The vast majority of believers live lives of obedience and live and serve unnoticed and by humanity unnoticed. Others do, what we would deem, great works by and for the Lord and yet somehow they are forgotten within a generation.
It would seem Richard Hobson of Liverpool would fit that last category. His life and ministry were exemplary, yet virtually no one has heard of him. His autobiography is all but unknown. I want to share a few things from his autobiography, “Richard Hobson of Liverpool: The Autobiography of a Faithful Pastor”. You can click the title to go to Amazon and purchase your own copy.
Richard Hobson was born in Donard, County Wicklow, Ireland on October 7th, 1831. His family lived in true poverty for most of his childhood and experienced the worst of the Irish Potato Famine.
Many stories Hobson shares in his book reveal great and miraculous answers to prayer.
Hobson’s autobiography seems to be a collection of stories and anecdotes taking almost directly from his diary. The chapters are divided in to 1 year segments and from each year he relates one story after another. Though some stories seem completely disconnected from the one which went before as you get into the book you soon see themes which give the book a unusual type of unity.
I want to share three thoughts about the book which will hopefully encourage you to get your own copy.
He Was Anglican
For the most part Hobson’s doctrine is Biblical and any Baptist would find themselves in agreement with him. About the only area in the book where disagreement would arise would be the matter of church government. And even in this area Hobson himself often notes the limitations he finds in the church of England.
He Was an Evangelist
Having shown faithfulness, ability and zeal as a teenage he found himself becoming an agent for the Anglican church. As an agent in Ireland he and a few others would move into devoutely Roman Catholic towns and seek to share the Gospel. They would establish Sunday Schools and Bible studies with groups and individuals. In many ways they were pioneer missionaries in their own country. The stories which come from those labours alone, which at times put their lives at risk, will stir your heart.
Hobson ultimately become the vicar of a parish in Liverpool. During his time there countless thousands came to Christ. J.C. Ryle was his “Bishop” during his years there and he and Ryle were great friends.
Hobson’s account of ministering in Liverpool seems like one testimony of witnessing after another. Everything he did was with the intention of bringing a soul to Christ.
Under his leadership, and I would say he was every bit the leader and administrator that we see in so-called “megachurches” today. His organisational and leadership abilities are easily seen as he gives accounts of how the Lord blessed and worked in his ministry. He was responsible for, what we call, discipleship with hundreds, multiple buildings, meetings for men, business men, factory workers, women, prostitutes, orphans, children, temperance meetings and the list could go on.
But not only were people saved but they were changed. When Hobson first started out in Liverpool, with just 5 people in a basement, there was a street known as “The Little Hell”. It was known as that because on this street lived numerous prostitutes. It was filthy, avoided by most and even feared. After several years of ministry, through direct witnessing and by numerous individuals coming to Christ that street soon had no prostitutes. Indeed, throughout the area the general morals and behaviour of people were changed for the better.
Hobson records that one of the problems that he faced were people moving away. He would find a family living in destitution, perhaps one or both parents alcoholics, the children barely clothed and rarely fed. Time and again Hobson would see such families won to the Lord, changed, they would get better jobs and move to better homes. Another poor family would move in and the story would start all over again.
He Was a Pastor