Brethren Archive

James Butler Stoney

Born: 13th May 1814
Died: 1st May 1897
Appears in Stoney / Elwood

Intro, Biographical Information, Notes etc:

Chief Men Among the Brethren Biography

JAMES BUTLER STONEY was born at Portland, Co. Tipperary, on 13th May, 1814. His father was a strict Puritan and his mother (nee Butler) equally strict from a different point of view. Her four sons remarkably answered to her culture in mind, in address, and in manner of life. They had private tutors, and lived in a country home, with only country pursuits and pleasures.

J.B.S. entered Trinity College, Dublin, at fifteen, taking his place at 70 out of 92. At nineteen he was Senior Freshman and well up in Classics and Law. His first religious impression was as a boy, when the Rev. Baker Stoney, Rector of Castlebar, the friend and fellow-worker with Mr. Nagle of Achill, came to Portland. At family prayers he read Acts 9, and dwelt on the fact that God's salvation was so great that He could send a "light out of Heaven" to arrest one soul, and in that light was seen a Saviour in the glory of God for a man on earth who was stamping out His Name from the earth. He saw that just One and heard the voice of His mouth (Acts 22 and 26).

The youthful mind is "wax to receive and marble to retain, " and he never lost the sense of the revelation in Christ of the "kindness and love to man (philanthropy) of our Saviour God" (Titus 3. 4). But the ambitions and joys of youth left little room for serious thought. He was eagerly following his studies for the Bar; all his prospects in life depended on his success at the Bar.

In 1831 men were dying of cholera all around in Dublin. He was suddenly taken ill, and his first thought was, "How can I meet a holy God ?" The agony of his soul was worse than that of the body. He rang for his servant to go for the doctor. "Thomas, I am afraid I am dying. " "Surely you are, sir, " said Thomas. Alone he threw himself on his face, and cried to the God he had heard of as a boy, who could receive the chief of sinners because the "Crucified One" was at His right hand. When the doctor came he was exhausted and appeared dying, but quite calm he said: "Jesus will have me. Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

A long sleep restored him, and he was soon able to return to his studies. But he had been "born again," born for a new world, new hopes, new life. "No more law for me," he said. "I'll be a witness to grace, " the grace that could only be revealed from glory for sinners.

He joined the Divinity Class at Trinity College, Dublin, where there were really good men at that time, but he had to wait nearly four years. He could not be ordained until he was twenty-four years of age. His family were very angry; his uncle would have nothing more to do with him; as his fine talents and opportunities were being thrown away for a curate's pay.

But during those four years he was studying the Scriptures with all the earnestness of a soul that had learned that unseen things are for eternity, the seen things of this life passing away. As he studied the Epistles he found that the "gifts" for ministry in the Church of God were given directly from the Ascended Man to each one, so that by Christ's own appointment one became an evangelist or a teacher, etc. (Eph. 4). *He would not wait for a curacy; he would go out at once into the highways and hedges and invite sinners to come to God's great salvation: "Come, for all things are ready. "

He wrote a little book called "Discipline in the School of God," dealing with the Old Testament characters, and contributed to several periodicals. He spoke somewhere every day and travelled much. A fervent, impressive speaker, he anxiously avoided anything like eloquence, feeling that the Spirit of God was the only power for holy things.

J.B.S. died on 1st May, 1897, just before his eighty-second birthday. God was his exceeding joy to the end—while telling of Him he gently fell asleep. He rejoiced to say:

"'Tis the treasure I found in His love
That has made me a pilgrim below."

C. E. F.

Cecil Weston said ...
Another of my favorite. Just love his style of writing and his comments on behavior in the assembly e.g. looking around to see if any other brother is still searching his hymn book or Bible before he gives out a hymn or a word.
Friday, Oct 27, 2017 : 02:56
Marty said ...

  James Butler Stoney
13th May 1814 ~ 1st May 1897, Age 82.
Burial in Dean Road Cemetery, Scarborough, Yorkshire.

Father:  Richard Falkiner Stoney - October 1779 ~ 3rd June 1830, Age 50.  
    (m. 10th February 1812)  
Mother:  Jane Butler - c.1790 ~ c.1872.

Thomas Butler Butler-Stoney -  22nd March 1813 ~ 10th March 1893
    (m. Sarah Finnin in 1837)
Maj. Henry Butler Stoney - 1816 ~ July 1894, Age 78.  Author of: 
    "Victoria during the Ballarat Riots in 1854" & "A Residence in Tasmania"
    (m. Frances Sarah Wilson)  
Maj. Gen. George Butler Stoney - 1818 ~ 5th June 1880.

