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The Letters of John Berridge of Everton

By Nigel Pibworth
March 2016 | Review by John Harris
  • Publisher: Joshua Press
  • ISBN: 978-1-894400-62-6
  • Pages: 480
  • Price: 22.99
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Book Review

Among the many preachers used by God during the thrilling days of the eighteenth century revival in Great Britain, John Berridge has been somewhat overlooked.

The compiler of these letters attributes it to Berridge’s devotion to itinerant preaching, which left him little time for writing or organising groups of believers under his influence. But surely the main reason is his unusual personality, which was considered strange, even by the standards of the times in which he ministered. He well deserves his place in Spurgeon’s little volume Eccentric preachers [Editor’s note: see article on Berridge in ET, February 2016].

That quirkiness comes out wonderfully well in this extensive collection of his letters. They are full of quaint expressions and pithy illustrations. Berridge comes alive in this volume and it provides a valuable backcloth to the compiler’s earlier biography (The gospel pedlar: the story of John Berridge and the eighteenth century revival).

Despite (perhaps, because of) his eccentricities, God greatly blessed Berridge. He frequently preached to thousands in the open air, with many conversions following.

Pibworth has conducted extensive research to produce this book. Its value is enhanced by copious footnotes providing details of the recipients and the situations to which the letters refer.

This is a fascinating book which adds much to the history of those heady days of spiritual awakening. The author is to be thanked for his labours. There is an unfortunate transposition of headings on the contents page, but this is a minor flaw. Warmly recommended.

John Harris

Dewsbury

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