Useful learning - new book

A new book has just been published under the title Useful Learning: Neglected Means of Grace in the Reception of the Evangelical Revival among English Particular Baptists. he book is by Anthony R Cross and has a foreword by Ian Randall.
It contains a section on Benjamin Beddome. The blurb says
Explorations of the English Baptist reception of the Evangelical Revival often - and rightfully - focus on the work of the Spirit, prayer, Bible study, preaching, and mission, while other key means are often overlooked. Useful Learning examines the period from c. 1689 to c. 1825, and combines history in the form of the stories of Baptist pastors, their churches, and various societies, and theology as found in sermons, pamphlets, personal confessions of faith, constitutions, covenants, and theological treatises. In the process, it identifies four equally important means of grace.
The first was the theological renewal that saw moderate Calvinism answer "The Modern Question" develop into evangelical Calvinism, and revive the denomination.
Second were close groups of ministers whose friendship, mutual support, and close theological collaboration culminated in the formation of the Baptist Missionary Society, and local itinerant mission work across much of Britain.
Third was their commitment to reviving stagnating Associations, or founding new ones, convinced of the vital importance of the corporate Christian life and witness for the support and strengthening of the local churches, and furthering the spread of the gospel to all people.
Finally was the conviction of the churches and their pastors that those with gifts for preaching and ministry should be theologically educated. At first local ministers taught students in their homes, and then at the Bristol Academy. In the early nineteenth century, a further three Baptist academies were founded at Horton, Abergavenny, and Stepney, and these were soon followed by colleges in America, India, and Jamaica.
Cross is Emeritus Director of the Centre for Baptist History and Heritage and a Research Fellow at Regent’s Park College


A strange day in Maze Pond

I do not think I have noted this anywhere else. I had to read it several times to get it clear in my mind.  The point is that Ivimey describes how one Sunday in about 1739 after Beddome finished preaching 
"a deacon who was unfriendly to Mr. [Benjamin] Wallin's being brought into the pastoral office, without having even consulted his brethren in office or the church, stopped the members after the sermon, and proposed Mr. Beddome as a suitable person for the pastoral office; this however turned out to the mortification of this Diotrephes; for no one seconding the motion, the matter dropped of course." What a strange experience for young Beddome (then about 22) to have gone through.
(I discover I had recorded this back in 2011).

The heavenly calling

In a sermon on the heavenly calling from Revelation 17:14 Beddome closes thus
1. It is personal and particular. The general call is to all that come under the sound of the gospel: this singles out the very person, and speaks to him, as it were, by name, —" Zaccheus, come down;" "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" The former is drawing the bow at a venture; the latter directs the arrow to the mark. The one is directed to the ear, the other to the heart. Ministers stand at the door and knock; the Spirit comes with his key, and opens the door. "I have called thee by name - thou art mine."
2. It is a secret call; it is perceptible in its effects, but not in itself. This is beautifully illustrated by that saying of our Saviour, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit." Saul's companions heard a sound of words, but knew not what was spoken. The outward walk, the moral and religious conduct of the saint, are conspicuous to all; but the principles from which he acts, and the motives by which he is influenced, are known only to God and his own soul; in which sense the apostle might say, "As unknown, and yet well known." How different this call from that in the last day, when the angel commissioned for that purpose will say, in the hearing of all the world, "Arise, ye dead, and come to judgement!" 
3. It is always successful. Many other calls are not so, even where God himself is the speaker; for he "speaketh once, yea, twice, but man regardeth it not." But when he speaks with a design that we should hear and obey, that design is never frustrated. All the power, policy, and malice of earth and hell, cannot obstruct the operations of his grace, which, as they are sovereign and free, so they are irresistible; so that the enlightened sinner may say, with Job, "Call thou, and I will answer:" and as this call admits of no resistance, so it admits of no delay. "Immediately," says the apostle, "I conferred not with flesh and blood." He speaks, and it is done; .he commands, and it stands fast.
4. As it is effectual, so it is irrevocable. As the gifts, so the calling, of God is without repentance. God never repents that he has been the author of the change effected by his calling, nor the sinner, that he has been the subject of it. God is said to repent that he gave man a being, but never that he gave him grace. The exertion of his power towards his people is so far from creating any regret, either in him or them, that they both rejoice. There is joy both in the repenting sinner, and in heaven over him; and it is not likely that that should be revoked which gives such universal satisfaction. As it is happy for the sinner that his state is alterable, it is equally so for the saint that his is not so. A child of the devil may become a child of God; but a child of God shall never become a child of the devil again. The divine principle shall never be lost; but it shall, in the believer, be "a well of water, springing up to everlasting life." It came from heaven, and it will never leave the soul till it is brought thither.
Let us apply this subject, by inquiring whether we have been thus called. This is the great thing necessary to internal sanctification and all real religion. Here God's work upon us begins, and here begins our working for God. Let us then sit down to examine this matter; much, nay, all, depends upon it. No grace, no glory; - if we are not called, we shall not be crowned. Well might the apostle give that advice: "Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure." We can only know that our names are written in heaven by God's law being written in our hearts.
Let the saints especially, who are God's called ones, learn,
1 To be humble. Whatever they do for Christ is the fruit of what he has done for and in them; they have no reason to be puffed up with their best performances, for they have nothing but what they have received. The evil that is in them is from themselves, the good from God.
2 To be thankful. "I will bless the Lord," saith David, "who hath given me counsel;" those that are the subjects of God's grace should be the trumpeters of his praise. [ocr errors]
3 To be fruitful. Let not the grace bestowed upon you be received in vain; not only bring forth fruit, but show forth the high praises of Him that called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. Walk worthy of your vocation, my friends, and "as He that hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation."


