Monday, February 27, 2012

yogrynch the philosopher 3

The element considered
In continuing consideration of the fact of an everlasting covenant of grace, it is now time to review and then consider a new element of the everlasting covenant of grace that has existed since before creation.  It has ALWAYS been God's purpose to redeem a people for Himself, regardless of the day-to-day affairs of men, and particular "deals" (my word) or other lesser covenants He made with particular individuals in a matrix of man's subsequent broken promises.  Understand that man is a covenant breaker, but that God is a covenant keeper.  God is the initiator in any covenental relationship.

To quickly summarize the points in the previous 2 blogs, I want to focus on Grace (comprehending the background of redemption - redemption being based on nothing but God's grace.)  To the left is a general consideration of the historic condition of grace, the primary recipient at the time is in brackets with its significance/explanation)

• Grace Purposed (by God to God)

• Grace Promised (by God to Adam)

• Grace Planned (History of Redemption to subsequent generations)

• Grace Secured (Incarnation/Cross to all the redeemed - past,present,future)

• Grace Realized (Glory/Consummation of the age to the Bride of Christ)

The element that I want to introduce is one that in over 40 years of church attendance I have heard preached on less than the fingers of one hand.  It is an element that Armenians - with their "works-based" (or man-centred) salvation - fear to contemplate lest they stumble over it (as it would tend to refute their idea of possible loss of salvation), and Reformed types are less than enthusiastic about because taken to its possible conclusion could lead to an extreme practice of hyper-Calvinism - the position that we might as well all go home and watch the ball game, because "what we do doesn't matter - salvation is of the Lord." 

Of extreme importance is to note that one’s adherence to Armenian theology does not necessarily exclude them from the kingdom of God, nor that an embrace of so-called Calvinistic theology necessarily renders one included in the kingdom of God.  YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN (John 3:3)  I tend to agree with C.H. Spurgeon, who once said:

We give our hand to every man that loves the Lord Jesus Christ, be he what he may or who he may. The doctrine of election, like the great act of election itself, is intended to divide, not between Israel and Israel, but between Israel and the Egyptians – not between saint and saint, but between saints and the children of the world. A man may be evidently of God’s chosen family, and yet though elected, may not believe in the doctrine of election. I hold there are many savingly called, who do not believe in effectual calling, and that there are a great many who persevere to the end, who do not believe the doctrine of final perseverance. We do hope that the hearts of many are a great deal better than their heads. We do not set their fallacies down to any willful opposition to the truth as it is in Jesus, but simply to an error in their judgments, which we pray God to correct. We hope that if they think us mistaken too, they will reciprocate the same Christian courtesy; and when we meet around the cross, we hope that we shall ever feel that we are one in Christ Jesus (New Park Street Pulpit [London: Passmore & Alabaster, Vol.6] p.303).
Also of extreme importance is to appreciate that one is not saved by a proper understanding of grace, election, Divine sovereignty, or the extent of the atonement. These issues are important, but they are not the core of the Gospel; rather they indirectly relate to the Gospel (as do many other Biblical teachings), but are not the primary essence of it. The puritan, John Bradford, stated: "Let a man go to the grammar school of faith and repentance, before he goes to the university of election and predestination."  In the same way that it is wrong to detract from the Gospel message, so it is wrong to add to the Gospel message one’s particular theology.  This is not to deny that what I am discussing in these blogs are not important matters; but simply to point out that the minute one makes mandatory for salvation a correct understanding of  grace, election, effectual calling, or the extent of the atonement (regardless of how true they might be), they are guilty of adding to the Gospel. This is usually the error of young, zealous Calvinists (although not always), but to use the words of James, "My brethren, these things ought not to be this way" (James 3:10).   One’s heart may be right, while one’s head may be wrong!

To reiterate and emphasize, Scripture alone is the final standard of authority for doctrine and practice.  God has spread His truth throughout various theological traditions (Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Reformed, etc.) so that we might not put our singular trust in men or institutions, but in the testimony of God’s Word.  Let us not make a "pope" out of Calvin, Luther, Penhearow, McManus, Carson, Billson, Yogrynch (well, maybe Yogrynch is okay...) or any other mere mortal - be they Pastor, Elder or Deacon, Evangelist or Television Personality, Author or Blogger!  (Jeremiah 17:5) Though God does choose to reveal Himself to nations/peoples/congegations He primarily directs Himself to individuals (Matthew 16:15) and reveals Himself to individuals (Matthew 16:17.)

The element revealed
What is this mysterious element?  The book of life.  Sometimes referred to as the Lamb's book of life, heaven's book, the book of remembrance or simply the book, or referred to as one's being  enrolled in heaven.

The difficulty in understanding the significance of the existence of this "book" is the correlation it has with the elect.  In most passages it is used in the negative sense, that is "the damned are not in it" kind of sense, rather than the "redeemed are in it" kind of sense.

It is most talked about in Revelation, the "end" (my word) book of Scripture.

Let's begin with Revelation 20:12 - 15  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.   And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.   Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.   And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Next we look at Revelation 13:8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it (yogrynch note - "it" refers to the beast, not a good thing!), everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.

Consider next Revelation 21:27  But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

From these passages alone we can glean a few things.

1.  There is a book, an important book containing some names.
2.  Significantly for the concept of an everlasting covenant of grace/redemption it was written "before the foundation of the world."
3.  It is connected to "the Lamb", ie Jesus Christ.
4.  It is bad not to be written in it.
5.  It is good to be written in it.

Next we should consider other verses concerning the book written for our benefit and assurance.

Malachi 3:16-17  Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. 17  “They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him.

Philippians 4:3b the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Luke 10:20b but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

Hebrews 12:23a and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven
The response to the element
Wow.  Grace, magnificent grace!  Blessed assurance, Jesus is MINE and I am HIS!  Marvelous Grace!  Wondrous Grace!  Oh what a foretaste of Glory Divine!

Psalm 107:2a  Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,

Romans 15:4  For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

In Christ we have incredible hope!  By His grace we can endure the many trials that daily confront us.  There may be many uncertainties in this life - salvation of the redeemed is not one of them!  How do you glory in the Grace that has been shown to you since before the creation?  How should you?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

spousal tribute

A spousal tribute to Grannymom
Here it is a blustery cold February morning, and instead of re-loading the wood stove & convincing it to pump out hellish amounts of heat I am sitting at a computer keyboard and typing out my thoughts.  Yes, I do have them now and again, despite my facial expression that generally registers a "duhhhhh?" look.  (Note, to be spoken starting in a low tone, ending with a higher tone.)

To what do I attribute this moment of cold-tolerating diversion?  Blame the Maclean’s magazine.  Now from time to time, despite Canada Post's best efforts, it arrives on time on Friday - giving me Friday, Saturday & Sunday to browse its (usually) informative pages in my designated "reading room"  (a.k.a. the bathroom.)  This week featured an article on how some parents regard the loss of unborn children, and the emotional roller-coaster some feel after the event.
Now, I can tell you that before the last of our children was born, we (as husband/wife, father/mother) suffered the unexpected termination of a pregnancy, blaming what we understood as the extreme emotional upheaval caused by the imminent death of my mother-in-law, and the several weeks my wife spent at her mother's trying to aid/comfort her dying parent.  Nevertheless, the memory of these sad events caused me to reflect on what I would tell this unborn one about the "family" he/she would be a part of, had not circumstances been as they were.

Let me begin by reminding the reader that many years ago, a decision was reached that this husband and wife team would have as many children as the Lord would permit.  This DOES NOT mean that we regard those of a different personal persuasion of being sinful or lacking in any spiritual competence.
Having "lots" of kids has brought (mostly) joy and (sometimes) not so much!   It has been an exercise of overwhelming trust and confidence in the Lord, beginning with the prayerful request (prior to each pregnancy) that the Lord in His mercy and grace would grant that the soon-to-be-child would find favour in His sight and "be" a Christian.  This was done from a purely selfish motive.  As a "Christian" family, the hope was that the combined "Christian-ness" would be an influence for good, to both the family as a unit and the broader community at large.

Of such are the plans of mice and men!  The problem with dreams of this sort is that the reality of the in-born sinful nature of mankind as a whole becomes more and more apparent.   This becomes more and more of a reality in close proximity.  It is no vain observation that "absence makes the heart grow fonder" - it is only in day-to-day proximity that the Christian context of "as iron sharpens iron" becomes apparent.  Sparks fly.  Tempers rage.  Mean-spirited things are said - and remembered - for far too longer than is required.  Forgiveness becomes conditional, if given at all.  Why is it that the "bad" memories outlast the "good" memories?  As we age, the absence makes the heart grow fonder changes to "absence make the heart grow stronger in contempt" and "Oh what a relief it is (that I don't have to put up with your face, and by the way, GET OUT OF MY FACE, BITCH!)"
This is where I am extremely thankful for my spouse.  She is a high-spirited crusader to my lackluster attempts.  She is reconciliatory and expects the same from me.  I often and mostly disappoint her in that regard!  I usually try to see the opposing view in an attempt to diffuse a bubbling/boiling/turbulent situation.  Generally I am not very good at that either!

