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Whose faith follow: Dr James Norman Case (1858-1912)

This is a report written at the time of the death of Dr Case.

Dr Norman Case was born at Dorchester in 1858, and at the age of nineteen was brought to a knowledge of the truth at Bournemouth. In his early Christian life he was greatly helped through the ministry of the Mr George Vine, uncle of Mr W E Vine of Bath. Soon after his conversion he sought to make known the gospel on the Bournemouth sands. A devoted Christian lady, seeing that he gave promise of becoming a useful worker, encouraged him to study at Harley College, London. During his two years’ attendance at that institution, he had as fellow-students Mr Ephraim Venn, who would later labour in the west and south of England, and Mr Richard Irving, of Belleville, Canada, who later evangelised in that country for over thirty years.

On leaving college, Mr Case went to Ireland, then returned to England, and about 1882 went to Canada. For a number of years he laboured with many tokens of blessing at Toronto, Orillia, Belleville, Bancroft, and other towns and country districts of Ontario. Becoming exercised about the need of medical missionaries in foreign lands, he studied medicine. After graduating with his M D degree, he visited Britain and preached in various towns in Scotland and England.

In the year 1891 he left for China, labouring at Wei-hai-wei, Shantung, for close on twenty years, broken by occasional visits to Britain and Canada. In the year 1897, Dr Case was married to Miss Farwig, who had been associated for several years with Dr and Mrs Parrot at Laohowkow.

In addition to his ardent labours in the mission field, he used the "pen of a ready writer" to write helpful articles on a variety of subjects which appeared in magazines in Britain, America, Australia, including the Believer’s Magazine. The production of his pen in Chinese was also considerable – tracts, magazine articles, some presentations of his English work in Chinese, some written especially for the Chinese, were widely circulated.

Of his final visit to Canada, one who travelled with him wrote, "Little did we imagine that when we parted from Dr Case in the city of Winnipeg in July 1911, on his way to China, that we should not see him on earth again. In March 1912, he went to Chaoyangfu, Mongolia, to continue a work in that city that had been previously conducted by other missionaries. From news to hand it would seem that he had taken typhoid fever whilst on a missionary tour, and reached home in a very weak state".

Mrs Case wrote concerning the closing days: "My beloved husband had recently returned home from a five-weeks’ tour, and was about to set out again for a round of the out-stations when he was taken ill with typhoid fever. He diagnosed his disease as typhoid, but did not think it would be so serious. For the last eight or nine days he was unconscious. When there were gleams of consciousness he had lost the power of speech. The Lord took him home on 5th April. It is my thought to stay and work on here, carrying on the boarding school for the daughters of Christians, doing some medical work, and visiting amongst the Christians".

As soon as the gravity of the case was realised, Mrs Keers, a lady doctor at Chin Chowfu, was sent for. Arriving on Thursday, all was done that could be done. His heart failed on the Saturday, and he passed into the presence of the Master. Mr Herbert Brewster, son of Mr Frank Brewster, of Australia, who was at the station, rendered invaluable help. Mr Robert Stephen, not long returned from Scotland, and Mr E J Tharp, hurried to the station, and arrangements will be made for the continuance of this hopeful work. Mr J Ward Wilson, one of his colleagues, expresses the feeling of the other workers: "Dr Case’s removal from the work makes a gap that will not be easily filled, as he was an experienced worker, and had a shepherd’s heart for the Lord’s people".

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