Writings About G.V. Wigram: From Volume 1 on Darby

Table of Contents

1. Personally
2. Hymn Book Work
3. Scholarly Work
4. Work and Travels
5. His Expository Writings and Letters
6. Resisted Newtonism and Open Brethrenism
7. Inclusive and Exclusive
8. The Funeral of G.V. Wigram
9. Extract From a Letter of J.N. Darby From 1827


George Vicesimus Wigram (1805-1879) was given his unusual middle name, which means twentieth, because he was the twentieth child of Sir Robert Wigram and his wife, who had 10 boys and 10 girls, 210 although I have read that the total was twenty-four; besides which, the National Dictionary of Biography says that he was the fourteenth by his father' s second wife. GVW had married Fanny Bligh, who died in 1834, and subsequently married Cathrine Parnell.
T.C.F. Stunt says that GVW's father was a wealthy merchant having wharfs and warehouses, and supplying service to the British government during the Napoleonic wars. He had also been a member of Parliament and used his influence for obtaining commercial concession.
GVW was wealthy and used his money in the service of the Lord.
We turn now to an account of his conversion: Good instruction as to the contents of the Bible were mine at school, at seventeen, 'miler a John the Baptist ministry; but I never knew the gospel till, at nineteen, I went abroad, full of the animal pleasures of a military life. I and my comrade spent a long and tiring day on the field of Waterloo in June, 1824. Arriving late at night at ... I soon went to my bedroom. It struck me, will say my prayers.' It was the habit of childhood, neglected in youth. I knelt down by my bedside; but I found I had forgotten what to say. I looked up as if trying to remember, when suddenly there came on my soul a something I had never known before. It was as if some One, Infinite and Almighty, knowing everything, full of the deepest, tenderest interest in myself, though utterly and entirely abhorring everything in, and connected with me, made known to me that He pitied and loved myself. My eye saw no one; but I knew assuredly that the One whom I knew not, and never had met, had met me for the first time, and made me to know that we were together. There was a light, no sense or faculty my own human nature ever knew; there was a presence of what seemed infinite in greatness—something altogether of a class that was apart and supreme, and yet at the same time making itself known to me in a way that I as a man could thoroughly feel, and taste, and enjoy. The Light made all light, Himself withal; but it did not destroy, for it was love itself, and I was loved individually by Him. The exquisite tenderness and fullness of that love, the way it appropriated me myself for Him, in whom it all was, while the light from which it was inseparable in Him, discovered to me the contrast I had been to all that was light and love. I wept for a while on my knees, said nothing, then got into bed. The next morning's thought was, 'Get a Bible.' I got one, and it was thenceforward my handbook. My clergyman companion noticed this, and also my entire change of life and thought.
We journeyed on together to Geneva, where there was an active persecution of the faithful going on. He went to Italy, and I found my own company—stayed with those who were suffering for Christ.
I could quite now, after fifty years' trial, adopt to myself these few lines, as descriptive of that night's experience:
Christ, the Father's rest eternal,
Jesus once looked down on me,
Called me by my name external,
And revealed Himself to me.
With His whisper, light, life giving,
Glowed in me, the dark and dead;
Made me live, Himself receiving,
Who once died for me and bled.
Edward Dennett remarked:
His ministry, like his conversion, was of no ordinary kind. Like the precious stones on Aaron's breastplate, it sparkled with the varied beauties and glories of the Person of the living, glorified Christ—Christ as Son of man and Son of God. The Christ of God was his one theme. Whatever might be the Scripture preached from, the truth unfolded was always exhibited as some ray of His glory. This was the feature of his earlier, whatever his larger spiritual apprehensions in after years, as well as of his later ministry. It was, on this account, ministry of the highest kind—of the highest kind, because it bore the evident stamp of the Holy Spirit, who (said our blessed Lord) "shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you" (John 16:14).
Nor can it be forgotten that his life (as those who knew him most intimately testify) equally with his ministry was characterized by the power of the Spirit of God. In one of his addresses he says, The first impression on my heart when converted was, 'Enoch walked with God.' That was my start. 'Now then,' I said, will walk with God.' Beautiful as far as it went; but I very soon found, as Luther said to Melancthon, You will find old Melancthon stronger than young Philip.' I came to my wits' end, for I wanted a fund whence to draw so as to live it out." He found that fund; for he goes on to say, "You are unable to live out of resources in yourself—you must not act as though your life is separate; CHRIST must be the fountain."
There are two remarks GVW made which have struck me very deeply, and bows the heart in adoration and thanksgiving:
But for the incarnation of the Son of God, I should be ashamed to be a man.
... a Man upon the throne of God. Is it possible?
