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them he fully disclosed a deep penetration, a fine SECT. II. fancy, and uncommon scholarship. So perfect was his knowledge of the Hebrew, that, it is said, he could easily converse in that language. He cheerfully assumed the profession, to which his parents had destined him, and consecrated his faculties to the good of the church. His first labours in the ministry were bestowed on a congregation in Boston, Lincolnshire, which duly estimated his singular powers and faithful services. But there he was threatened with the rod of prelatical oppression. He was too simple in his manners to kneel at the altar ; and too busy in unfolding the great doctrines of his master to conform with exactness to the idle ceremonies of episcopal invention. Mr. Cotton fled to a country, where he might read and interpret the scriptures for himself, and worship the Deity without doing violence to the dictates of conscience. In 1633, he embarked for Newengland; and never did the congregational church in this section of our country receive a more valuable accession from the parent state. On his arrival, which was a joyous event to all descriptions of people, he was immediately associated with Mr. Wilson, as teacher of First Church. Here he interested him. self in both the ecclesiastical and civil affairs of the new plantation ; and so commanding and extensive was his influence, that he was styled the patriarch of Newengland. It may be almost said, that from him Boston received its name, and its inhabitants their laws. In expound.
SECT. II. ing the scriptures, and in applying their holy 1652. precepts to the consciences of his hearers, he was
remarkably luminous, powerful, and consolatory. All his fellow-worshippers were seriously impressed by his gravity and devotion in the house of God. He was equally eminent for his capacity, as a ruling elder in the church, having an unusual power of expression and management. “He was indeed a burning and a shining light ; and the people were willing, for a season, to rejoice in his light.”
It was not however permitted to this great and good man to enjoy an unclouded day of terrestrial happiness. In opposing the tenets of Roger Williams, he was accused of supporting principles, which he had formerly laboured to subvert. England saw him resist the spirit of hierarchy : here he seemed desirous of cherishing it. Again, in the antinomian dispute, which happened in 1637, concerning Anne Hutchinson, Mr. C. unfortunately espoused with too much tenderness the cause of fanaticism, and, in the heat of the controversy, lost his temper, and, of course, a portion of his dignity and influence. His enemies, for who is without them ? failed not to use his apparent inconsistencies to his mortification. His life was rendered uneasy, and he sighed for the undisturbed repose, which he had vainly hoped to enjoy in this land of promise.
Meekness, piety, goodnature, and talents however, such as fell to the lot of Cotton, could not long suffer their possessour to be comfortless. It
could scarcely happen, that a career of life so sect. 11. honourably begun should be otherwise, than glo- 7656 riously finished. A mind bursting with generous efforts for the welfare of society soon regained its tranquillity ; and his affectionate heart received the consolation, he wished, in the gratitude, the confidence, and the improvement of his friends. The clouds, which obscured his descending sun, like a storm of thunder in June, gave way to a mild and peaceful radiance; and the glories of his departing day had all the majesty of full orbed virtue. He died, 23 Dec. 1652, at the age of sixty-seven, universally and deeply lamented. Both governours and governed bewailed the loss of a man, who, if he loved the rewards of religion, had a still greater love for religion itself, and who, if he loved the possession of power, was disposed to use it for the security of just men and the triumphs of truth. He carried with him to the tomb the unutterable regrets of his friends; and every individual of an afflicted community was ready to adopt the words of Elisha, when he beheld the ascending prophet, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof.”
List of Rev. John Cotton's works.
1. The way of life, in four treatises. Lond. 1641. pp.
481. 4to. 2. Christ the fountain of life. Lon. 1651. pp. 256. 4to. 3. God's mercies mixed with his justice. Lon. 1641,
pp. 135. 4to.
SECT. 01. 4. Pouring out of the seven vials. Lon. 1645. pp. 156.
5. The church's resurrection. Lon. 1642. pp. 30. 4to. 6. The way of the churches in N. E. Lon. 1645. pp. 116.
7. Holiness of church members. Lon. 1650. pp. 95. 4to.
pp. 35. 4to.
2d ed. 4to. 10. Exposition on the xiii. chap. of Rev. Lon. 1655. 4to. 11. Milk for babes. 12. Sermon on 1 John. folio. 13. Expositions on Ecclesiastes and Cant. 165. 12mo. 14. Treatise of new covenant (posth ) 15. Answer to Mr. Ball concerning forms, &c. 16. Discourse on grounds and ends of infant baptism. 17. Discourse on singing of psalms. 18. Discourse on things indifferent. 19. Answer to Mr. Cawdry. 20. Answer to Mr. Bayley. 21. Answer to Mr. Williams.
the death of Mr. Cotton, 1656, to the settlement of Mr.
The four years, which elapsed between the death