Wife:  Mary Frances Elwood - 13th May 1814 ~ 30th April 1902, Age 85.  (m. 1838)  

Anna Maria Elizabeth Stoney - 1839 ~ 21st February 1936,  Age 97.  Author of:
    STONEY (A M ) "From glory to glory"...the closing days of J.B.S[toney] 1895-1897. [By
    A.M.S[toney]. (Burton-on-Trent, J.D. Churchman,) [n.d.] 68p. 
    STONEY (A M ) The great servant: simple lessons on the Gospel of Mark...[by] A.M. 
    S[toney]. Newport, Stow Hill Bible Depot,[c.1917]. 218+[2]p.  
    STONEY (A M ) The hope of Israel: simple lessons on the Gospel of Matthew.     
    Newport,Mon., Stow Hill Bible and Tract Depot, [n.d.] [ii]+251p.
    STONEY (A M ) Scenes and sites in Bible lands. By A.M.S[toney]. London,        
     T.Nelson,1870. 128[127]p.
Robert (Bertie) Vesey Stoney - 27th June 1841 ~ 8th March 1924, Age 82.  
    (m. Emily Rose Bligh in 1878. d. 1893)  (m. Phoebe Editha Truell in 1896. d. 1948)
Capt. Thomas Butler Stoney - 27th February 1844 ~ 5th March 1912, Age 68.
    (m. Annie Olphert in 1873)
Dr. Percy Butler Stoney - 1848 ~ 1915, Age 67.  (m. Mary Briggs)
Dr. Arbuthnot Butler Stoney - 1851 ~ 24th April 1932.  (m. Lucy Vandeleur in 1881)  
Edward Augustus Butler Stoney - 12th Novenber 1854 ~ 14th March 1811, Age 56.
    (m. Mary Agnes Peake)

Sunday, May 10, 2020 : 02:48
Steve Noble said ...
Does anyone have the original edition of Notes & Jottings by JBS (i.e. what was subsequently published in Volume 8 of the New Series)? I specifically want to compare the wording of p119-121 (article on the Holy Spirit) in the New Series with the original edition. In case any are wondering why, I am aware of occasional differences between later editions of some ministry and the original versions and want to ensure that my quote is exactly as the author intended (I am writing a book).
Saturday, Jul 22, 2023 : 00:16
Rodger said ...
Can you give the opening sentence of the article you are referring to, Steve? It seems that the Stoney “Notes and Jottings” came from various periodicals, so it may be possible to track back to a more original form in one of the scanned periodicals.
Saturday, Jul 22, 2023 : 11:16
Steve Noble said ...
Thanks Rodger. Here is the first line: "The Lord says, "He shall testify of me". (John 15:26) The Holy Spirit has come down, not only for our comfort, but to testify of Christ. Now, do you ever consult the Holy Spirit about the testimony of Christ?"
Sunday, Jul 23, 2023 : 02:04
Steve H said ...
Hi Rodger / Steve Noble,

I have a book of Addresses at Quemerford by J. B. Stoney, which includes both The Testimony (John 15 : 26) 1887, Page 67 and The Testimony of The Holy Spirit (John 16 : 1-15) 1881, Page 337, and the contents page also includes (Ex Food for the Flock, Vol. 7) in respect of this latter item (the last in the book).

This book belonged to my paternal grandfather, who lived from the late 1800's to the early 1960's. and considering its age is still in good condition.


Steve H

Sunday, Jul 23, 2023 : 03:50
Rodger said ...

Steve H has it. "Food For The Flock," volume 7, page 108.

Sunday, Jul 23, 2023 : 05:18
Steve Noble said ...
Steve H/Rodger - many thanks for your help with this. Appreciated.
Sunday, Jul 23, 2023 : 18:57
Andrew Burr said ...
On a different tack ... I noticed in one of JBS's letter that he very much favoured those who were in the Lord's work also having secular employment; and he adds the comment that he had had such work well on in life. We know that he gave up the law, and the clergy early on; but does anyone know what work he might have been doing?
Sunday, Sep 17, 2023 : 14:06
Nick Fleet said ...
In the 1861 census his occupation was given as "Cashier to Pembrey Copr" whilst resident at Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, Wales. This may refer to Pembrey Copper Works. He was most probably also a landed proprietor with estates in Ireland.
Monday, Sep 18, 2023 : 17:07

Add Comment: