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In his Christian character, Gov. Eaton was distinguished for humility.He always bore an habitual sense of the holy presence of God. His holy and universal government, his infinite perfections, his own weakness and guilt, were ever familiar to his mind. Under the trial of the loss of a son of
the operation of the laws, and admin- strong, not to engage all the powers istered justice with incorruptible integ-of his soul. On an occasion of perity and inflexible firmness. In his culiar trials, his wife observed to him, private character, he was affable and "Let us even go back to our native courteous, but in his official capacity, country." He replied, referring to he would never suffer any disobedi- || the probability that she would outlive ence or contempt. The accounts of him, "You may, but I shall die here." the time represent him as possessing, on the bench of justice, a majestic dignity, not to be described. While the faithful citizen always enjoyed his protection, the wicked never dared to defy his authority. When laws are few, and no established usages exist, such personal virtues and influence in the magistrate are essential to the safe-great hopes, his usual constancy, for a ty of civil society.---Gov. Eaton was the moment, seemed to fail. He then obprincipal legislator of his colony. The served, "There is a difference bejudicial laws contained in the scriptures tween a sullen silence, or a stupid were his great guide, and he ever kept senselessness, under the hand of God, in view the original design of the plan- and a child-like submission thereunto.” tation, the maintenance of pure reli-It was a frequent remark with him, gion,and the enjoyment of civil liberty." Some count it a great matter to die At the request of the legislature, he well, but I am sure it is a great matter compiled a code of laws for the colony to live well."-In his coversation, Mr. which were examined and approved Eaton was noted for a singular regard in 1655, and were puplished in Eng- to perfect truth. It was his uniform land by the care and liberality of Gov. custom to retire to his study in the Hopkins. As a prodigy in the history morning for secret devotion, before he of mankind, notwithstanding the extra-entered upon the duties of the day.ordinary influence of Winthrop, Brad-" After this, calling his family together, ford, Haynes, Hopkins, Eaton, we find he would read a portion of the scripno feature in their laws, which indicates ture, and after some devout and useany design to extend the powers of ful reflections upon it, he would make the chief magistrate to the disadvan- a prayer, not long, but extraordinary tage of the public liberty. pertinent and reverent; in the evening In his private life, Mr. Eaton posses- some of the same exercises were ased a uniform gravity and dignity of gain attended." On Saturday evemanners, which showed how awful nings and on the Sabbath, he would and excellent is exalted virtue. He read a sermon in his family and sing. was always friendly and benevolent, On the Sabbath, it was his practice to with his friends easy and pleasant, but catechize his family, and question his characteristic gravity never forsook them, parcticularly, with regard to him. Fond of books, as much of his what they had heard at public wortime as could be spared from more im- ship. Solemn days of Humiliation portant duties,he spent in his study. His and Thanksgiving were spent in the mind and his heart were always enga- same manner. His family, though veged to promote the welfare of his own ry numerous, sometimes not less than and the other colonies of New-Eng- thirty persons, was regulated with the land. He considered this as the fair- greatest order, and every individual est and perhaps the last experiment for received his particular attention for rethe establishment of a Christian com- ligious instruction. By his domestics monwealth. The object was too he was greatly beloved, and his dogreat, the claims of posterity toomestic example was always consider
ed the greatest benefit to all who lived in his house.
In January 1657, after a short illness, this venerable servant of Christ, in the sixty-seventh year of his age,was released from scenes of incessant care and labor, and, leaving a bereaved people in tears, was removed to join the holy assembly of the spirits of just men made perfect.
found only in the precepts of the divine Redeemer, and in the Christian churces of the primitive times. The civilian had his guide in the best political writings of various nations, and in the many precepts upon civil government contained in the word of God: the divine had his guide in the Enerring truths of inspiration, and in the concise history which remains of the early period of the Christian church: but both were called to strike out a new path, new in the history of church
the lights which they enjoyed, guided by the most careful investigation of the human character, to establish this prepared habitation for the divine blessing on a most salutary and durable foundation. One of the most eminent instruments employed in the accomplishment of this great work, was the celebrated minister of Boston, the
Having attempted to give a sketch of the lives of some of the civil fathers of N. England, we will now take a brief view of some of the principal divines.es and states of many ages; and, by These were not less conspicuous for their merits and services, than the civilians. Tho' the limits of their respective departments were well understood and carefully preserved, they afforded a constant and mutual support to each other, and were cordially united in the promotion of the common object for which they had migrated to the western wilderness. The establishment of a Christian commonwealth, compoREV. JOHN COTTON. sed of pure evangelical churches, and After mentioning the arrival of Mr. a republic supported by the true prin- Cotton, in company with Mr. Haynes, ciples of civil liberty, was the great Mr. Hooker, Mr. Stone, and others; cause in which they were all embark-Mr. Hutchinson remarks, "Mr. Cotton cd. For the attainment of such an ob-is supposed to have been more instruject, no less wisdom, prudence, and fi- mental in the settlement of their civil delity, were requisite in the ministers as well as ecclesiastical polity than of the churches, than in the civil ma-any other person.'
gistrates. While the one gave law Mr. Cotton was born in the town of to the rising states; the other estab-Derby, the county town of Derbyshire, lished their religious order. While December, 1585. Descended from one administered the political con- a very reputable ancestry, his immecerns of the community; the other diate parents held a respectable stasuperintended the interests of reli- tion in society, but were more distingion and public morals. The one guished for their eminent piety. His were a constant shield against foreign father was bred to the profession of enemies; the other were a most vigil- the law, and spent most of his days in ant guard against the corruptions of er- the practice. He was much distinror and vice. As these respective du- guished for persuading parties to come ties were equally essential to the secu-to a settlement of their disputes, and rity and prosperity of the infant colon-avoid a legal trial.-This son was a ies, the holy providence of God prepar-child of many hopes and many prayed characters for the arduous service, ers. His infant mind was nurtured by eminently fitted for the great design. the care of a most faithful mother, As the political institutions of the New- and received early impressions of the England colonies were original, with-reality and importance of the truths of out a precedent in the history of civil God. He was early placed at school, states; so the religious order of the under the care of a judicious instrucchurches was formed upon a model, || tor in his native town, The powere
of his mind, and the assiduity of his ap- expecting a release from those stings plication soon caused him to be distin- of a wounded conscience, and those guished, and enabled him to make an alarming views of the eternal state, uncommon progress in his studies. which his pungent preaching would At the age of thirteen, he was admit-ever excite in his mind. But the faithted a member of Trinity College in ful dedication and persevering prayers Cambridge. While at College, he of his pious parents were not forgotten was distinguished for his application on high, and though one instrument to study, and for an uncommon pro-was removed the Holy Spirit would ficiency in science. During his resi- not forsake his soul. Not long after he dence at the University, he was elec- commenced a preacher, he was very ted a Fellow of Emmanuel College. deeply impressed by a solemn sermon At his admission to the fellowship, he on the insufficiency of a negative rightwas required to pass a very strict ex-eousness, or a mere blameless characamination; on which occasion, heter in the view of men. He soon bewas directed to render in English from came sensible of his lost state, and the Hebrew, the latter part of the third found that, with all his learning and chapter of Isaiah, supposed to be as dif- fame, he must perish forever, unficult as any passage in the Old Tes-less saved by the free grace and untament. He performed the service merited mercy of God. In this state with accuracy and great applause. of mind he continued for nearly three Soon after this, he commenced a prea. years. He continued to pursue his cher, and delivered some occasional studies, directing his attention, princidiscourses in the presence of the Unipally, to divinity. It pleased the Hoversity. The extensive learning, the ly Comforter, at length, to bring him elegance of composition, and the elo-out of the gloomy valley, and to give quent delivery of these sermons procur-him to realize the hope and the joy ed Mr. Cotton 'much distinction and of the believer. He was now anifame at the University. But though mated with new views of divine truth, he was a profound scholar and an elo- and with a new zeal to preach the unquent orator, and free from any spe-searchable riches of Christ. Soon afcial immoralities of life, he did not poster this, being called to preach before sess the first qualification of a minister of Christ; the sanctifying grace of God in his heart. This he fully testified of himself, through the remainder of his life.
