Sidor som bilder

of Josedech the high priest; and be ye || people, and great additions were made strong, all ye people of the land, saith to the church, of those who became the Lord, and work ; for I am wilh you, ornaments of the Christian profession. saith the Lord of Hosts. He pointed The town was very eminent for pubout the respective rights and duties of lic order and morality, for a sacred the different classes of the community, observance of the Sabbath, and the vaand enforced the necessity of sabor- rious duties of religion. The habita dination and mutual harmony, with so of character then forraed, were so jumuch clearness and energy, introdu- diciously and firmly established, that cing with peculiar felicity the expect-they continued with little relaxation ed aid and presence of the Lord of for three or four generations. Hosts in their great work, that the pub- In the early times of New England, lic commotions were effectually allay- it was cominon for the magistrates ed, and the reasonable claim of the to consult the elders of the churches, magistrates was established by a gen-on subjects of the most important deeral acquiescence. On a similar oc- liberation for the general welfare.casion, old Rome would have resorted Mr. Cotton was much improved in this to prodigies, the republics of Greece way, and by his extensive erudition, would have taken arms, the rulers of his great knowledge of the human superstitious pagans or catholics would character, and his habits of accurate have produced pretended revelations;|| discrimination in judgment, was emibut the fathers of New-England need-nently useful. The General Court, ed nothing but the testimonies of the knowing that the political institutions known truth of God, ably illustrated of the Israelites have been the chief and happily applied.

guide of all great legislators of ancient In the unbappy tumults which were and modern times, desired Mr. Cotton excited in the colony, by the errors of with the assistance of Gov. Winthrop, Roger Williams, Mrs. Hutchinson, and to make an abstract of the judicial others, Mr. Cotton generally inclined laws of Moses, and prepare them for to the side of lenity, and made great their adoption. These were approv. exertions to reclaim those who fell ined by the General Court and became to error, previous to their being cut off the fundamental laws of the colory. froin the communion of the churches. The parliament having become the His moderation with all his powers of ruling party in the civil contentions in reasoning, and great knowledge of di-England, Mr. Cotton was invited to revine truth, could not save the most ob- turn to his native country. Several stinate, but preserved many who were members of both houses of the parliainclined to the danger froin falling in- ment sent to him pressing invitations to the snare, and maintained the unity for this purpose. But the increase of of the churches. In the general syn-the civil war, with the severe calamiod of the churches held at Cambridge, ties with which it was attended, induAug. 1637, Mr. Cotton united with the ced him to decline a compliance with other members in condemning the pre-their earnest request. He was also vailing errors, which restored the pub- appointed one of the members of lic tranquility.

the venerable assembly of divines The ministry of Mr. Cotton, in which met at Westminster, together New-England, as well as in his native with Mr. Hooker and Mr. Davenport, country was attended with the special but they did not attend. blessing of God. The church of Bos- The labors of this venerable servant ton was eminently distinguished for of Christ, for the benefit of his people, purity in sentiment and morals; and for the churches and people of the colfor the uncommon attainments of ma-lony and of New-England, and for the ny of its members. The infuences of cause of divine truth, were unremit. divine grace were displayed upon the || ted and yowearied, for almost twenty years. Going to Cambridge to preach colony most affectionately lamented an occasional lecture to the College, his death ; for in his particular provo he got wet in crossing the ferry.ince, as a minister of Christ, he was This brought on au asthmatical com- truly their father and bead. The neighplaint, which continued to increase.-boring colonies took a share in the lle did out, bowever, remit his public general loss. labors, though seusible that his end This great man possessed by nature, was approaching. Being in a course an uncommon strength of mind, with of preaching, near the close of the sec- great brilliancy of genius. His genius ond Epistle to 'Tinothy, he took for was conspicuous in his childhood, and his text the four last verses of the book. appeared still brighter during his resiHe gave his people the reason for tak-dence at the university. He possessing so many verses, “ Because else ed a great thirst for knowledge, and I shall not live to make an end of this pursued his object with an ardour which Epistle.” He insisted principally on no ordinary obstacles could obstruct. the last words, Grace be with you all. Suci was the versatility of his genius On the succeeding Sabbath he preach that with equal facility, he conld invesend his last sernion, on the glory of|tigate the principles of ancient lan. Christ, from John i. 14. He then ||guage, penetrate the depths of the spent a day of secret humiliation and inathematics, or detect the subtleties prayer, earnestly imploring the assis- of metaphysical controversy. The tance of the Holy Spirit in the great strength of his mind was evinced by work of dying. He then took his || his high attainınedts in science, and leave of his beloved study, observing the rank which he maintained in the that he should never enter it again.-learned world, through the whole of In his sickness, he enjoyed the com- his life. The age in which he livert forts of divine grace, and an apima- was inquisitve, and prolific in great ting foretaste of heavenly blessedness. scholars. At the same time, the sonrHe observed that he felt a greater wilces of science had been but imperfectlingness to depart from the expectationly explored, and greater individual of joining in communion and praise ||powers were necessary for high attainwith those departed saints, Perkins,ments in learning, than in subsequent Ames, Preston, Hildershamn, anu periods.His disposition for appliDodd, with all others of that great As-||cation and habits of study were equal seinbly. All classes of people visited to the powers of his iutellect. For him in his sickness, to hear his instruc- his intense application to study, he tions and receive his blessing. Mr. was distinguished in early life, and,

