James Nalton

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Puritanboard Librarian
James Nalton, English Puritan (c. 1600 - 1662), was known as the 'Weeping Prophet.'

In 1643 he was called to serve as a minster at St. Leonard's Church. In 1645 he signed a petition to Parliament of the London ministers concerning Presbyterian church government. He was forced to flee to Holland in 1651 following the arrest of Christopher Love, but was pardoned by Parliament the following year. He was among the signers of the Commendatory Epistle for the Westminster Standards. Just before his death he signed a protest against the 1662 St. Bartholomew's Day Ejection (see below). Twenty of his sermons were collected and published along with his memoirs by Matthew Poole in 1677.

Trivia: According to the Library Company of Philadelphia the following sermon by James Nalton is the only book known to be owned by a slave in colonial America.

James Nalton. The Nature and Necessity of that Humiliation, which the Spirit of God works in the souls of those that are brought savingly to close with the Lord Jesus Christ, as offered in the Gospel. Boston: Kneeland and Green, 1741.

This is the only American book of the colonial era that can be identified as belonging to a slave. It was given to Lucinda by her mistress; both are identified in an 1885 note written by a descendant.

Protest Against the 1662 St. Bartholomew's Day Ejection (source: Adam Clarke, Memoirs of the Wesley Family (1848):

High-churchmen may "extol the authors and framers of this Act as deserving the everlasting praises and blessings of the church." But while honesty, or rendering to every man his due, can be considered a blessing in society, and the steady attendant upon justice,-- while humanity and mercy are esteemed the choicest characteristics of man, and while sound learning is valued as the ornament and handmaid of religion, -- this Act, in its operation on St. Bartholomew's day, (August 24, 1662,) must be regarded as a scandal to the state, and a reproach to the church.

Against the operations of this Act the ministers of London met, drew up and presented a memorial to the king. The original is preserved, and is in the possession of William Upcott, Esq., of the London Institution. Of this I have taken a copy, which, not only for its matter, but because it exhibits the names of so many distinguished divines, will, I have no doubt, be much prized by the majority of my readers.

"To the King's most excellent Majesty, the humble Petition of diverse Ministers in the City of London.

"May it please your most excellent Majesty,

"Upon former experience of your Majesty's tendernes and indulgence to your obedient and loyal subjects, in which number with all clerenes we can reckon ourselves; we, some of the ministers of London, who are likely, by the late Act of Uniformity, to be thrown out of all public service in the ministry (because we cannot in conscience conform to all things required in the said act), do take the boldness humbly to cast ourselves and our concernments at your feet, desiring that out of your princely wisdom and compassion, you would take such effectual course whereby we may be continued in the exercise of our mmistry, to teach your people obedience to God and your Majesty. And we doubt not, but by our dutiful and peaceable cariage therein, we shall render ourselves not altogether unworthy of so great a favor.

Thomas Manton
Edm. Calamy
Wm. Bates
though. Jaconel
James Nalton
Samuel Annesley
Ri. Adams
though. Case
Hen. Hurst
Wm. Blackemour
Matth. Haveland
Wm. Whitaker.
Sam. Clarke
Peter Vinke.
though. White
Joseph Church
John Wills
John Sheffield
Ar. Barham
though. Watson"

This petition was exhibited Aug. 27, 1662, and read in council the next day: but the king acting in all things by the advice of the bishops, the prayer of those eminent men was totally disregarded.
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