Book Review: “Sermons of a Seceder” – By William Tiptaft

Sermons of a Seceder, by William Tiptaft;

Hardback, with lovely coloured front; 222 pages;

Published by Gospel Standard Trust Publications.

All the extant sermons of William Tiptaft, the friend of J. C. Philpot, together a brief biography.

William Tiptaft (1803-1864), close friend of J.C. Philpot, and fellow seceder from the Church of England, needs no introduction to our readers.

We were more impressed when we first read the life of Tiptaft than in reading any other biography. Here was a man who sacrificed everything for Jesus’ sake. We have never read a life marked by more godliness. A man of some means as a minister in the established church, he came out “not knowing whither he went.”

He built the chapel at Abingdon at his own expense, literally over the years gave away his all to the poor, never took any payment for his services – till at length left with nothing, he was dependent on the kindness of the Lord’s people.

The great point in William Tiptaft’s preaching was that it was an awakening ministry. There was one occasion when a considerable number of people were talking together, when it emerged that each one was spiritually awakened under Tiptaft’s preaching. There were many such, not only in Abingdon but in other places, notably Oakham.

When J.C. Philpot became pastor of the churches at Oakham and Stamford, many testified that their spiritual beginnings were under Tiptaft’s ministry.

Sermons of a Seceder consists of seventeen sermons (or parts of sermons). We are grateful to Mr. James North for gathering these together and preparing this well-edited book. Till recently only one or two of William Tiptaft’s sermons have been known. One (which is included) is the famous sermon on, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.” This was preached in the Great Church, Abingdon, on December 25th, 1829, before the mayor and corporation and a very large congregation. The simple statements of divine truth caused a commotion in the town of Abingdon. (This was while he was still a minister in the Church of England.) Various editions of this sermon have been printed.

William Tiptaft’s sermons are by no means orderly; he wanders from his text and does not really expound it. The sermons are marked by solemn and close dealings with the souls of the hearers, pointing out the difference between true and false religion, and insisting on a vital, personal knowledge of the truth made known in the soul by the Holy Ghost.

On page 169 we could not altogether follow what was said about young Christians and about those who “depend wholly upon Christ.”

There is a really good, short biography of Tiptaft at the beginning, followed by five pages of “Reminiscences of Mr. William Tiptaft,” which were first published in 1875.

The book is beautifully produced.

By B.A. Ramsbottom

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Willian Tiptaft (1803-1864) was the close friend of J.C. Philpot who was his biographer. He was ordained into the church of England, but being quickened into spiritual life and convinced of the doctrines of grace, came to see this as ‘an unholy system’, and seceded from the established church in 1831. He built, at his own expense, the Abbey Chapel in Abingdon, and his ministry here and elsewhere was greatly blessed. Unlike Philpot, few of Tiptaft’s sermons have survived, and those which are extant have never before been collected together.

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