Having been saved while in the army, in 1826 GVW entered
Queens College, Oxford, intending to become a Church of
England clergyman. The Lord had other plans for him. There he met J. L. Harris and B. W. Newton of Exeter College. He also met JND and was instrumental in the beginnings at Plymouth. He initiated like meetings in London between 1832-1838.
I am under the impression that GVW had one child, a daughter. She died of illness, caught while nursing brethren in Christ. Hear the man of God, oh my soul, and learn from it:
It has pleased Him, verily, to permit me to be called upon to pay back a loan of His love to me. And the way in which He has wrought has been most merciful and pitiful, saying, as it were, to herself, If you know love, in that He laid down His life for you, do thou also lay down thy life for the brethren. This hindered its being an accident, as many call it. "My steps, thy steps" involves, and grows up out of, the privilege of having been made, through grace, one with Himself.
The reality that she is gone before remains, however, and through grace, by the Spirit, I justify Him in every step of the way, and cannot call it hard that He should have permitted her to go on high through nursing the sick.
We are hardly up to the mark as to walking with God down here; walking as the Lord walked.
I see this abundantly in myself as to, and under, the privileged departure of my daughter. The iron may enter into the soul—and it does in my case, and that of us all in this departure—but there should be no surprise. For two or three years she has been in work as a nurse, and been exposed in worse forms to that which the Lord was pleased to remove her by. I think she had counted the risks, and this was not the one she deprecated.
Perhaps it is my want of girdedness which makes me feel that others are not girded up, ready to depart at any moment. She and I had a talk, after I had spoken at North Row, on 1 John 3:16, and I found her mind thoroughly made up, at least so far as the theoretic and practical parts of the question.
"Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."
You may both have heard that it has pleased the Lord to call my child to Himself, and to have appointed the nursing of the sick poor, as her chariot of fire. The last Monday in April she went, hoping to save M. C.—, a nursemaid, from being overtaxed in nursing a case of malignant scarlet fever; on Tuesday night she saw she was ill; Wednesday was ailing, but about; Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, ill, and departed at 7.30 that evening. When HE told me, Saturday, 5.30 a. m., "Pray not, for I take her," I said, Not my will, but thine be done. Only enable thou me to glorify Christ therein, so shall I neither repine nor wish her back." He has been faithful as ever, and His grace perfects itself in weakness. Sorrow is selfish, and makes us turn in on self. I know that, and know too who has touched me herein. But not one single thing is displaced in heaven, but the Lord's loan to me, through 39-1/2 years, being moved up there. Till she was gone I had no idea of what she was to saints, and to many of the laboring ones too. She had got quietly into work, and had grown in grace and truth perceptibly to all around her. To me the way of her departure was a great grace, not disease accidentally contracted, but in service, and in one of danger, known danger; but her mind was made up that 1 John 3:16 meant what it did. And, grievously too, the danger on that one occasion seemed nothing compared with the other cases she had met. But the Lord's mercy is perfect. I have not the will, if I had the power, to alter one item. Thank God, I feel what He has done! but surely the Lord Jesus is welcome to the best of what He has given me, to take it back at any moment; and for herself, how much has she gained! I know many of you will sympathize with me ...
It appears that there are two hymns by his daughter, Theodora Wigram, in Hymns for the Little Flock, 1881.
A. T. Schofield said GVW was at his wedding and also commented about GVW's brother, Octavius. He wrote:
I soon came over to Ireland again, and we were married in 1871, at Cheltenham, and our wedding was graced by the presence of an old friend of my father's, a very remarkable man. His name was George Vicesimus Wigram, so called because he was the twentieth child of his mother, ten boys and ten girls.
T. F. C. Stunt quoted the following from W. Kelly, found in W. G. Turner, John Nelson Darby, p. 70 (1944):
The same visit of his [Darby's] I acted more privately (not on Mr. W. E. Gladstone, who saw and heard him then,) but on G. V. Wigram, Sir L. C. L. Brenton, B. W. Newton and W. Jarrett [sc. Jarratt] as well as others too halting in faith to make a decided stand and endure the consequences. It was characteristic of those young men that, when once at a conversazione some one remarked, `May the Lord give me a living in the beautiful country' (and he had more than his desire in a Scotch bishopric), Mr. Wigram immediately exclaimed, 'May he give me to follow and serve Him at all cost.'
T.F. C. Stunt comments:
Allowing for elements of prejudice and pious hagiography which may have found their way into this account...
G.V. Wigram had a prominent role in resisting Bethesda in 1848 and wrote numerous papers on that matter. I wonder if this accounts for TFCS's tendentious remarks about those who rejected Bethesda?

