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THE LATE REV. MR. BIDDULPH.
We received too late for last dulph married Miss Rachel Shrapmonth's publication the intelligence nell, daughter of Zachariah Shrapof the death of this eminently holy nell, Esq. of Bradford, Wilts, by and useful servant of Christ. As whom he had fourteen children, one of our earliest, long-continued, ten of whom he survived. Soon and most valuable correspondents, after his marriage he removed to we cannot but be deeply affected Bristol, and became assistant to the at his removal ; though well assur- Rev. Wm. Tandy, then minister of ed that our loss is his exceeding St. Mary-le-port, with whom he gain. The following account of shared not only the ministry of the our departed friend is compiled Cross, but the reproach of the from the Bristol papers and other Cross also; for whilst an eminent sources, and will we doubt not blessing attended the preaching of prove interesting to our readers.
the gospel by those two faithful The Rev. Thomas Tregenna servants of Christ, such was the Biddulph was the only son of the obloquy excited by a simple enunRev. Thomas Biddulph, of Pad- ciation of the doctrines contained stow, in Cornwall. He was born in the Articles and Homilies of July 5, 1763, in the parish of the Church of England, that even Claines, in Worcestershire, where some piously-disposed persons were his father had gone for the benefit ashamed to be seen entering the of his bealth.
church where these stigmatized Little is known of his early edu- principles were inculcated, and cation. At the proper age he went specific cases are recollected of to Queen's College, Oxford, where respectable parties quitting their he appears to have been a diligent carriage at the distance of a street, and successful student, and where that they might steal unobserved he proceeded in due time to the into the proscribed resort of reputed degrees of B. A. and M. A. fanaticism.
One remarkable incident has been In the early part of the year mentioned in connection with his 1796, the Sunday evening lecture college life, of a peculiarly afflic- of St. Werburgh's was established, tive description---the death of two and Mr. Biddulph was appointed young men, who were drowned
the first lecturer. This appears to while bathing in company with have been the first evening service him and his friend Mr. Joseph opened in a church in Bristol ; and Shrapnell. This event is said to it is well worthy of remark, that have produced in his mind very the very argument which of late deep religious impressions, the years has been alleged against effect of which was manifest in his evening services, was a prominent future life.
motive adduced at that time in Mr. B. was admitted to Deacon's favour of the adoption of the plan; orders, by the Bishop of Exeter, namely, ‘that some of the unprinSept. 26, 1785, to the Curacy of cipled and unhappy vagranis of Padstow, and was ordained Priest both sexes, who spend the Lord'sMay 18, 1788, by the Bishop of day hours in the streets of our city, Salisbury. He successfully la- may be expected to drop in amongst boured at Ditchett and Wans- the assembled worshippers'-- and brough, in Somersetshire ; at may thereby be brought under the Bengeworth, in Worcestershire ; sound of that word which is quick and at Congresbury, near Bristol. and powerful, and sharper than
In February, 1789, Mr. Bid- any two-edged sword.
Mr. Fisher Weare, of Ashton, the same lips, did but render the having conceived the design of promulgator of them a bye word establishing this eninent servant amongst the people. But the like of God in a more permanent and thing has happened to a Milner at ostensible post of duty, purchased Hull, to a Simeon at Cambridge, the presentation of the living of and to many other faithful servants Congresbury, with the express ob- of Christ, who by a patient contiject of effecting an exchange when nuance in well doing have lived any opening might occur in this down opposition, and stopped the city. Dr. Small having obtained mouths of gainsayers. And it the erection of a new church in his should encourage the Christian, parish, now called St. Paul's, and especially the Christian minisprocured its separation from St. ter, to go on steadily and perteJames's, and an arrangement was veringly in his work, even when made, whereby Mr. B. was nomi- assailed with unmerited reproach; nated to the Incumbency of St. not being afraid of the fear of man, James, to which he was instituted but “ jn meekness instructing those 21st Sept. 1799. He preached his that oppose themselves, if peradfirst sermon in St. James's church venture God will give them repentfrom Acts xxiv. 11. “ But this I ance to the acknowledgment of the I confess unto you, that after the truth.” way which they call heresy, so As a Preacher, Mr. Biddulph worship I the God of my fathers, was throughout the whole course believing all things which are writ- of his ministry very effective. His ten in the law and in the prophets.” style was peculiarly impressive, This sermon he published, dedi- but it owed its power not to any cating it to the Vestry and Inha- laboured rhetorical arts, but to bitants of the Parish as the ground- soundness of doctrine, perspicuity work of his after ministrations, of thought, felicity of illustration,
