Being the answer to the "Reasons."

J. N. Darby.

<20004E> 98 (See also files 20003E, 20005E, 20006E)


I am exceedingly thankful for the publication of these papers. The saints have now Mr. Newton's "Defence," and his friends' "Reasons" for his not meeting the saints. In a word they have the case before them. While the brethren in London were discussing the question of how to judge the case before them, I refrained from taking any part whatever. In the last two meetings, after Mr. Newton had refused to meet them at all, I felt free to take a part, because the merits of the case were not in question, but the competency of saints to clear their consciences of evil; but though provoked by multiplied assertions of proofs of innocence and reasons, I refrained from all answer whatever to these, and refused to say a word on the merits of the case or on the "Reasons" (though it was very trying to me), because it would not have been fair on my part. The printing and distribution of the "Reasons" and "Defence" have set me perfectly free as to this.

I shall consider, first, the "Reasons."

There are one or two general remarks which I would make. In the first place these documents set up my narrative on the highest ground of fairness. For this reason - three things are here alleged* as clearing Mr. Newton, namely, the acquittal by the brethren who went down, which he suppressed; the letter written by a certain number of them, here published; and the acquittal by the four who sign the "Reasons." Now I have stated all these things in the "Narrative." The letters of Mr. R. and Lord C. I could not give, because I had them not, but I have stated their existence. The alleged acquittal, suppressed by Mr. Newton himself as ruining him, so that he declared he would go to Canada if it came out, I felt to be the best thing for him which he had got, as he now feels it to be; and I stated that there was such a document, and its substance, although he had got it suppressed. I will discuss it farther on. I allude to it now as a proof of the fairness of the "Narrative." I have stated also the acquittal by the four who sign the "Reasons."

{*Nothing else indeed is alleged save the fact of investigation by the four signers of the "Reasons," who present themselves as being the persons who addicted themselves at Plymouth to the ministry of the saints. On this two questions arise. Are they the persons who stand, and stand alone in this place as the persons to whom the conscience of the church is to be entrusted (they deny that the body itself can inquire)? Are they really those who exclusively could assume the place in which, without supposing a possibility of question by any, they set themselves up here? and secondly, if they are, did they really make such inquiry as they pretend? This I shall examine farther on. For the present I refer to the acquittals themselves, which Mr. Newton professes to have already received previously. I have stated these in the "Narrative" already. Whatever could be said in the "Narrative" in this way for Mr. N., all he has said here of acquittals given by others, I have stated there. (See pp. 74, 79, and 80.) Their value we will inquire into here. If anything could place my "Narrative" above suspicion it is this defence. For all that is alleged here of testimony in Mr, Newton's favour is found there already.}

99 I have now another remark to make which is of all importance. There is not the smallest attempt whatever made to meet the "Narrative," but merely the charges inquired into at Plymouth a year ago. Now the main charges in the "Narrative" were not before the brethren at all then. They had never been made. They inquired into certain charges made in a public meeting in Ebrington Street in November, 1845, and none others. Now at that meeting I was called on by the saints to say why I had left Ebrington Street. In giving the account to them of the matter, I stated certain things (amongst many other facts) which had stopped me from ministering three months before I left. These particular things affected Mr. N., and these particular things alone were inquired into; but they are by no means the only ones, nor are they in my judgment by any means the gravest. There is not a pretence that the others have been inquired into in any way whatever. The "Reasons" of 1846, as well as the "Defence" of 1845, confine themselves to the inquiry carried on at Plymouth in the year I 845, and leave the main allegations of the "Narrative" untouched, I would I could say unobserved upon. They fix the reader's attention on the Plymouth inquiry, and take it off the "Narrative."

100 But I must now draw the saints' attention to what they do say. After stating that the four who sign are implicated in the main bulk of the charges in the "Narrative," they continue:- "The only exception is in the case of the charges of personal untruthfulness. Of these specific charges our brother Newton is the only object. Now as to these: it might be quite sufficient for us to refer you to his own paper, entitled 'A Defence* in Reply to the Personal Accusations of Mr. Darby,' a copy of which accompanies this letter." … "Now we understand your letter to refer only to these last-mentioned charges." … "These charges were" - and then they give their statement of the charges alleged to have been made at the meeting at Ebrington Street in November, 1845, and never notice the charges in the "Narrative" at all. God is my witness, brethren, that I wish I had never heard of them again, and that they were all proved untrue. I would bear the shame with joy, if it could be so; but that is not the question here. The plea here against meeting them is, that they have been inquired into, and the accused acquitted of them. Of what? Of the charges in the "Narrative"? No: but of the charges at Plymouth in 1845, which appear** indeed in the "Narrative," but are by far the smallest part of the matter. And the reason why these only were mentioned then is evident. These particular matters were the reason for my leaving, and therefore I mentioned them alone at the meeting in Ebrington Street. I avoided anxiously every aggravation, and stated only what had led to my leaving, for this was what I was called upon to state. In my "Narrative" I stated the facts in general, avoiding private ones. In the "Reasons" these four go back to the Ebrington Street meeting, and declare that the charges made there were disposed of, and never make the smallest allusion to the charges in the "Narrative." These remain untouched; the most important of them were not alluded to in the meeting at Ebrington Street, nor in the inquiry which followed; and some of them happened after both 'the meeting' and 'the inquiry,' though in the affairs connected with them.

{*You would suppose, reader, I dare say, that this "Defence" referred to the contents of the "Narrative." Not at all. It was written nearly a year before the "Narrative" came out, and alludes to only two of the charges contained in it. The word "these" in paragraph 3 of page 1 of the "Reasons" refers to the charges in the "Narrative." But "these" in "Now as to these," in paragraph 4, which would be supposed to be the same, refers only to those alluded to in the meeting at Plymouth in 1845, and not to those in the "Narrative." The unsuspecting reader thinks that they are the same, and that he has in the "Defence" an answer to the charges in the "Narrative," whereas about a quarter of them only are referred to. The others had not then been made, the "Defence" having been written nearly a year before the charges in the "Narrative" came out. The reader must judge for himself of such a procedure.}

101 Mr. Newton took the same ground in his reply to the ten brethren. After urging his acquittal from the charges made in the meeting at Ebrington Street, he adds: "As regards other charges in the 'Narrative of Facts,' the others affect the whole gathering of Plymouth as well as myself." The answer to this statement is, it is wholly untrue. Mr. N. must really draw largely on the credulity of his readers. He is charged with several cases of want of truthfulness, in which he alone (would he were not either!) is concerned. For example to cite only one: the imputing to myself and others a certain heretical doctrine in a tract written by himself alone - when he, and he alone, had taught it in a worse shape, and that after explanation had on the subject; and then denying that he had charged us, though the charge was in print.

{*Indeed only two of those found in the "Reasons" appear as charges in the "Narrative." Four are alleged to have been made in 1845. As to two of them (which I disown however as charges) so far from being acquitted, one of the reasons for which Mr. N. got the paper (now alleged to be an acquittal by the ten brethren) suppressed was, that he was not cleared of these two. Of course these two do not appear as charges in the "Narrative," for I have never allowed them to be such. So that it is only two out of the charges mentioned in the "Reasons," which appear amongst those found in the "Narrative" from which Mr. N. is said to be acquitted.}

I repeat twenty times were it needed, I would to God he could disprove it, were I put to utter shame; but believing not only that the church of God, the saints beloved of Christ are concerned, but that Satan is seeking to ruin the blessing with which God had entrusted us, it cannot now be so passed over. I am ready (I have ever said and felt so) to confess my share as the first among those whose unfaithfulness and want of spirituality gave occasion to the inroad. Moreover, in general I stand as a poor sinner, with no hope at all but mercy myself; and I read, "he shall have judgment without mercy who shewed no mercy." But I cannot (even though my failing may have helped to give occasion to the ruin coming in) acquiesce in it, when it is come in and is manifest. Nor do I think it mercy to leave the poor and simple saints exposed to it (Brethren may judge me as they think right): I cannot do so before God. I am reproached now with not bringing the first charges against Mr. Newton openly before the whole church. I did bring what was a practical point of clerical assumption and the instrument of sectarianism, and pressed it on their consciences much before I left, and they would not stir. I avoided bringing the charges personally disgraceful to himself. My heart resisted it. I am now reproached with it. Perhaps I was wrong. I do not envy his friends who reproach me with it, and take it up as a ground why nothing can be done now. When the evil was sought to be spread afresh, so that I felt forced to come out with a statement of what passed, that is resisted. My answer is simple. God knows the end, and will bring it about to His own glory. But I resume.

