Benjamin Beddome on the importance of knowing the truth, submitted by Prof. Renihan
Is preaching important? Should ministers labor over the Word of God so that they proclaim it faithfully to their people? Benjamin Beddome, the well-loved pastor of the Baptist Church in Bourton-on-the-Water England for 55 years in the latter half of the Eighteenth Century, preached a sermon from Luke 1:4 with this title: The Importance of Scripture Knowledge. In familiar style, the sermon had three main points, indicated as ‘observations’ on the doctrine of the text. The first observation is ‘that there are some things in which all real converts have been instructed . . . by the Spirit of God’; the second ‘that the certain knowledge of these things may yet be wanting, and is to be obtained’; and the third ‘that this certainty of knowledge is very desirable.’ Here is a sample of part of the third observation:
Certainty of knowledge tends to the improvement of our graces, the increase of our comfort, and our growing fruitfulness. The more knowledge the more holiness. ‘Sanctify them by thy truth,’ says Christ; ‘thy word is truth.’ The more knowledge, the more liberty, both with God and for God. ‘The truth shall make you free.’ The more knowledge, the more inward peace; the more understanding is enlightened in the truths of the gospel, the more firmly doth the soul rest itself upon God and Christ. ‘I know’ says the Apostle, ‘in whom I have believed.’ I can safely commit my eternal all into his hands, for I know that he is every way equal to his undertaking, and will faithfully discharge every trust reposed in him: in a word, the more extensive our knowledge is, the more universal will our obedience be. If the head be like the summer’s sun, full of light, the heart will not be like the winter’s earth, void of fruit; and, indeed, it is this that distinguishes between the knowledge of the hypocrite and the true believer; the one is barren and unfruitful, the other is animating and enlivening, assimilating and transforming: thus, when the Apostle prays for the Colossians, that they might be filled with all the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; he adds, that ye might ‘walk worthy of God unto all pleasing.’
Beddome is exactly right. Our people will grow in grace as they grow in knowledge. They may not be the most exciting things, but preaching and teaching are the best things. Brothers, devote yourself to them.