Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 01.djvu/432

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

without king or house of lords. On this account he was, with other ministers, taken prisoner to Liverpool; but as the plague was raging there, they were removed to Ormskirk. The time was passed in a weighty discussion about prayer, and the diversity of opinion led them to select one of their number to treat the matter more fully. In this talk of the prison-house originated the treatise on prayer of Edward Gee of Eccleston. Many cases of conscience were propounded to Angier, whose judgment was so greatly relied upon, that the ill-natured styled him the 'idol of Lancashire.' He had also a well-earned reputation as a healer of quarrels. In the work of the ministry, notwithstanding a feeble constitution, he was unflinchingly energetic, preaching twice on the Sunday, and often on week days, praying seven times daily, fasting and travelling frequently, yet by severe temperance and care in diet he outlived many of his stronger brethren. He took no overt part in the Cheshire rising of 1659, and after the Act of Uniformity he escaped the persecution that fell upon most of the nonconformists. Warrants were indeed issued against him; but those who had to execute them acknowledged that they would not see him for a hundred pounds. Something, no doubt, was due to the influence of his brother-in-law, Mosley of Ancoats, whose mother and sister stayed with Angier for many years. When the Oxford Act came into operation, he removed into Cheshire; but an attack of gout came on, and saying to Oliver Heywood, 'Come, son, let us trust God and go home,' he returned to Denton. The neighbouring justices said, 'He is an old man, and will not live long; let us not trouble him.' Wilkins, the new bishop of Chester, so far from desiring to annoy, frequently inquired after the health and welfare of the good old man. Angier had the courage to admit Oliver Heywood to the communion at Denton after his excommunication. The old man was much affected by the death of his daughter, Mrs. Heywood, and by the extravagance and misconduct of his own son, whose ordination had to be preceded by a confession of his youthful wildness. John Angier died in prayer, after several days' illness, 1 Sept. 1677, and was buried at Denton, his funeral being attended by a great concourse of people.

The only work bearing John Angier's name is 'An Helpe to Better Hearts for Better Times,' London, 1647. It is a rare book, and consists of sermons preached in 1638, a fact found stated on some, and omitted on the title-page of other copies. From one characteristic passage we learn that even in those puritan days some attenders at public worship slept 'from the beginning to the end, as if they came for no other purpose but to sleep.' Another work has been attributed to him, and Dr. Halley holds it to be 'undoubtedly' his. This is a rare tract, with a quaint title, ‘Lancashire's Valley of Achor is England's doore of hope; set wide open in a brief history of the wise, good, and powerful hand of Divine Providence, ordering and managing the militia of Lancashire. By a well-wisher of the peace of the land and piety of the church,' London, 1643. This is full of important matter relating to the incidents of the civil war in Lancashire. One passage which strengthens the supposition that it is the work of Angier may be quoted: 'This was a providence not unlike what I have heard in Boston. The chancellor gave organs to Boston church. Before they breathe in the new world the godly pray. After their prayer a mighty wind forceth its passage into the church, blows down the organs, and stops their breath.' If Angier wrote 'Lancashire's Valley of Achor,' his dislike to instrumental music was matched by his antipathy to tobacco, of which some of his brethren, in Dr. Halley's opinion, were too fond.

John Angier's son, also named John, was born at Boston in 1629, and, like his father, went to Emanuel College, Cambridge, where his course was so unsatisfactory that, when in 1657 he applied for ordination, 'he was approved for parts and ability,' but it was thought fitting that he should make public acknowledgment of the errors of his youth. He was appointed to Ringley Chapel, but removed into Lincolnshire, where he was resident at the time of his father's death. His widow died in 1699. Samuel Angier, nephew of John Angier the elder, was born at Dedham 28 Aug. 1639, and was a pupil of the famous Busby. He went to Christ Church, Oxford, in 1659, but was banished thence by the Act of Uniformity, and after some stay with Dr. Owen he settled as assistant to his uncle at Denton. His ordination, which took place in 1672 at the house of Robert Eaton in Deansgate, Manchester, was the first presbyterian ordination amongst the nonconformists in the north of England, and perhaps the first in any part of the kingdom. At his uncle's death many desired that Samuel Angier might be his successor, and they knew that this also was the wish of their dead pastor. The warden and fellows of Manchester, however, were not disposed to appoint another nonconformist, and the Rev. John Ogden was nominated; but great difficulty was experienced in inducing Samuel Angier to give up possession of the house. He retired to the adjacent village of Dukinfield. He