Deacon William Collett 1743-1820

William Collett (1743-1820) the son of William and Elizabeth was born at Bourton on the Water on March 28, 1743. The birth was recorded by the Baptist Church. When Collett was 25 he was baptised in Upper Slaughter in June, 1768. Six years before, William had married Anne Matthews on May 12, 1762 at Upper Slaughter. Anne or Anna was also later referred to as Hannah.
In 1767 the couple’s third child twas born and shortly after she was expecting her fourth. The Upper Slaughter baptism register apparently confirmed William to be the husband of Anne. He was baptised on the same day as his much younger brother, Henry, probably on the same day
All of William and Anne’s children were born and later baptised at Upper Slaughter where, on October 27, 1772, it is established that blacksmith William Collett of Upper Slaughter took on land, the blacksmith’s shop and Pool’s Close, all as part of a 99-year lease. The owner of the property, from whom it was leased, was Mary Tracy the widow of Thomas Tracy. The lease also made reference to his sons William Collett and Joseph Collett.
By 1789 Collett had become a deacon.
William Collett died in 1820, aged 78, and was buried on December 10, 1820 at Bourton-on-the-Water, as recorded in the Baptist Church records. The Will of William Collett was made on October 1, 1801 and signed in his own hand. Within the short document there is no mention of his wife who therefore must have passed away between the birth of the couple’s last child and that time. William appointed three of his children (Thomas, Richard and Sarah) as executors of his estate. However, following his death it was only his daughter Sarah who was sworn in at the proving of the Will, which took place on June 5, 1822.

Clerk Jasper Bailey c 1740-1782

Jasper Bailey (c 1740-1782) was a wool stapler in Bourton, that is a person who buys wool from a producer, grades it, and sells it to a manufacturer. He was also the clerk or precentor in the Baptist church for many years. In 1768 he married Mary Paxford (1746-1788), Mary was the daughter of Andrew Paxford and Sarah Collett Paxford. Her siblings were Sarah (married to John Collett) and the twins John and Ann (married to James Beale). Their children were Ann, Esther, Thomas, William (1771-1844), Elizabeth, Benjamin, Sarah. We know that in 1765 their maid died.
Bailey's early death must have meant tough times for his widow and her many children one of whom, William, became a pastor in Datchet, Oxfordshire. He wrote in a letter of the religious education his mother gave him, "owing to which," he observes "I was kept, by the grace of God, from many snares and temptations to which others have been a sacrifice." He served an apprenticeship with a grocer and draper at Bedworth, Warwickshire, before removing to a situation at Gosport, Hampshire, where he came under the ministry of David Bogue (1750-1825). It was through Bogue that he was saved, although hardly even aware of it at the time.
From Gosport he moved to Henley and then to London, where he was baptised by William Smith (1749-1821) of Eagle Street, on October 9, 1796, then aged 25.
He did not join the church at this time and there is a gap in his history until 1811 when "moved by a weakly state of health and a growing sense of the importance of eternal things, he began to record many of the exercises of his soul, and keep a strict watch over his heart." He records
seven years of domestic happiness and a prosperous run of business, thankfully but expresses much concern lest these should lead him astray.
At this time he belonged to the Independent church in Windsor but was increasingly unhappy about not being in a Baptist church. Eventually resigned while still maintaining a friendship
with the church and its pastor, Alexander Redford (1759-1840). He then joined the Baptist church in Datchet under John Young from Staines, soon becoming a deacon. He began to preach from time to time an in 1815, when Young stepped down because of illness, he became the regular preacher, being ordained in 1819. Although not blessed with great success he was enabled to sustain the work.
In 1832 he wrote the Association letter. Ill health only interrupted his ministry seriously late in 1843,. The church was able to install his successor (John Tester) before Bailey's death, which came on June 30, 1844.


