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your reading with prayer, for the Bible, and then we see the fact teachings of the Divine Spirit of explained. “The man who appromise. David was not unac. proaches the Word of God, in bis quainted with the contents of the own wisdom, shall not find what Bible, and bad experienced the the fool shall discover, under the effects they produced when he teaching of Divine wisdom.” (Cewrote the 119th Psalm; yet in cil's Works, vol. ii.p. 483.) One the 18th verse he prays,
Open reason why Christians do not unthou mine eyes that I may be- derstand the truth, as it is in Jehold wondrous things out of thy sus, with greater elearness, and law.” The scripture is not to be enjoy more comfort from it, is a understood by a careless survey ; secret dependance on their own it must be a search, a humble, dili-wisdom; they do not sufficiently gent, sincere, and persevering en consider the native blindness of quiry, attended by the blessing the mind, and the absolute necesof God, or nothing can be under-sity of divine illumination. God stood to purpose. “If thou hath said, “ them that honour criest after knowledge, and lift-me, I will honour ;" from which est up thy voice for understand-maxim he never departs; you ing; if thou seekest her as silver, must, therefore, honour him by and searchest for her as for hid seeking his assistance, in undertreasures, then shalt thou understanding his word, and he will stand the fear of the Lord, and honour you by "enlightening the find the knowledge of God." eyes of your understanding, that Past light will not do for future you may know what is the hope guidance; you must be continu- of his calling, and what the riches ally looking to him who makes of the glory of his inheritance in his word a lamp to guide to a the saints; and what is the excity of habitation. It is not al. ceeding greatness of his power to ways necessary, on this occasion, us-ward, who believe according to go into your closet, or to fall to the working of his mighty upon your knees; an ejaculatory power?" petition offered to God, when you Denham. peruse his word, may be of great use to bring light into your mind. If you feel your ignorance, your
HISTORY need of perpetual instruction, and come to the fountain of knowledge BAPTIST CHURCH with godly sincerity, it will not be in vain. “A very extraordinary thing,” said one, “if I, who
ALCESTER, have read the Bible over and over in the original languages, have written criticisms and com
We regret that the earliest rements upon it,-a very extraordi- cords of this church seem to be nary thing, that I should not be lost ; but, amongst its law paable to discover that meaning in
is a transaction relative to the scriptures, which is said to the ground on which the present be so plain, that a way-faring meeting-house stands, bearing man, though a fool, shall not err date 1640, in the 16th year of in discovering."" And so it is Charles I.; at which time, it is extraordinary till we open this evident, that a Baptist church ex
isted at Alcester. One of the who were baptized at Alcester ; members living in 1712, was bap- and of John Beddome, received, tized at Aleester, as early as 1655, by letter, from Mr. Keach's and stands at the head of a list, church, in London, September taken in the former year, as the 19, 1697. In the same year as oldest member.
the above list, we find that breAbout that time, seven of the in-thren Beddome, Foskett, and land Baptist chạrches “agreed to John Ryland, sen. were appointed hold fellowship together, for their messengers to the association, mutual comfort and edification ;" held at Leominster; and on the and after agreeing on certain ar following year, 1713, the former ticles of faith, as their bond of two were messengers to the assounion, which were sent to each ciation at Bromsgrove. From the church for approbation, their first change of hand in the church meeting was held at Morton-in- book, after this, it should seem Marsh, on June 26, 1655. Two that Bernard Foskett, removed years afterwards, this association about the
1714. was held at Alcester; namely, on From the minutes of 1712, we the 15th, 16th, and 17th of Sep- find it was agreed to break bread tember, 1657, at which meeting, at Bengworth, and Henley-inthe circumstances of the church Arden, the two branches of this at Leominster, formed the pre- church, every two months; and, ceding year, were canvassed, it agreed further, to introduce singwas acknowledged as properly ing of the praises of God, into coustituted, and received into the public worship. The following association.
year, as a means of keeping up The ministers and officers of communion with one another, the church, at this period, are and demonstrating to the world entirely unknown; but when the our union and peace;" it was regeneral assembly of the Baptist solved, that once in the year, as denomination was held in Lon- many members, at Alcester, as don, September, 1689, the church possible, should visit Bengworth at Alcester sent, as messengers, and Henley branches, to comJohn Willis, their minister, and mune with them at the Lord's a private brother, John Higgins, Supper; and that there should whose name appears in the list of be annually a general meeting of members, as baptized ten years the whole church, at Alcester, at before this appointment.
