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Nathaniel Rogers

Nathaniel Rogers.—This excellent minister was born at Haverhil in Suffolk, about the year 1598; and at the age of fourteen was sent to Emanuel college, Cambridge, where he became a hard student, made great proficiency in all kinds of useful learning, and was a great ornament to the college. He was son of Mr. John Rogers, famous for his ministry and nonconformity at Dedham in Essex. Under the pious

• Calamy's Con tin. vol. ii, p 744.
+ Wood's Alume Oxon. vol. ii. p. 77.

J Ashe's Fun. Scr. for Mr. Robinson, entitled. " Tlic Good Man's Death Lamented."—Clark's Lives, last vol. part i. p. 57—60.

instructions of bis excellent parents, he feared the Lord from his youth; and, as he grew up to the age of man, he trod in the footsteps of his honoured and worthy father. Though he was indeed a person of most exemplary piety; yet it is related, that, through the hurry of business, he went one morning from home without attending to his usual private devotions, when his horse stumbled and fell, by which he lost much blood, and was exceedingly bruised. This event, however, taught him a valuable lesson. It awakened him to so deep a sense of his omission of duty, that, from that time to the day of hit death, no engagements whatever would hinder him from attending upon the exercises of the closet.

Mr. Rogers, having finished his studies at the university, became domestic chaplain to a person of quality, when he gave the first specimen of his ministerial abilities. Af+er he had continued in this situation about two years, he became assistant to Dr. Barkam, at Bocking in Essex. The doctor being a high churchman, and particularly intimate with Bishop Laud, many people wondered that he employed for his curate the son of one of the most noted puritans in the kingdom. Mr. Rogers was much beloved by the people, and they were remarkably kind to him. Though the doctor treated him with civility, he did not allow him one-tenth of his benefice, amounting to many hundreds a year, when he did above three-fourths of the work. Mr. Rogers now began t© examine the controversy about ecclesiastical matters, and, as the result of his inquiries, he became thoroughly dissatisfied 'with the ceremonies and discipline of the church. Afterwards, the doctor being present at a funeral, and observing that Mr. Rogers did not use the surplice, he was so completely disgusted, that he advised his curate to provide for himself, and so dismissed him. What a sad crime was it to bury the dead without a surplice!

After he had preached about five years at Bocking, he was presented to the living of Assington in Suffolk, where the Bishop of Norwich allowed him to go on in the Lord's work, without molestation, for about five years. His preaching was highly esteemed, and greatly blessed among persons of all descriptions. He had commonly more hearers than conld crowd into the church. The ignorant were instructed, the careless awakened, and the sorrowful comforted. He was a "fisher of men," and, by the blessing of God upon his endeavours, many were caught in the gospel-net. At length, the ruling ecclesiastics were resolved to stop the mouths of all ministers who refused to conform to their arbitrary injunctions; on which account great numbers of the most laborious and useful preachers in the kingdom were either buried in silence, or forced to abscond, to avoid the fury of the star-chamber and of the high commission. Mr. Rogers, perceiving the approaching storm, chose to prevent rather than receive the terrible sentence of those tribunals; and therefore he resigned his living into the hands of his patron. Not being satisfied to lay down his ministry, he forsook the neighbourhood of his father, with all his prospects of worldly advantage; and, casting himself and his young family on the providence of God, embarked for New England, where he arrived November 16, 1636. Mr. Ralph Partridge, another puritan minister, accompamed him in the same ship.*

Upon their arrival, Mr. Rogers was chosen co-pastor with Mr. Norton over the church at Ipswich. 1 hese judicious und holy men, whose hearts were cordially united in promoting the glory of God and the salvation of souls, were reudered a peculiar blessing to this religious society. Mr. Rogers was much afflicted, especially with the spitting of blood. When the complaint was upon him, he used to comfort himself by observing, " Though I should spit out my own blood, by which my life is mamtained, I shall never cast out the blood of Christ, or lose the benefits of that blood which cleanseth us from all sin.'t Under one of these afflictions, Mr. Cotton wrote him a consolatory letter, dated March 9, 1631, in which he addressed him as follows:—" I bless the Lord with you, who perfecteth the power of his grace in your weakness, and supporteth your feeble body to do him still more service. You know who said,' Unmodified strength posteih hard to hell: but sanctified weakness creepelh fast to heaven.' Let not your spirit faint, though your body do. Your soul is precious in God's sight. 'Your hairs are all numbered.' The number and measure of your fainting fits, and wearisome nights, are all weighed and limited by him who hath given you his son Jesus Christ to take upon him your infirmities, and bear your sicknesses."i During the last conflict, he was full of heavenly conversation, and closed his life and labours saying, My times are in thy hands. He died July 3, 1655, aged fifty-seven years. He was an eminently holy man, an admirable preacher, and an incomparable master of the Latin tongue. "And I shall do an injury

• Mather't Hut of New Eng. b. iii. p. 104—106. + Ibid. p. 107.

to his memory," says the author, "if I do not declare that he was one of the greatest men and one of the best ministers that ever set his foot on the American shore."