William Gill

The Life And Ministry Of William Gill

Earthen Vessel 1891:

I was born in the year 1843, at Colnbook, in Buckinghamshire, of godly parents; and was taken by them to the Baptist Chapel when in my infancy, and in course of time attended the Sabbath-school. To my godly teacher I owe much for the instruction imparted, and who now and for some years past has been its superintendent. I cannot tell the time when I had not a desire after the Lord Jesus Christ, and wished I knew Him for myself. I cannot state any particular circumstance that produced conviction; but I had convictions, and felt I was a lost and ruined sinner. This, however, like the morning cloud and early dew, vanished away. Some time after this I went with some companions on a week-night to the Primitive Methodist Chapel, with the intention of having some fun. After the usual service a prayer meeting was held; I stayed with the rest of my companions. A Mr. Fuller and a Mr. Free came and prayed over me, and in their prayers one of them said, Perhaps he has a praying mother, or a grandmother. I knew I had both; how they should have known that I could not understand, as I was a stranger to them; but the hand of the Lord was in that circumstance, and He used it as a means to deepen my conviction, so that I was afraid to put my feet to the ground lest it should open and I drop into hell. So great was the distress of my mind that I was tempted to destroy myself by drowning, and for this purpose I went to the bank of the river to throw myself in, when the thought rushed into my mind, If you do, you will be lost for ever. I came away, and went into the garden close by to pray; all I could say was ”God be merciful to me a sinner.” In this state I continued for nearly three years. I removed to London, was taken ill, and had to return home. After some months I was apprenticed to a gentleman at Staines; my fellow-apprentice was no help to me, and I was induced by him to attend a “free-and-easy “: they laughed and enjoyed it, but it was no pleasure to me; and I was determined not to go again, though I had not the courage to say so. During this time my master’s father died suddenly, and it impressed me with the uncertainty of life. About this time also I had a dream. I dreamt the judgment-day was come; I saw Christ dividing the sheep from the goats, and I was afraid I was among the latter. I was then taken and put on the right hand; then a large vessel was let down, and I felt it scrape my back, until my blood ran cold. Never shall I forget the feeling.

After my apprenticeship I went to London, was met by my brother, and he induced me to go with him to the City-road Theatre; but no one can tell my feelings, or the anxiety of my mind. He used to say, “Is it not fine? You do not enjoy it.” My reply was, “It’s very well; but, I thought, if you knew my feelings you would not have brought me here. I was afraid to tell any one about it. I went one Saturday night with him to the “Britannia,” thinking it might drown my convictions; this was not to be. A piece called “A Message from the Sea” was being played. One of the company, dressed in a captain’s suit, stepped upon the stage, and in solemn tones said, “He that holdeth the winds in His fist and the waters in the hollow of His hands.” This sent a chill through me; I never went again.

About this time I heard a Mr. Redford preach from the words, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation.” The Lord blessed that sermon to my soul, and after some time I offered myself as a candidate for baptism. Among others was one of my sisters. We were accepted and baptized in November, 1861.

Call To The Ministry

Long before I knew the Lord, when I was quite a child, I had a desire to be a preacher of the Gospel. Frequently have I held a service in the house, the chairs, &c., being my congregation. My text was generally, “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher.” Surely I have lived to see it was vanity. My godly grandmother before she died said to my dear mother, “I believe Willie will be called in early years to know the Lord and be a minister of the Gospel.” Years passed away, until, having had a class in the Sunday-school, I was asked to give an address, and declined, but was still urged to do so, and after some delay consented. There was a great deal of fear and trembling; I was afraid I should break down, &c. But the Lord owned the word spoken to the conversion of a young girl in the school, and in due time she made an open confession of Christ. In the providence of God I was removed to Melbourne, in Cambridgeshire, and was there engaged in Sunday-school work; and was sent by the Church into the villages on Sunday evenings to preach. Here, too, the Lord owned the words spoken.

On my removal to London some one had spoken to the late Mr. C. W. Banks respecting me. One afternoon he called and said he wanted me to preach at Little Wild-street Chapel. I went, and I shall not soon forget my anxiety. Sitting in the body of the chapel was the Venerable C. Woollacott; that did not add to my comfort. However, in much fear I tried to lift up Christ. At the close of the service the dear old man took my hand in his and said, “Go on, my dear friend, and the Lord bless you.” And thus I have been helped until now. To my dear brother J. Brunt, now in glory, and to Mr. W. Barker, of Hastings I owe much for their help and counsel. 

[Our brother William Gill, whom we have known for more than a quarter of a century, has recently been chosen President of the Suffolk and Norfolk Strict Baptist Pastors’ Conference. We trust his life may long be spared for further usefulness in the interest of Zion, for God’s glory. Amen.—Editor]


William Gill (1843-?) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher. In addition to serving the pastoral office, he was also elect President of the Suffolk and Norfolk Strict Baptist Pastors’ Conference in 1891.