THOMAS NEWBERRY often praised God for the blessing of a Christian mother and a godly elder sister, for through them, like Timothy of old, he knew the Holy Scriptures from a child; and it pleased God to reveal His Son to his soul as Saviour and Lord at an early age, so that he knew the blessed experience of being "born again" (John 3. 3), by the incorruptible Word of God, which "liveth and abideth for ever" (1 Peter 1. 23). And his Christian life commenced with a love and reverence for the Holy Scriptures, which were his food and "the joy and rejoicing of his heart" (Jer. 15. 16) throughout his long and active life, so that he became "mighty in the Scriptures " (Acts 18. 24), and one of the most reliable and profitable expositors of the Bible.
During the early years of his Christian experience he was but an ordinary reader of the Word of God for comfort and instruction; but sixty-one years ago he began the diligent study and searching of the Scriptures in the original Hebrew and Greek languages. Pursuing these studies for twenty-five years, he felt constrained to commence that which will be one of the best memorials of his valuable life, "The Englishman's Bible," which is now widely known and greatly prized by Bible students as one of the best helps ever published for enabling ordinary readers to discern the beauties of the original "sacred Scriptures."
This work has been highly commended by competent scholars, who express admiration at the immense labours bestowed upon the book, and the valuable and reliable information given in its marginal notes, which help Christians to understand somewhat of the precious treasure which God has given in this, His own Word.
Diligent Scripture study led Mr. Newberry into association with a remarkable revival which took place in the British Isles early in the last century, when the Spirit of God led many eminent Christians to search the Holy Scriptures in relation to their ecclesiastical associations. The conviction was forced upon many of their souls that much of the teaching was not in harmony with the Word of God; that many of the customs were based upon expediency rather than conformity to "the law and the testimony" (Isa. 8. 20); that principles and practices (which were plainly recorded in the Epistle to the Corinthians and other Scriptures, as characteristic of the churches of God as founded by the apostles, after the Divine pattern given to Paul, "the wise masterbuilder") were not being observed, although 1 Corinthians 1.1,2 said they were binding upon "all that in every place call upon the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord."
Great searching of heart took place about the year 1828-1830, leading godly men to act as those did in Malachi's day: "Speak often one to another: and the Lord harkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him, for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His Name" (Mai. 3. 16). Events of deepest interest resulted from these meetings, for as the conclusion was forced upon their souls that they were not able to preach, teach, and practice all they found written in God's Word, and as they were in associations where parts of that Word were violated and ignored, they must separate from such surroundings (as taught in 2 Cor. 6. 14-18; Rev. 18. 4; Isa. 1. 16; and Jer. 15. 19), and occupy a position where it was possible for them to "keep the ordinances of the Lord as they were delivered" (1 Cor. 11. 2), and to conform to all things they found written in the law of the Lord, and where they could exercise those gifts which were bestowed upon them by the Lord Jesus Christ for the mutual edification of fellow-saints (see Eph. 4. 11-17; 1 Peter 4. 10, 11; Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 12. 14, etc.) without human appointment, sanction, or restrictions.
Acknowledging the supremacy and authority of the Holy Scriptures, and setting aside the creeds, rules, and regulations which men had devised, and which had become sectarian barriers to the communion of saints, they regarded it as a cardinal principle of God's assemblies that the Word of God should be their sole appeal for all matters of doctrine and practice, and its decisions were binding upon all in their
fellowship; also that there should be liberty to preach, teach, and obey all that they found in the Bible.
Mr. Newberry's lectures and writings upon the tabernacle and the temple have been of spiritual profit to thousands. He constructed a model of the temple of exquisite beauty, and quite unique in its design and workmanship, the result of great research in the original Scriptures, so that it might convey to modern people some idea of that gorgeous temple which Solomon built from the pattern given to his father David by the Spirit of God, as Moses also constructed the tabernacle from the pattern which God gave to him in the holy mount. This model, with various writings in connection with it and bearing upon other subjects, will be lasting memorials to the value of his Bible research. For long years he expounded the Scriptures in many parts of the British Isles, gave numerous lectures on the model of the tabernacle, wrote valuable papers for The Witness and other magazines, conducted an extensive correspondence with Bible students in various parts of the world, and sought to be a helper to the saints in every possible way, falling asleep at Weston-super-Mare on 16th January, 1901, at the ripe age of ninety.
Volumes of "The Englishman's Bible, " "Notes on the Temple, " "Notes on the Tabernacle, " "The Parables of Our Lord," "The Temples of Solomon and Ezekiel," "Solar Light, " and other books have been extensively circulated. The Bible was issued in three sizes: Library or bold type; Portable, or middle size; and Pocket size. Early Portable size copies are valuable and scarce.
In conclusion, we quote the valuable testimony of this departed scholar, written in his old age: "As the result of a careful examination of the entire Scriptures in the originals, noticing and marking where necessary every variation of tense, preposition, and the signification of words, the impression left upon my mind is this, not the difficulty of believing the entire inspiration of the Bible, but the impossibility of doubting it. . . . The godliness of the translators, their reverence, the superiority of their scholarship, and the manifest assistance and control afforded to them by the Holy Spirit in their work, is such that the ordinary reader can rely upon the whole as the Word of God.