Hymn Book Work

Hymn Book Work
Regarding GVW's role in developing hymn books, A. Roach wrote:
Various hymn books were at first used among them until 1838, at which time G. V. Wigram compiled a book called "Hymns for the Poor of the Flock" (Zech. 11:7). This book had a special arrangement of hymns by category such as "Baptism," "Lord's Day," "Lord's Supper" etc. Mr. Darby makes reference to The Poor of the Flock," in his letter of October 25, 1879 (Letters of J.N.D., Vol. 3, p. 45). It contained many hymns written by the gathered saints as well as others of the Lord's people. Apparently other books were also in use among the gatherings. In 1856 Mr. Wigram was called upon to review the whole matter of hymns. We shall let him tell in his own words what took place:
Upon this let the compiler's private account of his labors be heard. I was asked in 1856 to examine carefully some hymn books which were in common use. To do so was easy; to express my judgment faithfully, and yet not invidiously, was difficult. After consideration I determined to give my judgment by this attempt at a book more suited for present need than any I know of. It rests with others to decide how far I have or have not succeeded. I may add that my rules while working were these:
Retouch as little as possible, and with as light a hand as possible;—But
Allow to remain (1) no false, no faulty, no defective doctrine—cost what it might; (2) no dispensational incongruities; (3) no want of keeping in the truth or truths stated; (4) no ambiguities between that which is and that which is not true, And
Add as many new hymns as the Lord might enable me. I now leave my labor with the Lord.
G. V. Wigram.
This book was entitled "A Few Hymns and Some Spiritual Songs (selected 1856)". It was published by Groombridge and Sons of Paternoster Row, London, England.
In the years just prior to 1881 Mr. J. N. Darby gave his attention to a revision of the 1856 hymn book. He was chiefly concerned about the lack of hymns to the Father. On June 10, 1880, he wrote:
I had been going through the hymns that we have, for a new edition, and the question of hymns to the Father presented itself, and the study of our relationship with the Father was much blessed to me, developing it to my heart. How gracious He is! (Letters, Vol. 3, p. 93).
Again in July 1881 he wrote:
Take hymns and see how many you have addressed to the Father, or which continue to have Him and not ourselves for their subject after the first verse, etc." (Letters, Vol. 3, pp. 173-174).
He therefore included in the new book these hymns to the Father: #25, 41, 50, 178, 331, and App. #7 and 48.
This edition was completed soon before his going to be with Christ, which took place April 29, 1882. It is known as "A Few Hymns and Some Spiritual Songs for THE LITTLE FLOCK" (Luke 12:32).
One of the hymns (# 330) written by GVW is this:
What raised the wondrous thought:
Or who did it suggest?
That we, the church, to glory brought,
Should WITH the Son be blest.
O God! the thought was Thine
(Thine only it could be)
Fruit of Thy wisdom, love divine
Peculiar unto Thee:
For thoughts so bold, so free,
Greatness or strength, could ever find Thine only it could be.
The motives, too, thine own,
The plan, the counsel, thine!
Made for Thy Son, bone of His bone In glory bright to shine.
O God! with great delight
Thy wondrous thoughts we see, Upon His throne in glory brought, The bride of Christ shall be.
Sealed with the Holy Ghost,
We triumph in that love,
Thy wondrous thought has made our boast "Glory WITH Christ above."

