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THE LIFE and DEATH OF That Reverend Man of GOD, Mr. RICHARD MATHER, TEACHER of the CHURCH IN Dorchester IN NEW-ENGLAND.

Psal. 112. 6. The Righteous shall be had in everlasting remem­brance.
Heb. 13.7. Remember them who have spoken to you the Word of God.
Rev. 14. 13. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord: they rest from their labours, and their works follow them.

Ministri vita censura & cynosura.

CAMBRIDGE:

Printed by S. G. and M. [...]. 1670.

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TO THE CHURCH AND INHABITANTS OF DORC [...]ESTER in N.E. Grace unto you from God by Jesus Christ.

Beloved in the Lord Jesus,

You have here presented to your view, and for your imitation in the Lord, the Life of him that was to many of you a Spiritual (as to me a Natural) Father: Inasmuch as the greatest part of his time in the Ministry he was a Labourer in the Lords Harvest amongst you; Also with you did he finish his course. There is therefore special reason why what is here done should be directed to your selves.

The Composer of this ensuing Relation is not willing that his Name should be published. But it is done by one who hath had the viewing of my Fathers Manuscripts; from whence, as well as from personal and intimate Ac­quaintance of many years continuance, and other wayes, he hath been truly furnished with the knowledge of what [Page] is here reported. And indeed the greatest part of the Story is known unto sundry amongst your selves.

What remaineth then, Brethren and Beloved in the Lord, but that we should be mindfull of what is by the Lord required, when the Scripture saith, Remember them that have taught (and not onely them that do [...]) the Word of God, whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. What that Doctrine of Faith is which your blessed Teacher did from the Lord instruct you in, I need not say; onely Remember it. Remember his Farewell Exhortation, which is now in many of your Houses, and Oh that it were in all your Hearts. And as for his Conversation, your selves know that God made him Exemplarily Faithfull, Zealous, Patient, Humble, Holy: Follow him as he followed Christ. So likewise pray that he may do who is

Yours in the Lord alwayes, Increase Mather
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THE LIFE & DEATH OF Mr. Richard Mather.

THe Writing and Reading of the Lives of Wortky Ones, hath been by some accounted a­mongst the most profitable works of men un­der the Sun. The Labours of some Learned amongst the Gentiles this way have not been altogether without benefit, witness what is done by Pluterch, Laertius, Philostratus, Eunapius, Pliny, &c. albeit they are to be read with judgement. But especially the faithful Descri­ption of the Lives of those who have been Eminent Teachers in the Church, hath been to the great advantage of after­Ages. Many have reaped benefit by reading Dorotheus his Collection of the Lives of the Prophets, Apostles, and Seventy Disciples of Christ: And (not to speak of the Labours of Gennadius, Epiphanius, Isidore, and Prochorus of old) among later Writers, Shopfius his Academia Christi, and Tossanus concerning the Lives of the Fathers, and Melchior Adam concerning the Lives of all our Modern Divines, as farre as he could by any means come to the knowledge thereof. The pains which Mr. Clark hath taken in publishing the Lives of many of our English Worthies, hath been profitable to not a few: And great pity it is that more should not be done that way. If the Lives of Brightman, Parker, Ames, Barroughs, Hooker, &c. were published to the World, it might be of ge­nerall advantage. Nor is it to be doubted but that there have been many famous in their Generations, whose Memories are [Page 2] buried in the dust, for want of some one to undertake and office, whereby their Names might have been perpetuated to Posterity.

Vixtre fortes ante [...]
[...] Sed [...]athy mabiles
Vre [...]tur ignetiq, lex [...]d
[...] Carent quia vats Sacro.

But it must needs be in it self a thing [...] to God, that his grace towards and in his Servers, and the wonders of his Providence about them, should be kept in remembrance. Therefore some have written their own Lives. So did (not to mention Josephus, Bellarmius, Cardan) amongst our Worthies, Junius, Collinus, Buchanan; and of our own Nation, Bale, Burton, Hall, Bealy, &c. And the like did this Reverend Man who is to be the Subject of the ensuing Discourse essay to do; and proceeded therein to the 39th year of his Age, but finished not what he had purposed. It remaineth therefore that some other should do it, which we shall in following words of truck and plainess endeavour to do.

THere is in the Parish of Winnick in the Country of Lan­caster, a small Country Town or Village called Lowton: In which Village Richard Mather was born Anno 1596. His Parents Thomas and Margarite Mather were of Ancient Fa­milies in Lowton aforesaid, but by reason of some unhappy Mortgages they were reduced unto a low condition as to the World. Nevertheless, God so disposed their hearts, that they were willing to Educate this their Son in good Learning: Concerning which he (after that the Lord was pleased to be­stow not onely Learning but Grace upon him) hath some­times expressed himself, saying, By what principles and motives my Parents were chiefly induced to keep me at School, I have not to say, nor do I certainly know. But this I must needs say, that this was the singular good Providence of God towards me, (who hath the hearts of all men in his hand) thus to incline the hearts: of my Parents; for in this thing the Lord of Heaven shewed me [Page 3] such favour, as had not been shewed to many my Predecessors, and Contemporaries in that place.

Now his Parents being strongly bent in spirit to have their Son a Scholar, they sent him to Winwick School, which was about four miles distant from his Fathers house. In the Win­ter season they boarded him at Winwick; but such was his de­sire after knowledge, that in the Summer he travelled every day thither. Whil'st he was thus at School he met with no small discouragement, for that the Schoolmaster under whom he was, although he had an excellent faculty for teaching in Grammar­Learning, and many were trained up by him, so as to be sent unto Oxford and Cambridge, for Instruction in higher Studies; yet was he very severe and partial in his discipline. Junius was almost quite discouraged from his Studies, when being a School boy his Master would beat him eight times in a day whether in fault or in no fault: The like Magisterial harshness caused him of whom we write, earnestly desire that his Father would take him from School, and dispose of him to some other Calling. Himself afterwards, when he had waded through these Difficulties, would say, God intended better for me, then I would have chosen for my self; and therefore my Father, though in other things indulgent enough, yet in this would never con­descend to my request, but by putting me in hope that by his speak­ing to the Master, things would be amended, would still over­rule me to go on in my Studies; and good it was for me to be over-ruled by him, and his discretion, rather then to be left to my own affection and desire. But Oh that all Schoolmasters would learn Wisdome, Moderation and Equity towards their Scholars, and seek rather to Win the hearts of Children by righteous, lo­ving, and courteous usage, then to alunate their mindes by par­tiality and undue severity, which had been my after undoing, had not the good Providence of God, and the Wisdome and Authority of my Father prevented. But thus was that of the Poet made good:

Multa tulit fecitq, Puer sudavit & alsit
Quicupit optatam cursu contingere metam.

[Page 4]After that he had spent sundry years in this School, some Popish Merchants coming out of Wales to Warrington, which is two miles from Winwick, were inquisitive whether there were not any pregnant Wits in that School whom they might procure for Apprentices. Presently Richard Mather was mentioned to them as a pregnant Youth: Whereupon applica­tion was made accordingly to his Father, who was inclineable to accept of this Motion, because now his Estate was so de­cayed, that he almost despaired of bringing up this his Son as he had intended. But here the Finger of Divine Providence was observable; for when his Father was ready thus to part with his Son, and the Childe to go, the Lord raised up the heart of his Master, to be importunate with his Father still to keep him at School, professing that it was great pity that a Wit so prone to Learning should be taken from it, (as indeed it was) or that he should be undone by Popish Education. The Perswasions of the Master so farre prevailed, as that his Scholar was still continued under him, until the fifteenth year of his Age.

It was a mercy to him, that whil'st he was yet in his Mino­rity, he enjoyed the publick Ministry of one Mr. Palin, then Preacher at Leagh; of whom he would say, that the remem­brance of that man was Comfortable and Honourable in his thoughts, even in his old Age, though his knowledge of him was in his Childhood: He then observed such a plain, power­full, and piercing efficacy in Mr. Palins Ministry, as was not to be seen in the common sort of Preachers in those dayes, by means whereof some Illumination, though not a through-Conversion, was wrought in him.

