Brethren Archive

Anna Maria Elizabeth Stoney

Born: 12th August 1838
Died: 21st February 1936
Appears in Stoney / Elwood

Intro, Biographical Information, Notes etc:


Brief Notes of the Last Days of Miss A. M. S.
ON February 21st, 1936, a beloved sister in the Lord, Miss Α. M. Stoney, departed to be with Christ.  Βοrn on August 12th, 1839, she was in her ninety-seventh year when she died at her home in Filey, Yorkshire.
For some months, she had been failing in bodily strength.  Her mental faculties were but little diminished, except for some loss of memory, a symptom common to extreme old age.
To the last, Miss S. retained her belief in the fundamental principles of the divine revelation of God in His Eternal Son, and she delighted to speak of the Lord Jesus in these days of failure and declension, as "The Holy and the True."  Having in her mind, too, the words of the Lord Jesus to the seven churches (Rev. ii.—iii.), and the downward course of the church as therein set out, with the introduction of error and the giving up of the truth; His words produced a great impression upon her, especially His exhortation to "hold fast," repeated three times.
Miss S. spoke of Philadelphia as "the last hold fast."  Her great thought was that by holding fast, saints would become "overcomers."  She loved to speak of those whom she called "holy men," men such as J.N.D., G.V.W., J.G.Β., and others whom she knew intimately in her young days, and by whom the Lord recovered truth which for centuries had been covered up by error.  Their lives and example exercised great influence upon her, and the Christ in glory Whom they knew was the One she knew, and of Whom she loved to hear and tο speak.
Miss S. was very fond of a story which she herself told concerning a gardener and his wife whom she knew in Ireland.  They were in very poor circumstances, and the husband was often depressed by reason of the roughness of the way.  At such times, the dear old wife used tο try to help him by saying, "Keep your eye on the glory, William, or you'll never get through!"  These words of the old saint cheered Miss S. many a time, as well as those to whom she repeated them.
As the years passed, she often said, "Ι don't know why the Lord has left me here in my helpless old age and in this position of isolation."   Writing to one of her old friends a few years ago, she said, "I do pray that if it be His will, the Lord will not leave me here till all my friends that have prayed for me have gone.   But my consolation is, that I shall meet them all again.  Like the fragments which were gathered up after the multitude had been fed, nothing will be lost."
She felt more keenly than any can know, the forsaking of οld friends simply because she could not give up the precious truths which the Lord made good in her soul during those ninety-seven years.  Those who visited her, saw her sorrow and its effect upon her, but "keeping her eye on the glory," she held fast," and encouraged others to do the same.  She seldom wrote to any without some reference to "overcomers."
She loved, too, to speak of the thief on the cross, and of the Lord's words to him, "Today, thou shalt be with Me in Paradise."  What is Paradise?  With Me.  What is "with Me?"  Paradise.
It was very remarkable that when the undertaker came to attend to her body, he said, "What a beautiful face! that is the face of an overcomer."  It was all the more remarkable because, so far as was known, she was an entire stranger to him.
The interment took place at Scarborough on February 25th.  Many brethren from various parts attended to have fellowship in this last service to the Lord with regard to the departed sister.  The family mourners were a niece and a nephew of Miss S.  With them was Mrs. G., who had been with her for many years, and had also nursed her father (the late J.B.S.)
The funeral service commenced with the beautiful hymn, "Thou art the Everlasting Word," a hymn singularly appropriate to the occasion.  The prayer that followed dwelt upon the greatness of the Person of the Lord Jesus, the Everlasting Word, the Eternal Son, the revelation of divine love in Him, His lowly grace, and His victory over death.
A brother then read John xvii., which he said was a favourite Scripture with the departed one.  In his frequent visits to her, when asked if she would like him to read to her, the reply was, "Yes. John xvii." [Also a favourite of her father]
Another brother spoke upon verse 24 of the same chapter.  Part of J.N.D.'s hymn, "O Lord, Thy love's unbounded," was sung.  This hymn was a favourite with Miss S., and she had it at her bedside.   It was said that the lines, "Yet sure if in Thy presence, My soul still constant were," were among the last words she uttered.  After a further hymn and prayer, the service was concluded.
Those present felt it to have been a privilege tο
have part in laying tο rest one whom the Lord had been pleased tο use as a standard-bearer in these days of unhappy conflict with regard to His Eternal Sonship.
"The Bible Monthly" 1936

