Joseph Gutteridge

Joseph Gutteridge (1752-1844) entered the tanning business in 1770, and by 1790 he had joined with Beddome's son, Samuel, to create one of London’s largest and most prosperous tanning operations. Gutteridge’s business was located in Long Lane, Southwark. Gutteridge was a staunch Particular Baptist, serving as deacon for over forty years in the Baptist congregation at Little Prescot Street, Goodman’s Fields, where Abraham Booth ministered 1779-1806. Besides demonstrating leadership in numerous Baptist endeavors throughout his long life, Gutteridge was also politically active. He supported the efforts of the Protestant Dissenting Deputies to repeal the Test Acts (1787-91) and later served as treasurer of the Deputies from 1805-16 and as vice-chairman from 1816-25, working alongside the Unitarian MP William Smith in the years preceding the eventual repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts in 1828.


Rippon on Beddome Part 2

In his preaching he laid Christ at the bottom of religion as the support of it, placed him at the top of it as its glory, and made him the centre of it, to unite all its parts, and to add to the beauty and vigour to the whole. As he carefully guarded his people against Arminian principles, so he earnestly dehorted them from countenancing Antinomian practices, with every sentiment which tended to lessen their sincere regard for the law of God - maintaining, that, while it is the happiness of good men to be delivered from the law as a covenant of works, it is their duty, and therefore their honour and interest to be subject to it as a rule of walk and conversation. He was assured, that the least contempt cast on the law tarnishes the gospel - that the same word which asserts believers are dead to the law, so as neither to be distressingly afraid of it, not to place a fiducial dependence on it, does as expressly declare that they are not without law to God, but under the law to Christ. It was an axiom with him, that "If moral weakness and incapacity do not, certainly privileges cannot, lessen our obligation to duty." from this may be gathered, what indeed was a fact, that his discourses were a happy mixture of the doctrinal, experimental, and practical parts of religion.
Though his voice was low, his delivery was forcible and demanded attention. He addressed the hearts and conscience of his hearers. His inventive faculty was extraordinary, and threw an endless variety into his public services. Nature, providence and grace, and formed him for eminence in the church of Christ.
How acceptable his labours were to the churches, when he could be prevailed upon to visit them, has long been known at Abingdon, Bristol, London, and in the circle of the Midland Association.
It is not easy to ascertain the exact number of members in 1740, when Mr. Beddome went to Bourton, as the oldest church book is lost. In May 1743, when 48 persons had been added to the Society, they were in all 113 - if then 15 persons died in these years, they must have been about 80 communicants in the year 1740; but whether fewer or more at that time, such was his success, that in 1751, they were increased to 180. The largeness of such a number in any church will be the occasion of a decrease, unless considerable additions are annually made; but in May 1764, thirteen years after the other calculation, notwithstanding deaths, and other changes, the number had been kept up to 176, and at the close of the year 1766, there had been added to the church, from the time of Mr. Beddome's first coming, about 196 persons.
One considerable instrument of his success may be learnt from the letter he sent to the Association in 1754. In this, it was said, that the work of catechising was kept up at Bourton "with advantage to the children, and to many grown persons who attended thereon." In conducting this service the people were astonished at the words which proceeded out of his lips. But his Catechism will be the best representation of his method: This is indeed a compendium of Divinity. As a larger Catechism than Mr. Keach's had been greatly wanted among the Baptist denomination, he was induced, by the pressing solicitation of many of his friends, to compose this work in imitation of Mr. Henry's. In his preface to the first edition, printed in 1752, he laments the melancholy state of those churches and families where catechising is thrown aside - How much, many of them, have degenerated from the faith, and others from the practice of the gospel. The second edition of this invaluable work was printed in Bristol in 1776, by the last excellent Dr. Evans, who highly prized it, and introduced it among its numerous acquaintances.
As Mr. Beddome had a pleasing poetical talent, he accustomed himself, through the chief part of his life, to prepare a Hymn to be sung after his morning sermon, every Lords-Day. Several specimens of these compositions have appeared, with credit to their author, and are used in many Baptist churches, as well as in some other respectable congregations.
In 1770, the Fellows of Providence College, Rhode Island, conferred on him the degree of A.M. as a token of respect for his literary abilities; not was it the only one to which he was entitled. Being a scholar himself, and residing in a more secluded situation than many of his brethren, he gave several of his sons a classical education at home.
Four or five persons in his time were called to the work of the ministry by his church, in all of whom he had reason to rejoice.
But it is not to be supposed that he was free from trials: Sorrows were mingled with his songs in the house of his pilgrimage. Among the most pungent may be reckoned those which arose from the early deaths of his three sons, John, Benjamin, and Foskett. John was born January 7, 1750, and died enjoying a very desirable frame of mind, February 4, 1765. His brother Foskett, brought up in the medical line, was drowned as he was coming from on board a ship near Deptford, October 10, 1784, in the 26th year of his age. Benjamin was born October 10, 1753. Trained as a professional man, and availing himself of the wisdom which a combination of circumstances threw in his way; his prospects at length became highly flattering. He was master of the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, before he went from Bourton to London, and afterwards obtained a knowledge of the French and Italian. He was admitted a member of the medical society at Edinburgh before the usual time, and took his Doctor's degree at Leyden, September 13, 1777. His Thesis has been much admired. It is entitled, Tentamen Philosophicomedicum inaugurale de hominum varietatibus et earum causis. This inaugural Philosophico-medical essay, concerning the varieties of men and their causes, fills 52 handsome pages, in octavo, comprehending a vast variety of matter, and forming, what perhaps competent judges will denominate, an accurate syllabus of the subject. If fine talents, and smiling connexions, could have detained him on earth he had not been removed; but in all the bloom of full life, not having completed the 25th year of his age, he died at Edinburgh of a putrid fever, January 4, 1778.
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 Psal. xxxi. 15. My times are in thy hand, after which this remarkable hymn, which he had composed for the sermon, was sung.
My times of sorrow and of joy,
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 possessed by me
They were entirely thine.

