Brethren Archive

James George Deck

Born: 1st November 1807
Died: 14th August 1884
Appears in Cronin / Congleton / Lowe / Newman / Bellett / McAdam / Soltau / Maynard / Kingscote / Deck / Pollock Family Tree


Intro, Biographical Information, Notes etc:

Chief Men Among The Brethren Biography

James George Deck, was born 1st November, 1807, at Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, and was blessed, like Timothy, with a praying mother, one who used to retire every evening to her room for a quiet hour with God on behalf of her children, and also of her children's children, and who never punished her children without first praying with them. All of her children were early converted and consecrated unto God; a blessing which has descended unto the third generation. One of her daughters, Mrs. M. J. Walker, was the authoress of "Jesus, I will trust Thee," "The wanderer no more will roam" (Believers Hymn Book, 286), besides other well-known hymns.

Having studied for the Army at Paris, under one of Napoleon's generals, Mr. Deck went to India in 1824 as an officer in the East India Company's service, receiving a commission in the 14th Madras Native Infantry. Even then there had been deep conviction of sin, under stress of which he drew up on one occasion a code of good resolutions, signing it with his own blood, only to find himself without strength to keep them. His youthful ambition was that, having distinguished himself in his profession, he might afterwards enter Parliament for his native town.

But God had better things in store for him, for returning to England in 1826, he was brought under the power of the Gospel, and was converted "through a sermon preached by a godly Church of England clergyman whom his sister Clara, herself previously converted, took him to hear." All things became new to him, his life's passion then being to follow Jesus and win souls for the kingdom. About this time he became acquainted with and married the daughter of Samuel Feild, an evangelical clergyman, and in her he found a wife who, through grace, shared with himself the "like precious faith."

On returning to India he at once took his place as a Christian amongst his brother officers, and began boldly witnessing for Christ, a number being led through his instrumentality to know and trust the same precious Saviour. Becoming exercised as to his position as a Christian in the Army he resigned his commission, with the intention of becoming a clergyman, and with this object he returned to England in 1835 with his wife and two children. Whilst visiting his father-in-law, Mr. Feild, at the vicarage, Hatherleigh, Devon, his second son, Dr. J. Feild Deck, was born and christened. An observation made by Mr. Feild in connection with this christening against some Baptists who were troubling his Parish caused Mr. Deck to examine the Word of God upon the question of the "baptismal regeneration" of infants as set forth in the Prayer Book. Not finding such teaching supported by the Bible he became exercised as to his forthcoming ordination as a clergyman, when he would have to declare, ex ammo that he "assented and consented to all and everything contained in the Book of Common Prayer." Approaching his loved wife he said, "I have left the Army to become a clergyman, but now see that the Church of England is contrary to the Word of God; what shall we do?" Her noble reply was, "Whatever you believe to be the will of God, do it at any cost." The Church of England and the promised "living" had to be given up. But, what were they to join? Plainly, what they "found written" (Neh 7:5) must be the test of everything. Seeking thus to be absolutely guided by the Written Word, they presently found themselves in touch with many other Christians similarly exercised at that time, and who have since become known as "brethren." Having themselves been baptised by immersion as believers, there was hence forth no more infant baptism in their family.

Leaving the Church of England and the traditions of men, and looking only to the Lord to supply their temporal wants, a trust never disappointed, Mr. Deck began to witness for Christ in the villages of Colaton Raleigh, Kingston, Devon, seeking, like Ezra, not only to be a "ready scribe" (Ezra 7:6) in the Word of God, but likewise "to do and to teach" the precious truths so recently apprehended in it. It was a singularly godless, High Church, parish, but soon many precious souls were won for God through the preaching of the Gospel, and having been baptised as believers were gathered unto the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in church fellowship, according to Acts 2:42, as "holy brethren" (Heb 3:1) waiting for God's Son from Heaven (1 Thess 1:10).

It was during this period, between 1838 and 1844, that Mr. Deck wrote most of those hymns which have been his special ministry to the Church of God: "Abba! Father! we approach Thee" (1); "A little while! our Lord shall come" (14); "Lamb of God ! our souls adore Thee" (122); and "Jesus, we remember Thee" (251),* being written in 1838. His hymns were not evangelical, but rather hymns of worship and Christian consecration, in view of our Lord's near return.

His sphere of ministry was chiefly in the western counties of England, residing and labouring after he left Kingston at Sidmouth, Wellington, and Weymouth; with mission visits to Otterton and to East Coker, near Taunton; being much used in these various places in conversions and also in instructing and establishing those who believed in the divine truths and principles which in the Word of God had become so precious unto himself. Whilst in Wellington the late Henry Dyer assisted in the school, and proved a loved and valued fellow-labourer in the ministry of the Word. In 1852 he had an illness and breakdown so severe as to call for an entire cessation from ministry, and that the school should be given up. The medical men recommending a sea voyage and a complete change of occupation as essential to his recovery, it was decided to emigrate to New Zealand.

Arriving in 1853, Mr. Deck purchased land and settled with the family at Waiwerro, near the village of Motueka, in the Nelson province, where three months later his devoted wife, after a brief illness, "fell asleep," and was laid to rest in the Motueka Cemetery. Health having been wonderfully restored, he had the joy before long of witnessing once more in the land of his adoption for his beloved Lord and Saviour.