Scholarly Work

Regarding the production of the Englishman's Greek Concordance (1839; sec. ed. in 1844) and the Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance (1843), N. Noel remarked:
The plan of these Concordances was determined on, after conference with the Rev. William DeBurgh, who became the chief constructor of this invaluable work, finding the workers for the same; whilst Mr. Wigram, who was a wealthy man, provided the money for the same.
The extraordinary completeness and perfection of detail, was the result of TEN years spent in its revision by the ripest scholars in the United Kingdom; the principal Editor of the Hebrew being Dr. Bialloblotzky; a Polish rabbi of great learning; and the principal Editor of the Greek, was Dr. Tregelles.
Ten thousand pounds were spent in carrying out plans, which, for some defect, were afterward abandoned; and upwards of FIFTY thousand pounds (approximately $250,000 {in 1840 dollars]} had been freely bestowed by Mr. Wigram in biblical research, before he found himself in possession of the finished result.
Mr. Wigram, in a truly humble way, simply referred to this amount expended on this work as only passing through his hand; so truly did he regard himself as God's Steward in the matter.
The British National Dictionary of Biography says:
In 1867, with W. Chaulk, he edited 'The Hebraist's Vale Mecum,' the first attempt at a complete verbal index to the contents of the Hebrew and Chaldee Scriptures.

Work and Travels

Editorial Work and Travels
He also was the editor of the magazine, The Present Testimony (1849-1881). There are 18 vols.; the last three are New Series, the last being dated 1871-1881, two years after his death on Jan. 11, 1879 in London. The Synopsis by JND, written in French, was translated by W. Kelly and appeared serially in this magazine.
He also traveled overseas in the Lord's service as indicated in his Letters: West Indies (p. 310), Switzerland (p. 191), Quebec (p. 227, 246), Georgetown (p. 278), Boston (p. 228, 229), France (p. 257), Barbados (p. 237), New York (p. 224), New Zealand (p. 283, 317), 225 Demarara (p. 258), and Jamaica (p. 266).
P. J. Lineham (with Open Brethren) recounts an interesting incident regarding GVW's visit to New Zealand (Jan. 14, 1874—Jan. 20, 1875, except for a visit to Melbourne in March 1874):
It is said that when Wigram was disembarking from a ship during his visit one of those on board commented how "that man is very like the Lord Jesus" both in his demeanor and actions.

His Expository Writings and Letters

His Expository Writings and Letters
Articles by GVW appear in the Christian Witness (1834-1841). It is likely that some of the unsigned articles in The Present Testimony (1849-1881), which he edited, were written by him. A translation of the Psalms, using the names of God (El, Elohim, Jehovah, etc.) is found in New Series, vol. 2, which was written by him.
Edward Dennett collected together some of GVW' s papers, printed under the title, Memorials of the Ministry of G. V. Wigram (three volumes), which includes Letters of G. V. Wigram.
One of his printed lectures is: "The Coming Kingdom": being an Outline of the Revelation. Notes of Three Lectures, Delivered in Georgetown, Demarara, on the 11th, 18th, and 25th January 1876, London: Morrish.
He also wrote the following: Abraham believed God.
A Cry from Bochim.
A Few Thoughts on Confidence.
A Word on the Fellowship of Saints,... re Bethesda.
Christ, Not Brethren.
Death is ours.
Gleanings from the teaching of G.V.W.
Is it Thus with You?
Notes of three lectures. By G.V.W. Delivered in Georgetown... 1873.
Ministry of the Word.
On Heresy
On Ministry in the Word.
Our Extremity is God's Opportunity. Remarks and Notes on John's Writings.
Remarks on Thoughts on the Ruin of the Church. Two Letters, by A. Jukes
The Church: its Present State and Prospects. The Coming of the Comforter.
The Cross, the Blood, and the Death of Jesus Christ: Their Uses and Applications by the Spirit in Scripture.
The Seven Churches.
Letter dated Mar. 8, 1846 and commencing, "My Dear Brethren," 7 pages. *
A Protest Against the National Establishment of England (1831) *
Lessons from Scripture, or Recollection of Statements Once Heard with Enjoyment *
The Lord's Supper, Ordination,... No. 1: Jan 1842 and others in this Series *
The Kingdom of Heaven with Diagram * Why Four Gospels? *
* These papers I do not have. Please contact me if you can supply any.

