Brethren, life in bondage. Book eight. (Brethren life in bondage 8)

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As has occurred in other tight, sectarian circles, a serious error was introduced and forced upon the simple believers by the overseeing caste.


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Needed Truth Brethren were told that they must not address the Lord Jesus in worship, as worship had to be addressed only to the Father. This rule is still enforced amongst them and must be regarded as a grave departure from God's will "that all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father. Worship is the expression of this honour and therefore must be paid to the Son in like degree as to the Father. So far as can be ascertained, the Needed Truth brethren have much decreased in numbers since their beginnings, and their few meetings are predominantly in Northern England.

Andrew Miller's book "The Brethren", has shown us the happy and flourishing state of those who had rejected the "Open" principles and had carried on in the old paths. We have seen something of their unworldliness, hunger for the Word alone and zeal for the Gospel, and how the Lord blessed them by giving light as to the truth, increase in numbers and a harvest of precious souls.

It should be noted, incidentally, that the term "Exclusive" was first applied to them by their opponents. They accepted the description gradually, because they said it was a right thing to be exclusive of evil, but no well-instructed brother would have agreed that it was the name of the company. They knew no name but Christ - so they were Christians. They had no desire to be called by the name of any merely human person or any system of doctrine.

The very use of the capital B in "Brethren" is not strictly accurate, as it implies a brotherhood distinct from other believers. Yet in a history such as this it is necessary to use certain terms in order to avoid long and tedious circumlocutions of words in describing believers who gathered in various ways and places.

A Word Of Explanation

One apologises for this, but it is due to the ruin that has come in. The story of the "Exclusive Brethren" is a very sad one.

One can see the activity of the enemy of souls, working secretly while men slept, working as an angel of light and even latterly as a roaring lion. With our eyes opened after the even it, we can see how even the most godly and discerning men did not perceive what he was doing, until the harm had become cumulative and obvious to all but the blinded. It is plain that some of the pristine purity and unworldliness of these brethren was becoming tarnished by the 's. Many had come in who had not experienced fully the original exercises. Wigram who died in , observed "we had to pray out the truth upon our knees in persevering prayer, but now it can be bought up cheaply.

Because of the great increase in the numbers of meetings, further light was being sought as to the Scriptural principles in the practical administration of the assembly. It was observed - firstly it is believed by G. Wigram -that Scripture always speaks of the church singular of a town regardless of the number of gatherings in it, but the churches plural of a province or country.

The House of Bondage

From this it was inferred that the local church of a town consisted of all the true Christians in that town, and were to be regarded as the local gathering for the purposes of administration. The different sects and systems made this impossible, but those gathered out of these systems must obey the true scriptural principles for themselves, and act as the whole local church would have acted if failure had not come in. So it was put into practice that all meetings in one town were to regard themselves as a single unit for purposes of reception, discipline and other administration.

Now this, no doubt, was based on true scriptural precedent, but they did not take account of the vast difference between the ancient towns and cities in the Scriptures and the conurbations and giant towns of today. A lot or argument and difference of opinion developed as to the practical problems relating to the meetings in the huge town of London. In New Testament times, cities were small enough for a man to walk from one end to the other in 10 to 15 minutes, while between the cities there was such poor transport that a visit to the neighbouring town would take a lot of travelling time.

It was quite natural, therefore, that the Christians in a single town would consult together on everything, regardless of the fact that they may have met in different houses for the study of the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship breaking of bread and prayers. Darby, by then aged and greatly revered, was very keen that the church in London should regard itself as one unit, although he advocated that the meetings in outlying districts such as Croydon, which were not in the geographical boundaries of London, should be pruned off.

He said that they had been allowed in the "parent body" while they were small and new, but should now become churches in their own right. He seemed to regard any attack on the conception of one local church in London as advocating independent churches. It is not clear why he thought so. Could not the single unit have been the church in a borough?

The outcome of all this was that brethren representative of some 26 London meetings used to meet regularly on Saturday nights in a room at London Bridge and later at Cheapside. These meetings were meant to be channels of communication only. As they were not the local church, but only representative brethren, they were not expected to bind or loose anything but merely to pass on and receive information to and from their respective gatherings. But they soon began to recommend decisions, even if they could not ratify them, and in practice a decision taken at Cheapside would be accepted without question, especially on minor details.

