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, D.D. (see Google scan). These extracts cover the careers of Rev. John Beddome and Rev. Benjamin Beddome. I have added the piece about Bernard Foskett, who was a close friend of Rev. John Beddome, and taught Rev. Benjamin Beddome.
I have changed the long 's' (which looks like an 'f') to the modern 's'. There may be errors where I have transcribed this - my apologies!
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 Brandon1, a silversmith, who lived near the Royal Exchange, London.
The Brandon family was supposed to spring, in Harry the VIIIth's time, from an illegimate son of Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, whose arms the family bore. Mrs. Brandon2, 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 Spulsworth, 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 Hudson3, at whose death she was possessed of six thousand pounds. She afterwards married Mr. Joseph Cope4, 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 the 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 minstry 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 mid 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" Likewide joy sal be in heaven over one sinner than repenteth more than over ninety and nine persons who need no repentence. And a repenting sinner he how 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 devine word, he perservered to read it, and perserverance 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.5
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 deth 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 youth6, 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,"
Lord, in my soul implant thy fear,
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 place7. 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 himto 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 emplyed 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 discources 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 familarized 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.
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 centreof 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 priviledges 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 doctinal, 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 advanatge 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 edtion 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.9
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 bretheren, 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 ministery by his church10, 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 competant 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,
If thou should'st take them all away,
Nor would I drop a murmuring word
What is the world with all its store?
Here perfect bliss can ne'er be found,
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. Noth 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."
Earlt, 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, ad 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 blesed 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 Assembley, 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 yeard, 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 any thing 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.
The Rev. Mr. Bernard Foskett, son of Mr. William Foskett, of North Crawley, in Bucks, a gentleman of good repute, easy fortune, and blessed with a numerous offspring, was born March 10, 1684-5, near Wooburn, in Bedfordshire, where he had an estate. And as he early discovered a taste for learning, he was put under the care of a very able master, with whom he soon made progress. He became experimentally acquainted with religion, in the early part of his life, and at seventeen years of age joined the Baptist church, then under the pastoral care of Mr. Pigott, in Little Wild-street, London, over which our excellent friend, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Stennett, I hope yet presides11. About this time an intimacy had commenced between Mr. Foskett, and Mr. John Beddome, (the father of our venerable friend, the Rev. Benjamin Beddome, of Bourton on the water) some years after a respectable minister of the church in the Pithay. The friendship of Mr. John Beddome and Mr. Foskett was like that of Jonathan and David, and lasted through life. Mr. John Beddome was called to the work of the ministry by Mr. Keach's church, of which Dr. Gill was afterwards pastor, and was sent to Henley Arden, near Alcestor, in 1697, to assist the aged Mr. John Willis, pastor of that church, who died about 1705. A few years after the death of Mr. Willis, viz. in 1711, Mr. Foskett, who had been regularly called to the work of the ministry, and exercised his preaching talents several years, quitted the the flattering prospects of his profession in London, preferring the character of an able minister to that of a skillful physician, and removed to Henley Arden, a place to which his peculiar friendship for Mr. Beddome led him to give the preference. At Henley, at Bengeworth, and at Aulcester, these two worthies continued their joint labours, till the year 1719, when Mr. Foskett received a pressing invitation from Broadmead, to assist Mr. Kitterell, their pastor, and to become the tutor of the academy in the room of Mr. Jope, just removed into the west. This invitation he thought it his duty to accept, and in 1720, entered on his double charge with great seriousness and firmness. One who for upwards of twenty-four years served with him in the gospel of Christ, has favoured us with a biographical sketch of him12, which demands a place in this essay.
