Robert Cleaver Chapman (1803-1902)

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Gathered to the Lord’s Name and later went with the Open Party
Hymns #66, 143, 223, 229, 255, 289, Appendix 71.
This dear saint of God was born in Denmark, January 4, 1803, and lived to be 99 years old! His folks were temporarily living in Denmark at the time. In his early years there his mother trained him well at home and later he was educated under a French priest, and then sent to school in Yorkshire where he did well in his studies. He loved literature and desired to give his time entirely to it. But God was plotting the course and his father, Thomas Chapman, who once was rich lost much of his resources, so Robert had to take employment. He became a lawyer and advanced well in that profession. The great event of his life took place when he was aged twenty; he was invited to hear the preaching of James H. Evans (see hymn writer #38) at John Street Baptist Chapel in Bedford Row. Immediately confessing Christ as his Savior his life showed that he was a new man within and a changed man without!
Later he learned the truth of the one body with Christ as the Head and only gathering center on earth (and in heaven), and was gathered out to the Lord’s Name alone on the basis of Matthew 18:18-2018Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:18‑20), Ephesians 4:44There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (Ephesians 4:4) and Hebrews 13:12-1612Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. 13Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. 14For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. 15By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 16But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. (Hebrews 13:12‑16). He lived at Barnstaple for over fifty years and ministered the Word faithfully. He once said, “My great aim is to live Christ!” In 1837 he published “Hymns for use of the Church of Christ,” which book was used at the meetings of the gathered saints. Several of the hymns in that book were included by Mr. Wigram in the 1856 hymn book and carried over to the present (1881) Little Flock book. Hymn 143 was in all three books.
When a crisis arose because of evil doctrine as to the Person of Christ and there was the rejection by some at Bethesda of the truth of the one body, he took a faithful stand. However, later he became identified with the company in fellowship with Bethesda and known as Open Brethren. It seems from our sources of information that he was never married. On June 2, 1902, at age 99, being in his one hundredth year on earth he departed to be with his Lord whom he had served for eighty years. He yet awaits the “happy morn” of which he wrote in hymn #229:
“O happy morn! the Lord will come
And take His waiting people home
Beyond the reach of care;
Where guilt and sin are all unknown;
The Lord will come and claim His own,
And place them with Him on His throne,
The glory bright to share.”