On Wednesday past I noted the Puritan emphasis on the balance of divine sovereignty and human responsibility in the matter of conversion. Beddome, the 18th century Baptist minister of Bourton-on-the-Water, had this balance as well. His words quoted below are so similar to those of the Puritan Flavel (see PURITAN BALANCE ABOUT COMING TO CHRIST). He even has the same Scriptural references. In a sermon that he preached on Revelation 3:20, Beddome stated:
“If the heart be opened, it is the Lord’s doing. He alone who made the heart can find his way into it. …Though the Lord opens the heart, yet it is in a way perfectly agreeable to the party himself. We are not the less willing, because we are made so in the day of his power. That which is an act of power with regard to the Holy Spirit, is a voluntary act with regard to the human will.”
[Twenty Short Discourses adapted to Village Worship (London: Burton & Smith/Simpkin and Marshall, 1823), VI, 52].
Rightly is Beddome seen to be representative of a strain of Baptist life in the 18th century that is both evangelical and Calvinistic, and not at all hyper-Calvinistic.