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C. A. Coates (1862-1945)


His Background
His Conversion

His Health and Service
His Ministry
His Stand

A Prophetic Word
His Last Days
His Burial


C. A. Coates (1862-1945)

Without the agreement or prior knowledge of 'My Brethren', another site copied part of this biography of CAC.

However, important information regarding CAC's support for the great truths recovered through JND, JBS, FER and JT – and in particular as to our Lord's Sonship – and the unique place CAC had in that recovery was omitted.

See my comments on this and other practices in Guests: My Stand 2 : The Use of Ministry.

In contrast to both
Mr. F. E. Raven and Mr. James Taylor Sr. – whose ministry he fully supported – Mr. C. A. Coates is relatively widely known and his ministry is generally appreciated.

This sketch draws on several unpublished documents in my Historical Reference Series, as well as the published 'Letters of C. A. Coates' and 'Ministry by C. A. Coates'.

May this sketch be used to provide a better understanding of CAC, and the stand he took for the truths recovered through the ministry of JND, JBS, FER and JT – and for the unique place he had in that recovery.


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Charles Andrew Coates was born on December 7, 1862, in Bradford, Yorkshire, but for the greater part of his life he lived in Teignmouth, Devon, on the south coast of England.

Roy Devenish of Toronto – who was in Britain as a non-combatant conscientious objector – had a short visit with Mr. Coates in the last years of his life while he was unable to be present at the meetings. Roy said CAC still had a broad Yorkshire accent.

CAC's references, in later years, to his early family life make it clear that he came from a devoted Christian family.

In 1926 he said, "When I was a boy I remember a brother coming to my father's house, and I said to myself, I wish that I knew all that he knows!

In the same year he recalled, "My father used to say that there was not much difference between high Calvinists and low Arminians because

Around 1940-41 he said in a reading on Matthew 4:

CAC & his Mother

In December 1905 he wrote of his mother's death:

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He was soundly converted in 1878 at the age of 16 (the same age as I also was) as the following lines testify.

Henceforth my lips and pen
Shall seek to spread His fame;
My hands and feet shall swiftly move
To glorify His Name.

I seek no earthly place;
My joy is all in Him;
My thirst soul shall drink no more
From fountains stained with sin.

But in the Lord Himself,
The Lord who died for me,
Despised on earth, enthroned in heaven,
My springs of life shall be.

And when He takes me home
To gaze upon His face,
More loud, more sweet my soul shall sing
The riches of His grace.

In a letter about 1900, he wrote of a conversation with a brother regarding Acts 19:

  • "I said that in my own case, when I began to break bread, I believed that Jesus had died for me, and therefore I should never perish, but it was not until some time afterwards that I saw with great delight that everything connected with me as a ruined sinner had been dealt with in the death of Christ, and that the risen One was my righteousness and that I could be with God entirely on the ground of what Christ was.

  • "This I believed to be the time when I received the Spirit. I had preached before this in my small measure, doing what Apollos did – that is, making known the grace of God so far as I knew it myself.

  • "This is the substance of what was said. — to my surprise, objected, and said he thought I had the Spirit before. I am sorry for those who denounce this as 'bad doctrine' ".

In 1926 he recounted in a reading on the feast of Pentecost:

  • "It is a great pleasure to God when there is a desire, because God desires to give. I prayed for the Spirit after I had received the Spirit – I did not know it at the time – but my prayer was not displeasing to God".

Around 1928 in a reading on Joshua 15, he said in reference to Kirjath-sepher, "the city of the book":

  • "A great deal of spiritual vitality is sapped by the kind of reading that Christians indulge in habitually. The springs of water come in when Kirjath-sepher is taken and its name changed.

  • "In Acts 19 we read they had a bonfire and burnt the worth in books of fifty thousand pieces of silver.

  • "When I was converted I had a bonfire and I never regretted it. It is much better to burn such books than to take them to the bookstall to poison someone else".

