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James Taylor (1870-1953)

His Background
His Family Life
His Employment
Memories of a Sister
Letter: A. Pirie, 1906
Second Marriage, 1913
Photo: Rochester, 1944
Associations: 1946
Eating: 1960
His Local Meeting
His Friends
His Conflicts
His Ministry
   •• Contents 1-100
His Last Days
His Burial
– Words by:
S. McCallum
E. E. Hoyte


J. Taylor Sr. c.1940?

This sketch draws on several unpublished documents in one of My Projects – 'The Historical Reference Series' – the published 'Letters of James Taylor' and 'Ministry by J. Taylor, New Series', as well as personal knowledge.


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James Taylor Sr., 1870-1953

James Taylor was born on January 6, 1870 at Coolaney, near Sligo, Co. Sligo, in North West Ireland. His mother came from the well known Coulter family.

James committed himself to the Lord in his youth through the help of Mr. John Coulter of Sligo.

JT, very young

In 1884, at the age of 14, he came into fellowship at Paisley, Scotland, where he had moved to serve his apprenticeship in the linen trade with the firm of Coats.

In 1888 he emigrated to St. John's, Newfoundland – Newfoundland, then a British colony, but since 1949 a province of Canada, has always had a large population of Irish origin.

In 1889, JT moved to New York where he lived for more than 60 years, until he was taken by the Lord in 1953. It is understood that he never took out U.S. citizenship.

Most of Mr. Taylor's brothers and sisters also emigrated to America.

JT, wife and sisters

Mr. and Mrs. James Taylor and three sisters of JT

– date unknown, probably mid-late 1940s.

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JT Sr and family

JT and Miss Estelle Garrett of Baltimore were married c. 1892.

Clockwise from top left:
Mrs. Taylor, Arthur, Mr. Taylor,
Stella, William, James Jr., Allen.

They had six children:

  1. Allen – b. 1893 – m. Georgina Ingram, Rochester, N.Y.;
    • Robert – d. 1932 – had a "bad heart";
    • Jean
    • Dates of birth are unknown. Both children had infantile paralysis.

  2. Arthur Philip – b. 1894 – m. Ruth Petersen,
    sister of Arthur Petersen;
    • Dorothy – b. 1924 – m. Arthur E. Walker, New York;
    • Ruth – b. 1927 – m. Arthur Parker, New York;
    • Twins: James and Arthur – b. 1931.

  3. William Garrett – b. 1896 – m. Grace Herld (?);
    • Grace – c. 1919-36;
    • Edna – c. 1925-37;
    • Helen – b. 1927.

  4. Stella – b. 1897 – m. Arthur Petersen;
    • James A. – 1919-c.2004 – m. Shirley Mowforth, Toronto;
    • Arthur – b. 1921?;
    • Eardly T. – 1922-2011 – m. Helen McKillop, Chicago;
    • Constance – b. 1924 – m. Allen Widtfeldt;
    • William T. – 1927-88 – m. Alison Casays, Toronto;
    • Marie – b. 1940.

  5. James Jr. – 1899-Oct. 14, 1970 – m. Consuelo Johnson,
    Council Bluffs – d. June 9, 1950, age 49;
    • Benjamin – b. 1923 – m. Florence Phillips, Toronto;
    • James 3rd. – b. 1929 – m. Ailsa Piesse, Auckland;
    • Florence – b. 1932 – m. James Wilson Jr., Detroit;
    • Consuelo – b. 1935 – m. W. Bruce Hales (d. 2006), Sydney.
    • William – b. 1936 – only lived one day.

    James Jr. – m. Irene Stevens, Plainfield, N.J., February 17, 1951.

    • Estelle – b. 1952 – m. Rob Daly, Cambridge/Galt, Ontario.

  6. Benjamin – 1901 – stillborn or died shortly after birth).

James Taylor Sr. and Georgina Brown of Barnet England,

were married in 1913. They had no children.

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In 1905, when he only was 35 years old, and left to care for five young children, his wife having died four years earlier, he said:

JT 1920

Mr. Taylor was employed for a number of years by Mills and Gibb, linen importers.

  • His youngest son James started Taylor Linen Company at 19 years of age, likely under his father's direction.

  • JT joined him a year later after leaving Mills and Gibb. Subsequently other family members and brethren were employed.

From about 1910, he made regular business trips to Ireland –

  • and these became opportunities to minister the word among the saints there and in Great Britain.

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Memories of a Sister
Letter: A. Pirie, 1906
Second Marriage, 1913
Photo: Rochester, 1944
Associations: J. S. Brown, 1946
Eating: J. McMullan, 1960

The memories are those of Mrs. C. A. Markham (1880-1986) of Cranford, NJ
– the former Mary Lock was a daughter of Frank Lock (c.1850-1938) and the mother of Marian Devenish. She wrote No. 546 in the 1993 Hymn Supplement.
Further 'Memories' : Biography: F. E. Raven: Memorabilia
and Biography: Brief Sketches: J. Revell: Memorabilia.

Dignity and Affection.

With this beloved servant, a 'father' indeed, it is difficult to know where to begin or end.

He had an immense heart, and everyone had a place in it. He knew all the children's names; and despite his quiet dignity they went to him like bees to a honey pot.

One day at his dinner table I asked him about his conversion. He said that as a boy in Ireland he had to pass a cemetery every day on his way to school; and it made his hair stand on end with fear!

    • That was of course characteristic of the Roman Catholicism that pervaded the country and was full of superstition.

  • He said that one of the first scriptures that arrested his attention was, "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved".

  • His uncle who was in the meeting in Sligo where he lived had a class of Sunday school boys; and to this class young James went. One Sunday his uncle went round the class and asked each boy whether he had eternal life.

  • When he came to James, the answer was "Yes"; but afterward he began to wonder whether it was true. However he decided that as he had said it he would hold to it.

  • And when at 16 years of age he asked to break bread and they asked him why he wanted to, he said it was because he had eternal life. "And", he added, "Thank God I have it still!"

His early years in New York were spent in Manhattan, in the lower, crowded part so that he could entertain brethren coming from overseas or from a distance.

  • There, with his first wife and little family he lived in an upstairs flat [over the 51st Street meeting room]; and all the fresh air they could get was to go downstairs and walk up and down the crowded street a few times. This was told me by a sister who knew them well.

  • I was only a little girl, and living in New Jersey. But I well remember the sweet, gentle face of Mrs. Taylor.

    • Hers was a difficult life, with her little family to care for and entertaining to do in such circumstances. She really gave her strength for the sake of the Lord's people;

    • and when her last little one was born – and he died – she died too, and the two of them were buried together. Mr. Jim Taylor was then about one and a half.

  • Mr. Taylor felt his wife's death intensely. In time he moved to Brooklyn and took a house. He got a housekeeper, a Scotch sister, Miss Barker, who somewhat deserved her name! She ruled the children with a firm hand.

Shortly after this I went to New York to live and study, just going home for weekends. Quite often I was in Mr. Taylor's house, as another young sister who was in New York with me, and I, would go over to the Brooklyn weekly reading and sometimes stop at Mr. Taylor's for supper.

  • There were then five children: Allan, Arthur, Willie, Stella (Mrs. Petersen) and Jimmy. The two little ones were devoted to their father, and he was father and mother to them. Indeed he exercised a beautiful fatherly influence throughout the house.

  • I remember one Lord's day afternoon as we left for the reading he looked back as we went out, and the two little ones were sitting on the bottom stair crying. He went back, and it turned out that for once Father had forgotten to kiss them goodbye!

I have seen him sitting in a reading with the little ones, one on each side of him; and as the meeting progressed the two little heads would nod, and they would go to sleep – one on each shoulder.

During that time Mr. Taylor would usually come over to the Manhattan city reading, where I was living. It was very wonderful to be with him in a reading during those years – 1900-1905.

  • He would start very slowfly, almost hesitatingly. Then suddenly he would sit up straight, his eyes would glisten, and the thoughts would flow out in a rich stream, as new to him as to anyone there.

I remember a 3 day meeting in Staten Island, part of greater New York, during those years. We had not the light of the service of God then as we have it now.

  • On Saturday afternoon Mr. Taylor brought out that if we were sensitive enough we would know when the Lord came in at the Supper; we would discern His coming in at the breaking of bread. And we should discern too when He went out.

  • Personally at this time I was as cold as ice in my soul; but the meeting was in such power that a great longing came over me to know the Lord's presence in that way.

  • After such an opening up we wondered who would have the courage to break the bread the next morning.

    • We had only one breaking of bread at 3 day meetings in those days. Sometimes it took an hour for the emblems to go round.

  • A deaf brother, Mr. B. T. Fawcett, who had not heard all, was the one who served in power.

In course of time Miss Barker left Mr. Taylor's house and was replaced by her very opposite – Miss Goodman from Barbados.

  • She was gentle and mild, and at times found the older boys difficult to handle. But she had one effective weapon that they did not like.

  • Perhaps Arthur was misbehaving, and Allan would say, "You better behave, Arthur; you know Miss Goodman is upstairs praying for you!" That gave one an uncomfortable feeling!

  • Little Jimmy was a lively, lovable little lad, and often we would build block houses together on the floor. Up would go a fine tall tower, and bang! Down it would go on the floor!

At Mr. Taylor's first visit to England to serve – about 1910 or 1911 – I happened to be there, and staying at Mr. F. W. Jerrard's house in Kennington, London, where he also was to stay.

  • Before that he had, as is known, been to England to see Mr. Raven in his last illness. They were closeted together for a long time, and it was felt that during that time Mr. Raven's mantle fell on Mr. Taylor.

  • Before his visit to England about 1910 – at which time he was sent by his firm Mills and Gibb, as a buyer – the Chicago notes had come out over which there was much controversy; especially over the statement that salvation is found in the assembly.

  • Accordingly there was quite a tense atmosphere in England, some ready to welcome him and some critical or downright opposed.

  • He sat in the study in Mr. Jerrard's house that first day, his head in his hands, saying, "I can't do it! I can't do it!" as he heard the list of meeting arranged for him.

That night, in Kennington, he was to give his first address. It was a hot night; the hall was on a noisy corner; and an hour before the meeting it was packed, with a crowd waiting outside.

  • I was sitting next to Mr. Loughnan – ASL – who was definitely critical.

  • When Mr. Taylor came forward to speak, not only were the hall and the aisles packed, but brothers were standing on the large platform so closely jammed together that he had only just standing room. My heart ached for him, as he stood there, looking so white and so strained.

  • We sang a hymn and he began to pray. What a prayer! A child with its Father. He told Him about the crowd and the heat and the noise and the weakness, and then he said, "But, Lord, Thou wilt not disappoint Thy people!" And I knew all was well.

  • He spoke on Esther – the address is in his books: 'The Spirit of Christ in the Book of Esther' [New Series 3: 182]. There was power from the start. The silence could almost be felt. As he finished, Mr. Loughnan whispered to me, "Exquisite!"

While carrying the burden "of all the assemblies" he had individual care and interest for each one in his locality.

  • Before my husband was married he lived in Brooklyn, and saw much of Mr. Taylor. One night he said to him after the meeting, "I want you to come with me to see a coloured brother whose wife died last night".

  • They went to a poor quarter of the city and up many stairs in a tenement building to the brother's apartment. There after greeting him Mr. Taylor sat down in silence.

  • A long quiet ensued; then Mr. Taylor asked the brother about his wife's home-going. He listened with sympathetic interest, and before leaving – the hour was very late – he put a substantial gift into the brother's hand.

  • This was characteristic of him. A brother who opposed his ministry and finally left us said, "I can't understand that man Taylor. I know he doesn't make much money, and he has a family to support, but he always has something to give away".

It is difficult to know where to stop. But I will go on to the Lord's day in Vancouver just before he was taken ill, the illness from which he never recovered fully.

  • It was a 3 day occasion and the impression of that Lord's day morning is vivid in my memory.

  • He stood up to give thanks for the emblems, and it was as if he saw the Lord standing immediately in front of him. There was an indescribable nearness and intimacy.

  • Right after that occasion he was taken ill, and another brother had to carry through with the meetings for the last day.

That intimacy with the Lord had been the habit of his life, as his little girl once said plaintively,

  • "Seems to me Father's always praying! He prays when he gets up in the morning, and then he comes down and prays with us, and then he goes to the city. I s'pose he prays there! Then he comes home and he says, 'Now children, be quiet', and he goes upstairs and prays some more. Seems to me he's always praying!"

He was uncritical, and the most appreciative of the service of others.

  • One Lord's day evening my husband was to preach in Brooklyn and we had supper first at Mr. Taylor's house. He had gout in his foot, and said he was afraid he could not come out.

  • My husband said, "Oh do come out, Mr. Taylor, and support me! I'll help you into the car and into the room if you only come". So he came, and sat up at the top of the room and smiled and nodded and said "Amen".

He hadn't a bit of legality about him. As my husband said, "He was the best one to make rules because he was the first one to break them".

  • When first the notices were to be given out at the beginning of the meeting instead of the end, they were given out at the start in Nostrand Avenue according to arrangement,

  • and at the close of the meeting Mr. Taylor said, "For the benefit of those who came in late" – and then gave them all over again!

He was marked by boundless hospitality, and almost endless patience and grace if there was any hope of saving a brother.

  • But if the truth was in question he was inflexible. I remember him saying, "God never stands by a man; He stands by the truth; and if you stand by the truth He will stand by you".

He had deep feelings. I remember how he wept as he spoke at the burial service of Dr. Stollery's little boy who was killed in a car accident.

He had too, a quiet but rich sense of humour. I had once at some 3 day meeting been assigned to the meeting room where he was on the Lord's day morning, and my husband to another room.

  • After the meeting he said to me, "I felt like saying to you, 'Go, call thy husband and come hither!' "

He counted urgently on the brethren's prayers.

  • At one time when he had been in a bad storm at sea he said, "I thought the brethren had stopped praying for me!"

  • At another time when he had been hindered from getting home from Australia because of the war, someone said to him how the brethren had been praying for him. He said, "If they had fasted as well as prayed perhaps I would have been home sooner!"

His holy regard for the temple, and the value of inquiring in the temple, would come out on certain occasions in his house when visitors asked questions.

These few sketchy memories may give some idea of a man as I knew him, a very, very great man of God.

M. M.

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Portknockie, Scotland, November 27, 1906

Mr. and Mrs. Croy,
My dear Brother and Sister,

I often think of you and bring you before the Lord, and would fain be with you to speak of His interests, but this is not easy …

  • I have been moving a little in the Lord's service lately. I visited Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline, Bo'ness, Linlithgow, Edinburgh, Galashiels, Cockenzie, Aberdeen, Lossiemouth and Helmedale …

In regard to present troubles I have enclosed notes of readings by James Taylor, New York, which will commend itself to the meek reader as of God and cause our minds to be easy, not to be afraid of bad doctrine or any cause whatever to distract but very much otherwise to build us up.

  • But it to be deeply lamented the judgment that some have passed upon it.

  • Sad indeed the way Mr. [James] Boyd has acted; however much he may affect others he himself will be the great loser.

  • I do not know if you have seen his last paper – a sad one indeed, yet it has opened many eyes that gave him consideration before its issue and caused them to turn their backs upon him.

  • I fear he has not many open doors now – what a change since 12 months ago. He was the one looked up to by the many but not by all.

  • Dear man, he was always contentious but judge he has reached a climax and I fear has gone too far to retrace. The issue is not known yet.

It is evident on the other hand that Mr. Taylor is a meek spirited, self-judged man yet deeply taught in divine things though young and obscure – a working man.

  • I have taken the liberty to enclose two letters of his to a brother in England which speak for themselves, also enclosed an extract from a letter of C. A. Coates [not available] whose judgment many respect.

  • I need not say more, but that it is regrettable that it is Mr. Taylor's first notes of readings; the objective was absent and the subjective too much pressed and the notes were issued unrevised.

  • There were strange statements but all that has been openly acknowledged, but the main drift is just what FER taught and I fear there is still the root of bitterness against that teaching,

  • but I take the liberty of repeating, there is nothing in Mr. Taylor's teaching to be afraid of but on the contrary very much to thank God for …

Yours, beloved in Christ Jesus, A. Pirie.

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Notes of Meeting at Barnet on the occasion of the marriage of
Mr. J. Taylor [1870-1953] and Miss G. [Georgina] Brown, November 5th, 1913
Mr. Taylor's first wife – Estelle Garrett – died 1901
in childbirth or very shortly afterwards.
The notes were contributed by Edwin Cross, London.
Unless noted, hymn numbers are the same as the 1973 book.
Information in [square brackets] added, June 2003. GAR

Hymn 166 –
Mr. [Edward] Dennett [1841-1914]

[361: Lord, Thou hast drawn us after Thee]

Prayer: Mr. Pryer, Mr. Showell, Mr. Rochester
            Mr. [Dennis L.] Higgins [Highgate; 1847-1943]
            Mr. Jas. [S.] Allen [Birkenhead]

Mr. E. [J.] McBride [1867-1949]
Acts 18: 24-28; Hebrews 3: 6-11; 1 Timothy 4: 1-5

E. J. McBride

I wish to say a few words in the hope they may encourage our brother and sister in their pathway here, both in regard to the Assembly and interests of Christ, and their own concerns.

Now in Aquila and Priscilla you have a beautiful illustration of this. They had come under the influence and gain of the Son in his House,

JT and Georgina, 1953

The connection is exceedingly good; there was a devoted eloquent man named Apollos, but he had not learned the way of God in its perfection.

Well, Aquila and Priscilla invited this eloquent man in, and it is very fine to see the effect on him.

No doubt the beautiful unity, submission and affection struck Apollos, who was taught the way of God more exactly (J.N.D.) not only in the letter but spirit of it.

Now for a word on the gain to the saints of this influence; it is said of Apollos after this visit, that

Then to turn to Timothy; as things grow dark there is an express voice from the House,

The Lord graciously grand this to our brother and his wife.

Hymn 300 – Mr. Evans

[Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim
– not in the 1932 and succeeding books]

Prayer: Mr. William Johnson

Mr. [Dennis L.] Higgins
1 Samuel 25: 18-33

We have a very striking passage of Scripture, in which two remarkable people are brought before us;

But it is not to follow the typical history of these notable persons that I desire,

There is no doubt that under great provocation, David had at this moment missed the mind of God in regard to what was suitable for him when in rejection,

There are some points in her faith that we do well to consider.

The position of Christ is that of the rejected King here, and this fact must regulate the behaviour and attitude of those who are His; it is of great consequence that we should recognise this.

Then Abigail had a perfectly just estimate of Nabal, and what his end would be, however flourishing he might be at the moment.

There is a further point in Abigailís discourse, namely that Saul, who was the King actually on the throne, was only ďa manĒ to her;

It is well that we should recognise Christís place as rejected here, and seek to walk in suitability thereto, also that man after the flesh is doomed, and set aside,

It is interesting to see how David was able to discern who was fitted to be his bride, and to be a help-meet for him

May we learn divine lessons from Abigailís faith and intelligence.

Hymn 12 – Mr. Hutchinson

[Sing without ceasing, sing]

Prayer: Mr. G. [George W.] Ware [Guildford]

Hymn 23 – Mr. Rochester

[How good is the God we adore]

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JT at Rochester Special Meetings in May 1944
with young brothers in non-combatant military service
Photo and names supplied by Andrew Roberson

JT 1944 with 6 non-combatants Clockwise from top left:
Arthur Parker, New York
Ron Gregg, Regina
James Taylor Sr.
Alex Terries d. 2004, Glasgow
Albert Castle, Boston
Robert H. Smith, Cranford
Sigurd Steen, Boston

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The following account is of interest in view of developments
after JT's death – especially from 1959 on.
From a Letter of Mr. J. S. Brown – Aberdeen (?}
re Conversation with Mr. James Taylor, May 16, 1946
See comments in Guests: My Stand 2: Aberdeen 6.

I dare say you heard the details of the conversation with JT on the subject of the Pharmaceutical Society.

Firstly, he said he would have no difficulty about this thing as it was obviously a measure for the protection of the public and quite different from a trade union.

  • Then TM mentioned the gradation of evil, some being beaten with many stripes and some with few.

  • I then said that this had been one of the matters of concern, because even if it were not as bad as the trade union, even if there was only a small degree of evil in it, could we go on happily with the Lord in it or should we seek other employment.

