Ed Cooney to “My Dear Sister”

My Dear Sister,

I remember getting a letter from you about a year or so ago in which you wrote of having a dream concerning me as follows: You saw me in your dream in a difficulty you could not understand; and you reached out your hand to help me, but were not able.

At the time you wrote I was passing through a period of trial which I could not myself understand.  Physically and spiritually I was having a conflict; and the latter, which at the beginning of my ministry was mostly from without, was now beginning to be consciously and increasingly from within.  I see now more clearly what was taking place, so seek in answer to your request through John Owens to let you know some of the developments of the work of God and the adversary amongst us as God’s people.

Undoubtedly God called us and separated us to be his people in the beginning; and most prominent and most used in this calling out a people for God’s name was William Irvine who, at the time of his being sent forth to be a prophet, saw more clearly than any of us that the revelation of the Father to each individual child of His is the Rock alone on which Jesus Christ would build his church, and that the gates of Hades should not prevail against it.

Luther saw this in a great measure when he declared that the Scriptures, unfolded by revelation from the Father through the Son by the Spirit, were the final court of appeal for each child of God; and that the way into the holiest was available for God’s child through the veil, viz., the flesh of Jesus by his blood right into the Father’s presence from whom the revelation (which alone is Rock) came.  Luther afterwards left this position, and as a consequence landed with his brethren into Babylon because his flesh and blood mind failed to see that the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

The kingdom about which Jesus spoke for the space of 40 days to his sent ones began when the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, took control of the church, and like a rushing mighty wind impelled it into the good fight of faith.  Barrenness and dearth are always the result of organization caused by flesh and blood revelation.  We are slowly but surely drifting into this condition, and prophecy has almost ceased amongst us.  Our only hope is to get back to the simplicity and childlikeness of the beginning, especially those of us who have the oversight.

When I returned from abroad, the year before last, I had a long talk with Willie Gill about the situation.  I told him that we who claim to have the apostolic oversight needed to be converted and become like little children so as to enter the kingdom, Matt. 18/3.  He agreed with me regarding the necessity, that we, like the twelve whom Jesus desired should tend his lambs, feed and shepherd his sheep, needed conversion from the who-is-greatest-in-the-kingdom-of-heaven spirit so as to become like little children as they did on the day of Pentecost when they entered into the kingdom of which the Holy Spirit became the controller as the executive of the Father and the Son.

From Jesus spoke those words till Pentecost, the twelve were being converted and at that time with the 108 saints in fellowship with them became converted.  The sent ones of Jesus got to the place where they were willing to do the will of God as recorded in Mark 3, and were brother and sister and mother to him.  But they got away from that childlike trustfulness, and so have we.  A few of us see our need of turning again to this childlikeness that we had in the beginning; and I believe we are being converted toward it.  But our brethren, who as yet fail to see their need of this, have put us out even as the patriarchs put Joseph out.  Hope we may so prove God to be with us even as Joseph did, that our fellow patriarchs may see their mistake, and become again our brothers as in the case of Joseph and his brethren.

In the beginning, we were all free to express the revelation God made clear in our hearts.  The proof that it was God’s revelation being that it was according to the Scriptures, and in agreement with Him who was the word made flesh.  Now a verbal agreement has been framed by apostolic overseers.  William Irvine, John Hardy [Hardie], and some others at the beginning believed they were born again in Babylon, but I am sorry to say that I accepted the flesh and blood revelation through Joe Kerr backed by William Irvine, that previous to meeting him we were unregenerate.

John Hardy for many years refused to accept this, then I took up the same position as John.  In 1914 God showed me the pre-eminence William got through this error, leading together with other things to his ceasing to be the humble brother amongst brethren he was at the beginning.  I am sorry to say that John Hardy has embraced the error he stood out against for so long.  Wilson McClung declared that this, which he calls Babylonish testimony, is my chief offence. But I am happy to be back at the place we occupied for 4 years after God called William Irvine and others of us to rebuild Jerusalem.  I have been excommunicated by my fellow workers, and hundreds of saints and eight workers have been put outside the camp with me.

It would grieve me to think of, and grieve me more to write of, the appalling change in God’s servants and saints who have actively promoted this ungodly course of action.  So I ask you to forgive me for not giving you details which my love of those with whom I used to take sweet counsel and together walked in company to the house of God caused me to refrain from declaring what I hope they may yet turn from.

Believe me still to be Christ’s bondsman and yours for his sake.  I can humbly say more so than when we first met in Newcastle.

Signed: Edward Cooney
Kingscourt Street
May 1930

This letter is reprinted from: Selected Letters, Hymns, and Poems of Edward Cooney 1867- 1960 by Patricia Roberts