasons is because they do not judge evil nor exercise discipline, as it is as to Ebrington Street. Mr. Newton's alleged evil, and to my mind proved evil, deserved to be judged, and so did other evil, and it was not, but was avoided and refused to be judged. When the brethren, who certainly treated me with very little concern, whatever they did Mr. Newton, said I must be judged too, I made no difficulty; but nothing could induce Mr. Newton to allow it, and they had no courage to go any further. It was not to be. But this is not treating people as excommunicated. Mr. C-w urged, at one time, walking in love as brethren still on me in Mr. R-e's shop. Did I treat him as excommunicated, or Mr. S.?

65 But this is not all. It is really not a shameful but a shameless statement. Mr. S. who signs first here, positively refused to dine at table with me. Will he deny it? Mr. Newton refused to meet me, when investigation was desired by our coming face to face, because I was an excommunicated person. It was the common ground of triumph that I could not bring the matter before the church, because I was an excommunicated person by leaving the assembly. Shall I say that Mr. D. lectured that, though Christians, yet all were not to be treated as such? Shall I name all those who, led by the example and instruction of Mr. Newton, refused to salute us in the street?* those who by Mr. N.'s directions refused to see old friends they had previously sent for? Mr. N. began it to a sister, who stated she had proposed calling on him to assure him it was no want of good feeling towards him in leaving, by refusing to see her, and telling her in the name of the Lord Jesus he could have no more Christian intercourse with her. The oldest friends were first not visited at all and then were told that they visited as friends, but could not own them as Christians nor pray with them. And this was done so grossly by Mr. N. himself that the husband (not in communion) of one sister met Mr. Newton and told him that, had he been still of the world, he must have used his cane to him. One poor man excited by the sisters refused to eat with his own wife till he got her back to Ebrington Street.

{*It will hardly be believed at Plymouth, that Mr. S. has stated in more than one place, that it was we who would not salute them!}

66 It has been attempted since shame has fallen upon them about it, to say it was only to be done to leaders. Were the sisters, one of whom only came to hear in Raleigh Street, who sent to dear Mrs. Newton flowers and little things suited to the sick when she was ill, leaders? They were sent back as unreceivable from Mr. N.'s house. Captain H. was refused to be received into the house of one long accustomed to look up to him, but who had fallen under this miserable influence. And now I challenge them to produce an act of ungracious or evil dealing towards one of them. Why, will it be believed that many of them no longer dealt with the shops of those who went to Raleigh Street, as well as threatened to withdraw Christian kindness from the poor? and to deprive them of temporal advantages they enjoyed? Last of all, while I am writing this, they have been forbidden, had they desired it, in case of any wishing to shew it was no want of personal kindness, to attend dear Mrs. N.'s funeral* - a person who, though excited about this matter, had by her walk among the saints for many a year engaged the affections, I may safely say, of all, and who has been happily, may we not say taken from the evil to come, and we have excommunicated them!

{*It will hardly be believed that after having forbidden any to come to the funeral, saying, that we hastened Mrs. Newton's death and were not to come and trample on her grave, it was carefully circulated by them that we would not go to Mrs. N.'s funeral!}

I have done. I have gone over the public ground only, and I have only to add, that I was confirmed in the resolution not to swerve, because I found that the system of untruth and finesse was undermining the probity and truthfulness of mind of others, and demoralising God's dear children. And it is. I have refrained from the private facts, which yet operated of course with equal force on one's mind as to the state of things, though not as fit to be publicly brought forward.

It has been alleged by Mr. Newton himself, and received by some, that it could not be with an intention to deceive when refutation was so easy. Those who receive this do not know how these things worked. This last letter is the proof. Nine-tenths of the saints out of Plymouth would take the statement as true: and I should be very sorry to think that they would suppose it possible to be otherwise until forced to it. I have yet a difficulty myself in believing the things I know to be true. At Plymouth the majority were Mr. Newton's party at all cost. If any separated themselves from it, they were not spoken to nor owned as Christians; even their temporal interests injured as far as possible. In private statements, it was a similar case. An untrue one, suppose, was made. Probably the person believed it; a gracious mind is not the most suspicious. The effect was produced, the prejudice excited, and the person fell under Mr. N.'s influence. If not, in general persons, particularly females, who were especially subjected to this, do not like probing into evil and discreditable things, nor getting into conflict with persons who act in this way. If they took the trouble of inquiring, and stated what had been said, the statement was denied, and it was a question of their character and Mr. Newton's. Few 'liked this; perhaps their husbands did not. If it was proved, then it was said, It was not meant so, and it was uncharitable to fix on a man what he did not mean. If they were disgusted and left, no one was to speak to them. This was the operation of the Monday evening meetings, held after the brethren were gone, for Mr. N. to explain everything. The majority believed the statements without more. A few were driven out every time. They were no longer spoken to, unless to worry them to come back, if there was hope of that.

