Thomas Stringer

The Seventieth Birthday Of Thomas Stringer

Earthen Vessel 1879:

A Review Of Mr. Thomas Stringer’s Life, And The Presentation Of One Hundred Pounds On His Seventieth Birthday

Thousands of the Lord’s living witnesses will be delighted to know that Mr. Thomas Stringer has reached his seventieth birthday, in the full vigour of a strong, healthy, cheerful, and useful manhood; and on the evening of his natal day, a host of friends surrounded him in his chapel in Trinity-street, Boro’, and through the zealous and honourable exertions of James Lee, Esq., presented him with a purse of £100. We are thankful to God that there still remains in our Churches a people who have faith in, and fellowship with, the Gospel of Christ, the ordinances of the New Testament, and who practically sympathise with Paul in his exhortation to the Thessalonians: “We beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among yon, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.” Yes! blessed be God, there is still “a remnant according to the election of grace:” and when any opportunity occurs for the development of their sympathy, it is astonishing how cheerfully and liberally they respond to every call which reacheth them. We are constantly employed in distributing to the necessities of the saints. In our Eastern districts of London we have numbers of helpless, dependent, and some paralyzed of the Lord’s people; poor Christian widows all over the country, and not a few of the once hard-working ministers of Christ, whose appeals we meet as fast and as far as means will admit. We therefore urge upon all whose pathway is under the smiling rays of a bountiful Providence, Paul’s beautiful stimulant to the Colossians, as, “Christ is all and in all, put on, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering,” & c. The Lord help us all so to do. Amen.

Our honoured brother, Mr. William Winters, has sent us the following interesting report of Mr. Thomas Stringer’s birthday presentation, which thousands will read with gladness of heart. We, in our silent retreat, solemnly pray that this zeal for helping ministers by way of a testimonial may be followed up in every case where long service, faithfulness to the Gospel, infirmities, advanced age, family afflictions and bereavements, have reduced some of our highly-valued brethren to a condition wherein help would be seasonable beyond all expression. Will not our gifted, popular, and highly-extolled ministers see to these things? It may be very pleasing to themselves to be preaching special sermons where sovereigns are given them for their services. Let these “princes of the tribes,” these “renowned of the congregation,” these “heads of the thousands of Israel,” let these superior men in the Gospel, set the example of lifting up their more aged and afflicted brethren. We know one minister, a man who has laboured over one country Church over forty years. Domestic and personal afflictions have for a long time depressed and borne him down. He cannot scarcely now go through his appointed services. We pray most intensely to be able to get his pulpit supplied for a month, while himself and long-afflicted wife should have change, rest, relief, and comfort. This case is laid upon our heart; we must attend to it, but we must be assisted; and we believe the following report will move not a few to enable us to give “an aged country pastor” the required benefit.