Having been thus long kept at School, he was called to leave his Fathers Family. The occasion whereof was this. At a place called Toxteth Park near Liverpool, there dwelt a wise and Religious People, who being desirous of the good of themselves and their Posterity, intended to erect a School amongst them, for the Education of their Children. It came into their mindes to send unto the Schoolmaster of Winwick, to enquire whether he had any of his Scholars whom he would [Page] recommend unto them for such a Service: who having re­ceived their desires, forthwith communicated the same to this his Scholar, and to his Father, to see if the Motion would stand with their acceptance. He was desirous rather to have gone to the University, but his Father closed with the Offer; whence it was in fine mutually embraced, so that he removed from his Fathers house to Toxteth (Anno1611.) there to teach School. Nor is it any disparagement to his Worth that he was once a Schoolmaster; for very eminent Divines have been so, as of our own Nation Mr. Hieron, Mr. Whitaker, Mr. Vines, not to mention others, but rather an Eminency; the like seldome known, that one should be found fit to be a Schoolmaster at fifteen years of Age: Yet the Lord helped him in those his young years to carry it with such Wisdome and Love and Gravity amongst his Scholars as was to admination, so as that he was by them both loved and feared, beyond what is usual, even where there are aged Masters.

His being thus employed was more wayes then one advan­tagious to him: for by this means he became a more acurate Grammarian then Divines usually are. Being also diligent in his Studies whil'st he continued in this way of Imployment, he became a Proficient in other Arts, as in Logick, Rhetorick, yea and in Theology. Moreover, it afterwards appeared to be of God, that he was Called to such a Work in such a place, for there the effectual Conversion of his Soul unto the Lord, was wrought in his tender years, even afore his going to Oxford; whence he was preserved from those Corruptions which un­did many of his Contemporaries, through the Temptation which in the University they met with. The means of his Con­version was partly by seeing a strange difference between him­self and sundry in that godly Family, where Divine Providence had cast his Lot in Toxteth, viz. the Family of Mr. Edward Aspinwall, who was a Learned and Religious Gentleman. Now he observed that the way and walking of that holy man, was such as himself had not as yet been accustomed unto, which caused sad fears to arise in his Soul, lest haply he might not be in the way which leadeth unto Eternal Salvation. Also [Page 6] Mr.Harrison, then [...] famous Minister at Hyton, Preaching up­on Jo [...].3.3. concern [...]g the necessity of Regeneration, and at the same time reading a Book of Mr.Perkins his, shewing how farre a Reprobate may go, God blessed these three things not onely to Conviction, but to Conversion. This was Anno 1614. The pangs of the New-birth were exceeding terrible to him, inasmuch as many times when they were at Meals in the Family where he sojourned, he would absent himself to retire under hedges and other secret places, there to lament his misery be­fore God. But after some time, the Lord revived his broken heart, by sending the holy Spirit in the Ministry of the Word to apply the Precious Promises of the Gospel to his Soul.

Being thus become a New Creature, he was the more emi­nently a Blessing in the Family, and in the Calling which the Lord had disposed of him in: And such notice was taken of him, as that even from places remote Children were sent unto him for Instruction and Education; and many were, by the Lords blessing upon his Endeavours, fitted for, and sent unto the University. Some years having been past over in this way of Employ, he resolved ( [...]) to spend some time in one of the Universities, as apprehending that there, by converse with Learned men, and other Advantages not elswhere to be had, he might gain more then by his private Studies in the Country. Accordingly he went to Oxford, and continued for some time there in Brazen-Nose Colledge. Being there, he was variously affected: for it was a joy to him to finde many there who had been his quondam Scholars. It was also a joy to him that he had such leisure to follow his Studies, and by Disputa­tions, Lectures, Books, Conferences with Learned men, &c. marvellous Advantages to obtain a Treasure of Knowledge. But his heart being afore this touched with the fear of God, the great Superstition and Prophaness which he was forced there to behold, was no small grief unto him.

Soon after his coming to Oxford, he came into Acquain­tance with the Learned Doctor Worall, who was helpful to him in directing him as to the course of his private Studies. A­mong [...]t other things, [...]e advised to read the Works of Peter [Page 7] Ramus; which counsel he followed, and saw no cause to re­pent of his so doing. But before he had spent so much time in Oxford as he could have wished that he might have done; the People in Toxteth, whose Children had been taught by him, sent to him, desiring that he would return unto them to instruct not so much their Children as themselves, and that not in meer Hamane Literature, but in the things of God. This Call, after due Consideration, for weighty Reasons he accepted of. Being then returned to Toxteth, he Preached his first Sermon November 30. 1618. There was a very great Con­course of people to hear him, and his Labours were highly accepted of by the judicious: Such was the vastness of his Me­mory, as that the things which he had prepared and intended to deliver at once, contained no less then six long Sermons. The people having had some taste of his Gifts, were the more importunate in their desires that he might continue amongst them. And because that could not be without Episcapal Or­dination, they urged him to accept thereof: Not having at that time so throughly looked into that part of Ceremonious Conformity as after wards, he yielded unto the Motion; and accordingly was Ordained (with many others on the same day) by Doctor Morton then Bishop of Chester after the Mode of those Times. The Ordination being over, the Bishop singled our Mr.Mather from amongst the rest, saying, I have Some­thing to say to you betwixt you and me alone. Mr.Mather was then afraid lest some Informations might have been given in to the Bishop against him because of his Puritanism, thereby to prejudice him; but it hapned to be otherwise: for when the Bishop had him alone, I have (faith he) an earnest Request un­to you, and you must not deny me; It is that you would pray for me: for I know (said he) the Prayers of men that fear God will avail much, and you I believe are such an one. Nevertheless, after that the Lord gave him to see the evil of the sin of Conformity in the whole latitude of it, (for as to the substance of Confor­mity, even from his first entrance upon the Ministry he saw the evil thereof, and was by Divine Grace kept from being stained there with) his Conforming (although it was at the desires of [Page 8] his people) [...]o accept of this Ordination from the Prelate, was no small grief of heart to him. Many years after, one of his Sons taking notice of a torn Parchment in his Fathers Study, enquired what it is; unto whom his Father replied, That he received that when he was Ordained by the Bishop: And (said he) I tore it, because I took no pleasure in keeping a monument of my sin and folly in submitting to that Superstition, the very re­membrance whereof is grevious to me.

Being as hath been related, setled in the Ministry at Toxteth, he resolved to change his single condition: And accordingly he became a Sui [...]or to Mrs.Katharine Hoult, Daugher to Ed­mund Hoult Esq of Bury in Lancashire. She had (and that deservedly) the repure of a very godly and prudent Maid. The Motion for several years met with Obstructions, by reason of her Fathers not being affected towards Non-conformable puritans: But at last he gave his Consent that Mr.Mather should marry his Daughter; the Match therefore was Con­summated Septemb. 29. 1624, God made her to become a rich Blessing to him, continuing them together for the space of above 30 years. By her God gave him six Sons; four whereos (viz. Samuel, Timothy, Nathaniel and Josephwere born in England, and two (viz. Eleazar and Increase) in New-England. After his Marriage he removed his Habita­tion three miles from Toxteth, to Much-Woolton, having there purchased an House of his own; yet he was wont constantly Summer and Winter to Preach the Word at Toxteth upon the Lords-dayes. During his abode there, he was abundant in Labours in the Gospel: For every Lords-day he Preached twice at Toxteth, and once in a Fortnight on the Third day of the Week he kept a Lecture at the Town of Prescot. Also, faithful and powerful Preaching being then rare in those parts, he did frequently Preach upon the Holy dayes(as they are cal­led) being often thereunto desired by godly Christians of other Parishes in that Country: And this he did, not as thinking that there was any Holiness in those times (or in any other day be­sides the Lords-day) beyond what belongs to every day; but because then there would be an opportunity of great Assem­blies, [Page 9] and it is good casting the Net where there is much Fish: for which cause it might be that the Apostles Preached mostly in Populous Towns and Cities, and also (which suiteth with what we are speaking) on the Jewish Sabbaths after their abro­gation as to any Religious tye upon Conscience for their ob­servation. Yea and besides all this, he often Preached at Fu­nerals. It is true that Cartwright, Sherwood, Hildershem, and many other Renowned Non-Conformists, have scrupled Preach­ing Funerall Sermons; Also in some Reformed Churches that practice is wholly omitted, yea and Decrees of Councils have sometimes been against it; but that hath been chiefly upon ac­count of that Custome of Praising the dead upon such occa­sions, and that many times untruly: Which Custome (as many Learned men have observed) is Ethnicall, having its rise from the Funeral Orations of the Heathen. Publicola made an ex­cellent Oration in Praise of Brutus, which the People were so taken with, that it became a Custome that Famous men dying should be so praised, and when (as Plutarch saith in the life of Camillus the Women amongst the Romans parted with their Golden Ornaments for the Publick Good, the Senate decreed, That it should be lawful to make Funeral Orations for them also. Hinc mortuos lanaandi mos [...] quem nos bodiè servamus. Pol. Verg. de R [...]r. Invent. lib.3. cap.10. Nor indeed was this Rite practised in the Church afore the Apostacy began. Fide Magd. Cont.4. Cap.6. wherefore this faithful Servant of the Lord avoided that practice, his speech at Funerals being taken up not with Praising the Dead, but with instructing the Living concerning Death, the Resurrection, the Judgement to come, and the like seasonable Truths. Thus did he Preach the Word, be­ing instant in season and out of season, reproving, rebuking, exhorting, with all long suffering and doctrine. In his pub­lick Ministry in England he went over 2Samuel, Chap. 24Psalm 4. and Psalm 16. Proverbs, Chap.1. Isaiah, Chap.1. and Chap.6. Luke, 22 and 23 Chapters. Romans, Chap.8. 2 Epist. to Timothy; 2 Epist. of John; and the Epistle of Jude.

After that he had thus painfully and faithfully spent fifteen [Page 10] years in the Work of the Ministry, He that holds the Stars in his right hand, had more work for him to do elswhere; and therefore [...] of Satan and wrath of men must be suffered to break [...] until this choice Instrument had his mouth stopped in unrighteousness. The Lecturewhich he kept at Prefect caused him to be much taken notice of, and so was the more unto the Adversaries of the Truth an object of Envy. Magnam famam & magnam quietem codem tempore nemo potest acquirere. Quint. Wherefore Complaints being made against him for Non-Conformity to the Ceremonies, he was by the Prelates Suspended. This was in August, Anno 1633. Under this Suspension he continued untill November following: But then, by means of the Intercession of some Gentlemen in Lancashire, and by the influence of Simon Byby (a near Alli­ance of the Bishops) he was restored again to his Publick Ministry. After his Restauration he more fully searched into, and also in his Ministry handled the Points of Church-Discipline. And God gave him in those dayes not onely to fee, but also to Instruct others in the Substance of the Congregationall-Way, which came to pass by his much reading of the holy Scriptures, and his being very conversant in the Writings of Cartwright, Parker, Baynes, and Ames. But this restored Liberty conti­nued not long; for Anno 1634. Bishop Neal(he who was some­times by King James pleasantly admonished of his Preaching Popery, because by his carriage he taught the people to pray for a blessing upon his dead Predecessor) being now become Archbishop of York, sent his Visitors into Lancashire; of whom Doctor Cousins (whose Cozening Devotions Mr.Pryx hath made notorious to the world) was one: These Visitors being come into the Country [...] kept their Courts at Wigan; where, amongst many other unrighteous proceedings, having Mr. Mather convened before them, they passed a Sentence of Suspension against him, meerly for his Non-Conformity to the Inventions of men in the Worship of God. It was marvellous to see how God was with him, causing a Spirit of Courage and of Glory to rest upon him, and filling him with wisdome when he stood before those [Page 11] Judges, who were not willing that he should [...] for himself, or declare the Reasons which convinced his [...] of the unlawfulness of that Conformity which they [...] Con­cerning the Lords presence with him at that [...] self doth in a Manuscript left in his Study thus express [...]. In the passa­g [...] of that day, I have this to bless the Name of God for, that the terrour of their threatning words, of their Pursevants, and of the rest of their Pomp, did not so terrifie my minde, but that I could stand before them without being daunted in the least measure, but answered for my self such words of truth and soberness as the Lord put into my moxth, not being afraid of their faces at all: which supporting and comforting presence of the Lord I count not much less mercy, then if I had been altogether preserved out of their hands.

Being thus silenced from Publick Preaching the Word, means was again used by Mr. Mathers friends to obtain his Liberty; but all in vain. The Visitor asked how long he had been a Minister? Answer was made. That he had been in the Mini­stry fifteen years. And (said he) how often hath he worn the Surpless? Answer was returned, That he had never worn it. What (said the Visitor, swearing as he spake it) preach Fifteen years and never wear a Surpless? It had been better for him that he had gotten Seven Bastards. This was a Visitors judgement. [...].

Wherefore the [...] being thus, he betook himself to a pri­vate life: and no [...] being left, of enjoying Liberty again in his Native Land; [...] also (Sapions Divinat) the ap­proaching Calamities of England, he meditated a Removall into New-England. The principall Arguments whereby he was Convinced that he had a Divine Call to engage in so great and hazardous a Design he drew up together, and put them into form. which because they are of weight, and because Postertity may there by see what were the swaying Motives which prevailed with the first-fathers of N.E. to venture upon that unparallell'd undertaking, even to Transport themselves, their Wives and Little ones, over the rude Waves of the vast Ocean, into a Land which was not sown; We shall therefore here insert them.

[Page 12] [...] tending to prove the Removing from [...] to New, or to some such like place, [...] onely lawful, but also necessary for them that are not otherwise tyed, but free.’

ARGUMENT 1.

Propos. To remove from a corrupt Church to a purer, is necessary for them that are not otherwise tyed, but free: as appears,

1. If a purer Church be a better gift then a corrupter Church, the aforesaid Removing mentioned in the Propo­sition, is necessary.

The reason of the Consequence is, Because we are com­manded to choose the best gifts, 1 Cor.12.31.

But a purer Church is a better gift then a Church more corrupt. Ergo.

2. If we should not unnecessarily endanger our selves to be corrupted, then the Removing mentioned in the Propo­sition, is necessary.

The Reason of the Consequence is, Because by staying voluntarily in places corrupt, we do endanger our selves to be corrupted, 1 Cor.5.6. Eccles.9.18.

But that is forbidden by the sixth Commandment. Ergo.

3. If we ought not to behold evil voluntarily, then the Remo [...]ng mentioned in the Proposition, is necessary.

The Reason of the Consequence is, Because by staying voluntarily in corrupt places, when we are free to remove, we do behold evil voluntarily.

But that we ought not, Psal.119.37. Ergo.

Assumption. But to remove from England to N.E. or some such like place, is to remove from a corrupter Church to a purer. Ergo.

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ARGUMENT II.

Propos. To remove from a place where [...] and the Professors of it are persecuted, unto a place of more quietness and safety, is necessary for them that are free.

This appears by these Arguments; viz.

1. That which hath a Divine Commandment for it, is necessary.

But so it is here, Matth.10.23.

2. That which hath the imitable and commended Example of Christ, and other faithful Servants of God for it, is ne­cessary, Mat.11.29. 1 Pet.2.21. 1 joh.2.6. Phil.3.17.

But to remove from Persecution hath the imitable Example of Christ, Matth.2.14. & 12.15. Luke4.10. joh.8.59. & 10.39. And of other faithful Servants of God, viz. of Elias, 1 Kings 19.3. Moses, Exod.2.15. Paul, Acts 9.25.Ergo.

3. If not removing from Perfecution when a man is not otherwise tyed, but free, be a Tempting of God, an expo­sing of ones self to unnecessary danger, and so against the sixth Commandment; Then the removing mentioned in the Proposition of this second Argument, is necessary.

But the former is true. Ergo.

4. If not removing from Persecution when a man is free, be a wrong to the Church, then the Proposition is true.

The Reason of the Consequence is, Because we ought not to wrong, but to seek the benefit and salvation of the Church and Elect of God, as far as is in us, 1 Cor.10.33. 27 [...] 2.10.

But not removing as aforesaid is a wrong to the Church, because it depriveth the Church of the benefit of such a mans life and pains, as might if he had peace and liberty, be profitable to the Church; whereas a voluntary staying in places of Persecution, &c doth hinder profit and benefit which the Church might receive by such a man.

