Brethren Archive
Help and Food for the Household of Faith, Volume: 46

Obituary in Help and Food

by Samuel Ridout

Tom said ...


Benjamin Curtis Greenman At Rest

The beloved saints throughout the whole country will hear with sorrow, as
of a personal bereavement, of the death of our beloved and faithful
brother in Christ, Mr. Benjamin C. Greenman. In one sense we have not
associated the thought of this tireless worker with ceasing from the
activities which have marked his long and well-spent Christian life of more
than sixty years. He was far on in years, being seventy-seven this Spring,
but this seemed to make little difference in the activity which kept up to
the last. The end of his earthly course came on Saturday, April 28th, 1928
at or near Los Angeles, California, where he had very recently arrived in
an auto from San Antonio, Texas, Florida, and other points eastward.
Details have not yet been received, save that on his arrival he was
evidently very sick, but had the best care that affection would freely give
to one dearly beloved in the Lord.
Our dear brother had had a severe attack some two years ago, when he
was tenderly cared for and nursed back to a measure of strength at the
home of the "beloved physician,

" Dr. C. J. Loizeaux, in Des Moines, Iowa.
This perhaps indicated the need of continued care, but he was constrained
to press on in his course which he has now finished. This last portion of his
life was crowded with the same tireless activity in "journeyings oft,

" which
took him several times across the continent from California to Nova Scotia
of late years chiefly by automobile, driven by the loving hand of some
younger brother. His last journey as has been said, was from Florida
through the southern part of the country. He had motored from Toronto,
taking in many points, till Miami, Fla. was reached. Thence by boat, he
took a rapid journey to the Bahamas, constantly preaching and laboring,
and returning to Florida, resumed the travel by motor.
Nor must we think of this as a simple and easy matter. Often it was new
territory, and instead of hospitable homes of fellow-Christians, there
would be a lodging in some wayside "camp." But our brother was not
seeking ease, and pressed on day by day in his labor of love.
The words at the head of this paper may not seem to accord with his
earnest tireless service, but in a sense they do, and we would now seek to
point out how "rest" really was the characteristic of his entire Christian
He was born in England, but his father dying suddenly and accidentally
when he was quite young, his brave and devoted mother determined to
take her children to Canada. Here she married again, and she and her

husband, Mr. Adamson, were later brought into personal enjoyment of
salvation, so that our brother had Christian instruction in early life. He
found rest through believing in the Lord Jesus as his Saviour at about the
age of fourteen years. The need of salvation came home to his soul and led
him to seek peace in various ways except the only right one. But the Spirit
of God was striving with him, and brought him to rest his soul upon the
Lord Jesus Christ. The scripture used was Romans 10:9,

"If thou shalt
confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart
that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." And so his
life began.
Having been brought under a deep conviction of sin, his subsequent gospel
testimony was to the need of men for the salvation of Christ the Lord.
Improvement, prayers, resolves, labor, nothing could be substituted for
the perfect salvation of the perfect Saviour of sinners.
Remaining in the shelter of his home, and the atmosphere of Christian
fellowship, he learned his early lessons. He was brought up to a life of
labor, and whether with his hands or in study, he knew but little of the
selfish leisure which puts a blight upon so many lives.
He greatly valued meeting with fellow Christians and enjoyed the privilege
of being under the ministry of J. N. Darby, G. V. Wigram, F. W. Grant,
and others. He was a lover of good literature, and to the last, used to
impress upon others the importance of reading useful books. Without any
display of learning, he had a knowledge of the Word of God as unfolded
by gifted men, and this coupled with his own diligent study, gave him a
thorough furnishing in the truth. He was thus preserved from many
snares of the enemy of souls, not only those for his feet, but the subtle
forms of error which abound on every hand.
And so this part of his Christian life may be seen to be marked by the
word rest. He had taken the Lord at His word,

"Come unto Me, all ye that
labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." From the time that
he thus believed, he had rest of conscience, little if ever disturbed even at
the start, for it rested upon the Person and Word of the Lord Jesus Christ,
and it was founded upon His atoning work.
While yet a lad, he had begun to engage in gospel testimony and work, and
this went on steadily until very early in his Christian life he began what
went on without intermission until the close. His "ordination" was that of
the "pierced hands,

" for his entire Christian life was practically outside
the various Christian denominations, although he ever had a love for all
the people of God, whatever name they bore. Much of his ministry will
never be known until "the day shall declare it." Nor is it for us to dwell
unduly upon these "labors more abundant." We will merely speak of

their general character, both in nature and extent, and see how this word
rest marked even these many years of toil. His testimony may be described
in one word, scriptural. He was active in gospel work, in bringing souls to
a knowledge of their sin and their Saviour. But he did not rest satisfied
with bringing the gospel message. He loved to minister the Word to
Christians, and many are they who can bear witness to the words of cheer,
help and encouragement given by him. But we might almost say that his
chief characteristic was pastoral care. He counted no time lost in which he
was seeking out the Lord's lambs and sheep in many a lonely spot over a
radius which had no limit. He might have said with Wesley,

"The world is

my parish."
Thus in the pursuit of these objects he traveled far and near, both before
and after his marriage, for he did not allow the ties of family or friends,
while ever mindful of them, to keep him from leaving on long and
extended journeys by land and sea. He was what might be called "a poor

" often made sick by the tossings on sea or rail. But who would
think so to follow his itinerary? Throughout a large part of Canada and
the States, he went on foot, by rail, by carriage, and later by motor. Going
from house to house with tracts and kindly talk, holding meetings in
homes or out-of-the-way places; in the mountains or on the sands, he went
ceaselessly on. In England and in New Zealand, it was the same, giving out
tracts, personal conversation, holding informal Bible readings, preaching
in the open air or to large or small audiences inside. It was work, work.
And yet it was rest, for it was a labor of love, love for the Lord and for
souls. He loved the companionship of fellow-servants and sometimes
extended trips would be taken with them, as to Newfoundland, or in the
West. But whether alone or in company, it was ever labor---
"The love that fills my grateful breast
Makes duty joy, and labor rest."
With these characteristics, it need hardly be said he loved fellowship. He
eagerly sought from the first to profit by the assemblies of the Lord's
people. Not only the regular stated meetings were gladly enjoyed, but he
would take long journeys to avail himself of the "general meetings." To
the last, we may say, these were his objectives, and all over the land at or
near the time announced, his familiar face would be seen and cheering
words of greeting be given to well-known or newly-made friends from far
and near.
He was ever ready with a word of exhortation or instruction, taking his
share in the various meetings, with prayer and hymn and word. He
ranged through the entire Scriptures, the Gospels and epistles being woven
in with portions of the Old Testament. He particularly loved to bring out

the lessons of faith and obedience from Old Testament character, of
Joseph, David, Elijah, Elisha and others, and no matter how frequently he
turned to some familiar character, there would come out fresh lessons for
the saints, or a word of gospel for others. A diligent reader of the Bible, he
brought out "things new and old" from its exhaustless stores. In the Bible
Readings, he was ever ready with instruction, or confirmation of what was
being brought out.
As years went on, instead of losing zest for companionship with young
Christians, the reverse, if anything, was true. He loved to talk to children
and the young, of his early days and experiences.
Early in his service he made diligent use of correspondence, and letters he
deemed useful were copied out and multiplied by mimeograph for wider
circulation. Probably this gave him the idea of having a channel of
communication between the Lord's scattered people, which resulted in the
establishment of "Field and Work,

" which for many years served to be a
medium for records of the Lord's work both at home and abroad, and for
matters affecting fellowship, or of general interest, particularly in the
defense of the truth, when assailed by false doctrine.
In addition to this periodical, which had a place near his heart, were the
other monthly papers issued by him. These took form, first as "Goodly

" later as "The Home Friend,

" with its four parts for the home,
for children, for young believers, and for the unsaved. This has gone on
for many years, upheld by the tireless service of one whose rest it was to
labor. Many of the different articles appeared later as separate tracts,
circulated far and wide. Wherever he went, our brother was a diligent
tract distributor.* He also carried about with him large numbers of helpful
books, combining thus the labors of the colporteur and the preacher.
* He had a case made for the tracts in three compartments, whose initials--
-his own---marked their contents, for Believers, Children, and Gospel.
Into his private personal life, it is not for us to enter beyond the
recognition that he was a man of prayer, and of faith. The Lord Jesus was
the Object of his faith and his adoring love. That love was shown in good
measure by the fulfilment of the Master's word to Peter,

"Lovest thou Me?

Feed My lambs . . . Shepherd My sheep . . . Feed My sheep."
And amid all this busy life of labor he had rest.
And now, his labors are over. He has taken his last journey. He has
entered into God's rest,

"with Christ, which is far better." He leaves a
wife, two daughters and a son. May they be abundantly blessed and
sustained by "the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort."
"Whose faith follow." Each believer has his own particular path. We are
not to imitate the manner, nor the detailed actions of anyone, no matter

how devoted he may be. Our beloved brother would not have thus set
himself up as a model for others to copy. But the simple faith, the childlike
confidence, the self-denying love, the tireless thought for others, the
diligence in prayer, the patience and endurance under trial; these are left
behind as a rich portion for our prayerful imitation.
Above all, may we be all the more cast upon One who "dieth no more,

and who says,

"Because I live, ye shall live also." May the silent lips, the
folded hands of him who has entered into his rest, speak to us still, with
their message,

"Christ is all." In that home of bliss into which his
redeemed spirit has entered, to wait with the Lord until His coming to take
all His own to Himself from the earth and from the tomb, there is but one
theme. It is Himself, the First and the Last. And now, as in the final day
of glory and passing on into the "ecstatic joy" of eternity, the song shall
"Unto Him that loveth us, and hath washed us from our sins in His
own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father,
unto Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."
So we rise from these few memories of our beloved brother, to look upon
Him who was the Source and Author of all that was good in him, the
merciful and faithful Priest for all his infirmities, and his exceeding great
reward. "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain." S. RIDOUT

Saturday, Jan 26, 2019 : 02:58

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