Account of the proceedings at Rawstorne Street, in November and December 1846, with an answer to the "Reasons" circulated in justification of the refusal of Mr. Newton to meet the brethren.

J. N. Darby.

<20003E> 81 (See also files 20004E, 20005E, 20006E)

PART 2 Being the answer to the "Reasons."
PART 3 The Principles Involved
PART 4 Supplement: Notes on the "Correspondence" and "Remonstrance."


If it be a sad thing to be engaged in such an affair as that which occupies the saints at this moment, it is a matter of great comfort to be directed of God in it. It has been the conviction of the saints in Rawstorne Street, that they could not enter into reasons for not clearing their own consciences in the matter of evil charged against a brother who had refused to meet them on those charges; and that they must act on the fact of his refusal, when every means had been used to induce that brother to retract it and meet them; the rather, as they understood, that these reasons, as is now evident, would force them into the whole question of what had passed at Plymouth, and the merits of the case, as it had occurred there. This they felt under the circumstances incompetent to enter into. Mr. Newton was not present to reply for himself; witnesses as to the facts were not there. Had I made a statement, they could have only judged of its correctness ex parte. Moreover it was not what they had to do. They had to act on the repeated refusal of Mr. Newton to satisfy their consciences; and on that ground and that alone they did act, having come to the conclusion that if he refused to satisfy them, he could not come to communion with them till he did. That refusal was finally given; and they thereupon wrote a letter to inform him, that he could not communicate till there was a full investigation.

I think they were bound to act so, and that the Lord guided them. Still I felt, having acted as the discipline of the church of God required, it would be satisfactory if the "Reasons" alleged for refusing to meet them came before the saints and were fairly examined; and I thought of applying to those who had attached their signatures to them to print them, and then I could reply. This thought was in my mind only the morning after the meeting at which the final letter to Mr. N. was drawn up, when I found, on going out, that they were already widely circulated in print among the brethren in London, before the letter communicating the judgment of the brethren had been closed by those entrusted to sign and send it. This publication of the "Reasons" has given full opportunity for entering into them; and it is to me a source of unfeigned satisfaction, though at the same time of sorrow, that the whole thing has come out into the light.

82 I now give the facts and papers, as they occurred connected with what took place in Rawstorne Street.

It was no volunteer whatever on the part of those meeting there. They had been advised, at the time Lord C. before them all had charged Mr. W. with schism,* not to take any steps as to Plymouth, till the Lord made it a matter for their own consciences, and brought it before them; and accordingly they had remained entirely tranquil in the matter. I came up to town, on my way to France, got my passport signed, and orders on the continent for money, ready to start. At this moment Mr. Newton arrived in town, and held some private meetings at which he lectured. At the close of one of these meetings, held in the immediate neighbourhood of Rawstorne Street, at the house of three who usually attended there, at which our brother G-h was present, Mr. N. took Mr. G-h aside and said that one object he had in coming up to town was, to satisfy the minds of any brethren as to the charges made against him. Mr. G-h, hoping things were going to be cleared up, said he should soon see some of them, or words to that effect. Mr. G-h communicated this to Dr. C. Dr. C. communicated it to the Saturday meeting, which is composed of brethren from different gatherings, whose communications for mutual edification, if there is no further service, tend to maintain unity of action in the gatherings (which are numerous) in and around London. At this meeting, cases of discipline and of persons desiring to be received into communion are named, that they may be known; and brethren can consult together in any matter that arises. Dr. C. at the same time communicated the judgment of Mr. R.H-d who had been obliged to leave the meeting, that nothing would be satisfactory unless the parties concerned met and the matter were fully gone into. All concurred in the propriety of meeting the proposal of Mr. Newton. Dr. C. was asked to undertake this, together with Mr. R. H-d, and any others it might be deemed wise to associate with them. Ultimately Mr. R.H-d, Dr. C., and Mr. D-n, communicated with Mr. Newton. Their efforts resulted in a failure of obtaining from Mr. Newton any satisfactory arrangement, for meeting the charges, or for satisfying brethren as proposed.