[Page 14] 5. Because a mans frailty is oft-times more then he know­eth of [...] of triall will utter it self, as appears by the [...] in the Palatinate. This infirmity of mans [...] Ridley to counsel thos [...] that were not taken [...] the Realm; and Mr. Bradford on the same ground giveth the same counsel to Erkinald Rawlins and his Wife. Acts & Mon. Vol.3.Pag.518. & Pag.319.

Assumpt. But to remove from Old England to New, is to remove from a place where the Truth and Profes­sors of it are persecuted, to a place of more quiet­ness. Ergo.

ARGUMENT III.

Propos. To remove from a place where we cannot enjoy all the Ordinances of God, needful to the well being of Churches and particular Christians in regard of their Spiritual estate, unto a place where we may, is neces­sary for them that are free.

1. Because we are commanded to seek all Spiritual bles­sings, with all the means of the same, Matth.6.33. Josh.6.27.Col.3.1.

2. Because the Spouse of Christ will not rest seeking her Beloved, till she finde him in the fullest means, Cant. 1.7. & 3.1,2,3.

3. Because there is none of the Ordinances of God, but they are needful and profitable for the preservation and growth of Churches and Christians in grace. To think any of them not needful, or not profitable, were to disparage the Wisdome of him that appointed them.

4. Because if it be necessary to remove for the enjoying of some of Gods Ordinances, it is necessary to remove for the enjoying of all, and in the want of any one:

The Reason of the Consequence is, Because it cannot be shewed from Scripture, at what Ordinance a man is set at [Page 1] liberty from seeking any further by removing. And ano­ther Reason is, Because as some are not of [...] to the beeing and estate of a true Church, or [...], no more are any: And as some are necessary [...] [...]ell-being of a true Church and a true Christian, even [...] are all.

Assumpt. But that the Removal is necessary for the en­joyment of some of Gods Ordinances, as for Preaching of the Word, will not be denied. Ergo.

ARGUMENT IV.

Pro [...] To remove from a Church where the Discipline of Christ is wanting, to a Church where it may be enjoy­ed, is necessary to them that are free.

1. If Discipline be an Ordinance of Christ, then the Re­moving mentioned in the fourth Argument, is necessary.

The Reason of the Consequence is, Because the voluntary wanting any Ordinance of Christ is sinful.

Besides the third Argument shewed, Th [...] Removal for the enjoying of all Gods Ordinances, is necessary to them that are free.

But Discipline is an Ordinance of Christ, Matth.16.19. & 18.17. Ergo.

2. If Discipline be a part of Christs Kingdome, and a ne­cessary and effectual means for preserving the Church, and the other Ordinances from corruption; then the removing mentioned in the Proposition is necessary.

The Reason of the Consequence is, Because the voluntary wanting any part of Christs Kingdome, any necessary and effectual means to preserve the Church from Corruption, is sinful, Luke 19.14,27. Psal.2.3. Second Petition in the Lords Prayer.

But Discipline is a part of Christs Kingdome, a necessary and effectual means, &c. Isa.9.6. 1 Cor.15. 24. Ergo

3. If removing from a Family where is no Government [Page] of good order for suppressing of sin and wickedness, to an­other where is, be necessary for one that is free; then the removi [...] [...] in the Proposition of this fourth Argu­ment [...].

The [...] of the Consequence is, Because there is one and the same Reason for both.

But removing from such a Family is necessary for one that is free, Because a voluntary staying in places of danger is a Tempting of God. Ergo.

Assumpt. But to remove from Old England to New, is to remove from a Church where the Discipline of Christ is wanting, to a Church where it m [...]e en­joyed.Ergo.

ARGUMENT. V

Propos. To remove from a place where the Ministers of God are unjustly inhibited from the execution of their Punctions, to a place where they may more freely exe­cute the same, is necessary to them that are not other­wise tyed, but free.

1. God hath sometimes commanded a removing in such a case as this, Mic.2.6, 10. Acts22.18.

2. The godly have practised a removal in such a case, 2Chron.11.14.16. Acts13.46.

3. The Ministers gifts and talents should not be idle, but be imployed for the Churches profit, ICor.12.7. 1Pet.4.10.

4. The sin of inhibiting the Lords Ministers, is a fore­runner of some sudden and grievous Judgement, Isa. 30.10,13. when it is for no cause, or for trifles, Isa.29.31.

Assumpt. But to remove from Old England to New, is to remove from a place where the Ministers of God are unjustly inhibited, to a place where they may more freely execute their Functions. Ergo.

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ARGUMENT VI

Propos. To remove from a place where are fearful signs of Desolation, to a place where one may have well­grounded hope of preservation, and of Gods protection, is necessary to them that are free.

1. Because it is the property of a wise man to foresee the plague, and to hide himself,Prov. 22.3.

2. Because God hath commanded to remove in such case,Mic.2.10. So Lot was commanded to go out of Sodom, be­fore the destruction thereof, Gen.19.

3. Because there are commended Examples of them that have done this; as of Noah retiring into the Ark, Lot leaving Sodom, The godly leaving Jerusalem, a little before the last destruction thereof by the Romans, and going forth to Pella. See Brinsleyin True Watch, Part 3.pag.76.118. Cartwright on Prov. 22. 3. and Junius on Revel.12.14.

4. Because Nature teacheth to seek ones own preserva­tion.

5. Because the sixth Commandment teacheth the same, and maketh voluntary staying in places of danger to be a degree of Self-murther.

Assumpt. But to remove from Old England to New, is to remove from a place where are signs of fearful Desolation, to a place where one may have well grounded hope of Gods protection.

This Assumption is made good by the proof of two things: First, That in Old England there are many signs of fearful Desolation. Now signs of Desolation are such as these, and whether they be found in England, let it be considered.

1. Abundance of sin and sinners, Hos.4.1,2. Jer.5.9.

2. Impunity of sin and sinners.

[Page 18]3. General Security, 1 [...]2,3. Matth.24.38. Luke 17.28, [...]1.12.

4. The taking away of Gods dear and faithful Servants, Isa.57.1

5. Not profiting by former Judgements, Amos 4. 6, 7, &c.

6. Warnings by the Lords Ministers, Amos 3.7.Isai. 44.26.

7. Examples of Gods wrathful Judgements on others no worser sinners, Jer.7.12. Rom.11. Mr.Brinsley sheweth at large, That the same sins which brought the Captivity of 70 years on Judah, do as much abound in England as ever they did in Judah, and that therefore we may certainly expect desolation for our sins, unless course were taken speedily by general Repentance and Reformation to pacific the Lords wrath. In 3d Part of True Watch, throughout the whole Book, and more especially in pag.493. & 503, &c.

The other thing to make good the Assumption, is, That inNew-England one may have well-grounded hope of Gods protection, and for that there are these Reasons:

1. The Promise of God to preserve Churches and Chri­stians which purely observe his Word and Ordinances, faith­fully execute Justice and Judgement, &c. For which, see these places; Isa.4.5,6. 2 Cor.15.2. Revel.3.8.9,10. Isa. 52.17. & 54.17.

2. The Example of Gods protecting and preserving such in former time, as 2 Chron. 17.3,4,9,10. As long as Israel kept and walked in Gods wayes, no Enemy was able to pre­vail against them, &c.

3. No instance can be given to the contrary, when God ever suffered any people to perish that did purely observe his Ordinances, and execute Justice and Judgement, untill by their defection and sin they had forfeited their happiness, and made themselves naked, and caused their Shield to de­part from them.Ergo,&c.

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An Argument [...] Ministers onely.

To remove from such a place where the Pastors of the Congregation cannot exercise the Lords Discipline by Ruling and Governing their own Flocks by Cen­suring those that ought to be Censured, &c. to a place where they may do it, is necessary for them that are free.

1. Because they are commanded to fulfill their Ministry and to perform all the parts of their Pastoral Office, Coloss. 4.17. 2 Tim. 4.5. And this of Administring the Keyes of Discipline is one, Matth. 16.19.