67 And now, as these five, as well as Mr. Newton speak of the manner of the investigation, and Mr. N. and others for him have repeatedly said it was only this he objected to, I shall repeat what I proposed to him. I refused to name four as my friends to investigate it, because it was taking it out of the hands of the church of God when already before it. I never heard of a person accused of evil in the church of God naming four to inquire into his case, and those who knew of it four more. It was taking it out of the church of God altogether. I declined to name them.

It is supposed that no one had been to Mr. N. This is a mistake. They had: two had as to the untruth (and first two - besides myself by letter - and then thirteen as to the sectarianism); and the whole had been before three hundred of the brethren. But in reply to this proposal I offered to meet the four he named individually, or together, to go before the whole body, or before a limited number, if that was a better way, or to let the four named by Mr. Newton collect the thirteen before whom the matters first had been; or Mr. Newton might act on the scripture rule of Matthew 18 if he considered it a wrong. I received for reply, that Matthew 18 did not apply because I had done the wrong publicly; that bringing it before the body of the brethren was only seeking to repeat the grievance; that my letter was an evasion; that it was evident I was unprepared to substantiate the charges; that my statements appeared unworthy of credit, and that copies of the letters were given to Mr. Newton

68 And two of the signers of this letter were among those who pursued the inquiry afterwards. One left almost immediately after signing it. It is generally known that these brethren refused to go up to the London meeting, too, because it must take the character of investigation.

In fine, when finesse and untruthfulness, when flattery of the rich with contempt and neglect of the poor, and then caresses and threatenings and appeals to their gratitude, attract the Spirit of Christ, then while under its influence I may return; or when avowed sectarianism and union in testimony against brethren is that to which I wish to be a party. Till then I can have no such thought. There are saints of God there who ought to be, and I can boldly say are, very dear to me. I would do all there every good I could. Nor have I the conscience of an unkindly feeling towards one. I should rejoice with unfeigned joy were every statement I have made proved to be wrong to my own shame. But, without pretending to apportion blame, to say who originated it or helped it on, supposing it possible (and I would hope true) that all have been only led in it ignorantly, I believe that there has been a direct work of the enemy, and this to subvert the blessed truth that Brethren were specially trusted with; a work which has shewn itself in doctrine, principle, and practice, as is always the case, very subtly and very gradually, but surely and constantly. I shall notice in their plain effects the doctrines.

First, practically the present hope and expectation of the Lord's coming was put off and set aside.

Secondly, the heavenly calling, which Brethren had specially been favoured to bring out, and the glory of the church with Christ, is confounded with earth, and subverted and set aside. Our Mother is declared to be the establishment of a system, which had been going on from the beginning in glory in the earth. "Christianity supreme in the earth in Mount Zion and Jerusalem" "identical with Zion arising in the moral grace and dignity of its high calling in the earth" (Thoughts on the Apocalypse, pp. 138, 142). "This is our parent, the system to which we belong," Jerusalem.

69 Thirdly, unfeigned faith in the presence of the Holy Ghost to guide and minister in the assemblies of the saints was undermined and subverted.

Fourthly, the unity of the body of Christ, as gathered by the presence of the Holy Ghost in this present time of the church on earth, was undermined and subverted too.

Fifthly, the deification of the saints, that is, "Omniscient power of superintendence," Omnipotent power necessary to such execution"; and, referring to Ezekiel's vision but as a description of the power of the cherubim who symbolize the redeemed, "nowhere absent but everywhere present in the perfectness of undivided action," and they "will apply to the earth, the* wisdom of the elders, and the throne."

{*Mr. N. has since taught that the saints will have essential power. He states in the "Thoughts" that man will be blest in himself, and the source of blessing to others, p. 56.}

And, as a sixth point, the constant extenuation of the evil of Popery, with the decided absence of Christ from the teaching, while the saints were exalted "almost into co-equality with God.'*

{*These are Mr. N.'s own words. This absence of Christ in the teaching was a very principal thing which drove the poor brethren out. They felt the effect, though knowing little of the cause, and felt justly. The way works were pressed and said to be offered by us to God because done in our new nature, statements (some of which are already mentioned) as to the Lord Jesus Himself, and the unsettling the mind as to truths relating to Him, would have made it impossible for me to have wished anyone I cared for to attend the ministry. As a mere question of ministry, it would have been sufficient to have driven me away. I add this while printing; for the more I have considered this point, the more I am satisfied of its importance and of its application to numberless statements made.}

I may add, as a seventh, the exaltation and beauty of a personal Antichrist in a way quite contrary to scripture, so as to alarm and shake the minds of the saints. As to principles and practice, I do not go over again the statements made in the preceding pages; statements more than confirmed by incidents arising from day to day which it is impossible to reduce to writing.

I have now sufficiently given the history of what has passed, as far as I have been concerned in it. Others must give what has passed behind the scenes. As I have already stated, private circumstances I have not mentioned. But it must not be supposed that they have not influenced those who dwell at Plymouth. If there had been remedy, they would not have been a reason for leaving; but they called for a remedy which, if refused, made it impossible to stay. This direct working of Satan few perhaps may distinctly estimate; but the Spirit of Christ will have no difficulty in judging the facts I have stated, and the course of things to which I have alluded.