Nor would I drop a murmuring word
Tho' 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.

Here perfect bliss can ne'er be found,
The honey's mixed with gall;
Midst changing scenes and dying friends
Be thou my all in all
Rippon's Selections, Hymn 176
Mr. Beddome had also before Lord's-day, the 4th of January, made preparations for the ensuing Sabbath, January 11th, which was the day before he received the melancholy account of his son's death, from Ezk. x. 12. The wheels were full of eyes round about. Both of these sermons were studied without any particular view. When Mr. Beddome records these notable things, he says, "But alas! how much easier is it to preach than practice. I will complain to God, but not of God. This is undoubtedly the most affecting loss I have ever sustained in my family. Father of mercies let me see the smiles of thy face, whilst I feel the smart of thy rod. Job xiv. 13. Thou destroyest the hope of man."
Early, bright, transient, chaste as morning dew,
He sparkled, was exhal'd, 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 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 aide 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:
God of my life, and of my choice,
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 pleas'd, O Lord, to open ours;
Then will we to the world proclaim
The various honors of thy name.

He had left a desire on paper, that no funeral discourse should be preached for him; but as this was not found till after his internment, his affectionate friend, the Rev. Benjamin Francis, performed the funeral solemnities. His text on this solemn occasion was Phil. i. 21. To me to live in Christ, and to die is gain. From which he he considered, first, the excellent life, and the gainful death of Paul. And then secondly, applied the words to the deceased; not as at any time the vaunting language of his lips; but as the humble and ardent desire of his devotional heart. At the close of the sermon, the corpse, which had been in the place of worship all the time of the service, was interred in the yard, near the meeting-house door; after which, Mr. Francis, who remained in the pulpit, recommended to the very numerous audience a due improvement of the labours of this great man of God, and insisted on the importance of being prepared for death.
Mr. Beddome had arrived at the good old age of 79 years, 55 of which he ministered at Bourton. he departed this life Septmeber 3, 1795. We believe he has not printed anything beside his Catechism, mentioned above, and the Midland Association Letter in 1765. He has, however, left behind 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 by this desirable publication or not, must be left to his worthy sons, whose wisdom, discretion and public spirit, leave us not entirely without hope.

