<' word : truly I am ready to serve you, and the rest of our
*' brethren, and the churches with you. I am a poor weake
* Morse and Parish's Hist. p. 145, 146.
Â» creature, and not worthye of the name of a worme ; yet
" accepted to serve the Lord and his people. Indeed, my
*' dear friend, between you and me, you knowe not me ; my
*' weaknesses, my inordinate passions, my unskillfullnesse,
*' and every way unfitnesse to my worke ; yett the Lord,
*' who will have mercye on whome he will, does as you
*' see. . Pray tor rae. Salute all christian friendes, though
<' I rest your affectionate friend to serve you,
" O. Cromwell."*
Mr. Cotton was a divine indefatigably laborious all hist
days. He lived under a conviction of that sacred precept,
" Be not slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving
the Lord." He rose early, and commonly studied twelve
hours a day, accounting that a scholar s day. He was re-
solved to wear out, rather than rust out. He was a man of
great literary acquirements, and so well acquainted Avith the
Hebrew, that he could converse in it with great ease. He
was a most celebrated preacher, delivering the great truths
of the gospel with so much gravity and judgment, that his
hearers were struck with admiration and reverence; and
with so much plainness, that persons of the weakest capacity
might understand him. He was remarkable for practical
religion and christian benevolence, and his whole life was
filled with acts of piety and charity. He was a person of
great modesty, humility, and good-nature ; and though he
was often insulted by angry men, he never expressed the
least resentment. A conceited ignorant man once followed
him home after sermon, and witli frowns told him his
preaching was become dark or flat. To whom he meekly
replied, " Both, brother; it may be both : let me have your
prayers that it may be otherwise." At another time, P*Ir.
Cotton being insulted by an impudent fellow in the street,
who called him an old fool, replied, " I confess I am so.
The Lord make thee and me wiser than we are, even wise
unto salvation." We give one instance more. Mr. Cotton
having, by the desire of a friend, given his thoughts upon
the doctrine of reprobation, against the exceptions of the
arminians, the manuscript fell into the hands of the cele-
brated Dr. Twisse, who published a refutation of it; upon
which Mr. Cotton thus modestly observed, " I hope God
will give me an opportunity to consider the doctor's labour
Qf love. I bless the Lord, who has made me willing to be
â¢ Sloane'g MSS. No. 4156.
160 LIVES OF THE PURITANS.
taught by a meaner disciple than such a doctor; whose
scholastical acuteness, pregnancy of wit, solidity of judg-
ment, and dexterity of argument, all orthodox divines so
highly honour; and before whom all arminians and Jesuits
fall down in silence. God forbid that I should shut my
eyes against any light brought to me by him. Only I desire
not to be condemned as a pelagian or arminian before I am
Mr. Cotton often wished not to outlive his work. Herein
his desire was granted; for his last illness was very short.
Having taken leave of his beloved study, he said to Mrs.
Cotton, " / shall go into that room no more J'"' He was
desirous to depart, that he might enjoy Christ and the
company of glorified saints, particulaily his old friends,
Preston, Ames, Hildersham, Dod, and others, who had been
peculiarly dear to him while he lived. Having set his
Louse in order, and taken a solemn leave of the magistrates
and ministers of the colony, who came to see him in his
sickness, he sweetly slept in Jesus, December 23, 1652,
aged sixty-seven years. His remains Avere interred with
great lamentation and funeral solemnity. He is denomi-
nated " an universal scholar, a living system of the liberal
arts, and a walking library. He was deeply skilled in
Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and an extraordinary theolo-
gian. "+ Fuller has honoured him with a place among the
learned writers and fellows of Emanuel college, Cam-
bridge. J Dr. Cotton Mather, the pious historian, was his
His Works.â 1. The Way of Life, 1641.â 2. Doubts of Predesti-
nation, 164C. â 3. Exposition upon Ecclesiastes and Canticles, iG48.
â 4. The Way of the Congregational Churches Cleared, 1648. â
5. Commentary on the First Epistle of John, 1656. â 6. Milk for
Babes. â 7. A Treatise on the New Covenant. â 8. Various Sermons.
â 9. Answer to Mr. Ball about Forms of Prayer. â 10. The Grounds
and Ends of Infant Baptism. â 11. A Discourse upon Singing Psalms.
â 12. An Abstract of the Laws ia Christ's Kingdom, for Civil
Government. â 13. A Treatise on the Holiness of Church Members.
