Letter 03

From the Evangelical Magazine again
May 19, 1760

“________ When you lent Sister H_______ Mr Thomas’s diary*, she promised not to let it go from her, and she scrupulously fulfilled her promise, so that I could not get a sight of it. Since that I borrowed it of Mr S and read it with great delight, and indeed amazement, that a person about the age of twelve or thirteen should be able to write with such propriety.
‘Peace! - Praise! I have peace.’ That there is peace procured, though we should have no personal interest in it, is matter of praise. That we have peace, peace with God, peace within, that peace that passeth all understanding, and which the world cannot give nor take away, lays a foundation for loftier praises still; and peace in a dying hour should raise our notes to the highest pitch: then one dram of true peace is worth all the world; the one we leave behind us, the other we take with us. ‘The work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and of assurance for ever.’ That we might often meet at the throne of grace in this world, remembering each other there, and finally meet before the throne of glory above, is the earnest desire and I would hope, fervent prayer of
“Yours affectionately BB”

*A young minister who died at Pershore. I have discovered that the minister in question was a Timothy Thomas (c 1700-1720). Beddome quotes Thomas's dying words at the beginning of his final paragraph. Thomas was preceded in the Pershore pastorate by his father, also Timothy Thomas, pastor from 1696/7 until his death in 1716. Thomas senior and his wife Anne were Welsh. She tried to procure Philip Doddridge as pastor of the open communion church, following her son's death. By 1760 John Ash was pastor (he came in 1746). Thomas junior died prematurely in 1720, only three years into the pastorate and no more than twenty years of age. His personality continued to speak, in his diary and letters, which, a generation later were handed by his sister to Thomas Gibbons (1720-1785), minister of the Independent Church at Haberdashers Hall, London, who in 1752 published them anonymously as The Hidden Life of a Christian. It is interesting that the young man's eager, devout spirit evidently made an instant appeal to those caught up in th Evangelical Revival (a second edition was soon called for and it was translated into Welsh) even though he wrote in the years 1710-1720, a time when religion in England is often supposed to have been at a low ebb. See also my blog entry here.

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