Free eBook: Getting Through the Storms in Life

Peter Saxton

Peter Saxton, A. M.—This venerable divine was born at or near Bramley, in the parish of L<-eds, in Yorkshire, and educated in the university of Cambridge, where he took his degrees in arts. He was admitted preacher, first by Archbishop Hutton, then by Archbishop Matthews, botk of the province of York. He obtained the king's presentation as well as that of Sir Edward Stanhope, to the rectory of Edlington in his native county, as appears from the book of admissions in the register's office at York; where, December 1,1614, he made the usual subscription willingly et ex ammo. He afterwards saw cause to change his opinion; and he became so alienated from the discipline and ceremonies of the church, that he is said to have called the surplice the whore's smock.*

Having espoused the sentiments of the puritans, and not being ashamed io avow his opinions, he could find no rest in his native country. The horrors of cruel persecution having overspread the nation, he retired from the storm, and sought an asylum in New England, where, to his great comfort, he arrived in the year 1640. There we find his name, as minister of Scituatc, in the first classes of (hose who enlightened the dark regions of America by their ministry.t He continued some time in this situation; but the unsettled condition of the colony, and some unhappy contentions in the plantation where he lived, induced him to remove first to Boston, then to England, in his advanced years.J On his return from New England, the ship was overtaken iu so violent a storm, that the mariners, who could not be brought to pray before, came trembling to him like dying men; and they found him upon the deck exulting, with his arms stretched towards heaven, and crying, "O! who is now for heaven? who is bound for heaven?'

After Mr. Saxton's arrival in his native country, he had the offer of a considerable living in Kent, which he declined to accept, preferring the vicarage of Leeds in his own county, to which he was inducted in the month of April, 1646, and possessed till his death, which happened October 1,1651, having survived his daughter Silence, the wife of Captain Samuel Pool, to whom she was married in New England ; but she died at Leeds, as did also his widow the February following. He was a venerable, pious, and learned divine; but he used many plain expressions, which often occasioned smiles, and once downright laughter in a country church where he was preaching. His text was Job xi. 12. "For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt." He, observing the irreverence of the people, threatened to make them cry before he had done, and was as good as his word when he came to the application. The aged minister, for whom he then

* Thoresby'a Vicaria Leodiensis, p. 86.

+ Mather'i Hist, of >ew ling. b. iii. p. 3. J Ibid. p. 214.

{,rcached, told me, as our author adds, that he never saw the ike in that church before, almost the whole of the congregation being bathed in tears; and he further observes, that Mr. Saxton was a very studious and learned man, and a great Hebrean, and he constantly carried his Hebrew Bible with him into the pulpit.* There goes under his name a book, entitled "Christmas Cheere; or, Profitable Notes of Two Sermons preached the 25th of December, being commonly (how rightly let others judge) called Christmas day, and upon the day following, commonly called St. Stephen's day," 1606. Mr. Palmer has, by mistake, classed onr venerable divine among the worthy ministers who were ejected after the restoration. +

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