William Gadsby (1773–1844) was an English Baptist pastor. In addition to pastoring, Gadsby planted churches, and was an early leader of the Strict and Particular Baptist movement in England. Although he was not formally educated, Gadsby was regarded by his contemporaries as an excellent preacher and pastor who championed the cause of social justice and opposed the established Elizabethan Church.
He was born into poverty and only briefly attended Nuneaton church school, starting work as a ribbon weaver at age 13. By age 17 he had forgotten how to read. His conversion to Christianity was also at this age, he stated: “But when the Lord was graciously pleased to quicken my soul, being then just 17 years of age, and showed me something of what sin really was, I really feared it then, and a turn in my mind took place of a very different kind… I was then solemnly and blessedly led to believe in God’s free mercy and pardon.”
In addition to his excellent preaching and pastoring ability, William Gadsby was also a prolific writer of hymns, one that has stood the test of time is “Immortal honours rest on Jesus’ head” Gadsby’s own hymnbook, which is still used in some churches today, can be downloaded from the internet in PDF formate.
Immortal honours rest on Jesus’ head;
My God, my portion, and my living bread;
In Him I live, upon Him cast my care;
He saves from death, destruction, and despair.
He is my refuge in each deep distress;
The Lord my strength and glorious righteousness;
Through floods and flames He leads me safely on,
And daily makes His sovereign goodness known.
My every need He richly will supply;
Nor will His mercy ever let me die;
In Him there dwells a treasure all divine,
And matchless grace has made that treasure mine.
O that my soul could love and praise Him more,
His beauties trace, His majesty adore;
Live near His heart, upon His bosom lean;
Obey His voice, and all His will esteem.