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SECT. IV. tism for their children. Here was an infringe
ment, as the people conceived, of their religious freedom; and it was instantly reported, that the agents had sold the liberties of the country. Mr. Norton's consciousness of integrity was hardly able to sustain his share of an unmerited reproach. The chilling looks, which he received from countenances, once expressive of nothing but approba. tion and friendship, damped the ardour of his professional pursuits, and contributed, it is thought, to shorten his days. For, after his re. turn, his wonderful talent in extempore prayer was no longer admired ; and the same sermons, which in other days were heard with a kind of ecstacy, now fell powerless on the ears of a languid auditory. It is traditioned, that even the venerable and benevolent Wilson was heard to say, that he must have another colleague. Mr. Norton died suddenly, 5 April, 1663, leaving no children. He was the author of the following publications.
1. Responsio ad totam quaestionum syllogen, &c. &c.
Lond. 1648. 12mo. 2. A letter in latin to John Dury. 3. A Discussion of the Sufferings of Christ. 1653. 12mo. 4. The Orthodox Evangelist. 1654, 4to. 5. Election Sermon, 1657, 12mo. 6. Life of Rev. John Cotton, 1658. 7. Heart of Newengland rent by the blasphemies of the
present generation, &c. 1660, 8vo. 8. Election Sermon, 1661. 9. A Catechism.
10. Three choice and profitable sermon s on several texts, SECT. IV
being the last sermons, which he preached at the election, at the Thursday lecture, and on the 1663. sabbath. 1664.
From the year 1657 to the end of 1663, seven, ty-one members were added to the church, forty nine of whom were females.
During the same space of time, the number of female baptisms was one hundred and fifty-four,and that of male baptisms one hundred and forty-nine.
Concerning the period, to which these minutes relate, we cannot but remark, that a persecuting temper was the fault of the age. The quakers especially were now treated with a degree of severity altogether unjustifiable, on any principles of the gospel or of common humanity. It is to be feared, that Mr. Norton too much approved the course, which was pursued against them, For they cordially rejoiced in his death, and reported, “ that the Lord had smitten John Norton, chief priest of Boston, and, as he was sinking down by the fireside, being under just judgment, he confessed the hand of the Lord was upon him, and so he died.” Mr, Norton undoubtedly partook of the fault of the age, which was a persecuting temper. Men, who had been imprisoned in England for their zeal in nonconformity, were here imprisoning others for precisely the same fault. They mixed their politicks with their religion, and blended the articles of their creed with consideration for the publick safety,
SECT.Iv. The age therefore, of which we speak, was 1663.
- necessarily an age of theological bitterness, incon
sistency, and strife.' The weaker party was the prey of the stronger, and the conscientious sectary, like Noah's dove, found no rest for the sole of his foot.
From the death of Mr. Norton to that of Mr. Wilson, including
the years 1664, 1665, 1666, 1667.
At the age of seventy-six, Mr. Wilson was once SECT. V. more left alone with the care of the church. It
1664. could not be expected, that he should now be able to make very vigorous exertions towards the increase and prosperity of the flock ; yet there appears to have been no diminution of zeal for the cause of religion, either in the pastor or the members. From the beginning of 1664 to the close of 1667, eighty-three persons, forty-nine of whom were females, adjoined themselves to the church. In the same space of time, two hundred and twenty-four children were baptized, one hundred and fourteen of whom were females.
The records appear to have been correctly :: made, and good order maintained in the church.
But the period was come, in which the earthly labours of the pious Wilson were to be exchanged for rest in the mansions of heaven.
This virtuous and amiable man was born at Windsor, England, in 1588, and was son of Rev. Dr. Wilson, prebendary of St. Paul's, London.
SECT. y. He was educated at Eton college, under Udal
and Langley. After a residence of four years, he 1666.
was removed to Cambridge, in the 15th year of his age, and admitted into King's college in 1602. Becoming acquainted in this place with a number of pious young men, he occasionally asso. ciated with them in his chamber for prayer and the reading of theological books. Having received ordination from a bishop, he was for some time minister of Sudbury, county of Suffolk, where he was silenced for nonconformity. His father used every imaginable means to reclaim him, but to no purpose. He then advised him to enter upon the study of law. This advice young Wilson obeyed, during two or three years ; but his heart was still bent on being a minister of religion. He was permitted to proceed for master of arts ; but the degree was not without difficulty to be obtained, except by subscribing articles, to which he was conscientiously opposed. He however refused to subscribe, whatever the refu. sal might cost him. He adopted a most solemn resolution to go to the ends of the earth, if he might thence enjoy liberty of conscience and a pure worship. He kneeled at the deathbed of his father for a blessing, which he obtained.
He was employed, as a chaplain in families of rank and opulence, where, with a boldness honourable to his profession, he reproved the profane and censured the levity of the gay and irreligious, Though persecuted and silenced, yet he repeated.