Will of Beddome's mother

I Rachel Beddome of the City of Bristol make this my last Will and Testament if form and manner following whereas I have in a Deed dated October the 29th 1757 agreed that my son Benjamin Beddome shall within a certain time after my decease therein expressed have the sum of two hundred pounds, now it is my will that the said sum of two hundred pounds be allowed him out of my effects as also that if he has a mind to sell the Estate in the Parish of Saint George near Bristol and the house in Montague Street in which I now live within one year after my decease and the money arising from the said sale amounts to less than eight hundred and fifty pounds the deficiency shall be made up out of my effects so that he may have the whole after my death One thousand and fifty pounds.
Item: I give and bequeath to my son Joseph Beddome and his heirs the sum of six hundred and fifty pounds but not so much besides what I am bound to Mr. Joseph Grimes for on his account but including all that both principal and interest be it more or less.
Item: I give and bequeath to my granddaughter Rachel Beddome and her heirs the house in back Lane with all its appurtenances in which Mrs Bull now lives.
Item: I give to my good friends the Reverend Mr John Thomas and Mr. Peter Holland the sum of five hundred pounds in trust that it may be put out in good security and the interest given to my daughter Mary Bright during the term of her natural life and after her decease or any time before if she thinks fit such part of the interest or principal as she chuses and after her death the whole principal to be given to my granddaughter Mary Brain when she arrives at the age of twenty one and her heirs but in case my said granddaughter Mary Brain dont arrive at the age of twenty one or leaves no issue I give it to my son in law Edward Bright for the term of his natural life and after his death to be divided equally between the families of my sons Benjamin and Joseph Beddome and Martha Ludlow where there are children or a child and also equally between the children of those families it is also my will and desire that if my son in law Edward Bright and my daughter Mary Bright have a mind to improve the said sum of five hundred pounds in trade then my trustees the Reverend Mr John Thomas and Mr Peter Holland shall put the same sum of five hundred pounds into their hands upon finding sufficient security for its forthcoming to the ends and purposes before mentioned.
Item: I give to my good friends the Reverend Mr John Thomas and Mr Peter Holland the sum of five hundred and fifty pounds in trust to be paid after my decease to my daughter Martha Ludlow altho' covert by her present husband or any other husband to her own separate use to be dispoased of when or how she shall think fit in her lifetime or by her last will properly witnessed and her receipt notwithstanding her present or any other coverture shall be a sufficient discharge to the said trustees the Reverend Mr John Thomas and Mr Peter Holland for any deficiency in my assets the same if by reason of any losses thereby my will is that each of my four children shall bear an equal share of such lossses to make up the said deficiency.
Item: I give to my honoured friend the Reverend Mr John Thomas five pounds and to my good friend Mr Peter Holland the sum of three guineas for their trouble as trustees.
Lastly I nominate and appoint my son Benjamin Beddome aforesaid Sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament this Tenth day of February in this year of Our Lord Seven Hundred and Fifty Eight.
Rachel Beddome sealed delivered and declared to be the last Will and Testament of the Testatrix to us who in her presence and at her desire set our hands as witnesses thereto: Bernard Foskett, Hugh Evans, Samuel George.

