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Edmund Calamy I, B.D.

Edmund Calamy I, B.D. (1600-1666) the elder, was born in Walbrook, England. He was educated at Cambridge where he received his B. A., M. A. and B. D. degrees. He was a puritan advocate of reform of the Church of England. He served at the church in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk and then in 1639, St. Mary Aldermanbury, in London, until 1662, when ejected for nonconformity. Imprisonment followed. He died shortly after the distress of the London fire.

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Poor Joseph. (online in entirety)

Other Edmund Calamys:

  1. Rev. Dr. Edmund Calamy I, B.D. (1600–1666) the elder; was an English Presbyterian church leader. He was at St Mary’s Church in Aldermanbury.
  2. Edmund Calamy II, M.A. (1634–1685); rector of Moreton in Essex.
  3. Edmund Calamy III, D.D. (1671–1732) the historian, wrote the Howe biography, 1724.
  4. Edmund Calamy IV; (1697–1755) Presbyterian minister in London.
  5. Edmund Calamy V; (1743–1816) barrister of London’s Inn.
  6. Edmund Calamy VI; (1780–1850) 

Sermons, books and tracts published by Edmund Calamy:

  1. England’s Looking-glasse.
  2. God’s Free Mercy to England.
  3. The Nobleman’s Patterne of Thankfulnesse.
  4. England’s Antidote Against the Plague of the Civil Warre.
  5. An Indictment Against England because of her Selfe-murdering Divisions.
  6. The Door of Trvth Opened.
  7. The Great Danger of Covenant-refusing.
  8. A Just and Necessary Apology.
  9. The Saints’ Rest.
  10. The Monster of Sinful Self-seeking Anatomized.
  11. The Doctrine of the Bodies Frugality.
  12. The Godly Man’s Ark.
  13. A Patterne for All.
  14. A Sermon . . . at the Funeral of the Lady Anne Waller.
  15. The Fixed Saint, A Farwell Sermon.
  16. A Sermon . . . at Aldermanbury Church, Dec. 28, 1662.
  17. The Art of Divine Meditation.
  18. The Sermon on the Resurrection of the Dead in ‘Morning Exercises at St. Giles, Cripplegate.’ 1676.
  19. A Leading Case.

Book list source: Leslie, Stephen. “Dictionary of National Biography.” London: Macmillan and Co. 1886.


Extended Biography of Edmund Calamy

REV. EDMUND CALAMY, B.D. Among the worthies of the seventeenth century, the subject of the following memoir holds a deserved pre-eminence. He was born in London, February, 1600; and July 4, 1616, was admitted to Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, where he took the degree of B.D., and became a college tutor. Such was his reputation for learning and piety, that Dr. Felton, bishop of Ely, appointed him his domestic chaplain, and gave him the vicarage of St. Mary's, Swaffham, in Cambridgeshire. The bishop directed his studies, and was very careful that he might not be interrupted in them. He studied at the rate of sixteen hours a day. He read all the controversies of Bellarmine, and all the answers to him; also, many of the schoolmen, especially Thomas Aquinas, in whom he was most exactly versed. He read over Augustine's works five times; besides many other eminent authors, ancient and modern. After the death of the bishop, in 1626, he resigned his vicarage, and became lecturer of St. Edmundsbury, in Suffolk, where he continued ten years, till Bishop Wren's Articles, and the Book of Sports, drove him, and thirty more worthy ministers, out of the diocese.

After Mr. Fenner's death, he was presented, by the Earl of Warwick, to the rectory of Rochford, in Essex, the unhealthy air of which brought on complaints, from which he never recovered. On the death of Doctor Stoughton, in 1639, he became minister of St. Mary, Aldermanbury, London. He was one of the ministers who, in 1641, met by order of Parliament, in the Jerusalem chamber, in order to accommodate ecclesiastical matters. He was for the Presbyterian discipline; but of known moderation towards those of other sentiments. The same year Smectymnuus was published, against the Divine Right of Episcopacy. The title was a fictitious word, composed of the initial letters of the names of its authors, who were, S. Marshall, E. Calamy, T. Young, M. Newcomen, and W. Spurstow. He made a great figure in the assembly of divines, and preached several times before the Parliament. He was exceedingly popular as a minister. His week-day lecture, for twenty years, was numerously attended, and that by persons of quality, so that there were seldom so few as sixty coaches at the church door. In his sermon before the House of Lords, Dec. 25, 1644, he has these expressions: " This day is commonly called Christmas-day; a day that has heretofore been much abused to superstition and profaneness. It is not easy to say, whether the superstition has been greater, or the profaneness. I have known some that have preferred Christmas-day before the Lord's Day; some that would be sure to receive the sacrament on Christmas-day, though they did not receive it all the year after. Some thought, though they did not play at cards all the year long, yet they must play at Christmas, thereby, it seems, to keep in memory the birth of Christ. This, and much more, hath been the profanation of this feast; and truly, I think, the superstition and profaneness of this day are so rooted into it, that there is no way to refute it, but by dealing with it as Hezekiah did with the brazen serpent."