, Wilson his colleague, said to him, he by early habit, his constitution became hoped God would lift upon him the suited to the service. It was his ordibigiit of his countenance. He replied, Juary practice to spend in study "-Brother, he has done it already.”]]twelve hours in a day. It is unnecesTo his brethren in the ministry, warn-sary to add that he was a person of ing them to be faithful in their work,||extensive learning. As a scholar, he he observed, " I have now through ranked with Owen, Ames, Twisse, grace been more than forty years a and Selden, who were among the first servant unto the Lord Jesus Christ, scholars of their time.

Dr. Preston, and I have ever found liim a good Professor of Divinity at the Universimaster.” A little before his departure ||ty of Cambridge, would often advise he desired not to be interrupted by his pupils to spend some time with conversation, and calmly resignipg Mr. Cotton, previous to entering on liis soul to the hand of God, he enter the work of the ministry. The learu: ed into his rest. He died Dec. 1652,||ing in which he most excelled was the having just coinpleted the sixty-se-science of divinity. He had a great venth year of his age. The whole knowledge of the holy scriptures, an!

Voin ? Bb

[ocr errors]

an extraordinary acuteness of mind and in the uprightness of his intentionis in discerning the scope of the inspi-he was perhaps not sufficiently willing red writers, as well as in detectiog to weigh tire opinions of others. Yet and exposing the various errors of|by long and persevering attention, he his time. He was one of the most ac- succeeded in gaining an uncominon ute controversial writers of the age.-- mastery of his temper, so that in his Dr. Twisse, who was the moderator latter years, he was seldom known to of the venērable Westminster Assem- be discomposed. In the unavoidable bly of Divines, declared him to be one perplexities of an infant country, he, of the ablest polemical writers, he had as well as his great and excellent known. His talents were most use- friend Governor Winthrop, had numefully employd in exposing and refuting rous trials, many of which altogether the Arminian and Antinomian errors, unexpected and peculiarly painful to wbich had many and powerful advo- their feelings. But, by the precepts cates. --Mr. Cotton appears to have of the gospel, aided by divine grace, been no less distinguished for sound- they attained to a humility, a self posness of judgment and prudence of con- session, an equanimity of conduct, duct, than for vigor of intellect. This which heathen pride and heathen apappears from the uncommon success athy never could reach. which attended the most of his designs. Few characters have given greater Though a firm non-conformnist, he evidence of true piety than Mr. Cotinaintained his place as a public minis- ton. In a person of high intellecter in the church of England, for about tual attainments, and strong natural twenty years. He succeeded in bring- temper, the religion of the Holy Spirit ing the most of the people of the town has to contand with obstacles, which, where he lived, with many of his ac- in persons of feebler mental powers, quaintance, who were persons of learn- and milder dispositions are never found. ing and character, into his own senti- In such therefore, the evidences of diments. The influence which lie pos- vine grace are generally more conspicsessed in New-England, shows him to uous, and to them a greater portion of have had a great knowledge of the hu- it is usually imparted. Great was the man ileart, and to possess, in an emin- evidence of grace, when, in early life, ent degree, that uncommon talent of he renounced the enchantment of litcontroling the minds of men. The erary fame, which had long dazzled fundamental institutions of New-Eng- before him with the most fervid lusland, particularly those which are of tre, to preach before the University an ecclesiastical nature, of which he the humble doctrines of the divine was the principal author, to say noth- Nazarene. Though preachers of small ing of their nature, by their duration education generally introduce in their for nearly two centuries, through vari- public performances, the litt ous changes of society, are a sufficient of learning which they possess, this evidence of the soundness of his judg- was never the practice of the learned ment, and the sagacity of his foresight. Cotton. For the sake of a conscien