â 14. A Discourse on Things Indifferent. â 15. The Keys of the
Kingdom of Heaven. â 16. Answer to Mr. Cawdry. â 17. The Bloody
Tenet Washed and made White in the Blood of the Lamb. â 18. A
Copy of a Letter of Mr. Cotton's of Boston in New England, sent in
Answer of certain Objections made against their Discipline and
Orders there, directed to a Friend.
* Mather's Hist. b. iii. p. 26â29. + Ibid. p. 25.
X FuUer'i Hist, of Cam. p. 147.
William Lyfokd, B. D. â This â v^ortliy divine was
born at P. ysmore, near Newbury, in Berks'iiie, abouL the
year 1598, and educated in Magdalen college, Oxford,
where he was chosen fellow. While at the university, he
entered upon the minisierial function, and in the jear iDol
was admitt d to (he reading of (he sculences in the college.
Afterwards, by fivour of t!ie Eail oF Bristol, he became
minister of Shcrboni i-i Dorsetshire, where he continued the
rest of his days. Ui on the coinmencemcnt of the civil w.;rs
he espoused the cause of the parliament ; and in liiiS was
iiO!i)inated one of the asseinbiy of divines ; but choosing
rather to continue in his stated ministerial exerci&es, he did
not sit among them. He tvas zealous and i'.borious in the
w<;rk of the Lord, taking unspeakable pleasure in everj'
duly of the pastoral orlice. Jblt f:'d the lambs in (Christ's
flock, and possessed an excelleul talent for catechizing
youth, wherein he was eminenlly useiul.
Mr. Lyford was a divine ol an excellent spirit, and an
avowed advocate of p<ace and moderation. He took no
acrive part in the public broils of the nation ; but drew up
his thoughts in writing, in a work entitled, " Cases of
Conscience propounded i.t the Time of Rebellion." This
work, according io Bishop Kennet, was written with plain-
ness, modesty, and impartially, in discussion of the three
following questions: â " 1. Whether it be lawful to ke -p
days of public rejoici ig and thanks-riving for victories in a
civil war ? â 2. Whetln r it be lawful lor the civil magistrate
to impose an act of worship in itself unlawful, or estÂ« emed
to be so, on men of a different judgment, especially on a
minister, who must needs be not only a passive hearer, but
an actor in the business, under temporal pains of seques-
tration, imprisonment, deprivation, &c. ? â 3. Whether a
minister performing such an act of worship, upon such a
force or fear, or for temporal ends, does p( rform an accept-
able service unto God ?"* He answered each of these
questions in the 7jegatrce, in which he discovered his senti-
ments relative to the controversies of the day.
Mr. Lyford, during his last sickness, " looked for the
appearance of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
This supported and comforted his mind under a long and
painful illness. During the whole of it, his confidence was
fixed on Jesus Christ, the rock of ages. In his letters
written at this period, he thus expressed himself: " Howevet
* Kennel's Chronicle, p. 349.
TOL. III. M
162 LIVES OF THE PURITANS.
it may please God t6 dispose of my health, I rest comfortably
assured of his everlasting love to me in his Son Jesus Christ ;
who loved me and gave himself for me. In the use of the
means, I wait to see what the Lord will do with me. I know
it will be well with me at last, having so many pledges of hiÂ«
everlasting love to support me. My wasting continues, and
my appetite faileth ; but my God faileth not. In him, and in
contemplation of the great things he hath done for me, and
the far greater things he will yet do, I find refreshment."
A few days previous to his dissolution, his friends desiring
him to give them some account of his hopes and comforts, he
cheerfully replied, " I will let you know how it is with me,
and on what ground I stand. Here is the grave, the wi ath of
God and devouring flames, the great punishment of sin, on
the one hand ; and here am I, a poor sinful creature, on the
other: but this is my comfort, the covenant of giace, es-
tablished upon so many sure promises, hath satisfied all.
The act of oblivion passed in heaven is, / rcill forgive their
iniquities, and their sins zcill I remember no more, saith the
Lord. This is the blessed privilege of all within the cove-
nant, of whom I am one. For I find the spirit which is
promised bestowed upon me, in the blessed effects of it
upon my soul, as the pledge of God's eternal, love. By this
I know my interest in Christ, who is the foundation of the
covenant; and therefore, my sins being laid on him, shall
never be cliarged on me." As the earthly house of his taber-
nacle was dissolving, vvith great difficulty, he said, " My dis-
solution is more comfortable to me than my marriage-day.
Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our
Lord Jesus Christ." And when the trying moment arrived,
he cheeifully surrendered his soul into the hands of his dear
Redeemer, October 3, 1653, aged fifty-five years, when his
remains were interred in the chancel of Sherbourn church.*
Fuller observes, that Mr. Lyford was " a man of a pleasant
countenance, a courteous carriage, a meek spirit, great mo-
desty, and that his memory is still preserved in his learned
works. "t Wood says, " he joined the presbyterians, was
nmch followed for his edifying and practical preaching, and
tliat his woi ks savour much of piety, zeal, and sincerity, but
shew hun to have been a zealous Calvinist."} Dr. Walker
i^ffirms, '* that he suffered much from the faction, both in hiÂ»
* Atemorials of Mr. Lyford, prefixed to his " Plttin Man's SenBci Exfr-
cised." Edit. 1655,
+ FuMer's Worfhies, jiart i, p. 96.
J Wood's Atiieuai Oxoj\, vol. ii, p. 96.
LATIIORP. ' 163
name and ministry ; and they wondered," says he, " that so
holy a man as he was, should doat so much on kings, bishops,
the Common Prayer, and ceremonies."* He bequeathed, in
his last will and testament, the sum of one hundred and twenty
pounds to Magdalen college, Oxford, " in gratitude for the
advantages \\ hich he had there enjoyed ; and in restitution for
a sum of money, which, according to the corrupt custom of
those times, he had leceived for the resignation of his fellow-
8hip."t Mr. Francis Bamfield, afterwards ejected in 1662,
was his successor at Sherborn.t
His Works. â 1. Principles of Faith and a Good Conscience,
1642. â 2. An Apologie lor our Public Ministiie and Infant-Baptism,
1653. â 3. The I'lain Man's Senses Exercised to discern both Good
and Evil; or, a Discover}' of the Errors, Heresies, aud Bla phemies
of these Times, 1655.-4. A Legacy; or, an Help to Young People
to prepare them for the Sacrament, 1656. â 5. Cases of Conscience,
propounded in the !ime of Rebellion, Kesolved, 1661. â 6. Conscience
Informed, toucliing our late Thanksgivings, 1651. â 7. Sermons on
John Lathorp. â This excellent person Mas minister of
Egerton in Kent; but, renouncing his episcopal ordination,
was chosen pastor of the independent church, under the care
of Mr. Henry Jacob, London, upon Mr. Jacob's retiring to
America. This little society, which had hitherto assembled
in private, moving from place to place, began about this
time to assume courage, and ventured to shew itself in public.
It was not long, however, before the congregation was dis-
covered by Tomlinson, the bishop's pursuivant, at the house
of Mr. Humphrey Barnet, a brewer's clerk, in Blackfriars;
when, April 29, 1432, foriy-two of them were apprehended,
and only eighteen escaped. Of those who were taken, some
were coniined m the Ciink, some in New Prison, and others
in the Gatehouse, where they continued about two years.
They were then released upon bail, except Mr. Lathorp,
for whom no favour could for some time be obtained.
He, at length, petitioned ike king, and his numerous family of
children laid their lamentable case at the feet of Archbishop
Laud, requesting that he might go into banishment in a foreign
land ; which being granted, he went to New England, in the
year 1634, when he was accompanied by about thirty of his
* Walker's Attempt, part ii. p. 419. + Memorial of Mr. Lyford.
^ Wood's Athente, vol, ii. p. 571. â Palaier's !NoacoB. Mem. toI. ii,
164 LIVES OF THE PURITANS.
congregation. It is observed, that, during his imprisonment^
his wife fell sick and died; but that he obtained so much
favour as to visit her, and pray with her, before she breathed
her last; and then returned to prison.*
Mr. Lathorp was a man of learning, and of a meek and
quiet spirit ; but met with some uneasiness from his people
on the following occasion. It appears that some of his con-
gregation entertained doubts of the validity of baptism, as
administered by their own pastor; and one person, who
indulged these scruples, carried his child to be re-baptized at
the parish church. This giving offence to some persons, the
subject was discussed at a general meeting of the society ; and
when the question was put it was carried in the negative : at
the same time it was resolved, by a majority, not to make any
declaration at present, whether or no parish churches were
true churches. This decision proving unacceptable to the
most rigid among them, they desired their dismission ; and,
uniting with some others who were dissatisfied about the
lawfulness of infant baptism, formed themselves mto a new
society, which is thought to have been the first baptist con-
gregation in England. This separation took place in the
year 1633, and the new society chose Mr. John Spilsbury
for its pastor. t But the remainder of Mr. Lathorp's church
renewed their covenant, to walk together in the zcays of God,
so far as he had made them known, or should make them known
to them, and forsake all false wai/s: and so steady were they
to their vows, that there was scarcely an instance of any one
departing from the church, even under the severest persecu-
Mr. Lathorp, being driven from his native country, and re-
tiring to New England, was chosen first pastor of the church
at Scituate, where he continued for some time, distributing
the bread of life. Part of the church afterw ards removing to
Barnstaple, he removed with them, where he continued pastor
of the church to tl)e day of his death. He died November 8,
1653. He was a man of a happy and pious spirit, studioup
of peace, a lively preacher, and willing to spend and be spent
for the glory of Christ and the salvation of souls. $
Mr. Prince, in compiling his " Chronological History of
New England," made use of '* An original Register," in
manuscript, by Mr. Lathorp, giving an account of Scituate
â¦ Morton's Memorial, p. 141. â Neal's Puritans, toI. ii. p. 273.
