The following letters, by the permission of the friend to whom they are addressed, were not sent until they had been printed. When his loving remonstrance first arrived, the writer intended to reply immediately; but as many other letters of a like nature, as well as personal enquiries, came from many quarters, it became convenient to adopt the printed form. They are now published for several reasons: first, to explain the step the writer has taken; secondly, to remove misconception; and, thirdly, to announce authoritatively the withdrawal of his pamphlet against “Brethren,” referred to in the letters. The grounds of this withdrawal may be briefly stated. The writer made the discovery, that some of the sources of his information, on which he had relied when the pamphlet was written, were untrustworthy; further and more authentic information concerning some of the circumstances with which he had dealt, constrained him to interpret them in a wholly different manner; an examination of the citations, which he had adduced in support of his statements, in their context convinced him that he had imposed a meaning upon them foreign to their writers’ intention; and, lastly, a prolonged reconsideration of some of the views which he had condemned led him to the conclusion that they were scriptural. Under these circumstances, the writer did but obey the directions of the word of God, and the dictates of conscience in confessing his error; and he cannot but hope that the publication of these letters will, to some extent at least, nullify the effects of the pamphlet.
He has been somewhat surprised to find that in several cases his pamphlet has been circulated, no doubt unwittingly, since its withdrawal has been announced. For he feels sure that no one, whatever his position or views, would use or circulate knowingly that which its author, in the interests of truth, has been compelled to retract.
He need scarcely add that if the Lord should condescend to use these letters in guiding any believers (however few) into a right path and position, he could not be sufficiently grateful. May they indeed be used for His own glory in the welfare of His saints.