« PreviousContinue »
The Biographical Sketch of the Rev. WM. COOPER, has come to hand and sball appear next month.
We have received the Remarks of Candidus, on the Extract from Sennebier's History of Literature, (see Panoplist for Sept.) which contains an ac. count of Calvin's treatment of Servetus. This respectable correspondent will excuse us if we decline publishing his objections in the manner in which they are bronght forward. Were they reduced to a concise and specitic form, and accompanied by proper references to authorities, we could have no objection to their admission; as truth is our object. Were we to admit the whole communication of Candidus, as it now stands, it would still be a question, whether we are to submit to his authority or to that of Sennebier. Especially when we consider, that the extract from Sennebier, which we published, received the saiction of the late learned Dr. Erskine, who was intimately conversant with ecclesiastical history, and with European literature.
We readily admit the correctness and pertinency of many of the remarks of Candidus. With some abatement in respect to the characters and conduct of the first Reformers, we could subscribe to the following observations. “ It cannot be contested that the Reformers were pretty generally, we should say, in too frequent instances, “ actuated by a blind, intemperate zeal against all, whom they suspected to be enemies of the gospel of truth, and embrace i too often, improper methods for its support, which by the more candid and Christian sentiments of our day, are disapproved. Calvin too was a son of Zebedee. Francis Davidis also experienced, that even Socinus was, in this respect, not more tinctured with the meek doctrine of our humble Saviour. It becomes us to state historical facts fairly; then we may try, as far as truth will allow, to lessen their faults, who greatly sinned through ignorance. Let the purity of our doctrine and lives be their severest condemnation, and the mouth of unbelief shail be stopped forever.”
The following are pertinent and forcible observations of Candidus, interried to expose one of the pleas of Sennebier in favour of Calvin. “ Had Sennebier, to extenuate Calvin's guilt, fairly acknowledged this instance of human weakness, and expatiated on Calvin's piety;. on bis eminent services in the cause of Christendom; on his elegant, learned writings ;, on that masterly piece of composition, his preface, and I had nearly said, unequalled dedication to Francis l.; on his modesty, as a divine interpreter, and his disinterestedness : had he even concluded with his panegyrist Beza, that Calvin left us in his life and death an example, which it was more easy to slander than to imitate; had Sennebier delineated, with few strokes, the turbulent spirit of democracy rankling in every breast at Geneva, Calvin's high authority in that city, with his uncontrolled power in the church, as President in the assembly of the clergy and ecclesiastical judicatory ; had be shown this reformer exasperated by the virulent invectives of his haughty antagonist, and urged his irritable temper unused to brook opposition, he might bave induced bis readers to deplore the frailty of Calvin, and to avert ther eyes from a foul spot in such a bright character. But what friend of Calvin can bear with patience Sennebier's plea! “ Calvin's situation was delicate. The Catholics accused him of dangerous
Had he remained an indifferent spectator of the process against Scrrctus, they would have pronounced him a favourer of his opinions." « Had Servetus escaped, his gross and abusive charges against Calvin would base appeared to be well founded.” If Calvin's conduct will admit no better apoloBy than this, his character, we freely grant, deserves to be stigmatized.
if, after the foregoing remarks, Candidus shall feel disposed to forward us bis remaining communications on this subject, they shall be treated with the respect due to their author,
2. on Christian Zeal, and the Biographical Sketch by Theophilus shall appear next month.
Our other correspondents shall be attended to as fast as the ligits of our work will admit.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE REV. WILLIAM COOPER,
A PASTOR OF THE CHURCH IN BRATTLė street, BOSTON.
The early years of Mr. Coop- At Seven years old, while er were distinguished by presa- hearing a sermon of Mr. Colges of that eminence, which in man, with whom he afterward future life he actually attained. was colleague, he was so attractA vigorous mind, intense appli- ed by the eloquence of his mancation, and an ardent thirst for ner, that he went home with a knowledge marked his child- determination to read like him ; hood. Blest with a religious ed- a circumstance, which drew from ucation, he exhibited, even at that venerable man (who survive this period, hopeful evidences of ed him, and preached on his piety ; evidences which bright- death) the following affectionate ened with his years, till all who and humble remark. “I ought knew him were convinced that to thank God, (says he) if I have the grace of God had taken pos- served any way to form him for session of his heart. At his fa- his since eminent pulpit serther's death, his lovely and af- vices, and in particular, his methflicted mother found in him a son od of preaching Christ and Scripa of consolation indeed. His ten. ture:
So a torch may be lit at a der and sympathetic attentions, farthing candle." in this trying scene, were min: Mr. Cooper's youth, though gled with a seriousness, which passed in the midst of temptation; gave them a double value.