Mr. Cotton was truly an indepen- tious observance of the precepts of dent man. He thought and acted, uni- the gospel, he deliberately renounced formly, for himself. Vot more anx- the prospect of the highest preferjous to oppose, than to coincide with ments in the church; yea he renounpublic sentiment, he made truth his ced his country and his kindred for an only guide, and duty his only object. untraversed wilderness. As it has of. Habituated to reflection, he carefully ten been the case that men of the examined every object of attention. strongest mental powers and highest

He had a strong spirit and was at intellectual attainments have been the times impatient of opposition. With most distinguished for humility, this a confidence in his ows judgment, 'grace was very eminent in the charac-(ex of Mr, Cotton. The meekest man passion in tiie correction of a fault. on sacred record was one of theg eat. He read a chapter of the scriptures, ia est men that appears in history, and his family, morning and evening, anLarned in all the wisdorn of the Egyp-nexing some familiar exposition, before ti:ins, the most refined nation then on and after which, he made a short prayearth. Mr. Cotton, in all his conduct er. He began the sabbath on Saturand demeanor, manifested a solemn day evening ; on the propriety of sense of the steady presence of God, which, he published an able vindicaof his own unworthiness in his sight, tion. This practice commenced in and of that account which he expect New-England with the first planters, ed to render at his bar. The hostility and is still obserred. And we believe of envy, malice, and ingratitude, he it to be conformable to the word of often called to encounter. The God. On Saturday evening Mr. Cotenemies of truth, in Old England and ton was more large in his family expoNow, were his enemies. Their mach- sition, after which he catechized his inctions and reproaches he bore with children and servants, and sung a great composure of mind, undiverted psalm. After this he retired to siudy from the service of his Lord, unmov- and secret devotion. The Salbath, ed from the path of duty. When a excepting his family devotion and pubcertain writer had cast upon him rna- lic service, he spent, principally, in ny severe personal reflections, he 0.6- secret retirement. The study of a served, “God forbid I should shut my sermon on the Sabbath, so far as it eyes against any light brought to me wearied the mind, he thought desiraby him."

One of the highest human ble to avoid. He rose early, was very attaininents is to profit by the abuses careful of his time, moderate in eatof enemies. Neither could the flattering, and sparing of sleep. ing marks of distinction laid upon him As a preacher, though he ofien in different periods of life, change his treated upon the deepest subjects, he sense of his own unworthiness, or di- was singularly plain and intelligible. vert him from the self denying service His voice was soft and sonorous; his. of the gospel of Christ. Mr. Cotton delivery affectionate, animated, and was eminent for liberality. Though solemn. A part of his preaching was, he could pay very little attention to generally, in a course. In an exposiproperty, divine providence so order-tion, he went through the Bible, and ed his circumstances, that he always nearly through the New Testament enjoyed a comfortable supriy. Many the second time. Iu his preaching persecuted ministers in England were he went through the Acts, Revelations, relieved by his bounty. The poor and several of the Epistles, with the over found him their friend. In the prophets Haggai and Zechariahı, and needly circumstances of the country, some other portions of the Old Teso he was laborious in seeking the most tament; he preachery much ; generalproper objects of charity, and in cnga ly two or three times a week, besides ging the wealthy to supply their wants. the Sabbath. The Thursday lecture In divising liberal things he generally at Boston, observed to this day, was set the first example. A collection of established principally by him. two hundred pounds sterling was made He was eminently a man of prayer. in Boston for a distressed people at This preceded and closed all his unthe southward. No man gave more, dertakings. He often kept days of and but one as much as Mr. Cotton. private humiliation and thanksgiving,

