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John Angel

John Angel, A. M.—This pious divine was born in Gloucestershire, and educated in Magdalen-hall, Oxford. Having taken his degrees, he left the university and entered upon the ministerial work. Previous to the year 1629, Mr. Higginson, being chosen by the mayor and aldermen of Leicester to be the town preacher, but refusing the office, on account of his growing nonconformity, he recommended Mr. Angel, then a learned and pious conformist, to their approbation. They accordingly made choice of him; when he removed to Leicester, and continued in the office of public lecturer, wiih some interruption, upwards of twenty years.* Though at first he was conformable to the established church, he aftci wards imbibed the principles of the puritans, and became a sufferer in the common cause. Archbishop Laud, giving an account of his province in the year 1634, observes, "'I hat in Leicester the dean of the arches suspended one Angel, who haih continued a lecturer in that great town for divers years, without any license at all to preach; yet took hberty enough." His giace adds, " 1 doubt his violence hath cracked his brain, unci do therefore use him the more tenderly, because 1 see the hand of God hath overtaken him."t Mr, Angel most assuredly had the license of those who employed him, and who paid him for his labours, though he might not have the formal allowance of his diocesuu or the aichbishop. What his lordship can mean by insmuatmg that " his violence had cracked his brain, and the hand of God having overtaken him," is not very easy to understand. If he laboured under some afflictive, mental, or bodily disorder, as the words seem to intimate, he was surely more deserving of sympathy and compassion than a heavy . ecclesiastical censure. But the fact most probably was, that Mr. Angel was deeply involved in spiritual darkness about his own state, and in painful uncertainty concerning his own salvation. "For," says Mr. Clark, " there was a great light, Mr. Angel, formerly of Leicester, afterwards of Grantham, but now with God, who being under a sore and grievous desertion, received much comfort from the conversation of Mr. Richard Vines."* This undoubtedly refers to the same affliction.

Though it does not appear how long Mr. Angel continued under suspension, he was afterwards restored to his ministry; and he continued his lecture till the year 1650, when he wa»

» Mather's Hist, of New En*, h. iii. p. IS.
+ Wharton's Troubles of Land, vol. i. p. 631.
;. Clark'c Ureij-last vol. parti, p. 50.

turned out for refusing the engagement. About the same time the company of mercers in London made choice of him as public lecturer at Grantham in Lincolnshire; and not long after he was appointed assistant to the commissioners of that county, for ejecting ignorant and scandalous ministers and schoolmasters, but did not long survive the appointment. He died in the beginning of June, 1655, when his remains were interred in Grantham church. Having gained a distinguished reputation, and being so exceedingly beloved while he lived, his funeral was attended by a great number of ministers, when Mr. Lawrence Sarson delivered an oration at his grave, in high commendation of his character. Wood denominates him " a frequent and painful preacher; a man mighty in word and doctrine among the puritans;" and adds, "that as his name was Angel, so he was a man indeed of angelical understanding and holiness, a burning and shining light, and he continued to shine as a burning light, until God translated him to shine as a star in the kingdom of heaven for ever."* Mr. Henry Vaughan, ejected at the restoration, was his successor at Grantham.t

His Works.—1. The right ordering of the Conversation, 1669.—

2. Funeral Sermon at the Burial of John Lord Darcey, 1669.—

3. Preparation for Ihe Communion, 1659.—4. The right Government of the Thoughts; or, a Discovery of all vain, unprofitable, idle, and wicked Thoughts, 1669.