Resisted Newtonism and Open Brethrenism

Resisted Newtonism and Open Brethrenism
In a biographical sketch of GVW, E. E. Whitfield wrote:
In the years 1845-1850 Wigram was prominently concerned in the upheaval, with its melancholy result, which, originating in Plymouth, in spreading affected Bristol in particular. His sincerity was never questioned, his motives always recognized by the late G. Muller, much to the credit of this venerated brother.
The likelihood of the last sentence being true is virtually zero. Yes, GVW was quite prominent in resisting the unfaithfulness of Bethesda and its two leaders, George Muller and Henry Craik. And how was Bethesda, Bristol "affected"? by receiving partisans of B. W. Newton in spite of opposition and warning. In volume 2 it is shown that, rather than "his motives always recognized," George Muller wanted G. V. Wigram disciplined.
As a matter of fact, GVW moved to Bristol for a period during the second half of 1848 and met with those who withdrew from Bethesda because of Bethesda's receiving BWN's partisans and for Bethesda's enunciation of a new principle of fellowship in the infamous "Letter of the Ten," signed by ten leaders at Bethesda and endorsed by most of the congregation. GVW wrote a number of valuable papers regarding these problems and volume two gives some extracts, as well as a documented history of these events.
Regarding the troubles in Plymouth, re B. W. Newton, he wrote:
Plain evidence Concerning Ebrington Street, as to the Nature of the System Now Pursued Thereby.
To those who have read Lord Congleton's tract entitled
"Reasons for leaving Rawstorne Street Meeting, London."
To the saints meeting to break bread in Rawstorne Street, Camden Town, Orchard Street, Etc.
A reason for withdrawing from Ebrington Street, Plymouth. (London).
A Letter to Lord Congleton.*
Remarks on a Paper Entitled "A Statement from Christians Assembling in the Name of the Lord in Ebbrington St., Plymouth. *
Some remarks on a Recent Letter from Plymouth. *
* These papers I do not have. Please contact me if you can supply any.
* * * * *
Regarding the troubles in Bristol, England (at Bethesda) caused by reception of partisans of B. W. Newton, he wrote:
The present question; 1848-1849.
An answer of G. V. Wigram, to "Mr. H. Craik's letter, dated 15th November, 1848."
An appeal to saints that remain still in Bethesda and Salem, as to certain bad doctrine.
A word on the fellowship of saints, to any who are puzzled about the English Bethesda question.
* * * * *
J. G. Deck had fled from England to new Zealand to escape the Bethesda aftermath, but through a visit to New Zealand by both J. N. Darby and G. V. Wigram, he was recovered. 228
This matter accounts for GVW writing of the following papers:
A Word on the Fellowship of Saints, to any who are Puzzled About the English Bethesda Question
A letter to Mr. J. G. Deck of Motueka, Nelson, from G. V. W.
Marks whereby the assembly of God and the table of the Lord were and are to be known; being a letter to J. G. Deck of New Zealand, from G.V.W.
The Disciple and the Assembly: a Letter to Mr. J. G. Deck...,
To the Christians in New Zealand.
Independent Churches Versus the Holy Spirit *
* This paper I do not have.
There are two interesting comments regarding GVW found in Peter J. Lineham's book regarding a visit to New Zealand by GVW, Jan. 14, 1874—Jan. 20, 1875:
From Darby's point of view he was a very suitable emissary for he always showed "blind loyalty" to J.N.D. "°
On the same page he wrote:
It is said that when Wigram was disembarking from a ship during his visit one of those on board commented how "that man is very like the Lord Jesus" both in his demeanor and actions. 231
The virtual juxtaposition of the two remarks is interesting, is it not? The complaints about GVW result from his success in New Zealand in showing many the necessity of rejecting Bethesda, 1848, and open-brethrenism. He also engaged in evangelistic work, lectured on ecclesiastical and dispensational truth, endowed a young assembly with money to build a meeting place, etc.
Not having a copy of his 1874 paper published in New Zealand (Independent Churches Versus the Holy Spirit) I will here give his paper:

