John Fisk, A. M.—This worthy minister was born in St. James's parish, Sufiblk, in the year 1601, and educated in Emanuel college, Cambridge. His ancestors were eminent for zeal in the cause of Christ, several of whom were sorely persecuted in the sanguinary days of Queen Mary.+ He was the eldest of four children, all of whom afterwards went to New England. He was blessed with pious parents, who devoted him to the Lord from a child; and after finishing his academical pursuits at Cambridge, he entered into the ministry. But the persecution of all who could not conform, being at that time extremely hot, he was presently silenced for nonconformity. He afterwards practised physic; but at length removed to New England, where he had an opportunity of preaching without the impositions and oppressions of men. He took shipping iii disguise, with the excellent Mr. John Allin, to avoid the fury of their persecutors. Having passed the land's end, they made themselves known, and entertained the passengers with two sermons every day, besides other devotional exercises. Indeed, the whole voyage was so much devoted to the exercises of religion, that when one of the passengers
• Theolog. and Bib. Mag. Tol. it. p. 138, 139.
+ Among these ancestors there were six brothers, three of whom were papists, and three were protcstants; but the papists disowned their brethren. Two of the protestant brothers were sorely persecuted, of whom the following anecdotes are related;—One of them being in the utmost danger, and the pursuivant having great respect for him, sent him private information of bis coming to apprehend him; upon which the good man immediately called his family together for prayer, and then hastened to hide himself in n ditch, together with bis pious wife with a sucking child nt the breast. Here they were upon the point of being discovered. For the pursuivant was near at hand, and, by leaping into the ditch, a thorn in the hedge so deeply marked the child's face, that it never wore out; at which the child began to cry aloud, when the mother presently clapt it to the breast, whereby it immediately became quiet, and so they remained undiscovered.—Another of these brethren, at the same time, to avoid burning, hid himself many months in a pile of wood; then, for half a year, in a cellar, where he was diligently employed in his wonted manufactory, by candle light, so as to remain in like manner undiscovered. But his numerous hardships shortened bis days, put an end to his life, and added to the number of those whose blood cried aloud for vengeance.— Mather't Hist, of New Hug. b. iii. p. 141.
Was examined about diverting himself with the hook and line on the Lord's day, he protested, saying, "I do not know which is the Lord's day. I think every day is a sabbath day; for you do nothing but preach and pray all the week long."*
Mr. Fisk married a lady of piety and of a good fortune, several hundred pounds of which was denied her, through the displeasure of her father, upon accompanying her husband to New England. On their arrival, in the year 1637, he preached for several years at Salem, and became tutor to a number of gentlemen's sons. In the month of October, 1644, he was chosen pastor of the church at Wenham, where he abode twelve years. He was content with a small salary, while he spent a considerable estate in promoting the welfare of the new colony. About the year J 656, lie removed, with the greater part of the church, to Chelmsford; where he spent the remainder of his days. There his greatest trial was the loss of his pious wife; who, having so extensive a knowledge of the scriptures, served him, says our author, instead of a concordance. Mr. Fisk, upon his death-lied, said to his children, "You have the sure mercies of David. Study to emulate one another, and provoke-one another to love." He died January 4, 1676, aged fifty-five years. He was a most able, faithful, and useful preacher.t He published " The Olive Plant Watered."