2. Because Christ hath no where dispensed with them in any part thereof.

3. Because God hath reproved them that have failed to do this, Rev.2.20.

4. Because Parents and Masters are bound to remove if they were in such Commonwealths, where they might not be suffered to Rule and Govern their own Children and Ser­vants. The Reason whereof is, Because they are bound to preserve their Children and Servants from being over­thrown, if it be in their power; but where such restraint is, they are in danger to be overthrown.

Now the Consequence of the Reason is, That then Mini­sters being free, are bound to remove, if they be in such place where they may not govern their own Flocks.

The Reason of which Consequence is, Because of Parents and Masters over their Children and Servants, and of Pa­stors over their Congregations, there is par Ratio, That if one be bound in case aforesaid to remove, the other are bound in the like case to remove also.

These Arguments were thus presented to the Consideration of some godly Ministers, and other Christians in Lancashire, at several Meetings for that end. Nothing was satisfactorily said [Page] to take off the strength of the Reasons: But many were thereby perswaded that his Call [...] New-England was clear, yea even his own people at Toxteth, who did so dearly love his Person, and highly prize his Ministry, yet thought he was now Called of God to leave them. And hereunto he was the more inclined, by some Letters of Mr. Cottons and Mr. Hockers who were lately arrived in New-England, and wrote (as then there was cause) very encouragingly unto godly people to come after them. Mr. Hocker in one of his Letters had this Expression; In a word (faith he)If I may speak my own thoughts fully and truly, though there are very many places where [...] may receive and expect more Earthly commodities, yet I do believe there is no place this day upon the face of the Earth, where [...] gracious heart and a judicious head may receive more spiritual good to himself, and do more temporal and spiritual good to others.

Being then fully satisfied concerning the clearness of his Call for New-England, after many Prayers, and extraordinary seekings unto God, he engaged upon the Transportation of himself and Family thither. His parting with his People and other Friends in Lancashire, was like P [...]'s taking his leave of Ephesus, with much sorrow, many tears being shed by those who expected to see his face no more in this world. This Journey was begun in April 1635. When he travelled to Bristol in order to taking Ship there. In this Journey he was forced (as sometime Brentius was) to change his outward Habit that he might travel incognite, because Pursevants were designed to Apprehend him; but by this means he escaped them. From Bristol he set Sail for New-England May23.635. The Lord, after manifold Trials of Faith and Patience, nought him in safety to the desired Haven. It is seldome known, that a man designed in Gods Eternal Counsel to spe­cial Service for his Name, doth not at one time or other ex­perience Fminent Deliverances of Providance: So it was with [...] of the Lord not once not twice. Sundry emi­ [...] from deadly Dangers did the Lord vouchsase [...] Childhood, which he would speak of in his [Page 21] old Age: But the most remarkable and memorable of all other, was that which hapned to him on the mighty Waters, where he that sits upon the Floods, and stilleth the raging of the Sea when the Waves thereof roar, and whom the Winds obev, shewed himself wonderful in goodness: for when the Vessel was upon the Coasts of New-England, there [...] a fearful Storm (Which the Americans are wont to call an H [...]a­cano) by means whereof they were in no small danger; And had not the Lord strangely turned the Wind in an instant, they had all perished upon the Rocks which were just before, and within sight of them in the Ship. The Relation of this ob­servable Providence we shall here set down in Mr. Mathers own words, left written by himself in his Journall from Lan­cashire to New-England. Thus he writeth concerning it.

August 15. 1635. The Lord had not at done with us, nor had be let us see all his Power and Goodness which be would have us take the knowledge of And therefore about break of day, be sent a most terrible Storm of Rain and Easterly Wind, whereby we were in as much danger as I think ever people were. when we came to Land, we sound many mighty Trees rent in thoes in the midst of the Bole, and others turned up by the Roots, by the fierceness thereof. we lost in that Morning three Anchors and Cables, one having never been in the water before; two were broken by the violence of the Storm, and the third out by the Sea­men in extremity of [...], to save the Ship and their and our Lives. And when our Cables and Anchors were all lost, we had no outward means of Deliverance but by hoysing Sail, if so be we might get to Sea, from amongst the Islands and Rocks where we had Anchored: But the Lord let us [...]ee that our sails could not save us neither, no more then the Cables and Anchors; for by the force of the Wind and Storm the Sails were rent asunder, and split in pieces as if they had been but rotten Rags, so that of di­vers of them there was scarce lost as much as an band-breadth, that was not rent in pieces, or blown away into the Sea: So that at that time all hope that we should be saved, in regard of any outward appearance, was utterly taken away; and the rather, [Page 22] because we seemed to drive with full force of wind directly upon a mighty Rock standing out in sight above water, so that me did but continually wait when we should bear and feel the doleful crash­ing of the Ship upon the Rock. In this extremity and appearance of Death, as distress and distraction would suffer us, we cried to the Lord, and he was pleased to have compassion upon us: for by his over-ruling Providence, and his own immediate good hand, he guided the Ship past the Rock, asswaged the violence of the Sea and of the Wind. It was a day much to be remembred, because on that day the Lord granted us as wonderful a deliverance, as I think over any people had felt. The Seamen confessed they never knew the like. The Lord so imprint the memory of it [...] hearts, that we may be the better for it, and be careful to please him, and to walk uprightly before him as long as we live. And I hope we shall not forget the passages of that morning untill our dying day. In all this gri [...]vous Storm my fear was the less, when I consedered the clearness of my Calling from God this way. And in some measure (the Lords holy Name be blessed for it) be gave us hearts contented and willing that he should do with us and ours what be pleased, and what might be most for the glory of the Name, and in that we rested our selves. But when news was brought us into the Gun-room that the danger was past, Oh how our hearts did then relent, and melt within us! we burst out into tears of joy amongst our selves in love unto our gracious God, and admiration of his kindness, in granting to his poor Servants such an Extraordinary and Miraculous Deliverance. His b holy Name be blessed for ever!

Thus farre is Mr. Mathers Relation of this signal Provi­dence, as left written with his own hand. And this is the more to be taken notice of, because the lives of several Choice Instruments of Gods Glory, were then saved: For not onely Mr.Mather himself, but two of his Sons, who are now faith­full Ministers of God, were in that Vessel; and so likewise was that Worthy Minister of Christ Mr. Jonathan Mitchell, late Faithful and Famous pastor of the Church of Cambridge in New-England, he being then a Childe of Eleven years of [Page 23] Age. Also this Deliverance is the more remarkable, in that several Vessels were cast away in that Storm. A Ship called the Angel Gabriel, which set out from Bristol with the Vessel wherein Mr. Mather was, being then at Anchor at Pem [...]quid, was broke in pieces; and the very same strange and sudden turn of Wind which saved the Vessel wherein Mr. Mather was, ruined the other which came from England at the same time. Also there was then a Ship, going between Piscataqua and the Bay, which was ca [...]t away in this Storm, and all the people t [...]erein lost, except two that were spared to report the News. And amongst others in that Vessel which then perished, there was a precious Minister of the Gospel,viz. Mr. Avery, who with his Wife and five Children all perished. This Minister (though it be a Digr [...]ssion, yet the Story being so worthy of remembrance, let it here be recorded) every moment ex­pecting that the next Wave would be a Wave of Death, lifted up his eyes to Heaven, saying, Lord, I cannot challenge a Pro­mise of the preservation of my life, but according to thy Cove­nant I challenge Heaven: Which he had no sooner spoken, but a Wave immediately came and swept him away, and so wasted him to Heaven indeed. And by the way let it further be noted, That this which hath been mentioned is the onely Vessel which miscarried with Passengers from Old England to New; so signally did the Lord in his Providence own the Plantation of New-England.

But (to digress no further) this Storm being allayed, the Lord brought them safe to an Anchor before Boston, August 17. 1635 Mr. Mather abode with his Family for some Moneths in Boston; and both he and his gracious Cons [...]ort joyned to the Church there.

Being thus by a mighty hand and an out-stretched Arm brought into New-England, Motions from sundry Towns were soon presented to him, desiring that he would imploy the Talent which the Lord had enriched him with, for the work of the Ministry amongst them. At the same time he was de­ [...]red at Plimouth, Dorchester, and R [...]xbury. Being in a g [...]eat [...]rait in his own minde which of these I [...]vit [...]tions to accept [Page 24] of, Considering that in difficult cases Counsel is an Ordinance of God, [...] he is wont to discover his will, he there­fore referred [...] to the Advice of some judicious Friends; amongst [...] Mr.Cotton and Mr. Hooker were chief, who met to [...] this weighty Affair; And their Advice was, that he [...] of the Motion form Dorchester. Which being [...] accepted of by him, he did (by the help of Child) set [...] great Work of Gathering a Church; the Church who was first planted in that place being removed with the Reverend Mr. Warham to Conecticut. There was an Essay towards Gathering a ChurchApril 1. 1636. but by reason that the Messengers of Neighbour-Churches were not satisfied, concerning some that were intended Members of that foundation, the Work was deferred untill August23 when a Church was Constituted in Dorchester according to the order of the Gospel, by Confession and Profesion of Faith; and Mr.Mather was chosen Teacherof that Church.

Being thus again setled in the Lord Work, he therein con­tinued unto his dying day; the Lord making him an Eminent Blessing not onely to Dorchester, but to all the Churches and plantations round about, for the space of near upon Four and thirey years.

It is a true Observation which many from Luther have taken up,viz. That three things make an able Divine.

1. [...] Study. Such an one must give himself to Reading and Meditation.

2. Ora [...]io; Prayer. A Man of God must be a man of prayer, even ever & anon upon his knees before God: And be [...]e Orasse est berè Studnisse. Bradford the Martyr and Cartwright the Consellor, studied kneeling.

3. Tentatio Temptation. As when Christ was to enter upon his publick Ministry he was grievously tempted,so it is wont to be with his Servants, and so it was with this good man. The Lord having great Service for him to do, he must undergo great Temptations, that he might be the better fitted for that where unto he was called.

Wherefore before, and for some years after his accepting [Page 25] Office Relation in Dorchester, he was in much Spiritual distress by reason of uncertainties concerning his own Eternal estate. He did (as in wisdome he was bound to) keep these troubles secret from men, onely he revealed the distress of his Soul to that great Divine Mr. Norton, then Teacher to the Church in [...] unto whom (under Christ) God gave the tongue of the Learned to speak a word in season, whereby his Soul was Comforted; the Lord giving him to see that he was [...] to Heaven in the same way that David, Asaph, Heman [...] had gone before him.

During the time of his Pilgrimage in New-England he under went not so many Changes, as before that he had done; [...] he never removed his Habitation out of Dorchester, alb [...]it [...] had once serious thoughts that way, by reason that his [...] people in Toxteth, after that the Hierarchy was deposed in England sent to him, desiring his return to them: But Dor­chester was in no wise willing to forgoe their interest in him, therefore he left them not. Nevertheless, he die in New­England, (as in a Wilderness might be expected) experience many trials of his Faith and Patience. That which of out­ [...] Afflictions did most agrieve him, was the Death of his dear Wife, who had been for so many years the greatest out­ward Comfort and Blessing which he did enjoy: Which Af­fliction was the more grievous, in that the bring a Woman of singular Prudence for the Management of Affairs, had taken off from her Husband all Secular Cares, so that he wholly de­voted himself to his Study, and to Sacred Imployments. After he had continued in the state of Widowhood a year and half, he again changed his Condition, and was Married to the pious widow of that deservedly Famous Man of God Mr. John Cotton; and her did God make a Blessing and a Comfort to him during the remainder of his dayes.

Old Age now being come upon him, he was sensible of the infirmities thereof, being in his latter years something thies Hearing: Also (as it was with great Zanchy) the sight in one of his Eyes failed, seven years before his Death. Yet God gave him Health of Body and Vigour of Spirit in a won­derful [Page 26] measure, so as that in fifty years together, he was not by sickness detained so much as one Lords-day from publick Labours. Which continued Health (as to Natural causes) proceeded partly form his strong Constitution of Body, and partly from his accustoming himself to a plain and wholsome Diet. Bona Dieta est potior qxov [...] Hippocrate. He never made use of any physician, nor was he ever in all his life sick of any acute Disease. Onely the two last years of his Life he was sorely afficted with that Disease which some have called Flagellum [...], viz. The Stone, which at last brought him to an end of all his Labours and Sorrows.

Concerning the Time and Manner of his Sickness and Death, thus it was. There being some Differences in Boston, Counsel from Neighbour-Churches was by some desired, to direct them in the [...]ord what should be done: Accordingly the Churches sent their Messengers; and Dorchester Church, a­mongst others, sent Mr. Mather their aged Teacher, who Assembled in Boston, April 13. 1669. He was, because of his Age, Gravity, Grace and Wisdome wherewith the Lord had endowed and adorned him, chosen the Moderator in that Reverend Assembly. For divers dayes after his being thus in Consultation, he enjoyed his Health as formerly, or rather better then for some time of late. But as Luther when As­sembled in a Synod was surprized with a violent Fit of the Stone, whence he was forced to return home, his Friends having little hopes of his life; so it was with this holy man. For April 16. 1669. he was in the night, being then in his sons house in Boston, taken exceeding ill through a totall stoppage of his Urine. The next morning he therefore re­turned home to Dorchester. Great was the favour of God towards him, that he should be found about such a blessed work as then he was ingaged in, for the Lord found him sin­cerely and earnestly endeavouring to be a peace-maker. His being thus taken when at a Synod, brings to minde that of the German Phoenix;

Viximus in Synodis, & jam mori [...]ur in ill is.

[Page 27]Now as usually Providence so ordereth, that they who have been speaking all their lives long, shall not say much when they come to die: Blessed Hooker in his last Sickness, when Friends would have had him answered to some Enquiries which might have made for their Edification after he was gone, he re­ferred them wholly to the things which he had taught them in his health, because then he had enough to do to grapple with his own bodily weakness, &c. Neither did this good man speak much in his last Sickness either to Friends or to his Children. Onely his Son who is now Teacher of a Church in Boston, coming to visit his Father, and perceiving the Symptomes of Death to be upon him, said unto him, Sir, if there be any speciall thing which you would recommend unto me to do, in case the Lord should spare me upon the Earth, after you are in Heaven, I would intreat you to express it. At the which, his Father making a little pause, and lifting up his eyes and hands to Heaven, replied, A speciall thing which I would commend to you, is, Care concerning the Rising Generation in this Country, that they be brought under the Government of Christ in his Church; and that when grown up and qualified, they have Baptism for their Children. I must confess I have been defective as to practise, yet I have publickly declared my judge­ment, and manifested my desires to practise that which I think ought to be attended; but the Dissenting of some in our Church discouraged me. I have thought that persons might have Right to Baptism, and yet not to the Lords Supper; and I see no cause to alter my judgement as to that particular. And I still think that persons qualified according to the Fifth Proposition of the late Synod-Book, have Right to Baptism for their Chil­dren.

His bodily Pains continued upon him untill April 22. when in the Morning his Son aforementioned, coming to visit him, asked his Father if he knew him; to whom he Replied that he did, but was not able to speak any more to him: Whereupon his Son saying, Now you will speedily be in the joy of your Lord; His Father lifted up his hands, but could not speak. Not long after his Son again spoke to him, say­ing, [Page 28] You will quickly see Jesus Christ, and that will make a­monds for all your pains and sorrows: At which words his Fa­ther again lifted up his hands; but after that he took notice of no person or thing, but continuing speechless untill about 10 h. P. M. he quietly breathed forth his last. Thus did that Light that had been shining in the Church above Fifty years, Expire.

As some of the Lords precious ones have had a reall ap­prehension and prae sense of their approaching Dissolution imprinted on their Spirits; so it is noted of Ambrose and of Gorgonia of old: and of Gesner, Melancthon, and [...]anford among Modern Divines: Thus it was with this holy man some time afore his departure. The last Text which be taught from, and insisted long thereon, was that 2 Timothy 4.6,7,8. I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand; I have fought a good sight, I have finished my course, I have kept the Faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a Crown of Righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge will give me at that day; and not to me onely, but unto all them also that love his appearing. And the portion of Scripture which before that he had insisted upon, was Job 14. 14. All the dayes of my appointed time, will I wait till my change come. The Lord found his blessed Servant so doing. Also the last private Conference-Meeting which he was at in Dorchester, he had prepared to speak from those words, 2Cor. 5.1. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eter­nall in the Heavens: But bodily pains prevented him from speaking what was in his heart to have expressed; the Lord intending that he should no more speak of, but see that place which he had so much and so often thought on, and long prayed and longed to enjoy.

He was, especially in his last Sickness, a Pattern of Patience. For although extremity of pain, without any acute Disease, was that which brought him to his Grave, yet he did never so much as once cry out from first to last; and it was very rare to hear him so much as groan (but never grumble) under [Page] his dolorous Griefs. In this Sickness, whereof he died, he was much delighted in reading Doctor Goodwins Discourse about Patience, in which Book he read till the very day of his Death. Once in his Sickness, his Son saying to him, that inasmuch as several small Stones were come from him in his Urine, now possible he might have some ease; his Father answered with an affecting earnestness of expression, As for that matter, the Will of the Lord be done. Such was his grace and patience. And at the same time his Son saying to him, God hath shewed his great faithfulness unto you, having upheld you now for the space of more then Fifty years in his Service, and imployed you therein without ceasing, which can be said of very few men upon the face of the whole Earth. His Father replied You say true; I must acknowledge the mercy of God hath been great towards me all my dayes: but I must also acknowledge, that I have had many failings, and the thought of them abaseth me, and worketh patience in me. When any one asked him how he did; his usual Answer was, Far from well, yet far better then my iniquities deserve. Thus did he (like old Austin who died reading the Penitential Psalms) keep up a spirit of Repentance to the last.

As he was a man faithful and fearing God above many, so the Lord shewed great faithfulness unto him, both in making him serviceable unto the last, yea and continuing the vigour of his Spirit, and power of his Ministry. Few men, though young, are known to Preach with such vigour as he did [...] ten dayes before his death. Also the Lord was faithful and gracious to him, in respect of his Children. It was a special token of Divine favour unto some of the Ancients, that their Sons after them succeeded in the Ministry; so was it with the Fathers of Gregory Nazianzen, Gregory Nyssen, Basil, Hilary, &c. And the Lord cheered the heart of this his Servant in his old Age, by giving him to see most of his Sons imployed in the Ministry many years before their precious Father's decease. He left four Sons in that Work; one of whom, viz. Mr. Eleazar Mather, late Pastor of the Church at Northam­pton in New-England, went to his rest about three Moneths [Page 30] after his Father, with him to sound forth the praises of God amongst the Spirits of just men made perfect. The other three are yet surviving, viz. Mr. Samuel Mather, Teacher of a Church in Dublin; Mr. Nathaniel Mather, late Minister of Barnstable in Devon, and since in Rotterdam in Holland; and Increase Mather of Boston in New-England.

Concerning his Judgement. Touching matters of Fait [...] and Doctrine, his large Catechi [...]m which contains the Summe of the Body of Divinity, doth sufficiently manifest his Ortho­doxness to the World. Indeed he was a strenuous opposer of the Errours of the Times. Touching Worship and Disc [...]pline, he was for the true Congregational-Way, in opposition to both the Extremes of Brownism on the one hand, and Presby­terianism on the other hand. As for Brownism, he was of the same apprehension with Mr. Dod and Mr. Cotton, That God is not wont to make choice of men infamous for gro [...]s Vices [...] (as that Brown and Barrow were) to be the Discoverers of momentous Truths. And to manifest that he was farre from the Errour of that Way, he hath left a judicious Ma­nuscript, proving that although Power, i.e. Priviledge and Liberty doth belong to the Fraternity, yet that Rule is pro­per to the Presbytery of the Church. As for Presbyterianism, his Printed Books in Answer to Mr. Herle and Mr. Rutherford, shew how farre he was distant from that Perswasion. Also some years before his Death, he prepared for the Press an Elaborate Discourse, Enti [...]uled, A Plea for the Churches of New-England; divided into Two Parts: The former being an Answer to Mr. Rathbands Narration of Church-Courses in New-England; The other containing Positive Grounds from Scripture and Reason, for the Justification of the Way of the Churches in New-England. Not many weeks before his death a Friend acquainting him, that some reported that he had de­cl [...]red himself to be a Presbyterian; He replied, You tell me a strange thing: I ha [...] written Books in Defence of the Con­gregationall-Way, as differing from the Presbyterian, and doth any one say I declared my self for that Perswasion? It is no­thing so. At the same time I [...] being said to him, that he had [Page 31] the principal hand in the Platform of Discipline, and had he not changed his judgement from that? His Answer was, No, not in any one particular that I know of.

His way of preaching was plain, aiming to shoot his Ar­rows not over his peoples heads, but into their Hearts and Consciences. Whence he studiously avoided obscure phrases, Exotick words, or an unnecessary citation of Latine Senten­ces, which some men addict themselves to the use of. Mr. Dod was wont to say, That so much Latine was so much flesh in a Sermon: So did this humble man look upon the affectation of such things in a Popular Auditory to savour of Carnal wis­dome. The Lord gave him an excellent faculty in making ab­struse things plain, that in handling the deepest Mysteries he would accommodate himself to Vulgar Capacities, that even the meanest might learn something. He knew how to express [...] He would often use that Say­ing, Artis est celare Artem. And much approved that of Austin; If (said he) I preach Learnedly, then onely the Learn­ed and not the Unlearned can understand and profit by me; but if I preach plainly, then Learned and Unlearned both can under­stand, so I may profit all. He was Mighty in the Scriptures: Whence Mr. Hooker would say of him, My Brother Mather is a mighty man. Also his usuall way of Delivery was very Powerful, Awakening, and Zealous; especially in his younger years, there being few men of so great strength of body as he, which together with his natural fervour of Spirit, being sanctified, made his Ministry the more powerful. And the Lord went forth with his Labours to the Conversion of many, both in England and in New-England, Yet though his way of Preaching was plain and zealous, it was moreover Substantial and very Judicious, Even in his beginning times, Mr. Gillebrand (a famous Minister in Lancashire; and the more famous, for that though he did exceedingly Stammer in his ordinary dis­course, he would pray and preach as fluently as any man) once having heard him Preach, asked what his Name might be? And answer being made that his Name was Mather; Nay (said Mr. Gillebrand) call him Matter, for believe it this man [Page 32] hath Substance in him. Yea, such was his Solidity of Judge­ment, that some who were his Opposites, yet did therefore greatly respect and honour him. Doctor Parr (then Bishop in the Isle of Man) having heard Mr. Mather was Silenced, lamented it, saying, If Mather be Silenced I am sorry for it, for he was a solid man, and the Church of God hath then a great loss.

Because he was esteemed eminently Judicious, therefore amongst the Reverend Elders in New-England, he was much improved in Managing the Controversies then under Debate about Church-Government. The Discourse about the Church­Covenant, and the Answer to the XXXII. Questions, both written Anno 1639. although they pass under the Name of the Elders of New-England, Mr. Mather was the sole Author of, as Mr. Cotton in his Answer to Baily, pag.70. and Answer to Williams, pag.63. and Mr. Nathaniel Mather in his Epistle to the XXI. Questions concerning Church-members and their Children, have truely related. And when there was a Synod called to Convene at Cambridge, Anno 1647. that Reverend Assembly desired three Elders to draw up A Modell of Church Government against the next Session, viz. Mr. Cotton, Mr. Mather, and Mr. Partrich. The Printed Platform of Discipline is for the substance of it the same with that which was Composed by Mr. Mather. It might be said of him, as was said of that blessed Martyr, that he was sparing in his Diet, sparing in his Speech, most sparing of all of his Time. He was very diligent both as to duties of general and parti­cular Calling, which are indeed the two Pillars upon which Religion stands. As to his general Calling; He was much in Prayer, especially in his Study, where he oft-times spent whole dayes with God in suing for a Blessing upon himself and Chil­dren, and upon the people to whom he was related, and up­on the whole Country where he lived. The Requests which upon such occasions he put up to God in Jesus Christ, and also how his heart was moved to believe that God heard him, he left (many of them) in writing amongst his private Papers, I suppose that so himself might have recourse unto those Ex­periences [Page 33] in a time of darkness and Temptation; also that his Sons after him might see by their Fathers Example, what it is to walk before God. Now what a loss is it to the world when such a Righteous man is taken away! Well might Philo and Jerome weep bitterly, when they heard of the death of any such men, because it portended evil to the places where they had lived, and served God. As he was much in Prayer, so he was very frequent in Hearing the Word. It was his manner to attend several Lectures in Neighbour-Congregations, untill his Disease made him unable to ride; yea and usually even to his old Age (as did Mr. Hildersham) he took Notes from those whom he heard, professing that he found profit in it.

