An Experience of Mr J.K. Popham
During the year 1936, Mr. Popham was taken ill. On his return to chapel, he made the following remarks:
Before we commence, I should like to say three words.
First, concerning my illness. Last Saturday week I felt the heat very much and was quite overpowered by it, but about 6.30 in the evening, while the deacons were with me, I felt a distinct change. I became very cold, so that I shivered and felt so ill that I was obliged to tell them I must leave them and go to bed. Perhaps unwisely, I refused their kind offers of assistance, and managed to get upstairs to my room and to a chair, but not to bed. The doctor was sent for and came at once. I became more and more ill, and by the time the doctor arrived I could not see him, my sight was gone and I soon became unconscious.
When I came to myself in the morning it was to find I was alive, though as long as I could speak to the Lord I had been asking Him to take me to Himself so that I might never sin again.
Second. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, about 1.30, I was awake. I had such a sight of the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness and I felt clean, my conscience purged, no sin remaining.
I had a sight of the trinity and loved and praised each Person distinctly and the Trinity in unity. The 54th chapter of Isaiah came into my mind over and over again; I could hardly bear it: “For a small moment. .. I hid My face from thee; … but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee …. For this is as the waters of Noah unto Me…. The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed.”
O, mountains and hills and valleys of sins removed!
I lay until half past six in this happy state, no weariness or desire for sleep. The Lord was very near and familiar with me, and I was very familiar with Him. I told Him I would spend my last ounce of strength for Him to tell His people of His goodness and His kindness, and I believe He accepted me in it.
Third. When I was so ill on the Saturday evening, the deacons went to Mr. Tucker’s house and held a prayer meeting. Our beloved brother and deacon, Mr. Tucker, got that scripture on his mind: “Those things that ye desire in prayer, believe and ye shall receive them” (Mark 11. 24). He got my life in faith. When he told me of it on the Monday, I was too weak to realise it.
Now I want to ask of you one thing. If it pleases the Lord to spare my life until September, I shall have been with you 54 years, and I shall preach to you as long as I can, but when I go away to preach to others I do not want you to say, “O, you are doing too much; do take care of yourself.”
I will tell you what Rutherford said, “Run errands for other people, and you will get something for yourself.” So when I go away to speak to others, I want you to pray that the Lord will bless the Word and make use of me.
When the doctor came to see me on Friday morning he said, “You have been very ill and your recovery is a miracle. I will tell you tomorrow what I think about your preaching on Sunday.”
When he came yesterday I said to him, “Sit down, doctor. I want to talk to you.” I told him freely what I have told you, all about the Lord’s goodness and mercy and His sweet visitation in the night, and of how I told Him I would spend my strength for Him and encourage His people to trust in Him. I also told him how Mr. Tucker got my life in answer to prayer. I said, “Doctor, I have a great respect for you and great confidence in you. I do not want to disobey you, so do not forbid me to go and preach to the people.”
The doctor said, “After what you have told me I can say nothing.”
Mr. Popham read Psalm 103; his text was Psalm 2:6: “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.”
Hymns 34, 993 and 667 were sung.