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Annesley must be owned to have been one of more than common wisdom. '[Nor is there any proof of his deficiency in general literature. His works abound with learned quotations and references. See particularly his sermons in the Morning Exercises.]
He had a large soul and a flaming zeal, and his usefulness was very extensive. He had the care of all the churches upon him, and was the chief, often the sole instrument in the education and subsistence of several ministers, of whose useful labours the church had otherwise been deprived. Of all gifts, salary and incomes, he always laid aside the tenths for charity, even before any part was spent. By this means he had a fund always at hand for charitable uses, besides what others furnished him with, for the same purposes, to whom he was a faithful almoner. He was the main support of the Morning Lecture* for which so many have cause to be thankful to God; and after the death of old Mr. Case, he took the care of it upon himself.
* As this Lecture is so often referred to in this work, some aceount of it may be acceptable. Its origin, according to Mr. Neal was this. Most of the citizens in London having some relation or friend in the army of the earl of Essex, so many bills were sent up to the pulpit every Lord's day for their preservation, that the ministers had not time to notice them in prayer, or even to read them. It was therefore agreed to set apart an hour at seven o'clock every morning, half of it to be spent in prayer for the welfare of the public, as well as particular cases, and the other in exhortations to the people. Mr. Case began it in his church in Milk-street, from whence it was removed to other distant churches in rotation, a month at each. A number of the most emia nent ministers conducted this service, in turn, and it was attended by great crowds of people. Aster the heat of the war was over, it becamc, what was cal. led a Casuistical Lecture, and continued till the Restoration. The sermons were published in six volumes in quarto. Neal's Hist. Purit. vol. 1. 797 4to.
These Lectures treat on a variety of useful subjects, practical as well as doctrinal, in answer to questions proposed, and some of them on cases of conscience; but they are all founded on texts of scripture, in the form of sermons. They are now little known, but are more valuable than is generally supposed. The authors were the most eminent preachers in their day. It is worihy of notice, that in one of the volumes, (which are not numbered, nor uniform,) there is a discourse by Mr. Tillotson, afterwards Abp. of Cantera bury, who then ranked with the Nonconformists. It is in answer to the question, “ Wherein lies that exact righteousness which is required between « man and man?" Mat. vii. 12. Sec No. X. in the volume of which the preface is dated Nov. 14. 1661. 4th edit. Most of these Lectures are much longer than could have been delivered in half an hour. It appears that they were held every morning for one month only, and from the preface to the vol. dated 1689, the time was asterwards contracted to a fortnight. Most of these were delivered at Cripplegate church, some at St. Giles's, and a volume against Popery in Southwark. Mr. Neal observes that this Lecture was afterwards revived in a different form, and continued in his day. It was kept up long afterwards, at several places in the summer, a weck at each place, but latterly the time was exchanged for the evening.
His nonconformity created him troubles, but no inward uneasiness. God often remarkably appeared for him. One person died as he was signing a warrant to apprehend hiin. He never feared the utmost malice of any of his enemies, and nothing that he met with from men abated his chearfulness. (Under every affliction, before he would speak of it, or use any means to redress it, he spread it before God in
prayer ; which enabled him, though a most affectionate husband, to bear the news of his wife's death with such composure, as calmly to say, " The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken
away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”] He had unin. terrupted peace in his spirit, and assurance of God's covenant love, for the last thirty years of his life, though for several years before he walked in darkness. In his last illness he was full of comfort. “ Blessed be God, said he, I have been “ faithful in the work of the ministry above fifty-five years." During seventeen weeks pain, though he had before enjoyed an uninterrupted course of health, he never discovered the least degree of impatience. He chearfully resigned his soul to God Dec. 31. 1696. aged 77. His funeral sermon was preached by Dr. Dan. Williams.*
$ The celebrated Mr. John Wesley was his grandson, who discovered great veneration for him, and has introduced some of his writings into his Christian Library. See vol. 44. Two sermons ascribed to him, vol. 36. and 38. were not his, but Mr. Kitchen's and Mr. Pool's. The meeting-house in which Dr. Annesley preached was in Little St. Helen's, Bishopsgate-street, where Mr. Woodward succeeded him, and where the worthy Mr. Godwin was afterwards many years minister. It was in this place that the first public ordination-service among the protestant dissenters was performed. Dr. Calamy was one of the ministers then ordained +. Mr. Annesley was the author of the following
WORKS. A Fun. Serm. for Mr. Whitaker.-The Life of Mr. T. Brand, with his Fun. Serm.-Pref. to Mr. Allein's Instructions
* As Dr. Calamy refers to Turner's Hist. of Prov. for a copy of his will one might have expected something in it either interesting or curious; but there is neither. Excepting the preamble, it contains but two lines. It is dated March 29, 1693, Norton Falgate.
+ This place being conveniently situated, a number of Lectures were for many years carried on here; and among the rest, Mr. Coward's Friday-Leç. tuse. This ancient building was lately pulled down, the congregation being extinct. The last sermon ever preached in it was by the writer of this note, on Friday, May 15, 1795, who could not but feel some painful sensations up: on the occasion,
about Heart-work.. Another (with Dr. Owen) to E. Cole's Disc. on God's Sov.--A Serm. before the House of Com. 1648. One at St. Paul's, on Communion with God.-A Serm. at Lawrence Jury to the Gentlemen of Wilts.-Five Sermons in the Morning Exercises. He was the Editor of four of those volumes, and wrote a preface to each of them, which discover a warm zeal for the best interests of mankind.
Mr. SAMUEL STATHAM, of Christ-Church, Oxford, was assistant to Dr. Annesley, and was ejected with him. Upon the turn of the times, he was offered a good living in the church, by the Huntingdon family, (in which his father had been steward) if he would have conformed; but he preferred sufferings and reproach with a good conscience; and he was indeed a considerable sufferer for nonconformity, He was two years and nine months in the jail at Leicester, where it pleased God to inake him of great use to several of the prisoners, for he ordinarily preached to them every Lord's day. There was one in particular who was sentenced to death for murder, with whom he took much pains, and who, when he was going to execution, embraced Mr. Statham with tears, returned him his hearty thanks, and with great composure of inind signified to him, that though man would not grant a reprieve, he humbly hoped that God had granted a pardon. There was another who (as afterwards appeared) died innocently, who by his faithful endeavours was so convinced of the evil of sin, that he could not be prevailed upon to confess himself guilty, though he had a fair prospect of thereby saving his life.
Mr. Statham soon after his enlargement, was invited to Banbury in Oxfordshire, where he for soine years preached privately, with great success, and where his name was long revered and loved. His health was much impaired in consequence of his imprisonment. Upon a journey towards Loughborough to see his mother and his son, he took cold, and could get no further than Preston in Northamptonshire, where he was confined to his bed at Mr. Butler's, and died in a few days, 1685. [A grandson of his, educated under Mr. Jennings at Kibworth, was a dissenting minister at Loughborough, and was living at Nottingham till 1780. A remarkably conscientious man.)
Mr. HENRY ARNOULD was ejected from the Lectureship in this parish, of St. Giles's. He was also Rector of Bromley in Kent.