102 The reader may here mark the difference of the two replies one has to deal with. Mr. Newton (in the letter to the ten) comes forward with a plain untruth, namely, that the other charges affect all at Plymouth. It will be answered, that the detection is so evident that he could not mean to deceive. (Mr. Newton uses this same plea in his defence.) But this is a mistake. Few carry the facts in their mind so as to detect the falsehood. If Mr. Newton's plausible statement is accredited, he appears an injured and aggrieved man; the fairest words are used: the person gets under his influence; once there no contradiction is listened to, no exposure read, a partisan is gained. The tact of the writer of the "Reasons" is more subtle. He states generally, "The only exception is, in the case of the charges of personal untruthfulness. Of these specific charges our brother Newton is the only object." This seems fair enough. Then in page 2 a history is given of my conduct and charges at Plymouth in 1845, as to prophecy, sectarianism, and, finally, Mr. Newton's veracity. And then it is said, "Now we understand your letter to refer only to these last-mentioned charges. For of none others could it, in any way, be said that they are brought against our brother Newton only, and not against others. It is to satisfy the consciences of the saints as to the things charged against his veracity* therefore, that we suppose you ask our brother Newton to appear before the saints in Rawstorne Street, etc. Now, we think it impossible that such a proposition could have been made by you, had you been aware of the way in which these charges have already been met and examined into in this place. These charges were," etc.; and then comes an elaborate account of what they allege to have been my charges in 1845 at Plymouth. Now the reader will naturally suppose - he is left to suppose - that the charges in page 2, thus entered on, are the same as those spoken of in page 1, and that Rawstorne Street had specifically these, and these only, before it. He would hardly suppose that "these specific charges" in page 1*, and "these charges were" in page 2, are quite a different matter, two only of the latter being found amongst the former. Page It refers to the charges in the "Narrative of Facts," which is thus subtly attempted to be swamped in what passed at Plymouth in 1845, where, as I have said, I confined myself (when called upon to state what led to my leaving) entirely to what had led to this, not wishing to bring charges, though I already knew of many other things; but they had not led to my leaving, and I said nothing about them. The alleged charges of 1845 are thus quietly assumed to be "the things charged against his veracity," and that "of none others could it be said that they are brought against Mr. Newton only." But I turn to page 1, and I say with it there are "specific charges" in the "Narrative of Facts" - of which three (besides two of those found here) may be read in one page of the "Narrative," besides others in other parts of it. And in a following page of the "Narrative" it is distinctly urged that they regard Mr Newton alone.

{*The words "veracity," etc., seem to carry on the connection with the first part: (through the phrase "last mentioned" which seems to distinguish them from questions on "ministry," etc.), but there has been quietly slipped in" March, 1845, etc., etc."; so that "these charges" after this passage, only mean the charges made in 1845, not those in the "Narrative"; and "none others" now apply not to all those of the "Narrative," but confine the attention of the reader exclusively to the charges made in 1845 at Plymouth; whereas in the beginning of what I have quoted, the like expressions refer to the whole of the charges in the "Narrative," which the unsuspecting reader supposes, consequently, he is dealing with all through. See the "Reasons."}

{**Except the last "these," as explained in a previous note.}

104 These first two pages then are a mere attempt* to merge the "Narrative" in what passed at Plymouth in 1845, and the charges then made; to which alone the alleged acquittal can be pretended to apply. As to them, it is attempted to shew there has been an acquittal (the force of which I shall just now examine), but this acquittal does not in any way apply to the great body of charges in the "Narrative" at all. What shall we say to such a defence as this?

{*From the effect this produces on my own mind, as to those who could concoct such a statement as that contained in these reasons, I feel bound to say, not for the purpose of charging one, but of clearing others, that I am satisfied that Messrs. S. and C-w are incapable of it, are mere victims and instruments in this, and never would have done such a thing of themselves; and further, that there is but one of all the four, who is really concerned in it as originating it, and that is Mr. D. This of course is merely my judgment. Every one will heed it or not as they please, but I felt bound to say that (sadly as they have been dragged in) I do not believe Mr. S. or C-w would of themselves have been capable of it. Nor do I charge Mr. B. with it. But as they have signed it, of course I must leave it here on their common responsibility.}

Having now shewn that the "Reasons" do not really touch upon or treat of the great body of charges as to truthfulness contained in the "Narrative," the whole case is really disposed of (viewed as taken up by those to whom the paper has been addressed). The "Defence" does not even allude to these charges, having been written before the "Narrative" came out. But I will, for the satisfaction of the saints, go through as briefly as I can the "Defence" of acquittal set up as to what is touched upon.

It is stated (page 2) that my complaints were directed against certain writings on prophetic and kindred subjects, and the way they had been disseminated. As every one knows, I do not agree with these prophetic views; I think them wrong in the most really important points; I do object to the manner in which they are disseminated. But, instead of beginning with this, I positively refused to enter on it as a ground of complaint. I said my ground was a moral ground. There can be no dispute as to this, because there is proof in writing. Here is Mr. Newton's account of the charge I made.

105 "The charge preferred against me in the meeting was a systematic effort to form a sect, and discrediting and denouncing those who do not adopt the opinions which form its basis." This, though not the terms used at the meeting, is correct; it is taken from a previous note of mine to Mr. Newton. The first terms of the charge made, which, as well as this, was privately to Mr. Newton (I quote from his own note) were that he had "acted very badly towards many beloved brethren, and in the sight of God."*

{*This was not a volunteer charge; it was in reply to a note of Mr. Newton, admitting that "his manner had been marked with so much distance, when we first met." Mine certainly had not. Three brethren had come down to ask me subsequently what I came to Plymouth for. Mr. Newton states on their report, that we should go on in separate paths, but uniting in all that we can in love. In answer to this I stated my complaint to him, whereupon he withdrew, in his reply, all the kindness expressed in his first. My note had accepted and returned the kindness, and stated "with sorrow of heart" the complaint I had to make; declaring that "as to difference of interpretation on points of scripture," objections could be stated if needed, but that when the need did not exist, I felt "a measure of difference comparatively immaterial, and but an exercise of grace." I quote this now, merely as a proof that the way the matter is stated here, is entirely incorrect.}

Secondly, my attention was called to the subject of clericalism by an expression in Mr. Newton's first note, and I took it up with him, whereupon he withdrew his kindly written one. It is perfectly true, that the way in which the scheme had ripened I had at first no idea of. It is equally true, that it was "afterwards" I made the charges against his veracity: for the simplest reason; he had not made the statements on which they were founded till afterwards. I will here repeat, that though I did not go to Mr. Newton about them (he declined intercourse with me at that time, though I had called on him in order to renew it, and, not finding him, told him so); I did speak of them to Mr. H. and S., who were intimate with him, and in whom I had confidence. Mr. H. as well as Mr. N-r did go to him, at any rate about one of these charges, before ever they were brought forward, and he persisted in the thing in spite of remonstrance. The whole paragraph therefore is a misrepresentation, save that I did not make the charges before they were called for. My purpose in going to Plymouth was anything but making charges.

106 Next, as to the charges; they are stated to be four. Now I deny absolutely that I ever made more than two at the meeting in Ebrington Street in 1845. The parading the two first is merely to make out a case. None of the four who sign were there. Mr. N-r, who was, bore me out as to the terms I used in the meeting. The charge made behind my back was, that I accused Mr. Newton of altering the letters, after being told he had not. The charge made to myself by Mr. Newton was, that I had charged him with suppressing two out of five. This statement, as I shall shew, is the only plausible one, even from his own account. Here is the charge forwarded by him to me: "first, That of five manuscript letters (which it is not needful more particularly to describe), Mr. Newton had suppressed some."

This is his written complaint sent to me by the four persons mentioned in page 3 of the "Reasons." To aggravate and attach importance to this, the four, who here reproduce them, add "secret" suppression; and to make it square with the charge made behind my back of altering the letters, it is added, "or parts of them." In page 16 of the "Defence," made in 1845, Mr. Newton, referring to a book now lying before me, says, "This book Mr. Darby appears to have seen, and to have inferred that the two last letters were suppressed," etc. This statement then, in the "Reasons," is itself an entirely unjustifiable one on any ground. As to the second, I do not exactly see how the addition of an appendix constitutes, or can constitute, a charge of moral dishonesty. There may be a want of fairness in the manner of it. Whatever the charge is worth, the fact is so. An appendix was added, at the close of letter 3, with this title, "Appendix to Letter 1. Some difficulties suggested to the Interpretation in this Letter with Mr. Newton's answer."

Since the meeting at which this was alluded to, Miss J. has declared she is answerable for this, and that she put it in; that she had asked (being employed, note, to copy and circulate these letters) Mr. Newton whether he had an answer to certain difficulties I had raised to his views* expounded in these letters. Mr. Newton supplied her with my letter to him (telling her what part she might copy, and what part she might not), and with answers thereto from himself Miss J. declares that, though authorised to copy it, she was not expressly authorised to put it in the letters. This was communicated to me subsequently to my statement at the meeting, and I published it at their request in the first tract I printed. I do so again now.

{* These events were about five years ago, since which time these letters have been circulated. At that time I had, at the instance of brethren, remonstrated with Mr. Newton about them, but he persevered. As this matter is referred to in the "Defence," I shall state the circumstances, and give Miss J.'s account to me, which differs in its moral bearing from Mr. N.'s. I was invited to spend the evening at a married sister's of Miss J., which I accepted, as for common edification. When there, I found a large meeting, to my great surprise, exclusively of sisters. Brethren who came were sent away unknown to me. Miss J. said to me, You will speak to us on such prophetic points (those contained in the MS. letters). I was rather disgusted, and replied, Whatever the Lord may lead me to. Finding however their minds bent upon this, I thought well to let it go on, and presented the difficulties I had in receiving their views, ascertaining clearly myself that they had learned them from man and not God. Miss J., in my interview with her, after the meeting in 1845, told me she had met Mr. N. in Frankfort Street after the meeting at her sister's, and told him there were difficulties raised she should like to be satisfied about. Could Mr. N. furnish her with answers to them? Mr. N. thereupon furnished her with my letter to him containing the different objections, and shewed her how much she might copy, and gave her his answers. These objections and answers form the Appendix. Miss J.'s account of the copy books, which I first suggested to her however did not satisfy me, but as I attached no importance to it, I left it as it was, and published it at the end of the next thing I printed.}

107 All I said at the meeting was this, that "the first thing that made me uncomfortable was the renewed circulation of these letters, two of them being wanting" (I cannot answer for the word "suppressed"; I may have said in a copy in which two of them were "suppressed"), and in which an appendix was added as belonging to the first letter, which referred in a material part to one of the letters which was not in the book. My only words in pursuing the history of what led to my leaving were, "the first thing that made uncomfortable." The facts are just exactly as I stated them. My charges were quite distinct. I shall go into them in a moment. It is possible this rested on Mr. N.'s mind with pain, as a charge, from Miss H.'s writing to him about it. I will touch on this when I come to it.

