Guinness is Good For You: Memories of the Legacy of Rev. H. Grattan Guinness, D.D., F.R.A.S.
Compiled by J. L. Haynes, June 2002.
The following excerpts are from current Internet publications, gathered together here to serve as a memorial to the life and ministry of Henry Grattan Guinness. Sometimes memorials focus on the greatness of the individual being remembered. In this case, I wish to remember Dr. Guinness for his faithfulness and obedience to the great God whom he served.
More information about Henry Grattan Guinness can be found by clicking the menu item above, "Resources" > "Guinness Archives".
"The History of Christian Zionism or Restorationism in Britain"
Dr H.Grattan GUINNESS, in his remarkable book "Light for the Last Days" published in 1886 said: "There can be no question that those who live to see this year of 1917 will have reached one of the most important, perhaps the most momentous, of these terminal years of crisis." The year 1917 we now know was the date both of the Balfour Declaration and the liberation of Jerusalem from the Turks by General Allenby.
The BALFOUR DECLARATION was in many respects the high point of Britain's
alignment with the Restoration of the Jews to Palestine, and the ultimate
re-creation of a Jewish state. The Balfour Declaration, issued on November
2 1917 stated: "His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment
in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their
best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being
clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the
civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine,
or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
"The Vision of the Seven Times of Daniel 4"
Over a century ago a servant of God who was also an eminent astronomer,
Dr. H. Grattan Guinness, became convinced that God was fulfilling the
time prophecy of Daniel 4. Studied in the light of the previous three
chapters of Daniel, this vision obviously takes on an importance far in
excess of that which has been assigned to it by the general run of interpreters.
God had finished with the original line of the kings of Judah after bearing with their failure and unfaithfulness for over four hundred years, and now was determined to use a succession of pagan Gentile empires, as described in Daniel 2. He saw to it, however, that the great Babylonian king took captive four princes of Judah - Daniel and his fellows - as he subjugated Jerusalem in 607 BC. These four men he was soon caused to set over the whole province of Babylon, so that the government of the first of the four empires was on a righteous foundation. Later he established Nebuchadnezzar as supreme among the surrounding nations such as Egypt and Tyre, so that his kingdom would be unchallenged and without competitors in the Middle East.
After appointing him as 'head' of this Gentile succession, God gave Nebuchadnezzar a vision which was two-fold. Like Adam, the head of the human race before him, he would fall through pride, and secondly, the duration of his fallen state had been decreed by God. Clearly, on the basis of 'each day for a year' the seven times (that is 7 times 360 days) (see Note 1) would pass over the great king and his kingdom until the time came for the kingdom to be given up to One called 'the lowest' or 'most abased' of men. (The whole chapter should be carefully read).
It is obvious that God identified Nebuchadnezzar with the Gentile empires following him, in the line of Persia, Greece and Rome, for Rome was ultimately to see Jesus, hanging bloodied and naked, outside Jerusalem; but after the final count the same Jesus will be manifested 'in power and great glory', as he returns to establish a Kingdom which 'shall stand for ever' (Daniel 2: 44).
Dr. Grattan Guinness studied the history of the Captivity of Judah and measured off eras of 2,520 years from the many consecutive starting points in Biblical history when, first Israel, and then later Judah were swept away into captivity to Assyria and Babylon. On the strength of his findings he confidently pointed ahead to the years 1917, 1923 and 1934 as bound to see movement relating to the restoration of Israel to her land. (If he had measured the last period of 2,520 years from the siege of Jerusalem in 588 BC when God actually gave up Judah to judgment - see Ezekiel 24 - he would have made the closing year of the series 1933, and not 1934).
