Tribute: Harold S. Paisley

As we consider the memory of our esteemed brother and faithful servant of the Lord of Glory, we the redeemed do well to look back and reflect that the God of all grace brought someone across our path who had an interest in our salvation and eternal blessing.

When our brother first arrived in Toronto in April 1956, a friend whom I had just met invited me to Eglinton Gospel Hall to hear a “great Irish preacher.” That was a milestone in my life. During the following months, Mr. Paisley traveled west to have a gospel series with Mr. Albert Joyce. They returned to Toronto for gospel meetings in the Pape Avenue Gospel Hall, and many were saved at that time. Mr. and Mrs. David Warden of London, Ontario were among the number. After the conclusion of the meetings and before he returned to Northern Ireland, I attended the one meeting Mr. Paisley had in the West Toronto Gospel Hall. His text was Mark 5:18-20 regarding the man of Gadara who had been saved and wanted to be with the Lord. The Lord told him, however, to “go home to thy friends and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee.” Although Mr. Paisley did not know me, it was obvious the message was for me. As one of seven children, I took it to heart and went back to Ireland to tell my parents and family “what the Lord had done for me.” Mr. Paisley’s influence affected this poor sinner for the rest of my life.

Ten years later our brother returned with Mrs. Paisley and family to reside in Canada. When I told him my story, he immediately claimed me as his first convert in Toronto. When the Paisley family resided in Vancouver, Mr. Paisley usually stayed in our home in Toronto, and our boys loved to see him coming. He would sing and play with them, and often treated them to Quality Street Chocolates. He would tell us that, because of Mrs. Paisley’s wisdom in caring for the family and home, he was able to move freely wherever the Lord led him to preach the gospel. We will always esteem Mr. and Mrs. Paisley highly for their kindness, generosity, and interest in our family.

The last time we visited Mr. Paisley, he was far from well, and spoke of being tired. I asked him if the Lord Jesus was ever tired, and although he was very frail, he answered me from Hebrew 4:15; “Like as we are, apart from sin.”

Mr. Paisley’s ministry was always sweet and Christ-exalting; his words at the Breaking of Bread were marked by simplicity. His gospel preaching was drawn from clear gospel texts, and delivered with sincerity and faithfulness in warning to the unsaved. Over our years of travel in North America or Britain, we often meet someone who was saved through the preaching of Harold Paisley.