Inclusive and Exclusive

"Inclusive" and "Exclusive"
There is but one holy universal Church. It was formed by God at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit (the promise of the Father) was sent down by Jesus (Lord and Christ in heaven) to form it, and to dwell in it. He makes all its parts to be one body, from Pentecost to the Lord's return. He works everything that is of God in them and by them, and is Himself that which makes them to be fitted for the Head glorified on high. 232
Our marks, as members in particular of Christ, and also as a society or fellowship, are to be both "inclusive" and "exclusive." "Called out from evil and to be filled up with good," is every child of God, and it is such only who are in position in the body.
When first taken up we were all badness, and the good alone in God. But He shined into us the light of the knowledge of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ, sealing it with His Spirit, who formed in us an incorruptible seed, and made us partakers of the divine nature. The evil was covered and met to faith by Rom. 6; the good found and made ours in spirit by Eph. 2:4-10. The Church, however, is on earth, in a wicked world, and all and each individual in it has the law of sin and death {Rom. 8:2} in the vessels into which the treasure has been put. We have to bear about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus therefore; and are always delivered unto death. For two reasons:
1st, we have sinful flesh, and Satan is near;
2nd, because God would have it hourly tested, and seen that the
excellency of the power of keeping us is of God and not of us.
His way is the way of resurrection from the dead, in life-long application. If evil breaks out, He judges it, for He is holy. God separates us from ourselves by forming and keeping Christ in us, who are changed into the same image from glory to glory.
The Church is, then, and each member of it must be, both inclusive and exclusive; and the excluding of evil by the including of the perfection of good, God in Christ, sealed home by the Spirit, as marking us to be Christ's through His quickening power.
God used the Christ in humiliation (Romans 6) to meet and free us from all that was contrary to us in nature, and to give us power over sin. God used the Christ in Eph. 2:4-10 to separate us unto the very highest blessing in pure goodness. Included and excluded were in God's mind; let included and excluded be in your minds and in mine.
I was an atom, in perhaps the two hundred and fiftieth generation from Adam and Eve; six millenniums nearer the great white throne than was the hour of shutting out from Eden. I am now part of a company fitted for, espoused to, Christ; about to be the Bride, the wife expectant, of the Lamb.
Sin and its torrents of woe saved from! A loving Savior, my portion and my home! Sin and death judged; righteousness and life eternal gloried in!
In PRACTICE—the first duty down here, as to others, is to own and to confess and maintain the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and the Church as God set it up. According to that I am to include myself and all that are Jesus Christ's, and are walking as saints—as those that are to exclude both all sin, and those that will walk contrary to the blessed truth we have received. The God-made church did so while intelligently under the rule of the Spirit and the Word. Many a man-made church cannot do so. Its self-made laws prevent it; or man-ruled, it sees not why it should do so, or how it can, as having members of its ownself, receive those who are not such.
The Church, object of faith, in the Word, counts that every true child of God is, to God's mind, a member in particular of Christ, that his place therefore is at the table, and that, to God's mind, he is subject to all the discipline of the Church, and of the house of God on earth. We must do likewise; include all such as on the muster-roll of God's Church, and as those who are excluded from sin's and world's and Satan's way.
Unholiness in theory, morality, doctrine, or practice, puts anyone under discipline (various in measures), for the chaste virgin espoused may not walk heedlessly. And discipline comes in correctively.
We cannot give up the faith as to the unity of the Church, nor act as if we did by going there where it has been and is denied; and we are bound by God's rules as to holiness, and can recognize no child of God who is unholy, save as being under the Father's or the Lord's discipline.
