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Whose faith follow: George Gould (1856-1941)

J G Hutchinson

Mr Gould was born in Lurgan in October, 1856, the eldest of a family of ten. After leaving school, where he received the normal education of that time, he went to work as a damask designer in a linen factory. Some time after finishing his apprenticeship, he went to live in the village of Edenderry near to Belfast. Mr Gould married Miss Margaret Graham and God blessed them with two boys and two girls. At that time, as he often remarked in later life, he was a pleasure loving young man walking "according to the course of this world".

He heard of a woman in the village being saved and he went to see her, but could see no physical change and decided there was nothing in it. One evening he was going to a "lodge" meeting of the Orange brethren, a movement he was very interested in, but was hindered. In order to pass the evening he went into a tent that was pitched near the village. The preacher was an earnest gospeller who was being much used of God, Mr Tom Lough. As George listened to the message and noted the deep sincerity of the evangelist, he concluded, "That man is more concerned about me that I am about myself". The result was that he continued to attend the meetings and some days later, in his own room, through John 5.24 he entered into the assurance of salvation.

The change in the man and in his home was very marked; he began to pray and read the Word of God in the house and with the family, and with all who came to visit. One evening a man, almost drunk, called to see him. George was praying at the time, so, giving the man a chair, he said, "Make yourself at home", and he went on praying aloud. The man soon left and reported, "I could not stand that praying any longer". The holy art of secret prayer with simplicity and Godly sincerity marked him all through his long, useful Christian life. It was the secret of his power and success in God’s service.

After learning the truth of baptism he obeyed it, and very soon was found in happy fellowship with believers of a kindred spirit. Fired with a holy zeal, he accompanied the Christians in their efforts to preach the gospel in surrounding areas and God blessed their labours.

In 1907 Mr Gould went forth into full-time service for the Lord, at first joining with Mr R McCracken, and then in 1910, when Mr McCracken left for the USA, he linked up with Mr John Poots. Many were saved at their gospel meetings and few men left such a lasting impression of the people of God as did Mr Gould. In 1925, when Mrs Gould died, our brother decided to go and live with some of his family in the USA. There and in Canada, as at home in Ireland, he won the esteem and confidence of the Lord’s people, and in many parts was used of God in salvation to the perishing and in the edification of the Christians. He laboured with J B McMullan, A Stewart, L Sheldrake, and others. In later years he was with his son George.

In the gospel he was eloquent, graphically bringing before the audience sin and its dread consequences, then with tenderness and compassion he possessed above many, he presented Christ and the work of Calvary. At conference meetings his ministry was wholesome and practical; very few men could in a matter of a short time, so reach and stir the hearts of God’s people. His wit was often prominent, and while he never tried to be funny, many times an audience was made to smile at his humorous way of presenting truth. Yet in a few minutes the same audience would be moved to tears. Generally his messages were short; he was apt to say, "If I have a message and God helps me to give it, I’ll be finished in a short time. If I do not receive help, I will likely wander about here a long time".

Toward the close of life, when unable to do much preaching himself, he spent hours at a time in earnest prayer for labourers world wide. The end came in August, 1941 and the brother greatly beloved went home to see his Lord whom he had so faithfully served for 58 years.

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