wbich its most distant members The present church book com- were expected to attend. znences in 1712, with a list of From this time to 1724, the members, at that time, in the minutes of the church are of a hand-wsiting of the celebrated private nature ; but on the 30th Bernard Foskett, who was re- of May, in this year,
four deacons ceived, by letter, from Mr. Pig- were ordained, by the laying on got's church, London, April 29, of the hands of their elders, Mr. 171), and who probably officiated Beddome and Mr. How. The as pastor, or elder, of the church. following day, Mr. Beddome was The members, in this list, amount dismissed to the church in the to upwards of one hundred, Pithay, Bristol, and it seems Mr. among which are the names of How was 'removed, by some the grandfather, and great grand- means, soon after; for in 1726, father of the present Dr. Ryland, while destitute of a pastor, it was
resolved that Robert Dorsett ter that by Mr. J. Biggs, now of should be authorized to adminis- Devizes, until March, 1796. In ter the Lord's Supper to either the same month, 1797, Mr. of the branches as often as re- Sprague, of Tiverton, came among quired, till they obtained a proper this people; but being dissatisofficer for that service.
fied with the situation, he returiSoon after this, Mr. John Over-ed to Tiverton the following Nobury, received by letter, from Tet-vember. In March, 1798, Mr. bury, Oct. 20,1729, became pastor James Smith, minister of the first of the church at Alcester; and in church at Pershore, came on in1731, brother Belcher was allow- vitation, and remained as pastor ed to administer the Supper at until 1812. Henley. On April 30, 1732, bre- lu the spring of 1803, the memthren living in and about Eves-bers of this church living at Henham, were dismissed to form a ley, were dismissed to form a seseparate church, at Bengworth, parate body, and their present having Mr. Jacob Mower for their pastor, Mr. Stephen Barker, was. ninister. About ihe same time, ordained in the September folthe three persons last mentioned, lowing. assisted at the formation of the In the month of August, 1787, church, in Cannon-street, Bir- a place of worship was opened mingham.
Astwood, Worcestershire, After a long and respectable about five miles distant, and reservice of the church, Mr. Over- gularly supplied by the Alcester bury died at Alcester, May 28, minister. Mr. Smith residing at 1764, and lies buried under a Astwood, and finding the labours stone, in the middle of the meet- of both congregations too much ing-house. In December, 1766, for his health, resigned the pastorMr. Thomas Skinner was received ship of Alcester, in 1812, with a into the church, and ordained view of presiding over the people pastor, September 7, 1768. He in his own neighbourhood. 'A remained highly esteemed among friendly dismissal was therefore them till his death, February 15, given to the late pastor, and twen1782. A large marble tablet, in ty-five members, to form a sepathe meeting-house, records his rate church, in September, 1813. memory and worth. Mr. Benja. This is the third church that has min Spencer, a member of the happily arisen from Alcester, over church in Grafton-street, London, which Mr. Smith is still their va. then a student at Bristol, was in- lued and excellent minister. vited to visit Alcester, and was In consequence of these changes, ordained in August, 1785. But Joseph Price, a member of Can. soon afterwards, he gradually ma- non-street, Birmingham, then as nifested bis having embraced cer- sisting at Oxford, was invited to tain sentiments, contrary to those Alcester, and ordained pastor, which are believed by this so. September 15, 1813, (see Baptist ciety, to be scriptural. His mi. Magazine, Vol. VI. p. 85.) Since nistry was therefore no longer ac- that time, a large and promising ceptable, and a separation took Sunday-school, of nearly 200 place.
children, has occupied the attenThe greater part of the followtion of the congregation. Last ing year, the church was served year, a small piece of ground by Mr. William Pendred; and af joining the meeting-house, was
purchased by voluntary subscrip-Wainsgate, assisting. Mr. Coltions; and this year, two school- linge was originally a member of rooms, opening into the meeting the Baptist church at Bacup, house, have been erected, which whose pastor was the Rev. Joseph answer the double purpose of Piccop. Mr. Collinge abode at enlarging the place of worship, Shipley not more than two years and affording very comfortable --changed his views--became an accommodations for instructing Independent minister-settled at the children, both in public and Kendal, and died there a few private. The meeting-house was years since. re-opened, after this addition, on In 1774, the church at Shipley July 9, 1817. “ Let thy work was favoured in Providence to appear unto thy servants, and thy receive Mr. George Haines as its glory unto their children; and pastor. He was previously a let the beauty of the Lord on member under the Rev. B. FranGod be upon us : and establish cis, of Horsley, and dismissed thou the work of our hands upon from that church to Shipley, us.”
