John Angell James (1785-1859), born at a time when the preaching of the leaders of the evangelical revival was still remembered, trained at David Bogue’s College at Gosport, Hants, and served his entire ministry at Carrs Lane Congregational Church, Birmingham. He was thus an evangelical leader in the important era between the death of John Wesley and the advent of C. H. Spurgeon.
His published works were numerous and their circulation was probably not exceeded by any other Nonconformist leader of that day. An Earnest Ministry (1847, reprinted by the Trust) went into a fourth edition within twelve months of publication and his Anxious Enquirer sold over half a million copies. Demand for his books was similar in the United States where he had many friends. James’ biography (The Life and Letters of John Angell James, R. W. Dale, 1861) and his Autobiography, With Additions by His Son (1864) show him to have been a prayerful, devout Christian and a pastor and preacher who believed the realities of which he spoke. He was twice married and had one son and an invalid daughter.