As to his particular Calling, he was even from his youth a hard Student. Yea his minde was so intent upon his Work and Studies, that the very morning before he died, he im­portuned those Friends that watched with him to help him into his Study: They urging that he was not able to go so farre, he desired them to help him and try; which they did: but ere he was come to the door of his Lodging-room, I see (faith he) I am not able, yet I have not been in my Study several dayes, and is it not a lamentable thing that I should lose so much time? After his entrance upon the Ministry, he was not onely in England (as hath been said) but in New-England abundant in Labours: for except when he had an Assistant with him (which was seldome) he Preached twice every Lords-day; and a Lecture once a fortnight, besides many occasionall Ser­mons both in Publick and in Private. Also he was much ex­ercised in answering many practical Cases of Conscience, and in Polemical, especially Disciplinary Discourses. In his Pub­lick Ministry in Dorchester he went over The Book of Genesis to Chap. 38. Psalm 16. The whole Book of the Prophet Zechariah, Matthews Gospel, to Chap. 15. 1 Epist. to Thess. Chap. 5. And the whole Second Epistle of Peter; his Notes whereon he reviewed, and Transcribed for the Press, not many years be­fore his decease.

Notwithstanding those rare Gifts and Graces where [...] [Page 34] Lord had adorned him, he was exceeding low and little in his own eyes. Some have thought that his greatest errous was, that he did not [...] his Officer, as he sight and sometimes should have done. If a man must erie, it is good erring on that hand. Honable enough, and good enough, was the frequent Saying of a great Divine. And another ob­serveth, That every man hath just as much and no more true worth in him, as he hath Humility. Austire being asked which was the most excellent grace, answered, Humility; and which was the next, answered,Humility, and which was the third, replied again, Humility. That indeed is Comprehensively All. being of great price in the sight of God: And if so, Mr.Mather was a man of much Reall Worth.

It hath been the manner of some, in writing Lives to insert the Wilis of those whose Lives and Death they have described. The last Will and Testament of him, whose Life and Death hath thus been related, breathing forth a most humble, holy, and gracious Spirit, we shall here subjoyn the Preface and Conclusion of it. It was written with his own hand Octob. 16. 1661. And beginneth as followeth.

I Richard Mather, considering the certainty of death, and the uncertainty of the time thereof, and withall know­ing it to be the will of God that a man should set his House in order before he depart this life, Do make this my last Will and Testament in mazner following. First of all, I acknowledge the rich and wonderful Grace and Mercy of Almighty God, whose hands have made me and fashioned me, and who took me out of my Mothers Womb: that ha­ving made me a Man, who might have made me a Beast or other Creature; He hath also by his good Providence preserved the beeing and comfort of my life all the dayes of my Pilgrimage untill now, even for the space of these Sixty five years: During all which time, he hath not suffered me to wam either food or raiment, or the service of any [Page 35] creature, which hath been requisite for my comfortable sub­sisting in this World; which I acknowledge to be the boun­teous gift of Him who is Lord of all Creatures, and the High Possessor of Heaven and Earth. Next of all, and more especially I am bound to give Thanks and Praise to Him whilst I have any beeing, that I being a Childe of Wrath by Nature as well as others, and being born in a place of much Profaneness and Popery, he hath of his abun­dant grace vouchsafed to draw me out of that woful estate of Sin and Ignorance wherein I lay, and to make himself and his Christ known unto me by the Gospel, of which grace I was most unworthy; and in his great patience and mercy to bear with my manifold and great offences; both before and since the time of his gracious Calling of me, though for my unworthy walking in many particu­lars, I might justly have been for ever rejected of him. Yea and such hath been his rich grace, that he hath vouchsafed to put me an unworthy creature into the Mi­nistry of the Gospel of his Son, that I should not onely know and profess the same (which is unspeakable mercy) but be also a Preacher of it unto others. In which Im­ployment if any thing hath been done which hath been pleasing unto him, or any way beneficiall to any Childe of his, it hath not been I that have done the same, but the grace of God which was with me. For I must needs acknowledge to the praise of his Patience and Grace, That in my poor Ministration for the space of these Forty two years and upwards, I have been much defective in Wisdome and Watchfulness over the peoples Souls, in Purity, in Faithfulness, in Uprightness, Ne [...] ­ness, Humility and Zeal: And because of these, and [Page 36] many other my defects and offences against the Lord, I stand in much need this day of mercy and forgiveness through his Christ, and have no cause to look for any acceptance either in this or in another World, for any Righteousness of my own, either as touching my Ministry or otherwise, but it disclaiming all though: of that kinde, my onely must and hope is to be accepted of him, and (when this life shall end) to be saved in his Heavenly Kingdome meer­ly by his Free-grace, and the Obedience and precious Posistion and Intercession of his dear Son. And concern­ing Death, as I do believe it is appointed for all men [...] to die; so, because I see a great deal of unprofit­ableness in my own life, and because God hath also let me see such vanity and emptiness even in the best of those Comforts which this life can afford, that I think I may t [...]ucly say, That I have seen an end of all perfe­ction: Therefore if it were the will of God, I should be glad to be removed hence, where the best that is to be had doth he yield so little satisfaction to my Soul, and to be brought into his presence in glory, that there I might finde (fore there I know it is to be had) that satisfying and All-s [...]fficient contentment in him, which under the Sun is not it to be enjoyed. In the mean time I desire to day the Lords leisure. But thou, O Lord, how long! Now concerning my Outward Estate, sith the Earth is the Lords as and the fulness thereof, the habitable World, and all that is [...] therein; to him therefore belongs the praise of [...] the I possess in this kinde: And for the portion [...] for which he hath given unto me, it is my minde [...] if so it please his Highness, that after my de­sire same may be disposed of as followeth, &c. [Page 37] Having thus gracio [...]y expressed himself, he proceeds to the [...] Temporal Estate; which being of private Concer [...]ment, we shall not here trouble the World there­with. But after the disposal of that, he conc [...]udeth with a most [...]olemn Charge to his Children; with the rehear [...]ll where [...]f we shall finish. It is in words following.

C [...]cerning my Son Timothy, with [...]ll the rest of my Belo [...]ed Sons, as I hope God hath already made them partakers, at least sundry of them, of his saving grace in Christ, for which I and they have cause to be endlesly thankful; so I think it not a [...]iss, for the further a [...]ce of their spirit [...]l good, to lay upon them this serious and so­lmn charge of a Dying Father▪ That none of them pre­s [...]me after my decease to walk in any way of sin and wickedness in one kinde or another, or in a careless neg­lect of God, and th [...] things of God, and of then own Sal [...]tion by Christ: for if they shall so do (which God [...]orbid) Then and in such case I hereby testifie unto them, That their Father which begat them, and their Mother which bare them, with all the Prayers which they have made, and Tears which they have shed for them, their Example, their Admonitions and Exhortations which they have administred to them, together with this [...]y last Will and Solemn Charge; All these will rise up against them as so many Testimonies for their Condemnation at the last day. But I have better hopes of them; And do hereby declare unto them, That if they shall seriously re­pent of their sins, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and by his grace walk in all the wayes of God, and as becometh the Gospel of Christ; a [...] this will be to the Honour and [Page 38] glory of Him that made them, so it will reduced to their own unspeakable comfort and benefit in this and in enether World: and their Father that now speaketh [...] them, with their dear Mother new with God, shall exceedingly rejoyce in the day of Christ, when we shall receive our Children unto those Everlasting Habitations; and shall see not our selves alone, but those also that have proceded and came forth out of our own bewels, to have their part and portion in that Eternall Glory. In desire and hope that it may be so, I [...] all to the Lord of Heaven's Blessing: And let the Blessing of God to Jesus Christ, be poured out and remain upon them all for ever owe. Amen.

FINIS.

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