1717 - 1795 Author of "Peace of Conscience" Benjamin Beddome was born at Henley-in Arden, Warwickshire, January 23, 1717. His father was a Baptist minister. He studied at various places, and began preaching in 1740. He was pastor of a Baptist society at Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, until his death in 1795. In 1770, he received the degree of M.A. from the Baptist College in Providence, Rhode Island. He published several discourses and hymns. "His hymns, to the number of 830, were published in 1818, with a recommendation from Robert Hall." Montgomery speaks of him as a "writer worthy of honour both for the quantity and the quality of his hymns."
--Annotations of the Hymnal, Charles Hutchins, M.A. 1872.
Beddome, Benjamin , M.A. This prolific hymnwriter was born at Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, Jan. 23, 1717, where his father, the Rev. John Beddome, was atthat time Baptist Minister. He was apprenticed to a surgeon in Bristol, but removing to London, he joined, in 1739, the Baptist church in Prescott St. At the call of this church he devoted himself to the work of the Christian ministry, and in 1740 began to preach at Bourton-on-the-Water, in Gloucestershire. Declining invitations to remove to London or elsewhere, he continued pastor at Bourton until his death, on Sep. 3, 1795, at the age of 78. Mr. Beddome was for many years one of the most respected Baptist ministers in the West of England. He was a man of some literary culture. In 1770 he received the degree of M.A. from Providence College, Rhode Island. He was the author of an Exposition of the Baptist Catechism, 1752, in great repute at the time, and reprinted by Dr. C. Evans in 1772. It was his practice to prepare a hymn every week to be sung after his Sunday morning sermon. Though not originally intended for publication, he allowed thirteen of these to appear in the Bristol Baptist Collection of Ash & Evans (1769), and thirty-six in Dr. Rippon's Baptist Selection (1787), whence a number of them found their way into the General Baptist Hymn Book of 1793 and other collections. In 1817, a posthumous collection of his hymns was published, containing 830 pieces, with an introduction by the Rev. Robert Hall, and entitled "Hymns adapted to Public Worship or Family Devotion, now first published from the Manuscripts of the late Rev. B. Beddome, M.A."
Preface dated "Leicester, Nov. 10, 1817." Some of the early copies bear the same date on the title page. Copies bearing both the 1817 and 1818 dates are in the British Museum. The date usually given is 1818. Some hymns are also appended to his Sermons, seven volumes of which were published l805—1819; and over twenty are given in the Baptist Register of various dates.
Beddome's hymns were commended by Montgomery as embodying one central idea, "always important, often striking, and sometimes ingeniously brought out." Robert Hall's opinion is just, when in his "Recommendatory Preface" to the Hymns, &c, he says, p. vii.:—
"The man of taste will be gratified with the beauty and original turns of thought which many of them ex¬hibit, while the experimental Christian will often perceive the most secret movements of his soul strikingly delineated, and sentiments pourtrayed which will find their echo in every heart."
With the exception of a few composed for Baptisms and other special occasions, their present use in Great Britain is limited, but in America somewhat extensive. One of the best is the Ordination Hymn, "Father of Mercies, bow Thine ear." Another favourite is “ My times of sorrow and of joy," composed, by a singular coincidence, to be sung on Sunday, Jan. 14, 1778, the day on which his son died, most unexpectedly, in Edinburgh. "Let party names no more," is very popular both in Great Brit, and America. "Faith, His a precious gift," "Witness, ye men and angels, now," and the hymn for Holy Baptism, "Buried beneath the yielding wave," are also found in many collections. Beddome's popularity is, however, now mainly in America.
[Rev. W. R. Stevenson, M.A.]
Beddome is thus seen to be in common use to the extent of about 100 hymns. In this respect he exceeds every other Baptist hymnwriter; Miss Steele ranking second.
The authorities for Beddome's hymns are: (1) A Collection of Hymns adapted to Public Worship, Bristol, W. Pine, 1769, the Collection of Ash & Evans; (2) Dr. Rippon's Selections 1787, and later editions; (3) Sermons printed from the Manuscripts of the late Rev. Benjamin Beddome, M.A.,... with brief Memoir of the Author, Dunstable & Lond., 1805-1819; (4) Dr. Rippon's Baptist Register, 1795, &c.; (5) The Beddome Manuscripts, in the Baptist College, Bristol; (6) and Hymns adapted to Public Worship, or Family Devotion now first published, from Manuscripts of the late Rev. B. Beddome, A.M. With a Recommendatory Preface by the Rev. R. Hall, A.M. Lond., 1817. In his Preface, Mr. Hall gives this account of the Beddome Manuscript:— "The present Editor was entrusted several years ago with the MSS, both in prose and verse, with permission from the late Messrs. S. & B. Beddome, sons of the Author, to publish such parts of them as he might deem proper. He is also indebted to a descendant of the Rev. W. Christian, formerly pastor of the Baptist Church at Sheepshead, Leicestershire, for some of the Author's valuable hymns, which had been carefully preserved in the family. From both these sources, as well as others of less consequence, the present interesting volume has been derived."
-- Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
Beddome, Benjamin, pp. 121-124. Other hymns in common use:—
1. Great God, before Thy mercy-seat. (1817). Lent.
2. Great God, oppressed with grief and fear. (1787.) Reading H. Scripture.
3. How glorious is Thy word, 0 God. Holy Scripture. From "When Israel, &c," p. 124, i.
4. In God I ever will rejoice. Morning. From his Hymns, &c, 1817.
5. Jesus, my Lord, divinely fair. (1817.) Jesus the King of Saints. Begins with stanza ii. of “Listen, ye mortals, while I sing."
6. Rejoice, for Christ the Saviour reigns. Missions. Altered form of "Shout, for the blessed, &c," p. 123, ii.
7. Satan, the world, and sin. (1817.) In Temptation.
8. Thou, Lord of all above. (1817.) Lent.
9. Unto Thine altar, Lord. (1787.) Lent.
10. Ye saints of every rank, with joy. (1800.) Public Worship.
The dates given above are, 1787 and 1800, Rippon's Selection; and 1817 Beddome's Hymns.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II