He removed in 1865 with his family to Wellington, an effectual door of service having been opened to him in that city and province both in the Gospel and in church fellowship, a large and happy meeting being gathered at Wellington and several other assemblies in the district. During this time several more hymns were given him: "Jesus, our life, is risen ;" "Lord of life, this day rejoices all who know Thee, strong to save," etc. He also wrote that splendid baptismal hymn, "Around Thy grave, Lord Jesus" (13), and others, "Father, we seek Thy face," "Great Captain of Salvation," "In love we part as brethren," "Jesus, Thy Name we love," "Lord Jesus, are we one with Thee?" (128), "Lord we are Thine," "O happy day, when first we felt" (189), "Oft we, alas, forget the love," "The veil is rent" (283), and many others.

He paid a visit to Invercargill, the southernmost city in the colony, where his son, Dr. J. Feild Deck, was practising, and in whose house a little company of a dozen had commenced to remember the Lord in the breaking of bread, whom he much helped by his ministry.

Feeling at length with advancing years unequal for carrying on the work at Wellington, he returned with his family to Motueka, where, after being for two years a complete invalid, the Home-call came, 14th August, 1884, in his 76th year; and on Sunday, 17th August, "devout men" laid the earthly tabernacle to rest in the Motueka Cemetery. There was a large attendance, many his own children in the faith, his own hymn, "Thou hast stood here, Lord Jesus," being sung at the grave. His name is fragrant to many to-day, and through his hymns, "He, being dead, yet speaketh."


Adrian said ...

Picture of

Grave of JG Deck in Motueka, Nelson NZ

Tuesday, Sep 8, 2020 : 07:12
Timothy Stunt said ...

The tombstone appears (to me!) to read "aged 76" but it may be "aged 75" which would tally with "in his 76th year" as given in Samuel John Deck's account in Chief Men among the Brethren. However if he was either 75 or 76 this would suggest that he was born in 1809 or 1808, neither of which corresponds with the stated 1807. . . Timothy Stunt

Tuesday, Sep 8, 2020 : 22:43
Martin Arhelger said ...

The age is definitely 76, see a better resolution of the image here:
JGD was born on November 1st, 1807. His 83th birthday was on November 1st. 1883 (1807+76 = 1883). Thus he was still 76 years old when he departed in August 1884 (about two and a half months before his 77th birthday). The information on the gravestone seems to be correct.


Tuesday, Sep 8, 2020 : 23:07
Timothy said ...
Thanks Martin! Maths always challenged me and in my 80th year it's clearly not getting any easier Timothy

Wednesday, Sep 9, 2020 : 00:26
Marty said ...

James George Deck, Sr. – 1st November 1807 ~ 14th August 1884, age 76.
Father: John Deck – 5th July 1781 ~ 9th October 1855, age 74.
Mother: Mary Welsh – 1784 ~ 19th September 1852. M. on 29th November 1805.

Wife: Alicia Victoria Feild – 11th June 1808 ~ 3rd Dec. 1853, age 45.  M. on 22nd April 1829.
Samuel John Deck (A, Carroll) - 23rd May 1832 ~ 16th June 1922, age 90.
  Mary Alicia Deck - 30th October 1833 ~ 3rd December 1926, age 93.
  John Feild Deck, M.D. (E.B. Young) - 5th July 1835 ~ 24th July 1929, age 94.
  James George Deck, Jr. (A.V. Massy) - 10th May 1837 ~ 4th January 1923, age 85.
  Clara Agnes Deck (J.P. Salisbury) - 25th January 1839 ~ 5th January 1937, age 97.
  Sarah Rachel Deck - 8th December 1840 ~ 15th August 1922, age 81.
  Margaret Jane (Daisy) Deck (R. MacIntyre) - 23rd January 1843 ~ 17th July 1930, age 87.
  Frances (Fanny) Harriet Deck (W. Boyd) - 28th May 1845 ~ 13th March 1895, age 49.
  Henry Augustus Deck - 3rd March 1848 ~ 8th March 1848, age 5 days.
  Alice Anne Catherine Deck - 31st January 1852 ~ 8th May 1942, age 90.
2nd Wife: Lewanna Atkinson – 21st December 1828 ~ 7th May 1865, age 36.  M. in 1855.

Eva Lewanna Deck (T.C. Maltby) - 8th August 1856 ~ 23rd September 1934, age 78.
  Edward Henry Deck - 27th December 1858 ~ 15th April 1932, age 73.
  Henry O'Brien Deck, M.D. (E.M. Watt) - 7th August 1860 ~ 2nd December 1925, age 65.
  Charles James (Jim) Deck (M. Woodman) - 26th April 1862 ~ 2nd August 1920, age 58.
  Martin Luther Deck - 30th April 1865 ~ 12th May 1865, age 12 days.
  Clarissa Catherine Deck (S.Gedge) – 29th May 1806 ~ 19th September 1851, age 45.
  Anne Catherine Deck (H. Robarts) – 19th May 1809 ~ 25th March 1835, age 25.
  George Deck (H. Grant) – 16th September 1811 ~ 16th April 1834, age 22.
  Margaret Deck – 2nd April 1813 ~ 25th June 1892, age 79.
  Rev. John Deck (M.A.S. Gibson) – 13th January 1815 ~ 16th February 1882, age 67.
  Mary Jane Deck (E. Walker) – 27th April 1816 ~ 7th July 1878, age 62.
  Rev. Henry Deck (A.J. Young) – 9th August 1818 ~ 22 November 1898, age 80.
  Edward Deck (M.A. Garrard) – 21st December 1820 ~ 7th April 1894, age 73.

Monday, Nov 29, 2021 : 02:30
Graham Ashby said ...
Hi folks, I'm seeking your permission to use the photo of J. G. Deck for a book I'm authoring called 100 Years of Christian Camping by the Open Brethren. Is this where I can gain your permission? With thanks. Blessings - Graham
Monday, May 13, 2024 : 12:49

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