Gregory B. said ...
Your year born at the top does not agree with the write-up just below.
Tuesday, Jul 19, 2022 : 11:38
Nick Fleet said ...
1839 is consistent with 1921 Census data and other census information.
Tuesday, Jul 19, 2022 : 16:16
Roger Holden said ...
Presumably at the time of her death she was meeting with the Kelly Brethren, since ‘The Bible Monthly’ is listed on this web-site as a Kelly Brethren publication. This obituary refers to the conflict as to the Eternal Son and that she retained in ‘the divine revelation of God in His Eternal Son’. She had left the Taylor Brethren after Taylor had denied the Eternal Sonship in 1929, although it has been said that she had always looked on Taylor with suspicion. As Raven is not mentioned here, possibly her suspicion extended to him.
Tuesday, Jul 19, 2022 : 17:55
Jonathan said ...

My understanding (via an in-law's aunt, who crossed paths with in AMS in AMS's old age and the aunt's youth), she was with Glanton brethren (EDIT: after leaving the Taylor fellowship).

EDIT: I do not think it was uncommon for differing brethren circles to publish approving obituaries of the recently departed even though not in practical fellowship.

Tuesday, Jul 19, 2022 : 19:11
Mark said ...

"As Raven is not mentioned here, possibly her suspicion extended to him."

That "Raven is not mentioned" and the vague "possibly" are hardly proof that Miss Stoney's "suspicion extended to him."

Documentation points to her father J Butler Stoney having confidence in the teachings of Mr Raven, writing in support of him on the questions of Eternal Life, and the Incarnation and Manhood of Christ. 

See "Letters, J B Stoney, Volume 1 (New Edition)" pages 106 to 115 with regard to the former, and pages 123 to 135 regarding the latter.

If AMES had suspicions of FER then she was not in agreement with, and by implication, suspicious of her father, JBS. Is there any evidence of this?

Tuesday, Jul 19, 2022 : 23:05
Martin Arhelger said ...
I think that Mrs. Stoney was in the Raven-Taylor-Fellowship until the new Taylor-hymn-book (which deleted all references to Christ’s eternals Sonship) came out in 1932.
In a letter (E. N. Cross collection) dated 23rd December 1932 to A. H. Lycett Mrs. Stoney wrote: “I hope you do not accept the new Hymn Book. I think it is the worst blot on the testimony of brethren in the last 100 years. . . . How can a man who has ever sung in the Spirit in the worship of nearness and praise—ever use that book. I don't know. I'm too feeble to get out but they tell me that brethren do not accept it, and often one gives out a hymn, like 61, Mr Bevir's, and when he comes to that wicked change he shuts his eyes and the book. What must the angels think? and where is the Holy Spirit in that singing?”

The letter shows that Mrs. Stoney was too old to leave the communion with the Taylors. But she was excommuicated, soon:
“Just after the issue of the Revised Hymn Book, from which every mention of the eternal Sonship had been expunged, Mr. Lawrence of Bath wrote of the Taylor system . . . Mr. Lawrence quotes the case of Miss Stoney, daughter of J.B.S., who, on refusing the ‘new light’ was excommunicated from the Taylor system. It was reported at that time that J.T. had said that Miss Stoney must be crushed.” (An examination of AJGs Recovery and Maintenance of the Truth, pages 10 - 11)
Wednesday, Jul 20, 2022 : 01:47
Rodger said ...
Is there a digital version of the “Examination” document that you quote from, Martin? I would be interested in reading that.
Wednesday, Jul 20, 2022 : 09:05
Joshua said ...
Can you kindly share " An examination of AJG's Recovery and Maintenance of the Truth".
Wednesday, Jul 20, 2022 : 12:38
Nick Fleet said ...
Thank's Martin, I think you are correct - I was trying to find the reference to that letter to Mr Lycett. Her comments about hymn 61 seem to show she must have been in meetings where the '32 edition was used. The situation was well-known in Glanton circles so I assume she had some dealings with them in the last 4 years of her life. There was a Glanton meeting in Filey at the time.
Wednesday, Jul 20, 2022 : 16:59
Mark said ...

I have a copy of AJG's "Recovery and Maintenance of the Truth" in which he seeks to prove that his company of "Brethren" was the only one that had been right all along - at least until 1960 that is. One wonders what he would have had to say by 1970.

Whatever the rights or wrongs with regard to "Glanton," there seems to be a reluctance among those in the various fragments of "London" - otherwise later known as "Taylor Exclusive Brethren" - to judge the line taken afterwards.

This is not only with regard to the denial of Christ's eternal sonship, but also other matters such as the addressing of the Holy Spirit, both of which were incorporated into subsequent editions of the "Little Flock" hymnbook. 

As to the "Examination" referred to above, it would be interesting if this were made available, as also concrete evidence of the statement referred to above, that is, "J.T. had said that Miss Stoney must be crushed.”

The story abounds that it was Mr Raven who introduced among "Brethren" the denial of Christ's eternal sonship The seems to be based on (1) a fragment of a sentence taken out of context and (2) that JT says he learnt non-eternal sonship from FER - but then again, he tried to justify his doctrine from comments in the writings of JND.

If FER denied the eternal sonship of Christ, why did Miss Stoney not notice it back then in the 1890s, rather than after the "Barnet" reading of June 1929, finding its way into the revised hymnbook of 1932?

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2022 : 21:07
Ja said ...
Friday, Jul 22, 2022 : 03:30
J said ...
I understand that when FER returned from USA in 1902 he was met by a number of well taught brothers who told him if the remarks concerning our Lord's Eternal Sonship appeared in print, he would split the brethren. He replied that the remarks would not be printed. This was said by an eye witness namely E Rubie. Jack
Friday, Jul 22, 2022 : 03:42
Martin Arhelger said ...


I know what you have written from a Dutch History of the Brethren written by W. J. Ouweneel (vol. II, p. 143) which I try to translate from Dutch to English:  “In 1929 (...), James Taylor claimed that the idea that Christ's Sonship began only at the Incarnation had been expressed by Raven in America as early as 1902 but had not been included in the printed notes. Indeed, Raven's wild outbursts were always anxiously sifted, especially by T.H. Reynolds. A certain B.C. Rubie mentions how he witnessed Raven being severely challenged by some of the older brethren outside the conference room at Quemerford shortly afterwards. D. L. Higgins said to him: ‘Raven, if you insist on teaching this [i.e. that Christ was only Son from the Incarnation], you will divide the brethren all over the world,’ to which Raven replied: ‘Very well, then none of this will appear in the published notes of the meetings.’ {Footnote: G.A. Lucas, The Sonship of Christ (pamphlet, not published, 1969)}, Similarly, comments attacking Christ's eternal Sonship were deleted from the record of a Bible discussion at Rochester, N.Y., Oct. 1898; but according to a letter from J.S. Allen (included in Letters of F.E.R., p. 146-147) who accompanied Raven on his trip, Raven had remarked there, ‘... that none of these titles ['Son of God' or 'the Son'] are applied to Him in Scripture until incarnation, and therefore we are not authorised to carry these titles back to eternity.’ “

I do not have this text by G. A. Lucas “The Sonship of Christ”. But according to this text is stored in the Brethren Collection in the Library of Manchester in Box 13, item 3. Is anyone able to make a copy of this text for us?


P. S. I add the original Duch text: “In 1929 (. . .) beweerde James Taylor dat de gedachte dat Christus’ Zoonschap pas bij de vleeswording begon, al in 1902 door Raven in Amerika geuit was maar niet in de gedrukte aantekeningen was opgenomen. Inderdaad werden Ravens wilde ontboezemingen altijd angstvallig gezift, vooral door T.H. Reynolds. Een zekere B.C. Rubie vermeldt hoe hij meemaakte dat Raven kort nadien, tijdens een conferentie in Quemerford, buiten het lokaal ernstig werd aangesproken door een aantal oudere broeders. D.L. Higgins zei tegen hem: ”Raven, als je erop staat dit te leren [nl. dat Christus pas Zoon was vanaf de vleeswording], zul je de broeders over de hele wereld in tweeën scheuren”, waarop Raven antwoordde: ”Heel goed, dan zal niets daarvan in de gepubliceerde aantekeningen van de samenkomsten verschijnen”. {G.A. Lucas, The Sonship of Christ (gestencilde brochure, 1969)} Evenzo werden opmerkingen die Christus’ eeuwig Zoonschap aantastten, geschrapt uit het verslag van een bijbelbespreking te Rochester (N.Y.), okt. 1898; maar blijkens een brief van J.S. Allen (opgenomen in Letters of F.E.R., p. 146v.) die Raven op zijn reis vergezelde, had Raven daar opgemerkt: ”... dat geen van deze titels [’Zoon van God’ of ’de Zoon’] op Hem worden toegepast in de Schrift tot op de vleeswording, en daarom zijn we niet gerechtigd deze titels terug te voeren tot in de eeuwigheid”.

Friday, Jul 22, 2022 : 15:42
Martin Arhelger said ...

I was asked about the text “An examination . . .”. I put it (for a time) here:

I presume the text was printed on a 24-pin printer but should be readable. I do not know the author who is only given as “R.”. From the last line I take that he departed on March 19th 1971. This might help to identify him.


Friday, Jul 22, 2022 : 15:49
Hierus said ...
The author of the cited paper is Wm C. Reid from Edinburgh, the editor of An Outline of Sound Words.
Friday, Jul 22, 2022 : 18:42
Martin Arhelger said ...

Thank you!
Yes, W. C. Reid departed on March19th 1971, see the end of this webpage:

So the author was William C. Reid, a leader with "Little Glanton". Is there more known of him?

Friday, Jul 22, 2022 : 20:57
Mark said ...

If FER did teach that "Christ was only Son from the Incarnation" (and I take the supplied evidence into account), then he had changed his mind having once written, 'I should say that if a man intended to deny the Eternal Sonship of Christ I should certainly not care to remain in fellowship with him - for "the Son" is the name that conveys to me the idea of the distinct personality of Christ.' Again, 'He is always the eternal Son. He could not be anything else.' He was therefore going against his earlier teaching.

JT, as early as 1920 stated in a letter, "The only begotten Son refers to our Lord as Man." However, it was not until June 1929 at Barnet that he taught it publicly. Interestingly, then DLH took on board the doctrine of the non-eternal sonship of Christ.

I add that JT refers in quite a number of his letters to JND's "Notes and Comments," volume 7, page7. In one letter he audaciously claims, "But no unbiased person who carefully reads them will fail to see that Mr. Darby's mature thoughts bore the same direction as current teaching among us."

I must be a biased person! I suggest it was JT who did not carefully read these "Notes and Comments." Of course the Word was not recognised as "the only-begotten Son" until after He became flesh. That, among other things, was the very reason for the Incarnation.

Miss Stoney's concern about the changes to the hymnbook to accommodate this "current teaching" is quite justified. If FER's change in direction on the sonship of Christ was only known by few and kept a carefully guarded secret, by the 1930s "incarnational sonship" was now the official doctrine of the "London" brethren, and sadly is maintained by their publishing houses to this day.

Friday, Jul 22, 2022 : 22:55
Kappa said ...
It has come to light that the “ Brief Notes of the Last Days of Miss A. M. S.” published in “The Bible Monthly” is an edited and abridged version.

A comparison of the two versions demonstrate that there was unnecessary and unjustifiable editorial interference in the published account.

The original typescript account was jointly written by two brethren having the initials E.A.P.C and C.W.W.

Is anyone able to identify the names of the two brethren?

Saturday, Aug 27, 2022 : 05:41
Jonathan said ...
Surely a comparison of the two versions can only highlight what the differences are, and not demonstrate that those differences were unnecessary or unjustifiable. Would you be able to explain what these differences are?
Saturday, Aug 27, 2022 : 06:22
Roger Holden said ...
Is the original typescript available? Can it be digitised and posted here? Editors often edit things for space reasons.
Sunday, Aug 28, 2022 : 04:46

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