As the result of these predictions, which were widely read over the previous thirty years, many thousands of Christians watched through the days of the First World War and then, surely enough, in 1917 came the first real sign that the time had come for God to do two things: firstly, to begin to restore the land of Israel to His ancient people, and, secondly, to allow a power to come into being which would in the end bring the great Gentile civilisation of the West tottering to its fall. For in the winter of 1917 - as is well known - the Muslem domination of the Holy Land and Jerusalem ceased, and the famous Balfour Declaration was given by the British Government partly for the English Zionist leader, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, to Lord Rothschild. At the same time, the Bolshevik Revolution swept away the last of the Czars and Communism became a force which would presently dominate over vast areas of the earth.
In 1923 the passing into operation of the Palestine Mandate, under which Gt. Britain was the Mandatory power, formed a fitting end to the 'seven times' or 2,520 (see Note 1) years from 598 BC, when the surrender of King Jehoiachin to Babylon virtually terminated the true Kingdom of Judah.
"The Great Sydney Revival of 1901"
Another of the prominent missioners was Dr. H. Grattan Guinness, who succeeded Mr Geil at the Hyde Park tent. He is an evangelist, physician, missionary enthusiast, and organizer, and an attractive platform speaker. His methods are entirely dissimilar to those of Mr. Gell, but striking and effective. Dr. Guinness paid his first visit to Australia in 1885, just after completing his medical education at the London Hospital. He was then twenty-three years of age, and stood over 6ft. in height. Six years later he left for the Congo River, Central Africa, and spent twelve months; investigating the conditions and possibilities of missionary service in that region. He travelled 3,600 miles on the main river and its southern affluents; visiting all the stations of the Congo Balold Mission of which he was the hon. Secretary. During the trip he suffered considerably from malarial and haemoglobinuric fever. The latter disease, commonly known as "blackwater fever," has caused terrible mortality among the brave missionary band toiling with the black millions of Western Equatorial Africa.
While in the district to the north of the Lofori River, Dr. Guinness was nearly killed by the fierce N'Gombe -tribe of cannibals, who had never before been visited by white men. The massacre of the whole party was only avoided by flight through Stanley's great forest until friendly natives were reached.
Dr. Guinness has also succeeded his father as principal of the Harley Missionary Training Institute in East London. Comparatively recently, the name "Regions Beyond Missionary Union" has been adopted to cover all the missionary operations identified with Harley Institute, and which embrace the various colleges and institution in East London and Derbyshire, where during the past twenty-seven years about 1 200 men and women from every section of the Protestant Church have been prepared for foreign missionary service, together with the Congo, Peruvian, Argentine, and Indian Missions that have been founded during the past twelve years.
(NOTE: The Dr. H. Grattan Guinness mentioned throughout most of the above
article was the son of the Dr. Guinness we are focusing on. His father,
the more famous man, is mentioned in the last paragraph above.)
"The Foundations of the Bible Institute Movement, 1882-1915"
The late 1800's were times of rapid change throughout the world. The twin developments of industrialization and urbanization brought unparalleled opportunities as well as difficulties. In the midst of societal upheaval in Europe and in the United States, there were signs of genuine spiritual renewal on both sides of the Atlantic. The most popular leader of this "evangelical" movement within the protestant church was an untrained lay preacher named Dwight Lyman Moody. Although not a product of any formal theological education, Moody was a man of vision and a man of the people. His down-to-earth style of preaching drew crowds by the thousands in America as well as Great Britain.
While conducting evangelistic meetings in England in 1873 and again in 1882, D. L. Moody came into contact with the ministry of Dr. H. Grattan Guinness who had founded the East London Institute for Home and Foreign Missions in 1872 (Cook 1930, 11). This "institute," also known as the Harley House Bible Training Institute, challenged Moody's thinking about his own involvement in training laymen and laywomen for more effective ministry.
While D. L. Moody dreamed of starting a school of some kind in his adopted home town of Chicago, A. B. Simpson (known today as the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination) was beginning training classes, in Bible and basic ministry skills, for young men and women in New York City (Cook 1930, 12). Simpson rented space on the stage of a New York theatre and began his classes in 1882. One year later, Simpson formally organized his school as The Missionary Training College for Home and Foreign Missionaries and Evangelists. The school later moved to Nyack, New York and eventually changed its name to simply Nyack College.
