Notes on the life of Mr. G. Rose
George Rose was a widely respected and much loved minister of the gospel amongst Strict Baptists in England. Born in 1873 near Birmingham he was called by grace in 1890 and later began to preach. He held pastorates at Cranbrook, Kent (1909-1922), Croydon, Tamworth Road (1922-1940) and Kirkland, Lancashire (1941-1952). He died in 1965.
In his fascinating autobiography. Remembered Mercies Recorded, he tells of his deep concern regarding the ministry;
“That I should ever be called to preach the Gospel, did not at all enter into my mind, and had no place in my desires naturally. The work was so solemn and important, and so much beyond my power, both naturally and spiritually, without a special call, qualification and commission. I could always see that it needed the clearest leading and direction.
After I was brought to value the ministry of the servants of God, as it was brought to me, and I received it, as it is the Word of God and not the word of man, I looked upon the Lord’s servants as the most highly favoured of men, though they were the most weighted and tried. I did not know in those days so much of their weakness and their trials, as I have found since in my own case, that their work, though so solemn, yet was the most blessed. And many times when the doctrine they preached dropped as the rain, and their speech distilled as the dew, and I could drink it in as the thirsty earth, I have felt, ‘How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth.’ I loved and esteemed His servants and blessed God and the Lord Jesus Christ, for sending down such gifts for men, that sinners might be called out of nature’s darkness into His marvellous light, and that His people should be built up in their most holy faith, by those who preached the Gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. Apart from the Lord’s sovereign purpose, I do not see how this could have been in my case, as all the circumstances tended in the opposite direction; publicity was my greatest trial, and consequently I was most at home in privacy. Even now, after having spoken in the Lord’s name for 40 years, I have not the least desire to speak, apart from the Lord’s gracious will and purpose and under the leading and annointing of the Holy Spirit, as I well know, ‘It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing.’
My exercises about the ministry were private, between the Lord and my soul, man had nothing to do with it, except as the Lord used men, but it was the Lord’s word, and what was shewn to me by the Spirit of God that determined anything in my life at that time. By the grace of God, I trust I can say in sincerity and’ humility, ‘But I certify you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by revelation of Jesus Christ’.”
Later he records how God encouraged him to preach through the words of Isaiah 33, 18-21.
“The words that followed shewed me that the Lord would supply all my need and that He would be my sufficiency in those things where I most feared. ‘Thou shalt not see a fierce people,’ a people to be feared. That dealt with my nervousness, that I should not be afraid of their faces, that I should not fear their frown nor court their smiles, but should open my mouth to declare all the counsel of God, whether men would hear or forbear, and so speak, that I should be clear from the blood of all men, and that I should be furnished with all that was needed in any place or amongst any people to whom I should be sent. This view dispelled the many fears that I had been burdened with, that I should fail when I had to stand up in His holy Name, and now I believed, I should find He would be with me and be my strength and stay. ‘A people of deeper speech than thou canst perceive.’ This shewed that through His gracious leading and teaching I should not meet with those whose gracious language I did not know, and also met the fear that I should not be able to preach to those who had been in the way many years, and were deepely taught in the things of God. I did not then fully know the path of sanctified trial that I had to walk in, that I should be sufficiently instructed, so that I should not ba a novice in the ministry, but being taught by the things the Lord would cause me to pass through, and by what I had heard, seen and handled of the Word, I should be able to edify others, as the Lord was pleased to use me in His service. I saw that He would be my teacher in every branch of the ministry that He would commit unto me, and that in every place to which he would lead me, the gracious promise would be fulfilled.
‘Of a stammering tongue, that thou canst not understand.’ This portion solved the problem of those who, for want of a gracious ability, or the absence of a further experience, cannot speak in the things of God as they would like to do, but a person who can speak plainly, hearing one who stammers, and knowing what he wants to say, will help him by speaking for him. I saw that the Lord by His gracious Spirit would be my sufficiency in .this matter also.
‘Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken.’ I was shewn from this portion not only the safety of the Church, but also that the Lord would give me peace wheresoever He would send me, that nothing should weaken the Church where I was, that He would give assured peace and security, that my eyes should see it, that I should, in a large measure, know the goodness and the pleasantness of the 133rd Psalm. Many times since have I had to plead this promise before the Lord when trouble has threatened, but I have proved the Lord’s faithfulness that for nearly 40 years nothing has occurred in the Church where I have been Pastor, to destroy its unity or to seriously weaken it. This has not been due to myself, but entirely to His goodness and mercy. I have seen the Lord’s hand clearly in constraining and restraining people and setting a bound they could not pass: also He has raised up those who have been pillars in His house, who have sought the good of His cause, and have been a blessing instrumentally. He has given gracious increase in numbers, so that I have had cause to bless God for satisfying others and myself with the goodness of His house, that His people might rejoice in Him.
‘But there the glorious LORD will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams.’ Here I saw, that the Lord would be unto me in the ministry a never-failing source of supply, that it was not to be the product of my own work, but of His gracious provision, that however abundant my labours were, I should not suffer for want of matter, that as my need should require, so the supply should be, that I had not to depend on myself or on others, but look to Him alone, who was able to make all grace abound unto me, that having all sufficiency in all things, I might abound unto every good work. He also gave me to see that in Himself there is no straightness or lack, that in Christ is all the fulness of wisdom and knowledge, and that the Holy Spirit would guide me into all truth, and that under His anointing, though I was utter weakness in myself. He could make me as a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth, and make His strength perfect in my weakness, so that supplied and maintained by Himself, my ministry should not dry up or fail, however long it might please Him that I should labour in His vineyard. Also that the ministry should not be confined to one line of truth, but that in every branch of truth necessary for the edification of His people. He would supply my every need. I now felt I was not to be sent to a warfare at my own charges, but in this full promise was all that I needed, and that the Lord had told me what was to be in the future, so that I might watch and pray for its fulfilment, that when it came to pass I should remember that He had told me.”