I shall now state, as to the details, how the question of the place of the appendix came in. My grand objection was the circulation, in spite of remonstrance, of the letters denouncing the brethren's teaching. Miss J. states, she left the two out to circulate them in another book, and thus among twice as many people. Now in one of the two last Mr. N. makes this statement, that before the tares are judged on the earth, the saints will be raised and stay on the earth for an interval (probably a brief one), and that their being seen in their changed bodies must be an awful and terrible sight to the ungodly, and that while they were there the tares would be separated from among them;* that at that time risen saints alone were the wheat, and that gathering the tares from among the wheat meant gathering sinners from among risen saints on earth. I had (no one, I think, will be surprised) objected to this statement, and I do think it a little unreasonable to declare, as Mr. N. does in these letters, that "the foundations of Christianity are gone," if people do not fall in with a system involving such absurdities as this.

{*This has been publicly preached in the streets.}

108 Mr. N. in the Appendix added by Miss J., as belonging to Letter I, denies some of my remarks being correct, as for instance, that he had said the tares were burned while the risen saints were there. It is possible he had not said so; but if I may judge from Mr. Newton's extract of my letter in the Appendix, I said no such thing, but gave the quotation in terms from his letter, though he seems to imply I did, by denying it. However this may be, I felt it objectionable to declare that the comment referred to Letter I, which did not contain all this, whilst my objection was based on Letter 4 or 5, which was not there to be referred to, this point being the first and leading one given. This objection, I dare say, may have been taken by Mrs. B-h, whose kindness and integrity no one will question, to be a charge of altering the letters. If she said so, I am sure she thought so; but it is evident it had nothing to say to it. I have given these details, as so much has been said about it. But the fact is, I entered into none of them at all at the meeting. I said nothing whatever but that the circulation of these three letters, with the Appendix, without the other two was "the first thing that made me uncomfortable" - and so it did.

Mr. N. had been remonstrated with about these letters at least four years before, and this was a kind of new edition; and I referred to the matter in some such terms, stating merely the fact as to the other point, Mr. N.'s name not being even mentioned, though I do not doubt it was referred to him, though a vast body of the statement did not exclusively. I knew it was Miss J.'s hand. I had been asked, previously, to the meeting, how I knew the Appendix was from Mr. Newton, and I shewed its heading.

109 I made a long preface then as to the disastrousness of having to make charges against one accustomed to be looked up to, and then stated those found as the third and fourth in page 3 of the "Reasons"; which, though not in the terms, amount to the matter of the charges. As Mr. N. refers to them in his "Defence," I will refer to them there; and will now take up the allegation of their having been inquired into, and Mr. N. acquitted.

First, as to the fact of the investigation by these four; they allege an investigation by the natural guides of Plymouth, and besides that by other brethren. There is a long statement contained in pages 3 to 8, to the effect that those co-operating in ministry (designated in the rest of the statement by the word "we," that is, the four who sign the "Reasons") felt that the charges "demanded a prompt and searching inquisition," and that this was gone into. It is then added in page 8, "But investigation into this matter has not been confined to the saints living here. The presence here, in December, 1845, of many brethren from other places (who came indeed expressly to investigate what was transpiring here) afforded an opportunity for yet farther inquisition into these personal charges; and these brethren did in a very patient protracted way go into the whole matter."

So that there was a prompt and searching inquisition by the four ministering brethren at Plymouth,* which proved the charges were so groundless they were not worth communicating to the church, but the result of which was at last communicated to them, and satisfied the church; and there was a yet farther inquisition, in which other brethren did in a very patient and protracted way go into the whole matter. Now let us see on their own shewing how it was done. And let us consider first "the prompt and searching inquisition" by those who co-operated with Mr. Newton in ministry, that is, the four who sign the "Reasons," before we touch on the yet farther inquisition. Turn to page 3. "The first step towards such an inquiry (that is by the four ministers) was indeed taken by our brother Newton himself, though with our full and entire concurrence. He proposed that he should name four brethren, and our brother Darby other four, and that these eight should investigate the case, and report the result of their investigation to the church.** Our brother Newton accordingly nominated four - our brethren M., Lord C., Dr. C-y, and W-r; but our brother Darby declined to accede to this mode of investigation."

{*Note here in passing the startling proposition, that an investigation by Messrs. C-w, B., S., and D. (who themselves in these or other documents declare too that they were accused with Mr. N.), to the exclusion of Mr. H. and all else, was the solemn, final, and conclusive investigation of the church of God.}

{**This is not true. It was a proposal "to meet four nominated by him," and there is nothing said about the church; the words are "and report on the charges." On Mr. N.'s principles it could not be to the church as thereon judging it. Indeed, as appears in a subsequent letter, there was no thought of the church. They say, "We also differ from you entirely in thinking this a question of conscience to be referred only to the church of God. We regard it as a matter of fact, a simple question of evidence to be best dealt with by a few competent persons." Thus is just what I felt was the object, and to which I could not agree. In the same letter also, they say, "a given number of persons, one half to be named by yourself, the other by him." It will be at once seen by the letters given farther on, how this attempt to withdraw it from the church acted on my mind.}

110 I confess I was astounded at this (not at the fact, which, corrected as in the note, is true, unless it be the concurrence of the four who sign the reasons, which I know nothing about; but) that the first step of the co-operating ministers to make a prompt and searching inquisition was Mr. Newton's nominating four other persons to conduct it (a step taken by himself), and with four to be named by me, to report it, when closed to the church. That can hardly mean the inquiring ministers.

But note yet another thing, how prompt it was. For I press attention (because there are loose words afterwards in which this is sought to be wrapped up), I press attention, I say, to the words "the first step." Now who are the four named by Mr. Newton? Three of them are of the number of the brethren who came to carry on the "yet farther inquisition" in the most patient and protracted way. That is, not a single step whatever was taken before the brethren had come from a distance to inquire into what had transpired. And then the first step of the inquiry of these co-operating ministers was taken by Mr. Newton himself nominating four other persons, three being the brethren from a distance. But then it may be alleged that it is said, "But before this proposition was declined, indeed, AS SOON as the charges became known to us, our brother Newton conversed with some of us," etc. "The propriety of this was felt by all," and then "we felt that we had nothing to lay before the saints." Now, still as to date, it is clear that this could not be before the first step was taken. This was taken by Mr. Newton; as he himself confirms. His letter to the ten brethren in Rawstorne Street who wrote to hum says: "When I heard of these charges, I requested four brethren, of whom Lord C. was one, to wait on Mr. Darby, and request him to nominate other four, to investigate the truth. This was declined. Besides this I requested those brethren who are regarded at Plymouth as addicting themselves to the ministry of the saints there, to treat the matter as they would any other matter that might seem to require discipline," etc.

111 "Before the proposition was declined, indeed, as soon as the charges became known to us," does not give thus one instant before the first step which put it into other hands. The reader may think that "before" includes some considerable period. But "the first step," when Mr. Newton heard of the charges, was Mr. Newton's speaking to Lord C., etc., so that this "indeed as soon" is no time at all, though it may look like some preceding act. And how much was the lapse before Mr. Darby's declining the proposition to put it in other hands? - the brethren from a distance being then come to investigate, before which, as we have seen, nothing was done at all, the first step being taken with three of them. The proposition of Mr. Newton's nominees to me after hearing Mr. Newton's statement is dated November 26, 1845. My answer declining it is November 27, 1845; their final reply to me, November 28, 1845, at which time the patient investigation of the other brethren was in hand. On the 14th of December Lord C. signs a paper acquitting Mr. Newton as the result of it. And Mr. S.'s letter of acquittal given in the "Reasons" is dated December 17, at which time, as every one knows, the inquiry of the brethren had closed, and several were already gone. So that we get the plain fact, that not one step was taken of the prompt and searching inquisition before the brethren came from afar, and that then it was put, with the concurrence of the four, into the hands of some of those who came and who were to report to the church; and that then whatever it was worth, or however consistent, Mr. Newton put it into the hands of those four, as those who were regarded at Plymouth as addicting themselves to the ministry of the saints; who, before his putting it into their hands and telling them they might do it, never took a single step whatever. And at this time, it was under the investigation of the brethren from afar.