Although he adopted the name "college" for his school, what Simpson had in mind was definitely not a traditional college education by the standards of the late 1800's. In a magazine article published in July 1883, Simpson detailed his educational vision for the school:
It will not aim to give a scholastic education, but a thorough Scriptural training, and a specific and most careful preparation for practical work. It will receive students of both sexes, and at the close of the terms of study will give a Diploma and Certificate to all graduates....The aim of the Institute will be to qualify consecrated men and women who have not received, and do not wish to receive, a regular scholastic education....The students will be afforded the utmost opportunity for testing and putting into practice the principles they study, by being employed in actual Mission work as leaders of meetings, visitors, etc., in the wide field afforded by a great city. (Talbot 1956, 17-18)
Simpson's vision, to be joined by Moody and others, was primarily to train lay people for ministry within the local church at home and abroad.
(NOTE: The reader may be interested to note that A. B. Simpson, mentioned in the above excerpt, was greatly influenced through H. Grattan Guinness' preaching ministry. - Historicism.com)
"Charles Haddon Spurgeon: A Biography - The Romantic Years"
This Scottish visit laid the foundation for the great influence that
Spurgeon had to the end in that country, where his sermons were read more
regularly and valued more greatly than perhaps anywhere else. A second
visit in 1859, during the progress of the phenomenal services in the metropolis,
increased his reputation.
On April 28, 1858, in the Surrey Gardens Music Hall, a sermon was given on behalf of the Baptist Missionary Society, which was probably the most memorable in its history, for on a Wednesday morning the great building was thronged. On several other occasions Mr. Spurgeon preached again for the Missionary Society, and in 1870 he spoke for the Bible Translation Society.
Meanwhile, in the summer of 1858 he visited Ireland, and the minister of my own church, Dr. James Morgan, of Fisherwick Place, who heard him three out of the four times he preached in Belfast, my native city, wrote:
I was not disappointed, although the mass of the people were. When he preached in the Botanic Gardens he was well heard of seven thousand persons. He was well received, and deserved to be so for his plain, honest and good preaching and deportment. I much question if his influence was as good as that of Mr. Grattan Guinness, who preceded him by a few months. There was a great contrast between them. Mr. Spurgeon was gay, lively and humorous; Mr. Guinness was solemn and earnest, and very reserved. Mr. Spurgeon is by far the abler man, yet were there a poll tomorrow in Belfast for the two, it would be in favor of Mr. Guinness. (James Morgan, Recollections of My Life, p. 314. )
It will not be forgotten that the great Irish revival came the following year, 1859. Though it could not be traced to the influence of any preacher, since it broke out spontaneously in many quarters about the same time without any attributable human cause, it is not without interest to trace God's hand in sending His messengers before His face to prepare the path of His feet. In my boyhood days the two evangelical names that were treasured in all our hearts were theseC. H. Spurgeon and H. Grattan Guinness.
...At Bradford the largest building was too small; at Birmingham crowds of six thousand gathered; the secretary who dispersed the tickets had so many applications that his doorbell was broken. Stockton-on-Tees gave a worthy greeting to its visitor. Dudley and Wolverhampton were not behind in enthusiasm. Liverpool, which offered a Welsh as well as an English audience, seems to have fired the heart of the preacher to new earnestness for the rest of the year. At some of these places collections were taken for the new tabernacle; the gifts of the people at all of them were generous; at two village places Mr. Spurgeon, preaching for poor pastors, was unconventional enough to ask an offering to purchase the minister a new suit of clothes. At Cheltenham he met Grattan Guinness, then in his prime, for the first time, both of them preaching in the town the same evening. Guinness was at that time "bidding fair to rival the renowned Mr. Spurgeon as another modern Whitefield." Brownlow North was also spoken of as "The Northern Spurgeon."
