James, John Angell

JAMES, JOHN ANGELL (1785-1859), English Nonconformist divine, was born at Blandford, Dorsetshire, on the 6th of June 1785. At the close of his seven years' apprenticeship to a linendraper at Poole he decided to become a preacher, and in 1802 he went to David Bogue's training institution at Gosport. A year and a half later, on a visit to Birmingham, his preaching was so highly esteemed by the congregation of Carr's Lane Independent chapel that they invited him to exercise his ministry amongst them; he settled there in 1805, and was ordained in May 1806. For several years his success as a preacher was comparatively small; but he jumped into popularity about 1814, and began to attract large crowds wherever he officiated. At the same time his religious writings, the best known of which are The Anxious Inquirer and An Earnest Ministry, acquired a wide circulation. James was a typical Congregational preacher of the early 19th century, massive and elaborate rather than original. His preaching displayed little or nothing of Calvinism, the earlier severity of which had been modified in Birmingham by Edward Williams, one of his predecessors. He was one of the founders of the Evangelical Alliance and of the Congregational Union of England and Wales. Municipal interests appealed strongly to him, and he was also for many years chairman of Spring Hill (afterwards Mansfield) College. He died at Birmingham on the 1st of October 1859.

A collected edition of James's works appeared in 1860-1864. See A Review of the Life and Character of J. Angell James (1860), by J. Campbell, and Life and Letters of J. A. James (1861), edited by his successor, R. W. Dale, who also contributed a sketch of his predecessor to Pulpit Memorials (1878).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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