The men God uses
In 2004 the Founders Journal carried an article on The kind of men God uses surveying some early Baptist voices by Bill Moore. (See here). He refers to Beddome as below:
Benjamin Beddome also noted “the precariousness and uncertainty of success,” and yet such uncertainty was not to diminish the intensity of the labour. Beddome wrote, “‘We have toiled all the night,’ say the disciples, ‘and caught nothing;’ and thus may ministers do, nay, many nights and days; but one happy draught, at last, will be a sufficient recompense for all their labour.” Beddome noted that “sometimes the gospel makes astonishing progress,” but such a harvest is not usual. “In general, ministers fish as with an angling rod, and it is but now and then that they win a soul to Christ.” He maintained that “the most faithful and zealous, the most skilful and industrious, are not always the most useful.” Continuing the fishing analogy, he illustrated, “The net or hook sometimes breaks, and the fish which seemed to be caught makes its escape; and thus it is in fishing for souls.”
He applied the illustration to contemporary ministry: “Convictions are lost and impressions wear off, hopeful prospects vanish,and those who seemed to have escaped the pollutions that are in the world, through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, return like the dog to his vomit, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” [*]
Ministers were required to exercise faithfulness: God would take care of the outward success.
* Benjamin Beddome, Sermons Printed from the Manuscripts of the Late Rev. Benjamin Beddome, A.M. of Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire (London: William Ball, 1885), 305. Similarly, in a charge delivered in 1796 at the ordination of W Belsher in Worcester, John Ryland maintained, “We cannot ensure the fruit of our labours, but he can do it infallibly; and he will accept, and reward, those whom he makes faithful, whether their success equal their expectations, or not.” John Ryland and S. Pearce, The Duty of Ministers to be nursing Fathers to the Church; and the Duty of Churches to regard Ministers as the Gift of Christ (np, 1797), 33.