"A Wandering Jew in Brazil: An Autogiography of Solomon L. Ginsburg"
Regions Beyond Mission College. -- I spent three wonderful years in that Home for Jewish Converts. There I not only learned a trade, but also how to work for my Master.
One other great joy to me was the Sunday School and work among the little children. It was at one of these meetings that my attention was called to the need of preparation for better service. I was having two weeks' vacation at the seashore in Brighton, helping in the meetings for the children on the seashore. It was there I met Miss C. Bishop, a young English woman, a trained nurse, and a volunteer for foreign mission work. We had long talks together about the Master's service and she convinced me of the necessity of consecrating my life to the great work of saving souls in the foreign field. On my return to the city I applied to the China Inland Mission for work. I was called before the Board and was informed that they would be glad to send me out, but that I needed more instruction in Christianity. I was advised to apply to some seminary. I wrote to the great London preacher, Charles H. Spurgeon, stating my need and desire. I received a very kind and helpful letter, telling me that all vacancies in his seminary were taken and even if they had a vacancy there were a great many of their own denomination waiting for an opening and that it would be better for me to apply to the Regions Beyond Missionary Training School, where cases like mine would be immediately taken up. Desirous of a preparation for my Master's service I wrote immediately to Dr. Grattan-Guinness and it was not long until I received the welcome letter advising me that I could report to the school, Harley College, Bow Street, London. I suppose there was no happier man on the face of the earth than the writer when, with the few pieces of baggage I possessed, I entered the gates of that great school. I passed three years of my life there, never-to-be-forgotten years, learning not only how to rightly divide the Word of God, but also how to work acceptably for my Master and Lord.
Training for Work. -- After a few months of trial I was sent to Cliff College, Derbyshire, a branch of the Regions Beyond Missionary Training College, where the great man of God, Professor Rutcliff, wielded a singular influence. It was there that I received the world vision of work to be done. It was in this institution that I began to realize the possibilities of a life for Him who gave His life for me. The visits of Dr. Gordon, Joseph Parker, F. B. Meyer, Grattan-Guinness, the great Bible expositor and that of his son Harry, the great evangelist, the coming and going of missionaries, their stories of heroism in the far away foreign fields, made my heart yearn to do and dare something also and when the three years were finished and I received an invitation to the Neglected Continent, I did not hesitate. Although I had no guarantee for my support, I went, fully realizing that I was in His service and was ready to give my life and my all to Him who had done so much for me.
...Ordination Service and Farewell. -- My farewell and ordination service took place at the Conference Hall, Mildmay Park, London, and the following ministers took part: Rev. John Wilkinson, Episcopal minister and director of the Mildmay Mission to the Jews; Rev. H. Grattan-Guinness, D.D., Baptist minister and director of the Regions Beyond Mission; Rev. Hudson Taylor, of the China Inland Mission; Mr. P.S. Badenoch, my Bible Teacher; Honorable James Mathieson, director of the Mildmay Mission, and another minister of the Wesleyans, whose name I cannot recall. It was a very impressive service and I will never forget the advice and counsels given to me during that solemn hour.
A History of Regions Beyond Missionary Union - 1873 - 1995
The history of evangelical missions is the history of revival. The two are functionally synonymous. To take a line from William Temple, 'No one can possess or be indwelt by the Holy Spirit and keep that Spirit to himself. He flows. If He is not flowing, He is not there.' It is therefore no coincidence that the Regions Beyond Missionary Union was birthed-along with many similar agencies--as a spontaneous response to the evangelical awakenings during the second half of the 19th century.
