Dr. Andrew Gifford, whose father and grandfather had been pastors of the Pithay Church, Bristol, presided over the church in Eagle Street, London, nearly fifty years. His ministry was remarkably successful. He was a thoroughly learned man, and possessed excellent taste and judgment in regard to coins, manuscripts, and other relics of antiquity. In 1757 he was appointed Assistant Librarian to the British Museum, which situation he held till his death. The following anecdote is worthy of preservation: "Some gentlemen were inspecting the Museum, under the Doctor's guidance, amongst whom was a profane youth, who hardly uttered a sentence without taking the name of the Lord in vain. The Doctor, who had kept his eye upon him, was at length asked by him, 'Whether they had not a very ancient manuscript of the Bible there?' On coining to it, the Doctor asked the youth if he could read it. Being answered in the affirmative, the Doctor wished him to read a paragraph which he pointed out. It was, 'Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.' Their reverent youth read, and blushed; the countenances of his companions seemed to acknowledge the justness of the reproof, and the polite and Christian manner in which it was administered."1
Dr. Gifford died July 19, 1784, in the eighty-fourth year of his age, and was buried in Bunhill Fields, at an early hour in the morning, in compliance with his own wish, "to testify his faith in the resurrection of Christ, who arose early on the first day of the week, and like wise his hope of the resurrection morning at the last day."
1 Funeral Sermon by Dr. Rippon, p. 41.
[J. M. Cramp, Baptist History, 1871; reprint 1987, p. 451. - jrd]
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