« AnteriorContinuar »
Turell; and in the parsonage, in Court Street, where James Otis had before had his dwelling and office. A week or two before the battle of Lexington, he removed to Waltham or Weston, and remained in one or both of these places, often making visits to the camp at Cambridge, till the British evacuated the town. Though his death was at last sudden, he had been sick for some weeks. At his funeral, which took place on the afternoon of a monthly lecture, Dr. Clark preached from Acts xx. 38. The following paragraphs are extracted from the sermon :
Justly should I incur the censure of his friends, and greatly should I injure the memory of Dr. Cooper, should I not say, he was a peculiar ornament to this religious Society. His talents as a minister were conspicuous to all; and they have met with universal applause. You know with what plainness, and, at the same time, with what elegance, he displayed the grace of the gospel. You know with what brilliancy of style he adorned the moral virtues; and how powerfully he recommended them to univer. sal practice. When the joys of a better world employed his discourse, can you ever forget the elevated strains in which he described them? And his prayers,-surely they must be remembered, when his qualifications for the other duties of his office, and his many shining accomplishments are forgotten! If those, who constantly attended upon his ministry are not warmed with the love of virtue ; if they are not charmed with the beauty of holiness ; if they are not transported with the grace of the gospel ; must they not blame their own insensibility ? Remember, therefore, how you have seen, and heard, and hold fast, and repent.
• But the place, in which I now stand, was not the only theatre, on which he appeared with such applause. In private, also, he displayed his talents for the office he sustained. With peculiar facility could he enter into the feelings of others, and adjust his conversation to the particular state of their minds. He could raise the bowed down, and encourage the feeble hearted. In the house of mourning, he could light up joy. He could inspire those, who were approaching the shades of death, with Christian fortitude. And, by expatiating on the mercy of God, and the merits of a Saviour, he could revive those, who were ready to despair. Thus various and accomplished his character, how justly are you affected on this occasion !
“However, the people of his charge are not the only persons, who mourn this event. The death of their honourable pastor is a general calamity. It is severely felt by all our societies; and by that, in a particular manner, which has been so long united with this Church in a stated lecture. It is felt by this town, which gloried in him no less as a citizen, than a minister of the gospel. It is felt by the University, to whose honour and interests he was passionately devoted. The governours of that learned society will testify, how ardently he laboured to raise it to superiour
manded him.' Good men are apt to think the times in which they live degenerate. Colman says, in his sermon just quoted, “It is a time of decay. Let us, therefore, the rather be strengthening the things that remain and are ready to die ;' and, in his address in that sermon to candidates for the ministry, Your times are like to be harder than ours, more loose and careless, more evil and trying.' And again, in his sermon on the general fast, March 22, 1716: We are sadly on the decay as to serious piety and vital religion. We have lost our first love, life, and zeal. Our fathers, where are they,—their spirit of devotion, their sobriety and temperance, their godliness and honesty ? Sensuality, worldliness and pride are grown up in the place of these,-profaneness, lukewarmness and hypocrisy, selfishness and unrighteousness.'
(15.) p. 12. DR. COLMAN was frequently employed by the general court in draughting letters and addresses, and held extensive correspondence, upon the affairs of the colony, with the governours and agents, and with dissenting gentlemen in England. He also wrote several addresses to the king and ministry, in behalf of the clergy of Massachusetts. He was, it seems, “ blamed by some for interfering at all with civil and secular matters. But,' asks his biographer, 'must a person, who knows well the interest of his country, and is capable of serving it, and saving it too, when sinking, be silent only because he is a minister? Is he nothing else? Is he not a subject of his prince, and a member of the commonwealth?'