Space will not permit us to trace the various tributaries which converged
in the veritable torrent of worldwide missionary activity one hundred
years ago. Suffice it to say that the name of H. Grattan Guinness, Irish
revivalist, catalyst extraordinary of world evangelization, noted astronomer,
and prolific author of commentaries on Biblical prophecy, is inextricably
linked with that of RBMU. Classed as one of the three greatest preachers
of the 19th century together with
Dwight L. Moody and Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Guinness was stirred in 1866 by Hudson
Taylor's plea for China, poured out before a dozen young men in Guinness's apologetics class in Dublin. Ten of the students volunteered for China, including Guinness. Taylor encouraged him instead to train the products of revival, whose lack of education barred them from the larger denominational missions. If he would train them, CIM (China Inland Mission) would take them.
2. 1873 - EARLY BEGINNINGS: Harley Bible College, London
The result was the birth of Harley Bible & Missionary Training College in London's East End in 1873 ( founded as the East London Institute). By 1915 the school had equipped 1500 young men and women who were deployed throughout the world representing 30 different denominations in 40 mission agencies.
3. 1878 - The Livingstone Inland Mission
Always a visionary and a mobilizer, it was neither Guinness' intent nor
gift to administrate a new
mission agency. The operational details of most enterprises fell upon the shoulders of his wife, Fanny. However, the death of David Livingstone in 1873 stirred the interest of many in Africa. Henry Morton Stanley's reports to the New York Tribune, and his book Through the Dark Continent thrust the barbarities of the slave traffic upon the evangelical conscience. In February, 1878 the first party of Harley missionaries set out for Congo, at that time a largely unknown region, annexed as the private estate of King Leopold II of Belgium. Led by Strom and Henry Craven, they followed the track opened by Stanley along the 230 miles of cataract-ridden lower
Congo. Their work was inaugurated as the Livingstone Inland Mission.
After three years Craven would write to Guinness, 'I cannot report any conversion.' In six years they planted six graves. Still, this enterprise witnessed 'the first Pentecost on the Congo' with thousands of converts. In 1884 it was turned over to the American Baptists.
4. 1888 - The Congo Balolo Mission
John McKittrick, one of the original lower Congo party, returned to Harley
College with a vision for the Lulonga people. On August 24, 1889, he went
back to Congo from Britain with eight new recruits, and a vision for the
peoples above the Stanley Pool. They trekked the 230 miles of unnavigable
rapids, arriving at Bonginda, village of the most important chief on the
river. It was here among the Ngombe tribe that RBMU's abiding legacy would
be left in Congo with hundreds of churches and thousands of converts.
With the winning of independence in 1960, and the
formation of the republic of Zaire in 1970, the large network of CADELU churches passed into national hands with a gradual withdrawal of British and North American expatriate influence.
During the 13 years from 1889 through 1902, 29 of 35 missionaries died, 12 giving their lives in their first year, and 12 in their second and third year of service. Only 6 of the 35 lived on into the new century. The students at Harley College referred to Congo as 'The Shortcut to Heaven' and one missionary wrote home, 'Africa kills all her lovers.'
5. 1900 - INDIA: The Mission takes a new name.
In 1898 Lucy Guinness wrote Across India at the Dawn of the 20th Century.
Her impassioned appeal to Harley students brought the continent alive
and impulsed the sending of George Hicks and Alex Banks to Dinapur, south
of the Ganges. The Bihar and Orissa Mission took shape in the Fall of
1899. With the addition of this second field, and with a large contingent
of Harley missionaries already in Peru and Argentina, the fledgling work
in 1900 took the title, Regions Beyond Missionary Union. The name was
derived from Paul's pioneering missionary
posture, expressed to the Corinthians, 'Our hope is...that we can preach the gospel in the regions
beyond you.' (2 Cor 10.16). It also reflected both the name of the magazine, Regions Beyond, and 'Missionary Union-- the American synonym for missionary society.' The work was formally
incorporated in 1903.
6. 1906 - SOUTH AMERICA
Harley graduates, already deployed in Argentina and Peru, were used of God in founding schools and churches. Persecuted but persistent, they paved the way for constitutional religious freedom in Peru, and amalgamated under the newly-formed Regions Beyond Missionary Union.