I say with great sadness that I see the beginnings of a great breach in this family's Christian cohesiveness.   Unfortunately, the ones at the heart of the breech are, in relative terms, ignorant, alas, blissfully ignorant, of the damage being done - not only to the "family" as a unit, but to the over-all Christian testimony of the family collectively and individually.  This process, in my estimation, began over a year ago, for reasons that I will not get into here, apart from an oblique comment regarding inflated egos.
So what would I say to the unborn one?  In much love I would say, "Listen to my wife.  Expect Godly counsel.  She’s in it for you, and for the Lord.  Love your brothers and sisters.   Forgive the pettiness as it rears its ugly head.   Expect and understand “sibling rivalry”.  Be bold, yet tempered in your Christian speech.   “Slow to speak, slow to wrath."  Practice and contemplate love and what it looks like.  Be different.  Honour your mother and your father.  Use triple-ply bathroom tissue – it’s worth the extra!  Finally, welcome to the family, flawed as it is, there is hope...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hypercalvinism & the family effect

I LOVE discussions about the day-to-day nuances of Christianity.  Not only has covenant theology been a recent hot topic of discussion/dissension (yes, there are erring people out there!), lately there has been a discussion in the cause/effect relationship inter-family on the salvation of individual members of said family.

Now, believe it or not, souls can be saved apart from attending church.  This is because witnessing on behalf of one's Saviour can take place outside of church.  Indeed, fathers in particular are called/ordained/appointed to take the LEAD RESPONSIBILITY in presenting the truth of the gospel to the family unit - at home.  This will be disconcerting to some.  Some would rather listen to voices from the pit of hell who would advocate that church is the place, the only place, where "biblical truth" can be presented and the ONLY presenter can be the "pastor" of such a group.  Balls!  Understand that the "primary" cause of salvation is the Holy Spirit, acting in accordance with the wishes/will/purpose of God the Father and Our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit, believe it or not, operates globally and is not limited to a particular place, time or circumstance.

I want to look at a few Scriptures, particularly in the light of recent accusations directed at myself and my spouse that we somehow personally take responsibility for the salvation of some of our children, if not all.  I do not understand where this accusation comes from, as to the best of my knowledge, we have always maintained the supremacy of Christ in all aspects.  Nevertheless, I want to look at the Apostle Paul, who seemed in particular to present himself as the lead cause of salvation - in conjunction with the Lord.  This Apostle seemed not to take offense at himself.  Indeed, his call to action demonstrates a rebuttal to those hypercalvinists who would stress that "we" do nothing because it is, after all, the sole responsibility of the Holy Spirit to effect the new-birth.  Do not misunderstand.  It IS the Holy Spirit who initiates the new birth and ultimately brings it to fruition (this goes back to the ole'  made in the image of God, in His likeness covenant promise God made to Himself before creation.)  Yet, as we examine Paul, one can conclude the Holy Spirit does not, in normal circumstances, act alone.

Firstly, we all must be aware of the dangers of self-deception.  This reminder is given us in 1Timothy 1:5-7   The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6  Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion,
7  desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

An additional reminder is given to us in Ephesians 4:14  so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

Personally I think these verses reinforce the idea of "Shut up stupid, give yourself time to mature and gain understanding before you attempt your hobby of injecting (what you think is) biblical truth into any and all discussions." 

The familial ownership of the Apostle Paul
Now, to return to the main discussion.

Consider 1Corinthians 4:4-17
14   I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children.15  For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
16  I urge you, then, be imitators of me.
17   That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.

Notice the role Paul claims for himself.   What does he mean when he says "I became your father in Jesus Christ"?  Why would he take this title?  Who is he considering when he talks about "countless guides in Christ"?  Is he not also just a guide?  Why claim the singleness of "father" instead of "fathers"?  What does he mean when he says "Be imitators of me"?  In what role?  As admonishers?  As writers?  As imitators?  As "father(s)"?  Isn't it obvious, especially given his perceived relationship with Timothy?  "I sent you Timothy", he says, "MY beloved and faithful child..."  (See also 1Timothy 1:2)  What kind of ownership is this?  What does he mean "my ways in Christ" with the back-drop of the urging to be imitators of (not Christ) but himself, Paul?  What does this speak to as far as an individual's purpose (perhaps the literal physical father and/or mother) in the gospel plan?

We MUST also consider the beginning of Paul's Christian journey by considering how he first saw himself.   Have a look at Romans 15:16-17 where he sees himself 16  to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17   In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God.

To me it is interesting to consider that, as he matured, Paul became aware of the true role he was given - as a "father" figure - and that, as a literal father, I must also become engaged in the presentation of the gospel to my children and others in my sphere of influence.  No hypercalvinism here.  No regarding my off-spring as burdens-that-the-Lord-will-spiritually-take-care-of-as-long-as-I-go-to-the-right-church-because-it-will-be-responsible-for-them-since-I-have-no-influence, but rather as offspring sent as blessings-to-be-trained-in-the-way-of-the-Lord-as-my-primary-function-as-father-and-provider.