"His natural abilities were sound and good; and his acquired furniture, of which he never affected making a great shew, was very considerable. He had a clear understanding, a penetrating judgment, and a retentive memory. His application to study was constant and severe: but though he was of a retiring and contemplative disposition, yet he was not so far detached from the world, as to be wholly unpractised in the duties of social life. In the management of his temporal concerns he was inflexibly just and honest; in his counsels, prudent and faithful; in his friendships, sincere and steady; and though he was not a man of strong passions, yet in the relations of a brother and a son, he was tender and affectionate, dutiful and obedient. His conduct as a Christian, through a course of near sixty years, was most exemplary and ornamental. She that it may be truly said of him, he had few equals, hardly any superiors. Religion he considered not as a matter of mere speculation, but as an affair most sacred and important. How serious and regular he was in his private devotions, in his attendance on family and public worship, and every other religious exercise, they who best knew him will be readist to declare. Nor was his religion confined to the closet, the family, or the house of God, but happily diffused its sacred influence through his whole life. Few they were, if any, of the Christian virtues, that did not shine with a bright and distinguishing lustre in his temper and behaviour; to delineate them all would carry me too far: I must not, however, omit to mention what he was always careful to conceal, his disinterested and extensive benevolence; for in this, as in many other respects, in imitation of his divine master, he went about doing good. The necessitous and deserving without distinction partook of his bounty; but the pious poor he ever considered as the special objects of his regard. And while he often judiciously prescribed to the indigent sick, he generously supplied them with the means of obtaining what was necessary to their relief. And as the Gospel ever held the highest place in his esteem, his charities were chiefly directed in such a manner as tended most effectively to promote its interestes; so that the poor ministers of Christ shared very largely in his compassionate regards, and were multitudes of them refreshed by his liberality. Not did he confine his benevolence to those of his own sentiments only, but cheerfully extended it to many who differed from him. In a word, as his charities were thus generous and extensive, so the prudence, humanity, and privacy, with which they were conducted, secured to him the most cordial respect from those who shared of them, as well as merited the imitation of those who could not avoid knowing them. And as he was thus charitable whilst living, so in this respect as well as many others, being dead he still speaketh.
"In the character of a minister, he approved himself judicious, prudent, faithful and laborious. His religious principles, which were those commonly called Calvinistical, he ever maintained with a steady Christian zeal. But though he was strenuous for what he apprenhended to be the truth, yet he was fond of no extreme. While he strongly asserted the honours of free grace, he earnestly contended for the necessity of good works; preaching duty as well as privilege, and recommending holiness as the only way to happiness. And with what judgment, seriousness, and affection he insisted on these important and interesting subjects, some yet alive remember; as also the extraordinary weight which these his intructions received from his own very regular and pious example. he was inded a pattern to the flock, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spiit, in faith, in purity. Not was he without the pleasure of seeing his labours crowned with great and happy success; of which the very flourishing state of his community, at the time of his deth, will be considered a sufficient evidence.
"To all which I must add, that in the office of a tutor he failed not to persue the same ends, which animated his profession as a Christian, and his public albours as a Minister. He was always studious to promoite the real advantages of those under his care, endeavouring to lead their minds into a general knowledge of the most beneficial and important branches of literature. And though he judged a superficial education best suited to the years and capacities of some; yet he encouraged and assisted others in the persuit of a more finished one, conforming himself in the whole to the professed design of the founder of this institution.
"In the regular adunwearied disharge of all these several duties of his profession he spent near forty years; during which time he suffered little or no interruption of his work from the disorders incident to human nature. But at length, by a paralytic seizure, he received the notice of his approaching dissolution. In these circulstances he continued near a fortnight, still enjoying the perfect and undisturbed use of his reasoning powers, and still discovering the same serene, pious, and heavenly spirit which ran through his whole life. Within a day or two of his decease, he addressed himself to his dear friend and colleague, the Rev. Hugh Evans, with a preculiar solemnity, and an uncommon pathos, in these words: "I have done with man and the inhabitants of the world, and I have nothing now to rely on, but the merits of my dear Redeemer, who of God is made, I trust, unto me, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption: this is all my salvation and all my desire!" Sustained with these blessed hopes of the everlasting Gospel, he cheerfully submitted to the stroke of death, and quiety fell asleep in Jesus, September 17, 1758, in the 74th year of his age."
His funeral sermon was preached, but not printed, by the Rev. Hugh Evans, from 1 Cor, 27. I keep under my body, and bring it unto subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away. Thus the course of one holy apostolic man was finished.