This is an additional document, which was not signed, giving her views on where personal items of hers should go ....
I make my private will February the tenth 1758 as followeth my ????.
I leave to my daughter Beddome of Bourton my ring
??? to my brother-in-law Foskett for his wife and after him to my son Benjamin and after him to his eldest son John Beddome, and my letters and writings I give to my daughter Ludlow that are not of use to my Executor with the boxes that they are in and I give to my daughter Ludlow the clock and the mahogany desk with the writings in it as I said before that are not of use to the Executor, and I give to my daughter Ludlow my black silk gown and what plain black silk I may have by me to make it up. I give to my daughter Ludlow my aunt and uncle's copies in pictures and the cabinet in the parlour
I give to my daughter Bright my workt couch workt with my own hands and at her death I would have her give it to my daughter Ludlow. I give to my daughter Bright any two workt pictures she may chuse except the Ten Commandments I promised to my son Benjamin
My great easy chair I leave to Mrs Tommas
My black sattin gown I leave to Rachel Beddome in consideration of my daughter Ludlow's wearing her mother's black suit of clothes made of --- of three sorts as Mr Hoskett got her upon marriage but if my daughter Beddome has a mind to make up my sattin gown for herself then it is my Will she should have any sattin Hatbands or Hatband I have by me to help make it up for herself and she may give the child a gown instead of it but I have gave or shall give Joseph twenty pounds in consideration that Patty and Sally wore some of his wives old gowns they wore out but three old ones and they never had a good one and I give Joseph the use of a 100 pounds from January 18 1758 in consideration of the same viz my daughters wearing some of his wifes things and in consideration of his giving --- guineas and Patty money to buy her clothes. If I live long four pounds a year will pay him, if I don't he will be a greater gainer by my death.
I give my black chest of drawers to Rachel Beddome
And my walnut chest of drawers to Mary Braine
And I give to my brother Joseph Brandon my silver mugg and a couple of silver spoons that were my aunts.
I give to my Counsin Sarah Biggs my purple damask gown and a crepe gown if I have one and a quilted coat and a cloak and a hood and three or four aprons and 4 shifts and two or three caps and some Cover usseys and two or three Muslon Hankerchiefs and whatever other things of mine my daughter Bright and my daughter Ludlow shall think proper and what they send I would have put in a box and my Executor to pay the carriage to London. Cousin Briggs is my first cousin by father and mother's sides and I hope is a good woman and very poor.
My ?Ferret I will to my son Benjamin
Item I give and bequeath to the Pithay Church
to help buy a parsonage house a hundred pounds
Item I give to Mrs Heritage three guineas3.3.-
Item I give to Betty Kendall my maid three guineas3.3.-
Item I give to Mrs Heritage three guineas3.3.-
Item I give to Mary Carpenter for her own use1.1.-
Item I give to Mrs ?Belcher of ?Healy1.1.-
Item I give to Elizabeth Strange as was my sons maid1.1.-
Item I give to cousin Sarah Biggs2.2.-
Item I give to Auster Church as Mr. Beddome desired me20.0.-
All as I am worth besides my household goods at the writing of this, 3200 pounds when Mr. Fosskett is paid the 350 pounds that I and my husband borrowed of him I have left upon Will including the two estates of my sons £025.3.-
I would have my household goods praised after my death but left to stand as they be if Mr Foskett desires it for it be for half a year when they are to be sold. I would have every child beginning at the oldest to take any one piece they shall think paying down the price at which they are appraised and they may thus so again in the same order as often as they please but not to sell anything again but only such things as they will keep for themselves.

[Perhaps Elizabeth Strange was another daughter of the deacon Joseph Strange, sister to Nanny].


Reference to Beddome by William Steele in 1777

In a letter written from William Steele 1715-1785, brother of Anne, to his 24 year old niece Mary Steele 1753-1813 (who married Thomas Dunscombe only in 1797) on Tuesday, September 9, 1777, Steele refers to a smallpox epidemic in Bristol that necessitates his returning to Broughton via Amesbury, He hopes to “see Stonehenge”. He mentions a rumour that Beddome's protege Mr [Nathaniel] Rawlings has been asked by Trowbridge Baptists to leave Bristol [or Broughton?] and return to Trowbridge as their preacher, working in the clothing trade with his wife's relations. He says that he met Mr and Mrs Bedome [sic] at Mr Norton's on September 8 and Beddome (by then over 60) preached at Broadmead on the Sunday morning (presumably September 7). He also describes Henry Kent who “has become so great a beau” in second mourning. The letter includes a postscript from “Amanda” [Miss Amanda Froud] to “Sylvia” [Mary Steele].
Robert Norton 1744-1808, was a Bristol clothier, married to Hannah Evans, daughter of Hugh and Sarah Evans.