Mr. Beddome considered it as somewhat observable, that on the very day his son died, not suspecting the news he should receive the next morning, nor indeed knowing of his illness, he preached from Psalm xxxi 15 "My times are in thy hand" after which this remarkable hymn, which he had composed for the sermon, was sung
Great God, are in thy hand;
My choicest comforts come from thee,
And go at thy command.
If thou should'st take them all away,
Yet would I not repine ;
Before they were possess'd by me,
They were entirely thine.
Nor would I drop a murmuring word,
Though the whole world were gone,
But seek enduring happiness
In thee, and thee alone.
What is the world with all its store?
'Tis but a bitter sweet;
When I attempt to pluck the rose
A pricking thorn I meet.
The honey's mix'd with gall;
'Midst changing scenes and dying friends,
Be Christ my all in all.
'Early, bright, transient, chaste as morning dew,
He sparkled, was exhaled, and went to heaven.'
Mr Beddome having for some time felt his infirmities increasing, the church, in 1777, began to look out for a person to assist him in the ministry, and obtained the Rev William Wilkins, of Cirencester, who had been for some time a student at Bristol, and finished his education in Scotland. In their letter to the Association, held at Warwick, 1778, the church says, 'The assistant we have procured for our pastor is every way acceptable both to him and us, and we hope the Lord has blessed his labours.' But, though fast advancing in years, Mr Beddome persevered in his pastoral duties.
The Association at Evesham, in 1789, 'was the last he ever attended, or preached at. His first sermon addressed to this body was at Leominster in 1743. He preached to them 17 times in 46 years; this, on an average, was as frequently as he could have been chosen to the service - for it has long been a rule in the Midland Assembly, that no person shall be chosen to preach at the Association oftener than once in three years. But, perhaps, on examination it will appear, in the instance of Mr Beddome, that this has not been always strictly adhered to from the year 1740, and it seems there was no such limitation at that time.
From his last visit to the Association, in 1789, to the end of his days, he set apart for charitable designs, and gave away all that he received from the people for his services. He was in London to see his children and friends in 1792 and preached with the same acceptance as ever. Though he had a multitude of sermons which had never been preached, he kept on composing, and was lively in his ministry to the very last — and it has been said, that his discourses of late years have, after all, been his best; but towards the last, he generally destroyed them on the Monday after he had preached them. For a considerable time he was carried to and from meeting, and preached sitting.
In the near prospect of death he was calm and resigned. It had been his earnest wish not to be long laid aside from his beloved work of preaching the gospel, and his prayer was remarkably answered, as he was ill but one Lord's day; yea, he was composing a hymn about six hours before he died. These are some of the unfinished lines of it
Shall I no longer hear thy voice?
O let that source of joy divine,
With rapture fill this heart of mine.
Thou openedst Jonah's prison doors,
Be pleased, O Lord, to open ours;
Then will we to the world proclaim
The various honours of thy name.
Mr Beddome had arrived at the good old age of 79 years, 55 of which he ministered at Bourton. He departed this life, September 3, 1797. We believe he has not printed anything beside his Catechism and the Midland Association Letter in 1765. He has, however, left behind him numerous sketches of sermons. From these manuscripts a selection might be made which would probably redound as much to his credit, as to the advantage of the religious public. But whether we are to be favoured with this desirable publication or not, must be left to his worthy sons, whose wisdom, discretion and public spirit leave us not entirely without hope.