It is asked, "Would you receive a godly member of an independent church to 'occasional communion?' or of one of the national establishments?"
Faith answers: "A child of God is a member of Christ, and is of the Church militant. All such we receive, because Christ has received them; they are permanently members of His body, though they know it not. If any such come, who are walking as the Word enjoins, receive them." If they come on that ground, all their own practical inconsistency rests with themselves. If I accepted them on the statement to "occasional communion," I make myself guilty as sanctioning that which the Word does not. It is one's duty, however, to them in love to explain to them, that all who are at the table are equally included under the doctrine and discipline of the written Word. This, I have found, has deterred many. But discipline is of the Lord and the Father, and many shirk owning themselves subject to it.
Again, in the fifty isms of the day there are some, the error and principles of which would forbid, by the fear of the Lord, any one who is of it being received. A Jesuit might be indeed a child of God, and wish to come. Faithfulness would say, "No; your avowed principles justify 'doing evil that good may come.—So of Romanism. Socinianism denies Christianity.
A congregation ("Independent of the Independents," as its form is called in England) in Bristol (England; i.e., Bethesda, 1848} acted, and persisted in acting, as if neither it nor its (so-called) members were responsible as believers to avoid indifferentism to the glory of Christ. Faith says, "Touch not the unclean thing, accredit not its letters commendatory, receive none such; they are not clean." Often there is leaven working and making itself manifest in the conduct, and that might exclude; and, alas! often does.
It is very kindly of denominational congregations to receive, or to be willing to receive, to the communion any who, not having their names in the book of "the members of it," might wish or be willing to be there; but they are not consistent in doing so, or if they have a clause in their rules to sanction it, that is a second departure from Scripture, as much as is their constitution.
But faith is consistent; it sees every child of God to be a member of Christ, and if not otherwise disqualified, it can receive him or them without difficulty.
This is what one writing against the special member-ship of dissenting and self-made churches, assigned as one argument against their position:
If I am a member of the whole body, I am a member of the parts of this body, which meet in divers places; it is not a question of becoming such—I am such already. This is the principle I have always maintained, and on which I have insisted and acted. By the very fact that I am a Christian, I have all the claims of a member of the body wherever I may be found. It is not a right which I acquire by joining any particular body; it is a right which I possess as a member of the body of Christ.
Strong ground for the one who is acting as honoring the holy universal Church of God, and not man-made national, or dissenting churches. But this existent fellowship with the sons of God everywhere in God's Church universal, which forces [Peter saw that he must either accredit Cornelius and the work of God in his house, or give up his own standing, "Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gifts as unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, what was I, that I could withstand God?" (Acts 11:17)] me to own them, does not obliterate that other word, "Holy." It grows out of it, to say the truth. The holiness is the parent of the universality. Our holiness is our separation from evil by the power of good revealed in us.
Receive therefore, I should say, every child of God who is walking with God.
But do not let your own distinctive position or ground be lost sight of or covered over; to quote a favorite text, "Let them return to thee, but go not thou to them." And insist too, I should add, upon discipline as being over all.
(The ever-increasing leavening by toleration of evil teachings and evil conduct has continually reduced the opportunity to receive persons in the way described. RAH.)