If the list of Mr. Foskett's students now before me is complete, they were in number sixty-four, not including a pupil of the independent denomination, who afterwards lived and died a useful minister at maidstone in Kent13. Concerning the first of these sixty-four, this memorandum is preserved. "November the 5th, 1720, Mr. Thomas Rogers was proposed as a student to Mr. Foskett, recommended by the church in Pithay, and the ten pounds left by Mr. Terrill was granted to him." Mr. Rogers was from Pontypool, in Monmouthshire,and soon came to the close of his life. And as the first of Mr. Foskett's students, so the last of them was from Wales, namely Mr. Samuel George, who was pastor of the church at Wantage, Berks, and left an excellent character behind him. It is somewhat remarkable that the number of the English and of the Welsh students should have been exactly the same. For there were thrity-two of them Englishmen, and thirty-two belonging to the Principality. But I hope it will appear much more interesting to report, in the words of our ever dear High Evans; "that most of those who were under Mr. Foskett's care approved themselves truly serious, and with great reputation filled many of our churches." Here let us pause - and most heartily praise the great Head of the church, for his mercy and grace. I am sure they are willing to do it, who still survive of that respectable catalogue.
Blessed be God, there are a few of these good men yet in the wilderness. I know not whether there are more than six or seven; but as you will conceive a favourable opinion of the rest from them as a specimen, I withe pleasure recite their names.
BENJAMIN BEDDOME, A.M. at Bourton.|
JOHN OULTON, A.M. at Rawden, York.
EDMUND WATKINS, at Usk.
JOHN EVANS, now at Northampton.
BENJAMIN FRANCIS, A.M. at Horsely.
MORGAN JONES, L.L.D. at Hammersmith, and
JOHN EVANS, of Pentre.
May the latter days of these reverend ministers abundantly increase.
By such disciples14 we may, in some measure, form a judgement of the matter. And if it be conceded that his method of education was limited rather than liberal; severe rather than enchanting; employing the memory rather than the genius, the reasoning rather than the softer powers of the mind; in a word, if it be granted that Mr. Foskett was not the first of tutors, it is a piece of justice to his memory, and a debt of honour to the divine grace, most cheerfully to acknowledge, that some good scholars, and several of the greatest ministers who have adorned our denomination since the Reformation, were educated by him. Here I pass the names which have just been recorded. But were I to single out from his students a scholar, it would be proper to repeat what the late Dr. Gibbons said to me some years since, when several eminent linguists had been mentioned; "I think, my young friend, that Dr. Llewelyn is the first scholar we have among the Protestant dissenters." Were I to distinguish those who were eminent as scholars and preachers too, I should select not only from the short list which adorns a preceding paragraph, but produce several others, and among them I might mention,
ROBERT DAY, A.M. at Wellington.|
JOHN ASH, L.L.D. at Pershore.
JOHN RYLAND, A.M. at Northampton.
BUt there is one name I cannot omit - the name of the third student in the roll of the sixty-four; I mean that of the immortal
HUGH EVANS, A.M.
Mr Foskett finished his labours and entered on his rest; but instead of the father came up this son, who had in general the esteem and influence of a prince, wherever he was known, in all the earth.
[follows an account of Mr. Hugh Evans]
1. He married Mercy Neckless, who was born in 1673 and died in 1726.
2. Sir Thoams Geary and old Mrs Brandon, Mr. Benjamin Beddome's mother's grandmother, were either brothers' and sisters' children; and Sir John Blunt, one of the Directors of the South Sea Bubble, married a second cousin of Mr. Benjamin Brandon, the grandfather of Mr. Benjamin Beddome.
3. Mr. Hudson had a rich brother Peter Hudson, owner of powder mills, who left one son that failed in the world. Mr Peter gave fortunes to his three children, on of whom was wife to Mr. Berriman, the well known author of 2 vols of Sermons on the Gradual Revalation of the Gospel, preached at Boyle's Lectures. Mr. Peter Hudson had also a sister married to a Mr. Fuller, who had three children: Samuel, a hosier, who would fain have married Catharine Brandon, afterwards wife to Mr. Ford; Ann, married to Mr. Gould, related to Sir Nathaniel Gould; and Elizabeth, married to Mr. Weaver, a merchant, to each of whom Mr. Peter Hudson left 3000.
4. Mr Joseph Cope's first wife was sister to the Rev. Mr. Flavel of Dartmouth, who dedicated his Toekn for Mourners to them, calling them his dearly beloved brother and sister in the double ties of nature and grace; his flesh and blood.
5. Mr. Beddome's Hymn in Rippon's Selection, No. 430.
6. Mr Foskett preached on the same text three months before at the ordination of Mr. Jones of Exon --- Being in possession of the outline of the discource, should I ever live to print the history of the Baptist church in that city, among the history of the churches ready for publication, probably a sketch of the sermon may be given with it. EDITOR.