Rippon on Beddome Part 1

These extracts are taken from The Baptist Annual Register for 1794, 1795, 1796-1797, including Sketches of the State of Religion among Different Denominations of Good Men at Home and Abroad (vol 2) by John Rippon, DD

Rev. Benjamin Beddome,A.M.Bourton-on-the-water, Gloucestershire.
His walk so steady, and his hope so high,
He neither blushed to live, nor fear'd to die.

The Rev. Benjamin Beddome of Bourton-on-the-water, lately deceased, and the Rev. John Beddome of Bristol, his father, are names which have given celebrity to the Beddome family, through the chief part of this century, and derive respectability from a long line of descent in the ages which are past.
The maiden name of Mr. Benjamin's mother was Rachel Brandon. She was a daughter of Mr. Benjamin Brandon, a silversmith, who lived near the Royal Exchange, London.
The Brandon family was supposed to spring, in Harry the VIII's time, from an illegimate son of Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, whose arms the family bore. Mrs. Brandon, the mother, or Mr. Brandon, the father of Benjamin Brandon, and great grandfather of Mr. Benjamin Beddome, had a married sister of the name of Spilsworth, esteemed a very gracious and prudent woman, whose husband was a timber merchant, and left £2,100 to Rachel, the sister of Benjamin Brandon. Rachel's first husband was a salesman, named Hudson, at whose death she was possessed of six thousand pounds. She afterwards married Mr. Joseph Cope, a lapidary, who cut Pitt's Diamond, purchased by the King of France, for which he had a great sum, and the chips. Mrs. Cope was left a widow, and by a suit in Chancery which was intended to affect her jointure, she was put to the expense of £1,500, though the verdict was finally in her favour. She died without issue, at Hanham, near Bristol, March 2, 1731; and being fond of her niece, Miss Rachel Brandon, whom she had brought up at a boarding school at Nantwich, in Cheshire, she left most of her substance to this young lady, who afterwards became the wife of the Rev. John Beddome of Bristol.
This honoured man, sixty or seventy years ago, in the circle of his friends, used to speak of two ancestors, it is thought of the name of Barnet, in the civil wars. The father was a colonel in King Charles' army, the son on the opposite side. One day, the father, either on hoseback or on foot, met his son at the head of his company, and transported with anger, caned him; upon which some of the soldiers were going to fire, but the son commanded them to forebear, informing them it was his father, who had a right to treat him so, if he pleased.
Mr. John Beddome, of Bristol, was born in London; he was called to the work of the ministry by the church in Horsley Down, Southwark, then under the pastoral care of the Rev. Benjamin Keach, and afterwards of Dr. Gill. His dismission to the church at Alcester, in Warwickshire, is dated Sept. 19, 1697. On his removal to that country, he purchased a large house at Henly-in-Arden, which had formerly been an Inn, and fitted up one part of it for his residence, and the other part for a place of worship. Here he continued, enjoying the assistance of the Rev. Mr. Bernard Foskett as co-pastor from 1711, til 1719, when Mr. Foskett removed to Broad Mead church, at Bristol. To the Pithay church in that city the providence of God called Rev. John Beddome in 1724, where he succeeded the renowned puritan, Andrew Gifford, and Emmanuel his son, who did not long survive his father.
Mr. Benjamin Beddome was born at Henley, January 23, old style, 1717, and was about seven years of age, when the family removed to Bristol. In due time, having received an education suitable to the profession, he was apprenticed to a surgeon and apothecary. The wit and vivacity which, in a measure, continued with him to the end of his days, accompanied his juvenile steps into the public walks of life. We have no vestiges at all of his early piety; on the contrary, the bent of his mind affected and afflicted his parents several years - but at last divine mercy reached his heart. The date of it we learn from an obscure page which only contains these words, in his own hand writing; "Mr. Ware, of Chesham, uncle, I believe to Coulson Scottow, Esq. preached at the Pithay, Bristol, August 7, 1737, with which sermon I was, for the first time, deeply impressed. Text, Luke xv. 7" Likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner than repenteth more than over ninety and nine persons who need no repentance. And a repenting sinner he now was. At his first awakening, he used to be greatly affected under the word. For though the winning ministry of his father had not effectually gained his attention before; at this time he felt it in a most impressive manner. That he might conceal his abundant tears in hearing, he would sit behind in the gallery, where he was not likely to be seen; alleging, when asked by his parents, why he chose such a place, That his profession sometimes obliged him to come in late, or to go out early, neither of which had a becoming appearance in a minster's son.
To this penitential frame of mind he indulged, and the language of one of his Hymns appears to have been the dictate of his heart;
Lord, let me weep for nought but sin,
And after none but thee;
And then I would, O that I might,
A constant weeper be!
In this condition, his resource was constant prayer, and, at his leisure hours, reading the scriptures;
He turned the sacred volume o'er,
And searched with care from page to page;
Of threatenings found an ample store,
But nought that could his grief asswage.
Assured, however, of the riches of the divine word, he persevered to read it, and perseverance was crowned with success. He was ready to exclaim,
'Tis done; and with transporting joy,
I read the heaven inspired lines;
There Mercy spreads its brightest beams;
And truth, with dazzling lustre, shines