70 My word of unhesitating testimony is, Come out from among them, and be ye separate. They have sought to perplex the poor (clear in their judgment of where evil was, and where Christ was) by asking, Now on what scripture did you leave? They knew what they left by experience, and judged rightly about it; though, as a priest might come and puzzle a soul that knew well on what ground it stood, they could ill answer perhaps a cross-examination of what scripture they were on. My answer to them is simple, my text is plain: Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you. If they would have yet more, I cite what they have sufficiently pressed upon others, "Cease to do evil." There is evil unconfessed and unjudged; evil (I judge) of the very worst kind, speaking of evil in a Christian assembly; and I suppose there must be scriptures for leaving it, or we should never have been gathered at all.

I will only add, as much has been said in print of Mr. S.'s asking Mr. H. to stay, that he asked Mr. H. to stay to help him to resist Mr. Newton, against whom he felt unable to make head alone, and he stated to Mr. R.H. that all the evil had come from letting him have his own way. Here you have the history of Plymouth. Whether Mr. S. is now able to do so and does so, others must judge. In its present form, Mr. Newton drew up the letter addressed to the brethren in London.* Mr. S.'s name appears the first in the list of signatures. He had been free through the earlier scenes, from the want of candour which existed. I must sorrow that at the close, why the Lord must judge, he has placed his name first on what, on the whole I must judge, to be the worst and lowest of all the sad series of this unhappy history.

{*Mr. C-w stated that he sat up all night, and drew it up that one night.}

I am aware of the influence which Mr. N. exercises over many minds, but I do not hesitate to say, that I had rather see my child die than be under the moral influence that rules at Ebrington Street. Wherever its direct influence reaches, moral integrity is gone. I know it has been stated, that it is a mere personal question on my part. Now I appeal to this single assertion just as a proof of the destruction of integrity. Has not Mr. Newton, have not others, stated in public and in private, that we deny the Gospels and I know not what else, and that the foundations of Christianity are gone, if our doctrine is received? Is this a personal question? The fact is where it is hoped that consciences may be alarmed, it is stated we deny the Gospels, etc. When a soul is getting uneasy at the state of things among them or it is thoroughly known that all this is false, then it is stated to be mere personality. Mr. N. is named because he has been the public actor in this matter. And I am not writing here to give my private opinion as to who else may be as really guilty as he, it would be quite out of place. I give the brethren at large the facts which led to my leaving Ebrington Street.

71 I have omitted to speak of the fasts. In doing this I add a circumstance early in the history, which I omitted to mention. There was very assiduous teaching from Revelation 1 on the stars, Christ holding the stars of ministerial authority in His hand. After a time during which I had ceased attending the prayer meeting, I think after the first fast (I am not quite sure), I thought there was some softening, and returned. The first thing I heard was one of the persons whose name appears in all these documents earnestly praying that Christ would uphold the stars which He had raised up and held in His right hand, and that we might own them. As to the fasts, at a very early stage of the business I urged that we might fast together. Mr. H. pressed it on them. I had conversed with Mr. D-k, Sir A.C., etc., as to it, who desired it and wished to come, and that brethren might join in it. But all pressing it was useless. Mr. N. declared there was nothing to fast for, and that he would not have Plymouth made a plague spot of. It was anxiously explained over and over again, that it was meant to charge none, but that, as we were all in trial, we could go and cast ourselves before God, and I said I should go with all my heart and confess any want of spirituality in me that had helped it on; but it was useless. I could only weep and fast to myself.

At last on the occasion of the disorder of the aged brother's speaking above mentioned, Mr. Newton went down on Saturday to the coach to Mr. H., who went for the Lord's day elsewhere, and stated he should give out a fast the next day; which he did for circumstances which had occurred here and elsewhere. However, though I thought all this very bad indeed, and all understood what this meant, and other brethren were necessarily excluded, as it was given out for Wednesday that week, I went. The brethren who have since left mourned and confessed unfeignedly. Mr. N. blessed God for giving them the truth and prayed God to give them firmness to maintain their position. I thought the whole matter the very worst thing that had taken place. When Mr. C-n came here, Mr. N. peremptorily refused to have any confession about Plymouth; Mr. C-n stated in private that he would not hear of it, and that they could only have it general for all the church. This to me was far worse than nothing here.

72 Subsequent to Mr. C-n's saying the evil was want of unity in judgment (he declined to me any inquiry into the circumstances here)* and that love depended on it. Mr. N. took it up warmly, and stated that the Lord had sent Mr. C-n; that brethren had all along differed as to redemption, Christ's offices, characters, and a fourth thing I do not now remember; and that there could not be union. After this they had other fasts which I of course did not attend; some, since out, did and part of it was so bad that I know those who had to leave the room. Since then I know nothing of what has passed there.

{*Mr. C-n's principle is that, where there exists a body of Christians, no false principle, even in the ground of their union, is a sufficient reason for leaving them.