112 And now the question arises, why Mr. Newton spoke to some of us," and who are the "all" by whom it was felt. Was Mr. H. not co-operating in ministry at Plymouth? Where were Mr. R-e and Mr. S-s, who used to co-operate, or Mr. R.H. or others, who once "addicted themselves to ministry" there? Well, they were not co-operating may be said by the four who sign this paper. Messrs. R-e and S-s were. (They had joined in requesting Mr. H. to say why he could not minister, if it was so. Mr. R.H. had retired to Plymstock, disgusted, it is true.) Mr. H. indeed was not; he had, exactly at this time, declared before seven hundred brethren in and around Plymouth, that he could not minister any more, because of the conduct of Mr. Newton and his friends; and he went to Mr. Newton, as to one of the charges of untruth, to say he was sorry for Mr. N.'s credit and character that he had made the statements, for if he was asked, he must say they were untrue. Is it not singular, that the names of these persons are not mentioned in connection with the saints at Plymouth, when this inquiry was to go on, nor such a fact as the statement of Mr. H. (who above all was looked up to by the body of saints there) to the whole gathering, which statement happened just three days before I made the charges alluded to? This is not even mentioned. This is on the face of the document

The fact is, and I feel free here to add, that there is not one at Plymouth but knows that the four who sign this paper were the associates and instruments of Mr. Newton; and as to Mr. C-w and Mr. D (though every one will own dear C-w as in other circumstances, an amiable and upright brother) had their names been previously mentioned as responsible for the consciences of the saints, it would have excited the smile or the indignation of nine-tenths of the congregation of Ebrington Street.* Moreover these four appear in a singularly unhappy position here, because they have months ago signed a joint paper with Mr. Newton, in which they declare that in all that has passed they have been accused together (that is, in the letter of the five to the four brethren in London, who invited them to the London meeting in April); and even in these very "Reasons" they say, that in the great bulk of the charges they are implicated as much as Mr. Newton, though not in these particular ones. And note here, that the investigation by the church is confined to their investigation. "This 1 the church does, we believe through those of its members capacitated by God for such service," that is themselves; they being, as they confessed afterwards, the accused persons. Can they present themselves as independent elders charged with judging Mr. N.'s case for the church to-day, and complain along with him of lying under a common accusation of these same charges to-morrow?

{*On a particular occasion related in the "Narrative," Mr. N. had mentioned those whom God had raised up to exercise authority in the church; they were himself, H., S., and B. D. and C-w were not mentioned.}

113 But, however, we have their own testimony that there was no inquiry by them till Mr. Newton had put it into the hands of four other persons who were to inquire and report to the church. Further, the statement in page 5, "that they had in company with them (the brethren from other places) the fullest opportunities of again and again sifting all that could be said on it," is wholly untrue. They had nothing of the kind. They appeared with Mr. Newton before them when he answered and the brethren examined them, but they were never in company with them in other examinations - not at mine, nor at H.'s. They had not such opportunity. I ask here, at whose examination were they in company with them? They were in company with Mr. Newton when he was examined. I shall now give the letters of these four, and my answers, in which I declined acceding. I thought this part of the case so very bad, that I did not do so in the "Narrative"; but as it has been thought proper to print the letters of acquittal, let all come out fairly. I sorrow to be obliged to do it, for brethren I count otherwise gracious and godly are implicated. It is no fault of mine if they have chosen to identify themselves with those who have brought them into such a position.

     "Plymouth, 26 November, 1845.

"Dear Brother,

"We are desired by Mr. Newton to request that you will name four brethren to meet an equal number nominated by him, to inquire into, and report on, the charges said to have | been made by you on Monday the 17th instant,* at a meeting in Ebrington Street which appear very seriously to affect Mr. Newton's moral character.

{*This shews that ten days had elapsed from my statement, and about a fortnight from Mr. H.'s explanation; during which no step whatever was taken by those who "felt that such accusations must be instantly dealt with, and then, as we have seen, it was not they, but Mr. Newton took it up with other persons. As to Mr. H., steps were taken; that is S-s and R-e having proposed to the assembly after Mr. H.'s statement that they should meet to know what could be done to hinder Mr. H.'s ceasing to minister, every engine was set in motion to hinder brethren coming, and not one of those here named was there. This further shews that Mr. Newton did not take his step when he heard of it: he had heard of it ten days before.}

114 "We understand you to have stated:-

"1st. That of 'Five Manuscript Letters' (which it is not needful more particularly to describe), Mr. Newton had suppressed some;

"2ndly. That Mr. Newton is the author* of an appendix which you have seen subjoined to one of them;

{*He is the author of it. It consists of his answers to extracts of my letter which he gives.}

"3rdly. That a tract recently printed, purporting to be a publication of the above-mentioned letters, 'with some omissions and alterations,' is so changed by additions, that it no longer 'remains in substance the same'; and -

"4thly. That a letter addressed to Mr. C-w, professing to be the substance of what Mr. Newton had stated at a meeting held here in the beginning of the present year, is not the substance of what was spoken by him on that occasion.

"Not doubting your ready acquiescence with our request, we will thank you to make your nomination known to us at your earliest convenience.

"We remain, dear brother,

 "Yours with Christian regard,

     (Signed) [LORD] C.

      "JOHN M.

      "GEORGE I. W-r.

"To Mr. J. N. Darby."

115 This letter distressed me, because it was an evident effort to take the matter really out of the hands of the church, and even out of the hands of the brethren who were come down to inquire; and, if I did not accede, to give me the appearance of refusing investigation. But I trusted God. It spoke of reporting on the charges. It is said in the "Reasons," "and report the result of the investigation to the church." Now there is not, we have seen, a word about the church in the letter; and if one could have trusted that it meant this, it actually was taking the matter then away from the church, where it really was. And four named by Mr. Newton could easily, as they actually did, seek to swamp the matter, so as to hinder investigation. The four (though I suppose those who signed might be the ones) were not nominated, as the choice was still left open. I thought the mode an objectionable one, and that the only possible result and meaning of it was hushing the matter up. Subsequent events have proved how rightly I judged. Had I named four, it would have at once stamped them as my friends and partisans. It may be as well here to recall what brought the ten brethren down. Mr. P-r and Capt. H. had written to me urgently about the matter, the former pressing the assembling brethren from elsewhere; I said to him, "If you think so, you had better come." I communicated this to Sir A.C., Capt. H., and Lord C. Mr. Newton and his friends thereon sent for those whose support they relied on; namely, R., M., M-s, R-s, and W-r. Of course I do not pretend to know in what terms they were written to.

My answer follows.

"Dear Brethren,

"I am perfectly ready to enter before brethren into the statements I made at the Monday meeting (and I can only add, I should rejoice more than I can say, to be proved entirely wrong), but in a way which is righteous before God.

"None of you were at that meeting, and you cannot know what I stated; and no one could have made the statements which are contained in your letter from what he heard at that meeting.

"I was called on by my brethren to say why I left communion in Ebrington Street, which I had laid upon three grounds, one of which was an accessory one only.

116 "It is true, that in stating one of these, I was obliged to state two things which did affect Mr. Newton's conduct. I did so with pain before God, and I did it before the saints, whose consciences were concerned in it. I acted before God and them, in leaving them on grounds of which these two things formed a part. I did so in stating them. I stand before God, and owing it to His saints to render an account of what I stated. I am perfectly ready to do so, but I shall name no four persons, as if they were friends of mine, and it was a worldly question to be settled by arbitration. It is a matter of conscience before God. Let it be before Him. Are not the brethren interested in this? Have they not heard it? Let it be before them. It is spreading nothing, for that would not be charity; but the statement has been made; let it be proved where it was made. And were I to name four, it would be even useless. Where would be the twelve or fifteen brethren who heard the statement in question? God's place of conscience is the church of God. Let this, which is a question of conscience, be judged there. Where two or three are gathered together in His name, He will be. I know of no other tribunal but His, and His now in the church. It seems to me that that which you propose is a mere worldly tribunal. Of course the brethren who sign it, if as individual brethren they wish to inquire into it really as a matter of their conscience (not of curiosity), are free to do so, and if really of their conscience, in charity, I will tell them everything; but I shall name none, nor take it out of the place where I believe God has set it - the judgment of the church of God, under responsibility to Him as such, looking for His presence, and able to count upon it.

"There are many more than four cognisant of all the circumstances, and many more godly sober saints interested in it. Let the conscience of those concerned be informed in it. Besides, these are a part of a long train of facts which have been going on for years, and which form a most important part of the bearing of both the papers alluded to, and the statements I made about them.

"Let it not be supposed I seek any popular meeting as such. I have no such thought. I ask only that the consciences of those whom God has given an interest in these things be informed and made clear about them. I desire all to be there. If the brethren at large are content that a more limited number be there, as more really conducive to their own satisfaction in the matter, it is to me all the same; but I shall act before the conscience of the church of God. There I can own Him and look for His presence; but I shall name none as my friends, as the world. If the four brethren who have signed this think right to come to me together and investigate for themselves (trusting that they will come as before God), I am ready to state all I have to state.

117 "It is a matter of deep, deep sorrow; but I demand that it may be done openly and fully before God and those concerned, and where the consciences of those concerned can bear witness, or the contrary, to what is brought forward. Nor would indeed the investigation of the points named solve in the least the questions in which the saints are concerned. 'I may be, and am, ready to go into these; but there is a long train of other facts and circumstances, which cannot be separated from them, must be inquired into, before the consciences of those who have a right to have them clear of all evil could be righteously satisfied. These must be inquired into too. I desire to produce none (God forbid) which have not in one way or other, acted already on the saints; but let all be fairly out before the consciences of the saints. I repeat it, before God's church, as far as it is already concerned in it. Anything that is really meant to bring it scripturally before them, I will gladly, though sorrowfully, acquiesce in.

"Your affectionate brother in Christ,

"J. N. DARBY."

"If Mr. Newton prefers to take it up as a personal wrong to him, let him act according to the scripture rule in such case. But this evidently is not my part to act in. I may just add that the two points in which my statements did affect Mr. Newton, as alluded to, are as simple as possible. If the brethren who write to me desire to inform themselves, they have nothing to do but to go to the brethren who were present at the meeting,* and inquire as to one of the matters; and, as to the other, to compare the documents, only informing themselves to what the statement alludes.