7. 1908 - Retrenchment
In 1908 RBMU had achieved a profile of vigor and viability with 91 missionaries--22 in Argentina, 16 in Peru, 42 in Congo, and 11 in India. The Canadian and U.S. Councils of RBMU were strong and functional. However, Dr. H. Grattan Guinness died in 1910 (during the Edinburgh World Missionary Conference). That event, followed by the untimely homegoing of his son, Dr. Harry Guinness in 1915 (at age 53), deprived the mission of vital leadership.
The economic drain of World War I further eroded the viability of RBMU,
and expansion was curtailed. It was during this period that the Evangelical
Union of South America was formed, and in 1911 RBMU's existing works in
Latin America were absorbed by the newly formed EUSA Board. Through this
amalgamation, work being done by three different missions in Brazil, the
Argentine, and Peru, was unified with the object of speeding up progress.
Renowned pastor and author, Dr. F.B. Meyer, who in 1898 had become a Co-Director of RBMU, assumed the directorship of the mission during the ensuing lean decade of the 20's, until his death in 1929.
"A Word on Missions and Eschatology."
But by far, the greatest proponents linking the missionary enterprise and prophecy were not Americans but British. Mr. and Mrs. H. Grattan Guinness, the founders of the Regions Beyond Home Union, continually set before the public in their monthly Regions Beyond, an eschatological view of completing the task of world evangelization. "Simply and honestly reading the words of the Book, we cannot, therefore, but see a close connection between the Foreign Missionary work of the Church and the second Advent of her Lord and Saviour." (Regions Beyond, May 1888:139) The Guinnesses also saw the London Conference in 1888 as fulfillment of prophecy. They would be hastening the return of the Lord by looking at completing the task of world evangelization as speedily as possible. "Look up, therefore ; lift up your heads, and be of joyful courage, for the coming of our Jesus is very close at hand; we live in the last hours of the world's long, dark night, already over heathendom the dawn is beginning to rise, it will not be much longer before the Sun of Righteousness shall shine forth. Hasten, hasten to gather in the last lost sheep to the fold of the tender Shepherd, to finish the work of the Lord, and so to be ready to meet Him when He shall appear!" (Regions Beyond, February 1889:48)
"The Ulster Revival of 1859 - IV. National Interest in the Revival"
Scenes equally remarkable were witnessed in Belfast itself. Nearly every street numbered its penitents. Perhaps the most remarkable meeting in point of numbers was that held in the Botanic Gardens, when at least twenty thousand people attended, people of staid demeanour and earnest behaviour, carrying Bibles and hymn-books. Throughout the city ministers and laymen were alike engaged in going from house to house, visiting and praying; during these exercises hundreds who, in agony of mind, had left the public meetings, were led into rest. An eye-witness recorded how he "stood for an hour and a quarter, on a Saturday evening, in a crowd, computed at five thousand people, who were listening with breathless attention to a sermon by Henry Grattan Guinness, on 'Many waters cannot quench love.'" In churches where it was a rare thing for any to kneel all would be bowed humbly, while cries would be heard from every part of the building: "God be merciful to me a sinner."
The sterling worth of the Revival was ere long put to a public test, when a writer in a Roman Catholic paper (published in Dublin) declared that he would accept the movement as Divine if the Boyne Celebration passed without a party procession in the Durham Street district, a Belfast neighbourhood notorious for party animosities which often culminated in rioting and bloodshed. The outcome supplied splendid evidence of the vital power of the Revival. So thoroughgoing was the change wrought in Durham Street, under the tender influences of the Gospel, that drunkenness and ribaldry gave place to prayer and praise, and on the eventful Twelfth of July there was not so much as a party badge to be seen; no drum thundered; no provocative cry was heard.
Even in the dark regions of the south and west--dark because under the sway of the priest--there were springings of the water of life. Under the daily preaching of Grattan Guinness great numbers were impressed at Limerick.
See the Flash Movie, "A Guinness Legend"