was exemplarily pure. He was His progress in the branches grave, but not gloomy; nor ausof knowledge usually taught at tere ; discreet, but not precise ; school, was rapid. But the Bi. and cheerful, with innocence. ble was his chosen companion ; Study was his recreation. He and with the greatest assiduity, accurately discriminated, and he stored his mind with its sa- ardently cultivated those branch: cred truths. He had early set
es of science which were most his heart on being a minister of useful and important. Every Jesus Christ ; and from this literary pursuit was sanctified by choice he never swerved. prayer, and every human acquiNo. 12. Vol. II.
May 23, 1716.
sition rendered subservient to the
upon Christian principles, and by knowledge of God and relig- Christian arguments. ion.
His sermons were composed Though he entered the desk with care ; easy and natural in young, it was not without the ade method ; rich in important truth; vice of the most eminent min- plain, but not grovelling in style ; isters in Boston. Their expecta- solid and argumentative, yet anitions were high; but they were mated with the spirit of devotion. exceeded. Ju the opinion of the They were calculated at once to atlest judges, his first exhibi- enlighten the inind, impress the tions stamped him with the conscience, and warm the heart. character of an accomplished In explaining the profound and and eminent preacher.
sublime truths of the gospel, he The Church in Brattle street, had the singular felicity to be inof which he was a member, telligible to the ignorant, instrucsoon chose him,
with great tive to the well-informed, and edunanimity, as co-pastor with the ifying to the serious. In prayer, Reverend Mr. Colman, afterward" he remarkably excelled. AlD. D. The ordination, which, ways ready, always serious and at Mr. Cooper's request, was de- animated, with â mind stored ferred for a year, was solemnized with scriptural ideas and expres
From this peri- sions, and a heart fired with der od to that of his death, his min. votion, be seemed to converse isterial gilts, graces and useful
with bis God, and bear along his ness seemed regularly and unin
fellow-worshippers to the very termittingly to increase, and the
gate of heaven. He had a voice more he was known, the more he
at once powerful and agreeable, was esteemed, loved, and hon
an elocution grave and dignified ; oured, as one who eminently ful“ wbile a deep impression of the filled the ministry which he had majesty of that being whose received from the Lord Jesus.
mercy be implored, and whose As a preacher he was mighty messages he delivered, was visible in the Scriptures, and contended in his countenance and demeanearnestly for the faith once deliv- or, and added an indescribable soered to the saints. He was an lemnity to all his performances. able and zealous advocate for the
In his discharge of pastoral distinguishing doctrines of the duties, he was exemplarily diligospel. Christ, the alpha and gent, faithful and affectionate. omega of the Bible, was ever the
His preaching being very accepprominent object in his discours table to other congregations be
On the doctrines of grace, side his own, scarce a Sabbath he insisted much ; considering passed in which he did not them as not only constituting the preach both parts of the day ; in sole foundation of a sinner's hope, addition to which, he frequently but as exhibiting the capital aids performed at stated and occasionand incentives to holiness of al lectures. heart and life. Hence his preach- Nor were his abundant labours ing was practical, as well as evan- in the gospel without important gelic. It inculcated obedience and happy effect. God was pleas
ed to grant the desire which was lencies of the gentleman and nearest his heart; to make him Christian. In conversation, he an instrument of saving good to was equally entertaining and inmany, who loved and revered structive ; and while he was him as their spiritual father. courteous and kind to all within He was an eminent instrument his sphere, he was especially valand promoter of the great revi- ued and endeared in the relations val of religion which took place of husband, father, master and toward the close of his life. friend. With a heart overflowing with He lived in great affection and joy, he declared, that since the harmony with his colleague, year 1740, more people had some- serving with him as a son with a times come to him in concern about father. “If in any particular their souls in one week, than in the point,” says that great and good preceding twenty-four years of his man), I could not act with him, ministry. To these applicants, yet he evidently appeared to me he was a most judicious, affec- to act, as he professed--as of sintionate counsellor and guide. cerity, in the sight of God, and as Some, indeed, stigmatized those bis conscience commanded him." remarkable appearances as noth- In the sermon occasioned by ing better than delusion and en. Mr. Cooper's death, Dr. Colman thusiasm. Nor did Mr. Cooper expresses himself in tbis rehimself fail to bear a decided tes- markal.ly affectionate style : limony against the spirit of sep- " This I can truly say (as I said aration, and other irregularities in tears over the dear remains, which mingled themselves with on the day of interment) that had the religious commotions, in