{*Lord C., however, would not now break bread at Ebrington Street himself.}

{**The above is Mr. G-h's own statement, corrected from his lips.}

83 There is a meeting at Rawstorne Street on Tuesday morning, at which any needed diaconal service is considered, if there be such, after a prayer-meeting of those who attend. At this meeting, Mr. G-h being there, the matter was mentioned, and concurrently with, though independently of, the steps taken by the three above-named,* it was agreed that the ten then present should write to Mr. N., and propose to him to meet the saints. The following letter was accordingly written:-

{*The proposal of Mr. Newton was made after a lecture to saints attending Rawstorne Street, at the house of those who attended there, and to one of those who always meet there. Of course, persons attending other gatherings besides Rawstorne Street may have been and doubtless were there; though the house where the meeting was held is in that immediate neighbourhood.}

    "Rawstorne Street, Nov. 10th, 1846.

"Dear Brother,

"Having been informed at our meeting for prayer this morning, that some of our brethren* have invited you to attend a meeting of the saints (the importance and necessity of which for the Lord's honour we feel), for the purpose of considering before the Lord the unhappy circumstances that have arisen amongst us, and as it is understood that you have expressed your readiness to meet the saints and to answer any questions on the above subject, we earnestly request you to inform us when and where you will do so.

"We are, dear brother, yours truly,

   "THOS. A.  "EDW. G-E.



   "HENRY G-H. "W. H-T.


84 "P.S. your answer may be addressed to J.B-r, College Street, Islington, or to any one of the brethren who have signed this note."

{*This refers to what is mentioned above, which resulted in the meeting at Dr. C.'s house.}

This was sent down the same evening to Dr. C.'s, where the meeting of Mr. Newton with Mr. H-d, Dr. C., and Mr. D-n took place; and Mr. N. said, he would answer it the next day in writing. His answer follows:-

"My dear Brother,

"My time is now very limited, but I hope to be at our brother G-h's tomorrow afternoon, at three o'clock, when I should be happy to see any of the brethren who have signed the note to me, and to answer their inquiries as far as lies in my power.

"Yours in Christian regard,

    (Signed) "B. W. NEWTON.

"Tuesday Eve."

To this Mr. B-r replied in the name of the brethren:-

     "College Street, Nov. 11th.

"Dear Brother,

"The object of the note sent you from ten brethren yesterday morning was not to request that you would meet those who signed it, as your note seemed to infer (which, by the bye, did not reach me till twenty minutes to ten this morning, a period much too late to summon brethren for three o'clock, as they were all scattered to their several occupations), but that you would state when and where you intended to meet the saints publicly, 'for the purpose of considering, before the Lord, the unhappy circumstances that have arisen amongst us,' and to which they still request a direct reply.

    "Yours truly,

  "Mr. B. W. Newton." "JOSEPH B-R.

Mr. Newton replied as follows:-

     "Nov. 11, 1846. "Dear Brethren,

"There were last year certain charges of moral dishonesty brought against me by Mr. Darby, at Plymouth in a public meeting, such charges having* not first communicated to me. 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. This was done, and a paper published, stating that they had examined the case, and reporting thereon to the saints. This paper you may see. Besides this, I appeared twice before ten or twelve brethren from various places, such, for example, as R., Lord C., M. Sir A.C., C., and others. They entered into an examination of the charges fully; and Lord C. will tell you that all, with the exception of Mr. W., declared that I was free from the charge of moral dishonesty that had been brought against me. A written defence was prepared by me, and laid before these brethren. Mr. B-er, of Hackney, has this defence, and can shew it to you. After all this, I feel that I cannot be properly asked to plead again. As regards other charges in the 'Narrative of Facts,' the others affect the whole gathering of Plymouth as well as myself,** and I hope to consider with them the desirable mode of satisfying our dear brethren that they are untrue. The personal charges against me will, I think, be sufficiently met by the papers in possession of Mr. B-er.

"Yours in Christian love,

   (Signed) "B. W. NEWTON."