7. This good deacon's grandfather Mr. Richard Boswell was a shopkeeper at Bourton, and in the civil wars was an officer in the Parliament's army; an original of orders sent to him from his superior officer, dated January 1657 is in possession of the family. This military man was succeeded in the shop by his son Samuel, who married Miss Dickenson, sister Dr. Dickenson, a minister of the Established Church, by whom he had Richard Boswell, the worthy deacon of Bourton church. Richard's wife had a grandmother called Truby, whose maiden name was dennis Rook - it is thought she was first cousin to old Mr. Rook, who lived near Hooknorton, grandfather to Mrs. Wilkins of Cirencester. Our Mr. Richard Boswell died April 9, 1783, about 84 years old. The Rev. Mr. Wilkins preached at his internment from 1. Cor. xv. 57, and called him the Father of the village, as well as of the Christian Society to which he belonged.
8. In Mrs. Beddome good sense and good nature were crowned with what the scriptures denominate, Some good thing in the heart towards the Lord God of Israel. She was a person of strict piety; sincere in her friendships; affectionate in all her relations; scarcely ever out of temper; and even in torturing pains, for her patience the admiration of all who attended here. It has been said, that no one in the country was more generally belowed; no one whose death was more lamented. Her valuable life was spared to her endeared family in the marriage state 34 years. But a putrid fever, which proved fatal to many others in the village, terminated her days on January 21 1784. Mr. Wilkins preached a funeral sermon on the occasion to a crowded auditory, from 1 Thess. iv. 13. 14.
9. It may be had of Mr. Button, London; and Mr. James, bristol, price 1s 6d. bound.
(1) The Rev. John Ryland, senior, baptized October 2, 1741. See a pretty full account of him in the funeral sermon preached at his internment by Mr. Rippon.
(2) The Rev. Richard Haynes, of Burford, was baptized May 15, 1741. His dismission letter to the church at Bradford, Wilts, in March 1750, says, "About three years ago, after proper trials of his gifts, we called him to the important work of the ministry." Mr. Haynes was a minister of popular talents, and died at Bradford, on Tuesday, May 17, 1768: as he sat at dinner, he leaned his head on his bosom, gave three sobs and expired at once. The day before he seemed as well as usual. In the last year of his life 14 members were added to his flock. But he had been for some time apprehensive of his death, and requested that Mr. Hugh Evans of Bristol would preach on the occasion from 1 Tim i. 15, chiefly the latter part of the verse: Of whom I am chief.
(3)The Rev. John Reynolds A.M. baptized June 10, 1743. A sketch of his life was printed in No. 8 of the Register, page 41.
(4)The Rev. Nathaniel Rawlins, baptized Matrch 24, 1750, was under the care on the Rev. Hugh Evans in 1762, called to preach the gospel, nd had a certificatew of the same given him at Bourton, January 14, 1765, and was dismissed to the church at Towbridge the 5th of October, the same year.
(5) The Rev. Alexander Payne, a member of that branch of the church which meets at Stow, was baptized at Fairford, November 19, 1775, preached once at the usual church meeting, and was recommended to Bewdley (and afterwards to Bengeworth) as a person "whose life, conversation, temper, and experience, entitled him with regard of any religious society," with whom he might be connected. He is now pastor of the Baptist church at Walgrave, in Northamptonshire.
11. It will be recollected that this discourse was delivered at Bristol, on August 26, 1795, when it was hoped that the Doctor might survive his affliction; but at the close of the public dinner of the society, news came that he was no more. On its being announced, every countenance was marked with sorrow, and every voice pronounced the eulogy of tributary esteem.
12. This sketch was given by the Rev. Hugh Evans.
13. This was the Rev. Mr. Herbert Jenkins, whose son is now minister of the Presbyterian congregation at Banbury, in Oxon.
14. Since this discourse was delivered, we have been called to mourn the death of two of the worthies - Mr. Beddome and Mr. Watkins. The biography of the former may be seen in the register for January 1796, No. 12, p. 314. And a design has been conceived of publishing an Appendix to this Essay, in which shall be given, among several valuable papers, a short account of all those students of the Bristol Academy, who have died in the Lord; if material, sufficiently intersting, are speedily communicated.
© Jo Edkins 2015 - Return to Beddome index