Anthony B. Lambert was born January 16, 1800, was converted in 1820, and ordained to the work of the gospel ministry in 1822. His field of ministerial labor was in West Tennessee, from the time of his ordination till 1835. From that time till the close of life his work was mainly in Mississippi, where he resided.
His education was limited--only such as was obtained in the common schools of the country, yet he was an acceptable preacher. He possessed in large measure the revival spirit of 1800, and those who knew him in his early ministry say he was even then "a host in a revival." He was blessed with a strong mental and physical constitution, which eminently fitted him for the work to which he, in the providence of God, had been called.
He had a large circuit to supply with preaching. His appointments were reached on horseback after long and lonesome journeys through dense forests and across bridgeless streams. Sometimes in reaching them he was exposed to the most inclement weather and was subjected to the greatest hardships. On his way to an appointment in January, 1829, after a ride of thirty miles, he was forced to lie all night on the bank of the Little Forked Deer River, being unable to obtain a crossing. The night was intensely cold, and he was without either fire or shelter. The next morning he, with his horse, swam the stream, after breaking the ice on its edge. His horse went under with him, completely wetting him. Before reaching a house his clothes were all frozen on him. After reaching a fire his only relief was to dry them on his person. An ordinary man could not have endured such "hardness" without the sacrifice of health, and, possibly, of life. Strange as it may seem, he did not miss an appointment in consequence of it. His preparation for preaching was mainly made while he was going from one appointment to another.
He had a clear apprehension of the doctrines of his Church. He loved them dearly as life and proclaimed them earnestly and forcibly. In many respects he was a bright exemplar:
1. He had a great deal of respect for the authority of the Church. When ordered by his Presbytery to a "circuit" he cheerfully obeyed, though it took him from his family sometimes for months. In his early days Presbyterial orders were seldom coupled with promises of compensation, yet they were obeyed. He frequently traveled and preached from one meeting of Presbytery to another without any compensation at all. He was impelled by a strong conviction that he was doing God's work, and that he could not work for him in vain.
2. He acted with the majority. He had convictions of his own and proclaimed them boldly. He advocated what he believed to be right, and opposed what he believed to be wrong, but when measures were adopted by his Church he put himself in harmony with his brethren and labored to make those measures effective, though he may have opposed their adoption. This was forcibly illustrated in his opposition to the one-paper policy of the Church. Before the papers were purchased and consolidated he opposed the measure, thinking it would "hamper the talent of the Church and gag the press." After the consolidation of the papers he was a warm friend of the one paper and rejoiced in its prosperity.
3. He was a zealous advocate of an educated ministry. He encouraged young men to avail themselves of the educational advantages afforded them. He rejoiced in the superior educational facilities of the present generation of preachers. He saw in them a prophecy of more efficiency in the ministry, and a greater triumph in the Church.
His influence and his money were liberally bestowed to build up our Theological Seminary. He was much gratified when the General Assembly resolved to endow a chair in Cumberland University and name in the Beard Professorship. He felt the necessity of the endowment and he was pleased with the name. When Bell Presbytery resolved to raise $500 of said endowment, he nobly and generously contributed $250, thus making it easy for the agent to raise more than the $500 in a very short time. In making this donation he was prompted by two motives:
1. To assist in providing for a thorough education of our young preachers.
2. To do honor to the name of Dr. Beard, with whom he was intimately associated in his early ministry, and to whom he was through life most affectionately attached.
These good men, whose name and influence are a precious heritage
of the Church, have finished their long and useful courses. About
four years since Dr. Beard went up and entered upon the rest awaiting
him. On the 12th of May, 1884, "Father Lambert" received
his summons to go up and enter into the joy of his Lord. With
them the active, arduous service of sixty years is ended. The
burdens of life have been laid down; henceforth they are to rest
from their labors, while their works will follow them. Thank God
for such men!
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, July 17, 1884, page 1]
Bell Presbytery - A. B. Lambert - May 12, 1884
[Source: Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1884, page 28]