Does this mean, using Paul's example, that I and/or my spouse can take "credit" (a poor word, I know) for the salvation of my physical children?  Yes, of course!  Do not my "physical" children at some point become my "spiritual" children, if perchance the saving grace of Christ falls upon them while they make their domicile under my roof and sit under my or my spouses's teaching?  Yes, of course!  Is it not my responsibility/calling/duty to pray for and take all necessary steps to "lead" (another poor word, I know) my physical children to being spiritual children as well?  Yes, of course!

By the grace of God alone, I would say it has been my happy circumstance (along with my spouse) to say that at this point in time, my children (practicing and lively sinners that they are) have experienced salvation and that I and my spouse in Christ Jesus are proud of our work for God.

Friday, February 17, 2012

yogrynch the philosopher 2

In continuing (which I am again daring to do) consideration of the fact of an everlasting covenant of grace, as opposed to a dispensational line of bull-crap of various covenants (notwithstanding the concept of a "new-covenant" which is merely a different manifestation of presenting the everlasting truth of grace that was there before the "beginning") I present some supporting scripture.

Consider Proverbs 8:22-36

“The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work,
    the first of his acts of old.
23  Ages ago I was set up,
    at the first, before the beginning of the earth.

24  When there were no depths I was brought forth,
    when there were no springs abounding with water.
25  Before the mountains had been shaped,
    before the hills, I was brought forth,
26  before he had made the earth with its fields,
    or the first of the dust of the world.
27  When he established the heavens, I was there;
    when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28  when he made firm the skies above,
    when he established the fountains of the deep,
29  when he assigned to the sea its limit,
          so that the waters might not transgress his command,
    when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30  then I was beside him
, like a master workman,
    and I was daily his delight,
          rejoicing before him always,
31  rejoicing in his inhabited world
    and delighting in the children of man
32  “And now, O sons, listen to me:
    blessed are those who keep my ways.
33  Hear instruction and be wise,
    and do not neglect it.
34  Blessed is the one who listens to me,
    watching daily at my gates,
    waiting beside my doors.
35  For whoever finds me finds life
    and obtains favor from the LORD,
36  but he who fails to find me injures himself;
    all who hate me love death.”

Now the above verses can be understood in more than one way.  Yes, in the broad sense, it can be understood as referring to "wisdom".  Yet, "wisdom" can also be the understanding of "truth".  Is it not said of Jesus, John 1:14  "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."
John 1:17  "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."
For  various additional verses, check your concordances for "wisdom" and see how many refer to the "Lord" and the connection with Him.

In the context of Jesus being talked about in the quoted verses from Proverbs, "Grace and truth", as possessed by and integral to the very being of Jesus, were present before the creation.  Therefore the correct biblical understanding of the everlasting "covenant of grace" is that it is the primary driver or root of any other subsequent so-called covenant presentation.  The purpose of such seemingly additional "covenants" was to reinforce the supremacy of the original "covenant of grace."    The original covenant of grace was not superseded!  God does not change!  He is the same yesterday, today and forever!  Grace promised.  Grace planned.  Grace secured.  Grace realized.  From creation to consummation (ie the return of Christ) it is all grace!  God's grace ALWAYS initiates ANY covenant!

Consider that the Apostle Paul understood this, in what I will refer to here as the Titus revelation. 
Titus 1:1 -3 "Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, 2  in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages beganand at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior..."
The promise "before the ages began" can only refer to grace, which preexisted in the nature, person and yet-to-be manifested-in-human-form presence of Jesus Christ.  The "manifesting in his word" refers to subsequent events and  explanatory other "covenants" that took place AFTER the creating of man "in his image, after his likeness" that was discussed in the previous blog.

This concept is further explained by Timothy.  Please see 2Timothy 1:9, "who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,"

The everlasting concept of the workings of grace is additionally confirmed in 2Thessalonians 2:16   "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace..."

"Eternal" means eternal.  From everlasting to everlasting.  Grace.  Think on it and marvel at the conspicuous grace exhibited to and for us before the very foundation of the world!  I am sorry, but there it is, was, and ever shall be.   Grace.

The addendum
Let it be known that the existence from everlasting to everlasting of the covenant of grace IN NO WAY SUGGESTS UNIVERSAL SALVATION!  To suggest otherwise is STUPID!

Note that the very description of Christ as being "grace and truth" implies 2 things.  "Grace" suggests that there is to be judgment/justice/punishment/recompense.  "The wages of sin is death."  That all would be headed to a literal Hell - except for the saving grace of Christ on behalf of the elect - is not in dispute.