+ Ncal's Puritans, toI. ii. p. 373, 374. â Crosby's Baptists, vol. i.
p. 148, 149.
:|- Neal's Puritans, toI. ii. p. 374. S Morton's Memorial, p. 141.
and Barnstaple, where he had been successively the first
William Gouge, D.D. â This very learned and cele-
brated divine Mas born at Bow, near Stratford, Middlesex,
November 1, 157.5, and educated tirst at Eton school, then
in King's college, Cambridge. Ke was endowed with great
powers of mind, was a great lover of learning, and perhaps
exceeded by none in close application to study. His progress
in the various departments of useful literature corresponded
with his application. During his first three yeurs at tlie uni-
versity, he was so assiduous in his academical pursuits, that
he slept only one night out of the college. Here he spent
nine years, and during the whole of that period he was never
absent from the college prayers at half past five o'clock in the
morning, unless he was from home. He usually rose so long
before the hour of prayer, as to have time for private devotion
and reading his usual portion of scripture. He invariably
read Jifteen chapters in the Bible every day ; five in the
morning, before he entered upon his regular studies, five
after dinner, and five at night before he went to rest. When he
was chosen reader of logic and philosophy in the college, he
was so remarkably exact in those exercises, and performed
them with such admirable propriety, that, while he gained
the high applause of his auditors, he incurred the hatred of
those who were less attentive to their duty. Indeed, he was
so exact and conscientious in all his ways, that he was
reproachfully denominated an arch-puritan.
In the year l608, he was unanimously chosen minister of
Blackfriars, London ; where he appears to have been assist-
ant to the excellent Mr. Stephen Egerton, and, at his death,
succeeded him in the pastoral office. His labours were
peculiarly acceptable to the people ; the congregation greatly
increased; and the church was greatly enlarged. Though
considerable preferments were frequently offered him, he
refused them all. His only object was to be useful to souls.
He used to say, " It is my highest ambition to go from
Blackfriars to heaven." He was highly esteemed by the
people of his charge, and by all who knew his worth. Mul-
titudes statedly resorted to his ministry, and many strangers
attended his Wednesday morning lecture. This lecture he
â¦ Prince's ChrÂ«n. Hiit. Tol. i. Pref. p. 8.
16(3 LIVES OF THE PURITANS.
kept up about thirfij-Jive years. Indeed, so great was nli
fame, that when religious persons from distant pat is of tiie
country went to London, tliey did not think their business
finished, unless they had attended Blackfriars lecture, i he
success of his ministry was also very great. It is said, that
thousands were converted and built up under his ministry.*
He was long employed in the work, and eminently faith Tul
and laborious as long as he could get into the pulpit. His
preaching was always distinct, his method easy, and his
language adapted to persons of tlie meanest capacities.
Dr. Gouge, while he preached the gospel to others, en-
joyed its consolations in his own mind. He found so much
true comfort in his work, as, he believed, could not be found
in any other employment. IJe often profissed, that his
greatest pleasure in this world was in preaching the gospel.
His heart and his happiness were so much in his work, that
he often said to Lord Coventry, then keeper of the great seal,
that he envied not his situation. His ^hole life M'as par-
.ticularly exemplary. The doctrine which he delivered to
Others had its proper influence and effect upon himself.
