February 12, 1797, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England.

August 10, 1873, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England.

Elven was pastor of the Baptist church at Bury St. Edmunds for 50 years. During his time there, the congregation grew from 40 to over 600 members.

When Mr. Spurgeon was pastor at Waterbeach, Mr. Elven was invited to preach at his first anniversary, in 1852. Mr. Spurgeon met him at the station. ‘His bulk was stupendous, and one saw that his heart was as large as his body.’ He could not go into the river for the baptismal service connected with the anniversary, for he said that ‘if he got wet through, there were no garments nearer than Bury St. Edmunds that would fit him.’ He exhorted the young pastor to ‘study hard, and mind and keep abreast of the foremost Christians in your little church; for if these men, either in their knowledge of Scripture, or their power to edify the people, once outstrip you, the temptation will arise among them to be dissatisfied with your ministry; and however good they are, the will feel their superiority, and others will perceive it too, and then your place in the church will be very difficult to hold.’

Telford, p. 212-13

  1. With Broken Heart and Contrite Sigh