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Around 1940 Mr. Coates said in a reading:

Around 1942, in referring to 2 Timothy 2: 2, CAC said:

  • "Every one should be ready to sign his name to the preaching. It is a great privilege to be amongst a people who will not let anything pass that it not according to Scripture. And there is the support given to the preaching; we all publicly identify ourselves with what is said.

  • "There was an old sister who never let anything pass, when I first preached.

  • "I remember after my first preaching an old brother asking me how I could tell people, 'Christ died for our sins; and that if they did not believe they would die in their sins', as they were contrary statements.

    • "That man gave me a lesson in theology that I never forgot!"

Mr. Coates suffered from physical weakness for a good part of his life.

On February 25, 1939, he wrote:

"I am sorry that I have never been able to visit Ireland, though I once got as far as Chester on my way to Dublin, but was hindered by illness from going beyond that point. This was about 45 years ago".

  • Note: That would have been c. 1894, when he was 32 years old.

"The greater part of the time since then my health has been such as to put a good deal of limitation on my movements, but I am comforted by the assurance that this has been under the gracious ordering of the Lord, and that it has been His way for me.

"He has permitted to me a little service amongst His people by means of what has been printed, and I am thankful for this, but it would have rejoiced me much if I could have seen more of the dear brethren in their localities".
In June 1941 – in his 80th year – he wrote:

"My health keeps fairly good, considering my age, but under present conditions [ World War II ] I do not feel able to get about as in past years.

"But I am sure that the Lord will give opportunity, and an open door, for such service as he intends to be rendered.

"It is a very great favour from Him to be enabled to serve Him, and His saints, even in the very smallest way".
On August 10, 1943, he wrote;

"My little service for a long time has been chiefly through what has been printed.

"This is not so direct or happy a service as speaking face to face, but in the Lord's great goodness it has its place, and one is thankful and content if He is glorified and His loved ones helped".

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Contents of Ministry by C. A. Coates appear below
See also 'Pages with ministry by C. A. Coates' in Introduction above.

On December 12, 1939, he wrote:

"It has been a very definite exercise with me ever since I began to break bread that the printed ministry ought not to be made the source of financial profit.

"The first tracts which I wrote, about 55 years ago," when he was about 22 "I published myself at cost price, and the brethren generally appreciated the opportunity of getting gospel tracts at a low price.

"But the Tract Depots did not approve of profits being eliminated, and I had at that time to fall in with the system current.

"But I clung to the thought that the Lord's work should not be regarded as a profit making business".

There are two well loved hymns – No.'s 161 and 293 – by Mr. Coates in the 1973 Hymn Book.

CAC's printed ministry – now complete and listed below – comprises 34 volumes of Outlines, Letters, Addresses and Readings, as well as numerous booklets and gospel tracts.

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    Since CAC's death in 1945 there have been continuing attempts to discredit the truth as to our Lord's Sonship
  • by suggesting – without proof – that at the end of his life Mr. Coates regretted supporting it, and
  • by suggesting – again without proof – that there had been a rift in his relationship with Mr. James Taylor.
  • These insinuations are examined and refuted in
    Guests: My Stand 1: Sonship of Christ 2.


As his letters show, CAC was always supportive of the truth ministered by others, such as JBS, FER and JT.

In particular, he rejected and powerfully refuted the attempts to set aside the clarification of the Lord's Sonship.

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The following may relate to an earlier period than CAC's last illness.
It appears to be prophetic in view of subsequent events.

In 1955 HOW of Sutton Coldfield wrote to Mr. Arthur G. Brown:

"I went to see a brother personally … in order to confirm a report I had heard. He told me he had asked him [that is Mr. Coates] if he had any message for the brethren.

"A short time after this he repeated his question to him. His reply still was that 'You may find yourself walking alone'.

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Brief Account Relating to the Last Illness and Decease
of our Late Beloved Brother Mr. C. A. Coates – 1945

C. A. Coates

Our brother's health and general condition began to show a marked deterioration about October 1944, and from that time onwards he was unable to get to meetings regularly, and was frequently under medical care.

After that his condition rapidly became worse and on September 6 he was hurriedly removed to hospital for an urgent minor operation, which gave him relief from pain temporarily, and for a few days he was able to see a number of the brethren.

