My evangelist friend was over ninety, but very alert as he reminisced about old friends. Referring to one of whom he spoke with particular affection, he showed me a postcard written in 1929 by a dying man. “Dear brother,” it said simply, “I have raced you to Heaven. I am just off. See you there. Love. F. B. Meyer.”

That winsome humor had been an integral part of Meyer’s sixty-year ministry. Once during a major London dock strike he held spellbound a congregation of tired and hungry workers, and closed with a discerning prayer for their wives and children. There was silence, then a burst of applause, with many of the men crying “Encore! Encore!” One of them stood up and said, “Won’t the Reverend do another turn?” The Reverend did, taking full advantage of a unique spiritual opportunity, while careful also to do his utmost for their material plight. “I am just God’s errand boy,” he would say.

Son of a London merchant, Frederick Brotherton Meyer was born in 1847, when Spurgeon was thirteen years old, Moody ten. He studied at Regent’s Park Baptist College, graduated from London University in 1869, and as an assistant served Baptist churches in Liverpool and York. His subsequent career was unusual in that three times he left Baptist pastorates for independent churches, and twice he returned to a former charge.

While impatient of denominational bounds, Meyer held strongly to believer’s baptism, but added, “You may be baptized and still continue in communion with that Christian body with which you have been accustomed to worship. This rite is a personal matter between the Lord and the individual.” Some found this disconcerting, but at a Baptist Union meeting Dr. J. H. Shakespeare thus addressed Dr. Meyer: “Forgive us if, just as the ...

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