{*This refers to the meeting of fifteen in April previous, the account of which I alleged to be incorrect.}

"I ask to bring no persons at all. I am accused of wronging Mr. Newton. I ask in this to bring no one. Let the four who signed the paper get those who were present together and inform themselves. Nothing can be easier to them. If they wish to satisfy the consciences of others, let the others be there to be satisfied. I am ready of course to state (before them and those who were then present) what my objection is.

 "John M.,

"Mr. C-w's, 1, Boon's Place.

"Nov. 27, 1845."

118 The following is the answer to my letter:

     "Plymouth, 28 Nov., 1845.

"Dear Brother,

"We have received your letter in reply to our note of the 26th inst., and have given to it our prayerful and best attention.

"We informed you, that you were reported to have made certain statements very derogatory to Mr. Newton's personal character, and that Mr. Newton was desirous to submit them to the scrutiny of a given number of brethren, one half to be named by yourself, the other by him.

"We did hope that you would either have denied having made the statements at all, or have withdrawn them as made in mistake, and have expressed regret at having been led into error; or that you would have been willing to have them investigated; but although you acknowledge having stated 'two things that did affect Mr. Newton's conduct,' we infer, from the tenor of your letter, that you are not prepared to sustain them.

"Had the wrong of which Mr. Newton complains been done to him privately, the course prescribed in Matthew 18 (to which we suppose you refer when using the words 'scripture rule') might have been taken by him; but after availing ourselves of such sources of information as lie open to us, we feel satisfied that charges against Mr. Newton's moral character were made by you at a meeting consisting (in the opinion of some) of scarcely less than three hundred persons. Under such circumstances, we think the plan proposed by Mr Newton unobjectionable. You call it 'a mere worldly tribunal.; We see in it nothing unscriptural; and certain we are that it is not according to 'scripture rule'* to publish charges against an individual without having first given him an opportunity of clearing himself from them.

{*I had pressed them on Mr. H. and Mr. S. privately months before. Mr. H. (and Mr. N-r) had spoken to Mr. N. as to one, and he went on with it. Mr. N. declined intercourse with me at the time. It is well to remark, that I had no more to do with these untruths then than any one else. My having made a stand afterwards may now make me responsible for shewing that I had reason to do so.}

119 "We also differ from you entirely in thinking this is 'a question of conscience,' to be referred only to 'the church of God.' We regard it as a matter of fact-a simple question of evidence, to be best dealt with by a few competent persons; and we think a public meeting the place of all others the least fitted for cool dispassionate inquiry. It is true, you disclaim all idea of appealing to 'a popular meeting, as such,' whilst the language of your letter is unintelligible, if you do not really seek a public assembly there to repeat the grievance.

"We are therefore under the sad and painful necessity of saying, that we can only regard your letter as an evasion; and we feel that, as the matter now rests, the charges you have brought against Mr. Newton's personal character are not entitled to credit, and ought not to detract from the esteem and respect in which he has always been held.

"It is our intention to give to Mr. Newton a copy of this correspondence, leaving it with him to use it as he may think best.

"We remain, dear brother, your's faithfully,

     (Signed) "GEORGE I. W-r.

      "[LORD] C.

      "JOHN M. "J. C.-y.

"To Mr. J. N. Darby."

I beg the reader to read my previous letter. The four who sign this had never asked me a single question on the matter. Three of them I had not even seen, nor had they been near Messrs. H., R.H., C.P., N-r, McA., who were all at Plymouth, and had been at the April meeting, the account of which was called in question as untrue; the only others present in Plymouth who had been at that meeting being Mr. Newton s personal friends, brought there by him.

120 The following was my answer:-

"Dear Brethren,

"On the whole, however painful, I am thankful for your letter. Still it is with very deep sorrow as to the subject. You are brethren, and some at least known as well as beloved. I only sorrow over some things in the position you have put yourselves in; but it would be out of place for me to express it now, after the letter you have sent me. I might complain of some things. You were none of you here, or present in March or April, when that took place to which one of the charges refers, or aware of the circumstances to which the other alludes. You did not even ask me what the charges were which I made at the large meeting on Monday; and even Lord C., who spoke about the grounds of my leaving, had no detail from me of what the charges were. But I shall not trouble you with these points. It was suggested to me to keep a copy of my last letter. I said that I was acting before God, and would trust Him, and not deal thus with brethren. I have now to beg you will send me the original of my letter that I may copy it; you shall of course have it again. The person you trust it to can stay till I return it to him. I have in one sense evaded this miserable subject, but it certainly was not in that letter (I happily read it to the brethren* H. and McA. before it went, to know if it was quite clear on the point). But it can now be evaded no longer; and my heart just sinks while I say it. As far as the saints go, it is made unavoidably a church matter. I only regret that names I much love should be mixed up with it, as your letter has done. I am, with however much sorrow,

"Still affectionately yours in the Lord,


{*I had shewn the original proposal to Mr. H. and Mr. McA., with whom I happened to drink tea at Mr. H.'s that day, who both thought (as every other saint I met about it afterwards) that I ought not to act on it They had been present, and H. said, "What is the good of eight inquiring now for us, when we were at the meeting in question with eleven more (that is, at the April meeting, the account of which I said was untrue)?" but H. said, "Take care you do not seem to avoid an investigation." I shewed them therefore my answer, and they said there could be no mistake as to it.}

121 The following note closed the correspondence.

      30th November.

"Dear Brother,

"When you have taken a copy of the enclosed [my letter], will you be kind enough to return it to me at your convenience, either to-day or to-morrow?

"Believe me, yours faithfully,

   "GEORGE J. W-R."

Mr. W-r was called away by the illness of his child, and saved the pretence of carrying on an investigation, after writing a letter saying my charges were not worthy of credit. Lord C. and Mr. M. pursued it, however, and they are two of the persons whose certificates of acquittal were given in December 14 and December 30, as having made up their minds subsequently to the inquiry. It is quite evident they need not have waited quite so long.* Mr. M-s had written** long before to Mr. Newton, that he might count on him to stand by him in any way. Mr. R-s' and Mr. R.'s testimony remain: that the latter has sought to clear Mr. Newton all through cannot be doubted. I will consider the value of his acquittal, which is on the same ground as the other alleged on by all the brethren, when I come to the defence of Mr. Newton. The inquiry by the ten went on, and they separated without any joint testimony of guilt or innocence. That is a clear fact; or a letter from Mr. R. answering for three others, and another from Lord C., need not have been produced when the rest were all gone. But I will close as to the alleged inquisition of the four who sign the "Reasons," as their last act comes in here. A paper of acquittal was put forth with their signature. Let it be remembered, that the first act of any inquiry was Mr. Newton's putting it into the hands of three of the brethren from a distance, and one of Plymouth. The four Plymouth ministers had done nothing before this. This was the "first step." Their inquiry, if any, must have been while that of the brethren from a distance was going on. No one certainly ever heard of it then. Not only so; they were (so they state in the "Reasons") examined themselves by the brethren who came,*** and the fact is, they always appeared with Mr. Newton as his associates when he was before the brethren from a distance.

{*If it is miserable to read through such a course of things I beg the reader to consider what it was to go through it. I do not charge the individuals here. I have been long convinced (and declared it) of a direct delusive influence of Satan at Plymouth.}

{**This letter was circulated everywhere, because it stated a vast number of dreadful errors into which Mr. M-s had been led by listening to brethren who differed from Mr. Newton's views. I understand Mr. M-s is changed a good deal in this respect, but I have no certain information. While at Plymouth, and for some tune after, no one spoke so strongly as to Mr. Newton's tyranny in hindering people's ministry.}

{***They also state they investigated in company with them.}

122 And now, having stated these circumstances, let us turn to the document itself, and see what pretension it has to be a joint result of a common investigation carried on by ministers together in behalf of the church. It is in page 6, where you will find it an individual testimony of Mr. S. "What I now state" is what he says; not a word about a prompt, solemn, or any inquisition of the elders at Plymouth. "He believes" Mr. N. "entirely innocent," etc., and adds, "Should any of you desire to know the grounds on which I have come to the conclusion stated above, I shall be happy," etc. The three others say they unite in the testimony, because they have come to the same conclusion, signing their names in a postscript. Mr. S. says he does it to allay agitation. Is this a joint report to the church of a solemn investigation carried on by elders? Its real effect on a vast number was just to prove that the brethren from a distance had not come to such conclusion; and further, these four were known to all as Mr. N.'s instruments in what had produced all the confusion, and it recoiled on their own heads, and that was all. It was felt by many as ruining Mr. N.'s cause and their own on these two grounds.

And now I may repeat circumstances connected with it here, which will lead us to another of the alleged acquittals - the suppressed one.

Mr. Newton (as is admitted, nay asserted by himself) got the paper which had been drawn up by Sir A.C., and signed by others, suppressed. This having been done, the countersigned letter of Mr. S. was produced, saying, as the brethren have given no conclusion on the charges, they had drawn one up themselves, and now sent it forth. And I think I may say, that the way in which the one was suppressed, under a threat to go to Canada, as ruinous to Mr. N.'s character, and, as soon as they had succeeded in this, producing and issuing their own entire acquittal, opened Mr. P-r's eyes (one of those who are said to have entirely acquitted him) more than anything else to the misconduct of the party. He is reported to have said, that he never saw such things among Christians in his life. Now these two documents, one of which supplanted the other, are the two things which are said to be, one the solemn acquittal of the church of God at Plymouth, and the other that of impartial brethren from elsewhere. And now I will consider this last.* First, it is a strange thing for Mr. Newton to allege now as an entire acquittal a paper which he says himself he got suppressed then. He did get it suppressed; that is, the four who had added their names to Sir A.C.'s withdrew them, and the latter gave it up. And why suppress this entire acquittal? The fact was, he said then he should be ruined by it, and that if it came out he should go to Canada. Sir A.C.'s account of the matter to me was that, when it was shewn to Mr. N., he was beside himself; that he declared that I had made four charges, whereas this paper applied only to two (all I really had made), and that he had given no occasion for the charges which the paper said he had.

