Brethren Archive
10th November 1847

Letter to W.H. Darby

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[Letter addressed to]

William Henry Darby


near Constance

en Suisse

via France

5 Conduit St West 10 Nov [18]47

sent off 11th

Beloved Brother

I was at Windsor visiting the dear aged Bagsters & their Daughters on Monday (the day y[ou]r letter arrived) – yesterday I was occupied mostly in the city where I procured the enclosed Tracts which to day I have been clipping to reduce postage thereon & am now about to dispatch – I have added by desire of G.V.W the last tract of J.N.D. making *[*none to be had in French] 5 in all _ I fear the postage will be heavy — my reference to violent coarse language, did not include these two Tracts which I have not read (my eye was caught however by words in the introduction of one of them which grieves me exceedingly) but to the habitual practice of J.N.D (& also of G.V.W. in measure) in speaking & writing of B.W.N _ I feel assured that the Holy Spirit is grieved by it _ that the Saints are grieved _ many of them consequently with drawn from communion & that Unity instead of being promoted is greatly hindered by it _ oh how contrary to the meekness & gentleness of Christ _ I believe that this unChristian procedure caused very many to go to the rescue of B W N as an injured oppress’d man, who otherwise might ’ere this have been brought to see his errors _ it may be dullness of perception but I really do not see “the poisonous serpent like error” to the extent which you & others discover in the recent publications _ & therefore [sc. I] cannot


consent to brand him as an intentional deceiver – a hypocrite – utterly dishonest &c &c still less as some do, doubt his ever having been converted _ & throw him & his associates & all they of Eb[ringto]n St[reet] overboard as it were _ Oh that I c[oul]d hear continual fervent prayer in our assemblies for them & all who have in any way swerved from the straight & narrow way _ alas they are seldom even alluded to _ oh for the restoring spirit of meekness – alas how we sin ag[ain]st the Lord in ceasing to pray for the wanderers _ The good Shepherd has more joy over one such recovered strayer than all the other 99. _ Beloved I am sick at heart with Brethrens doings & must I believe return to comparative privacy amongst the few poor ones at Lynton or elsewhere _ The Lord bless & comfort & sustain thee in thy isolated service of love & work of faith amongst those benighted R[oman] C[atholics] & give thee many of their souls – my love in the Lord to thy dear fellow labourer (a propos who was the “true yoke fellow” of Paul in 3rd Philipp[ian]s 4 v [sc. 4th Phil 3v]) may you be happy together in the Lord in your work _ much prayer I hope goes up for you both for I read that part of thy letter in the Hackney, Orchard St & Rawstorne St rooms _ the dear Dormans move to Highgate (D.V.) in a few days – he stirred us up 2 nights ago on the Lord’s coming sweetly. I heard dear Kelly also thereon last night for the 4th time. He is lecturing on the B[oo]k of Revel[ation]. _ deeply taught of God & sweetly humble & unpretending. I entreated you 4 y[ea]rs ago & again by the Walthers (wh[o] took it with them) to read his Book – but not one word of notice was ever returned me. When I acknowledge a Bro[the]rs or any Correspond[en]ts Letter I place it open before me (as your last is now) while writing. I expected a better reason from you for abandoning an opinion than that “J.N.D was ag[ain]st it.” _ he is certainly mighty in the S[acred] S[criptures] _ I honour & love him exceedingly, but have long thought he lamentably fails in deference to the judgm[en]ts of others _ very natural this to a master mind like his – but not according to The Master _ still he may be quite right as to the verse in question – as to myself I note all you say & desire to profit thankfully by it _ but don’t see that “The Lord has settled my place for the moment”. I had no intention to continue in dear D[avid] W[alther]’s rooms thus long, but want of scrip to move, exemption from rent (save that still incurred at Lynton) & some little service to dear DW have constrained me to abide _ it is however too dissipating to profit the communion-places far apart – eyes – ears – senses & yet ever letting in that which defileth. I have scrip now & hope soon to leave Babylon [sc.?London] (perhaps for Guernsey where an old favourite I hear is Sister Fortescue & a spiritual bro[the]r Kelly & dear humble Cha[rle]s Pridham, or possibly the Isle of Wight where dear Dr Wilkie & Br[other, Sir Charles] Brenton & 2 Scottish cousins of mine, or peradventure Weymo[uth] where dear [James] Deck (now delivered from Newtonianism, I hear) & Jellicoe are _ pray for my right guidance as D.W[alther] is hourly expected I wait their return _ his last [letter] was Augsburg 25th _ & my last to him Hanover


