In both the Old and New Testaments we see how God called and made use of men and women from all stations of life. Moses was a prince and military leader, David was a shepherd, Daniel a cabinet minister, Luke a physician, Peter a fisherman, and Paul a scholar, thus teaching us that while God makes a man and fits him with ability, yet in His sovereign ways He makes use of what men were engaged in to fulfil His purpose. This was so in the case of William Beers.
He was born in Brook Cottage, Newcastle, Co. Down, and throughout his long life and much travelling he loved the Emerald Isle. His upbringing was strict and religious as his people were devout members of the Church of Ireland. When he went to Tunbridge to a boarding school he was "confirmed" by the Archbishop of Canterbury. At 21 he obtained a commission in the Cameronians (26th Regt) and saw service in various parts of the world, retiring from the army in 1878. Throughout his service in the forces he enjoyed many of the pleasures of the world, but in Gods mercy was preserved from its dissipations. No serious thoughts occupied his mind regarding spiritual things until spoken to by a Christian fellow officer, on board a troop ship en route for India. This conversation left its mark until, coming back to England in 1875, he heard Lord Radstock preach the gospel in Portland Hall in Southsea. This English nobleman preached with power, and Gods Spirit moved upon the hearts of a number of English army officers. One night, as Lord Radstock sat by his side and read him Isaiah 53.5, Colonel Beers was saved.
Almost at once he manifested a love for the Scriptures. In company with others like-minded such as Captain Vicary, RN, and Captain Kay, through obeying the Word of God he was delivered from mans traditions and was soon immersed as a believer. On a visit to his brother-in-law, one of the early promoters of Echoes of Service, he observed the simple Breaking of Bread. This, with things Dr Mclean said, caused him much exercise and the outcome was that he severed all connection with denominationalism and, until the end of his life, gathered with the saints in this New Testament manner - a good example of a man with a large heart in a narrow path.
For some time he settled in Arkansas, USA where he carried on farming, at the same time witnessing for Christ, preaching in tents and wherever doors opened. Later he moved to Toronto, Canada where for twenty years he laboured as pastor, teacher, and gospel preacher, being a true yokefellow of Mr Donald Munroe. He was in the assembly meeting in Shadina Avenue, later known as Central Hall. His labours in Toronto were abounding, and in all aspects of Christian life he gave himself unsparingly. Mr H. B. Thompson, writing after the Colonel was called home, said, "The work and ministry of Colonel Beers, ever true to Gods Word and ways was used to the furtherance of the gospel and in blessing to many". He was balanced in the Scriptures seeking to walk in the midst of the paths of judgment, having a longing desire for the blessing and growth of the "beautiful flock" and a yearning for the salvation of the perishing.
He made a visit to the British Isles and spent some months preaching and ministering to profit and blessing. Upon returning to Canada, many thought he would settle and take it easy as advanced years would naturally call for, but the good soldier of Jesus Christ continued to carry the battle to the gate and when over eighty preached nightly with vigour and freshness. He desired another visit to his native shores, thinking that perhaps the milder winters would suit him better, but despite his coming and the change of climate, it soon became evident the end was near. In the evening of 5th September, 1919 the good soldier put off his armour and, answering heavens roll call, was at home with the Lord. He had requested that Mr H. B. Thompson, valued former labourer, should be responsible for his funeral services. This was carried out with the funeral taking place from Grosvener Hall, Dublin and the remains were gently laid to rest in Deans Grange to await the morning of resurrection. When we think of the noble warrior putting off his armour we find a challenge in 1 Kings 20.11: "Let not him that girdeth on his armour boast himself as he that putteth it off" (RV).