He was very active in introducing the practice of inoculation for the small pox. Of 5889, who took it in Boston' in the year 1721, '844 died. Inoculation was introduced upon this occasion, contrary to the minds of the inhabitants in general, and not without hazard to the lives of those who promoted it, from the rage of the people.'* Professional and religious bigotry combined to oppose it. A bill to prohibit it passed the house of representatives, and was only stopped in the council. The practice was however persevered in by Dr. Boylston, who was manfully defended by Mather and Colman. The latter published, in 1721, Some Observations on the New Method of receiving the Small Pox by ingrafting, or inoculating, dedicated to President Leverett. There is a curious example of the spirit, which this dispute elicited, in a sermon preached in London by Mr. Mussey in 1722, and reprinted in Boston. The text is Job ii. 7, and the doctrine, that Satan was the first inoculator.
Dr. Colman published a pamphlet in 1719 in favour of the erection of a market-house, a measure which, at that time, and until several years after, when one market-house was destroyed, and the two others injured by a mob, occasioned much excitement among the citizens.
* Hutchinson's History, II. 247.
(16.) p. 12. I SUPPOSE the college is not more indebted to
other man than to Dr. Colman. While a fellow, he appears to have been chiefly relied upon for the performance of the most important of the duties incident to that trust. The most remote step,' says be, 'to sap and undermine our college, I would carefully observe, and instantly and openly oppose, and have made it the business of my life to do so, with caution and courage.' No opportunity to promote its welfare, by means of his influence with others, -was lost. Samuel Holden, governour of the bank of England, was son of Mrs. Parkhurst, in whose family Colman was a guest while in that country. In his funeral sermon, delivered before the government, at the Thursday lecture, he says, that he received from Holden, at different times, near £5000, New England currency, for charitable uses. After Holden's death, his daughters built the chapel at Cambridge, which bears their name. The benefactions received by Dr. Colman for the college, from Thomas Hollis, were reckoned by him at £5400. Besides a supply of Greek and Hebrew types, and valuable additions to the library, he founded ten scholarships, and the professorships of divinity and natural philosophy, and furnished an apparatus for the use of the latter.
In a letter to the bishop of Peterborough, soon after declining the office of president, Dr. Colman says, 'I am not well in the opinion of our house of representatives of late years, on whom the president depends for his subsistence; and they could not have pinched me without the chair's suffering with me, which I could by no means consent it should do for my sake. As for the catholick spirit, which makes your lordship wish to see me in that honourable station,-it is the very spirit of our college, and has been so these forty years past; and if I have ever shone in your lordship's eyes on that account, here I learned it thirty years since; and when I visited the famous universities and private academies in England, I was proud of my own humble education here in our Cambridge, because of the catholick air I had there breathed in.'
He also procured many valuable books for the library of Yale College. When that society received the Dean's bounty, he was alarmed lest the benefaction should be coupled with conditions adverse to the purity of the churches, and wrote letters to the rector and some of the trustees, cautioning them to beware of making concessions to Episcopacy. In one of these letters, he inquires concerning the truth of a report, that Arminianism had gained ground in that college.
(17.) p. 12. The proposal for this contribution, directed to the ministers and churches of Christ, through this and the neighbouring provinces,' was found among his papers, labelled My own: for ' every particular church' to provide, from collections at the annual fasť and thanksgiving, and from private communications, a constant and
The plan was,
ready fund for uses of piety and charity, as they may see occasion.' This fund was to be lodged in the hands of the deacons of each of the churches where it is gathered, or whomsoever the church shall appoint to that trust,' and the first and main intention of it to be the propagation of religion in ungospelized places; and the dispersing bibles, catechisins, and other instruments of piety among the poor.'
(18.) p. 13. The second of Dr. Colman's three marriages was with the widow of Pres. Leverett. His biographer is as reserved concerning this connexion, as he is warm in his eulogies of the other two. None of Dr. Colman's children survived him. His only son died in infancy, and his oldest daughter, to whom he was tenderly attached, twelve years before himself. The misconduct of another daughter was the great affliction of his life.