{*That is, the circumstances connected with it. The paper itself never came out, having been suppressed at the time.}

123 What I believe* to have been the fact as to the paper, is this:- Most of the brethren were satisfied as to the sectarianism, and thought it might be got rid of, but found the moral charges stood in the way - Mr. Newton would listen to nothing else. I do not say all the brethren. M-s and R-s insisted after this on the clerical principle; and the latter openly deprecated the principles of brethren. But Lord C. says now, to all who will hear him, that he would not go to Ebrington Street, though he condemns my proceedings. He has declared to me, that he had not believed the sectarianism and clericalism charged till he went down, but then he did; and that he would not break bread there now. This being more or less felt by several, and the moral charges, "a dreadful encumbrance to the real question," several of the brethren having left, Sir A.C. thought he could bring it to an issue by going as far as possible in clearing Mr. Newton; and at the same time quieting me by saying he had laid himself open to the charges; and insisting besides on a full investigation before the church, which, in a subsequently published tract, he has stated he did, and indeed so informed me soon after the transaction, during which I was myself absent, the investigation being over. It was in my judgment an unadvised act, though with a godly intention, and God in fact set it aside altogether. I was not at Plymouth. I left it all to the Lord when not called to answer, which I seldom was - only once by the whole number of brethren. Indeed (while many of these brethren I look up to and love most dearly and value much for both godliness and a wisdom I should far prefer to my own in their service in the church in most cases) in this matter my sober judgment is, that they came without the wisdom of God, remained without the strength of God with them, and departed without the honour of God upon them. How far my answer to P-r contributed to this I do not pretend to say. However God interfered, as He overrules all; and though it went, no doubt, far beyond any other document in Mr. N.'s favour, he insisted on the suppression** of this paper. Sir A.C. withdrew it - a strange procedure, if it were a solemn act of acquittal by the ten brethren.

{*I pretend to give no more than my own judgment as to it, from all that passed then and since.}

{**Let me notice a little here two things to the saint who reads this First, what was going on. A verdict is drawn up (now alleged by Mr Newton to be an acquittal of him by all) and signed by some of those inquiring, and then submitted to Mr. Newton for his judgment on it. [I do not know that Sir A.C. joined in this.] He rejects it as not good enough for him, and it is withdrawn! I am not impugning the integrity of the persons concerned; I have no more doubt of it than of my own. But any one will feel that it must have been a tolerable trial to have seen what I had been anxiously seeking to serve God in get on this kind of ground. Did they ever think of submitting anything to me? Never a moment, and they were quite right. I complain nothing of this. And now see, secondly, the good of trusting God. These brethren never troubled themselves about me in the matter. They were anxious to get rid of the charges of untruth, in order to deal with the sectarianism they met with; and prepared to swamp the other question as an encumbrance, and quiet me, without consulting me, by some general expressions, at the same time Sir A.C. quieting his own conscience by demanding, as he has publicly stated he did, an open investigation. All this I knew nothing of, good or bad, till afterwards, nor indeed of anything that passed. One would have thought it a fine opportunity for Mr. Newton to quash the charges and all inquiry. These brethren were anxious to get rid of them (indeed they told me so twenty times, that they stood altogether in the way). God would not allow it, and employs Mr. Newton himself to suppress it. They would have gone as far as ever they could to clear him, in order to get rid of the question: God steps in, and the very person they were going to clear He employs to set aside all their plan. How wonderful are His ways!}

125 I will now see how far as a matter of fact it is true that there was really an acquittal by all. Sir A.C. subsequently published a tract, in which he declares in italics, "Anything like an open investigation of his [that is, my] statements, is positively denied." I know not what the four who have signed the "Reasons" judge of this statement coming from one of those who they say fully investigated it. Mr. P-r told me that he did not attach much weight to the charge as to the letter to C-w, but he thought the other very grave. He, it is not denied, went to urge Mr. N. to confess it. I do not state what passed, though I have heard it. I cite it merely as to the notion of a full acquittal. Mr. W. refused to sign it at the time, whatever it was. Mr. McA. had gone away, on the ground that he was satisfied as to the evil existing, and would not have the appearance of staying to inquire as if he doubted. Mr. N-r was gone; and he says to me (having gone through all the inquiry) as to the "Narrative of Facts," "so far as I am able to speak, I believe the pamphlet is what it professes to be, a statement of facts sad and humbling indeed (and who that has had anything to do with the enacting of them, does not feel his own place that of self-judgment as well as of identification with the sin of his brother?) yet facts. My own judgment with respect to Ebrington Street, though other things have their weight, is mainly based on the way in which conscience has been blunted and inquiry stifled." Now I do not produce this as proving that Mr. N-r holds Mr. N. guilty, nor anything of the kind. It is not the question. I am not proving him so myself; but I ask, Is this the language of a man who has pronounced a full acquittal of charges found in the "Narrative"? I speak only of the two inquired into in 1845. As to any others there is no pretence of an acquittal. I have then, as to this acquittal, the fact that it was suppressed by Mr. N. himself as ruinous to him. Further, the person who drew it up declares, in a subsequently published paper, that anything like an open investigation of my statements was positively denied; another refusing to sign it at the time; another gone because he was convinced of the evil; another declaring the "Narrative" true; another urging confession of one of the charges on Mr. N.

I may add that, when Mr. C-n proposed giving a paper to Mr. N. clearing him, on Mr. N.'s complaint that he could not get one, Messrs. P-r and C. declined signing it. I do not pretend to say on what ground.

126 As to Lord C., he had acquitted him before the inquiry began; so had M. and W-r (the last had nothing to say to this last matter); M-s, R-s, and R. remain, all three of whom were there as Mr. N.'s friends. We have their testimony, and what it was founded on, in the "Reasons"; and these form the third alleged acquittal, which will lead us, we shall see, to our closing matter.

Mr. R., in stating (page 9 of "Reasons") that he, with R-s, M., and M-s,* was perfectly satisfied that Mr. N. was entirely free from the charge of moral dishonesty, adds, that if Mr. N. "would lay before the saints an explanation similar to that you have read to us, either by printing or otherwise, they will then see for themselves the reasons of our having arrived at the conclusion above stated." This Mr. N. has now done in printing the "Defence" then read, so that we can fully judge of the ground of any alleged acquittal as to these two points, for this paper was the avowed ground of it, and of any satisfaction afforded as to the charges to these three or indeed to any one else. We have only therefore to examine the defence. Whatever it is worth, Mr. R.'s acquittal is worth, and no more. This "Defence" we will now examine before closing with the "Reasons."

{*It is well that the reader should be aware that these, as well as Mr. W-r, were brought down by Mr. Newton and his friends to stand by him in this matter.}

First, as to the suppression of letters and appendix, I have stated the real facts as to this. Miss H.'s letter, etc., only remain. First Mr. N. states (page 14), to make out the charge heavy, that at Exeter after the reading meeting I there repeated the charge. Miss H. replied, many persons being present, etc. You will think, doubtless, this is at the close of the meeting, a sort of public accusation. "Mr. and Mrs. McA.", Miss H. states (page 17), "remained to dine at Mr. W-n's with Mr. Darby. After dinner, the conversation turned on Matthew 24." It was after the reading meeting to be sure; but what had it to do with it? The whole force of Mr. N.'s complaint is gone in Miss H.'s statement. It was a conversation among private friends. What was said there? I charged Mr. N. with altering the letters (page 17). Mr. N. however gives a different account, and, so far, a just one, in page 16. "This book Mr. Darby appears to have seen, and to have inferred that the two last letters were suppressed." So that Mr. N. fully bears me out in my contradiction of Miss H.'s statement as to altering the letters. I refer to this because an immense handle was made of this for months. We have seen that the four who sign the "Reasons" try, by inventing a new* statement of my charge at the end of a year and three-quarters, to bring in both Mr. N.'s and Miss H.'s statements. I have already said that I did not really make this charge in Ebrington Street at all, though I alluded to the fact as above explained. Farther, I also have an account of Miss H.'s as to this conversation, in which she endeavours to convince me of her accuracy. She has entirely convinced me of the contrary: I shall here say why. The proof she gives is, that I stated that I supposed that the tract entitled "Signs of the Coming of the Lord, for whom are they given?" was Mr. Newton's, and that she informed me it was Mr. D.'s. This was a most unhappy proof of her accuracy. Mr. D.'s initials are on the tract. Further, I had written an answer to it, since published. Mr. N-r urged me not to do so, as it would only puff him up more, and do him harm. Not only so: but it was in this tract we were charged with subverting the first elements of Christianity. Mr. D. having said in the April meeting of fifteen, that I was putting my interpretation on the denunciations made against brethren, I replied, "Well, you shall have your own," and pulled his tract out of my pocket. The reader may judge of how accurate Miss H.'s account must be, when her proof of it is that I did not know whose tract this was. I regret sincerely that Miss H. should thus have allowed herself to be dragged into publicity. Miss H. upsets Mr. Newton's attempt to aggravate whatever did pass by saying it was after the reading meeting; though his authority is the letter that upsets it. Mr. N. refutes Miss H.'s charge by his own account of the real state of the case; namely, that it was the absence of the last two letters which was in question, as indeed he did not venture** to impute Miss H.'s account to me in the already cited letters of his four nominees; and Miss H.'s proofs to me that her memory is accurate proves to me how exceedingly inaccurate it must be; while I entirely deny, as Mr. Newton confirms me here in doing though he charged me with it fiercely elsewhere, that I ever said a word about altering letters at all.

