Dr. David Benedict (1779-1874) was a man who studied the Word and loved books at an early age. He grew up in a household as one of many children. He lost his mother at a young age and his father died in 1836. He considered his mother to be a devoted Christian woman who more than likely impacted his spiritual life. He was also taught a work ethic which continued throughout his life. As a young boy, he had a love of reading that shaped him as an author later in life. He loved reading historical books which later led to his research habits.
Benedict became a Christian at the age of 20 and entered Brown University. He had to work to support this endeavor as his father was not able. He learned under the ministry of others and allowed himself to be mentored by pastors and teachers. He said of his conversion, “I became convicted of my sin and found the Savior.” He received his license to preach after inquiring about the Bible and its practices and soon began a ministry in a small church in Rhode Island. About forty people were converted in the first year of his ministry. He was passionate about the gospel ministry and his studying of the Word. The people in the town loved him and responded to his ministry. This began a twenty-five year ministry at the First Baptist Church in Pawtucket, RI.
He was not only a pastor, however. He was also a teacher and author. He taught men seeking instruction in the evenings and even published several Sunday School papers. His interest in Baptist history continued, and throughout his time as a minister, he collected materials to begin researching to learn more about the history of Baptists in America and other parts of the world. He soon published several books about Baptist history. He also selected and reviewed volumes of hymns. His works were in wide circulation. He had much to say about the topic of Baptist history; one work was even around 1,000 pages.
While he eventually retired from his ministry, he never retired his pen. He continued writing until he died. Benedict had a passion for sharing the Gospel ministry that he had known since he was a boy. He accomplished this both from the pulpit and from his many writings. It is hard to find men like Benedict who never stopped preaching the Gospel.
Holy Bible! Choicest Treasure
Blest inheritance below,
Purest source of pious pleasure,
Antidote to ev’ry woe
Holy Bible, Holy Bible
Speak to men of ev’ry tongue.
Holy Bible! speed thy passage
Fly with haste the world around;
Onward bear thy joyful message,
Heathen realms await thy sound,
All creation, All creation,
Waits for thy redeeming pow’r.
Tongues of rudest conformation,
Mastered by untiring care;
Words of strangest collocation,
Far away thy light shall bear,
Ev’ry language, Ev’ry language,
Onward still thy light shall bear.
Wand’ring Arabs, Tartars roaming,
Bushmen wild on Afric’s shore;
Jews and Turks with joy combining
Bow to thy converting pow’r,
China’s millions, China’s millions
Shall thy wondrous deeds record.
Golden gods, and pagan splendour,
Books which blinded priests adore;
Ancient systems torn asunder
All shall fall before thy pow’r;
Mighty Bible! Mighty Bible!
Millions yet shall feel thy pow’r.
Teeming presses all befriend thee,
Countless volumes fly abroad;
Saints and pundits join to aid thee,
Saving, conq’ring word of God;
Blessed Bible, Blessed Bible
Send thy saving health abroad.
David Benedict, The Baptist Quarterly, 1876, http://baptisthistoryhomepage.com/benedict.d.html.
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