Oh yes Beloved our Business is “the stepping more & more out of the World” walking really as Pilgrims & Strangers – Lights – Witnesses – Heralds – Living Epistles of Xt but alas tho mercifully so extricated as to outward circumstances - Food & Raiment _ neither Poverty nor Riches. I find no power to manifest this Heavenly Citizenship – this separatedness to God _ this unearthliness – & tho’ all seem to excel me, I see none who appear to come up to the standard which Scripture sets so strongly before us. How is it Beloved that there is such weakness, failure, lack of love, of zeal, of conformity to Christ our Lord – is this to continue – are we to go dwindling down to the end – dotted here & there in 2’s & 3’s till The Master come & we hear the Shout[?] (will any hear it but those who are to go up – will the World hear or know otherwise than not finding us – will unwatchful worldly Xt[ia]ns who deny the coming be left longer on the Earth & so come in for the heavy trials– are these among thy Secrets?) Oh for stedfast, unmov[a]ble, abounding in The Lord’s work – you say “I see you in a most happy position” alas I see myself most unprofitable vile, loathsome, a freed man so to speak & yet doing nothing– the Church ruined – smashed, corrupted – the World running headlong to destruction – and I looking on in comparative apathy instead of throwing the rope, – sounding the tocsin – hoisting the Beacon – urging escape from the coming wrath – truly I am ashamed of myself – tis happy that God sees me in Xt, however – but yet I w[oul]d in “some small degree return His love again” – pray for me – love to dear Mary – let her not be beguiled by these attractive nuns, but hold fast the truth, for I trust dear soul she knows Him who is The Way, The Truth & The Life _ to Eliza also – I hope to be very kind in writing to dearest Jon[atha]n when my unready pen will move – you say nothing about the Papers now arriving _ I hope they do – do you like the Britannia? Now Beloved Farewell in The Lord – i.e. abide in Him. Affectly thine Wm M.D

[Addendum 1]

Beloved what secrets I know’ these are thy words & I answerlet me share with thee Beloveddon’t eat thy precious morsels alone – our beloved Bro[the]r Paul had secrets also – truly well worth knowing _ & he graciously promulgated them – as “Behold I shew you a secret” “this I say unto you by The Word of the Lord” &c &c telling us what had been kept secret since the World began – so pray let out a little of what thou has received to thy poor Brother.

[Addendum 2]

J.N.D at Glastonbury a few days ago _ thence going to Yorkshire I believe _ & then to London for the Continent – such is the on dit

Timothy Stunt said ...
There are numerous questions arising from this letter – not least the identity of the writer. Likewise I am mystified by the 'secrets' which WHD appears to have mentioned in a previous letter. More pressing is the question where and how (or even whether) WHD received the letter. I can find nowhere in Switzerland near Constanz named Salzberg; and the city of Salzburg is in Austria nowhere near Constanz. WHD's continental ministry is usually associated with Germany (or the German Confederation, prior to 1866) but not Switzerland. Timothy Stunt
Friday, Apr 23, 2021 : 00:28
Michael Schneider said ...

Thank you so much for your transcription, Timothy! I had also started working on one, but you beat me to it ☺️

I believe the words on the crease between images 5 and 6 should be "to the extent which you & others":

And the very last word should perhaps be "on dit" instead of "order"?

Salzberg seems to be a mountain near Konstanz where there used to be a hospital and later a country house (and perhaps other buildings). Today it is part of the district "Petershausen-Ost", and there is still a street called "Auf dem Salzberg". Of course Konstanz does not belong to Switzerland (though it is directly on the Swiss border).

Here is a map from 1880 (

Friday, Apr 23, 2021 : 02:11
Timothy Stunt said ...
Hats off! to Michael Schneider who is a past master at deciphering apparently illegible conundra! I'm sure 'on dit' is right, though I've never previously encountered that usage of the French phrase! The geographical solution is also convincing. Perhaps it was in the 'hospital' in Salzberg that Mary Darby was in danger of being 'beguiled' by 'attractive nuns'. Thank-you again! Timothy Stunt
Friday, Apr 23, 2021 : 03:46
Tom said ...

According to David Walther lived at  5 Conduit Road West for a while, so assume if correct that William M..D was staying with him when the letter was sent, which makes identifying him harder still. 

Friday, Apr 23, 2021 : 04:36
Timothy said ...
My impression is that Wm M.D was 'house sitting' for DW while DW was away. This would explain 'exemption from rent' and 'some little service to dear DW'. Clearly DW is away, his last letter having apparently been posted in Augsburg. . . Timothy Stunt
Friday, Apr 23, 2021 : 06:20
Samuel said ...
Most interesting to see the thoughts of the writer on eschatology. Is this the earliest hint among Brethren of the “Partial Rapture” idea?
Friday, Apr 23, 2021 : 19:46

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