  • To this JT answered quite emphatically that he did not see any evil at all in a matter of this kind.

Then I said that some had a difficulty about membership no matter what organization was involved and that in our case membership of the Society was compulsory and a yearly subscription was paid.

  • To this he replied that he would regard membership in this case as nominal, and therefore presenting no difficulty to him.

I then said that another matter of concern had been that while as examining the position and finding no evil in it my conscience had not been affected, there were also the consciences of others who might be breaking bread with us to consider.

  • To this he replied that if any of the brethren were concerned in this way then this would only put a responsibility upon us to let them know the proper facts of the matter and that there is in fact no evil in this thing.

It was really a great relief. Knowing JT to be a man who is quite ruthless when Divine principles are involved, the fact that he was so emphatic in the whole thing was most reassuring.

  • I was glad too that there were a good many brothers present so that the matter was brought right out into the open.

J. S. Brown.

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EATING  1960
From a Letter of Mr. James McMullan of Belfast, August 12, 1960

It is very sad, if true, that — has been given the lead amongst the brethren.

This is not only quite unscriptural – 1 Cor. 5: 10; 10: 27 – and quite unlike our blessed Saviour, who was blamed by the Pharisees for eating with publicans and sinners

  • but is contrary to the practice of Mr. Taylor Senior, who on his business trips to this country for Mills and Gibb frequently took a meal with linen manufacturers, one of whom on one occasion invited the Dean of Belfast to be present at lunch to meet him.

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Mr. Taylor moved to New York in 1889.

At that time JT made a vow to commit himself fully to the Lord's interests, and to be responsible for them in New York.

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In this biographical sketch, the term "friends" refers to
spiritual friendships, not to natural or partisan relationships.

• Joseph Pellatt

J. Pellatt

Mr. Joseph Pellatt (1843-1913) was an outstanding help in the early years of JT's ministry. Mr. Taylor said of him,

• Joseph Revell

Joseph Revell, 1852-1900

Mr. Joseph Revell (d. 1900) ministered widely in America and was also a great help to Mr. Taylor.

• F. E. Raven

F. E. Raven, 1837-1903Mr. F. E. Raven made two visits to America – 1898 and 1902.

JT was present at a good many of the meetings on both trips, and profited much from the ministry and the personal contacts.

He was also able, at least once, to attend the annual meetings at Quemerford at which Mr. Raven ministered the word.

• R. S. Sinclair

Mr. Taylor enjoyed good brotherly relations with Mr. R. S. Sinclair of Indianapolis over many years.

• C. A. Coates

CAC and JT Sr

Although they were not often together, on account of Mr. Coates' physical weakness and travel restrictions,

• A. E. Myles

A. E. Myles, 1880-1971

Mr. A. E. Myles highly valued and respected Mr. Taylor's gift – as Mr. Taylor valued AEM – and exercised an important supporting ministry over many years.

• Others

JT and Fred Ide and wives

Among many others in England,

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    This section deals briefly with several controversies. Fuller details can be
    found by referring to:
  • the indexes of JT's 'Letters' and 'Ministry',
  • 'The Recovery and Maintenance of the Truth' by AJG.

• Local Difficulties

There were problems in a number of local meetings in USA and Canada – particularly during the early years of Mr. Taylor's ministry.

  • Certain prominent English brothers – some of whom had little or no knowledge of the localities and issues involved – wrote letters

    • interfering with local responsibilty and often encouraging those who were the cause of concern.

  • This caused JT to become involved in extensive correspondence to explain matters and to persuade those who were interfering to cease.

• The Chicago Notes

Mr. Taylor served at meetings in Chicago on December 31, 1904, and January 1 and 2, 1905.

The notes were circulated in typescript for the benefit of those in America who could not attend the meetings.

• Glanton

In 1908, unresolved personal differences in Alnwick resulted in two parties.

• In the Midst

An article in a 1909 issue of 'Mutual Comfort' – a monthly magazine – asserted that on the day of His resurrection the Lord fulfilled His promise in John 14: 18 and took up an abiding position in the midst of the assembly.

• Fulfilled Responsibility

In 1916-17 several brothers pressed their view that no one could fulfill responsibility absolutely and thus they set aside the force of Paul's statement in Romans 8: 4,

• Dealing with Evil

In 1918-20 there was a good deal of discussion and some sharp controversy as to the way in which evil was to be dealt with.

• The Sonship of Christ

JT was serving in meetings in Barnet in June 1929, when a question was raised as to 'eternal Sonship'.

On July 28, 1931, CAC wrote:

And on July 15, 1929, JT wrote:

• Contacts with Brethren in China

In 1932, reports of a work of God in China, connected with Mr. Watchman Nee and apparently based on Scriptural principles, led to a visit by some brethren from England, Australia and America.

Appeals through letters being unfruitful, only confirming that the brethren with Mr. Nee were unalterably committed to 'open' practices, fellowship regretfully ceased in July 1935.

• Recognition of the Spirit

James Taylor Sr., 1942

The rightness of recognizing the Holy Spirit in hymns and prayers came forward gradually during the years 1942-49.

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Contents of Ministry by JT – New Series appear on a separate page. A review will give some concept of the breadth and depth of his ministry of some 50 years.
See also 'Pages with ministry by J. Taylor' in Introduction above.

