Thomas Cobbet was born at Newbury in Berkshire, in the year 1608, and educated in the university of Oxford. Having finished his academical studies, he returned to Newbury, and became a pupil under the celebrated Dr. Twisse. He first settled in the ministry at a small place in Lincolnshire; but here he felt the vengeance of the ecclesiastical governors. On account of his nonconformity, he was tossed for some time in the storm of persecution, and at length driven to New England. He went in the same ship with Mr. John Davenport, in the year 1637- He found New England a comfortable asylum, and a secure retreat from the storm. Upon his arrival, he was cordially received by his old friend, Mr. Whiting of Lynn, and was chosen his
• Mather'* Hi»t. of New Eng. b. iii. p. 162—165.
colleague in the pastoral office. About the year 1657, uporf the removal of Mr. Norton to Boston, he was chosen pastor of the church at Ipswich. In this situation he continued, in the faithful and laborious discharge of his numerous pastoral duties, to the end of his days. He died in the beginning of the year 1686, aged seventy-nine years."
Soon after Mr. Cbbbet undertook the pastoral charge at Ipswich, the people of the town voted him to receive one hundred pounds, for the purpose of buying or building himself a house; and, to raise the money, all the inhabitants were taxed. This being a new thing in the colony, several persons refused to pay the money required, and accordingly were prosecuted for it.+ But religion is a voluntary thing. The pecuniary aids requisite to its support ought, in like manner, to be altogether voluntary. All impositions and compulsions from the predominant party, is a direct violation of the laws of equity, an infringement upon the rights of christians, and enters into the very spirit of antichrist. Mr. Cobbet, however, was an eminent preacher, a man much devoted to God in prayer, and the excellent author of many books, the titles of some of which we have been able to collect.
His Works.—1. A Vindication of the Covenant of Children of Church Members, 1643.—2. A Vindication of Children's Churchmembership and Right to Baptism, 1645.—3. The Civil Magistrate's Power in Matters of Religion, 1653.—4. A Discourse on Prayer, 1657.—5. The Honour due from Children to their Parents.