I the like confidence of my own some parts of the land. Yet, actual readiness to be offered, I nobly disregarding human cen- would much rather, for your sure and applause, where he sake, and the churches through thought the honour of God was the land, have chosen to die in his concerned, he invariably declared stead, might he have lived to my his persuasion that a remarkable years, and served on to the glory work of divine grace was going of God." on,
The numerous instances Mr. Cooper was truly an honwhich met him, in his own circle, our and blessing to his country. of persons affected, either with Scarce any minister was more pungent and distressing convic- esteemed and loved by his brethtions of sin, or with deep humili- ren, or by the community at ation and self-abhorrence, or with large. In the year 1737, he ardent love to God and man, or was chosen by the Corporawith inexpressible consolation in tion, president of Harvard Colreligion, perfectly satisfied him lege ; but when the vote was that the presence and power of presented to the board of Overthe divine REPROVER, SANCTIFI: seers, he declined the honourable ER and COMFORTER was among trust. Near the period of his them.
death, his reputation for piety In the private walks of life, he and learning was rapidly extend, displayed the combined excel- ing, and several divines of the
first character in England and bridge, was born at Southwark. Scotland sought his correspond. He was so weak in the first ence.
month of his life, that he was giv. His dissolution was sudden and en over for dead; but by a won: unexpected to his friends, but derful providence was on a sudprobably not to himself. He had den recovered. While at Cam: frequently expressed his expecta- bridge, he gained great respect tion of an early death. Imme- by his college exercises. In diately on his being seized with 1652 he was fixed in the rectory an alarming complaint, his of Newington Butts. In his setchurch, anxious for his valuable tlement here, it was remarkable, and important life, spent a day that the parishioners were dividin humiliation and prayer. The ed into two parties, and on the assembly was numerous, and vacancy both went with their pedeeply affected ; ardent suppli- titions to Westminster, neither cations, mingled with many tears, knowing the other's mind, and were offered to Him who is able he was the person pitched upon to save. But the time was at by both. . Here he not only hand when he must be removed preached constantly, but zealousto that better world, for which, by ly taught from house to house. his illustrious piety, and unwea- He gave Bibles to the poor, and ried diligence in his Master's expended his 'estate, as well as work, he was now mature. time, in works of charity among
The nature of his illness de- them ;' and it pleased God to prived him, in great measure, *give him abundant success. But both of speech and reason. Yet in 1660 he resigned the living to in some lucid intervals, he was Mr. Meggs, who pretended to enabled to declare that he rejoiced be the legal rector. Mr. Wadsin God his Savicur ; and likewise worth however did not live useto signify, by raising his hand, less ; for beside his lecture on in reply to questions which were Saturday morning at St. Anproposed to him, that he cheerful- tholine's, and for some time on ly resigned his spirit into the Lord's day evenings, and on hands of Christ ; that he had Monday nights at St. Margaret's, the peace which passes under. (where he had a great concourse standing, and could leave his dy- of hearers) he was chosen by ing testimony to the ways of God. the parish of St. Lawrence: He
He departed December 13th, was also a lecturer of St. John 1743, in the 50th year of his age, Baptist. He was indeed an 'extenderly mourned by his bereav- traordinary man ; ”of singular ed family and congregation ; ability, judgment; and piety; sincerely regretted and highly wholly devoted to God ; and did honoured by the town and the not care for conversing with the whole community.' Z. rich, unless they could be pre
vailed on to be free in acts of charity. He would reprove sin
in any person of whatever rank ; WADSWORTH.
but with much prudence, and THOMAS WADSWORTH, M. A. with great candour, which he Fellow of Christ's College, Cam- took pains to promote in others;