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Daily Light on the Daily Path and the Bagster Family

The origin of Daily Light on the Daily Path is closely connected with the Bagster family of England and the publishing firm which bore the same name—Samuel Bagster & Sons Limited.

Samuel Bagster was born in England, December 26, 1772, and brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord in a Christian home.

At age 7, he was enrolled in a school taught by the Baptist minister John Ryland, and at the close of his education Samuel was indentured to a bookseller. Upon completion of his apprenticeship, he opened his own bookshop in London, April 19, 1794, at the age of twenty-one. A devout Christian, he made it a rule that he would never sell any book which might be considered questionable in taste or subject.

Samuel Bagster married Eunice Birch, December 19, 1797 and they were blessed with twelve children. It was Jonathan (1813-1872), their tenth child, who was mainly responsible for the idea and the method by which Daily Light was compiled when he was himself a husband and father.

In preparing for daily family worship, Jonathan Bagster selected a Scripture text that the family joined together in prayer were asked to illustrate by further applicable Scripture texts. He was editor-in-chief, and his daughter Anne was his chief assistant.

The resultant Scripture texts "were carefully considered, discussed and arranged by common consent of all those present, after which the manuscript would be laid aside for prayer and meditation to see if there would be any guidance for further improvement. Sometimes it was weeks before it was felt that the reading for a particular day could not be improved and then that page would be sent to the printer to be set in type. Later it would be read and corrected and all the references would be verified. Each day for two years the readings were compiled, corrected and improved in this way until the whole book was ready for publication in two volumes, one of the Morning readings and the other of the Evening readings."

It was one of Jonathan's sons, Robert (1847-1924), who in about 1875, first published the collection of 732 Scripture readings—morning and evening for 366 days.

According to Robert Bagster—"This book was prepared entirely within our family, mostly by my father, Jonathan Bagster, his sister, and eldest daughter, while others of the younger ones (myself included), worked in a subordinate position. Few can appreciate the heart-searching care with which every text was selected, the days, nay weeks, of change, alterations, and improvements, until at last each page was passed."

Thus it is correct to say that Daily Light on the Daily Path was prepared by Jonathan Bagster and other members of his family, who were descendants of Samuel Bagster (1772-1851), founder of the publishing firm, Samuel Bagster & Sons Ltd. in 1794.

Prepared for WholesomeWords.org 2012.

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