"Truth" suggests that there is to be lying/deception/untruth.  John 8:44  "You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies."  1John 1:8  "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

yogrynch the philosopher

One of the hardest things for a Christian to do is sort through the smorgasbord of "philosophies" and "theories" of christianity, and as Sheldon from TBBT would say, find the "toad of truth", or as yogrynch would say, "burp out the element of truth."

One of the discussions various members of our family is having concerns the contentious issue of "covenants" - how many were there, how many are presently active.  The burp of truth is this:  There is, always has been, always will be only ONE covenant - the covenant of grace.

One need look no further than the Old Testament to discover this truth.  Before ever a living human walked the earth a promise was made, by God Himself, to Himself, and is the grandest expression of GRACE that has ever been uttered.  Simple in its elegance, profound in its implication, unyielding in its application, it is found in Genesis.  Chapter 1.  Verse 26.  'Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”'

Of no other element of creation was this said.  You and I, as humans (redeemed or not) live as testaments to this - we ALL are image bearers of God - created in His image and bearing His likeness.  Oh, understand this GRACE!  Yes, some fail to grasp this truth.  Yes, some will endure everlasting punishment because of this rejection.  Yes, some will experience the unlimited mercies and grace of God in perpetuity.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy Birfday, Bro - Ya' big C

Nov 22 is ma' big bro's birthday.  He's at official retirement age, although the sot's been on the public tit for a few years already...  Here's some glamour shots - he is on top, I am below doing an imitation on what he will look like when his nose hairs get control...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How some Billsons ended up in Canada

Here's some family history for you.

My father's grandmother, Emily Billson left England and came to Canada as a widow.  She brought her younger children with her - my father's father among them.  She left England due to what she considered to be too light of sentence given those responsible for the murder of her husband, Benjamin.

I found the following transcript of the trial on-line.  I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

Reference Number: t18991023-705

705. WILLIAM FRY (21), RICHARD FRY (20), and ALBERT BOWERS (32), were indicted for , and charged, on the Coroner's Inquisition with, the manslaughter of Benjamin Robert Billson.


ROACH Defended Bowers.

JAMES TRACEY SIMPSON . I was House Surgeon of the Branch Hospital at the Albert Docks on September 3rd when Benjamin Billson, a man about 50 years of age, was brought in' a little after 11 p.m., in a semiconscious condition, and suffering from a scalp wound at the back of his head, and blood was escaping from his left ear—after dressing his head I had him put to bed—I saw him again at 1 a.m., when he was suffering from convulsions—during the night he became comatose, and remained so—about noon I advised the operation of trepanning the head—he died about 2.30 p.m. on the 5th—I made a postmortem examination, and found a fracttire at the base of the skull on the left side, a contusion on the right side, and considerable effusion of blood, caused by compression of the brain, from the result of which he died—the conclusion I came to was that a blow at the angle of the jaw caused the fracture, by driving the condyle of the jaw into the base of the skull—there was a scalp wound on the back of the head, which might have been caused by his falling on the ground, or by a blow—it is not uncommon for injury to the brain to be caused by such a blow or a fall on the point of the chin.

GEORGE WAYLETT (176 K) produced and proved a plan of the locality drawn to scale.

MARTHIA MCCUMSHAY . I live at 60, Clever Road, with my father—it is five doors from the alley—on Sunday, September 3rd, I was standing at the front door with Ada Beard, talking—I saw Richard Fry come from an alley down Martin Road towards Clever Road—he ran along Frederick Road, and came back and stood at the corner of Clever Road and Frederick Road—the lamps were alight except the one against the alley—he stood there singing—he looked intoxicated—Mr. Billson and party came along, laughing, and talking—Richard Fry said, "Who the b—hell are you laughing at?"—when they got to the corner Mrs. Billsoa said, "We are not laughing at you; you young rascal, you want your ass smacked"—Fry said, I will smack his ass "to Bowers and William Fry, who came from the alley—William Fry said, "Go for him on the right," and rushed at old Billson, who was on the right, and hit him with his fist on his left jaw—the old man fell, with the back of his head towards my feet—I had left the house, and come over—Bowers took a stick from Billston, and broke it before William Fry struck him—Richard made for another man—the prisoners then went through the alley to Martin Road—Mrs. Billson cried, "Murder!"—she put her hand on Billson's head—it was covered with blood—a crowd gathered—I knew the prisoners by sight—Miss Billson ran away—Richard had a white shirt and light trousers, no jacket or coat, and nothing on his head—Bowers was dressed in the suit he has on now—William had a light pair of trousers, and dark brown coat and waistcoat.

