This article is an abridgement of a chapter due to appear in the forthcoming ‘The British Particular Baptists’ vol 2, edited by Michael Haykin and published by the Particular Baptist Press.
Over a span of two hundred and twenty-four years (1668-1892) four extraordinary men occupied the pastorate at New Park Street Chapel (previously Carter Lane Baptist church, Southwark). Of the four (Keach, Gill, Rippon and Spurgeon) Rippon is possibly the least remembered today. Yet his contribution to Particular Baptist history was immense. The period of his sixty-three year pastorate was the time of flowering for the denomination. Humanly speaking he did more than anyone else to foster links between Particular Baptists. He edited the Baptist Annual Register from 1790 to 1802 which kept a generation of Particular Baptists in touch with each other and with other Christians nationally and internationally. Wide-spread adoption of his Selection of Hymns meant that Particular Baptists were introduced to many of the great hymns of the Revival period. Due to him, for two generations the majority of English-speaking Particular Baptists literally sang from the same hymnal. And it was Rippon who chaired the inaugural meeting of the General Union of Particular Baptist churches in 1812. Spurgeon’s assessment of his predecessor at New Park Street was pithy: ‘Beloved at home, respected abroad, and useful everywhere.’
Excerpt from Reformation Today, January-February 2001, no 179, pp. 15-24