(19.) p. 14. The overseers approved the election of Dr. Colman for president by a unanimous vote. The reference in the vote of the representatives to this being a matter of great weight and importance, especially to the establishment of the churches in this province, as well as to the college,' seems to point to Dr. Colman's heterodox views of church order as the cause of their opposition. In the course of the debate he was however declared to be a man of no learning compared with Dr. Mather,' who was the popular candidate.
(20.) p. 15. In 1741, eighty-five persons became communicants with the Church in Brattle Square, and in 1742, forty-two. An anonymous writer of the time says, in reference to Cooper's preaching, that pulpit, which had been consecrated by the first sermon of the glorious itinerant, has echoed nothing ever since but his praise and the glory of his work." If this was accurate, the first sermon must have been preached at a lecture, as Whitefield says, in one of his letters to Dr. Chauncy: "I was but three Lord's days in Boston. The first I heard the Rev. Dr. Colman in the forenoon, notwithstanding he asked me to preach after he was up in the pulpit, and had finished the first prayer. I would also have been an auditor in the afternoon, had not Mr. Foxcroft pressed me to preach for him.' Mr. Ashley, against whom Cooper wrote for preaching a sermon in the latter's desk reflecting on the disorders of the times, after referring in his reply to the alleged dissatisfaction of some of his hearers, adds, 'these are not half the number of those who heard me and gave me thanks.' That Dr. Colman was believed to be of their mind, is hinted by the anonymous writer above referred to, in another pamphlet. Mr. Cooper, he says, gives no account of his colleague's
opinion of this sermon, though he was present at the delivery of it. But the season of this may be easily guessed; for the doctor has given too many proofs
of his good sense and fine taste, to leave room for the world to doubt of his sentiments in this matter.' Dr. Colman wrote, in a letter to Mr. Williams of Lebanon, 'It is, at this day, enough to make the heart of a sober and considerate Christian bleed within him, to hear of the sore rents and divisions made by Mr. Davenport and others in a great number of towns and churches throughout our provinces. Almost all on Long Island are thus broken to pieces, and so are many in Connecticut, and with us of the Massachusetts to a sorrowful degree.' And, in his sermon at the ordination of S. Cooper, he expresses his wish before God and in his fear, that those among ourselves, who have of late years taken upon them to go about exhorting and preaching, grossly unfurnished with ministerial gifts and knowledge, would suffer those words of the Lord, (Jeremiah xxiii. 31, 32,] to sink deep into their hearts, to check them in their bold career, and blind censures of many faithful pastors, into whose folds they are daily breaking, and because of the mildness of our spirits towards them, seem to grow the more bold and fierce. And it were greatly to be wished, that people would beware of such straggling, illiterate teachers, and avoid them, in whatever appearances of sheep's clothing they
Cooper's feeling on the subject appears from the following extract of a preface written by him for a sermon by Jonathan Edwards, about a year after the revival began : 'If any are resolutely set to disbelieve this work, to reproach and oppose it, they must be left to the free, sovereign power and mercy of God to enlighten and rescue them. These, if they have bad opportunity to be rightly informed, I am ready to think, would have been disbelievers and opposers of the miracles and mission of our Saviour, had they lived in his day. The malignity, which some of them have discovered, to me approaches near to the unpardonable sin; and they had need beware, lest they indeed sin the sin which is unto death.'
(21.) p. 15. MR. COOPER was a native of Boston. His father died when he was very young. His mother was called by Colman, in his sermon upon her death, the woman that one would have wished to be born of.' He was graduated in 1712, and chosen president in 1737. The following extract from the overseers' records relates to his election :
• At an overseers' meeting at the college, 4th May, 1737, • The forenoon was spent in prayer.
“P. M. The overseers, having given their advice to the corporation by a Latin speech made by the governour about the general qualifications of a president, the corporation withdrew.
* The corporation, returning to the overseers' board, informed them, that they had endeavoured to come to the choice of a president, but could not then come to a decisive vote, and therefore thought it needful to take some further time to deliberate on that affair, and hoped, the honourable and reverend overseers would agree with them in that their thought; and then