{*"Reasons," page 2. "Secret suppression of certain MS. letters" gives Mr. N.'s account, adding "secret." "Certain parts of them" gives Miss H.'s. Aware of the two accounts not tallying, they have inserted both with an "or."}

{**It was however in the tea-meetings, held on Monday evenings, and on other occasions, after this "Defence" was read, and the brethren gone, that the charge of altering the letters, after denial of having done so, was made. A curious reason was given to satisfy the minds of those who attended as to the Irish brethren never coming to Plymouth. They were informed, that the enemies of Plymouth had told them that the saints at Plymouth were an idle newspaper-reading people, and it was no wonder therefore they had not come there.}

128 As to the Appendix being a substitution for the letters, it is mere nonsense. I do not even understand what is meant by it. But all this is very immaterial: it served to distract from the real charges. These begin with the third: that is, that a letter, professing to remain in substance the same, did not remain the same. Mr. N. justifies his omissions. He has perfect right to do so. Nobody complained of them. He said he - had made omissions, and of course had a right to make any he liked. The additions are the thing in question. He states he added two paragraphs: he has added about five pages and a half to a tract of twenty-four pages. But the quantity is not the material point. It is the contents and manner of it. And first, note here, the fact is not denied. What I charged is, as a fact, admitted. Now I do not enter into intention. The question is, Is it honest?

I go further: had Mr. N. said at the end, "I take the opportunity of denying," etc., though this matter had been added, no charge could have been grounded on it. Anybody could have understood, that it was no part of the original tract. He has not done anything of the kind. He has not, as he says he has in the "Defence," even negatived the two evil doctrines imputed, as he says, to them. He has interwoven with the most assiduous care into the subjects of the tract itself, statements which go to charge the things he was accused of rather on others, or at least to disburden himself of them, in such a manner as would make it impossible for a reader of the tract to suppose that it was not a part of the letter written six years ago; so that he appeared as an indignant refuter six years ago (before he was conscious of such imputations) of the things he was charged with now. Surely, if I say it remains the same in substance, the substance of the published tract ought to coincide with the original. But here the substance of near a quarter of the tract is on topics agitated at the time, interwoven into the old matter, so that it required very close examination to find it out; and matter on the old subject added in the new part, so as to make it look like an original part of the tract. It requires an actual examination to demonstrate this. I refer to passages to indicate it; page 20, he had been speaking in the old part of the body gathered on the Abrahamic basis. Thus begins the new, "It would be happy if we could pursue the history of this new family of faith, and find that it preserved its likeness to Abraham its father." "The succeeding chapter, the thirteenth of Matthew," etc. "The commencement of the history of the present professing Christian body by the personal ministry of the Lord," etc. "It would be strange if such a parable should belong to some other body, and not to the visible church at all … I may also observe, before I conclude, that the almost invariable effect of the Jewish principle of interpretation [the general topic is here continued of the tract], is to throw into such a state of perplexity, etc., into felt inability to divide the word, etc., or else induces the adoption of the dictum of some favourite teacher under the shelter of whose name, etc., and what is more to be deprecated than this? It would be, as if the Spirit of God resided only in the teachers, as if the saints could not for themselves prove all things, and hold fast that which is good. It would introduce one of the worst forms of Popish evil." The tract then goes on warning against upsetting universal consent; thus gradually interweaving the original six-years-old subject had done it six years ago, the charge of shutting out the Spirit; and sustaining the doctrine of universal consent. Now, while spun out of the old, all this is new matter. I repeat again, I say nothing of intention; but is the thing honest at a moment of controversy on these points, in which he says he was charged with these very things? Others may think it honest; I confess, I have not much respect for his judgment of honesty who thinks it is. But the truth is, we have no need to speak of any judgment of honesty. Mr. N. first speaks largely of his charity in making the omissions which nobody said anything about, and then says, he added two paragraphs negativing charges made. Now any person accepting this answer could not (assuming him to be honest) have examined for himself the tract, because there is nothing to be negatived at all. The writer continues his discussion of the principles he is treating of in the tract, and his arguments against the principles of interpretation he is opposing, and, as illustrating this, shews that certain consequences follow in the mind which demonstrate the danger: which consequences (here of course to be taken as very evil) were the things he was charged (or says he was charged) with; and it was left to be supposed that he could not hold doctrines which he here treated as serious evil consequences. But though it really was another subject, it is carefully linked into the matter of the tract as a whole. There is no negative of anything; and then the doctrine of universal consent as a rule of faith, which had been objected to as of Popish tendency, is not negatived, but set up upon its legs again in a more subtle covert way, it having damaged their position when openly avowed previously. Now that I have the "Defence" to read, and have re-read that which I charged with unfairness, I have only to say, that I think very much worse, and on deeper grounds, of the thing I so charged: but I do see reason to credit what Mr. D. stated at the time, that it was he got Mr. Newton to add it; for the closing paragraph is very subtilely and covertly propping up Mr. D.'s argument in favour of universal consent as a rule of faith.

130 And now a few words as to the charges negatived: Mr. Newton says, that I brought against him a false and most injurious charge, in order to destroy his character as a teacher. I print, he says, that charge. He replies by simply negativing the doctrines imputed. This is an entire misrepresentation. We have seen what "simply negativing" means. Now, as to the charge. Popish principles were secretly spreading. I was urged by brethren to make a stand. This I did in an answer I wrote to a tract of Mr. D.'s, because Mr. D. had openly appealed in his to the doctrine of universal consent, as a ground of receiving truth, and as a rule by which to judge. I then alluded to popish principles in general, inasmuch as this appeal to universal consent proved that we were not secure on that side. The doctrine as to teachers may have been imperfectly stated; but it was the real substantial fact, deny it who may. Mr. Newton is not alluded to in the tract. I have said on the contrary, "Let no one suppose I allude here to individuals. On the contrary, I am very anxious to draw attention to a system," etc. "The demon of popery is the active demon of the day. Its leading introductory principle is advanced in the passage on which I comment. I have noticed some of its other elements, because the introduction of this general one shews that the door has not been kept closed against it." This is at the close of the reply to Mr. D. Is this printing a charge against Mr. Newton? I believe that these two have been the persons who introduced it. But I was thinking a great deal more about the system than about them.

131 Saints will judge whether there was need of being on one's guard, when I repeat to them the fact that, when, on urging the authority of teachers in one place, a brother replied, "But, after all, it is said, they were more noble, because they searched the scriptures whether these things were so," it was answered, that this was Jews searching Jewish scriptures; but that now that God had established gifts in the church, and raised up teachers, all that was changed. When the Plymouth system had reached this point, I judge it was high time to talk about popery. The truth is, it had ripened out of Plymouth more than the cautious leaders in Plymouth would put forward there; and I put the brethren on guard against the system. My attention had really in this been drawn to facts elsewhere, and not to Mr. Newton, as many brethren know. If Mr. Newton's conscience tells him that he was the guilty person, I shall not dispute it; for I believe, and have no doubt he was the source of it, but not a single word is said about it in the tract which is in answer to Mr. D., but the contrary: and that is the question here. Mr. Newton's statement in the "Defence" is not true. I printed no charge against him. I was really thinking of something else much more important than charging him - the safety of saints against an evil system which was ripening elsewhere. As to insinuations, I do not think anybody will charge me with its being my way. Mr. Newton's easy way of avoiding them would be to face the saints, and have it all out before himself. He has certainly thus far succeeded in putting one into a difficult position. One must let him go on, doing every kind of mischief, without taking notice of it, or speak of it behind his back; for as to coming fairly forward, he cannot be got to do it. If he thinks, that when saints see infinite mischief doing, they are not to speak what they think about it, he is mistaken. Or if he thinks his denial of it will be of any avail, when they know that it has been going on, he is mistaken in that too. Hundreds of saints are not to be exposed to subtle evil, because the person implicated in it chooses to complain of its being charged upon him when he denies it. I admit the difficulty is greater; that it is harder to walk in the fear of God, and not to step out of a perfectly just path. When one is dealing with such a course, one has to watch oneself the more as to the means used in convicting those guilty of it. But faith, which will always feel our own unworthiness, and not dare to walk out of the covert of God, will find the way, because it trusts God, who will bring every secret work into judgment, whether in our own consciences or otherwise, and make manifest the counsels of the heart, and take care of His beloved people.

