H. Grattan Guinness: Flame of Fire
A Guinness Legend (Flash movie)
NEARLY three thousand years ago appeared a mighty Man of God, Elijah the Tishbite. He came in with fire and went out in fire, being accompanied by horses and chariot of fire in his deathless exit.
Dr. H. Grattan Guinness
In the nineteenth century, appeared one H. Grattan Guinness, who became England's greatest prophet. He was born August 11, 1835, in Dublin. He was early impressed by the Gospel, led to it by his saintly mother. But the fire did not fall on the altar of his heart till 1855, when he was twenty years of age. Then the fire fell when he fully yielded his life to God, and was filled with the Holy Spirit. So great was the blessing that came to him then that, he wrote, "I sought solitary places in the woods where I could pour out my soul in prayer, with strong crying and tears. Old things passed away, and all things became new. How could I keep silence, knowing as I did, that those around me (in Ireland) were utterly ignorant of the salvation in which I was rejoicing, and most of them abject slaves of Roman superstition."
So Guinness began to evangelize in Ireland, but as most of us have found out, he was bitterly persecuted by the Church of Rome. We quote, "One priest threatened that I should be treated like Mr. Sprong, who had been shot at two months previously." But he went on preaching and wrote "Many of the poor Roman Catholics in the neighborhood seem deeply impressed by the message of the Gospel and tears sometimes stole down their faces."
Three years pass. Guinness is now a powerful preacher. The Daily Express wrote:-- "Mr. Guinness preached yesterday in York Street Chapel. The attendance was greater than on any former occasion. In the evening it amounted to 1600, and if there were a place large enough, five times the number would have been present, to hear this highly gifted preacher. The interest which he has excited has daily increased and probably will continue to do so, during his labors in Dublin. An enormous crowd pressed for admittance. Judges, members of Parliament, orators, Fellows of College, lights of the various proffessions, the rank and fashion of the metropolis have been drawn out. Among them the Lord Lieutenant, the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Justice of Appeal, etc. Such a preacher is a great power, prepared and sent forth by God, and as such Mr. Guinness has been hailed by all denominations."
There is not space in this brief article to relate all the great evangelizing and preaching work of Dr. Guinness. Suffice it to say that, the work he did in Ireland was repeated in England, where it was designated as a "Flame of Fire." The following are merely snapshots quoted from his biography, written after his death. In England "he went about preaching when both men and women wept floods of tears." The evangelistic work in London kept the fire burning brightly. So hot was the fire of the Holy Spirit burning in his soul that great crowds were attracted to his preaching everywhere, even in the open air, like Wesley and Whitfield.
He wrote in his diary, "I do now most heartily desire to live but to exalt Jesus; to live preaching and to die preaching; to preach to perishing sinners till I drop down dead." He was the great evangelist in England in the middle of the 19th Century.
H. GRATTAN GUINNESS, D.D., F.R.A.S.
England's Greatest Teacher of Prophecy
Guinness held intensive campaigns in Wales when, in less than three months, he held 142 meetings in 80 places. HIs evangelistic campaigns in Scotland were mighty seasons of Revival. In 1858 he visited the Continent, then back to England, thence to Ireland. This latter campaign extended to every town in that island. All this heralded the Great Revival of 1859 when, at the invitation of a large company of ministers of Philadelphia, he went to the United States and was there preaching incessantly for over six months. Thousands were then brought to Christ.
Not only did Dr. Guinness evangelize in Ireland, Wales and England, but he also spent several years in mission work in France, for his heart was always burning for mission work. He made a special trip to Spain where he stood breast deep in the ashes of the Spanish martyrs, in the Quemadero-Burning-place.
During all these intense evangelistic labors the passion for Missions grew and burned stronger in his heart. At length this fire in his soul developed into the famous Missionary Institute in East London. This materialized in March, 1872. The Institute started with just six students. The renowned Dr. Barnardo was co-director with Dr. Guinness. It was entirely a venture of faith. The following is quoted from Dr. Guinness' writing in later years. "I recall the fact that it was boldly undertaken in faith, and largely unrecompensed. It was wholly unsalaried. Never in the course of a long ministry, have I made any bargain for fee or reward."
