William Gadsby, Fragments (Complete)

Odd Sayings

21 Feb 2022, by

My dear Friend,—You request me to send you some of Mr. Gadsby’s odd sayings. If they are, odd, they are striking, when we consider their spiritual signification. I wish I could send the beautiful truths he conveys in them. He is continually lashing Arminianism. Free-will, he terms a filthy dirty lane, and the poor creatures in it go hobbling along besludged all over. He warns us not to stir a step to hear an Arminian minister, as we each of us carry one in our own bosom. He tells us he has one that gets up with him, and has the assurance to breakfast, dine, drink tea, and sup with him. Our hearts are full of lumber and rubbish, which he earnestly prays for the Holy Spirit to consume. He says we all squint so terribly when we look at Christ that, instead of looking full at our Jesus, we are looking first on this side and then on that, at some supposed merit of our own. He compares the devil to a quack doctor, going about with sleeping-draughts, and says God’s children are often too…

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The Fear Of Death

15 Feb 2022, by

I do not know that death ever appears to me more terrific than when I feel a fear that I shall die in darkness; I do not want such a death as that. But I can tell you what the Lord has brought me to know a little of, and to feel a little satisfaction in; and that is, that if God should see good that I should be in darkness, I am but level with the Lord Jesus Christ. He was in darkness, and cried out in darkness, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

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The Dark Cellar

10 Feb 2022, by

Go into a close, dark, damp cellar; you can see nothing. But open the shutters. How frightened you are! Toads, spiders, and reptiles of various sorts are there. So with your hearts. You don’t see them as they really are until God lets in his light. In our country there is a weed called cadlock; but it never appears on the surface until the land is ploughed up. So with your hearts. When God puts his plough and turns up the fallow ground, O what weeds appear to your sight!

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Some people say we make man into a mere machine. Nay, he is worse than a machine; for a machine will keep still if you will let it alone; but man is continually at work, doing evil.

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There Is The Sign

27 Jan 2022, by

The late Mr. Hatton related the following, stating that the circumstance was well known to him: Many years ago the late Mr. Gadsby was going into the country to preach, and, as was his wont in his younger days, was walking; when he was joined by a “simple faith” professor: Religion soon became the subject of conversation. Mr. G. maintained that true faith was not man’s work but the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of his people, and that without this there can be no real satisfaction for a quickened soul, hungering and thirsting after an assurance of his salvation; while his companion maintained that it was the duty of every man to believe. “There is the Word,” said he, “and we ought to take it, and take comfort from it.” After walking some miles, they came to a roadside house, swinging over the door of which was a sign: “Refreshments may be had here.” “I am very tired,” said the stranger. “Let us go in here and have some refreshment.” “O no;” said Mr. G. “There is the sign (the Word). Let us read it and pass on; for, according to your doctrine, that is sufficient.”

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Feeling And Sight

19 Jan 2022, by

When God, in his rich grace, takes a poor sinner manifestively in hand, the first thing he does is to give life and light; and when this divine life and light are communicated, the dead soul is quickened, and the dark soul is enlightened. We begin to see sin in the light of God’s countenance; even our secret sins are laid open to the conscience, and we both feel and see that it is an evil and bitter thing to sin against God. The pure life and light of God, placed in the conscience against our vile deadness and darkness, horrifies the soul; and though we may not be able to account for our feelings and sight, we do find that we have such as we never had before, and such as we cannot get rid of. We now become, in soul and feeling, real sinners before a heart-searching God, and really tremble at his word; and in our souls we both feel and see that all our sins have been against a holy, just, and good God. We both feel and see that God is pure and we are impure, that God is just and we are unjust, and that there is an awful disparity between God and us; and we cry, “What poor, vile sinner like me can stand before such a holy God, whose law I have broken in so many ways, and whose majesty I have so often insulted?”

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The following article was taken from William Gadsby’s work, “The Present State of Religion”, where he dealt with the law as a rule of conduct for the Christian.

