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POWER OF CHRIST'S PREACHING,
INTRODUCTION OF UNITARIANISM INTO HARVARD College,
REPUTATION FOR TALENT,
POPERY IN MONTREAL,
OBSERVATIONS ON MEN, BOOKS AND THINGS:
Political Duties of Christians,
The Faith of Former Times,
Preaching as connected with Faith,
The Christian Examiner,
The Examiner and Hon. H. Mann,
Scribes of Councils,
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JOHN V. BEANE & CO., PUBLISHERS,
Here rest the remains
of Miss Elizabeth Pool,
of good Family, Friends and Prospects,
THE eye of the stranger who traverses the field of graves in the ancient town of Taunton will turn with no little interest toward a simple slab, hardly elevated above the surface of the ground, and bearing the following inscription:
A great Proprietor in the Township
A chief promoter of its Settlement,
Died, May 21, A. D. 1654, aged LXV.
To whose memory,
by her next of kin,
The inscription was written, we are told, by the Hon. Robert Treat Paine, one of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, a citizen of Taunton, who delighted to honor its "virgin
mother." The ladies of Taunton have recently erected a costlier monument to the memory of this remarkable woman, at the entrance of the rural cemetery which graces the town. Miss Pool was a lion-hearted lady of the true Puritan stock. Being of honorable descent, and possessed of ample means, she might have enjoyed a dignified ease at her own quiet fireside in Taunton, Somersetshire, England. But "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God," she became one of the intrepid spirits, who planted themselves for the gospel's sake upon these wild New England shores. She settled first in Dorchester, one of the towns which was early occupied on the border of the Bay. The barbarous tribes still held possession of the interior, and the colonists confined themselves to the sea-shore. The spirit of Elizabeth Pool was more adventurous. It was some time in the year 1637, that this heroic woman, with a few chosen associates, "conceived the bold design of occupying the territory of Cohannet." The nearest settlement was at Plymouth toward the east, at a distance of twenty-six miles; and in the intervening forests the Namasket and the Tetiquet tribes claimed dominion. Massassoit, the great sachem of the wilderness, had undisputed control on the south. On the west, Roger Williams had just commenced a settlement at Providence, but the numerous and mighty Narragansetts roamed free, and to the terror of the whites, and weaker tribes; whilst the Punkapogues and Neponsets lay between Dorchester and Cohannet on the north. Barbarous tribes, bloodthirsty savages, completely surrounded the settlement, and shut it in from the other colonists. "It was the ardent love of religion," remarks the historian of the Plymouth colony, Hon. Francis Baylies, to whom we are indebted for much that is valuable in its ecclesiastical as well as civil history, "it was the ardent love of religion, an enthusiastic desire of planting another church in the American wilderness, which impelled this pious Puritan lady to encounter all the dangers, and all the hardships, of forming a settlement in the midst of the Indians."
One of the companions of Miss Pool in her perilous journey, and an important helper of her great undertaking, was William Hooke. He was to be the pastor of the infant church. Nicholas Street, who had married a sister of Miss Pool, was another member of the settlement, a minister, and to be associated with Mr. Hooke in the care of this small company of disciples. Thomas
Lechford, in a pamphlet entitled "Plain Dealing, or Newes from New England," published in London, 1642, speaking of Taunton, says: "Cohannet, alias, Taunton, is in Plymouth patent. There is a church gathered of late, and some ten or twenty of the church; Master Hooke, Pastor; Master Street, Teacher." A small church, we should suppose at this day, to enjoy the united labors of two eminent divines. If it was small, it was not lacking in intelligence, and in entire consecration to its work.
In 1637, the foundation of a church was laid, which has existed more than two hundred years, an increasing source of good to successive generations. Its foundation was laid not only in faith and prayer, but in good works and practical honesty. Miss Pool purchased her lands by giving a fair equivalent before occupation. Thus she sought to be at peace with her barbarous neighbors, and by an honest, kind, conciliatory treatment of them, hoped to secure their good will toward the church and the gospel.
Of Mr. Hooke, the first pastor of this ancient church, we know less than we could wish. He was a native of Southampton, in the county of Hampshire, England, the son of a gentleman, born some time during the year 1601, and graduated at Oxford in 1620. At the early age of twenty-two, Mr. Hooke proceeded to the degree of Master of Arts in the most ancient and respectable English University, "at which time," remarks Wood, "he was esteemed a close student, and a religious person." He received orders in the Church of England, and became Vicar of Axmouth, in Devonshire, where he remained several years, preaching with such fidelity as to fail to please the throne. His non-conformity subjected him, as well as others, to such persecution as induced him to seek a more propitious clime. He sought New England, whither the eye of the malignant Wood followed him, for he says of him, that "he continued his practices without control for some time."
In what year Hooke reached New England, we do not know; but we first hear of him in the wilderness, lifting up his voice and preaching what some men called heresy, in the "Tetiquet purchase," on the banks of the Nistequahannock, and the Wesquabenauset. He was set apart by such men as Wilson of Boston, and Mather of Dorchester, to the special watch and care of the church in Taunton. That he was a man of no ordinary qualifications for the position of a pastor, is apparent from the testimony
of contemporaries, and the character of the productions which have survived him. Cotton Mather says of him: "He was a learned, holy and humble man." Dr. Trumbull, the historian of Connecticut, also makes mention of him, as a man “of great learning and piety, and possessing excellent pulpit talents." He was especially alive to the interests of the mother country. Although absent from her, he had by no means forgotten her. He deeply sympathised with all the noble spirits who were bravely struggling for its emancipation from the reign of intol erance and iron-handed despotism. His family were remotely related to Cromwell's. His wife, a sister of Edward Whalley, one of the regicide judges, was a near kinswoman of Cromwell. Hooke had always been on terms of intimacy with that extraordinary man, destined to act so conspicuous a part in the revolution which was approaching. He was one of his correspondents. When in 1640, a day of fasting and prayer was appointed in the Plymouth colony, on behalf of the colonists' native land, it is not strange, that Mr. Hooke should enter into the object with a fervid heart, and produce a sermon deemed worthy of the occasion and of the author. It was sent "to a worthy member of the Honorable House of Commons," who caused it to be published "for public good." It was "printed in London, in 1641, by E. G. for John Rothwell and Henry Overton," and is entitled, "New England's Tears for Old England's Fears."
This sermon is of special interest, not only as a sermon of remarkable pathos and power, but as being one of the first printed productions of this country. John Cotton's election sermon, preached in 1634, is the only sermon known to us of a prior date, which was committed to the press. The only copies of the famous Fast-Day Sermon known to exist in this country are in the libraries of Cambridge and Worcester. Mr. Savage in his explorations at the British Museum, found that this sermon constituted the fifth number of the twelfth volume of a collection of some two thousand books and pamphlets, issuing from the press from 1640 to about the time of the Revolution, — the property of George III.—a donation to this magnificent institution. The sermon is loyal, filial, and expressive of the deepest concern for the king, as well as his subjects. It depicts and deprecates the inconceivable horrors of a civil war. But when the war was at an end, and good results were realized in the