20/09/2011

A true disciple of the old school

In 1805 the Evangelical Magazine 13 carried a review of Beddome's first posthumous sermon collection as follows
 
Twenty Short Discourses, adapted to Village Worship, or the Devotions of the Family. Published from the Manuscripts of the late Rev B Beddome, AM. 8vo 3s. 12mo, 2s.
 
Contents: Sermons I and II, Self examination. Ps cxxix. 23, 24. — III, Desireableness of Christ's Presence. Luke xxiv. 29. — IV, Sinful Excuses answered. Luke xiv. 19. — V, The Penitent. Luke vii. 38.— VI, The Power of Conscience. Rom. ii.15. — VII, The Compassion of Christ. Isa. xlii. 3. — VIII, Necessity of Holiness. Jer. xiii. 27. — IX, The Important Question. John ix. 25. — X, Waiting on God. Hab. ii. 3.—XI, The Christian's Complaint. Ps cxlii. 4. — XII, The Impotent Man. Acts iii. 8. — XIII, Motives to Usefulness. Mark xiv. 8. — XIV, The Last Passover. Luke xxii. 11, 12.— XV, Peter's Confession. Luke v. 8. — XVI, Hypocrisy exposed. — XVII, Reconciliation to God. 2 Cor v. 20. — XVIII, Self-Love. 2 Tim iii. 2. — XIX, Spiritual Convictions. John viii.1. — XX. Excellency of the Law. Ps cxix. 66

The author of these Sermons hast long since finished his mortal course, and entered into his rest. He was much respected whilst he lived, nor less lamented when he died. He was of the Baptist denomination, a serious experimental Christian, and a sound preacher, in every sense of the word. As a true disciple of the old school, he implicitly followed his Bible wherever it led him; and reposed unshaken confidence in his guide. On the one hand, he never shunned a full declaration of his belief in the doctrines of the Trinity, the Divinity of Christ, the Atonement, Justification by faith, the Necessity of Regeneration, etc. On the other, he was not afraid to press on his hearers with becoming earnestness, all those experimental and practical parts of the inspired volume, necessarily connected with a scriptural and genuine belief of the truth as it is in Jesus. He maintains, that, to be a real Christian, the mind must be enlightened into a knowledge of the gospel, feel the energy of it upon the conscience, and bring forth all the fruits of it in a holy and godly life; and by thus blending the principles, the experience, and the practice of religion together, Mr Beddome necessarily became an acceptable and a useful preacher.
Although a man of learning and talents, he was too wise and too grave a minister to make any ostentatious display of them in the pulpit; but that dignified simplicity and elegant plainness which characterized his Sermons, gave them weight and energy. They exhibit no traits of novelty, no laboured efforts at ingenuity: they contain no brilliant or sparkling sentences, which flash on the mind like the passing meteor before the natural eyes; but in these Sermons Mr B aims at the heart, using no other weapon in this holy warfare than that of which it may be truly said, "There is none like it, namely, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Another recommendation of these discourses is, that the subjects are all important; and the length of them well adapted to family-exercises. On this, as well as on other grounds, we recommend them to the perusal of serious Christians and hope the editor will favour the public with a second volume.

The review is referenced in an article "The Baptists and the transformation of the church 1780-1830" in the Baptist Quarterly by W R Ward here. Ward remarks on the article
"Certainly the relatively liberal Calvinism of Beddome and the West of England had its influence on London and the South Midlands where the future founding fathers of the Baptist Missionary Society used Jonathan Edwards to help each other over their difficulties with hyperism, and linked up through John Sutcliff of Olney, with [John] Fawcett [1739-1817], Alvery Jackson [1700-1763] and other Baptists of the North who had never owned the sway of Gill and Brine, and early made a deep impression on the Rossendale area of Lancashire."

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