Edwin Henry Bennett, of Cardiff
"A man greatly beloved," who spent his strength in caring for and ministering to the saints in Cardiff and throughout South Wales, and who was well known and much esteemed among saints everywhere for his self-denying labours of love. Although he had the control of a large business, he always found or took time to look after the Lord's work, and was seldom absent from any of the meetings in Adamsdown Hall, where for many years he was in church fellowship and bore the chief share of all the burdens, cares, and labours connected with the work there, besides giving continual counsel, help, and loving labour to the other Assemblies. He was a man of well-balanced mind, firm and uncompromising for the truth, holding it with a grasp of steel in the face of all opposition, yet wise and gracious toward those who differed from him. This through grace, was the secret of his success in dealing with many a difficult question, and in steering through such difficult times as have upset and foundered many a testimony. We often wondered at his powers of endurance, and admired the grace that enabled him to go on, amid much weakness of body still serving the Lord. He took part in the meeting held at Adamsdown Hall on Good Friday, and then went to Clifton, Bristol, for change and rest.
There, on the morning of April 20th, it was found he had "fallen asleep," during the night. Thus peacefully ended a long and busy life of devoted and unselfish service for the Lord, such as we have seldom seen. Much prayerful sympathy will go forth to his widow, who was in all his service a true helpmeet, and to the members of his family who will sorely miss a father and brother, while the saints of God—in Cardiff especially—must keenly feel the loss of one, to whose incessant prayers and toils on their account, they owe far more than they will ever know on earth. Several well-known books were written by Mr. Bennett, including "A Brief Memoir of Robert C. Chapman" and "The Life Story of John Hambleton"; he also edited "Truths for the Children of God" containing the ministry of the late Henry Cummins, of Bow. In a M.S.S. book sent to us by our departed brother some months ago, there are many valuable Notes and Thoughts on Scriptural Subjects, which we hope to give our readers the benefit of in these pages, from time to time. He was a diligent student of the Word, and these papers contain much precious and edifying truth.
"The Believer's Magazine" 1903 p60.
"GOD, MY EXCEEDING JOY."
E. H. BENNETT, OF CARDIFF,
Who departed to be "with Christ," which is "very far better," on Sunday, 19th April, 1903.
Some ten years ago, when staying in Leominster in the house of a friend, Mr. Bennett was told by the mother that her daughter, who was ill, was longing for "the wings of a dove to fly away and be at rest" (Psalm lv. 6). He drew his pocket Bible out and opened it at Psalm lvii., verses 1 and 2, as he said: "I like to link the two thoughts together; when desiring to fly from trouble, we may fly to the shadow and shelter of the wings of the Eternal God, and there make our refuge till these calamities be overpast." Two days before his home-call he had gone to Bristol to consult a specialist about his heart, and on the following day was entreated not to go out to the morning meeting for breaking of bread, as it was feared it would be too much for his feeble condition. But he pleaded, "Do leave me the only joy I have on earth,'' and he went; and also to hear Dr. Pierson preach at Bethesda in the evening. He then walked back to his apartments, retired to rest for the night, and when Mr. G. F. Bergin called to bid him "Good-bye" in the morning, he found that the freed spirit of our brother had entered the rest of God above, to know the uninterrupted and eternal joy of His presence for whom his heart longed.
"The Witness" 1903 p94.
MORE than eighty years have passed by since a few believers began to meet simply in the Lord's name in a private house in Cardiff. God blessed that humble beginning, the fruits of which are to be seen to-day. In Cardiff district alone there are about twenty-four assemblies, while in South Wales, they number eighty-five in all, not including a number of other gatherings who meet on more or less "Exclusive" lines. Development in Cardiff was greatly helped forward by Edwin H. Bennett, a prominent business man at Cardiff Docks, and son of one of the original three who started breaking bread in 1852. A devoted and able leader of assembly life, Mr. Bennett was the mainstay of the work at Adamsdown, and proved himself a zealous worker throughout the district until his home-call in 1903.
"The Story of a Great Recovery" Chapter 34 1st paragraph.
"REMENIBER them that had the rule over you; men that spake unto you the Word of God, and considering the issue of their manner of life, imitate their faith." Remember, consider, imitate. This "man of God," so suddenly called home, gave opportunity for obedience to each of the above commands.
