Lambert, Jesse (1848-1900)
Transcription of Obituary In the Primitive Methodist Magazine by James Barnes
JESSE LAMBERT was born at Idle, Yorkshire, Aug. 16, 1848. His parentage was humble, but strictly honest and godly, and he inherited from that source an open-hearted frankness which went with him through life. His grandfather on the mother‘s side was a deeply pious man, and was characterised by humour and poetical fire, and was the author of a number of hymns. He had considerable influence over the mind of Jesse, and was largely used by God in moulding his character.
At the early age of eight years Jesse was sent to work in the woollen mill, but later on he was apprenticed to the boot and shoe-making trade under a local preacher of the name of John Lee – a well-known man in the Leeds District. We have known men who were ashamed of their early calling, and they have laid claim to a position to which they were not entitled; but Jesse Lambert was too noble-minded to stoop to a meanness of that kind. He believed that it was far more honourable to live by the sweat of his brow than to be an idle aristocrat. Hence, he was more glad than otherwise that he was one with the working-classes.
When in the sixteenth year of his age he gave himself to Christ, and Christ gave Himself to Jesse, and the union was sealed by the Holy Spirit. The work was so great, so powerful, and so real, that he often described it thus: “I felt the Holy Ghost come right into my heart.” He now entered very earnestly into Sunday School work, and two years later he was authorised to take appointments in connection with John Pitts, of Idle, who still bears testimony to the able manner in which Jesse did his work. He was well received in the whole circuit, and in March, 1869, the officials showed their confidence in him, their high appreciation of his work, and their belief in his fitness for more extensive usefulness, by giving him a hearty recommendation to the Connexional training College in Sunderland. After spending one year in that institution he was accepted by the Conference in the year 1870, and was stationed at Stratford-on-Avon under the able superintendency of the late sainted John Quarmby, and in this station, together with Nantwich and Dawley, he completed his probation. In the year 1874, the Conference received him into the full ministry, and in the same year he was duly married to Miss Emma Cordingley. They had known each other from their childhood, they had grown into each other’s affection, their union was characterised by mutual sympathy and uninterrupted peace, and Mrs. Lambert proved herself to be a helpmeet indeed. They subsequently laboured with great acceptability and usefulness on the following stations:- Cwm, Dudley, Knighton, Leominster, Shipley, Pickering, Barnsley, Cheadle, Wem, Hereford, Minsterley, and Silverdale. On their going to Silverdale in July 1899, they had at hearty reception from the people, the prospect was bright and encouraging, and all anticipated a prosperous term. Our friend went to his work with his characteristic gentleness, deep fervour of spirit, firm confidence in the Gospel of Christ, and unshaken trust in the co-operation of the Holy Spirit; and in a short time he won the affections of all with whom he came in contact. Shortly after he had got his circuit fairly in hand, and had obtained a true knowledge of things, he wrote us one of his concise, direct, and truly spiritual letters, in which he expressed his hopefulness, his abiding love for the old methods of truth, and his strong determination to strike hard, and to aim at no other object than the salvation of men. In October we had the pleasure of a short interview, and we thought that we discovered an increase of spirituality of mind and a stronger drawing towards the Divine Master.
Soon after this his labours received a check through a painful illness in which he had to submit to surgical operation; but after his recovery from this affliction he again wrote us, saying: “I am now stronger than ever. I can walk ten or twelve miles with the greatest ease, and I am ready for any amount of work.” In the same letter he declared less love for earthly things, and stronger love for the unseen and the eternal. This was the last letter we received from his pen. As a correspondent he was not unlike John Wesley – there was no waste of words.
Physically he was not at strong man, but he had a passion for-work, and he would often go to it when he was not altogether fit for it, and he worked on until the very last. Within a week of his departure he walked twelve miles and preached with his usual earnestness, and seemed to be none the worse for having done so. Next morning he was smitten with a serious attack of pneumonia. All that medical skill and careful nursing could do was done, but no permanent benefit followed. Once or twice: he seemed to rally at little, and appeared brighter. This was followed by a relapse. At times he lost consciousness, and in his ramblings he imagined he was engaged in his circuit work. During consciousness he bore clear testimony to the sustaining power of the Gospel of Christ.