J. Taylor Sr. c.1940?

Ministry by J. Taylor – New Series, originally published by Stow Hill Bible and Tract Depot – and since 1971 by Kingston Bible Trust – consists of 100 volumes, commonly called 'the blue books'.

JT was "in journeyings often", 2 Corinthians 11: 26. In over 50 years, he served in more than 300 localities –

  • in USA, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Jamaica, Barbados, South Africa, Ceylon, Australia and New Zealand.

The 2 volumes of Letters of James Taylor are valuable for the light they throw on his ministry as well as on the many conflicts for the truth during his lifetime.

  1. Letters - 1890-1935

  2. Letters - 1935-1951 – plus Historical Reference, Indexes of Subjects, Scriptures and Names.
  • 'Bible and Gospel Trust' has published 2 additional volumes – #'s 3 & 4 – of JT's Letters.

    • BGT states that they are only for sale to those who are 'in fellowship' with the copyright holder, J. Taylor 3rd.

A review of Mr. Taylor's extensive ministry is far beyond the scope of this biographical sketch.

  • Many matters as to the assembly – and the typical teaching of the Old Testament – were brought out,

    • but the crowning feature of his ministry is the opening up of the Scriptural and spiritual pattern and order of the various features which contribute to greater spiritual intelligence in participation in the service of God:

  • the Lord's Supper as the Lord's, not the Father's or the Spirit's,

  • the clarification of the truth of Christ's Person, and of His Sonship in Manhood,

  • His relationship with us both as His brethren and as His bride,

  • His uniqueness as the Son, and our place as of the "many sons",

  • recognition of the Spirit viewed objectively, and thus as One to be addressed in prayer and in worship,

  • the place that Divine Persons have taken in the economy, leading to intelligent worship to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

  • All these great truths, and the many blessed details connected with them, have contributed to the enrichment of the service (worship) of God.

Many excellent new hymns to express these great matters – and numerous suitable tunes – have come out of the spiritual exercises of brothers and sisters who cherished these truths.

J. Taylor Sr., 1931

In 1931, when he was 61, JT was in London for consultations on the 1932 Hymn Book.

Contents of Ministry by JT – New Series appear on a separate page. A review will give some concept of the breadth and depth of his ministry of some 50 years.

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I came 'into fellowship' – as we speak – in August 1950 and was only in meetings with JT three times:

  1. In September 1950 at special meetings in Chicago – 'The Service of Elijah', New Series 78: 312-404.

  2. In October 1950 at special meetings in Toronto – 'The Ministry of Elisha in its Practical Value', New Series 74: 225-97.

    • Those were the meetings at which singing at the care meeting and the rightness of the sisters being present came up.

    • I was 20 years old at the time.

    • JT was then in his 81st year and obviously frail – but I was deeply impressed with the dignity and simplicity of the way he opened up the Scriptures.

  3. In May 1952 at special meetings in Rochester with Stanley McCallum – meetings at which JT had himself so often served.

    • Mr. Taylor sat on the platform next to SMcC, but he looked very weak and took little part.


• Letter of Mrs. J. Taylor, Sr. – May 25, 1952

2670 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn 10, New York

Mr. Gordon A. Rainbow,
Tillsonburg, Ontario

My dear Mr. Rainbow,
James & Georgina Taylor, c.1950 I am writing for my husband for he is not yet able to write his own letters, but we were both very touched by your letter and also the bounty from the dear brethren at Tillsonburg, although it is now years since we have had the pleasure of being amongst you.

Please convey our warm love and many thanks to them and we greatly count on your continued prayerful support for,

We were much interested to hear how you were led out of the Bethesda company.

My husband joins me in love and thanks again.

Yours affectionately in Christ, Georgina R. Taylor.

P.S. Please excuse haste as we are going to the ministry meeting shortly.

• New York – March 22-29, 1953

Although weak, and in his 84th year, Mr. Taylor continued attending the meetings and taking part, during his last few months. His last week was no different.

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The burial meeting was held at 1954 Nostrand Avenue – which was JT's local meeting as well as the 'city' meeting room – on Wednesday, April 1, 1953, at 1:00 p.m.

The meeting proceeded as follows:

  • Mr. E. Arthur Lyons, a local brother, gave out Hymn 229: "When peace like a river attendeth my way".

  • Mr. Vincent C. Lock, of Summit, N.J., prayed.

  • Mr. Stanley McCallum, Detroit, then spoke, followed by Mr. Elliott E. Hoyte, a local New York brother.

Stanley McCallum, 1904-87

You will see, dear brethren, that thoughts of sorrow and joy enter into these passages from which we have read.

At this time we are not without sorrow and grief, for while we do not sorrow as those who have no hope, yet there is sorrow and grief in our hearts as, in holy affection, we enter upon this service in connection with the burial of one so greatly beloved. He is beloved in heaven, but beloved here on earth.

  • What a loss the assembly has suffered in the departure from our midst of this great vessel! He was a man honoured, indeed, of God, and signally raised up in relation to the last features of revival in this dispensation.

I have read about Josiah that we may see the feelings that entered into the occasion of his death.