{*Read "not having been"; but, of course, I copy the original.}

{**This is not in any way the case. Founded or unfounded, there are many charges which affect Mr. Newton alone.}

85 Hereupon, the following paper was drawn up and signed:-

"The undersigned ten brethren, after the meeting for prayer usually held by some brothers on Tuesday morning, felt it laid on their consciences to write to Mr. Newton, requesting him to state when and where he would attend a meeting of the saints publicly, for the purpose of considering, before the Lord, the unhappy circumstances which have arisen amongst us.

"This Mr. Newton has refused to do.

"Having thus acted in obedience to what they felt to be the Lord's guidance in so solemn a matter, these brethren, in fellowship with others who have added their names hereto, now desire to leave it in testimony upon the consciences of the saints to act upon their responsibility to the Lord in so grave a matter.






"We have full fellowship with the act of these brethren.



86 Thursday evening is the weekly worship meeting at Rawstorne Street. There was a full attendance of the saints on the following Thursday, as it was understood the result arrived at would be communicated by Mr. D-n. The ten brethren requested him to do this for them, as one who had long laboured in Rawstorne Street and enjoyed the confidence of all. He had also been associated with Mr. H-d and Dr. C. in their meeting with Mr. Newton. Having enquired of Mr. G-e if the letters were there, he read the paper to the meeting. Mr. S-ll , who had never formally joined the brethren, but who constantly breaks bread in Rawstorne Street, urged that brethren should not deal unfairly and judge on a statement of the kind, and that Mr. N. ought not to be judged without being heard; that Mr. N.'s was not a direct negative, and that he gave his reasons, and the letters ought to be read.

Mr. D-n replied, that Mr. S-ll  had entirely mistaken the question; that they were not judging the matters at all; that, instead of not hearing Mr. Newton, what they complained of was, that he would not come and let them hear him; that, of course, he gave reasons, but that it was a direct refusal, though he gave reasons for that refusal; and that at the meeting at Dr. C.'s they had proposed everything they could think of as a means of getting Mr. N. to meet satisfactorily the charges made, and that he would agree to nothing they could propose; that he (D-n) had merely taken the office of communicator, and that his service was now ended. The letters were read, and Mr. D-n closed with prayer.

Mr. Newton had said, on leaving the three brethren, after refusing the different plans they had suggested, that they might write and propose something, and they at Plymouth would consider it. Mr. H-d and Dr. C. thought that, not having said "No" at the time, they were under some obligation to do it, and they pressed it on Mr. D-n. He wrote accordingly the following note to Mr. N.:-

    "40, Southampton Street, Reading,

    "Nov. 20, 1846.

87 "Dear Brother,

"I now write a line to you in connection with the subject of our conference at our brother Dr. C.'s last week. I did not myself think it needful to press the matter any further upon you by letter, after the repeated negative you put, in that conference, upon every proposition to meet Mr. Darby and others connected with this sad business face to face. However other brethren think that in fairness you ought to be allowed, even now, an opportunity to retract that refusal, if you are disposed; and I am sure personally no one would more rejoice that you should do so than myself, convinced as I am that nothing but meeting the question in a fair and open way, in the presence of all concerned, will have the effect of clearing yourself, or of satisfying the consciences of the saints. Let me ask you therefore to say whether you are prepared to meet Mr. Darby and others concerned in this question, in the presence of the saints at Rawstorne Street, where your visit and expressions of willingness to meet investigation have brought it on. I beg to say very distinctly, I do not write to brethren at Plymouth for any opinion as to the scriptural mode of proceeding in this investigation; not because I despise their judgment, but because the only satisfactory course for me to pursue, if I am charged with evil, is openly and fairly to answer to those charges when I am required to do so by the church, whose province it is to judge the evil, and not to be raising questions about the competency of the tribunal. I may also further say, that I write to you simply as to your personal course in this matter, because the charges are brought against yourself and not against others. Dr. C. wishes me to say, that an immediate answer is desirable, as Mr. Darby has been requested to stay in London until your reply is received, in order to give you the opportunity of meeting him and others, as required.

 "Yours affectionately in Christ,

      "W. H. D-n."

88  To this Mr. D-n received the following reply:-

     "7, Woodside, Nov. 24th, 1846.

"My dear Brother,

"Newton having submitted to myself and other brethren your letter to him, we have requested him to allow us to answer it. This answer has been delayed by my own inability to write or to give due attention to the matter, owing to an inflammation in one of my eyes. Our letter is intended to assign our reasons for counselling our brother to decline your proposal to him.

"Hoping to write to you with the least possible delay,

"Believe me, yours affectionately in the Lord,

      "HENRY WM. S.

"To W. H. D-n."

Mr. D-n declined waiting for any reasons, as the refusal to meet the saints was fully expressed in this note. Dr. C. wrote a separate note to Mr. Newton, making another proposal, namely, a meeting of brethren from different gatherings to enter into it with Mr. Darby present. Mr. Newton in his reply referred him to the above note of Mr. S. to Mr. D-n.*

{* The following is Mr. D-n's reply to a note of Mr. C-w's referring to the reasons for not meeting the saints. The note itself is given first.

     "Plymouth, 26th Nov. 1846.

"Dear Brother in the Lord,

"We hoped to be able to send the letter which we are now writing to you, with an accompanying paper, by this day's post, but we cannot get it done in time; so I write a line to say that we purpose forwarding it by an early coach to-morrow - and it will thus, we hope, reach Reading by the express train which leaves Exeter at 12 o'clock.

"I remain, your affectionate brother in the Lord,

      "JOSEPH C-W.

      "40, Southampton Street, Reading,

"Dear Brother, Nov. 27, I 846.

"On my return from London this evening I found your letter of yesterday, and at the first moment after the lecture I sit down to acknowledge the receipt of it. I need hardly say, as you are acquainted with the contents of my note to Mr. Newton, I was a good deal surprised to receive a letter in reply from Mr. S. and afterwards one from yourself. Under other circumstances, of course, it would have afforded me nothing but pleasure to hear from either of you. I have not yet received the papers you speak of; but I suppose they may reach me to-morrow, however unavailable in my hands for the purpose for which I suppose they are sent. Indeed I have already acted on Mr. S.'s note as definitive to my own mind, on the only point about which I communicated with Mr. Newton. He tells me that he and others have counselled Mr. Newton to decline my proposal; and this I communicated to the saints at Rawstorne Street (as I did his refusal to meet the request of ten brethren who had written to him on the preceding Thursday evening), expressing at the same time most fully my thoughts and judgment about such a course. I now leave the saints there to act further in the matter as the Lord may give them wisdom and grace. In entering upon this matter, which I did at the request of dear Dr. C., it was my determination by the Lord's grace to act simply if I could not act wisely: so that Mr. Newton may judge my surprise and disappointment at the way in which he has treated my letter. He might have remonstrated against it if he had thought fit; but at least he should not have supposed I would express a purpose as strongly as I knew how to-day, and then act upon the very opposite to-morrow. All I can say is, if he or the brethren thought fit to send reasons at all, it ought to have been evident to them that I was not the person to whose hands they should be committed. My letter was a sufficient warning as to that. I can quite understand the assigning of reasons against a person's being condemned unheard, or against partiality in judgment: but I see no place for reasons why a person who has been charged with guilt should not answer at all. At my declining, therefore, to read any reasons that may come to me to the saints at Rawstorne Street, you must not be grieved, as it is only declining in act what I had already done by letter. I might speak of the sorrow of my heart in this matter, but this is known to the Lord.

   "Yours, affectionately, in Christ,

        "W. H. D-n.

"To Mr. C-w.

"P.S. I add a line before posting this, to say the parcel has arrived. I cannot add more, if I would secure to-day's post."}

89 Mr. D-n met the saints at Rawstorne Street on the Thursday evening following, and communicated the refusal to them; adding that, without judging upon the charges, a person who refused to meet them must lie under them - that he could not receive reasons for not meeting them; that he pressed no judgment by the brethren - they would act for themselves in it; but that after what had passed, if Mr. Newton came to Reading or Oxford, where he was now labouring, he as an individual would not break bread with Mr. Newton. And having thus discharged his own conscience, he had done what he had to do in the matter, into which he had been introduced by the invitation of Mr. H-d, Dr. C., etc.

In all these proceedings, though I had stayed in London at the particular request of brethren, I had taken no part whatever, nor been present at any meetings on the subject, save these two Thursdays, when I was at the regular worship and stayed, but took no part, save that a brother having urged that I should meet the saints and give full information, I said that of course I was ready to give any explanation, but felt it would be neither right nor gracious to bring in new matter at any such meeting.

90 On the Sunday morning following, it was given out that a meeting of brothers* would be held to consider what ought to be done under the circumstances. They met on the Wednesday following, a very large body of brethren - several from other gatherings beside Rawstorne Street being present and taking part in suggesting what they thought might minister to charity and godliness. At this meeting the great body were satisfied that all had been done that was needed, and that they must come to the conclusion that till Mr. N. satisfied them he could not come to communion. A few doubted whether they could be considered to have received a direct refusal, however right they might think the steps of the ten. A Kennington brother declared that Mr. N. had said to himself when calling on him on these points, that the church was not a judicial assembly, and that he would not answer to it.

{* It was felt desirable not to connect the inquiry with the worship meetings again in this matter; indeed many sisters complained of being dragged into it after worship; and the brothers met to consider the matter, before mentioning it at the general meeting, as they had in other instances which presented difficulty in which the consciences of all were concerned. It was not without or against the wish of those who labour among them; but quite the contrary. In many cases those who do so have felt able to present the matter at once to the body, as being very simple: in other cases, where it involved in a more anxious way the consciences of all, this previous communication to all has been made. The whole facts of this case had been communicated already to the congregation - brethren and sisters - at the two previous Thursday meetings by Mr. D-n.}

Mr. G-h also read thereon part of a letter of Mr. N. to Dr. C.,* stating that he would meet him as an individual, but positively refusing to meet the saints in a formal manner. The brethren who had some difficulty were satisfied by this; and it was then proposed, that though they adopted the act of the ten brethren, an appeal had not been made by the body; and, however hopeless they might be about it, still charity would try. Mr. D-n who was present proposed this formally. A brother from Kennington said that, though he knew it did not apply in the letter, still the analogy of Matthew 18 might be used, and that the last step therein mentioned had not been taken; if that was taken, he should feel nothing more could be done but to refuse to receive him. This proposal was deferred to, Mr. G-h thereon definitely presenting it to the meeting, and the following letter was written and agreed to. Mr. B-e very graciously said, that he did not personally concur in the alternative stated in it, as, supposing there was a refusal on the part of Mr. Newton, he did not feel that it would hinder his breaking bread with him. It was settled that the letter should be read on Sunday morning to the whole congregation, which was accordingly done by Mr. G-h, and it was despatched on Monday, no comment having been made on it on Sunday. I must say, nothing could exceed the grace and good order and deference for the feelings of the weakest, that characterised the meeting of Wednesday. Mr. S-ll  (who as I understood, avowed himself a member of another body of Christians) rebuked Mr. D-n for saying, when declaring that he could not read the reasons, that they had not satisfied him. Mr. D-n acquiesced in the justice of it. Mr. W. objected to the fitness of Mr. S-ll's taking a prominent part; but the brethren discountenanced the objection, and though silent till the close of the meeting, he spoke again the Friday week following. I should not mention these things, but that I would state nothing as to the character of the meeting without giving a general outline of all.

{*The impression on Dr. C.'s mind had been, that Mr. N. had expressed his readiness to meet the saints, individually or collectively, and accordingly he pressed his seeing brethren. The following is the letter in answer to Dr. C:-

91 My dear Brother,

"I have never proposed, but entirely declined, a formal meeting. If you wish to see me as a Christian brother, and would ask me any questions that would tend to elucidate facts, I should feel obliged; but I would consent to nothing further, nor would I see any brethren without first being acquainted with their names. I will endeavour to call on you to-morrow at the time proposed; but it is only to see YOU, and to afford you an opportunity of satisfying your own mind as to facts, if you desire it. But I come to see you alone.

   "Yours, in Christian love,

      "B. W. NEWTON."

This letter having been publicly read by Mr. G-h, it is given; as without it the account of the meeting would not be complete. The rest of the letters are in private hands.}

92 The note addressed by the meeting was as follows:-

      "London, Dec. 7, 1846.

"Beloved Brother,

"We beg to transmit to you the following communication from a meeting of brothers usually breaking bread at Rawstorne Street, with some brethren from other places present and concurring; and which was afterwards presented and concurred in by the saints met together in the name of the Lord at Rawstorne Street on Sunday morning last.

"Having been fully informed of your refusal to meet the saints at Rawstorne Street, to satisfy their consciences as to the truth or falsehood of the charges brought against you, in the 'Narrative of Facts,' in the presence of those concerned in the charges, we now make to you a last appeal as a body, in the hope that you may yet be moved to recall your expressed determination on this point, and that you will not force us to a formal expression of the only scriptural alternative left to us in such a case.

"We request that you will kindly send your answer, addressed to Mr. G-h, 20, Trinidad Place, Liverpool Road, Islington, so as to reach him by the 11th inst., as it is the purpose of the brethren to meet on that day to receive it.

"Signed on behalf of those named above,

  "Yours in true Christian love,

      "H. G-H.

      "W. H. D-N.

"To B. W. Newton."

The brethren met on Friday. W. A-e gave out a hymn, and Mr. Darby prayed.

Mr. G-h read the following reply:-

     "Plymouth, 9th Dec., 1846.

"Beloved Brethren,

"Knowing, as you well do, our strong conviction so long and in such various ways expressed, that the meeting you propose is entirely opposed to the directions of the word of God, you cannot be surprised that we should again meet it with the most firm and decided negative.

"If you had allowed us a few more days, we should have completed the answer to your letter which we are now preparing, and which we hope to forward with the shortest possible delay."

93 We can scarcely expect that you will attach much value to the expression of our judgment; but we think it our duty simply to warn you against the course that you appear to be so precipitately pursuing.

"We are, beloved brethren,

 "Yours affectionately in the Lord,

    (Signed) "B. W. NEWTON.



      "J. C-w.


"To Messrs. W. H. D-n and H. G-h."

A letter from Mr. T. accompanied it, warning the brethren they were all wrong, which it is hardly necessary to insert. Part of it was, however, read by Mr. G-h.

It will be seen from the letter previously addressed to Mr. Newton, that the meeting on Friday was to receive the answer and act on it if it was a refusal; and this was fully understood by the brethren. The brother who had urged Matthew 18, and pressed the brethren so to act as they accordingly did, put it on that ground, as indeed the passage would make evident.

However, at Friday's meeting, some of Mr. Newton's personal friends came (none of them having been at the preceding ones, but Mr. S-ll ) - Mr. W-s, who did not say much, but objected and left; Mr. W. B-er, Mr. S-ll , Mr. W-n from Brixham in Devonshire, Mr. A-e from Tottenham; Mr. O. from St. Austell, Cornwall - and endeavoured to hinder the brethren from acting, declaring their incompetency to act, that Mr. Newton had never come* among them at Rawstorne Street at all, and therefore they had no reason for acting; Mr. W-n urging the reading a quantity of papers he had in his possession to prove Mr. N. innocent. Mr. D-n replied to this last, that they would be quite proper to be read, if they were trying Mr. Newton, but they were not, nor passing judgment on his guilt, but clearing their own consciences as a gathering, acting solely on his refusal to meet them. And another brother also said that, if they heard these papers and the reasons, Mr. Darby might reply, and Mr. Newton was not there to meet it, so that they could not enter on that ground. It was said that they were as ready to judge Mr. Darby (if the charges were untrue, for then he was a calumniator) as Mr. N., but Mr. N. had made it impossible to enter on it. Mr. B-er said Mr. N. had not refused to meet Mr. Darby under certain circumstances; that he had said, that if brethren declared it was absolutely necessary, he could not say whether he would refuse, but that it would be time enough to consider it when the case arose. Mr. D-n replied to this, that Mr. N. had said at the meeting at Dr. C.'s that, if any brother would say solemnly before the Lord, that he felt it was necessary for the glory of God that he should meet Mr. Darby, he would do so; and that Dr. C. had replied that he did say solemnly before the Lord that it was necessary for the glory of God that he should; and Mr. N. replied then that Dr. C. would not say so if he knew all the circumstances.

