Benjamin Keach was born in Buckinghamshire, and worked as a tailor his early years. At the age of 15 he was baptized and began preaching at 18. He was the minister of the congregation at Winslow before moving in 1668 to the church at Horsleydown , Southwark where he remained as pastor for thirty-six years (1668-1704). This congregation later became the New Park Street Church and then moved to the Metropolitan Tabernacle under the pastorship of Charles Spurgeon.
As a representative of this church, Keach went to the 1689 General Assembly and subscribed the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. The signing of the confession was no mute doctrinal assent on the part of the church, for in the same year they entered into a Solemn Covenant which reflected, at the practical and congregational level, some of the doctrines of the confession. There was a secession from Horse-lie-down in 1673 and the Old Kent Road congregation was formed. Spurgeon later republished the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith for use in the congregation.
Keach wrote 43 works, of which his Parables and Metaphors of Scripture may be the best known. He wrote a work entitled The Child’s Instructor which immediately brought him under persecution where he was fined and pilloried in 1664. He is attributed with the writing of a catechism commonly known as Keach’s Catechism, although it is possible the original was compiled by William Collins.
On the pillory at Aylesbury Mr. Keach defended himself and the truth with great boldness. The jailer frequently interrupted him. and finally the sheriff himself threatened to have him gagged. The people, contrary to custom, had no words of mockery for the good, persecuted minister, and no offensive missile was hurled at him. An Episcopal minister who ventured to assail Mr. Keach in the pillory was immediately reproached by the people with the ungodliness of his own life, and his voice was drowned in laughter. At Winslow, where he lived, he suffered the same shameful penalty, and a copy of his little book was burned.
Also known for promoting introduction of hymn singing in the Baptist churches; his Horslydown church was probably the first church in England to sing hymns, as opposed to psalms and paraphrases. Keach’s hymnbook was published in 1691. Thus insighting a heated debate in the 1692 Assembly of Particular Baptists.
To see a list of Keach’s complete works go here.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: “Keach, Benjamin“. Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- Cathart (1881), p. 637-638
- Benjamin Keach Biography from Spurgeon’s Autobiography
- Keach, Benjamin (1698). “The Display of Glorious Grace:The Covenant of Peace Opened: Sermon 1, Isaiah 54.10 Latter Part” (PDF). Published Sermons. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 April 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- Brackney, William H. (2004). A Genetic History of Baptist Thought: With Special Reference to Baptists in Britain and North America. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press. pp. 33, 66–68, 74, 105, 116–117.
- Cathart, William (1881). The Baptist Encyclopaedia. Philadelphia: Everts.
- Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Keach.
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