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Mr. Newton* and the "Brethren"
To the Editor of the "Sword and Trowel."
From the March 1867 Sword and Trowel
Spurgeon

EAR SIR,—I have read with much satisfaction, your able remarks in the February number of the "Sword and Trowel," on the dastardly attack which has been made upon you by some of the "Brethren." They richly deserve the castigation you have given to them. It will, I hope, have the effect of putting a stop, in some measure, to the false charges and unfounded accusations which they have been in the habit of making against those who faithfully expose the dangerous tendency of their peculiar and novel doctrines. No one has done this more effectually than Mr. Newton, and, consequently, no one has suffered as he has from their systematic persecution and unprincipled statements. They have, to a great extent, succeeded in getting the brand-mark of heresy attached to his name and writings. In one of their widely circulated and calumnious pamphlets his views are described as "deep, damnable, fundamental denial of Christ;" "strange and poisonous doctrine about our Lord;" "blasphemous and heretical statements;" and he is stigmatised as "the heretic, "teacher of blasphemy;" "the false teacher;" "the evil doer." The Darbyites have been for the past eighteen years zealously engaged in carrying out a decree of their leader, in accordance with which, they labor to oppose Mr. Newton in every possible way, and perpetuate the false charges of heresy and blasphemy which have been maliciously brought against him. The case is, I believe, without a parallel. One who has recently left the Darbyites says, that his heart has been withered in this work, and that he cannot any longer pursue it.
    Any one who reads Mr. Newton's writings, soon discovers how grossly he has been misrepresented and maligned, but many implicitly believe the false statements, and are prejudiced against him and his work. Unfortunately, too, for Mr. Newton, he is generally supposed still to belong to the "Brethren," but this is altogether a mistake. Nearly twenty years ago he entirely disconnected himself from them, in consequence of the introduction of the novel views and doctrines which now peculiarly characterize them, and against which he has always strongly protested.
    I have thus referred to Mr. Newton because you have mentioned his name in your remarks in such a way as may lead to the impression that he is a leader of one party of the "Brethren." The fact is, that on almost every important point, he is altogether opposed to their views and practices. Your love of truth and righteousness will, I feel sure, readily lead you to correct the wrong impression which may thus have been formed in the minds of many of your readers.

I remain, dear Sir, yours faithfully,
John Cox, Jun.

17, Palace Gardens Villas, Kensington,
24th January, 1867.


NOTE (added by The Spurgeon Archive)

* Benjamin Wills Newton had helped found the Plymouth Brethren movement, along with John Nelson Darby. Darby later broke with Newton, and the Darbyites labeled Newton a heretic. See the footnotes we have appended to Spurgeon's original notes from the issue of The Sword and the Trowel that prompted this letter to the editor. [Back to text.]

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