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in the gospel, if they should cross the Atlantic, before he should be permanently employed in the pastoral care of any other people; and their arrival in America required the fulfilment of his engagement. Having erected a town called Roxbury, about a mile distant from Boston, they formed themselves into a church, and soon had the happiness of finding that Mr Eliot, from his attachment to them, had refused to become colleague to Mr Wilson, when solicited by the church at Boston, and that he had resolved to minister amongst them in holy things. 8
Mr Eliot engaged in the ministry with great humility. Though he possessed good natural endowments, and was a mighty in the Scriptures," he was strongly impressed with the awful responsibility of the office; and when he considered its duties, difficulties, and temptations, he found that a reliance on that grace, which is all-sufficient, could alone support his soul. h
In his preparation for the pulpit, he was remarkably diligent. He saw that it was extremely difficult to give to each of his hearers a “portion of meat in due season;" and earnestly desiring to “shew himself approved of God, a workman that needed
& Mather, b. iii. p. 175.
h Mather, b. iii, p. 184,
not to be ashamed," he was careful that his sermons should be the result of much observation, study, and reading. When he heard a discourse which gave evidence of labour on the part of the person who delivered it, he was accustomed to express his warmest approbation. He always looked, however, for some higher excellence in a sermon than mere study. He was most desirous that preaching should be attended with the influences of that Spirit who only could make it effectual for the conversion of sinners, and the edification of saints; and he fervently prayed that his discourses might lead his auditors to say, “ The Spirit of the Lord is here ;” “ Q what a sad thing it is ;" he has been heard to remark, “ when a sermon shall have that one thing, THE SPIRIT OF God, wanting in it.” The “unsearchable riches of Christ” was the general theme, of his discourses. Like the great apostle of the Gentiles, he was determined “ to know nothing among his people save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." He endeavoured, therefore, to improve every subject which he treated, for the purpose of drawing sinners to the Saviour. To young preachers he would frequently say,
" Let there be much of Christ in your ministry ;” and when he heard a sermon in which the character and offices of the Redeemer were specially treated, his heart rejoiced : “ O blessed be God," said he on such occasions, “ that we have Christ so much and so well preached in poor New-England.”
Conscious of the infinite value of divine truth, and realizing the awful importance of his circumstances, as an ambassador of the King of kings, he used great plainness of speech, when he declared the message of God to rebellious man, and a manner of delivery which was solemn, energetic, and graceful.
Conceiving that one of the principal ends of church-fellowship was, to represent to the world the qualifications of those who “ should ascend the hill of the Lord, and stand in his holy place for ever,” he diligently rebuked the sins of professors. “ He would sound the trumpet of God,” says Dr Mather, “
against all vice, with a most penetrating liveliness, and make his pulpit another Mount Sinai, for the flashes of lightning therein displayed against the breaches of the law given from that burning mountain. There was usually a special fervour in the rebukes which he bestowed on carnality. When he was to brand the earthly-mindedness of church-members, and the allowance and indulgence which they often gave themselves in sensual delights, he was a right
Boanerges -he spoke as many thunderbolts as words." i
While he was thus zealous for the glory of God in his public ministrations, he was not neglectful of the private, though no less important, duties his calling. He was, indeed, the father of his people. By holding frequent intercourse with them, he greatly endeared himself to them, and became acquainted with the extent of their knowledge of divine things,—with their trials and difficulties,—with their joys and sorrows. in this manner enabled to act as their instructor, counsellor, and comforter. Aware that mankind, in their natural state, are averse to the truths of the gospel, and unwilling to accept the Saviour, he was instant in season, and out of season, in striving to win souls to Christ, and went to the highways and hedges, that he might compel sinners to come to the marriage-supper of the Lamb. When his neighbours were in distress, he was a brother born for their adversity; he spent whole days in fasting and prayer on their behalf, and often requested his friends to join with him in these exercises. i
He was remarkably devoted to the welfare of
i Mather, b. iii. p. 184, 185, 189. } Mather, b. iii. p. 176, 181, 182.
the children of his congregation ; and in their service he had a peculiar delight. He spent much of his time in their public and private instruction ; and be composed several catechisms, with the view of guarding their tender minds from pernicious
When he came into a family, he was accustomed to call for all the young people in it, that he might lay his hands on every one of them, and implore a blessing on their behalf. At Roxbury, he was careful to have a grammar-school in complete efficiency; and he used his influence to have a similar institution established and supported in many other places. “I cannot forget the ardour," says Dr Mather, “ with which I once heard bim pray at a Synod held in Boston. • Lord, for schools every where among us! That our schools
flourish! That every member of this assembly may go home to procure a good school to be encouraged in the town where he lives! That before we die we may be bappy to see a good school established in every part of the country !!” The success which attended his labours for the education of the young was great ; and he had the happiness of being the indirect instrument of raising up many individuals, who, as ministers of the gospel, were remarkably blessed by the Head of the church. k
Mather, b. iii. p. 182, 186, 188.