A short time before he closed his eyes to earthly objects he requested his wife to lift him up, and when raised up, he said, “Higher, ‘higher,’’ and when asked to where, he answered, “To Jesus, to Mount Zion,” and thanking those who attended to him for their kindness, a few minutes before midnight, on April 24th, his spirit went “up higher” to be for ever with the Lord. Thus he changed mortality for life in the fifty-second year of his age and the thirtieth year of his ministry. His course was not a long one; but we cannot measure a man’s usefulness by the number of years he is permitted to labour. Some men crowd much into a narrow space, and in a gentle manner do much more than they seem to do. Jesse Lambert belonged to this class. He never paraded his work, but he did a vast amount of quiet plodding; and he has left indubitable marks of usefulness in every circuit on which he laboured.
One great object of his life was to keep the love of God aglow in his own soul. To this end he read the Bible, Christian Biography, and other works of a devotional Character, and he gave himself to prayer. He could not, nor would he try to live without the clearest evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence in his heart and life; and this he ever enjoyed.
In his death Mrs. Lambert has suffered a loss which words cannot describe. He always considered her comfort, and he never did the smallest thing without consulting her.
Twenty-four years ago he was the writer’s colleague, and at that juncture he had much to try his patience, his courage, and his Connexional loyalty; but we never knew him to depart in the smallest degree from high Christian principle. He was faithful to every trust, diligent in every department of work, and burning with vehement desire for the salvation of souls. And during these twenty-four years we have many times had the exalted privilege of his fellowship, and on each occasion we have observed the same spirit of Christian manliness rapidly developing and mellowing.
By his removal from our midst the Connexion has lost an able minister of the New Testament. It is true that he loved Puritan literature and manners, and it is also true that he was at great reader of many other classes of works. From his boyhood he was a kind of bookworm. History, philosophy, and theology were his choice subjects; he was also well read in Shakespeare, Milton, Sir W. Scott, and other classics. And being possessed of a retentive memory, a ready utterance, a quaint humour, and ready wit, he could throw into his sermons a great variety of thought; and his ministry was always fresh. But he never wandered from the old landmarks. He gloried in the Cross. He believed that there was a kind of magnetic power in the “old, old story,” which could, more than all other subjects combined, draw the heart of man towards heavenly things. Therefore he gave special prominence to the great Atonement in all his public work; and the great pile of letters which Mrs. Lambert received from nearly all parts of the Connexion is ample proof that the people more than appreciated his work – some of them derived from it unbounded spiritual good.
His last sermon in Silverdale Chapel made a deep impression on the minds of the people. He took as his text the words, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasures in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his evil way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? ” A member of the congregation said, “He preached as though he was giving his last charge.” He concluded his discourse with a solemn avowal that before God and man, he had not failed to deliver unto them the truth of the Gospel.
“Servant of God, well done!
Rest from thy loved employ:
The battle fought, the victory won,
Enter thy Master’s joy.
The voice at midnight came,
He started up to hear,
A mortal arrow pierced his frame,
He fell, — but felt no fear.”
Jesse was born on 16 August 1848 at Idle, Bradford, Yorkshire, to parents John and Elizabeth (aka Betty). John was a wool comber (1851) and later a mason’s labourer (1861).
Jesse married Emma Cordingley (1848-1928) in the summer of 1874 in the Bradford Registration District. Census returns do not identify any children.
Jesse died on 2 April 1900.
- 1869 Sunderland (College)
- 1870 Stratford
- 1871 Nantwich
- 1873 Dawley
- 1874 Cwm
- 1876 Dudley
- 1878 Knighton
- 1879 Leominster & Weobly
- 1880 Shipley
- 1882 Pickering
- 1885 Barnsley
- 1887 Cheadle
- 1890 Wem
- 1893 Hereford
- 1896 Minsterley
- 1899 Silverdale
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1901/305
PM Minutes 1900/18
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers