Calamy, Edmund

, an eminent nonconformist divine in the seventeenth century, was the sou of a citizen | of London, and born there in February 1600. July 4, 1616, he was admitted of Pembroke-hall 5 in the university of Cambridge. In 1619, he took, the degree of bachelor of arts and in 1632, that of bachelor of divinity. He shewed himself very early no friend, to the Arminian party, which was the reason that he could not obtain a fellowship in that society, even when he seemed to be entitled to it from his standing, as well as from his learning and unblemished character. At last, however, he so far conquered all prejudices, that he was elected Tanquam Socius of that hall, which entitled him to wear the cap, and take pupils, but he had no share in the government of the house. Dr. Felton, the pious and learned bishop of Ely, had so great a regard to his diligence in study, and unaffected zeal for religion, that he made him his chaplain, and paid him, during his residence in his family, uncommon marks of respect. His lordship gave him likewise, as a farther mark of his favour, the vicarage of St. Mary’s in Swaffham- Prior, in Cambridgeshire, in which capacity he did much good, though he diid not reside on his cure by reason of its small distance from the episcopal place. But after the death of the bishop in 1626, Mr. Calamy being chosen one of- th$; lecturers of St. Edmund’s-Bury, in Suffolk, he resigned his vicarage, and applied himself wholly to the discharge of his function at Bury. He continued there ten years, and, as some writers say, was during the greatest part of that time a strict conformist. Others, and indeed himself, say the contrary. The truth seems to be, that he was unwilling to oppose ceremonies, or to create a disturbance in the church about them, so long as this might, in, his opinion, be avoided with a safe conscience; but when bishop Wren’s articles, and the reading of the book of sports, came to be insisted on, he thought himself obliged to alter his conduct, and not only avoid conforming for the future, but also to apologize publicly for his former behaviour. He caine now to be considered as an active nonconformist, and being in great favour with the earl of Essex, he presented him to the living of Rochford in Essex, a rectory of considerable value, and yet it proved a fatal present to Mr. Calamy; for, removing from one of the best and wholesomest airs in England, that of St. Edmund’sbury, into the hundreds of Essex, he contracted such an illness as broke his constitution, and left behind it a dizziness in his head, which he complained of as long as he Jived. Upon the death of Dr. Stoughton, he was chosen | minister of St. Mary Aldermanbury, which brought him tip to London, 1639. The controversy concerning churchgovernment was tlu n at its greatest height, in which Mr. Calainy had a very large share. In the month of July 1639, he was incorporated of the university of Oxford, which, however, did not take him off from the party in which he was engaged. In 1640 he was concerned in writing that famous book, called Smectymnuus, which himself says, gave the first deadly blow to episcopacy, and therefore we find frequent references to it in all the defences and apologies for nonconformity which have been since published. In 1641 he was appointed by the house of lords a member of the sub-committee for religion, which consisted of very eminent divines, whose conduct, however, has been differently censured. He made a great figure in the assembly of divines, though he is not mentioned in Fuller’s catalogue, and distinguised himself both by his learning and moderation. He likewise preached several times before the house of commons, for which his memory has been very severely treated. He was at the same time one of the Cornhill lecturers, and no man had a greater interest in the city of London, in consequence of his ministerial abilities. He preached constantly in his own parish church for twenty years to a numerous audience, composed of the most eminent citizens, and even persons of great quality. He steadily and strenuously opposed the sectaries, and gave many pregnant instances of his dislike to those violences which were committed afterwards, on the king’s being brought from the Isle of Wight, He opposed the beheading of his sovereign king Charles I. with constancy ^ncl courage. Under the usurpation of Cromwell he was passive, and lived as privately as he could; yet he gave no reason to suspect that he was at all a well-wisher to that government. When the times afforded a favourable opportunity, he neglected not promoting the return of king Charles II. and actually preached before the house of commons on the day they voted that great question, which, however, has not hindered some from suggesting their suspicions of his loyally. After this step was taken, he, Mr. Ash, and other eminent divines were sent over to compliment the king in Holland, by whom they were extremely well received. When his majesty was restored, Mr. Calainy retained still a considerable share in his favour, and in June 1660, was appointed one | of his chaplains in ordinary, and was offered the bishopric, of Coventry and Litchfield, which he refused. When the convocation came to be chosen, he and Mr. Baxter were elected, May 2, 1661, for London; but the bishop of that diocese having the power of chusing two out of four, or four out of six, elected within a certain circuit, Dr. Sheldon, who was then bishop, was so kind as to excuse both of them; which, perhaps, was owing to the share they had in the Savoy conference. After the miscarrying of that design, Mr. Calamy made use of all his interest to procure the passing of an act agreeable to the king’s declaration at Breda: but when this was frustrated, and the act of uniformity passed, he took a resolution of submitting to ejection, and accordingly preached his farewel sermon at Aldermanbury, August 17, 1662. He made, however, a last effort three days afterwards, by presenting a petition to his majesty to continue in the exercise of his ministerial office. This petition was signed by many of the London clergy, and Dr. Man ton and Dr. Bates assisted at the presenting it, when Mr; Calamy made a long and moving speech; but neither it nor the petition had any good effect, though the king expressed himself in favour of toleration. He remained, however, in his parish, and came constantly to church, though another was in the pulpit, which proved an occasion of much t;rouble to him for on December 28, 1662, the expected preacher not coming in time, some of the principal persons in the parish prevailed upon Mr. Calamy to supply his place, which, with some importunity, he did; but delivered himself with such freedom, that he was soon after, by the lord mayor’s warrant, committed to Newgate for his sermon. But the case itself being thought hard, and some doubt arising how far the commitment was legal, his majesty in a few days discharged him. He lived to see London in ashes, the sight of which broke his heart. He was driven through the ruins in a coach to Enfield, and was so shocked at the dismal appearance, that he could never wear off the impression, but kept his chamber ever after, and died October 29, 1666, within two naonths after this accident happened. He was, though a very learned man, yet a plain and practical preacher, and one who was not afraid to speak his sentiments freely of and to the greatest; men .*


Dr. —Calamy tells us, that our author, at the time of the Restoration, had the greatest interest in court, city, and country, of any of the ministers, and,


therefore, was extremely caressed at first; but be soon saw whither things were tending. Among other evidences of it this is one: That having general Monk for his auditor in his own church, a little after the Restoration, on a sacrament-day, he had occasion to speak of filthy lucre;And why,” said he, “is it called filthy, but because it makes men do base and filthy things Some mem,” said he, “will betray three kingdoms for filthy lucre's sake.” Saying which, he threw his handkerchief, which he usually waved up and down while he was preaching, towards the general’s pew.

He was | twice married. By his first wife he had a son and daughter; and by his second seven children, some of whom we shall have occasion to mention in succeeding articles.

Beisides the pieces already mentioned, Mr. Calamy published several single sermons preached on different occasions, and five sermons entitled “The Godly Man’s Ark, or a city of refuge in the day of his distress,” the eighth edition of which was printed at London, 1683, in 12mo. He had a hand in drawing up the “Vindication of the Presbyterian Government and Ministry,London, 1650; and the “Jns Divinum Ministerii Evangelic! Anglicani,” printed in 1654. Since his death, there was a treatise of Meditation printed in a clandestine way, not by his son, nor from his manuscript, but from some imperfect notes taken by an auditor. 1


Biog. Brit.—Calamy’s Lives, &c.