the university, instead of a rich entertainment of science, as was expected, be gave his learned audience a plain, solemn, and effectionate discourse on the doctrine of repentance. Great During the period of his pupilage was the disappointment. The most at the University, his mind was much of his hearers were displeased; but impressed with a solemn sense of di- some were much affected, and found vine things, under the ministry of that no relief from the sorrows of a woundeminently pious, puritan divine, Mr.ed spirit, till they were brought, by diWilliam Perkins. He was strictly vine grace, to submit unconditionally Calvinistic in sentiment and one of the to God.
most noted practical preachers of his Some time after this important time. But these early impressions up-change in the character of Mr. Cotton, on the mind of Mr. Cotton proved to he received a call from the town of be temporary, and the ardor with Boston, in Lincolnshire, to settle in which he pursued his literary studies that place in the work of the ministry. seemed to allow no time to seek the He was much attached to his residence welfare of bis immortal soul. And it at Cambridge, yet after seeking earnis said that the death of Mr. Perkins, estly for divine direction, he thought it when Mr. Cotton was seventeen years his duty to accept the call. Soon afof age, gave him a secret satisfaction, ter his settlement his fidelity and abil
And the contro
ities were brought to a severe test.-manded by Christ. The sentiments of Arminius had just verted ceremonies being, confessedly begun to prevail in the nation; and be- of human appointment, a compliance ing congenial to the natural témper of with them, as a part of religious serthe human heart, they obtained a ve- vice was unlawful. Such was the ry rapid increase. Several of the weight of the reasons with which Mr. principal people of Boston, among Cotion vindicated his conduct, and the whom was a physician of great learn- personal influence of his character, ing and a subtle disputant, warmly es- that the people of the town, generally, poused the Arminian tenets. After coincided with his sentiments. The a prayerful and laborious study of the liturgy was laid aside in their public scriptures, Mr. Cotton became fully worship, the appointed vestments of convinced of the truth of the Calvinis the clergy were disused, the sign of the tic system and found himself compel- cross was omitted in baptism, and was led to oppose the prevailing errors.- removed from the mace, the ensign of This he did with such a modest candor, authority generally borne by the mayor with such a sincere conviction of duty, of the town. In an attentive examinand with such an overwhelming force ation of this subject, Mr.Cotton became of argument, that the most of those convinced that the power and duties who had fallen in with the popular er- of a christian bishop, according to the ror, became convinced, and the re- divine rule, were ordinarily limited to mainder were compelled to be silent. a single congregation; and that Christ Mr. Cotton's ministry in Boston, has committed to an individual church which continued for about twenty years all the authority of discipline which he was eminently accompanied with the has delegated to his people on earth. divine blessing. Great numbers, ap-In conformity with these sentiments, parently, became the subjects of the a large number of pious people in Bossaving grace of God. A general refor-ton united in church state, by entering mation of morals was observable in the into covenant with God and one anothtown, so that it became distinguisheder," to follow after the Lord, in the for solemnity and order. Many pious purity of his worship." people, some of whom were persons of A character so conspicuous as Mr. distinction, moved to the town, to en- Cotton, one possessed of such comjoy the previlege of Mr. Cotton's min-manding powers of eloquence, and istry. Such, indeed, was the visible such persuasive influence could not change in the character of the town, escape the vigilance of those who were that the magistrates and people were resolved to enforce conformity with generally denominated puritans. all the prescribed ceremonies of the Mr. Cotton had not been long in the established church. As Mr. Cotton ministry at Boston before he entertain- neglected to comply with an order ed his doubts of the lawfulness of many || from the ecclesiastical court to obof the prescribed services and ceremo- serve the appointed ceremonies, he nies of the Episcopal Church. After a was suspended from the rights of his full examination of the subject, he be- ministerial office. The period was came convinced of his duty to decline not long, however, before the suspena compliance with those ordinances sion, through the persevering influence of human appointment. The principal of friends, was removed. Though he reason which he assigned for his non-still remained a conscientious and firm conformity was the high injunction of non-conformist, by endeavoring to aChrist; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. From this he argued that nothing was to be enjoined in the precepts and
ties of religion, which was not com
void all unnecessary occasion of offence, and by a steady fidelity in the service of his Lord, he was suffered to remain unmolested for several years. To this the esteem in which he was
held by many persons of high rank and influence, greatly contributed. The Earl of Dorchester having been much affected by his preaching, was his uniform friend at court. And bishop Williams, lord keeper of the great seal, begged of king James, that a man of so much worth and learning might have liberty of preaching without interruption, tho' he were a non-conformist.
