Samuel Medley was born on this day in 1723. At age 16 he was an apprentice in the cloth trade when war broke out between England and France. He was permitted to leave his apprenticeship, if he agreed to serve on one of his majesty’s ships. With the thrill of the fight before him, he served as a common sailor during the Battle of Cape Lagos. When a cannon ball shot away most of the calf of one leg, he was sent to the surgeons. They recommended that his leg be removed. Filled with horror, the young man begged for a little time. He sent for the Bible his father had given him, and he spent the night in prayer over the Word of God. The next morning when the surgeon came in he found the leg doing surprisingly well, and it was decided to repair the wound and to let time and the Lord to work.
Having to convalesce, Samuel was sent to live with his godly grandfather in London. The old gentleman, whose name was William Tonge, was a deacon in the church pastored by Andrew Gifford. Brother Tonge witnessed to his grandson of Christ, but despite God’s mercy in sparing his leg and life, for months there was no humility or repentance. Then one Sunday evening the grandfather began to read aloud a sermon by Isaac Watts, and the Holy Spirit broke the young man’s stubborn heart. Samuel Medley was immediately struck with a thirst for the things of God, beginning to read and study through his grandfather’s library. By this time he was twenty-two years old; discharged from the navy and with a heavy limp. But he was baptized and joined Bro. Gifford’s church, studying theology, Hebrew and Greek in preparation for the gospel ministry.
By 1766 Samuel Medley began to preach, and during the next year he was called to lead a small Baptist Church in Watford. The congregation struggled to support their pastor and his growing family, but Medley was faithful to that calling until it became apparent that the Lord wanted him to pastor the Particular Baptist Church in Liverpool. For the next 27 years Medley was instrumental in the great growth of that church.
With a sir-name like Medley, we aren’t surprised to learn that Brother Samuel loved music. He wrote a great many poems, many of which were set to music, published and sung in the churches of his day. But he was best known for his preaching of the gospel of Christ.