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Whose faith follow: Mr Edward H Grant (1894-1979)

Edward Grant, or Hotchiss Grant, as he was better known to people in England, was born into the family of a mining contractor in the Lanarkshire town of Bellshill. Both he and his older brother Michael worked at one time with their father in the pits. It was common for mining families to move around in search of employment, and the Grants went to Viewpark, Uddingston. Following the father’s death the family moved into the Shettleston district of Glasgow, and it was while they lived there that Edward began five years of study at Glasgow University. While he was a student Edward worked with the Glasgow City Mission in the depressed East End of the city, including Barlinnie Prison. Here he served his apprenticeship amongst the poor.

Following ordination as a Baptist minister in 1920 Edward’s first charge was the Baptist Church in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire. In 1923 he returned to the city to Hermon Baptist Church in the south side of Glasgow. His final charge in Scotland was Cowdenbeath Baptist Church in Fife. A newspaper cutting tells what kind of minister he was. "Many believe that he is God’s man sent in God’s time with a message of evangelism that will be blessed in days to come. The ministry of Mr Grant has already kindled enthusiasm amongst the members of the congregation, the life of the church having received a fresh impulse as a result of the spiritual power which has come amongst them. A spiritual wakening has manifested itself and the desire for genuine revival quickened. The preaching of Mr Grant is of that type which requires thinking over, and, no matter how much one may disagree with him, nobody fails to catch his meaning, so explicit is he when emphasising the living truths of the gospel. He preaches with passionate earnestness, evidently believing every word of his message. His extemporaneous fervour will no doubt attract many to go and hear him. He is credited with being a house-going minister…At the services on Sunday there was a large attendance of worshippers, the preacher’s theme being ‘The Great White Throne’, which must have made an indelible impression on some of his hearers. It was intimated that ‘The Lake of Fire’ was to be the subject next Sunday evening."

After two years at Cowdenbeath Mr Grant was called to Shankhill Baptist Church, Belfast, but he was not happy. His elder brother, Michael, had preceded him into the Baptists and led the way out of it. Michael described his experience in a booklet entitled, Twice Delivered. Edward was seventeen when Michael was saved and joined the Baptists, engaging in Christian service in cottage meetings, open air meetings, tract distribution, and then training as a pastor. But his satisfaction was short-lived and he resigned from his pastorate in the north of Scotland. He came to resent the denominational stand with its unscriptural descriptions of Christians, and to feel that it was wrong that individuals should be called Reverend or Holiness, epithets which belonged to God only. He became disturbed about the means to which some resorted for raising money. And so he experienced his second deliverance - from clerical orders - for which he paid the price in not having a job nor a house.

Some time later his younger brother Edward followed, having the same convictions. He returned from Belfast to Hamilton, Scotland, and sought fellowship with the assembly meeting in the old Baillie’s Causeway Hall. For about a year he took up a secular job and then sought commendation to full-time service.

His work among assemblies was divided between the North of Scotland and the South of England. He spent a few seasons with one of the Counties Evangelistic Work tents, living in a horse-drawn caravan. It was the evangelist’s duty to erect and watch the tent, living alongside it. Many a time the Grants were refused water by unfriendly people when they knew the nature of their business. By the end of the thirties he was visiting a number of assemblies on a yearly basis for two, three, and four weeks on end at places like Nottingham and East Kirkby as well as in Essex and London.

During the Second World War E H Grant had many experiences during air raids in the south of England, but as the war dragged on fewer assemblies held gospel campaigns. Mr Grant sought means to support himself. He emptied his garage in Burnbank, Hamilton, where he now lived, and installed an incubator for hatching chickens. He obtained permission from the authorities to extend his garden into woodland in which he erected half a dozen henhouses. And so commenced Glenlee Hatchery, but his daughter did not think that he made much out of it because of the demand for meetings and because of his own generous nature.

After the war Edward gave himself more to ministry. In this connection he was well-known in his former haunts and in Scotland. His ministry revealed little trace of learning, but his preparation was detailed. He was deliberate and in his teaching often treated a verse exhaustively. What he said lodged in the mind of the listeners and for long remained there. His demeanour was that of a godly man. Friends with whom he stayed every year for twenty-five or thirty years, and with whom he lodged on his journeys north and south, describe how he set aside a day to decide before the Lord the meaning of the Greek preposition in Hebrews 12.2. The real meaning of the passage is, "Who instead of the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the Shame". E H was anxious to decide what "instead of" meant in this context. He delighted, also, in pointing out that the word translated "inn" in Luke 2.7 is also translated "guest-chamber" in Luke 22.11 showing that all that the Lord asked for at the end of his life was what they did not give Him at the beginning, but some generous soul gave him far more than He asked when he made ready "a large upper room".

For thirty years, until the homecall of Edward’s wife, the Grants were in fellowship in Ebenezer Hall, Burnbank, Hamilton. Then Mr Grant went to stay with his daughter in Glasgow. At first, in fellowship with the Tylefield assembly, Glasgow, until it closed, he was still engaged in Bible teaching giving various assemblies within reach a month or so of mid-week ministry meetings. During his last few years he was in fellowship with the Harley Street assembly. To the end he continued to serve as he was able, always worth heeding as his ministry encouraged many.

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