  • It says that "all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. And the Jeremiah lamented for Josiah; and all the singing men and singing women spoke of Josiah in their lamentations to this day".

  • Josiah was a remarkable man who was raised up of God, whose service and ministry related to the last revival in the Chronicles, which was peculiarly marked by the distinctive place into which the ark was brought, according to the writing of the David and Solomon.

  • We can see something analogous to this in the days in which we have lived, dear brethren, in regard to the service and ministry of this great vessel in affection for whom we are gathered here at this time.

  • Think of the extent of the feelings expressed in the words "all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah". It was the time for feeling such a loss; and it is now a time to feel the greatness of our loss!

  • What a loss it is, as we think of all that has entered into the last fifty years of such unique and distinctive ministry! Think of all that we have had brought to us in regard to the truth through the service of our beloved brother!

  • And then it says, "Jeremiah lamented for Josiah". What a feeling man Jeremiah was! Jeremiah, too, was a minister – what a minister he was! And what a time it is now for those who serve to take account, feelingly, of the loss that has been sustained through the departure of our dear brother.

  • Jeremiah was a priestly man. Priestly feelings would help us to rise above the pressure of a sorrow like this, but the heart of the priest enters, feelingly, into the inestimable loss that is ours at the present time.

  • We can visualize, in some measure, the vessel who served us so well and so faithfully. He has been a model to the flock. He not only ministered in power and with authority according to the commission he had, but he set out as the living exponent of the truth all that he brought forward in the truth.

  • So that we are entering into this matter feelingly now, as it says, "All the singing men and singing women spoke of Josiah in their lamentations". As we think of the service of song and of those that are linked with it, we think of the distinctive part our brother's ministry has had in relation to it.

  • His ministry has given character to much that is embodied in the service of song as we have it at the present time; so that, as singing men and singing women, we take up this service appreciatively, entering into this great matter feelingly at the present moment.

  • It says that they "spoke of Josiah in their lamentations to this day". So that, from this viewpoint, dear brethren, we are not without sorrow; we are not without grief, as we think of loss that has been suffered by the whole assembly.

I read from John 14 to remind us on another set of circumstances.

  • The Lord Jesus was about to go away and He was reminding His disciples that it was expedient for them that He should go away. What feelings were in their hearts! They had accompanied and surrounded Him in His pathway here.

  • But He brought home to their view another Comforter, the Paraclete, as He said,

    • "I will beg the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, that he may be with you forever, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see him nor know him". What comfort this brings into our hearts!

  • As we sorrow in relation to the great loss the assembly has suffered we are reminded that there is One with us who abides with us for ever. The Holy Spirit, that wonderful Comforter from on high, will never leave us!

  • The last words that one heard our beloved brother express publicly were spoken in a meeting in Plainfield last November. One remark which he made in the reading that afternoon was,

    • 'The greatest thing that I know of at the present time on earth is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the assembly'.

  • What a fact that is, dear brethren! He is with us now; and He is in us; He is to be with us for ever! What a Friend! Our beloved brother used to say, 'Our greatest Friend on earth'.

  • We used to sing, 'What a Friend we have in Jesus'. How true those words are as we think of Jesus on high! But then, what a Friend we have in the Holy Spirit, also!

  • So that, as we think of the vicissitudes ahead – of what may be before us – as the Lord Jesus contemplated what His disciples would face, we would be reminded of the presence of the Holy Spirit who will journey with us through all the vicissitudes of the wilderness, whatever they may involve.

  • He is never to leave us; going on with us in all the way; and what holy communion we can enjoy with Him!

  • What a word that is for our hearts, dear brethren, as we think of His desires for the saints and for the assembly, that they be not as sheep without a shepherd. What a word to our hearts! A divine Person is here in sovereignty to take charge of our affairs, the Paraclete.

  • What comfort and stay it is to our hearts that this wondrous Person, this divine Person, the Holy Spirit, is to be with for ever! Servants come, dear brethren, and servants go, but this blessed Person remains with us for ever! What a wonderful comfort it is to know this! How we should be helped more and more in our regard for Him!

  • Our brother's ministry signally pointed to the need for honouring the Spirit. We might say it was the climax to all his ministry – this present, blessed touch as to the Spirit objectively, a Person to be known and worshipped, to be spoken to and communed with.

  • What a legacy has been left in this ministry for the assembly! May we be helped, dear brethren, to follow it through and have our hearts stayed by it.

I read the last portion to remind us of the truth of the resurrection world.

  • While we mourn over the loss of our brother and are comforted by the sustaining service and presence of the Holy Spirit, our hearts are also filled with joy as we anticipate what the full result of the wonderful power of resurrection will be.

  • The Lord Jesus said to His disciples, "And ye now therefore have grief; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice". What a word that is, your brethren! I want to apply it to what is immediately before us now.

  • Our beloved brother looked expectantly for the rapture. And we are expecting it to take place at any moment – when we shall see the Lord face to face.

  • There may be grief connected with the present little while and all that enters into the assembly's sojourn through the wilderness, but what a word from the Lord when He says, "Ye will be grieved" (I am applying the principle to ourselves) "but your grief shall be turned to joy".

