"I am pleased to hear you have given yourself to a Church of Christ; but more, in that I hope you first gave yourself up to the Lord to be his servant, and at his disposal. And now, I would have you remember, that when Christ was baptized he was soon tempted of the devil; and I believe many of his followers, in that, have been made conformable to their Head. So also may you, therefore, of all the evils you may find working in your heart, especially beware of spiritual pride and carnal security."
According to the custom of the Baptist churches, he was requested to preach before the church, and did so, January 9 and February 28, 1740. The result was, that the Church called him to the work of the ministry. His father seems to have thought this rather premature, and wrote to his son as follows
"May 21, 1740. Dear Benjamin,
"I am sorry Mr Wilson is in such a hurry to call you to the ministry. It would have been time enough just before you came away; but supposing it must be so, I think you should not preach in public above once or twice, at most, at your own place, and nowhere else, except Mr Stennett, or his people, ask you, and if the latter do it, you may serve them as oft as their necessities require. The Lord, I hope, will help .you to make a solemn dedication of yourself to him, and enter on the work of the Lord with holy awe and trembling. I hope to get sundry friends in this place to beg assistance for you, and a blessing, on Thursday next.”
Thus did he continually. How much may these paternal counsels and fervent prayers have contributed to the eminence and usefulness which marked the career of his beloved Benjamin! Nor were these faithful admonitions and wise counsels confined to what might be regarded as the weightier matters. He deemed nothing unimportant that stood related to the ministry, and might therefore either help or hinder its success.
It appears that Benjamin Beddome, like too many young preachers, fell into a hurried mode of delivery. The result was, that his voice, like a horse with the bit between his teeth, became unmanageable, while the effort of the preacher became painful to the hearer. His father became aware of it, as also of the fact that another evil habit was in process of formation, viz, that of making his sermons too long ; and came down upon him with great force, in two loving letters. We take from them the following extracts
"Bristol, May 17, 1742.
My Dear Benjamin, I wish from my heart I could prevail with you not to strain your voice so much in the delivery of your sermons; and if you would make them shorter, and less crowded with matter, it would be more acceptable and edifying to your hearers, and more safe and easy for yourself. Strive, then, to comply with this advice, which is given in great affection, and, I think, with judgment. If you deliver the great truths of the gospel with calmness, and with a soft, mellow voice, they will drop as the gentle rain or dew. For the good of souls, then, and for your own good, be persuaded to strive after this."
"August 6, 1742.
My Dear Benjamin, I cannot but advise, and carefully press you, to strive with all your might to soften your voice, and shorten your sermons; for it would be better both for you and your hearers. I say this, not merely from myself, but from many of the most judicious I know. I lately heard a great man say, that if you could deliver the matter you produce in the same manner as Mr Evans, you would be more popular and useful than ever you are likely to be if you retain your harsh mode of speaking. Mr Grant, not four days ago, said the same things in other words; and I well know, that those of your people, who have the best sense, (ie common sense) have said to several, that if you would strain yourself less, and shorten your sermons, it would be better for all. What all say, give ear to. Of one discourse I beg you will make two, and so take care of your health and comfort. Let two hours be the longest time you spend in the pulpit at any place. This I leave as my special charge; and as I write with all the love and tenderness of a father, I hope you will consider these things."
Benjamin Beddome had probably read before he left home Psalm 141:5, Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness; and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, etc and thinking this an opportunity for exhibiting his acquiescence in the sentiment, he largely profited by the kindness of his father; he held his voice with a tighter rein, and applied the scissors to his sermons.