« FöregåendeFortsätt »
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, In his Christian character, Gov. Eaon the bench of justice, a majestic ton was distinguished for humility.dignity, not to be described. While He always bore an habitual sense of the faithful citizen always enjoyed his the holy presence of God. His holy protection, the wicked never dared to and universal government, his infinite defy his authority. When laws are perfections, his own weakness and few, and no established usages exist, guilt, were ever familiar to his mind. such personal virtues and influence in | Under the trial of the loss of a son of 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, 6 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 infiuence 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 rievout and use. any 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 attenderl.” On Saturday evemanners, which showed how awfulnings and on the Sabbath, he would and cxcellent 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 ruinerous, 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 domesties monwealth. The object was too he was greatly beloved, and his dogreat, ' the claims of posterity too mestic example was always consider
ed the greatest benefit to all who lived found only in the precepts of the divine in his house.
Redeemer, and in the Christian In January 1657, after a short ill-churces of the primitive times. The ness, this venerable servant of Christ, civilian had his guide in the best politin the sixty.seventh year of his age,was ical writings of various nations, and in released from scenes of incessant care the many precepts upon civil govern and labor, and, leaving a bereavedment contained in the word of God: people in tears, was removed to join the divine had his guide in the ưnerthe holy assembly of the spirits of just | ring truths of inspiration, and in the men made perfect.
concise history which remains of the Having attempted to give a sketch of early period of the Christian church: the lives of some of the civil fathers of but both were called to strike out a N. England, we will now take a brief new path, new in the history of churchview of some of the principal divines.es and states of many ages ; and, by These were not less conspicuous for the lights which they enjoyed, guided their merits and services, than the civil by the most careful investigation of ians. Tho' the limits of their respective the human character, to establish this departments were well understood and prepared habitation for the divine blescarefully preserved, they afforded a sing on a most salutary and durable constant and mutual support to each foundation. One of the most eminent other, and were cordially united in the instruments employed in the accompromotion of the common object forplishment of this great work, was the which they had migrated to the wes-celebrated minister of Boston, the tern wilderness. The establishment of a Cbristian
Rev. JOHN COTTON. nonwealth, compo
coming 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 ofer- 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 pray. ed 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,
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 lim 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- Dot 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 right. was required to pass a very strict ex-eousness, or a mere blameless characamination; : on which occasion, heter in the view of men. He soon be. was 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, un. ficult as any passage in the 'Old Tes- || less saved by the free grace and ontament. He performed the service merited mercy of God. In this state with accuracy and great applause. - of mind le 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 Uni-pally, 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 liope and the joy ed Mr. Cotton much distinction and of the believer. He was now anifame at the University. But thoughmated 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- j searchable riches of Christ. Soon afcialimmoralities of life, he did not pos-ter this, being called to preach before sess the first qualification of a minis- the university, instead of a rich enterter of Christ ; the sanctifying grace of|tainment of science, as was expected, God in his heart. This he fully testi- be gave his learned audience a plain, fied of himself, through the remainder solemn, and effectionate discourse on of his life..
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 afected, 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 nobed 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 earn. is said that the death of Mr. Perkins, ll estly for divine direction, he thought it when Mr. Cotton was serenteen years his duty to accept the call. Soon afof age, gave him a secret satisfaction, || ter his selilement his fidelity and abil:
ilies were brought to a severe test.- manded by Christ. And the controThe 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 ciuties 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 ahout 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 resor-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 distinguished ||er, “ to follow after the Lord, in the for solemnity and order. Many pious purity of his worship." people, some of whom were persons 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 ordinancession, 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 void all unnecessary occasion of ofthings whatsoever I have commanded fence, and by a steady fidelity in the you. From this he argued that nothing service of his Lord, he was suffered 10 was to be enjoined in the precepts and remain unmolested for several years.
pics of religion, which was pot com- To this the esteem in which he was
held by many persons of high rank and his country, he consulted with his influence, greatly contributed. The friends with regard to the place to Earl of Dorchester having been much which he should direct his course. affected by his preaching, was bis uni- He first designed to go to Holland; form friend at court. And bishop but the. unfavorable report of that Williams, lord keeper of the great seal, country, given him by Mr. Hooker, debegged of king James, that a man of termined him to relinquish that object. so much worth and learning might The Island of Barbadoes, and Newhave liberty of preaching without in- England were then contemplated.-terruption, tho' he were a non-confor- After much deliberation, advice and mist.
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-establishinent 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 wasthrown 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 negative voice upon the people, in the mind, took pains to confer with him General Court. The court adjourned on the common subjects of religious and ordered a day of humiliation and controversy, hoping to persuadle him prayer to be observed in all the conto conformity ; but the issue of these gregations. On this occasion, Mr. conferences was that Mr Cotton's Cotton preached from Hag. ii.-4. Yet friends came into his sentiments. Ha- | now be strong 0 Zerubbabel, saith the ving adopted the resolution of leaving | Lord; and be ye strong, O Joshua, 802