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G.V. Wigram

George Vicesimus Wigram was an English biblical scholar and theologian. As a young man George Wigram obtained a commission in the army. One of his postings was to Brussels. He spent one evening exploring the Waterloo battlefield and it was here he had a religious experience that changed his life. This led to him resigning his army commission and in 1826 he entered Queens College, Oxford with the intention of becoming an Anglican clergyman.

At Oxford he met John Nelson Darby and Benjamin Wills Newton. Dissatisfied with the established church, Wigram and his friends left the Anglican church and helped establish non-denominational assemblies which became known as the Plymouth Brethren.

Wigram had a keen interest in the original Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible, which was of great interest to the emerging Brethren assemblies. In 1839, after years of work and financial investment, he published The Englishman's Greek and English Concordance to the New Testament, followed in 1843 by The Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance to the Old Testament.

With Wigram's help, Darby became the most influential personality within the Brethren movement. Wigram is often referred to as being Darby's lieutenant as he firmly supported Darby during moments of crisis. He also helped Darby fend off accusations of heresy, also in regards to the sufferings of Christ, in articles written in 1858 and 1866, which some considered were very similar to Newton's errors two decades earlier.

      George Vicesimus Wigram was converted whilst a subaltern officer in the army, and in 1826 entered at Queen's College, Oxford, with the view of taking orders. As an undergraduate he came into contact with Mr. Jarratt of the same college, and with Messrs. James L. Harris and Benjamin Wills Newton, both of Exeter College, who were all destined to take part in the ecclesiastical movement with which Wigram's name is also prominently connected. This connection was strengthened from about the year 1830, when these friends, all Devonians, were associated in the formation of a company of Christians at Plymouth, who separated from the organised churches, and were gathered to the Name alone of Jesus, in view of bearing a testimony to the unity of the church, and to its direction by the Holy Spirit alone, whilst awaiting the second coming of the Lord.

      Wigram was active in the initiation of a like testimony in London, where by the year 1838 a considerable number of gatherings were formed on the model of that at Plymouth.

      In 1856 he produced a new hymn book, "Hymns for the Poor of the Flock," which for some twenty-five years remained the staple of praise in the meetings with which he was associated. Ten years after the first appearance of the hymn book edited by him he stood by J. N. Darby once again at a critical juncture, when the question of the doctrine maintained by the latter on the sufferings of Christ some further dissension occurred, though the teaching was vindicated. During the rest of his life he paid visits to the West Indies, New Zealand, etc., where his ministry seems to have been much appreciated. He passed away in 1879.

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