Here's heavenly food for hungry souls,
And mines of gold to enrich the poor!
Here's healing balm for every wound:
A salve for every festering sore.

At the expiration of his apprenticeship, he became a student under the care of his father's bosom friend, the Rev. Mr. Foskett of Bristol; after which he removed to London, and finished his studies in the Independent Academy. He appears to have been baptized by the famous Mr. Samuel Wilson, a predecessor of Mr. Booth, either at the later end of September, or at the very beginning of October 1739, for, at a church meeting of the Goodman's-fields society, held Sep. 27, 1739, this minute was made; "Agreed to receive Benjamin Beddome of Bristol, upon his being baptized." His gift was tried before the same society, Jan. 9, and Feb. 25, 1739, 40, but their records do not mention the time when they solemnly called him to the work of the ministry.
Upon the death of Thomas Flower, senior, pastor of the church at Bourton, whose son, of the same name, was afterwards settled at Unicorn-Yard, London, Mr. Beddome left the academy in London,, and was invited to supply the Burton friends. He went to them in July 1740, and having given full proof of his abilities, and received many solicitations and calls to become their pastor, he accepted the office, and was ordained September 23, 1743. Mr. Foskett gave the charge from 1 Tim. iv 12. Let no man despise thy youth, and Dr. Joseph Stennett preached to the people from Heb. xiii. 17. Obey them that have the rule over you &c. The ordination prayer was offered up by Mr. Foskett, with the laying on of the hands of the presbyters.
At Mr. Beddome's settlement, he resided at Lower Slaughter, where he continued till September 25, 1749, when, preparing for marriage, he removed to Bourton, a place of which he seems to have been fond, as may be inferred from lines, over which he has written, "Composed about the year 1742,"

The Wish

Lord, in my soul implant thy fear,
Let faith, and hope, and love be there;
Preserve me from prevailing vice,
When satan tempts, or lusts entice!
Of friendships's sweets may I partake,
Nor be forsaken, nor forsake!
Let mod'rate plenty crown my board,
And God for all be still adored!
Let the companion of my youth
Be one of innocence and truth;
Let modest charms adorn her face,
And give her they superior grace;
By heavenly art first make her thine,
Then make her willing to be mine!
My dwelling place let Bourton be,
There let me live, and live to thee!

