Gems from Calamy & Palmer: Obscure but Faithful

One of the great pieces of literature about the Puritan era is The Nonconformist’s Memorial originally penned by Edmund Calamy, and later revised and updated by Samuel Palmer. Many years ago, I obtained a single volume of the set, and find it fascinating and edifying. The contents of this volume, presenting some unknown or obscure men, are often poignant, moving testimonies of faithfulness and true pastoral zeal in love for Christ and his flock. This is from vol. 1, 390-391.

Mr. Anthony Sleigh, M. A. He was a candidate for the ministry when the Barth. act took place. He was educated in a private academy at Durham, and took his degrees at Edinburgh, 1660. He preached occasionally in the public churches of Cumberland and Westmoreland till 1662, when he was silenced by his Nonconformity. After some time, being ordained, he fixed among Dr. Gilpin’s old hearers, with whom he continued all the time of K. Charles’s reign; performing the various duties of his ministerial function with great faithfulness, notwithstanding all the discouragements he laboured under, both from the government and from the people. He was twice imprisoned for preaching, and once thrown into the dungeon for praying with the prisoners. As soon as he was set at liberty he returned to his people, and preached to them in the night-time when he could not have any other opportunity for it. For 20 years together, he had not above 20 shillings a year from his people. He continued with them after the toleration, though he had invitations to more profitable stations. Such was his love to his poor flock, that nothing could separate him from them but death. Towards the latter end of his time, he was violently tortured by the stone, which he endured with christian patience, till God called him to his rest, in 1702. In the whole of his life he was regular and blameless to such a degree, that the worst of his enemies could not in the least sully his reputation. He was a man mighty in prayer, and of a meek peaceable disposition. He loved not to be embroiled in the controversies of the times, though he was able and ready to give a rational account both of his faith and practice to all christian enquirers.