ADA BEARD . I live at 56, Clever Road—I am 15 years old—on Sunday, September 3rd, I was with the last witness about 10.30 p.m., outside her door—I know Richard Fry by sight—I saw him coming from the avenue leading to Frederick Road, called the Alley—there was a lamp alight in the alley—he stood against the fence at the corner of Frederick Road—the Billson party came along, laughing among themselves—Richard said, "Who the b—hell are you laughing at?"—the Billsons went to the corner, when Mrs. Billson said, "Do you want your ass smacked?"—Richard fry said, "I will smack his ass," pointing to Mr. French, who was on the right—someone said, "We are not laughing at you "—some men came out of the alley—one said, "Go for that one on the right"—Richard Fry hit Mr. French—I was frightened, and went away—when I was turning away Mrs. Billson called out, "They have killed him"—the men walked a few yards past the fish shop, and then ran—Bowers and Richard Fry are two of the men—I picked them out—I saw Bowers break a stick across his knee—I saw Mr. Billison with the stick.

GEORGE ANCHOR . I live at 18, Martin Road—I am 15 years old—I know the prisoner by sight—on Sunday evening. September.3rd, a little after 10 p.m., I was in Clever Road—Richard Fry was calling for his wife, Bella—shortly afterwards I saw three men and three women (the Billson party) come round the corner, laughing among themselves—Richard asked them what they were laughing at—they said, "Not at you"—then William and Bowers joined them—they came from Bowerss ran in the alley—William said, "Pick him out in the road"—Bowers lives in the alley—I had seen him going out with shrimps—Richard went for French—French took a stick from Mr. Billson, and said, "Go away"—Bowers went to hit French, but could not hit him, he was so drunk; at last he took the stick from French and broke it—French was defending himself with the stick—I heard someone scream—I saw the old man fall down—I noticed that he was cut under his left ear—the prisoners ran away.

WILLIAM EDWARD TEBB . I live at 58, Frederick Road—on Sunday evening, September 3rd, I saw the Billson party walking along the Frederick Road—Richard Fry was against the fence, using obscene language—he looked as if he had had enough—the Billson party were laughing and joking together—after some bad language, some more men came through the alley—one was a larger man than the others—one holloaed out, "Take that man on the right"—Richard rushed at the man on the right—Richard made a strike, and they all rushed at the Billson party—French took a stick from the old man to defend himself—he had one man on him and another behind him—the stick was taken away from him by the stout man—I saw old Billson fall, and ran to his assistance—I helped to take him to Dr. Boyd—French said, "What have I done?"—the stick was broken.

EDWARD FRENCH . I am a foreman stevedore, of 12, St. John's Road. Canning Town—I was with the Billsons on Sunday evening, September. 3rd—I married into the family—we were laughing together—I understood Richard Fry to nay, "Who the f—hell are you laughing at?"—I said, "We are not laughing at you, my son," and continued to walk on round the corner—I said to my wife, "Come on, May"—she said, "All right, mate, I'm coming"—the next I heard was, "Your bleeding May won't go much further," and "Hit him up the b—g gut"—I buttoned my coat—Richard Fry rushed at me—I stepped on one bide, and he passed me—I turned to see whether he had gone, when two of them touched me on the shoulder—I got near my father-in-law, the deceased, and said, "They are a rough lot; lend me the stick; I will do something"—he was 52 or 53 years of age—as soon as I got the stick it was taken away—it was not thicker than ray finger—this is a portion of the stick—I held the stick as long as I could—I got a little tap, and rushed over to a doorway, and asked a woman if she cou'd not do something for me—she slammed the door in my face—I heard my mother-in-law scream "Murder! they have killed him!"—I came back—he was lying on the ground, bleeding—I afterwards identified William Fry.

THOMAS HENRY STANDEN . I was with this party, and heard someone complain of people laughing at him—when we passed, the man who was leaning against the fence followed to the corner, two or three more came from the opening, and said something to him—French said, "We have not come out to tight; leave us alone; we want logo home"—French walked across the toad—Billion's home was in Forty Acts Lane, about 10 minutes' walk—the man who had been leaning against the fence made a blow at French, then hit Billson in the mouth; then another with a brown coat hit me on the right jaw, and I hit him in the face—three men were straggling with French—Billson was in front of me, when the man in the brown coat and cap who hit me knocked him down—I went towards Frederick Road after the man, but on hearing the cry of "Murder!" I turned back to see what was the matter, and so lost sight of him—the man who hit Billson in the mouth with his fist and had been leaning on the fence, was dressed in a light shirt, a light pair of trousers, and no cap, coat, or vest.

EMILY BILLSON . I was the wife of Benjamin Billson, who met his death on September 3rd—I live at 18, Forty Acre Lane—I remember Richand Fry coming towards French after some words, and other men coming—they begin to attack French; then I saw them rush to my husband—it was too dark to see the faces of the men—my husband fell in the road, and I screamed "Murder!"—they all ran away.