On December 21, 1749, New-style, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Boswell, one of the daughters of Mr. Richard Boswell, of Bourton, who was an honourable member and Deacon of the baptist church in that place. The nuptials were celebrated at Hamnet.
Mrs Beddome was then but in the 18th year of her age, for she was born in February 13, N.S. 1732. His connexion with this amiable woman was not more gratifying to himself, than his relation to the people was satisfactory to them. They were pleased and profited. But a threatening illness, of six weeks continuance, brought him to the margin of the grave. Prayer was made by the church continually unto God for him; and the gift for which they wrestled was granted; he considered his restoration as an answer to their importunate intercessions.
On recovery he wrote a pathetic hymn; but some time after reviewing it, and considering that this providence placed him nearer the grave than he was before, he inserted these lines on the same page where he had before written his effusion of gratitude for restoration:
If I must die, O, let me die
Trusting In Jesu's blood!
That blood which hath atonement made,
And reconciles to God.

If I must die, then let me die
In peace with all mankind,
And change these fleeting joys below,
For pleasures more refined.

If I must die, as die I must,
Let some kind seraph come,
And bear me on his friendly wing,
To my celestial home!

Of Canaan's land from Pisgah's top
May I but have a view!
Though Jordan should o'erflow its banks,
I'll boldly venture through.

The danger in which so valuable a life had been, endeared the pastor to his flock more than before; and their earnest prayers and solicitations for his recovery increasingly endeared his flock to their pastor. He had not, however, been long restored to his people and his pulpit, before another unexpected providence excited their fears. The Rev. Mr. Samuel Wilson, pastor of the largest Particular Baptist church then in London, finished his course. His church in Goodman's-fields employed the condescension of entreaty, and the force of argument - and so determined were they to secure their object that for awhile they would take no denial. Thus circumstanced, Mr Beddome threw himself into the hands of his people, desirous of acting according to their wishes. They sent an absolute refusal to London; and he concluded the whole business in these words:
"If my people would have consented to my removal (though I would have had much to sacrifice on account of the great affection I bear them, yet) I should have made no scruple in accepting your call; but as they absolutely refuse it, the will of the Lord be done. I am determined I will not violently rend myself from them; for I would rather honour God in a station much inferior to that in which he has placed me, than intrude myself into a higher without his direction."
The affection which the people of Bourton bore to their minister, for his personal worth and pastoral excellences, was far from being lessened by the regard which the bereaved church in London discovered for him. A fear of losing him also "more firmly united the people together, and stirred them up to pay off a debt of near a hundred pounds, under which they had long and heavily groaned. "The labours of this good man among his charge were unremitting and evangelical. He fed them with the finest of the wheat. No man in all his connexions wrote more sermons, nor composed them with greater care - and this was true of him to the last weeks of his life. In most of his discourses the application of a student, and the ability of a divine were visible. He frequently differed from the generality of preachers by somewhat striking either in his text or his method. If the passage were peculiar or abstruse, simplicity of interpretation, and familiarity in discussion, characterized the sermon: or if his text were of the most familiar class, He distributed it with novelty, discussed it with genius, and seldom delivered a hackneyed discourse. Indeed sermonizing was so much his forte, that at length when knowledge had received maturity from years, and composition was familiarised by habit, he has been known, with a wonderful facility of the moment, to sketch his picture at the foot of the pulpit stairs, to colour it as he was ascending, and without turning his eyes from the canvas, in the same hour, to give it all the finish of a master. One instance of this will long be remembered, which happened at a minister's meeting at Fairford, in Gloucestershire. After public service began, his natural timidity, it seems, overcame his recollection - His text and his discourse, for he did not preach by notes, had left him; and in the way from the pew to the pulpit, he leaned his head over the shoulder of the Rev. Mr. Davis, pastor of the place, and said, Brother Davis, what must I preach from? Mr. Davis, thinking he could not be at a loss, answered, Ask no foolish questions. This afforded him considerable relief. He turned immediately to Titus iii.9. Avoid foolish questions. and preached a remarkably methodical, correct, and useful discourse on it. Nor was he more remarkable for illustrating the divine word in general, than for the apposite quotation of its particular parts. being a good textuary, and admitting that scripture is the best interpreter of scripture, his proofs were given with an accuracy of selection, and received under the effect of an admirable conviction. When he placed a passage of Scripture by a particular of his discourse, intelligent auditors said, as David concerning the sword of Goliath, "There is none like it," or equally suitable through all the sacred volume.


The Horsley Association 1749 (Western Association)

These Breviates passed on by Joseph Belcher are found in the Baptist Memorial and Monthly Chronicles of 1843.

The first day time being spent in prayer by our brethren Robert Day, William Plummer, Hugh Evans and Isaac Mann. A sermon was preached by our brother Edmund Jones from 2 Cor 2:1. The words are these For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ in them that are saved and also in them that perish. After sermon was ended the letters were read and the several Messengers being asked what they had to offer that night be inserted in the General letter and nothing new being stated but what had been usually inserted our brother Benjamin Beddome was unanimously desired to draw it up and after time spent in prayer by our brother Ebenezer Ludlow, the first day was concluded.
On the second day time being spent in prayer by our brethren John Evans, Thomas Davis, James Hanks and Edward Western the case of Plymouth was considered and referred to our brother Edmund Jones who intends paying them a visit shortly. The General letter was then read approved and signed and Thursday 8th of June next recommended to be kept as a day of fasting and prayer or as near it as may be and one or two more such days to be kept in the year. Afterwards time was spent in prayer by our brethren Benjamin Beddome and Philip Jones and a sermon was preached by our brother Robert Day from Rom vii:9. The words are these For I was alive without the law once but when the commandment came sin revived and I died. Next association to be held at Wellington on Tuesday in the Whitsun week the sermon to be preached by our rother Hugh Evans and in case of failure by our brother John Hayden.


Swaine on Beddome

This is the piece by S A Swaine that appeared in Faithful Men: or Memorials of Bristol Baptist. College in 1884.

The third, who was admitted to the institution, about 1737, settled as pastor at Bourton-on-the-Water. He was about seven years of age when his father, the Rev John Beddome, removed to Bristol. He was apprenticed to a surgeon and apothecary, manifesting in his early youth apparently no desire for the ministry, ore even evidence of Christian decision. Indeed, the very contrary would seem to have been the case, for we are told that "the wit and vivacity which, in a measure, continued with him to the end of his days, accompanied his juvenile steps into the public walks of life," and that "the bent of his mind affected and afflicted his parents several years."

He was at length aroused to serious thought by a sermon on the words, "Likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth," &c. The date is fixed by a memorandum in his own handwriting, as follows:- "Mr. Ware, of Chesham, uncle, I believe, to Coulson Scotton, Esq.. preached at the Pithay, Bristol, August 7, 1737, with which sermon I was for the first time deeply impressed. Text, Luke xv. 7." Although his father's ministry had not affected him before, it did afterwards much. That he might conceal his tears, he would sit behind in the gallery, where he was not likely to be seen and when questioned by his parents why he chose such a place, would reply "That his profession sometimes obliged him to come in late or to go out early, neither of which had a becoming appearance in a minister's son." The language of one of his hymns - for to him we owe some of our most devotional spiritual songs - appears, at least at this time, the dictate of his heart:-

Lord, let me weep for nought but sin,
And after none but Thee
And then I would, O that I might,
A constant weeper be!

At length he found peace, and at the expiration of his apprenticeship began his studies for the ministry. At his ordination the charge was given by Mr. Foskett from I Tim iv:12 "Let no man despise thy youth" and Mr Stennett preached to the church "Obey them that have the rule over you," &c. (Mt. xiii:7). Messrs. Haydon, Cook, and Fuller of Abingdon, prayed ; and the ordination prayer was offered by Mr. Foskett, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Mr. Beddome became soon very attached to the scene of his labours, as is shown by lines which he penned in 1742.

Lord, in my soul implant thy fear,
Let faith, and hope, and love be there;
Preserve me from prevailing vice,
Then make her willing to be mine!
My dwelling place let Bourton be,
There let me live, and live to thee!