132 As to the fourth charge - that is, the second I really made - the statement of the fact will be sufficient.

Mr. Newton was charged with making a sect at Plymouth, of course extending it if he could. But everybody knows that Plymouth was the central scene of operations. His own statement (I give Mr. R.'s account of it, which will not be suspected: my own was identical, save the form of the last few words) was this:-

He said he was making a focus of Plymouth, and seeking to establish union in testimony against the teaching of brethren (that is, those opposed to his views of course); and that wherever he could get influence in Devonshire, Somerset, and Cornwall, he should do the same thing. This, I need not say, at once arrested attention. Mr. H. said, it was difficult to work with him after this. Others demanded that brethren should declare whether they meant to act on this. Mr. Y. and A.P., who had been to Newton, declared they need say nothing, as Mr. N. had avowed all about which they had remonstrated with him. Mr. D. tells him in private, going out, that he ought to explain himself, or his meaning would be mistaken. He refused, saying it was plain enough. Interviews are had, etc., etc., on these words. I stopped dead at them. I felt that God had acted, and brought the matter out to light; but I allowed myself to be over-persuaded by brethren, in particular by Mr. R., who begged me, as so much good had been done, to wait and see, and not press it farther, or it might make a rupture with Newton. I acquiesced. After some time, a report of the meeting comes out by Mr. Newton, "because an open and explicit statement is deeply important at such an hour as this." His "Defence" says of this report, "these words are stronger than those I am said to have used"; that there is no reason, in a word, to charge any want of truth on the statement. I now give the statement of the report.

"I desire to produce in the minds of the dear brethren everywhere the same strong sense that pervades my own of the evil of this system: and this is one object of my labour everywhere; at the same time my hostility is against a system, not against individuals." Now this is sad and painful enough, I admit. But on the point of making a sect at Plymouth, he declares he will act in testimony against a certain system of doctrine everywhere. I should grieve at such a course. He would act so; he would desire that others should have the same sense of the evil as he had. Be it so. I ask any honest man in the world, is this the same thing when making a sect is spoken of, in judging the state of Plymouth, as saying that he was making a focus of Plymouth, and seeking to have union in testimony against the teaching of other brethren, which words were what arrested everybody's attention and judgment at the time, even the only ones discussed, and which are wholly omitted? There is not a word about a focus at Plymouth; not a word about union in testimony. He would work hard against a doctrine. I may regret, but cannot help it: but in coming forward to circulate an open and explicit statement, is it fair to omit the whole statement which arrested every mind, and substitute another for it? Was it not really a covering up what had thus openly come out,* and putting forward what was more convenient to put forward before the minds of others? It is urged that, I was told I was free to urge my own views as much. What comfort is that to me? I do not ask to do it. But, supposing it were so, what has that to do with making a focus of Plymouth, and getting union in testimony against the teaching of other brethren?

{*It was what he was seeking, and he thought he had arrived at his end; and hence, when I came down, his first act was to hold a meeting of the leaders in private to get them to sign a paper, denouncing me as a heretic. It was not this declaration which convinced me of it; but it was the avowal of it.}

133 There then it is. There is Mr. Newton's defence. There is what Mr. R. states to be the reasons of his, R-s, M., and M-s, arriving at the conclusion that they are perfectly satisfied that Mr. N. was entirely free from every charge. If I know my own heart, I desire more earnestly than any of them he were. But this is not the question now. I desire to add no farther grievance. I should never have touched the subject again, but that I found incessant subtle engines at work in influencing, and I am satisfied, bringing under the enemy's influence, every weak-minded saint. I have since then repeated confirmation of it. And I therefore say (now that we have Mr. R.'s "Reasons," and Mr. Newton's "Defence," on which they rest) you can judge for yourselves as well as Mr. R. or any one else. God has taken care of that, in spite of all their efforts to keep things under a bushel; and taken care of it, I pray you to note, for it marks God's hand, by their own act in bringing it before you. I repeat my judgment therefore, now that the means of judging are before you, that the two matters I charged at Plymouth, as one unfair, the other untrue, are such as I then thought them. The addition to the tract is not a fair thing, and the account of the April meeting is not a true account. It concealed and changed the whole important point, which God had brought to an avowal at that meeting. And note here, the facts are not denied. Every one can judge for himself of their honesty. Our judgments, beloved brethren, sometimes, nay always, prove our own state as much, and more than that of which we judge. They may be unjust. They may be sound. They may be righteous, and not charitable. They may be the true righteousness of God, and zeal for Him, in contrast with false appearances of charity. God will judge every one of us in all this. To Him we have to commend ourselves. The facts are now before you.

134 There yet remain but few points more that I am aware of, for I have refrained from any new matter, though, were it a mere matter of discipline, I should insist on other facts connected with it being considered. It is stated (page 16), on the authority of Lord C., "that many of the brethren engaged in this investigation came to the Lord's table at Ebrington Street, after their investigation was concluded, for the express object of shewing what their judgment was. You have, perhaps, observed that in his 'Narrative of Facts,' our brother Darby affirms, or implies [which?] otherwise, but yet the fact is as we here state it." Now this is all dishonest mystification. I must be forgiven speaking plainly. Would it not have been well to have said where I have affirmed or implied it? This they take care not to do. The reader will "have, perhaps observed" it; if not, he will have taken for granted, that these four tell the truth. Now I might have some difficulty in charging my memory with everything in the "Narrative"; but I have some clue here, because Lord C. came to me and urged this point, which I suppose therefore must be the same. I say then, that in what Lord C. has referred to (and I know of no other passage which touches on the subject, save one in page 78, to the same effect, incidentally), I have neither affirmed nor implied anything of the kind. I have stated, that McA., Sir A.C., P-r, C., W., did not break bread any longer. I have positively excepted those who were partisans of Mr. Newton, and expressed uncertainty as to Mr. N-r. I have no doubt that Messrs. R., M-s, R-s, M., and Lord C., might then and would at any time have done so, though the latter would not now on the ground of sectarianism and clericalism. Mr. R. had agreed to stand up during the investigation, and declare he was satisfied. Another of the inquiring brethren said, if he did, he should stand up and say he was not; and Mr. Newton then got him not to do it. So that, instead of denying that many did, I have (in the way of excepting them from others) rather said they would. What they did, I know nothing about. I have given no reasons for those not doing so who would not. It is in no way connected with the charges of untruth. I mention, at the starting-point of my account of their inquiry into the whole matter, that, as a present fact, when the matter was over, none but Mr. Newton's partisans would break bread. And that is the fact. I shall add another startling one here. Not one of the original labourers at Plymouth but has been driven away by Mr. Newton. Not one of them would break bread there now; I mean H., Capt. H., W., Sir A.C., and myself. I might add, as some of the earliest taking part, R-e, S-s, L-n, R.H.

135 The four who pretend to be guides and elders here are all new men. Mr. C-w is of the longest standing; but, however amiable a brother as he really is, no one ever dreamt of his being a guide till now. S. was not converted for years after we met. B. and D. joined from a Baptist church years after we met at Plymouth. To return, then; the statement in the "Reasons" is untrue (see page 66 of the "Narrative"). I will turn now to what is said in the "Narrative," and Lord C.'s authority, and I shall relate his interview. He came to me, I thank God, with more friendliness than heretofore, though of course blaming me, and I was very glad to see him. He declared he had been distressed, but had got quite happy on taking up Matthew 18, and meant to bring me before the church. Well, I had had a good dose of all these things; but however I said, of course he could do what he thought right. He called on me to retract certain things in the "Narrative." Two were mere misunderstandings - one a mere mis-stopping, and the other easily explained. The others I declined retracting, though willing to explain anything, and not doubting additional circumstances could be added. He said he should go, and bring others. He came with Mr. G-h. I told him then, his acting on Matthew could not be sustained, he was not the person wronged, and the real difference was obvious. If I refused to retract to Mr. N., who said he was wronged, and then to two or three more, Mr. N. must then go before the church, which was just what he would not do. Mr. G-h also told him it did not apply. He said he had given up doing it, they would not hear him before. I said, I was ready to answer them anything. In result, Mr. G-h told him, that he had confirmed all he had impugned, save the letter of one passage - that was, the words "any longer," in page 66* of the "Narrative." Lord C. admitted that they ceased breaking bread before they left Plymouth, but said they had, one Sunday after the investigation. I said, Mr. McA. certainly did not; Mr. W. certainly did not; Sir A. C. did break bread one Sunday, for I remembered he had said, he would not (I have his letter, which I looked at since), and then took one Sunday to consider before acting so decidedly, that Mr. P-r told me before he left, he could not break bread in Ebrington Street any longer, yet was not prepared to set up a new table, and so he should leave. And Mr. C. wrote to me to the same effect, and in fact would not. He happened to be laid up, but meant to go off. That as to the words "any longer" being set aside by their taking a Sunday to consider, etc., he might of course make any use of it he pleased, as he confessed they ceased to do so before they left Plymouth. All his other objections resulted in confirming my statements.**

{*[These and similar references apply to the pages of the "Narrative" in this volume, and not to the original tract.]}

{**This interview with Lord C., it will be seen, meets the statement in page 10 of the "Reasons."}

136 Further, it is stated, that there were meetings of the saints to inform them respecting these painful charges; and this is held to be a judgment by the church. Well, reader, there were. Every Monday evening, for a length of time, there were tea meetings by invitation, the object not being even avowed in instances where it was desired to have people who might not have wished knowingly to come, while, being by invitation, of course those could not go who could have met the statements. Mr. Newton was questioned, these persons say; and he answered too of course. And what then? Sir A.C.'s statements being in print could not be avoided, and they were boldly stated to be false.

137 I have now gone through the "Defence," as to the two charges of November, 1845; and I recall to the saints, that the "Reasons" and "Defence" do not touch anything beyond, nor enter at all upon the body of the statements in the "Narrative." Others could enter much more largely, if they were willing to take the burden, into the statements in these "Reasons."

I have been able to give enough, I suppose, to satisfy such as might be troubled by them, and to enable them to judge what their weight is.