In the Christian life, he was eminent- That serenity and gravity which are ly exemplary. He paid great atten. produced by a life of prayer, he altion to the religious education and ways bore in his countenance.--Ile is government of his family. He was removed to that blessed state, where careful to avoid any appearance of his prayers and praises will be una!

loved anat eternal.

The following attempts to explain Roin. || endure, from the enemies of

ix. 3, will, we hope, be very accaptable But, as all who ombrace and obey tho to our readers. The two first are from gospel, whether Jews or Gentiles, are the Connecticut Evangelical Magazine, accepted of God, so, I must add, that Vol. 4; the third was intended to be all who reject it, are by him rejected. published there-why not admitted the And since the Holy Ghost now directs L'ditors have not made public. Ed.

me to write expressiy of a great disting

tion, which God in sovereign iercy “ For I could nish myself accursed from and grace is about to make, between Chrisl for my brethren."

the Jews, in the rejection of their naThe great difficulty in the way of a tion, because of unbelief, by whom right understanding of this passage, a-Christ and his disciples Jiave already vises from the mis-translation of the suffered so many things ; and the GenGreek preposition apo, which is here tiles, who have so long been blinded rendered froin ; whereas it ought to in ignorance and unbelief, in the callhave been rendered after. This pre-ing of them to a saving knowledge of prosilion will bear this translation, since the gospel, I fear, lest while I maintain in another passage, the same apostle this important truth, so upfavorable to lias evidently used it, in this sense. the Jews, my great enemies, some of Thus, 2 Timothy, i. 3. apo progo- you should imagine that I bear hardi upnion, “From my forefathers,” where on my dear countrymen, on account the meaning evidently is, after my of the personal injury, which I and my forefathers, example being understvod. Christian brethren have received froin 'The following is the present reading them, or by their mcans, since I have of Ibis part of the verse, “ I thank God, just mentioned the greatness of these whom I serve froin my forefathers || sufferings. To prevent, therefore, the with pure conscience.” It would have spread of so injurious and false a report lieen more correctly rendered, “I on this account, I begin this discourse thank God, whom I serve afier the ex- on the rejection of the Jews, with the ample of my forefathers with pure con-|| most solemn assurance I can give you science.” If then,“ apo" be used in to the contrary. And licrein, I say the same sense, in the words under the truth in Christ, using all the candor consideration, it will make the mean- and integrity of a Christian, as in the ing of the apostle highly interesting | prezence of that blessed Redeemer and instructive. This would then be who searches all hearts. He knows the true translation, "For I could wish that I lie not: my conscience also that myself were accursed after the ex-bearing me witness as to the truth of ample of Christ, for my brethren.” If what I say, in the Holy Ghost. With we consider the nature of Paul's pre- all this solemnity, on so great an ocdictions, in this chapter, concerning|| casion, I declare to you and to the the Jews, this neaning appears to be world, so far am I from taking any reexceedingly natural. Then we may | vengeful pleasure in predicting the suppose him expressing himself inore judgments of God in the rejection of fully, after this mapper,“ Thus, my Ro- my brethren, the Jews, that, on the man brethrez, in the preceding part of contrary, I have great grief and conthis letter, I have declared unto you tinual sorrow in my breast, while I the unspeakable privileges, which we think of what hath happened, and will Christians, whether Jess or Gentiles,| happen unto them, in consequence of receive in virtue of the gospel; and, their opposition to the gospel. Oh! ||

! I have particularly, in the last chapter, so far from being actuated by a spishown how these considerations will rit of revenge, in these predictions, be abundantly suficient to establishi us which I am about to mention, of their in the faith of the gospel, and render us | rejection, because of their ill treatment

perior to all the hardships we can of Christ, and myself and others of his

[ocr errors]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »