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p88 [W Kelly] DEAREST BROTHER, - I take up my pen at last to answer your letter. As to the facts connecting themselves with scripture I had no difficulty as to myself, the difficulty was as to demonstration to others. In the first place, Mr. Newton's statement in April was to have union in testimony here, against the teaching of the other brethren, and that he trusted to have at least Devon and Somerset under his influence for the purpose. And this was done most assiduously and perseveringly, so that at last in some places, they had to tell Mr. N. they would bear it no longer; but the saints here had no present proof of this. No person who moved in the sphere of the teachers but knew that they were by calumnies, reproaches, and letters, keeping away other brethren. Nor do those that are honest now deny it. But the body of the brethren here had not seen these letters, and in the (what I must call) audacious state of conscience the leaders were in, I should have been challenged to produce them. Here their case broke down in April, because McA. had seen them and put them to silence. Each Sunday was as regularly N. and H. as in the establishment, and everybody knew it: there was no arrangement written - nothing to be proved. A poor man gave out a hymn, no one would raise it: whose fault was that? At length the facts were not denied, but they were said to be accidents; though N. had told me at the Bristol meeting that his principles were changed, and B. had been reasoning with me on the ground of it, and declaring the brethren elsewhere who sought to serve the saints cyphers, and five cyphers never could make one unless they were regularly recognised. The persons in authority had been named by Mr. N. here as those he recognised and none else. The Friday meeting had been broken up, and Mr. S., owning there ought to be one, said he could not move in it because Mr. N. would have only those he chose, and it would produce a rupture with him. It had been openly taught by N. and B. that the Lord did not now use poor uneducated men, as those He chose before His resurrection, but after that, such as Paul, Luther and Calvin, Wesley and Whitfield, and myself now. It came to such a point, preventing people speaking in the room, that S. called it jockeyship; now I confess to you in what professes to be a meeting where the blessed God is, I do not like going on with jockeyship. But what could be proved here? Some one got up too quick, that was all - and perhaps did it in a case where the majority would go with him as to the effect, keeping down some speaker they did not like; and in the particular case the sisters had already tried to silence him by making a noise with their feet. The Holy Ghost was totally disowned, the body of the poor miserable, and utterly despised and rejected. But I did not leave for all this. It was when all remedy for this was rejected with scorn, that I then said I could not stay. Every attempt by -, -, etc., and others to investigate the evil before the brethren has been rejected. You may well suppose the difficulty of dealing with facts before the body, that it was constantly denied in toto, in the face of a settled arrangement (not in words but in fact) to speak alternate Sundays, that anybody was hindered - and at least three cases of prevention by the authority of Mr. N. and those he employed. And as to those without, when S. pressed their having kept away Bellett, and that he felt they had sinned, Mr. N. said - on his asking could he acquiesce in his coming now - he thought he could, because all were sufficiently made up now to resist his teaching. But on the avowed principle of clericalism it was peremptorily refused to let the brethren judge anything about the matter.

If scripture warrants me to separate from the worst evil as to corporate action I ever met, then I am sanctioned in separating from this. If the unity of the church is to be the sanction of evil, we are landed in Rome at once. It was taught (not here) that in reference to the noble Bereans, that was Jews searching the Jewish scriptures, and that now God had raised up gifts and teaching, it was quite otherwise. Besides, there are things that sicken one, which you cannot say much about. I never, in all my experience in and out of the church, really met so little truth and straightforwardness; and nothing could be proved which had been said and done twenty times over, unless you had witnesses by, and then others were ready to say it was something else. I would not have stayed in it, my dear -, if I were to walk alone and have no church at all to the end of my days. But God has ordered it otherwise, and given exceeding peace and quietness to those who have through grace delivered their souls from it. I have no doubt a direct power and delusion of the enemy was there, from which we have been rescued by the Lord's goodness, and are in the blessing and liberty of the Spirit of God, though poor and feeble. The visit of the brethren has, I think, to any heedful mind, left no doubt as to the standing of Ebrington Street. Romans 16:17, is just what I acted upon, on coming to Plymouth. The denouncing of godly brethren as subverting the gospel, by letters sent to India, Canada, Ireland, and everywhere, and hindering any teachers not ready to receive N.'s views coming here as far as they could, and making a focus of Plymouth, was causing divisions. And it was just - though I shrank from using such a hard word - 3 John 9, 10 that was precisely going on at Plymouth. No calumny was too bad to cast on the most godly brethren, to discredit them and hinder their coming here. I dare say if I had apostolic power I might have acted more efficiently, but I have not a regret or a cloud on my mind as to my path being where I was, save that I might have left in April. The Lord never roused the conscience of the body till I left.

But I close: I am most sorry to rake up what this letter does (as I have only mentioned things just as they occurred to me to satisfy your mind) without trying to make out all: for many to me most material things I have not mentioned as to facts and evil - but sorry, because the truth is we, who are come out, have our minds with the happy testimony of the Holy Ghost, completely clear of all this, do not ever think of it, and have no need to think of it any more. This has been one of the happy features, the subdued, happy, gracious spirit of those who have left; we are in another world as to our minds.

Affectionately yours, dear brother.

Poor dear Mrs. N. is very ill - I suppose dying off, but peaceful. But there is nothing now to distress her. She is now quite peaceful, I hear.

Plymouth, January 20th, 1846.