Thomas Boosey et al. to Edinburgh Glasite Church   3, 4, 8 and 9 January 1855

The Church of Christ in London

To the Church of Christ at Edinburgh

London January 3rd 1855

Very dear Brethren

In the month of November last we received a letter from the Church at Dundee pointing out a grievous error existing among us with respect to the observance of the Divine Command to abstain from eating blood, namely, that we ate (or tolerated the eating) of the flesh of animals called “Game” when their blood had not been let out at the time it would flow - the time of death, and had endeavoured to satisfy our consciences by washing and cleansing the flesh after it was cold, to the best of our ability1. This cleansing the Church of Dundee considered it impossible, and unlawful to do - flesh with the blood being forbidden by God to be used as food and there being no direction for its purification. After we trust, sober consideration of the Scriptures relating to the subject, and committing ourselves into the hands of Him who is able to make wise unto Salvation2, we came to the unanimous conclusion, that we had held the command to abstain from eating blood in a lax manner, that we had much reason to judge ourselves, and that we ought to be thankful for the admonition. We do not consider by this that we are in any way brought under the Levitical Law, or that we are prohibited from eating the flesh of any animal whatever, if it has been bled at the time of its death: but we feel that we are delivered from a state of doubt and hesitation.

We think it right to inform you that some of the friends here have always been of the Same Mind as our Dundee Brethren and thus we have been in the condemnation of not walking by the same rule and minding the same thing3[.]

This matter and the Scriptures relating to it, have been also laid before our brethren at Newcastle, Old Buckenham, and Chesterfield and they are heartily joined with us in the same mind and the same judgement upon it.

We are dear Brethren, called upon to address<r> You upon this painful subject, which has so long agitated the minds of the brethren, and which now threaten to cause a breach in the visible body of Christ; and this we hope to do in the spirit of Meekness and fear, yet of faithfulness and love. We have been informed of the manner in which the Church of Dundee has hitherto dealt with you in this matter; and we have heard the painful issue of the second stage of the discussion which took place on the 22nd December, from our two Elders Stephen Leighton and Benjamin Vincent, who were present on that occasion, having been called on by the Church of Dundee to accompany four of them, and thus being “the one or two more” required by the Scriptural direction4. We were much grieved to learn that you would not even hear our two Elders and two of the Brethren from Dundee, and that you opposed the doctrine and exhortation set before you by the two Elders from Dundee which we were told were clearly Scriptural and expressed in the words of truth & Soberness, from both the Old & New Testament[.] There remained, then, no other course to be pursued but to proceed to the last stage of the discipline as directed by our Lord Matt 17-18 “If he shall neglect to hear them” (the first offended and the one or two more) “tell it to the Church”5. This was done to us by our two Elders above mentioned who were the witnesses of what took place at Your meeting with the Dundee Brethren, and it was with much sorrow that we learnt from them that you maintain “That the flesh of any animal not strangled or suffocated, although the blood be not drawn from it at the time of death, may be made lawful food for Christians by having the blood afterwards cleansed from it[“], which you say can be done with ease and certainty at any time between the death of the animal and the time of eating[.]

To this we cannot agree. Many of us feel persuaded from our own experience and competent Authority that it is almost if not quite impossible to effect the above mentioned cleansing: but whether this be the case or not, we regard such flesh as “flesh with the life thereof which is the blood thereof”6 and therefore a forbidden thing by Gods command to Noah and all mankind - A Command which was given before the Levitical law, which was enforced by that law, and confirmed under the Gospel dispensation by the decree which went out from the Holy Ghost, and the Apostles and Church at Jerusalem[.] We consider therefore your views and practice in this matter to be contrary to the Divine Word, as given in Acts 15-28 & 297 compared with Gen. 9-3 48 Levit 17.13.149 & Deuty 12 23 24 2510 and Ezek 33 24 2511 which we commend once more to your serious consideration: for it is written “To the Law and to the Testimony: if they speak not according to the word it is because there is no light in them”12 and again [“]All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine for reproof, for correction & inspiration in righteousness, that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished unto all good works”13[.]

We are thus constrained, with much sorrow of heart, yet in hope and love to sustain the offence against you, commending you to God, who is able by his word and spirit to deliver you from your great error and delusion, and open your ear to discipline[.] In conclusion dear Brethren we cannot help reminding you that Christs disciples are kept in obedience to his commandments by his fear being put in their hearts and by their love to him whose blood was shed for the remission of their sins, and thus they find his commands not grievous[.]

It surely does not become us in this our day to weaken the effect of any one of those commands but it become us each to examine ourselves whether we are obeying them, not as a means of exalting our own righteousness, but as evidence of our faith & love[.]

We cannot help adding here, that we have observed with much fear, the apparent absence of fear for yourselves, and love for the Brethren at Dundee in your correspondence and in the mode of conducting the discussion when they met you on Dec 22nd[.]

We feel that we have good reason to conclude that in these dealings with you and us, they have been actuated by that charity which rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth14. Surely it becomes us all to consider what spirit we are of; and to hearken [sic] to the voice of Him who decides that he will search Jerusalem with candles & punish the men who are settled on their lees15, and who says I know thy works “Behold I come quickly[“]16. Our attention has been directed to the following Scriptures and we would commend them to you for sober consideration also Matt 28. 19 & 2017 II Peter 3. 1.218 Mark 8 3819 Heb 4. 12.1320 II Corr 10. 4.5.621 Lamen 3. 31 to 4222[.]

That through the long suffering mercy & goodness of God, by his word you may be led to repentance; and so brought back again to Jesus the Shepherd & Bishop of Souls, is very dear Brethren the earnest Prayers of the whole church & signed on its behalf by the following

Jany 3rd 1855

Thomas Boosey Stephen Leighton Elders

Benjamin Vincent George Whitelaw

John Leighton Alex Macomie Deacons

Thomas Barker E.K. Reid

William Vincent M. Faraday

D.W. Martin Anthony Lorimer23

Jany 4th Signed in the presence & on behalf of all the Brethren sojourning at Old Buckenham

Thomas Loveday24

William Fisher25

George Smith26

Jany 8 Signed in the presence & on behalf of the brethren sojourning at Chesterfield

John Oxley27

Jany 9 The Brethren & Sisters in Newcastle are all of one mind in considering the Churches of Dundee and London faithful in sustaining the Offence against the Church of Edinburgh & agree with the doctrine

W. Paradise

David Reid

Thomas Proctor28

See letter 2918 and Cantor (1991a), 68-70.
2 Timothy 3: 15.
Philippians 3: 16.
Matthew 18: 16.
Matthew 18: 17.
Genesis 9: 4.
Acts 15: 28-9.
Genesis 9: 3-4.
Leviticus 17: 13-14.
Deuteronomy 12: 23-5.
Ezekiel 33: 24-5.
Isaiah 8: 20.
2 Timothy 3: 16.
1 Corinthians 13: 6.
Zepaniah 1: 12.
Revelation 3: 11.
Matthew 28: 19-20.
2 Peter 3: 1-2.
Mark 8: 38.
Hebrews 4: 12-13.
2 Corinthians 10: 4-6.
Lamentations 3: 31-42.
Anthony Lorimer. Sandemanian bookbinder. Cantor (1991a), 301.
Thomas Loveday. Foundryman and Sandemanian in Old Buckenham. (GRO certificate of son’s birth).
William Fisher (d.1857, age 52, GRO). Cordwainer and Sandemanian in Old Buckenham.