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His devotedness to the work of the ministry naturally prevented him from engaging in any concerns which might, in any degree, injure or limit his usefulness. Accustomed to view himself as one who had been set apart for the spiritual service of the Lord, he entangled not himself among the affairs of the world. So much, indeed, was his mind engrossed with the care of his people, that sometimes he seemed ignorant of the property which he possessed ; and so much did he rest con-. tented with his temporal circumstances, that he chose rather to accept the precarious, but voluntary, contributions of the members of his church, than to demand the payment of any stipulated sum. Considering that his ministerial influence would not be contracted, but extended by his liberality, he gave
much of his substance to feed the poor, who counted him as a father, and repaired to him with filial confidence. He was of opinion, that he “ had nothing but what he gave away;" and that “ looking over his accounts, he could no where find the God of heaven a debtor." While his disinterested benevolence cannot be sufficiently commended, and too closely imitated, there is reason to believe that
| Mather, b. iii. p. 180, 181.
he did not always exercise sufficient judgment in the distribution of his charities. *
While he exhibited so much diligence, and devotedness, in the discharge of his own pastoral duties, he used all the means in his power to strengthen the hands of his brethren in the ministry. With the view of encouraging their labours, as well as edifying and refreshing his own soul, he regularly attended the occasional lectures which they delivered at Boston, Cambridge, Charleston, and Dorchester. To their instructions he was very attentive ; and he repeated them to the individuals with whom he associated, when returning from the house of God, in such a
• Of this remark, the following anecdote, which is related by Dr Dwight, and the authenticity of which we have no reason to doubt, may serve as an illustration. “ The parish treasurer having paid him his salary, put it into a handkerchief, and tied it into as many hard knots as he could make, to prevent him from giving it away before he reached his own house. On his way he called on a poor family, and told them that he had brought them
relief. He then began to untie the knots, but finding it a work of great difficulty, gave the handkerchief to the mistress of the house, saying, “Here, my dear, take it, I believe the Lord designs it all for you.' Travels in New-England and New-York, vol. iü. p. 115.
manner as to cause their hearts to burn, while he talked with them by the way.
His walk with his brethren was characterized by humility and peacefulness. When he had occasion to associate with them, he would say, 66 The Lord Jesus takes much notice of what is done and said among his ministers, when they are together,—come, let us pray before we part.” When he heard any of them complain of the stubbornness of particular members of their churches, he was accustomed to say,
“ Brethren, compass them! Brethren, learn the meaning of these three little words-bear, forbear, forgive !" On one occasion, when a bundle of papers, which referred to matters of contention between some people, who should have hastened to be reconciled to one another, were laid before an assembly of ministers, he hastily threw them into the fire, and imme. diately said, “ Brethren, wonder not at what I have done, I did it on my knees before I came among you.” m
m Mather, b. iii. p. 176, 181, 182, 187.
The propagation of the gospel, one of the principal ends
of the New-England colonies--Beneficial effects of the intercourse of the Indians with the EnglishAct for encouraging the preaching of the gospel among the Indians, passed by the government of Plymouth— Thomas Mayhew, jun. preaches to the In. dians on Martha's vineyard— Act encouraging the propagation of the gospel, passed by the General Court of Massachusetts-Eliot resolves to act as an Evangelist-Account of the Indians among whom he proposed to labour-The motives which led him to attempt their conversion.
One of the principal objects which the persons who first proposed to settle in New-England had in view, was the propagation of the gospel among the Aborigines of that country. We find this to have been particularly the case with the members of the congregations of the pious Robinson, the founders of the first colony, who, reflecting on the fact, that God, in his wise providence, often makes the persecution of the church the means of its enlargement, considered it one of the greatest grounds of encouragement, to cross the Atlantic,
which they were permitted to entertain, that they might be instrumental in advancing the kingdom of Christ, in those remote parts of the world, where, from their desire to preserve their liberty of conscience, they were compelled to spend their days. The government at home likewise professed to be zealous for the conversion of the American Indians. James the First, in a proclamation which he issued in 1622, declared that the special motive which led him to encourage his plantations, in the new world, was his zeal for the advancement of Christianity; and his son, Charles, in the charter which he granted to the colony of Massachusetts, in 1628, gave directions that the people from England “ may be so religiously, peaceably, and civilly governed, as their good life and orderly conversation may win and excite the natives of that country to the knowledge and obedience of the only true God, and Saviour of mankind, which, in our royal intention, and the adventurers' free profession, is the principal end of this plantation."
The first settlers in New England were placed in such difficult circumstances, that their time was
a Hazard's Historical Collections of State Papers, vol. i. p. 358, 151, 252.