To one who has only contem- and gravity of diction; above all, plated the latter portion of Mr. to that spiritual savour which ran Biddulph's career -- ministering as through the whole, and which may he has been to a devout and atten- best be described in the language tive audience, gathered around of the Apostle, “ his speech and him from all quarters of the city – his preaching were not with the his preaching listened to with enticing words of man's wisdom, avidity by many of the more refin- but in the demonstration of the ed and polished of society, whilst Spirit and of power.” The doca numerous body of clergy sedu- trines which he preached were inlously employed in inculcating the deed
unfashionable at the same divine truths, have looked to time of the commencement of his him for advice and counsel, and ministry, and for many years after- , venerated him as their best earthly wards, but he boldly avowed, and exemplar; whilst, too, the prelates firmly defended them on all occawho for the last twenty years have sions; while the most honourable successively filled the See, have testimony that can be supplied in seemed to vie each with his
pre- regard to his preaching is to be decessor in the kindest expressions found in its actual results. The of their confidence and esteem to known instances of spiritual benefit one so worthy of them- to an ob- derived by his hearers are very server who has only witnessed these numerous ; and not a few who are halcyon days of Mr. Biddulph's or have been useful and emiministry, it might seem almost nent preachers of the gospel in the incredible that only thirty years Church of England, have owed ago the same truths, uttered by their first impressions. under God,
to his ministry; so that to him may defended,' his Conversion, not be appropriately transferred much miracle, the standing test of Divine of the beautiful eulogium so gene
influence in the Christian Church,' rously pronounced by the devout and his dialogues on Baptismal and eloquent Robert Hall, on an Regeneration. These · his works, equally distinguished clergyman, and others not specified, will Mr. Robinson of Leicester. Who praise him in the gates,' long after ever heard him without feeling a the removal of all his earthly acpersuasion that it was the man of quaintance. God who addressed him? or with- The last sermon wbich he pubout being struck by the perspicuity lished, was preached at the primary of his statement, the solidity of his visitation of the Archdeacon of thoughts, and the rich unction of Bristol, on the doctrine of justifihis spirit? He, being dead, yet cation by faith, which he called speaks : he speaks by his writings, • The Septuagenarian Confession he speaks from his tomb. His of Faith. This doctrine he found name will long combine with the to be, according to the language mention of this place a train of of the Eleventh Article of the solemn recollections; and many a
Church of England,
a most visitor of this city will indulge a
wholesome doctrine, and very full pious curiosity in inspecting the of comfort.' It was the subject of spot where he dwelt, and the his last discourse at St. Stephen's church, where he exercised his church, on Friday morning, April ministry.'
27th, when he preached on Isaiah As a Writer too, Mr. B. has xlii. 21; and was very much dwelt rendered great service to the cause upon in his last sermon at St. of vital religion, as well as to the James's, on the following Sunday Established Church. His object
His object morning, on Gal. v. 6. in this, as in every department of Mr. Biddulph was a must athis labours, was to serve his Divine tached member of the Church of Master, and not to rear a monu- England. He held very high ment to his own fame. His writ. views of the apostolic character of ings have been for the most part the church and its ministry. He either doctrinal and practical, or employed his pen most successfully else of a polemical nature, and in the elucidation of her formuladrawn forth by the theological ries, and was ever found in the controversies which incidentally foremost rank of her defenders. arose.
The peroration of his sermon Among the former class of his preached at the primary visitation works, his Essays on the Liturgy of the Archdeacon of Bristol, constand deservedly high, even by the tains a most animated passage, the admission of adverse criticism. reiterated burden of which is, Amongst his controversial writings, LOVE MY CHURCH.” It
and bis answer to Dr. Mant, on the. it was felt to be, the cygnea vox, subject of baptismal regenera- the last testimony of a true lover tion, which has recently been re- of our venerable establishment, and published as an antidote against those who were privileged to hear some of the doctrines of the Oxford him can bear witness with what Tracts) his Search after Truth, fervency it was uttered. Mr. Bidon the subject of some novel opi- dulph's principles and conduct as a nions in Theology.' His Chris- firm member of the church, afford tian charity exerting itself by a striking refutation of the calumny means of Missionary excitement for once extensively prevalent, but the correction of Hindoo immo- which the recent current of events rality,' his · Evangelical Preaching has tended pretty effectually to
wipe away :
that evangelical He regarded Popery as the preachers are necessarily low Upas, under whose penitential churchmen, or in other words, that droopings the fair fields of Ireland those who preach according to the are withering, and he laboured by letter of the Church's Articles and
means of scriptural instruction, and Homilies, must needs be disaf- the dissemination of the word of fected to her constitution and dis- God, to uproot the poison-tree, cipline!'
