“He Brought Me” – John Pont, 1929-2005 – A Church Deacon
John Pont, member of the church at Hanover Chapel, Tunbridge Wells for forty-one years, fell asleep in Jesus on April 24th, 2005. John Pont was born on December 12th, 1929. At that time his parents lived in the old chapel house at Matfield. His father was the caretaker. Although his father helped in the building of the new chapel, the family moved to Tunbridge Wells in 1936 before services commenced in the new chapel. In 1949 they commenced attending Hanover, and except for a two-year break on National Service, he continued there for the rest of his life. Our friend often mentioned the warm welcome given to them by Mr. Curtis, the pastor, and here he found his spiritual home.
Gleaned from his writings:
“At the age of eighteen, I began to have serious thoughts of my condition, and I feel the Lord gave me sufficient light to realise that all was not right. My condition was as described in Genesis chapter 1: “Without form and void,” and yet the Lord gave me a little understanding and desire for light, life and power. Over the next few years I was brought to:
“Eternity, tremendous sound!
To guilty souls a dreadful wound;
But O, if Christ and heaven be mine,
How sweet the accents, how divine!”
“I found that sin was mixed with all I did – even my best things were not free from it. I was mercifully kept from outward sins, but I felt to get worse as my efforts to live better continually failed. “The more I strove against sin’s power, I sinned and stumbled but the more.” At the same time the invitations and promises of the gospel became increasingly attractive; also many of our hymns seemed to express the desires of my heart. “‘Tis a point I long to know” (Gadsby’s 283) and, “See a poor sinner, dearest Lord,” (Gadsby’s 1056) were two that suited me well. I also remember on one occasion, when attending South Chard Chapel while on holiday, hymn 789 was given out and verse 5, I believe, was powerfully impressed upon the mind:
“Worship God, then, in His Son;
There He’s love and there alone;
Think not that He will, or may,
Pardon any other way.”
(This occasion he often referred to as a time of great blessing and encouragement.)
“I felt to be able to say, “I have seen the Lord as the way to God. I was greatly helped by reading the closing remarks of Mr. Herbert Dawson in a sermon on, “Commit thy way unto the Lord,” when he made mention of Elijah’s words: “Go again,” and the seventh time the servant said, “I see a little cloud.” This helped me to go many times to the throne of grace to seek for an interest in His great salvation, and I was brought to feel that the sweetest word in the whole of Scripture to me was, “Come.”
“During my dear wife’s serious illness in 1964, I was greatly supported with the words: “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.” The clouds were very dark and I felt that my dearest earthly possession was about to be taken from me. Mr. Durbidge quoted the words, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth,” which came with some force and comfort into my soul.
“Mr. L. Hyde came with the words, “My sons, be not now negligent” (2 Chron. 29. 11). The Lord removed the obstacles I felt to have regarding baptism, and with my dear wife I was made willing to take the solemn step in 1964.
“The Lord has used afflictions of various sorts to keep me dependent upon Him and to lead me into paths I had not known or anticipated, but I have to say with the apostle, ‘Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day.'”
Through the sudden death of Mr. H. Wallis in 1966, our friend was appointed superintendent of the Sabbath School, in which office, despite much weakness, he continued until his death. His labours of love were so evident as he sought to instruct the young people in the Word of God. He was appointed deacon in 1976.
It was confirmed in 1986 that he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, but the Lord brought him another nineteen years to labour for the glory of God, and for the good of the cause of truth at Hanover with much patience and perseverance despite increasing affliction. Many a time in the vestry did he say in his weakness, after struggling to make the journey, “The Lord has brought us here.” It seemed impossible at times, and he would sink into his chair exhausted through those efforts, but he would always acknowledge that the Lord had brought him again.
His passing was rather sudden at the close. On Saturday evening, April 16th, 2005, he was taken to hospital in great pain, but the Lord in His mercy made way for him to return to his home, where he spent his last few days being tenderly nursed by his loving family.
He often sought in public prayer that he might as Jacob gather up his feet into the bed and give up the ghost. The Lord granted him his request. In his great weakness during those last few days, he spoke of the agonies of Christ. On one occasion he broke out in adoration: “O bless the Lord, my soul.” At another time, “It is well,” and another, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” His hope was in an unchanging, unfailing God. His hope was in the Lord.
Death to him was “no frightful foe,” and now he “with Christ doth reign.” The hymn-writer says:
“With joy I leave this world of woe;
For me to die is gain.”
“Death lost his sting when Jesus bled;
When Jesus left the ground,
Disarmed, the King of terrors fled,
And felt a mortal wound.
“And now his office is to wait
Between the saints and sin;
A porter at the heavenly gate,
To let the pilgrims in.”
Our dear friend knew in whom he believed, and was persuaded that the Lord was able to keep that which he had committed unto Him against that day. To a visiting minister he mentioned, not many months before he was taken to glory, that his hope rested upon the righteousness and blood of Jesus Christ, and quoted the verses of this hymn:
“What mighty sum paid all my debt,
When I a bondman stood,
And has my soul at freedom set?
‘Tis Jesus’ precious blood.
“What voice is that which speaks for me
In heaven’s high court for good,
And from the curse has set me free?
‘Tis Jesus’ precious blood.”
A sure foundation, a blessed hope which has now given place to eternal sight.
The words, “He brought me,” gather together his whole profession. Our dear friend often used such language in attesting to the goodness of God toward him in his journey. He realised his times were in the hand of God.
“He that formed me in the womb,
He shall guide me to the tomb:
All my times shall ever be
Ordered by His wise decree.”
God called him by His grace, brought him into soul trouble, and into the house of God where he served faithfully for so many years. We give thanks unto God for what the Lord accomplished in and for him. He would say as David said: “Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that Thou hast brought me hitherto?” (2 Sam. 7. 18) – a humble acknowledgment of God’s mercies to him.
We have lost a praying soul, a true pillar in our church, a faithful deacon whose desire was for the glory of God, and with especial fervour he sought for the Lord’s blessing at Hanover. May those prayers for his dear family and the church be abundantly answered.
The funeral service at Hanover was conducted by his pastor and at the graveside by his brother, where we united in singing,
“This God is the God we adore
Our faithful, unchangeable Friend” – a favourite of his.
Taken with permission from the Gospel Standard, February 2006.
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