  • He spoke of the figure of a man being born into the world. I know that this alludes to the resurrection of Christ, but think of what the resurrection day will bring forth in its fulness! Think of the full effect of resurrection power, not only as it has applied to Christ, but as it will come into view in regard to the saints!

  • Our brother will be amongst those who will be raised first, as it says,

    • "The dead in Christ shall rise first; then we, the living who remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we shall be always with the Lord".

  • We shall see Him, dear brethren, the One whom our brother loved and whom we love; we shall see Him face to face and we shall be like Him!

May the Lord encourage our hearts as we sorrow. Grief fills our hearts on the one hand, because of this great loss, but on the other hand we have the sense that the Holy Spirit is continuing with us.

  • And also, we have before us, in prospect, the full application of resurrection power when we shall find our part together with those who have gone before, in actually seeing the Lord face to face.

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Elliott E. Hoyte

I wish to make just a few brief remarks, dear brethren, on these verses by way of comfort, first, for our beloved sister and the family, and then for ourselves, for we all need comfort.

I want to remark on the thought of rest. How sweet is rest after toil!

  • It says, in Genesis 2, that God "rested on the seventh day from all his work", working for six days and on the seventh day finding rest and refreshment. It says, in Exodus 31, that He "rested and, was refreshed".

  • So, dear brethren, if the home-going of our brother to his Lord and Master is a loss to us, we are to regard it as a calculated loss.

  • The Lord Jesus, his Master, surely knows the end from the beginning. We might say that it is a loss to Him, too, for he was His servant; but nevertheless I think it is a calculated loss.

  • The Lord could have sustained him here for 120 years if it were His will; He could have done that. We might say, What a loss it is to the assembly! It is, but the Lord has calculated the loss and considered for His servant.

I read from Mark's gospel because it is the servant's gospel.

  • I see that the Lord Jesus is very considerate of His servants. They do arduous work, and who can dispute the fact that our beloved brother has done some of the most arduous work – not only in this city, but universally. His has been very arduous, rigorous work, but he has finished it, dear brethren.

  • My point is that the Lord Jesus was considering for His servants in this chapter. It says, "Those coming and those going were many, and they had not leisure even to eat". Think of that! The work was demanding.

  • I remember our beloved brother often saying, 'There is much to be done'. Those were his very words. How much he has done! The Lord Jesus takes account of it. He said to His disciples, "Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place and rest a little".

  • So that, dear brethren, the Lord has calculated, and in consideration for His servant, has appointed him rest.

And also, we have to regard the fact that his Master had rights over him, and He has exercised those rights.

  • Think of Lord Jesus exercising His right over His servant on Lord's day! It was on the Lord's day, the first day of the week, that He took him to be with Himself.

  • Our brother has thrilled us over and over with those two thoughts – the Lord's day, and the first day of week. He was wont to speak of that day. Think of what it meant to him, spiritually!

  • And the Lord Jesus has exercised His rights over His servant on that day! It was on the Lord's day that He took him to be with Himself, to rest. "Come ye … apart … and rest a little".

  • It is only for a little while, dear brethren; the resurrection time is coming; the Lord is soon to greet us in the air! And our dear brother is resting till then.

  • How wonderful to think of his service finished and his Master having taken him to Himself!

We can remember that on Saturday night last, at the care meeting, our dear brother, as he was wont to do, attended to every matter. He was using all the strength at his disposal.

  • He moved from his seat to speak to one about a matter that had to be attended to.

    • Later, apparently not satisfied that it had been fully attended to, but being assured that it was, our beloved brother sat back in his seat with an air of satisfaction.

  • How wonderful, dear brethren, to think of all this – every matter finished, and taken account of by our dear brother in his characteristic way!

In relation to another matter he had asked if we could wait on an erring brother for another month.

  • How characteristic of the grace that has been exemplified in our brother all these years! Not only was he an arduous worker, but one in whom there was grace – the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ – his feelings entered into matters; he was a fatherly person.

  • We have all experienced it, and we shall miss it, dear brethren. But let us give honour to the Lord Jesus; let us recognize His rights over our brother. He has taken him now to be with Himself.

  • How wonderful for him to have the Lord's own approval, "Well done!" That is a word that he has often used himself, as he commented on one servant and another.

  • And may we not apply these words to him this afternoon? He has served, and served well.

  • But think of the Lord's own words as He says to His servant, "Well done!" The Lord can rightly appraise all that His beloved servant has done for Him.

Now just a word on the last scripture.

  • The Lord is in heaven; the blessed Spirit is here; there is a voice from heaven which says,

    • "Blessed the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth".

  • I do not go into the immediate circumstances to which this scripture refers, but it was a time of dying. It says, "Blessed the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth".

  • The voice is from heaven, but the blessed Spirit, down here in the place of testimony, answers, "Yea … that they may rest from their labours; for their works follow with them". Think of that! I just close with it.

The Lord in His consideration for His servant said, "Come … apart … and a rest a little". We are glad to know that our brother is taking his rest.

  • The blessed Spirit is with us, dear brethren, and He will help us and comfort us.

  • And then we have this word from the Spirit to comfort us in relation to our brother:

    • "Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, for their works follow with them".

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Following the words:

A large number of brethren then proceeded in about 75 cars to the Bethany section of Evergreen Cemetery.

The meeting at the grave proceeded as follows:

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