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Contents|| Preface || INDEX || || 1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || 5 || 6 || 7 || 8 || 9 || 10|| Thanks ||

Brethren In Christ

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How It All Began




After the publication of The Protesters in 1975, and after lectures on our heritage given by the author at Christadelphian conferences, he has often been asked "This study -- how did it all begin?"

When the preparation of this present book was first mooted, the author promised to include a brief answer to that question.

In a sense, it began in the attic or loft of a Christadelphian, now asleep in Jesus, in Glasgow, Scotland nearly thirty years ago. This brother's wife's grandfather had been a "convert" of Bro. John Thomas in the sense that in 1849 he had associated himself with the travelling-doctor-turned-preacher. At the time, the formal name Christadelphian was still sixteen years in the future. But the tradition remained in this family that this brother had belonged already to a group of baptised Bible believers, of like mind to Bro. Thomas, whose roots went far back into the past.

Intrigued, the author spent days in this loft among a huge, dusty collection of old books and papers. The end of the search -- or rather when the available time ran out -- was really the beginning. For the material up in that loft not only indicated how correct was the tradition, but sent the author on a thirty-year "voyage" of discovery.

Some early explorations were in fact, in those days, actual voyages, travelling by sea from his home in Jamaica to both Europe and North America. The early 1960's brought acquaintance with much material in Switzerland, and also a sort of spiritual "pilgrimage" to the "home" of the 16th century Biblical Reformation in and around Zurich.

Then, in the Providence of God, came a new and exciting opening. From 1966, for a few years, the author worked in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. This greatest of the world's depositories of human learning has two remarkable advantages. Despite its vast size, it is alone among the great national libraries of the world in having an eminently simple and rational classification system, and it has (for employees and some scholars) easily accessible and open stacks. The effect was to greatly widen the horizon of the search and eventually lead the author to many more places and sources in both North America and Europe.

Increased opportunity for fruitful detective work was later provided when the author's son, Bro. John Eyre, started working with Jamaica's national airline, enabling his father to make his many forays at concessionary rates! In this way visits were made to the


countries of eastern Europe in 1977 and again in 1980-81. On both occasions the visits were combined with work sponsored by the author's employer, the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. And several visits were made to American libraries.

The immediate decision to prepare this volume arose directly from the author's visit to Australia in 1980. Many Christadelphians in that country, interested in The Protesters and later articles published in The Christadelphian magazine, and knowing that much more material was still waiting to be made known to Christadelphians worldwide, urged the author to continue his "detective" work and publish the results. They followed up this encouragement in the most practical way.

It is the author's hope that they will not be disappointed with the result.

GORDON TOWN, Jamaica, West Indies.