Our beloved brother had the inestimable advantage of godly parentage. He was brought to the Lord in early life, the point of decision being arrived at through William Carter, co-worker of the late John Hambleton. From that day onward he trod "the path of the just, which is as the light of dawn that shineth more and more unto perfect day."
When I made his acquaintance in 1865 he was a teacher in the Sunday-school; very retiring, seldom taking part in the meetings for years after that date, but diligently reading the Scriptures, and thus laying a good solid foundation for his invaluable service in after years in the very meeting where he was from childhood. Thus he was obliged to face the difficulty our Lord alludes to in Luke 4.24: "No prophet is accepted in his own country." He faced it, and by God's abundant grace overcame it, and became truly "acceptable to his brethren." This service began about 1875 when, through removal of some to other places and others by their home-going, he was called to help, and till the date of his departure to be with Christ it was one unbroken period of devoted service to the twofold work of seeking lost sinners and shepherding God's sheep.
Though actively engaged in business as a coal merchant at Cardiff docks, yet he never relaxed the most untiring devotion to the furtherance of the Gospel and the edification of the people of God. The former he furthered by personal labours amongst young and old, in Sunday-school work, in Gospel meetings, in mothers' meetings, and in house-tohouse visitation—the latter by the exercise in its various ways of the work of a true shepherd, caring for individuals and for assemblies. His time, his talents, his means were laid at the Master's feet to be used either by voice or pen. He delighted to aid in every way companies of the children of God desiring to walk according to the Scriptures; some such owe their existence to his labours and influence, and not a few were assisted by his voice, his pen, and his person,
Being a co-worker with the late John Hambleton for many years, he wrote the story of his life and labours, which, under the title of "THE CONVERTED ACTOR," has been circulated by thousands in Britain and the Colonies.
He greatly added to the value of his own personal labours by constantly securing the help of accredited servants of Christ, both as evangelists and teachers. His hospitable home was ever open to such, and to missionaries from abroad, and in this—yea, in all his services for the Lord—he was aided to the full by his beloved wife, now left to mourn her loss, and ta prove the faithfulness of the God of the widow.
Testimony was borne at the graveside by one who knew his business life well; to the simple, straightforward, upright course he ever pursued, so that nothing was done in his business engagements that acted as a barrier in the way of speaking for his Lord to those with whom he transacted business. A stranger said: "I was in his office for 17 years, and can confirm all that was said about his business career."
The secret of all this blessed onward course, without any turning aside after this vain world, was his love for the Scriptures, his devotion ,to the Lord whom they reveal, and his unswerving obedience to what he believed to be the will of God. 2 Timothy 3. 14-17 had in him a happy fulfilment. From a child he knew the Scriptures; by them had been made wise unto salvation; he had learned them, had been assured of them. (No cloud of doubt as to the plenary inspiration of the Bible ever darkened his path.) He continued in them, and so was as "a man of God complete and completely furnished unto all good works." He found them to be truly "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction," and he applied them first to himself, then he used them for the benefit of others. The sick and suffering ever found a ready friend in him, and many a widow's heart was made to sing for joy by his loving care and unstinted aid.
His persistent herculean labours told on his strength; yet on he toiled, heedless of himself in seeking the good of others. His last fortnight on earth was spent in Clifton for rest. On 19th April, 1903, he was at the meeting for the breaking of bread, but took no part therein. He walked in the evening to the meeting, and was driven home in a cab. No thought of what was so close at hand was in either his mind or his wife's. They had made all their plans for returning to Cardiff on Monday morning. However, the Lord had planned otherwise. He who had redeemed him and fitted him for service here below needed him above, and in the exercise of that Lordship over dead and living for which He had died and risen (Rom. 14 9), called His servant up higher. He retired to rest, and in the early hours of Monday morning, while lying on his side asleep, his heart, worn out at the early age of 56, ceased to beat, and he who, Enoch-like, " walked with God, was not, for God took him."
The interment took place in Cardiff Cemetery, on April 23. The concourse of people that attended the services, first in Adatnsdown Hall and then at the cemetery, was a beautiful and fitting testimony to the value of such a consistent Christian life, lived in their midst from his youth.
He "fought the good fight"; he "finished his course;" he "kept the faith": "henceforth there is laid up for him the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give at that day."
G. F. B.