{* Referring to his presenting himself at the table.}

94 Other brethren of Rawstorne Street merely urged, that all this was not the question, that they had to act on the refusal to meet them and satisfy their consciences. Mr. O. said, were they right in judging that Mr. Newton had refused? He had seen Mr. N. within a week, and he had told himself that he did not refuse to meet the church. It was replied, that Mr. O., not having been at the meetings, was not aware of course of what had passed; that on Wednesday week preceding a letter had been read from Mr. N. himself, declaring that he would not. And Mr. G-h was called on for the letter. A brother however said, "We all recollect it"; and nothing more was said on this point, and the brethren waited patiently till twelve o'clock, owing to the attempts of the above-named brethren to hinder their acting. One brother, E-s, stated he felt difficulty on the ground of Mr. B-er's statement, but on the letter being read at the close, which it was proposed to send, he rose and said, as he had made a difficulty, he felt called on to say he entirely assented to it. Mr. Frederick P-x protested against the competency of the brethren to act, and questioned if Mr. N. had refused. Another brother made a difficulty as to the course of procedure on this ground, that I ought indeed to have left Ebrington Street, but to have retired to a neighbouring gathering, and got them to judge the whole conduct of Ebrington Street gathering, for not having judged the evil, and therefore I ought not to be listened to at all. Having graciously and quietly stated this, all in the gathering felt that this was a principle that could not be entertained a moment, just as they at this moment could not judge Ebrington Street. They judged unanimously, with the exception of this objection, and of Mr. P-x (for it was an appeal made to all, "Whether any had any difficulty?" which had drawn out these objections), that a letter should be written to Mr. Newton, stating that they could not hold communion with him till he met the charges fully. The letter follows:-

     "London, Dec. 13, 1846.

95 "Beloved Brother,

"The saints at Rawstorne Street, with some other brethren present and concurring, having received your refusal to meet their request, now communicate to you, with the utmost sorrow and pain, that they feel precluded meeting you in fellowship at the table of the Lord, until the matters in question have been fairly and fully investigated. In this communication the congregation at Rawstorne Street do not express any judgment on the matter charged, but simply on the fact of your refusal. They need not say, with what joy they would welcome any change in your disposition as to this matter.

"Signed on behalf of the saints above named,

 "We remain, dear brother,

  "Affectionately yours in Christ,

     "W. H. D-N.

     "H. G-H.

"To B. W. Newton."

Mr. W. prayed, and the letter was read a second time and approved. It was again read at the table on the following Sunday, and then sent.