his country, he consulted with his friends with regard to the place to which he should direct his course.He first designed to go to Holland; but the unfavorable report of that country, given him by Mr. Hooker, determined him to relinquish that object.The Island of Barbadoes, and NewEngland were then contemplated.After much deliberation, advice and prayer, he determined on the latter.
Towards the latter part of Mr. Cot- Mr. Cotton arrived at Boston, in ton's ministry in Boston, bishop Laud New-England, in September, 1633.— rose to great influence with the king, His arrival, with the other eminent and commenced a persecution of all characters of the company, filled the non-conformists, more vigorous than colony with peculiar joy. Soon after had been attempted by any of his his arrival, the church in Boston, of predecessors. The faithful ministers which Mr. Wilson was pastor, at the of Christ can never want accusers, recommendation of the general Court, when accusations against them are en-chose Mr. Cotton to be their teacher, couraged by authority. A complaint who was accordingly set apart to that was made to the court of High-Com- office. The town was named Boston, mission, that Mr. Cotton and the ma-in honor of Mr. Cotton, who removed gistrates omitted to conform with sev-from the town of that name in Eng eral of the prescribed ceremonies.-land. The pursuviants were immediately Mr. Cotton came to New-England sent to apprehend Mr. Cotton, who about three years after the arrival of found it necessary to be concealed. the large company that established the The earl of Dorchester remained his Massachusetts colony. The civil and friend and interceded in his behalf.— ecclesiastical regulations of the coloHe informed him that if he had been [ny had not become settled, and in the accused of vices, he could have pro-establishment of these, he was very accured his release, but for non-confor- tive and useful. Various alterations mity, no pardon was to be obtained. were introduced in the order of the He therefore advised him to secure church of Boston, and as this was the his safety by flight. Laud had often largest, and generally considered the heard of his fame, and was particular- first church in the colony, the regulaly solicitous to suppress his influence. tions established in that, were generAs he would have been exposed to ally adopted by the others. The rules perpetual imprisonment had be been of admission and discipline, as well as apprehended, he found himself sub- the doctrines of faith, were more accu jected to the painful necessity of bid-rately determined, and more generally ding a final adieu to his native coun-understood.
try. Some eminent divines, not wil- In the year 1634 the colony was thrown ling to lose a person of Mr. Cotton's into a great ferment in consequence of worth, and knowing him to be dis-the magistrates exercising the right of a tinguished for an unusual candor of mind, took pains to confer with him on the common subjects of religious controversy, hoping to persuade him to conformity; but the issue of these conferences was that Mr Cotton's friends came into his sentiments. Having adopted the resolution of leaving
negative voice upon the people, in the General Court. The court adjourned and ordered a day of humiliation and prayer to be observed in all the cougregations. On this occasion, Mr. Cotton preached from Hag. ii.—4. Yet now be strong O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be ye strong, O Joshua, son