  • His sufferings, however soon returned and for a week from September 14 such visits were very restricted.

Our sister, Miss Ivy Tucker, who had looked after him for many years, was in constant attendance at the hospital and was able to spend a considerable time with him, reading or speaking to him as his condition permitted, and one of the last pieces of ministry read to him which he was able to enjoy was 'Corners' from 'Words of Truth' for August 1944.

  • Further, owing to her experience of his long-standing weaknesses Miss Tucker was allowed to prepare all his meals at home – as a special case – and take them to the hospital, but he was frequently unable to take any nourishment, and on isolated days did not even speak a word.

  • There were, however, occasions when his utterances clearly indicated the heavenly occupation of his mind for example, one day he was heard to say, "Who is a pardoning God like Thee!" [See No. 262 in the 1973 hymn book.] – Wonderful! Wonderful! – and many times, "Glory, glory – all glory".

  • After a period of severe suffering, he sent a message to the local brethren asking them to pray that he might get relief from his pain, if it were the will of the Lord, a request which was readily responded to that evening at the Prayer Meeting.

  • Later, however, he remarked, "The Lord has told me that He is bearing the pain with me", adding, "and that is better than having it removed".

In a message to be given to a brother he said, "I have been made to feel lately, as never before, what a body of humiliation this is, but also I have been contemplating, in contrast, what a body of glory it is that I shall have presently",

  • while on another occasion, doubtless referring to Psalm 138: 8, he remarked, "He is perfecting that which concerneth me".

  • Again, when the first verse of Hymn 160 – "O bright and blessed hope! When shall it be …" was quoted to him, and repeated a second time, he was quiet for a few moments, and then was heard to say, "Soon, Lord Jesus".

About the third week of our beloved brother's illness in hospital, individual brothers took to going when he could bear it, to pray with him for a few minutes,

  • but although he seemed fully to appreciate the prayers, as evidenced by his frequent 'Amens', he was not really equal to doing more than just thank them for coming.

  • Indeed, at times, he would seemed to have lapsed into a state of semi-unconsciousness.

  • Just prior to this, he had expressed himself as unable to see any visitors but on being encouraged to allow a brother to come in as usual for a word of prayer only, he at once replied, "Oh yes, that is like a drink of the brook on the way".

  • As time went on, the pain became so severe that it was found necessary to give injections several times during the day and night and, as his condition became worse, even such visits were necessarily discontinued.

  • Four days before he was taken, the last four verses of Isaiah 40 having been read to him, he said, "Read the fifty-third", and after that was read to him, he said, "God's blessed Son".

During the morning of Saturday, October 6, he became unconscious, a condition from which he never recovered, although even then, at times, his lips were seen to be moving as if, possibly, addressing the Lord.

  • He fell asleep at 9:20 am on Lord's Day, October 7, Miss Tucker and a hospital sister, in fellowship, being with him at the time.

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The burial was arranged to take place on the following Thursday, October 11, at 2:00 pm, and, according to his own request, the coffin was of unpolished oak, and bore the following inscription:

Charles Andrew Coates
Fell asleep October 7th, 1945
In his 83rd year
"With Christ"

The local brethren were much exercised as to a suitable place for the burial service as, owing to large numbers expected, no hall was available with the necessary accommodation, so that it was finally decided to hold it in an open space in the Cemetery not far from the grave.

    • Brief Outline of Burial Meeting of Mr. C. A. Coates –
    Teignmouth, October 11, 1945

Hymn 227 – Mr. Alan Oliver, Croydon [227]

Prayer – Mr. A. J. Gardiner, London

Prayer – Mr. J. E. Bullock, Bristol – until recently Teignmouth

Prayer – Mr. Collecott, Plymouth

Hymn 258 – Mr. Philip Haddad, London [424]

Hymn 70: 2-4 – Mr. Garland, Newton Abbott [471]

Prayer – Mr. C. Gresswell, Crouch End, Hornsey, London

  • Note: Current numbers in the 1973 Hymn Book for the opening and closing hymns are shown in [square brackets] at the end of the line.

