A full epitome of the doctrine developed among the Brethren could be obtained only from the writings of Darby, who was the chief teacher. So large was his authority in his denomination that for most Athanasius, Augustine, Luther, and Calvin were mere ciphers. On the Godhead and the person of Christ the teaching is that common to Catholic Christianity. On human nature it is held that Adam was first sinless, not virtuous or holy; the fall spelled unqualified ruin. The atonement has two sides: Godward it is propitiation; manward, substitution; the purchase of all, the redemption of the believer, and Christ's death under wrath. Predestination is held as the election of individuals, the assured acceptance of believers, together with denial of free will and reprobation. Justification implies the righteousness of God (not of Christ specifically) displayed in the resurrection of the Savior, with dissociation of his life from the process. Sanctification is positive and practical; in the latter aspect it involves self-judgment and confession to God, insuring a sense of forgiveness through Christ's priesthood, which preserves from sin, as his advocacy restores. Cleansing by his blood is once for all, cleansing by the Word continues. Not the law, but the Second Man's risen life is the believer's rule. The Church was primitively one visible, closely organized community. The "assembly," in view of grace, is the body of Christ; in view of government is the house of God; one is the product of the Spirit, the other is the product of man, marked by failure and ruin. National churches are too broad, non-conformity is too narrow. Darby denies what has been suggested by critics--that the "gathering" is held to be coextensive with "the Church of God on earth"; he also repudiates the further assertion that for eighteen centuries there has been no church. The ordinances are (1) baptism, which is required for fellowship. Among the exclusives mutual toleration is practised by baptists and pedobaptists. Darby's view was based on the recognition of privileged position (outward as distinct from inward, essential baptism). Other pedobaptists practise household baptism. (2) The Lord's Supper is observed weekly in the forenoon, at which leavened bread and fermented wine are taken by the members seated. The institution is commemorative only. Participation in this is jealously guarded; in theory it is the privilege of all believers, but in practise the theory is overborne by the notion of full fellowship. The special means of grace are the Holy Scriptures according to the canon of the Reformers. The book is infallible; consequently the idea is condemned that the Church and the Bible stand or fall to-
gether. The higher criticism is not recognized; development is disowned, and the truth is recovered by reversion to St. Paul (not, as the Quakers hold, to the "historical Christ"). Since Darby's dying recommendation not to neglect the Johannine doctrine, the center of gravity is increasingly sought in that. The Bible version favored is Darby's own (in English, French, and German); he rejected the Revised Version with the words, "They have not had the mind of God at all." In the matter of the ministry Darby did not begin by questioning the validity of Anglican orders. His conception of the office was service in the Word, the faithful exercise of a special gift, for which the individual is responsible to the Lord alone. A distinction is made between "gift" and "office"; the latter came through apostolic appointment and is no longer available. The "assembly," while not being the source of the ministry, since it is the taught and not the teacher, may or may not accredit the ministry as profitable. Anything beyond the moral influence of the Spirit is regarded as delusion. In theory, all godly men are possibly competent, whether in formal fellowship or not; but in practise such fellowship is presupposed, and the flock is discouraged from "wandering." The public ministry of women is disallowed. Worship is conducted, as among the Quakers, by "waiting on the Lord," and conventional collections of hymns are used in praise and prayer. The Lord's Prayer is discarded, as symbolic of the position and desires of the inchoate Church and typical of the Jewish remnant. The local assembly acts through non-official organs, men of moral weight whose personal influence is encouraged as commanding confidence. As discipline excommunication is practised for grave delinquency and for lapse into fundamental error in doctrine. With the exclusives I Cor. v. 6
; II Tim. ii. 19
sqq.; and II John 10
have furnished the rule of action. While this has been the object of criticism, in practise its influence has been salutary, restraining tendencies to antinomianism. For eschatology, it is held that believers at death go not to Hades but to a heavenly paradise with Christ. Within the present dispensation Christ will at an initial coming gather all his people to his tribunal for reward according to conduct, and will subsequently visit the earth in an appearance for judgment of living nations (Newton denied the distinction between the two and the interval). The second beast of Rev. xiii. is regarded as the Antichrist. No Christian will pass through the great tribulation (Newton expected that Christ will be revealed before the parousia), while the Church with Christ will reign over the earth for a millennium, with Israel, the earthly bride, as administrative assessor. The final judgment is of the wicked dead, with endless punishment of such. So much of the foregoing as Brethren deem part of their special testimony they describe as "recovered truth." The germinant idea is that of the Church's ruin. In their principal points of doctrine they have been anticipated by other bodies or by individual thinkers; but they believe that men such as Darby have presented these with more light and power.
BIBLIOGRAHPY: For the authoritative literature of the denomination use the writings named in the articles on J. N. Darby, W. Kelly, G. Mueller, and B. W. Newton as their productions, together with the works cited in the bibliographies there appended. A considerable literature, mainly controversial and antagonistic to the Plymouth Brethren, is given in the British Museum Catalogue under "Plymouth Brethren." Consult further: W. B. Nearby, Hist. of the Plymouth Brethren, London 1902 (critical and accurate); J. J. H[erzog], in Evangelieche Kirchenzeitung, xxxiv (1844), nos. 23-28, 28-33; S. P. Tregelles, Three Letters to the Author of "A Retrospect of Events . . among the Brethren," London 1849; Memoir and Correspondence of A. N. Groves, by his wife, London, 1855; F. Esteoul, Le Plymouthisme d'autrefois et Ie Darbyisme d'aujourdhui, Paris, 1858: H. Groves, Darbyism· its Rise arid Development, London, 1888; E. Dennett, The Plymouth Brethren, London, 1871 · J. Grant, The Plymouth Brethren, their History and Heresies, London, 1875; E. J. Whately, Plymouth Brethrenism, London, 1877; T. Croskery, Plymouth Brethrenism: a Refutation of its Principles and Doctrines, London, 1879; J. C. L. Carson, The Heresies of the Plymouth Brethren, London, 1883; W. Raid, Plymouth Brethrenism Unveiled and Refuted, Edinburgh, 1883; J. S. Teulon, The Hist. and Teaching of the Plymouth Brethren, London ; Life among the Close Brethren, London, 1890; J. R. Gregory, The Gospel of Separation, London, 1894; A. Miller, Plymouthism and the Modern Churches, Toronto, 1900.