I mentioned on Saturday morning, the statement of Mr. B-er at the meeting on Friday evening, and I allude here to what passed, because, as Mr. B-er's statement was made before a very large body of brethren, it is well that the explanation should be known. It did not affect the question before the saints at Rawstorne Street, because it referred to the interview of the three with Mr. N., whereas the brethren there acted on the refusal addressed to the ten brethren, confirmed by the letter of Mr. S. to Mr. D-n, and on the final refusal of Mr. Newton to the joint application of the saints, and other communications which confirmed it. Indeed on one occasion, when allusion was made to the paper signed by Dr. C., Messrs. R. H-d, and D-n, knowing that Mr. B-er was invalidating the authority of that document, I dissuaded the brethren from referring to it without saying more, than that that meeting was not before them, that they had not been there, and it would be better to act on what had been addressed to themselves. And it was not referred to. When on Saturday morning the above letter, signed on Friday night, was communicated to the Saturday meeting, it of course introduced the subject; I said, that what had passed shewed the entire uselessness of these private meetings: here was one at which brethren we all honoured and respected took part; as the responsible persons, they draw up a report as the result of it, and it is left to act upon the consciences of the saints (though happily they had acted independently of it); and, at the end of three weeks, a person present at the meeting, and present and admitting its truth when the report was drawn up, comes and seeks to hinder the saints acting by a statement invalidating the report. Mr. B-er was asked by Mr. H-nd, if the report had not, when drawn up, been read to him, word by word and paragraph by paragraph, and that he had stated it was true: he assented that he had agreed to it as true, and added, that he said now it was true, that is, as far as it went; but that what he had said since was true too. Mr. R. H-d remarked, that Mr. Newton had said what Mr. B-er referred to (namely, that on Mr. B-er's pressing him to say, would he refuse to meet Mr. Darby if brethren insisted on it as necessary? Mr. N. replied, he could not say, that if the brethren insisted on it as necessary, he would in all circumstances refuse, but that it would be time enough to consider it when the case arose). Mr. R. H-d added, that perhaps a better account than the one signed might be, that Mr. Newton had refused every actual proposition made to him,* but made a reserve of hypothetical cases, which came to nothing. I said, that I did not understand how Mr. B-er could consistently assent to, as true (fair had also, at the time, been urged by Mr. S-r, and admitted by Mr. B-er) an absolute statement, that Mr. Newton had refused, and then say, that he had not refused under all circumstances. Mr. B-er said both were true. I said, I could not doubt a moment of the effect produced on D-n, H-d, and Dr. C.'s consciences, before whom the interview took place, which effect never appeared, and which was nullified by an invalidated report. Had it been before the saints themselves, their own consciences would have been under the impression. Mr. R. H-d said, that the best thing perhaps to say was, that it was impossible to give a straightforward report of what was not straightforward. There the matter dropped.** Having given all this comment on it, so that it may have its just value, I add the report signed by these three brethren.

{*Mr. R. H-d had urged at the meeting, that Mr. N. could not reject the competency of the persons, for he had offered to meet and satisfy saints, and that all they wanted was that he should do so in the presence of those concerned. Mr. T. pressed for some scripture for accuser and accused meeting face to face.}

{*Dr. C. confirmed the account given by Mr. D-n, as above, of Mr. N.'s offer, Dr. C.'s saying that he deemed it necessary, and Mr. Newton's answer turning it aside. Mr. B-er asked, if he had pressed it pin, after Mr. N.'s turning it aside; Dr. C. said, Yes, but he had got nothing by it.}

97 "In the meeting at Dr. C.'s (10 Nov. 1846), it was urged upon Mr. Newton, that there was need of a full and open investigation. He was challenged by some present (in accordance with the object of the meeting) to meet J.N.D. and others face to face openly, and to say before them what he had said privately, which he refused, giving reasons against it: but, at the conclusion of the meeting said, that if a proposition was made in writing, they at Plymouth would consider whether it was scriptural.

   "Signed by  "D-n


     "R. H-d."

I found on going to this Saturday meeting, that the reasons for refusing to meet the saints, signed by Messrs. S., C-w, B., and D., were circulated in print, by post, together with Mr. N.'s defence, as widely as had been possible among the saints composing the congregation in Rawstorne Street, and provision made for their gratuitous distribution. To these documents I now turn.

This report of these proceedings has been submitted to Messrs. D-n, J. H-d, and a considerable number of the saints who took part at Rawstorne Street, and has received their corrections. Mr. R. H-d has corrected what relates to the part he was engaged in. He was not at the general meetings of the brethren, of which an account is given above. Many brethren wishing to sign it, as well as the two named above, it was thought undesirable to select on the one hand, or to delay it on the other. It would have taken several days to attach these signatures, and this notice is substituted.

98 Besides the corrections made, some of the brethren doubted whether Mr. S-ll  had not said, he had been, not he was, a member of another body of Christians. Mr. W.'s objection to the fitness of his taking a prominent part in a case of discipline was on the ground that he still was, though often coming to Rawstorne Street. His feeling was overruled, as stated.