A. J. Gardiner

"It is sufficient for the disciple that he should become as his teacher, and the bondman as his Lord", Matthew 10: 25.

"The disciple is not above his teacher, but every one that is perfected shall be as his teacher", Luke 6: 40.

These Scriptures have been in my mind in relation to our beloved brother.

  • The one in Matthew has for many years hung in his room, indicating to us what our brother's outlook has been, and we can see how the truth of it has been worked out in Christ being magnified in him.

It is calculated to impress us, I think, with the greatness of Christ, that He is great enough to obtain a place and hold it in the affections of millions, and great enough in His moral excellence to become attractive to all in whom God has wrought.

  • In a large measure that was so with our beloved brother. We do not need to say much as to what has shone out in him, for it is well known.

    • The wonderful lowliness and simplicity of mind and spirit – where had it come from?

    • It was all derived from Christ, and, every time we saw it, it was a reminder of Christ.

  • How blessed the Lord Jesus is beloved brethren! How great His glory when all will shine out in the world to come, when we shall be conformed to His image!

  • And in that day our dear brother will have his own distinctive place. There is no question about that.

One has marvelled at the ways of God with our dear brother. In a remarkable way having zeal in the glad tidings, and yet his health failed at an early age and, in God's ways with him, he was restricted as to his movements.

  • But even in all this, I venture to suggest that he was brought into correspondence with Christ,

    • for even the Lord Jesus Himself, great though He was, in His service here was restricted in the ways of God to the nation of Israel, saying He was not sent save to the lost sheep of the house of Israel;

    • fully conscious of His own greatness, yet moving in contentment in limited conditions, in accord with the will of God.

  • And our beloved brother was marked by the same spirit; although gifted in a great degree, he was content to accept the circumscribed conditions which the will of God was pleased to order for him.

  • I believe that in his spirit, as well as in his counsel, he will be specially remembered and specially loved; and in his prayers too.

  • I believe that in his prayers he had learned from Christ and was enlarged to keep in view the great width of divine interest universally.

  • No one could be in touch with him without being impressed with the width of his outlook in regard to divine interests, and his prayers must have gone up continually as a sweet incense to God.

And then the closing moments, dear brethren. We may have wondered why he was allowed to pass through great sufferings, as he was, but I venture to think that it was that

  • the Lord was bringing His beloved servant into final correspondence with Himself – "Every one that is perfected shall be as his teacher".

  • There is nothing that our dear brother would have cherished more and, subject as he was to extreme suffering, he would be reminded that the Lord Jesus had great suffering at the end.

  • I do not speak of the atoning sufferings, but the sufferings which He endured at the hands of men.

  • And I have no doubt that the grace of Christ was realized by our dear brother while he himself passed through the suffering as wholly submissive to the will of God for him.

"Every one that is perfected shall be as his teacher". Our dear brother has been perfected. We rejoice in it. It leaves us an example, dear brethren.

  • It is not a question of our service or our gift; it is not a question whether we have a wide sphere of service or a lowly one; the whole point is that

  • "It is sufficient for the disciple that he should become as his teacher, and the bondman as his Lord".

May the Lord graciously help us, dear brethren. May we keep Christ Himself before our hearts.

  • He is the heavenly One, every moral excellence is inherent in Him, and all that will shine out in the saints in the coming day has been derived for Christ and Christ alone.

Hymn 74 – Mr. Jenkins, Teignmouth [74]

Prayer – Mr. Parry, Paignton; Mr. Turpin, New Milton

Hymn 293: 4, 5 – Mr. Marsh, Gosport [293: 5, 3]
This hymn was written by Mr. Coates.

Prayer – Mr. Noble, Bradford

Prayer – Mr. Turner, Brackley

Hymn 100: 1, 4 – Mr. Ward, Stroud [543]

Prayer – Mr. E. Bazlinton, Eltham, London

At the grave:

Committal Prayer – Mr. Banks, Dawlish

Hymn 203: 2, 3 – Mr. Shorto, Manchester [205]

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