This is the day that … William Walters died, in 1907, on the Isle of Wight, where he was holidaying.
Born in Wolverhampton, England, about 1848, to godly parents, William grew up apprenticed to the printing trade.
Eventually he had his own little printing business – and he also issued some Christian publications. These were almost entirely for the edification of Christians associated with gatherings in sympathy with the teaching of William Kelly … one of the pioneers among the Plymouth Brethren movement.
By the time he was 40 God began to “enlarge the vision” of William Walters.
“It became impressively evident that the full compendium of truth was not possessed by any one section of the church of God. There were others who, loving the same Lord, were devout students of Holy Scripture …” (Publishing Salvation, pages 9, 10).
Thus it was he decided to print Scripture portions to be freely distributed.
God blessed the venture, so that on 6 February, 1888, he created the Scripture Gift Mission (S.G.M.), although that particular name was not settled upon for another four years.
For 18 years the saintly Bishop Handley Moule of the Church of England was president of S.G.M. And the work of this great movement continues to this very day.
Keen to get the scriptures into the hands or ordinary folk Walters was an innovator. When William first put illustrations in his Bible materials in the 1890s, it was considered to be a radical idea.
William Walters played the oboe and wrote choruses. Here is one (which may be sung to the tune Over the Sunset Mountains):
Hope of my heart, Lord Jesus,
my soul still thirsts for Thee,
While waiting for Thy coming,
my guide and strength still be;
And though dark clouds may gather
to hide me from Thy love,
By Thine own power still draw me,
and lift my soul above.
William Walters was buried in Norwood Cemetery … just near C.H. Spurgeon. One had preached the gospel from the pulpit … the other from his printing press.