G. Campbell Morgan was born at Tetbury, England, on December 9, 1883. Shortly afterwards the family moved to Cardiff and attended Roath Road Wesleyan Methodist Church.
Morgan preached his first sermon at the age of thirteen at Monmouth. It had four divisions, each made by biblical reference, a method he used all his life: (1) A great salvation (Hebrews 2:3), (2) A common salvation (Jude 3), (3) An eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9), (4) A present salvation (Z Corinthians 6:2).
He became a Wesleyan local preacher. At the age of 19 his faith passed under an eclipse and for the next two years he ceased to preach. During that time he never opened his Bible. The only books he read were books that either defended the Bible or criticized it.
“In my despair,” he says, “I took all the books I had, placed them in a cupboard, turned the key and there they remained for seven years. I bought a new Bible and began to read it with an open mind and determined will. That Bible found me. Since then I have lived for one end — to preach the teachings of the Book that found me.”
In 1888, he failed in his trial sermon as a candidate for the Wesleyan ministry. That day was at once one of the darkest and the brightest days of his life. Later he said: “I thank God today for the closing of that door of hope, because, when I turned my feet in another direction, I found the breadth of His commandments and the glory of His service.”
He was ordained in the Congregational Church, without ever going to a theological college. He served churches at Stone and Rugeley and then in Birmingham, where he became friendly with R. W. Dale. In talking one day with Dale he said how deeply he regretted being “an untrained man.” Dale replied: “Never say you are untrained. God, Who has many ways of training men, has trained you and I pray you may have great joy in His service.”
In 1897, Morgan was called to New Court Congregational Church, Tollington Park, London. Within a few months of his ministry there he came to be regarded as one of the ablest of the younger preachers.
On the death of Moody in 1899, he was invited to Northfield to carry on his work by holding conventions for the deepening of interest in Bible study throughout the United States. He accepted the invitation and from 1901-4 he labored incessantly.
In October, 1904, Morgan began his ministry in Westminster Chapel, London. The church, which seats 2500 and has two galleries, was filled from the start, twice a Sunday. Members of Parliament, journalists, doctors, lawyers, titled people, were often in his congregation. On Friday evening he held a Bible school where he lectured on the books of the Bible, using a huge blackboard to display his analyses. He was a born teacher.
His church secretary, Arthur Marsh, when asked to explain the amazing amount of work which Morgan accomplished and the fact that whenever he preached there were no empty seats, replied as follows: “First, the impeccable adherence to method. His study is a model of order. There is a place for everything and everything is in its place. Anything of value is indexed and filed. Hymns are never selected haphazard, or at the last moment, but always in relation to their subject and to the purpose of the sermon.
“Second, his insistence on expository preaching. His ruling passion is to keep first things first. Exposition of the Bible is what the common people are wanting and in the church where it is provided, there will be no empty seats. Third, the central factor in his ministry is the living Word, springing up within him, sustaining the soul, and strengthening the mind. This is the explanation of his being able to accomplish so vast an amount of work even though the physical casket he possesses is frail.”
Failing health and the strain of the first World War caused him to resign in 1916. He spent a year working for the YMCA, training their young men for work at the front, and then for a year as minister at Highbury Quadrant Church in London. In 1919 he returned to America and held Bible conferences and lectured on the Bible for two years at the Los Angeles Bible Institute.
In 1929, Morgan became pastor of Tabernacle Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. In 1933 he returned for a second term of service at Westminster Chapel. In 1943 his health compelled him to resign and he died on May 16, 1945, at the age of eighty-two.
Morgan adhered to the old methods in expounding the Scriptures. First the central idea, out of which grew the divisions, which he arranged with lucidity. His word-pictures of biblical incidents and scenes are vivid and striking, abounding in color and vitality. He began his study of any book in the Bible by reading it aloud fifty times. Then he proceeded to a microscopic study of the book, after which he prepared his outline. Only then did he turn to exegetical works and to the expositions of other preachers.
One who heard Morgan often said: “He gets more out of a familiar passage of Scripture that I did not know was there than any man I have heard preach. Jowett said of him, “His one aim is to let the Bible tell its own eternal message. In that work he has a genius that is incomparable.”
One of his four sons, all of whom entered the ministry, said of him: “No man ever worked harder than my father. One who spoke of the marvelous simplicity and lucidity of his interpreting Scripture little realized the amount of painstaking work and study involved.”
When asked how he made his sermons he could only give some very general statements as to his methods: “Two things are vital. First, personal first-hand work on the text; and then, all scholarly works available. I never take down a commentary until I have done personal work, and have made my outline.”
He spoke from a brief — carefully prepared — and gave himself freedom of utterance. When it was once said to him, “You can preach and you know it,” he frankly replied: “I have no hesitation in affirming that I can preach. I do not know any-thing else under the sun of which I am willing to make a similar affirmation. It is the one thing I want to do and cannot help doing. I would do it as a recreation if I was not permitted to do it as a vocation.”
A Canadian minister says of Morgan: “I recall his research into the formation and meaning of certain uncommon architectural terms for a sermon on ‘the pillar and ground of the truth.’ For an Easter sermon his etymological search concerning the words itself took several hours. He studied with prayerful thoroughness and had a reserve of knowledge far beyond what the actual sermon content required. He got so fully into his subject that his subject got fully into him.”
Once he visited a cherry orchard in British Columbia and was amazed at the abundance and size of the fruit. He said to the grower: “Anyone can see that cherries are easily grown here.” The fruit grower said: “We are fighting for the life of these cherries 365 days in the year.” Morgan used that reply as an illustration for a sermon on Christian watchfulness.
His appearance in the pulpit was impressive and arresting. His tall, gaunt figure, his high narrow head, his pale eyes, his long, thin, speaking hands, his clear voice reaching everywhere without effort, can never be forgotten. He preached with every fiber of his being for nearly an hour, feeding his hearers with strong meat.
He was an aristocrat of the pulpit with the command of a perfect oratory. His elocution was perfect and his dramatic power of no mean order. His eloquence was not only in words and tones but in his eyes and gestures, and in his perfect choice of words.
For over half a century he had saturated his thinking in the sublime language of the Book that he knew as few men did. As Horton Davies says of him: “He proves conclusively the varied spiritual wealth that is at the disposal of the preacher who mines the deep lodes of the Bible.”

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