J. N. Darby.
Our beloved brother G-e having most kindly come down to me to communicate the accusation brought against me by our brother Lord C., I write a few words that I may not seem to be silent to you, though I could hardly be expected at this distance to be able to be present to state, as I should gladly do, all my path in this matter from beginning to end.
Had not indeed our brother come down, I should have known nothing of it. I have a letter from Lord C. by the same mail this morning in which he says nothing of it. I suppose he had not made up his mind when he wrote. Our brother G-e was anxious I should go up with him; but I have from the beginning declined doing anything whatever in self-justification: it seems to me the path God has marked out in His word. There is such a thing as committing oneself to Him who judgeth righteously. The word speaks of Christ's committing himself to Him who judges righteously, and poor and imperfect as I feel myself when I name that blessed name, I feel that I can so commit it, and that it is the happiest way to do so. Now I feel that my going up would have the character of justifying myself. Besides I am sure the Lord is acting, and I am content to leave it entirely to Him.
Our brother W. is amongst you, and I suppose will be able to acquaint you sufficiently with the facts, though he may be ignorant of some of the earlier ones.
I cannot feel sorry that the matter has been brought before you, though it be a very sorrowful one. If you at any time require me to come up for your own satisfaction in consequence of not being clear as to the facts, or as to my own conduct, I shall come up at any time at once with the Lord's help.
I am quite prepared to come before you all, and to state everything from beginning to end. I say nothing here of its being done when I was 200 miles off, for in truth I believe the Lord orders all these things, directly or indirectly.
I have only now to add as to the facts, first, that (though I do not doubt that the teaching has contributed to the result, as was natural) it is no difference in prophecy in the least which has caused me to act as I have done. I had known that difference these ten or twelve years. Further, as to the present state of things. Since even Mr. W. left this, both teaching and facts have made a progress (and I believe in virtue of our acting faithfully and in leaving), which has left no doubt as to the matter, and I have no doubt will progressively make plain and clear the principles which have been maintained and acted on here; so that I have no fear for any single-eyed Christian saint, nor that they will in time justify the path they cannot perhaps now quite understand.
196 But further, beloved brethren, the Lord has set so plain and clear a sanction, not to be mistaken by our souls, to the path we have gone in - our deliverance and recovery of the presence and approbation of God has been so sensible, beyond anything we at all looked for, to those who have faithfully come out that I do not believe the judgment of all the brethren in England would bring those who have tasted it back again: certainly not me, while the grace of God kept me in my soul in the sense of it. We acted because we were convinced it was right, and our deliverance and enjoyment has sealed it to our souls. And the character of the work and sifting too in our souls has been so plain that the finger of God is more apparent to me than I can tell you here. I have no doubt (and it is in many respects a comfort to me because it accounts for many an unaccountable act), that there is a decided though I trust very partial power of delusion over the minds of many. Time or another day when every man shall have praise of God will shew whether I am right.
In fine, my brethren, I trust that the explanations that may be given may be sufficient for you. If they are not, I am ready at any moment to give you my answer before those that accuse me. But nothing could induce me, while my soul retains through grace its spiritual understanding and power, to return from the presence of God and His approval, as I enjoy it now, to the darkness and I believe evil which caused it, from which I am come deliberately out, and of which as it had grown up, I never was in spirit, and this I have felt, though it was not so ripened, and that at least three years ago. You ought to be aware that the brethren McA., and Sir A.C., R.H., and H. who are not here with us, could not break bread in Ebrington Street more than myself.
I do not know that they would be prepared to do what we have done.
197 We have anxiously abstained from pressing any one; indeed our feeling has been quite the contrary, fearing any should act without a clear conscience in faith. (Mr. P-r and Mr. C. could not break bread in Ebrington Street either, and were not prepared to do it elsewhere, and therefore left. I do not mention this to justify any one in doing it, but that it is due to you that you should know it.) We consulted no one but the Lord in our doing so, because it is not merely Mr. W.'s case nor mine you would have to judge, but whether brethren (some of whom had been deprived of the Lord's supper for weeks on grounds which hindered many such brethren as I have named from going to Ebrington Street, and who could not leave Plymouth as they did) should be deprived of the Lord's supper for ever. I do not say this for myself, I am ready to go into all the facts before you whenever you call upon me; I say it for our poorer brethren who are bound to Plymouth.
May the precious grace of God be with you, brethren, individually, and may the Lord give you a right judgment in all things, giving you the power of His Spirit in your souls.
Your affectionate brother,
For myself I am thankful that the matter has come before you. I have long desired to see you, and been kept here. No one can mistake now the ground I have taken. I should in any case have seen you with joy, but it was well that in your own minds you should be clear in receiving me, labouring among you in mutual faith and the common joy of the Holy Ghost in you and in me, the only source of blessing.