The Funeral of G.V. Wigram

The Funeral of G. V. Wigram
(From N. Noel, The History of the Brethren 1:60-61)
On the afternoon of January 7, 1879, wrote the "Daily News" representative, a large number of persons assembled at Paddington Cemetery, Willesden-lane, situated about a mile from the Kilburn Railway Station on the North Western line, to witness the interment of the remains of Mr. George Vicesimus Wigram. It had been raining for some time before the hour fixed upon for the burial, viz: 3 o'clock; but, in spite of the bad weather, several hundred people, including a large proportion of ladies, were present. The little chapel of the cemetery, which is used in common by all religious bodies, was thronged early; many persons having to remain outside. The coffin was borne into the center by several friends of the deceased, amid signs of deep, affectionate emotion, following upon silent prayers, which had been offered up, to the moment of its arrival; and, immediately after, the ceremony (if such a word can be applied to what took place) commenced.
Not only was there nothing like a set formula, but there was absolutely no pre-arrangement; anything of that kind being directly opposed to one of the leading principles of a body which has no forms, no ministers, and no public or social worship, except what is carried on in private rooms, or in the houses of brethren, or of sisters (?).
A silence, almost painful, was first broken by Dr. Edward Cronin, who, in a short prayer, marked by great fervor and elevation, referred, with touching simplicity, to "George Wigram" as having followed Christ for nigh fifty years; and as "no mean man" amongst his brethren. Two or three minutes having then been passed in more silent prayer, some one read the 139th hymn in a little book, compiled many years ago by the late Mr. Wigram, premising that that hymn must be felt by all of them to be, in reality, a photograph of the deceased's soul. The hymn began with the words: "This world is a wilderness wide"; the third line being "I've no thought in the waste to abide," and the next one, "I've naught to regret nor to lose."
After another pause, came another spontaneous prayer from the lips of Mr. Christopher McAdam, one of the oldest friends of the deceased; and this was followed by the singing of two verses of a hymn composed by the deceased himself, No. 201 (this hymn was omitted in the revision of 1881) in the book already mentioned, beginning,
"Nothing but mercy'll do for me." Another prayer was then offered by Mr. J. B. Stoney.
Twenty minutes having thus passed, the coffin was carried from the chapel to the grave. Here, in close proximity to a large fir tree, were gathered probably not less than seven or eight hundred persons, to witness the actual interment. They evidently belonged almost entirely to the middle and well-to-do classes.
A tone, at once sympathetic and devout, pervaded the mass (among whom we observed a private of the Guards, an interested spectator).
The coffin, having been lowered without any utterance, there followed brief prayers; indeed, all the prayers were very short—from Mr. William Kelly, Mr. T. B. Baines, and Colossians R. F. Kingscote. Mr. J. Beaumont then read a few verses from the New Testament, concluding with the closing verses of the Book of Revelation. Mr. Coleman afterward offered the last prayer; which was succeeded by the singing of a verse beginning, "Forever with the Lord."
The oak coffin, a view of which was eagerly pressed for, was inscribed "George Vicesimus Wigram, died 1st January, 1879, Aged 73."
A brother in Christ, in Germany, provided the retranslation into English a letter by JND not available to me at the time for the biographical notes on G. V. Wigram in Precious Truths Revived and Defended Through J. N. Darby, vol. 2, "Appendix 11: G. V. Wigram."

Extract From a Letter of J.N. Darby From 1827

Extract from a letter of J. N. Darby from 1827
This afternoon sister F. brought a believer along for having tea with us. A certain Wigram, not older than 22 years, who is preparing to become a clergman. His spirit and his conversations have deeply touched me. I ask God that his mind and his words I shall never forget. So much is given to him of the Spirit that the sanctifying presence of the Lord we felt amongst us.
During tea he read to us Psalms 67 and 23, with so much gravity in his voice and demeanor as if he felt that each word was God's word. Our conversation was on the following subjects:
that we do not pray enough.
that we may be convinced that we may lift up our hearts the whole day and walk with God as a Friend whom we can tell everything
that we loose much, if, after our praying, we do wait
on Him and think that the salvation of a friend is
dependent on us; let us remember this during the day.
that we may be assured that the closer we walk with Him the more light we will enjoy from His face.
that in our ordinary (common) conversations it is the outpouring of prayer, the lifting up of the eyes and the realization of the fact that the eyes of God are continually upon us, which is the great secret of a spiritual mind.
Brother Wigram sees that there is a great lack of spiritual mind concerning these inward state of things. By contacts with busy, active people... the soul becomes stunted, surrounded by a feeling of all kinds of obligations. Yesterday brother Wigram came also and sat with us for one and a half hour. I can not tell how his prayers are but every word of his makes obvious that he is aware of the presence of Him before Whom the angels cover their face... so sanctified, so happy, as if we were in the drawing-room (reception-room). Until this moment I experience the impression of his two visits and I shall never forget the messages that the Lord gave to my soul through him.
From: Uit het Woord der Waarheid, vol. 30, 1975/76, p. 76, editor, H. L. Heijkoop.
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The above letter was translated from the original English into Dutch—from which, in the absence of the original, the above translation was made. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the translation into Dutch.