More Hester on Beddome
Hester goes on to say:
Benjamin Beddome was a poet, a teacher and a preacher. His beautiful hymns are familiar to all. There is a singular sweetness and a delightful melody in his songs. Most of his hymns seem to have been composed in connection with his sermons, and sung after the sermon was delivered. This method of gathering up the contents of the sermon in a poetical form has been adopted with considerable effect by some modern preachers. Some who visited Devonshire Square in Mr Hinton's days, were highly delighted with the manner in which he sometimes embodied the leading ideas of the sermon in the closing hymn.
Mr Beddome published a "Catechism of Divinity." This work was based on his own catechetical teaching, a work of which he was very fond, and in which he excelled. Mr Beddome took great interest in the young, and often dwelt on the importance of parental instruction. One of his most striking sermons is on the text, Train up a child in the way he should go, etc. Prov 22:7. This sermon contains many judicious counsels to parents and instructors of youth:
"Having laid the foundation of their future improvement," he says, "in the first principles of religion, we must proceed to train them up in all the relative and social duties, both towards God and man, encouraging them to pray for what they want, especially to call upon the Lord in the day of trouble, and to praise Him for all their mercies and deliverances.'
"Many parents," he says, "betray their children into the awful sin of lying, by abrupt and severe interrogations, which afford sufficient intimation to the offender that if the evil be discovered it is to be visited with punishment; and to avoid this a habit of prevarication is fatally established." "Wicked parents are their children's corruptors, and therefore are not fit to be their correctors."
"By avoiding everything capricious, and maintaining a steady and well-regulated authority, some parents can do more with a word or look than others can do with the hardest blows."
"Religious instruction may begin too late, but it can scarcely begin too soon ; it is out of the mouth of babes and sucklings that God ordaineth praise."
"Give all your instructions with gentleness and tenderness. Consider the different capacities of children, and lead them on as they are able to bear it, as Jacob did his flock, and as Christ did His disciples."
"Do not overburden them with religious duties and services, as some have done, till being surfeited with piety, they have afterwards rejected it with scorn. A yoke that is rigorously imposed will gall the neck of him that wears it, and like Ephraim he will wait his opportunity to cast it off. When a parent gives his children the austerities of religion, instead of meekness, gentleness, and kindness, he offers him a stone instead of bread. Religious instruction should as much as possible be given in the form of similitudes, or by any other means that may render it inviting and alluring; and care must be taken not to urge it too frequently or unreasonably, lest their souls should loath the heavenly manna."
Beddome's sermons were published after his death in eight small volumes. (An octavo volume containing 47 sermons, with a memoir of Beddome, was published 1835). They have always been held in high estimation. They are short, but remarkable for their neatness, accuracy and elegance of expression. A high authority has said they "are among the most popular village sermons ever printed." Robert Hall, a great authority on preachers and preaching, in his preface to Beddome's hymns, says "As a preacher he was universally admired for the piety and unction of his sentiments, the felicity of his arrangements, and the purity, force and simplicity of his language, all of which were recommended by a delivery perfectly natural and graceful. His printed discourses, taken from the manuscripts he left behind him at his decease, are fair specimens of his usual performances in the pulpit."