ALFRED FRY . I live at 22, Martin Road, and am the brother of Richard and William Fry—I am 10 years old—I know Bowers—he was out selling shrimps in the morning of September 3rd—I was in Bowers’s van in the alley at the end of Frederick Road, in the evening, with William Fry, Bowers, David Hunt, and Barton, singing—when I came from the van Richard Fry was leaning against the fence—I saw three men and three women coming along laughing—he said, "What are you laughing: at?" and they went round the corner—William Fry said, "Pick him out in the road"—Richard Fry went to hit him, and missed him—he said, "Give me that stick," and Bowers got away the stick, and hit Billson on the jaw—Bowers had light trousers, and no coat, waistcoat, or hat—Billson fell on his back—William had a Brown suit on; not the same he has on now—it was a backhanded blow—all walked away—I hare not seen Barton since.

Cross-xamined by Richard Fry. Mother cannot prove that you have no other clothes than a black jacket.

Cross-examined by MR. GEOGHEGAN. I did not know Billson—George Cox told me who he was—David Hunt came after me—I know Bowas as "Albert" and "Icy."

DAVID HUNT (Cross-examined by MR. GBOGHEGAN). I am 17 yean of age—I am a general dealer—I have been employed by Bowers—I was in his service on September 3rd—I left it eight or nine days ago—I gave evidence before the Magistrate—the police asked me—on Sunday evening, September 3rd, I was in Bowers's van in Clever Road, with Bowers, Barton, William Fry, and Albert Fry—Bowers and I left the van about 9.30—I went to Bowers's house, when I heard a row in the street—Bowers and I came out about 10.15—we went into Clever Road—I saw Richard Fry strike French or Standen—French had a stick in his hand—William Fry and Barton were there—French went to strike one of the Frys, and Bowers took the stick away and broke it up—I saw Alfred Barton strike Mr. Billson with a stick at the back of his ear—I have known Barton six or seven months—he has disappeared since Billson's death—I saw Billson fal—Bowers was standing on the kerb, the other side of the road, 9 or 10 yards away—Barton spoke to me in the alley.

By MR. BIRON. Bowers threw the stick away—William went to strike, but he never hit anyone—I was with Bowers and the others while the "singsong" was going on—they did not stop the "singsong" because of the noise in the street—I gave evidence on September 22nd, the second I hearing before the Magistrate, and before the Coroner—I knew Barton was in the row and had got away.

By the COURT. I did not know the witnesses—I saw a tidy few people standing at the corner—I do not know whether this stick would knock a man down; I saw Barton hit him first with his fist, and with the stick afterwards—he was falling when he hit him with the stick—I suppose Barton picked up the stick—it was the piece of the stick—I told the Coroner that—(The witness's depositiom before the Coroner and the Magistrate being referred to, the word "fist" tvas not mentioned)—I misunderstood his meaning.

KATE LYONS . I live at 56, Martin Road—on Sunday, September 3rd, I saw Barton about 60 yards from Clever Road—he stayed in my company a little time—a policeman came along—he hid—he was dressed in a dark suit; navy blue.

GBOEGE MONTAGUE MARTIN . I am assistant to Mr. Hilleary, the Coroner ror West Ham—on September 11th he Held an inquest inquiring into the death of Benjamin Robert Billson—William Fry, after being cautioned, gave evidence—I took down his statement, and rend it over to him—he signed this deposition in my presence—the other prisoners declined—(Read: "William Fry, 17, Martin Road, Custom House I am a labourer. On Sunday, September 3rd, I was selling shrimps and apples round Martin Road, Clever Road, and Hooper Road, with a pony and cart. I went home about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. I had my dinner. I took the horse out of harness, took it on the fields, and came home again at 3.30. I stayed indoors the rest of the day. There is only me and my wife lives at the above address. I did not go out in the street. I had beer on the windowsill. I saw Richard Fry in the evening wich Mr. Shaw, coming down the street. He asked for two or three shrimps, and I gave them to him. I saw Bowers about six o'clock at night. Richard Fry was not drunk when I saw him. I saw three men and three women go down the street. I was sitting on the downstairs windowsill. I did not hear anyone speak to them. I did not see anyone attack them. I saw a crowd. I went out to see what it was about. My sister-in-law said, 'There goes Richard; go and fetch him back again. I went and got hold of him, and pulled him back. He was running along hollooing out for his missus. He was not touching the party. Some boys said, Your brother is in a bit of a row.' He had been drinking. I left him in Frederick Road. I came home. I then sat on the windowsill again, and then my brother went after him. I went out again to fetch him back. He said,' My wife's gone down here, and I want her.' He was in Frederick Road against the chapel, by himself. There was no one else there. I saw three men and three women coming along. I don't know if he spoke to them, or they spoke to him. I saw a scuffle. I don't know who it was. I got hold of my brother and pulled him out. Icy was there; I did not see Eagle or Nelson there. Icy did not help me take my brother away; I took him myself. I did not see the old man or my brother fall; I only saw my brother scuffling against the fence shouting,' I want my wife!' I heard of the old man being knocked down, and followed a chap up the street as far as the doctor's. One of them says, "Get an ambulance"; so I went to get a barrow from the furniture-shop. We could not get a barrow. I had a coat on; it was a dark one, with a black satin stripe. I had tweed trousers on, the sameas I am now wearing. I did not know Billson. I knew French about two years, as working in the docks. I was not in a van with Icy on Sunday evening. I did not say to Richard Fry, 'Why don't you pick him out in the road!" I did not see Richard Fry go for French. I did not see, and do not know, if Richard Fry had anything in his hand. I heard someone calling, 'Murder!'—I was sitting on the windowsill, drinking cola—I did not go to render assistance for a quarter of an hour; they were then taking the man to the doctor's. I saw my nephew, Alfred Fry; he was talking to us. [By the JURY] I took my brother, Richard, home before I saw the man in the road, about a quarter of an hour. [To the CORONER] My wife saw me at Holloway to-day, and said that Kate Lyon had told her that a man ran down Martin Road, and said, 'Let me hide behind your post, I have hit a man, and I believe I have killed him.' The man's name is Arthur Barton. I don't know where he lives. He is a young man. Richard Fry was drunk at night,")