Dear Sir,

Friend G. informs me you wish me to write to you, and inform you what law it is that I say the believer is in no sense under. I therefore write to say (though I cannot help thinking you must know) that it is the law given to Moses on Mount Sinai, commonly called the moral law, or ten commandments, recorded in Exodus 20, and hinted at, with its curses annexed to it, in Deuteronomy 27. This is the law I intend, and do venture to say that the believer in Christ is in no sense whatever under it; so that it is not a rule of life to…

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What A Wonder!

5 Jan 2022, by

Some say they believe I shall get into heaven; but it will be only just. Well; if I’m in, I’m in; and what a wonder that will be!

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In the December, 1835 “Gospel Standard,” under the head, “The Pool of Bethesda,” is the following:

“Through your valuable ‘Standard,’ an impotent body, who is hungry and thirsty, and whose soul, at times, fainteth within her for a ray of hope in the manifestation of an interest in a precious Redeemer’s blood, is desirous of having a few words from ‘A Lover of Zion,’ on Jn 5:7. Does he, as a valiant soldier of truth, who has experienced the workings of God the Holy Spirit upon his own soul, think it possible for a poor, weak, feeble sinner to come to that pool, – waiting there for the moving of the waters, who is walking in darkness and having no light, and who, feelingly a dog, would gladly eat of the crumbs which fall from the children’s table; and living and dying in that state, does he think there is any hope for such a soul?”

Then, in the Dec. No., is the answer by Mr. Gadsby:

“Dear Friend,—I apprehend that an explanation of John 5:7, would not enter into your real desire; because the disease of the impotent man there referred to was not of a spiritual, but of a natural kind. Nevertheless, there are some things connected with his ease which may very properly be brought forward to illustrate the methods of God’s grace to…

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24 Dec 2021, by

When in London, I had some conversation with a Jew rabbi, and I asked him what was the meaning of the word “Selah.” He said it had a threefold meaning: 1, Mark well; 2, Praise ye; 3, For ever. Now those who are brought by God the Holy Ghost to mark well the Lord’s dealings with them shall, sooner or later, praise him here below and shall praise him for ever above. And on these three heads I shall, as the Lord shall enable me, preach my sermon this afternoon.

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Strong Faith

16 Dec 2021, by

Page 65, First Edition Of Gospel Standard. To The Editors Of The Gospel Standard:

In looking over the first number of the Gospel Standard, I was certainly gratified to perceive the confidence with which some of the writers assert their certainty of salvation, &c. &c. The most valuable legacy which Jesus, “the true God and eternal life,” has left to them who believe in his name, is, “a good hope, through grace” which enables them to look beyond the cares and sorrows of a vain world, rejoicing in the hope of a glorious immortality beyond death and the grave; and the highest attainment which the humble Christian, walking in the light of his Father’s countenance, can arrive at on this earth, is, when he attains to that” assurance of faith,” which enables him to rejoice all the day” with undisturbed confidence in the smiles of his Redeemer’s face. The promises in God are all Yea and Amen, to the believer in Christ. Every word of the Messiah, and of his…

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Does it not seem like a contradiction, when the apostle prays that the Ephesians might “comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge,” &c.? How can they know that which passeth knowledge? Why, look at the prayer. It is that they may know, that they may comprehend, with all saints, what is the breadth, Ac. That is, that they may have the saints’ share of that blessed knowledge; that their souls may be full of it.

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The Lord’s people, the church, are called his bride. Will he permit his bride to be sent to hell while he is in heaven?

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“What!” say you. “Do you think that a child of God, really called by grace, has anything about him that loves sin?” I am beyond thinking, I know it; and it plagues and tortures his poor mind sometimes till he hardly knows where to look. But when God opens to him a little of Solomon’s prayer, he gets into it: “What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, then hear thou in heaven.” There are some people that do not appear to know the meaning of it; they do not feel any heart-plague within them. Well, then, they are not…

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Sunday Schools

19 Nov 2021, by

Just, before this volume was completed, it was suggested to me that my father’s views on Sunday Schools ought not to be omitted. I have, therefore, copied the following from the first number of the Sunday School Visitor, a little magazine published by mc in 1844, and to which my lather was a contributor.—J. G.