The " companion of his youth," with the "modest charms," &c., proved to be Miss Elizabeth Boswell, one of the daughters of Mr. Richard Boswell, one of his deacons. His marriage took place in 1749. His wish that Bourton might be his dwelling place was fulfilled to the utmost, for there he dwelt and laboured to the end of his days, not, however, for lack of calls and inducements to leave it. In particular, he received a most pressing invitation to Goodman's Fields, the largest Particular Baptist Church in London at that time, on the decease of the pastor, the Rev. Samuel Wilson. He repeatedly declined but so pressing were the people that they would take no denial. In these circumstances Mr Beddome threw himself into the hands of his people, desirous of acting according to their wishes. They sent an absolute refusal to London; and he concluded the whole business in these words:-

"If my people had consented to my removal (though 1 should have had much to sacrifice on account of the great affection I bear them, yet) I should then have made no scruple in accepting of your call; but as they absolutely refuse it, the will of the Lord be done. I am determined I will not violently rend myself from them ; for I would rather honour God in a station much inferior to that in which He bath placed me than intrude myself into a higher without His direction."

Mr. Beddome's sermonising faculty seems to have been of the most striking kind ; his facility in this direction is described as surprising. As an example, he was appointed to preach at a ministers' meeting at Fairford, in Gloucestershire, on which occasion, after the service began, his natural timidity, it seems, overcame his recollection. His text and his discourse, for he neither read nor used notes, both left him. On his way from the pew to the pulpit he leaned his head over the shoulder of the Rev. Mr. Davis, the pastor of the place, and said, "Brother Davis, what must I preach from?" Mr. Davis, not supposing for a moment that he really was at a loss, replied, "Ask no foolish questions." He was at once delivered from his dilemma, and turning to Titus iii. 9, "Avoid foolish questions," he preached what was described as a remarkably methodical, correct, and useful discourse on it.

His academical degree was conferred upon him by the Fellows of Providence College, Rhode Island, in 1770 as a token of respect for his literary abilities. He lost by death several most promising sons, two of whom were trained to the medical profession, and one of them graduated both at Edinburgh and Leyden with great distinction. This talented young physician - whose Philosophico-medicum inaugurate de hominum varietatibus et carum causis, was at that time much admired - was only twenty-five when he died. On the very day his son died, the death taking place at Edinburgh, Mr. Beddome, not even knowing of his illness, preached from Ps. xxi.15 "My times are in Thy hand;" after which the following beautiful hymn, which he had specially composed to follow the sermon, was sung :—

My times of sorrow and of joy,
Great God, are in Thy hand;
My choicest comforts come from Thee,
And go at Thy command.

Here perfect bliss can ne'er be found,
The honey's mixed with gall;
'Midst changing scenes and dying friends,
Be Thou my all in all

It has been said that this hymn was specially composed for the occasion, and it ought to be added that, throughout the greater part of his life, Mr. Beddome prepared a hymn to be sung after his morning sermon every Lord's day.

This model village pastor reached the patriarchal age of seventy-nine years, fifty-five of which he spent as minister at Bourton. He departed this life September 23, 1795. So far as is known, he published nothing but a Catechism, and the Association Letter in 1765. but three volumes of his sermons were published after his death.


A list of popular preachers given in 1799

When the Eclectic Society met in January 1799 they discussed what made preachers popular or unpopular. At the beginning John Bacon listed a number of preachers of the day and what made them popular. Here are ten

1. [George] Whitfield was remarkable for feeling, susceptibility, force
2. [William] Romaine for realizing faith; he had one subject indeed but this was the panacea; there was some variety.
3. [John] Berridge gained in some degree from the place in which he preached; he was always in populous places; simplicity was his one object
4. Rowland Hill is irregular extravagant bawling &c yet something extraordinary; upright, devoted, comes out; fire, brilliance, genius; talks rather than preaches; strong comparisons but they interest; stories.
5. [William] Jay has great natural powers, memory
6. [Samuel] Medley had some party in his spirit; glib, jocular.
7. [William] Huntington had promptitude, was easy, pleasant, fanciful like a harlequin
8. [Henry] Venn of Huddersfield some tone but remarkably fiery; current; realizing; heavenly; rapturous, holy, quickening.
9. [John] Wesley good sense, promptitude, clear, treats all circumstances as belonging to a system not that in his ministry which would independently have been popular.
10. [Robert] Robinson of Cambridge had ease comprehension, no turns or twists but new views of things &c
(He also mentions forgotten preachers [Jehoiada] Brewer - possessed moderate talents but pathos was fervent affectionate savoury no peculiar tone to obstruct and rather aided his manner encouragement to diligence was one of his frequent topics perhaps compared with the drawling manner of some other dissenters he may be classed as above the average; [William Bromley] Cadogan - had no variety tone or dash but perception of subject determination sawing through energy reality he took by force the one object he kept in view; [William Alphonsus] Gunn - without extraordinary talents but gives direction and application to the truth no tone or twang addresses this and the other evidently a good man his preaching is not treating the subject so much as dealing in address deals in general truths; [James] Fordyce - an orator but it looked not like the real thing; gilded but it wore off. He also gives the names - [William] Dodd, Harrison and Hodgson)


A note on Thomas Coles and the Oxfordshire Association

On page 348 of Useful Learning, Anthony R Cross has a footnote on Thomas Coles, saying he came from Beddome's ( Bourton-on-the-Water) and entered the Bristol College in 1795, following his baptism at Shortwood and acceptance into membership in August that year. In October 1797 he went to Marischal College, Aberdeen, as a Dr Ward Scholar, where he completed his MA in April 1800. He became assistant to Abraham Booth at Prescott Street, London, and then was ordained at Bourton on 17 November 1801 as Beddome's successor (he says to see Ryland and James Hinton, The Duties and Supports of a Gospel Minister; and The Duties incumbent on a Christian Church.) In 1802 he was a prime mover in the establishment of 'An Association of Baptist Congregational Churches for Oxfordshire and the Counties adjacent," serving as its secretary from its founding to his death in 1840.

(Cross cites B S Hall, 'Memoir of the Late Rev. Thomas Coles;" Brooks, Pictures of the Past, 42, 69-70, 72-80, 82-101, 103-107, 108 and 111; Swaine, Faithful Men, 190-92; Tongue, Dr. John Warts Trust, 16-17 and 35; Ivimey, Histoty, IV, 469; and Whelan, Baptist Autographs, 369, as authorities).

In 1813, Coles preached to the Bristol Education Society, Advice to Students and Ministers, which indicates, among other things, the importance to him of the place of studying the scriptures for students and ministers.

So although Bourton was in the Midland Association all through Beddome's time, no doubt because the geographical focus of that grouping had changed, after his death they joined this new Oxfordshire focussed group, something perhaps anticipated by the double lecture in Beddome's own lifetime.

"A man of singular abilities"

John Hirst of Accrington
who became minister
in Bacup
In 1770 Beddome was consulted by his fellow minister Lawrence Butterworth (1727-1803) concerning a dispute between the churches in Accrington and Bacup in Lancashire. Butterworth reveals this in a letter of June 11, 1770. His original plan had been to raise the question at the association in Bewdley. Unable to do that he consulted instead with two of his brothers, both ministers, and Beddome, whom he calls "a man of singular abilities". The dispute concerned a brother dismissed from one church but admitted to another without enquiry. See page 94 of a work on John Hirst found here.


Medical References in Sermons 11

The Important Question John 9:29

Persons do not step immediately out of a state of quietness in sin into a state of salvation. They must have a fearful apprehension of wrath before they will fly from it a painful sense of their disease before they will apply to the physician and none will seek after life and righteousness from another till they have seen themselves in a state of guilt and condemnation. Nothing but absolute necessity will drive a soul to Christ.

Medical References in Sermons 10

The Impotent Man Acts 3:8

2. His poverty added to his distress. If help was to be obtained by medicine he had not the wherewithal to procure it. We read of a woman who had spent her whole substance upon physicians but it is probable that this man never had any substance to spend. It is evident that at this time he lived upon charity and perhaps had to beg his bread. And thus it is with sinners they are wretchedly poor yet very proud. So poor that like this man they are ready to starve yet so proud that they will not beg.