Also the Park St. There was a monthly brothers' meeting at Park St. It was the seed of an ecclesiastical hierarchy that would become full-grown one day. We shall see how it developed as we continue our history. On August 22nd. This local division was the focal point of the general division of , and we would like to have spared our readers all the details that led up to the Ramsgate spilt. Nevertheless, to get a true picture, we feel that some explanation of the quarrel at Ramsgate must be attempted so we give the following account of the events that preceded it.

The meeting at Ryde, Isle of Wight, was reputed to be in a poor spiritual condition. In they received a brother T. Years later this became known in other meetings, and many being unhappy about the unrighteousness of this brother's act, the Ryde meeting in censured T. He withdrew from fellowship the next year but was not put out. Many including Mr. Kelly who made his views quite plain felt that the Ryde meeting should have cleared itself by declaring T.

Some seceded from the Ryde meeting and set up another table at the Masonic Hall. This, however, was considered a divisive act by the other meetings in the Isle of Wight and they continued to recognise the original meeting at the Temperance Hall. Now aged Dr. Cronin who broke bread at the meeting in Kennington, London, and had been one of the original brethren who broke bread at Dublin in when a medical student, got it into his head that he would force brethren to recognise the meeting at the Masonic Hall.

Listen Now

Accordingly on February 8th he went down to Ryde and broke bread with the Masonic Hall brethren and, against the advice of his great friend, J. One wonders why he thought this would move the brethren to change their minds and be inclined towards the Masonic Hall. It certainly did not do so, and many in London called upon Kennington to discipline the aged doctor. This Kennington was unwilling to do, but they disavowed all association with the Masonic Hall, Ryde.

One feels surprised at the demand that was made by the leaders in London to excommunicate Dr Cronin in view of his age and previous godly walk. Surely some concession should be made to old age in view of the scriptural command to honour white hair.


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It is well known that some in extreme old age get obsessions and small delusions even though their intelligence does not seem otherwise impaired. Surely love and respect should pass over the indiscretions of aged brethren, even though they would not be excused in younger men. There seems to have been a lack of love in the attitude towards Dr Cronin. One feels that a declaration that Dr Cronin's course made no difference to the judgment of brethren as to Ryde, should have been sufficient to maintain godly order.

When Kennington has hesitated to put out Dr Cronin for several months, on Tuesday August 19th , a meeting of the assembly at Park Street was held in which the brethren decided that Kennington assembly had been apathetic too long and declared Dr Cronin out of fellowship thus disowning those who sympathised with him.

Brethren, Life In Bondage Series by F.B. Peaches

This declaration was posted immediately to various country meetings in the surrounding counties including Ramsgate. However, on that very same evening, another meeting had been held at Kennigton, in which it was decided to put Dr Cronin out of fellowship, quite without knowledge of the decision at Park St. Consequently at the Cheapside meeting on Saturday, it was accepted that the Park St.

Thus sadly did Dr Cronin end his long association with his brethren.

998 Acts 6, 7 Chronological Bible (Stephen)

The Lord took him to Himself in February at 81 years of age. A difference of opinion arose and many of the brethren there, feeling that they must act immediately in line with Park St.

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Those brethren who separated in line with Park St. When the Guildford Hall faction heard of the annulment of the Park St.

This condition the Guildford Hall brethren were not willing to accept. We will not weary readers with the fourteen face-saving proposals and counter-proposals put forward by the two companies during the next two years. It is sufficient to say there was clear evidence of fleshly pride working on both sides.

Finally Guildford Hall commended a brother to Park St. Park St. Guildford Hall was eventually recognised as the "true company", which could have been predicted, as Guildford Hall had made the division through its loyalty to Park St in the first place.

William Kelly of the Blackheath meeting, however, together with many others, was by no means happy about this decision as he favoured Abbotts Hill. It is clear that Mr Kelly had been sympathetic to Dr.