John Cooper

The Life And Ministry Of John Cooper

In the 1889 edition of the Earthen Vessel, the following sketch is given for the life and ministry of John Cooper:

The Late Mr. John Cooper, Of Wattisham, SuffolkA quarter of a century ago the names of George Wright, of Beccles, Samuel Collins, of Grundisburgh, and John Cooper, of Wattisham, were familiar to almost every old resident in the county of Suffolk; and for their preaching qualifications they had few equals in the Strict Baptist Denomination. The last time we saw Mr. Cooper, was at Blakenham Chapel; he was then seated in the corner of the building, and appeared to be very feeble in shaking hands and in wishing us a loving farewell.
We learn from Mr. S. K. Bland’s excellent account of Mr. Cooper, given in the Gospel Herald, for 1881, that be was born at Drinkstone, near Stowmarket, on Nov. 21st, 1805; and in The Baptist for March 4th, 1881, under “Our Death Roll” occurs the following brief sketch of his life:—
“We have to report the death on Feb. 22 [1881], in the seventy-sixth year of his age, of Mr. Cooper. Called into the ministry at the age of twenty-four by the Church at Rattlesden, Suffolk, of which he had been a member four years, he was at once indefatigably employed in preaching in the chapels and village stations around, and in the following year was unanimously chosen pastor of the Church at Wattisham, where he laboured for upwards of forty-nine years, retiring in September, 1879, highly esteemed and valued by his flock, having lived to see all but one of the original members pass from their fellowship, nearly all preceding him ‘across the river.’ Mr. Cooper had long been eminent amongst the Suffolk churches, not only for his mental gifts and preaching abilities, but for his deep-toned spirituality, integrity, judgment, and brotherly kindness. For the period of fifteen years he acted as Secretary of the Suffolk and Norfolk Association. He was also for many years an able editor of the Gospel Herald. Our brother had for a lengthened time, but especially since his retirement from the stated ministry, suffered much from bodily afflictions, and at the commencement of the present year (1881) was laid aside with a bronchial attack, and congestion of the lungs, to all which doubtless much of the depression of mind he experienced may be attributed, for his faith in the truths he had so long preached remained unshaken, and he had no fear of the future, ‘knowing,’ as he declared ‘whom he had believed.’ At eventide, however, it was light, and the sun set cloudless.
“His body was laid in the ground at Wattisham by the side of those of his two sons and two daughters, the chief part of the funeral service being taken by Mr. S. K. Bland, of Ipswich, and on Sunday following Mr. Bland drew the attention of a numerous congregation to the lessons of his life and death in what is commonly called a funeral sermon.”
On retiring from the ministry Mr. Cooper quietly settled down at Needham Market, but was soon called to his eternal rest. The last sermon he preached in his old pulpit at Wattisham, was on Nov. 16th, 1879. His text on the occasion being Phil. 4:19:—”But my God shall supply all your need, according to His riches in glory, by Christ Jesus.” This text must have been strictly opportune, as he had just previously conducted a prayer-meeting with the view of seeking divine guidance in the choice of a new pastor. Our dear brother, Mr. F. S. Reynolds, is the present pastor of Wattisham.—Ed.

In the same year (1889), the Earthen Vessel announced the death of John Cooper’s wife:

“On Tuesday, July 16, Mrs. Cooper, widow of the late John Cooper, for 50 years pastor of the Baptist Church at Wattisham, Suffolk, was suddenly taken home at the age of 82. She had been far from well for two or three days previously, but had come down to breakfast with her only son, who was on a visit to her at Needham Market. She had just partaken of a cup of tea when she became unconscious. Medical aid was obtained, but without avail, and in about an hour she had passed away. Interred in the family corner of the graveyard at Wattisham with her husband, sons, and daughters, all awaiting the resurrection unto life eternal.”

John Cooper (1805-1881) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher. In 1831, he was appointed pastor of the church meeting at Wattisham, Suffolk, a position he held for nearly fifty years. He also served as Secretary for fifteen years of the Suffolk and Norfolk Association, and was one of the editors for the Gospel Herald.