A Few Thoughts Upon The Utility Of Sunday Schools

My Fellow-Mortals,—Allow me to observe that I really do consider that, next to tho preaching of tho glorious gospel of the Messed God, and a spiritual attendance to the order and ordinances of God’s house, Sunday Schools are one of the best institutions in the kingdom; and I am sorry to see such a want of zeal for the promoting of them among some who profess to maintain the discriminating truths of God’s grace. Because some abuse them, and make them into what they call nurseries for the Church, are we to discard them, or stand aloof from them, and say that because others make an improper use of them, we will not use them in a proper, becoming, and useful way? To me this appears highly wrong. I have heard some persons remark that too much…

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If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. But before we can so confess our sins, the Holy Spirit must impart life into our souls; for the dead know not anything.

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Being A Few Poetical Remarks, Occasioned By A Visit To The Breakwater, In Plymouth Sound, On The 30th Of January, 1822.

“The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid; the depths also were troubled.”—Psalm 77:16

On Wednesday last, a pleasant day.
When winds did not their force display,
The sea assumed a gentle form,
Nor did the sky denote a storm,
The Breakwater I went to view,
A bulwark great and useful too.
The day began and finish’d bright,
And truly ’twas a pleasant sight.
Amidst the ocean I could stand,
And view the deep on either hand.
With friends I spent six hours or more…

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The New Law

27 Oct 2021, by

In the Gospel Standard for 1839, amongst the “Gleanings” was one, attributed to Mr. Gadsby: “The old covenant they broke, and the old law they broke, and break; but they cannot break the new covenant, neither can they break the new law.”

In reply to this, the next month, Mr. Gadsby wrote:

“Messrs. Editors,—In your number for this month (January), page 24, amongst your gleanings, is a remark to which the signature ‘W. G.’ is put, which I altogether deny as ever falling from my lips, It is that the believer ‘cannot break the new law.’ I believe that the blessed Lord writes the glorious substance of every divine law in the…

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A Dream

21 Oct 2021, by

“And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.”—Genesis 37:12

Reader, I’ll not take up much time
To apologise, in prose or rhyme;
My dream, such as it is, you see;
Whate’er’s amiss belongs to me.
No doubt some men will say, “‘Tis naught,
And with enthusiasm fraught;”
While others will it much esteem,
And nay that I the truth, did dream.
Perhaps ’twill find a welcome place,
In such as live on sovereign grace;
If so, then am I quite content,
Nor shall I count my time ill spent;
But such as live on wit and self,
Will hardly have it on their shelf,
But with a cheerful mind attempt
To hold it up to vain contempt.
Well, be it so; I rest secure…

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If the gospel is no rule of obedience (as numbers declare), I am at a loss to know what the apostle means when he says, “The mystery which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets; according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known unto all nations for the obedience of faith.” (Rom 16:25) It is by faith “we wait for the hope of righteousness.” (Gal 5:5) We are “saved by grace, through faith.” (Eph 2:8) The word does not profit, if not “mixed with faith.” (Heb 4:2) “Faith is the substance of things hoped for.” (Heb 11:1) “The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” (Rom 1:17) God purifies our hearts by…

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I recollect once asking an Arminian how a soul must be saved; to which he replied, “By the blood of Jesus Christ.” I said, “Do you believe in that Scripture passage, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin?“ He replied, “I do.” “Do you believe that the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient alone of itself to save a soul from hell?” He said, “I do.” “Then what are sinners sent to hell for?” To which he replied…

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And sometimes I have thought, and I still think,—and more than think, I believe,—that the methods God takes in the dispensations of grace are such that he will put it put of the power of the devil to be able to say that there is any circumstance whatever that is a match for grace. If the whole church of God were to be taken to heaven, like the dying thief and some others, as soon as God is pleased to quicken their dead souls, the enemy might have it to say, “Ah! The Lord knows very well that if they were to live long I should get them after all. I should upset their confidence and bring them back into my power; and, therefore, he is obliged to take them to heaven.” Now the Lord says, “No, Satan. They shall go through a variety of…

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The Hedge

23 Sep 2021, by

Job complained that he was hedged in (Job 3:23), that he could not get out, and Satan complained that he could not get in. Jeremiah also complained that he was hedged in and could not get out. (Lam 3:7) Both he and Job, in their fretfulness, overlooked the fact that the same hedge which kept them in, free from danger, kept Satan out.

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Manchester, 1841

Messrs. Editors,—I am concerned to know how we may assure ourselves that a passage of Scripture, when applied to the mind, is by God the Holy Spirit, and not by the evil one who lieth in wait to deceive. If you or some of your correspondents will endeavour, through the medium of the Standard, to bring me to a satisfactory conclusion upon that matter, it will be greatly esteemed by your constant reader,—ELIZABETH.


“Elizabeth” says she is “concerned to know how we are to assure ourselves that a passage of Scripture, when applied to the mind, is by God the Holy Spirit, and not by the evil one who lieth in wait to deceive.”

Now to me it appears that what comes from the Lord is sure to lead to the Lord, and what comes from Satan leads to Satan. Therefore, whatever portion of the Word of God is applied to the mind by the power of God the Holy Ghost, it will invariably lead the mind, in some good degree, to act in conformity to the nature of that very truth which is applied. The Word of God is designed for the real benefit of his people. Now if any branch of this blessed word is applied to the conscience by the Holy Ghost, it is to answer some of the above purposes. If it is a passage of reproof or rebuke, it will lead them to feel a solemn check, and they will fall under it before the Lord and confess their sins with deep humility and prayer; and if it be a passage of admonition, of exhortation, or caution, it will lead them to self-examination, and to…

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According to some people, Christ died to give all a chance of being saved!

I do not know that I hate anything more in my soul than to hear that. It makes Jesus Christ so little that He should do so much, and after all only to get us a chance of being saved. Why, if a man is set up in business, you see how often it happens that he fails in it; and if man cannot manage the…

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We maintain that it is the right for a minister of Jesus Christ to preach the gospel in the hearing of all that hear him; and what we find fault with is not preaching the gospel to all that hear but men pretending that they are authorised to offer the gospel to all that hear them. We consider that to preach the gospel is one thing, and to offer the gospel is quite another thing. Hence when a man gets up into a pulpit, and says, “In God’s name I offer Christ, and pardon, and salvation, to every soul of you present; if you reject this offer, you may never have another; therefore come now and take Christ and salvation, while you have the opportunity; today is the time, tomorrow may be too late, and recollect that it is your own fault that you are not saved for I have this day offered you Christ.” Now, we consider that this is no more like preaching the gospel than a poor deluded Papist, counting his beads, is like the true worship of God. To preach or proclaim God’s will is one thing; but to offer…

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To all Young People, of both sexes, into whose hands this may fall.

Let me address you as one who fears the Lord, and who wishes you well.

Beware of deceivers! Remember, you are in a world of woe, beset with gins, and traps, and snares, and, as you grow to years of maturity, an evil heart, the which you all possess, will naturally incline to evil; and as some of the most destructive sins appear the most flattering and pleasing to a carnal heart, therefore the danger is the greater. When youth have once been left to the dishonourable practice of fornication or uncleanness, and thus deprived themselves of that common virtue which it becomes them, as the creatures of God and for their own well-being in this world, to maintain, it is a rare thing for them ever to retract, unless constrained by the grace of God; and very often the first fall into the sin of uncleanness is the beginning of their ruin, laying a foundation for their…

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The Lord loves his children too well either to let them sin at ease or live at ease; and though free-willers say that the discriminating grace of God leads to licentiousness, God’s quickened family know better; and no others are capable of judging or being witnesses, for they know nothing about it. It is to the glory of grace that the Lord will chasten his people for their sins; not in vindictive wrath, but in…

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About sixteen years ago, I heard a young man from Hoxton (Association Baptist) Academy make the following remarks: “I now offer you Christ, and Christ stands with open arms ready to receive you. Yea, he begs, and prays, and beseeches you all to come unto him and have life; and yet some of you will not come. Nay, it is as if God the Father came and…

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Our Schoolmaster

26 Jun 2018, by

“The law is our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.”

So it reads; but if you will refer to your Bibles you will see the words “to bring us” are in italics, showing that they are not in the original. “The law worketh wrath,” therefore cannot bring us to Christ. It rushes up to a man, if I may so speak, takes him by the throat, and says…

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