A Short Biography of William Gadsby
We now come to an eminent and powerful minister of the Gospel of a different type–William Gadsby, of Manchester (1773-1844), whose labours extended to well-nigh every part of the country, and who by his sermons, hymns, and other writings exerted a wide spiritual influence, and his interest in the poor and needy in Lancashire and elsewhere rendered his public advocacy of their cause of great value. In him we have a man of eminent public spirit, as well as of originality and spiritual force.
His parents were very poor, and he had but little education; this he nobly remedied in later years. He was originally a ribbon-weaver, then a stocking-weaver. The first time he preached was in 1798, in an upper room in a yard at Bedworth, from the words, “Unto you therefore which believe, He is precious.” (1 Pet. 2:7)
His Hymn Book, now so widely known, was first published in 1814, his desire being “to have a selection of hymns free from Arminianism and sound in the faith, that the Church might be edified and God glorified.”
He removed to Manchester in 1805, and while over the Church there he traveled over 60,000 miles and preached nearly 12,000 sermons. He exercised great local influence, and his labours in the cause of Bible teaching to the young were continued to the end of his life.
By John E. Hazelton