A Presentation Of One Hundred Pounds To Mr. Thomas Stringer

A public meeting was held in Trinity chapel, July 15, to commemorate the seventieth birthday of the pastor, Mr. Thomas Stringer. From the statement of his life history, which he gave us in brief, on the evening in question, we should suppose that few men have seen more trying changes than he has, especially in his early life; yet he stands high in the estimation of the Christian Churches; and, through Divine grace, he has been kept faithful to the truth, and unspotted from the world. A short time since several brethren, under the auspices of James Lee, Esq., conjointly with Mr. Haines, the hon. sec., agreed to exert themselves in collecting one hundred pounds, and presenting them to Mr. Stringer on his seventieth birthday, as a token of sincere respect to him as a man and a minister of the everlasting Gospel. This task of collecting having been accomplished, the friends accordingly met to present the testimonial. Mr. Lee occupied the chair. Mr. Thomas Watts, of Wellingborough, prayed. The chairman introduced the happy circumstances of the evening, for which they had met, and called upon Mr. Stringer to give some account of his life. Mr. Stringer spoke very humorously of his boyhood days; the hardships he endured when a poor workhouse lad, and how he was sent to scare birds in the cornfields on the week-days. From this menial office young Stringer rose by steady gradation to become a minister of the Gospel. When very young, Master Stringer received some little instruction in Biblical history and in Roman numericals from a Mr. Jelf, and was then sent to work on the farm, to follow the plough, as many of our worthy divines have done in their early days. At the age of twelve he was sent by the parish authorities to break stones at one shilling per load; after this he became a hedger and ditcher for six months, and from that employment he rose to be a butcher-boy, when, on one occasion his horse running away, threw him and a large basket of meat into the slough, but without much injury to himself. He then became groom, at about which time he was much affected in his mind from a few words which fell from his father’s lips on his passing Bridewell prison. Little Thomas asked his father the nature of the building (Bridewell), and be told him it was for “wicked people,” which statement much disturbed the lad’s mind, and he sought to obtain ease of conscience, and thought if he could only speak to the clergyman of the parish or wear a surplice like him, or do some petty work in the church, he should be sure of going to heaven. Eventually he was asked to toll the bell and join the choristers, which offices he accepted with delight. He, however, realized but little relief from that quarter, and was terrified by horrible dreams, and thought he saw the letters S-I-N written upon the clouds which thickened against him. After a while he met with Mr. Cartright a good Gospel minister, whose ministry was greatly blest to him and especially one sermon from a verse in the Psalms. Young Stringer was now making his way in the world; having been instructed in the art of baking, he joined the grocery business to it, and speedily failed in both when he was necessitated of doing something for a living, and shortly found employment under a coal-merchant, to cry coals about the streets, and help to unload vessels, tally out coals, &c. During this trying ordeal he was greatly exercised about the ministry, and was on one occasion induced by Mr. Barns and Mr. Killett to conduct a prayer meeting, and was then asked to preach the next Lord’s-day afternoon at the old Surrey Tabernacle, which was a grand step indeed; his text on that occasion was Rom. 5:11. He was then ordained pastor, and preached five years at Farnborough; after leaving that Church he preached frequently at Wallham Abbey, Dudley Court, West Ham, and other places of truth. In course of time Mr. Stringer succeeded Mr. George Francis as pastor of Snowfields, where he remained seven years; from thence he removed to Gravesend, where he continued preaching nine years, and has since been settled at Plymouth, Stepney, Earl-street, and is now settled down in Trinity-street, Borough, where we hope he may live long and prosper abundantly. Mr. Stringer having run through his most interesting autobiography, sat down amid great cheering and applause. At this juncture Mr. Lee rose, and with a few affectionate and appropriate words presented Mr. Stringer with a purse containing one hundred pounds, as a mark of the Christian esteem of the denomination to which he was associated. Mr. Stringer received the testimonial with a heart full of thankfulness, and having expressed his gratitude, holding up the gift as an exhibition of the philanthropy and Christian kindness of the friends, he sat down. Brethren Cornwell, Myerson, Inward, Lawrence, and other brethren took part in the service of the evening. The attendance was truly cheering, and must have tended greatly to encourage the heart of our dear old friend and brother Stringer on arriving at the ripe age of three-score years and ten. If it were consistent with God’s will, we could wish that he might live as long as old Parr, who laboured long after he had reached the age of 130 years. At all events, we will say in conclusion, Queen Victoria and Thomas Stringer live for ever. 

W. Winters

Churchyard, Waltham Abbey.

Note From Mr. Stringer—Gratitude To God And Good Friends

Jehovah is the source of all good; from Him (as the first cause) all blessings flow, through whatever medium He may appoint to convey them to us. I bless and praise His great and holy name for disposing kind friends (as the recipients of His grace) to act so liberally toward His unworthy servant. My dear brother, Mr. James Lee, who first proposed a testimonial for me on my seventieth natal-day, and who has spared neither time, talent, or expense to accomplish his design, I pray God to bless abundantly in body and soul, in providence and grace, in life and death, for time and eternity; and all Christian friends in the aggregate who co-operated with him in this noble act of hospitality, I pray for as for him; God bless you all for your kindness to me; and while I give Him all the glory, I give you all my most hearty and sincere thanks, and pray God to restore unto you tenfold in this present world, and in the world to come life everlasting.

T. Stringer

Thomas Stringer (1809-1887) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher. In 1877, he was appointed pastor of Trinity Chapel, Borough. This came at the tail-end of a long and blessed ministry among the Strict Baptist churches, fifty-four years total.