Although his conduct was unblamable and irreprovable in
the sight of all men, he was not without his enemies. He
was as excellent and peaceable a subject as any in the
nation ; yet, through the instigation of Bishop Neile, he Avas
cast into prison only for republishing Finch's book on " The
Calling of the Jews." Having remained in prison nine
weeks, he was released. In the year lG26, he was chosen
one of the feoffees for purchasing impropriations ; for which
he was ordered to be prosecuted in the star-chamber: but
the prosecution being so manifestly invidious, was afterwards
dropped.! During the intolerance of Bishop Laud, he was
prosecuted in the high commission, for opposing arminianisra
and the hew ceremonies. t
This celebrated divine was deeply concerned for the
Redeemer's cause in foreign countries, as well as at home.
He exercised particular compassion towards the foreign pro-
testants, under all their afflictions and persecutions. He
rejoiced in their prosperity, but was afflicted in their adversity.
Therefore, when public collections for the poor and distressed
ministers of the Palatinate utterly failed, he united with his
brethren in promoting a private contribution for their relief:
* Clark's Lives annexed to his Martyrologie, p. 234â239.
+ Ibid, p. 239â ^41. % Prynne'i Cant. Poome, p. 362.
btit, marvellous as it may appear, for this singular act of
generosity and humanity, he was convened before the high
commission as a notorious delmquent.*
In the year 1643, Dr. Gouge was nominated one of tlie
assembly of divines. He assiduously attended during the
whole session; and was held in so high reputation, that he
often filled the moderator's chair in his absence. September
25th, in the same year, when the house of commons, the
Scots commissioners, and the assembly of divines met in
St. Margaret's church, W estminster, to subscribe the cove-
nant, Dr. Gouge concluded the solemnity with prayer. He
was one of the select committee for the examination of minis-
ters who petitioned for sequestered livings. In l644, he was
upon the committee appomted for the examination and or-
dination of ministers. In l647, at the first session of the
provincial assembly, he was chosen prolocutor, and opened
the session with a sermon at Blackfriars. In the same year
he was upon the committee appointed to draw up the con-
fession of faith. And in the year 1648, he was on the com-
mittee appointed to draw up the assembly's annotations.
His portion was from the first book of Kings to the book of
Esther, inclusive.t In the same year he united with his bre-
thren, in London and its vicinity, in declaring against the
king's death. t
Dr. Gouge was a strict observer of the sabbath; and
when the Book of Sports came out, he absolutely refused to
read it. He was determined to sutler, rather than sin by
encouraging profane sports on the Lord's day. He was
exact in observing the public exercises of the house of God,
in promoting religion in his family, and in the devotions of
the closet; and, to the great honour of his character, he
would never allow his servant to be absent from public
worship on the Lord's day to cook provision, whatever com-
pany he expected. He possessed an excellent talent for
solving cases of conscience ; and so great was the blessing of
God upon his judicious counsels, that muiiitudes were re-
stored to joy and peace in believing. Ministers, in difficult
cases, often consulted him ; on which account, he was deno-
minated the father of the London divines, and tlie very oracle
of his time. He was said to be the very picture of Moses for
a meek and quiet spirit. As he was not easily provoked, so
he was never inclined to provoke others. When he received
* Huntley's Prelates' Usurpations, p. 164.
+ Nefil's Hist, of Puritans, vol. iii. p. 52, 70, 140, 350, 355, 452.
X Calarny's Continuation, vol. ii. p. 743.
168 LIVES OF THE PURITANS.
any injury, he always prayed for his enemies, and said, " that
revileis and evil doers always hurt themselves most." He was
remarkably kind to persons iu orsiress, especially the poor of
Christ's flock. According to the ability which God gave
him, he employed his substance to useful purposes. He
afforded much support to the poor scholars at the university.
It was his very meat and drmk to do his heavenly Father's
will. His humility, indeed, outshone all his other amiable
endowments. He was never lifted up by multitudes flocking
to hear him, nor by the applause he received from them ; but
used to say, " I know moi e to abase me, than others do to
He was, through the whole of his life, remarkably exact and
conscientious in the improvement of his time. He rose early,
boih winter and summer, if at any time he heard other
persons at their work before he was in his study, he would
complain, saying, " I am much troubled that any persons
should be at \heir calling before I am at mine." He was an
excellent scholar, being familiarly conversant with the original
languages, and every department of useful literature. When
the persecuting prelates would allow of no other fasts be-
sides those appointed by authority. Dr. Gouge and his pious
friends kept their private fasts regularly every month. On
these occasions he greatly excelled. He was remarkably
concerned for the welfare of the foreign protestant churches.
Hearing that it was well with them, he rejoiced and praised
God : but when he received evil tidings, " he sat down and