July 10, 1774. He was a man
eminent for godly simplicity in HISTORY
his manners, and in all his conduct. It pleased God abundant
ly to bless his labours-many BAPTIST CHURCH were added to the Lord the
congregation grew rapidly, and
great grace was upon them all. SHIPLEY.
Though this good man has been
dead thirty-eight years, his name JOSEPH GAWKRODGER was and memory are still precious to baptized at Rawden, by the Rev. many. After Mr. Haines, Mr. Jonathan Brown, 1750; began to Robert Gaze. Previously to his preach in a private house, at the coming to Shipley, Mr. Gaze was Holt, in Windhill, 1752, A Bap-settled at Dunstable, Bedford. tist church was formed in 1758, shire. Heremoved from thence to at Shipley, composed of members Shipley, in Nov. 1781, and in May, from the Baptist church at Raw- 1782, took the small-pox and den, and persons baptized at died. Mr. Gaze gave every eviShipley.
dence of sterling talent and Ground was bought and a piety; but “ his sun went down chapel built at Shipley, October, while it was yet day.” It is be1758. In this chapel Mr. Gawk lieved that he was originally a rodger preached till 1767, and native of Norwich. then removed to Bridlington. December 22, 1782, the Rev. The church' did not increase John Bowser was settled at Shipmuch during his ministry. ley: a native of Sunderland, He
April 21, 1769. After the had been preaching for some church here had been destitute time at Sunderland, Whitehaven, of a pastor about two years, Mr. and at Bolton, in Lancashire, Luke Collinge was settled here: previous to his removal to Shipthe Rev. James Hartley, of Ha- ley. At his coming, he was neworth; William Crabtree, , of cessitated to follow his former Bradford; John Oulton, of Raw business to support his family; den; , and John Fawcett, of the congregation, however, increased, galleries were put op, moved to Bradford: took a place and some years afterwards a side which had been used as a cockwall was taken down, and the pit, in 1753. chapel enlarged to its present December 4, 1753, a church size, 13 yards by 14 inside, and was formed at Bradford, consistgalleried on three sides. Mr. ing of 23 members; the day folBowser laboured here, with vari- lowing, Mr. Crabtree was ordainous success, till May, 1812, wben ed over them: Messrs. Smith, be quitted his situation. He still Hartley, and Lord, assisting. Mr. remains an inhabitant of the vil. Crabtree had been a member lage, but has not been able to under Mr. Smith, at Wainsgate, preach for some time.
and dismissed thence to Bradford. August 13, 1814, J. Mann, the 1755.-Left the coek-pit, and present pastor at Shipley, re- | built a chapel capable of holding moved from Benslem to Shipley. 400 or 500 hearers. Ministry very On his taking the oversight of the much blessed : 60 joined in two church, its number was 56; at years, and soon grew in number present, March 30, 1818, its to 130. number is 103, although he has 1770.—Thirty members were had to follow eight members to dismissed to Farsley, a village the grave.
five miles distant from Bradford, The eburch at Shipley has, and a church formed there. since its formation, sent out three 1782.-A new ehapel built, to ministers:
contain about 700. Ebenezer Cook, dismissed to 1803.-Resigned his cbarge, the church at Dunstable, July, after labouring at Bradford more 1786. Died there.
than 50 years. Miles Oddy, to Haworth, June, 1805. -The Rev. Wm. Stead1787. Yet labouring there. man, D.D. settled at Bradford in
William Wade, to Ogden. Now November; first year of his setliving at Hull,
tlement at Bradford, added by Shipley.
J. M. baptism 46 to the church; and
between November, 1805, and
February, 1818, added 217.
1817.- Enlarged the chapel,
to seat 900, and accommodate BAPTIST CHURCH
300 Sunday-school children.
Cost €1000,-collected it all BRADFORD.
among themselves within a year,
Sent out to the ministry:
Mr. John Beatson, Huli, 1770; 1751 and 1752.-A number of persons met for divine worship in who had previously been among the house of Elizabeth Frankland, the Independents. at Maningham, near Bradford.
Mr. William Rowe, about the In 1752, this people invited Mr. same time. Died at Farsley, James Hartley, of Haworth; Mr.
1807.-Mr. John Shepherd. Richard Smith, of Wainsgate;
Now at Upton on the Severn. and Mr. Henry Lord, of Bacup, Now at Plymouth Dock.
1810.-Mr. Thomas Wilcocks. to preach to them. Mr. Hartley
1816.-Mr. William Copley. baptized eight. Some from the church at Rawden united with
Now at the Academy: the eight above, and they all Shipley.