WILLIAM WALLER (218 K). In consequence of information I received on September 3rd, I went on the 4th to 18, Martin Road, where Richard Fry lived—I searched the house; he was not in—afterwards, in the street, he came and asked me whether I wanted him—I said, "Yes," and that I was going to take him into custody on suspicion of assaulting a man in Clever Road on Sunday night—he said, "I know nothing about him; I did not strike him"—I took him to the station—he was identified by the three witnesses, French, Tebb, and Martha McCumshay—I had received a description of him—after the charge was read over he said, "I saw a man had got hold of the old man's arm; he cuddled him, and took his stick; I saw him passing by, he laughed, and I asked him who he was laughing at, he said, 'I am not laughing at you, my son'"—Bowers, whom I know as "Icy," was brought to the station the next day, September 5th—he was let go, and rearrested on further evidence being forthcoming.

Cross-examined by MR. GEOGHEGAN. Alfred Fry, I think, was the only witness who picked him out.

FRANCIS CRONK (573 n). On September 5th I saw William Fry in Martin Road—I told him he would have to accompany me to the station—he said, "All right"—I took him to the station, and told him he would be detained—he said, "All right, Sir"—he was placed amongst others, and identified by French—he afterwards said, "I know nothing about it; I was passing through the opening, and saw Richard; he was a bit boozed; I pulled him away cut of it"—the charge was read over—he made no reply.

Cross-examined by William Fry. You did not say, "I pulled him away from the fence."

ARTHUR FENNER (243 K). On September 5th, about 11.50 p.m., I went to 32, Martin Road—I saw Bowers in bed—I told him I was going to arrest him for an assault in Clever Road on Sunday night—I asked him if his name was "Icy"—he said "Yes"—when I told him the charge he fainted away—when he came to, he dressed, and went to the station—on the way he said, "It is all through them Frys; I will go to—he only asked whether the poor man was dead.

Cross-examined by MR. GEOGHEGAN. The inspector cautioned him—after that he said nothing—the station is about a quarter of a mile from where he lives—we reached it in about 20 minutes—he was two or three minutes in the faint—there was no light in his room—a constable and the winess Tebb were with me—I sew one child—the others stood against the door, striking matches—I have heard that two detectives had been to his house; that he went to the station to know what they wanted him for and that he was kept there all night; that Mrs. Billson failed to identify him, and that he was at the Police court—I did not know it at the time; I heard it at the station—Tebb lives in the neighbourhood, and knows Bowers—his wife only said, "What's the matter?"—he is a costermonger, and of good characher, so far as I know.

JOHN BEAR (Police Inspector). I was in charge of the station when French made the complaint—I have made inquiries, but have been unable to find Barton.

Cross-examined by MR. GEOGHEGAN. Five others have been arrested—two others, Eagles and Nelson, have been charged before the Magis-trate—that was in consequence of the description given.

Bowers, in his defence on oath, said that he saw French assault William Fry with a stick, which he took from him broke up, and threw away, as French was a bigger man. William Fry, in his defence, said on oath that only one witness said he struck the deceased; and that he was wearing a black, and not a brown, coat as stated. Richard Fry, in his defence, said on oath that he was too drunk to know what was the matter.

BOWERS— NOT GUILTY . WILLIAM FRY— GUILTY — Eighteen Months' Hard Labour. RICHARD FRY— GUILTY — Twenty one Months' Hard Labour.