This is the secret of the Man on Fire, like the Old Testament "Man of Fire" Elijah.
By the end of three years, more than 100 students were in training. All who were accepted for training, were definitely pledged for Foreign Mission work. The first place in which the Institute started soon became too small, so Harley House, Bow, was taken and enlarged and the College built, and Cliff College, Derbyshire, was opened. Mission Halls in East London were used and open-air preaching carried on by the students. In 14 years 500 students had been received and were in training.
All this was carried on in faith. Students were received and trained without cost to them, unless they were able to pay for their expenses. The Institute was intensively spiritual. Everything was blessed in prayer. Holy lives were the object of the training as well as Bible study. In the first 30 years of the Institute 1500 young people, mostly men, were trained and sent out to the foreign field, under many societies. And the Congo Balolo Mission was carried on from Harley College, and scores of students went to the Congo. This writer was one of the 1500 mentioned above. Dr. Guinness was one of the greatest missionary leaders of all time. He was a man steeped in prayer; and the students caught the prayer contagion. It was wonderful. We can never forget or lose that wonderful influence.
A Mighty Bible Teacher
Dr. Guinness was the most profound and spiritual Bible teacher we have ever sat under. And we have come in contact with the best. To have been one of his disciples was indeed one of the greatest privileges of my life. I can never be too grateful for it. The following is quoted from his biography:
"Dr. Guinness was admittedly one of the greatest exponents of the Prophetic Word ever given to the Church of Christ. Representing, as he did, the Historical School, as opposed to Futurism, his books are almost uknown to many earnest Christians, who hold the latter view. The popularity attained by Dr. Guinness' works on prophecy, may be judged by the fact that, nearly 50,000 are in circulation." Most of these are large volumes, of 500 and more pages. They are, as far as we know, the only books on prophecy that were republished after the death of the author, and after the First World War, by independent firms. They passed through the tremendous events of the past 50 years unscathed, including the two world wars. Futurist books, written 50 years ago, are obsolete now. And there is great demand now for copies of Dr. Guinness' books. Dr. Guinness' first famous book, "The Approaching End of the Age," was published in 1878.
Dr. Guinness was the pioneer in interpreting "the true meaning of the chronological statements, contained in symbolic prophecy, i.e., whether they are literal or whether they are figurative."
The speciality of Dr. Guinness' work lay in the related field of astronomy and prophetic chronology, in which his original research afforded results of sterling value, not alone in science but to Faith. He for the first time demonstrated that Astronomy, which has been regarded by many as antagonistic to Revelation, is really a witness on its behalf."
His great book, "Creation Centered in Christ," is composed of two large volumes, the secong of which contains "Astronomical Tables, calculated by means of Prophetic periods regarded as Astronomical Cycles. These tables contain more than 100,000 solar and lunar positions, verified by 12,000 eclipses. These tables have been submitted to the highest astronomical authorities, and approved as correct and trustworthy."
We understand that a copy of the Second Volume with the Tables, is in use in all the observatories of the world. We saw a well used copy in the Denver Observatory. And these tables are based upon the chronological figures of Daniel, using days as years. This overthrows the literal use of those inspired figures. Dear brethren, why do you not see this? How wonderfully this proves the inspiration of Daniel and other related prophetic scriptures! The following is a list of Dr. Guinness' great works:
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If the reader can secure copies of these wonderful books, he will be very fortunate. The last book published in 1909 (On This Rock) has a calculation in it giving the year 1945 as a remarkable year in Gentile History. We are witnesses that it was.
This article by Rev. Fred. J. Peters was published posthumously in the January-February 1965 edition of the Old Fashioned Prophecy Magazine, (Blackwood, N.J., U.S.A.) edited by Rev. Peters' son, Eric C. Peters.