This obituary of Benjamin Rowell appeared in the Gospel Standard
BENJAMIN ROWELL. – On October 13th, 1893, at Yaxley, in the 87th year of his age, Benjamin Rowell.
My father was what some would call a strictly moral, upright man. In his early days he used to attend the parish church, but being led to see the emptiness of their religion, could not remain with them. He came and met with a few people in a room for prayer and reading, which led to the present Chapel being built and Church formed, of which he became a member. For many years he read the Sermons when there was no preaching, under which be often got a little lift by the way, especially while reading Mr. Philpot’s sermons, which he was very fond of, as he loved a searching ministry. He would say, ”I want probing, not lulling to deep.” He, like many more of the Lord’s people, could not point to place or time when the first work of grace was begun in his soul, it was so gentle, and was carried on in the same way, so that he could not speak of the heights and depths which some of the Lord’s people can; but there always seemed a reality in his religion, which manifested it to be the Spirit’s work, teaching him “here a little, and there a little; line upon line, precept upon precept.” On one occasion, after the loss of his second wife, being very ill, his friends expected his end was drawing near. He had a blessed revelation of the Trinity. As he expressed afterwards, he was very deficient in the knowledge of the personality and equality of the Holy Ghost, although he believed in it. As he lay musing over these things, there appeared unto him a beautiful rainbow, with three distinct colours but where each began or finished he could not tell. While he was admiring the beauty of it, the ever-blessed blessed Spirit, whose office it is to take of the things of Jesus and reveal them to his people, seemed to speak to him. There was now a difference in his prayers and conversation. Truly “if these should hold their peace, the stones would cry out.” After this he recovered and got out again, but it was visible to all that the Lord was gradually taking down his tabernacle. The time now came when the Lmd intended to make short work of it. He had to take to his bed again, and great darkness came over him; the hidden evils of his heart were opened more deeply than ever before; even the sins of his youth were set before him in the light of God’s countenance, which brought him into great distress. He felt the truth of the Psalmist: “The pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.” His cry was night and dav for the Lord to have mercy upon him, and visit his soul with his salvation; that he would make over to him the righteousness of a precious Christ. He said, ‘Don’t mock me, dear Lord; thou hast all power; thou art the great, the mighty God.” The Lord, who is merciful to all who call upon him in truth, gave him a little respite, and confirmed him in another blessed truth. To use his own words, the Lord Jesus Christ came and took him in his arms, and said to him, “Fear not,” by which gracious words he was much encouraged. Although his sufferings were great, having to fight for his breath, he was never heard to complain, but said he deserved a deal more. If even the Lord were to send him to hell, he deserved it. He never wished to get better. His feet becoming swollen, the doctor said it was a bad sign. He said he thought it was a good one. To our astonishment he got up in bed, and asked for Mr. Huntington’s book on “The Destruction of Death,” being much attached to his ,writings, and finding page 99, read it quite distinctly. After leaving him, and while begging of the Lord to grant him the request of his lips and his heart’s desire, these words came : ” Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.” I quoted the passage to him. He replied, “Faith is wanted to lay hold of it;” which I believe the Lord granted him, for he frequently repeated it, and seemed to plead more earnestly with the Lord. I heard him say, in broken sentences, “Dear Lord, hast thou not bid me call upon thee in the day of trouble, and thou wouldst deliver me, and I should glorify thee? Dear Lord, this is a day of trouble; do come, dear Lord.” He that said to the seeking seed of Jacob, “Seek ye me,” did come; he appeared to show him what the heart was by nature, when he spoke of its corruption, and finished with “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; ” then, with a blessed change on his countenance, he said, “I will shew you a clean heart,” and spoke of a heart renewed by grace, washed in the blood of the Lamb, and clothed with the righteousness of Christ; then, with a most blessed smile, holy joy beaming in his face, he exclaimed, “Beautiful! Beautiful! O, so lovely ! Yes, dear Lord, it is all right; yes, it will be all right; blessings on thy dear and precious name.” He then offered a prayer, of which only a part could be understood, but we could gather that he prayed for the nation, and spoke of the dark time coming over us, and that the scourge was gone forth to punish us as a nation, for our departure from the truth, and that it will not return until the Lord has accomplished his will concerning us. After this he gradually sank. The enemy once more assaulted him, but his time was come to give up his ransomed spirit to him that gave it; and with a most blessed smile, his face beaming with heavenly happiness, he entered into the joy of his Lord.