and plant in its place the tree of Closely allied in Mr. Biddulph's life,“ whose leaves are for the character with his attachment to healing of the nations." Nor did the church, were those inseparable he restrict his support to those concomitants of true churchman- efforts for the maintenance of Proship, loyalty and patriotism. He testantism, which are merely deknew, indeed, the boundary be- fensive. He knew well that it yond which it does not comport was by employing the sword of the with the sacred office of the minis- Spirit in direct attacks upon the ter of Christ to mingle in the strife strong holds of Popery, that Luof this world's politics. The uni- ther and his compeers became the form tenor of his course seemed to instruments of emancipating whole say to mere earthly politicians, regions from its thraldom; he what Nehemiah said to those that therefore inferred that God's bleswould have hindered him in bis sing may be looked for on similar labours, “I am doing a great means in the present day, and that work, why should the work cease it is the duty of churchmen not whilst I come down to you? only to defend truth, but to expose But on the other hand, he was far
On this principle he not from subscribing to the principle, only supported the Bible Society, that the minister of Christ ceases the London Hibernian Society, the as such to be a citizen-or is exo- Church of England Tract Society, nerated from the duties that arise but also the Reformation Society, out of that relation, He knew which is in its character strictly how to estimate the blessings of theological, and it was one of the our unparallelled constitution, and last acts of his life to have his was sensibly alive to the danger of name enrolled on the list of the tampering with so nicely poised a newly-formed Protestant Associapiece of mechanism, a machinery tion—thus in a most marked manwhich the wisest and best man ner recording his final protest could never have made, but which against Popery. the weakest and wickedest can
occurrence mar; he looked with anxious fore- with Mr. Biddulph, to be applied bodings at the swelling tide of to for counsel by young men under political agitation, as threatening serious impressions, avowing their to sweep away by one overwhelm- desire to enter the ministry, with the ing flood the time-hallowed insti- one object of labouring to promote tutions of our country ; especially the glory of God and the salvation of did he view with apprehension the
In such cases, when in the encroachments of Papal influence, exercise of a sound discretion, Mr. and the manifest workings of that B. considered that the applicants baneful leaven toward the extinc- were sincere and single-eyed in tion of the Protestant Establish- their professions, he encouraged ment in the sister island, and the them with his counsel and influconsequent endangering of Protes- ence; and when a defect of pecunitantism, with all its concomitant ary resources was the sole bar to the blessings in this highly-favoured progress of the candidate in his stucountry.
dies for the holy office, he was often
enabled by the help of friends, to ried into effect by his friends and remove that impediment. Hence congregation from respect to his originated that valuable institution, memory. Mr. B. deeply felt the the British Clerical Education So- obstacles so unwisely interposed ciety for educating and preparing in the way of building churches, suitable
young men for the minis- and strenuously advocated the retry of our church. By its means, moval of every restriction. and by Mr. B.'s private exertions, In the year 1798, Mr. Biddulph, it is conjectured that not fewer in conjunction with some other than a hundred clergymen have en- clergymen, cominenced a small tered the church under his auspices, theological miscellany, entitled many of whom are at this time • Zion's Trumpet :' from this our faithfully dispensing the word of work derives its origin. After a life in different parts of the short time the title was changed, kingdom ; and the benefit which the work itself enlarged, and its the Church of England has de- publication transferred from Bristol rived, from his zealous and wise to the Metropolis. Mr. B. howefforts to spread its doctrines in ever still continued for many years agreement with the Articles, Ho- a steady and valuable contributor. milies, and Liturgy, will not be His work on the Theology of the ascertained until the day shall early patriarchs, appeared in our come which will declare all things, pages in 1819-20, and he contiand when it will be said to him, nued his valuable assistance as long “ Well done, good and faithful as his health and other engageservant, thou hast been faithful ments would allow. over a few things, I will make thee It would occupy far too much ruler over many things, enter thou space to attempt even an enumerainto the joy of thy Lord.”
tion of the religious and benevolent It was by Mr. Biddulph's influ- societies and institutions in which ence and zeal, that the Benevolent Mr. B. took an active part. He Schools, and the Sunday Schools was a member of the Christian of his parish were originally for- Knowledge Society, and of the med, and the school-house in St. Incorporated Society for the ProJames's Barton erected. On the pagation of the Gospel in Foreign anniversary of the latter, which Parts : but whilst he cordially was held on the day after Christ- supported these institutions, he did mas-day, he always delivered ad- not hesitate to join at an early pedresses to the teachers and scho- riod the Church Missionary Society, lars, many of which will long be which now numbers among
supremembered. Au Infant School porters a considerable portion of was also erected in his parish a few the bench of Bishops, and thousands years ago. A district visiting so- of the most attached lay members of ciety was established eight years the church ; a society set up not since, for the benefit of which a to contravene or rival the labours collection was made after the last of other institutions, but to occupy discourse that he delivered to his ground not taken by them, to carry congregation.
the glad tidings of salvation far St. Matthew's church was begun beyond the limits to which the old and erected under his auspices and societies had for the most part by his exertions ; and consecrated restricted their operations, into the by the late Bishop of Lichfield in wide field of the heathen world, April 1836. He was exceedingly whose objects, in short, are coanxious to have another church extensive with the Saviour's partbuilt in the lower part of his par- ing command, “Go ye into all the ish, which it is hoped will be car- world, and preach the gospel to