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Whose faith follow: Mr James H Large (1903-1995)

B. Lacey, Cardiff

James Large was born in the Cardiff area to Christian parents on 26th June, 1903. After leaving school he was employed as an Insurance Officer for the Cardiff district. As a young man, before conversion, he had noticed and admired a lovely young lady, Hilda Lacey, whom he knew was a committed Christian, and she was to have some influence upon his seeking the Lord himself.

Following his baptism and joining in fellowship with local believers, James spent most of his free time, with others, evangelising the outlying districts of Cardiff and the Welsh valleys. Indeed, it was largely as a result of these labours, under the hand of God, that the assembly at Dinas Powys was established. He was also very much involved in the practical as well as the spiritual aspect of the setting up of this assembly: there are memories of paintbrushes and lengths of timber being transported by bicycle in order to help create a respectable meeting place.

In 1926 he married Hilda Lacey who, in spite of considerable ill health over the years, was his true partner for nearly sixty years. They delighted in working together for the extension of God's Kingdom. On 13th May, 1933 the assembly at Dinas Powys commended James to the Lord's work after which Mr and Mrs Large, with their small son Peter, spent several years evangelising rural areas of England using a caravan for a home while travelling. Times were hard and many tales were told of amusing, but always timely, ways in which the Lord provided for their daily needs.

It became evident that James was developing a gift for teaching and expounding the Scriptures, and an invitation came for the family to move to North Devon, where a home would be provided, so that James could undertake the work of building up the small assemblies in Barnstaple and the surrounding district. Accordingly, about 1940, after much prayerful consideration, they took up residence in Barnstaple where James was involved in evangelising and teaching the Scriptures. Many folk could testify to the benefit received from his ministry delivered, as ever, in his down-to-earth style. The RAF station at nearby Chivenor was extensively used during the war years, and many of the young men from the camp found a warm welcome and wonderful meals (in spite of wartime food rationing) at the large household both during the war and afterwards. Mr Large felt an exercise and care for believers, particularly those young in the faith, who had been taken from their home environment to serve in the Forces, or for other reasons, and this led to the commencement of a Bible Correspondence Course which was used widely.

During the early days of his work in North Devon, James would walk or cycle to and from meetings. On one particular occasion he was invited to attend a "get-together" where, much to his astonishment, he was presented with the keys to a car! What an enormous benefit this proved to be in the service of the Lord.
Perhaps, as a natural progression from this, the need arose for a magazine, the aim of which was to provide helpful and stimulating written ministry together with reports of the Lord's work in the UK. The outcome was the launching, in 1945, of the Precious Seed magazine. He was its first editor and continued in this responsible work until 1962. The commitment was very time-consuming and he was, as always, meticulous in its execution while still continuing to help and encourage the local believers, giving willingly of his time and gifts to any who were in need.

In the early 1950s, Mr and Mrs Large moved to Teignmouth, South Devon, where they spent a number of years. During this period James was engaged in a teaching ministry, which took him all over the UK as well as helping in the local assemblies and always encouraging believers in the work of the Lord.

In the early 1960s, they went to live in Highgate, in London, where they kept open house for all, but especially missionaries on furlough who found there a "home from home". James did a great deal of real pastoral work, visiting and encouraging the saints in addition to helping locally in the teaching of the Scriptures.

Their next move was to Seven Kings, Essex, in the 1970s, and again they were helping and encouraging and showing hospitality. During this time Mr and Mrs Large celebrated their golden wedding anniversary, which was, in itself, a miracle as she had not been expected to live so long!

Mrs Large's health was deteriorating more rapidly and James felt it time to consider taking up residence in a place where they would be given constant care as necessary. They therefore spent a short time at Newton Abbot (1982-83) before making their home at Auchlochan, near Lesmahagow, where they settled very happily.

James continued to be in demand in southern Scotland to teach and expound the Scriptures and encourage the saints. He carried on driving his car in the early months of their time at Auchlochan although he never travelled at more than 40mph. Mrs Large's health steadily declined until her homecall in 1986. James said that he felt that his right hand had gone, but he continued to be active in the Lord's service, and in fact writing his books on Abraham (published in 1986) and on Jacob (published in 1988).

His own health was deteriorating by that time and he became housebound and subsequently bedridden, but he continued to be interested in others and in the work and Word of God. He was deeply appreciative of the loving care he received at Auchlochan and, no doubt, those who ministered to his needs were blessed by his example of patience and endurance. The Lord called this faithful servant home in November, 1995.

James enriched the lives of many with whom he came into contact during his long life, and he had a remarkable rapport with younger people. He had a quiet but unshakeable faith and absolute confidence that the purposes of God would be fulfilled in spite of opposition. Although considered to be poor in this world's goods, James was rich by God's standards. We acknowledge and thank God for his life and his example of unstinted selflessness shown during seventy years of service for his Lord and Saviour.

From "They Finished their Course in the 90's"


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