Calamy opposed the murder of the king, and greatly disapproved of the usurpation of the government by Cromwell, during whose time he kept himself as quiet as possible. When Cromwell was anxious to be made king, he sent for several ministers, as if he made it matter of conscience, and wanted their advice. Mr. Calamy was one of the party, and strongly opposed the measure, declaring that it was not only unlawful, but impracticable. Cromwell replied, "That the safety of the people was the supreme law; but pray, Mr. Calamy," said he, "how is it impracticable?" "Because," said Calamy, "the nation will be against you; nine out of ten, at least." "But," said Cromwell, "what if I wrest the sword from the nine, and put it in the hands of the tenth—will not that do the business?" In 1659, he joined with the Earl of Manchester and other leading men, in encouraging General Monk to bring in Charles II. He preached before the Parliament the day before they voted the king home, and was one of the divines who went over to Holland to meet his Majesty. After the Restoration, he was appointed one of the king's chaplains, and was offered the bishopric of Coventry and Lichfield, which, after some hesitation, he declined. He was very active towards an accommodation, and indrawing up the proposals about church government, which laid the foundation of the Savoy Conference. He was the leader of the ministers in London for many years, and had great interest at court, in the city, and in the country. He was very faithful as a preacher. Shortly after the Restoration, having General Monk for his hearer, 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 men will betray three kingdoms for filthy lucre's sake." Saying which, he threw his handkerchief, which he usually waved up and down while preaching, towards the general's pew. His conscience not allowing him to conform, he preached his farewell sermon, Aug. 17, 1662, on 2 Samuel 24:14, from which he gathered this doctrine: "That sin and iniquity bring persons and nations into marvelous labyrinths and perplexities; into true, real, and great molestations; and a man free from sin is free in the midst of straits; while a man guilty of sin is in a strait in the midst of freedom." He shows that sin brings external, internal, and eternal straits. That sin only makes trouble to deserve the name; that there is more evil in the least sin than in the greatest outward calamity; that whosoever goes out of God's way to avoid danger, shall meet with greater danger. Cautions against twelve sins: covetousness; pride; drunkenness; rebellion against the commandments of God; fornications and adultery; oppression and all acts of injustice; unnecessary familiarity with wicked men; misusing the prophets of God; coming profanely to the Lord's table; loathing the manna of your souls; losing your first love; profaning the Sabbath. Learn what reason you of this congregation and parish have to expect to be brought into great straits, because of your great unthankfulness and unfruitfulness under the means of grace. You have long enjoyed the gospel. Dr. Taylor served an apprenticeship in this place; Dr. Stoughton another; and I, through Divine mercy, almost three and a half. Are there not some of you who begin to loathe the manna, and to look back to Egypt? Have not some of you itching ears, who would fain have a preacher that would feed you with dainty phrases, and who begin not to care for a minister that unrips your consciences, and speaks to your hearts, and who would force you into heaven, by frightening you out of your sins? The following is an extract from the prayer which he offered on that affecting occasion: "Bless these nations of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and find out yet a way to save us. Pour down thy blessings upon the head and heart of our sovereign Charles, by thy grace king of Great Britain. Thou hast done great things for him: let him do great things for thee. Bless him in his royal consort, in his royal relations, in his council. Bless the magistrates and ministers of this realm. Lord, forgive us; for we live as if we had been delivered to wickedness. We cannot sin at so cheap a rate as others do. We pray thee humble us under a sense of our great and grievous sins. Give us repentance unto salvation, and a lively faith in the blood of Jesus Christ. Quicken our graces; forgive our sins; make alive our souls; let us be such as thou wouldest have us to be. Make us Christians, not only by an outward profession, but inward conversion; that we may live in heaven while we are on earth, and come to heaven when we shall leave the earth. To this purpose bless thy word unto us at this time, and give us all grace to make conscience of what we hear, and how we hear; and all for Jesus Christ's sake; to whom, with thy blessed self and Spirit, be all glory and honor. Amen."

He and some other ejected ministers still went to their parish churches. On Dec. 28, the preacher appointed to Aldermanbury church failed to come. Mr. Calamy, who had gone with an intention of being a hearer only, on being importuned by the people present, went into the pulpit, and preached a sermon on Eli's concern for the ark of God. This was so highly resented at court, that he was sent to Newgate for sedition. But there was such a clamor among the people, and such a resort of persons of distinction to visit the prisoner, that his Majesty thought fit to release him in a few days; which not being done by due course of law, the House of Commons resented it, and presented an address, that the laws for the future might have their free course. He lived to witness the destruction of London by fire; but it caused his death. He rode through the ruins to Enfield; and the sight so shocked his feelings, that within a month he expired. He died Oct. 29, 1666. His funeral sermon was preached by Dr. Robert Wild. Mr. Calamy, though he sometimes wrote with severity, was in general distinguished for his prudence and moderation, and was a learned, faithful, and practical preacher. He published several sermons, which he had preached before the two Houses of Parliament, and the city magistrates;—Dr. S. Bolton's, the Earl of Warwick's, and the Rev. S. Ashe's funeral sermons;—A Vindication of himself against Mr. Burton;—The Godly Man's Ark. He had a hand in drawing up the Vindication of the Presbyterian government and ministry; and the Jus Divinum Ministerii Evangelici Anglicani. His sermon in the Morning Exercises is:—Of the resurrection.

Source: Dunn, Samuel. Memoirs of the Seventy-Five Eminent Divines, Whose Discourses Form the Morning Exercises at Cripplegate, St. Giles in The Fields, and in Southwark. London: John Snow, 1844.