m. 29 Sep 1624
Facts and Events
The Life of Rev. Samuel Mather
"Mr. Mather was born in Much-Woolton, Lancashire, and came to America when nine years of age with his father. He became hopefully pious before he was six years of age, and is represented as an extraordinary instance, not only of early developed intellectual ability, but of ' discretion, seriousness, prayerfulness, and watchfulness.' He took such a view of life that when asked to play he would decline by saying, 'I was not sent into the world for sport.' In the year 1643, at the age of 17, he graduated at Harvard College. He was the first Fellow of the college. Those who were under his tuition held him in very great esteem, and it was said by them 'such was the love of all the scholars to him, that not only when he read his last philosophy lectures in the college hall, they heard him with tears, because of its being his last, but also, when he went away from the college, they put on the tokens of mourning in their very garments for it.' When Mr. M. began to preach he assisted the Rev. Ezekiel Rogers in Rowley, and was invited to settle with them, but, owing to his extreme youth, probably, declined. The Second or North Church when it was formed invited Mr. M. to preach for them, he preached for them their first service and through the following winter. After that this church was for a long period, until 1741, under the charge of his brother, Rev. Dr. Increase, or Rev. Dr. Cotton, or Rev. Dr. Samuel, the son of the latter, with the exception of a few years when the Rev. Mr. Mayo and Joshua Gee were settled over the church. In England the Rev. Mr. Mather became quite noted; He was appointed, on his arrival in London, chaplain to the Lord Mayor of London, where he made the acquaintance of eminent ministers in that country. Such was the demand for him that he was overtaxed in work, and came near losing his life. He rested awhile from his labors, and was again restored. He then preached at Gravesend, and then in the city of Exeter in the Cathedral. At one time was chaplain of Magdalen College, Oxford, near by the college, Brazen-Nose, in the same city, where his father studied before settling in Toxteth Park, Liverpool. He made a tour in Scotland with English commissioners, where for two years he preached. In the year 1655 he went with Dr. Harrison, Dr. Winter, and Mr. Charnock, and the lord deputy, Henry Cromwell, into Ireland. He was appointed senior fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, and joint pastor, with Dr. Winter, of the Church of St. Nicholas. An opportunity was now presented for the exercise of charity, and for the display of that true Christian liberality for which he was ever distinguished; for when his patron, the lord deputy, gave him a commission for the displacing of several Episcopal ministers, he refused to do it, saying, 'I came into this country to preach the gospel, not to hinder others from preaching.'
On the restoration of Charles II, he was suspended for a charge of sedition. It was a malicious one, founded on two discourses in opposition to Episcopal Rights and ceremonies. When Mr. M. was informed of his suspension on such a groundless charge as it was based upon, he said, 'If it be sedition to disturb the devil's kingdom, who rules by his anti-christian ceremonies in the kingdom of darkness, as the Lord Jesus does by his own ordinances in his church, I may say that I did it before the Lord, who hath chosen me to be his minister; and if this be vile, I will yet be more vile.' He then went to Burton Wood, Lancashire, England, where he preached for about two years, until, with two thousand of his faithful brethren, he was ejected, by the terrible act of uniformity, 1662, Aug. 24th, called black Bartholomew day. His church in Dublin sent unto him to return to them, saying, 'The men are dead that sought thy life.' Accordingly, he spent the rest of his days with his church in Dublin; but he preached in his 'own hired house,' which being a very large one, was well fitted for that purpose. Although no man living used a more generous and open freedom, in speaking of the corruptions of worship reintroduced into the nation, yet was his learning, his wisdom, his piety, and loyalty towards the government, that he lived without any serious molestation. He wrote to his aged father in New England, 1668, 'I have enjoyed a wonderful protecting Providence in the work of my ministry. I pray remember me daily in your prayers, that I may walk worthy of this goodness of God, and be made useful by him for the good of the souls of his people. If any had told me in April, 1660, that I should have exercised the liberty of my ministry and conscience, either in England or Ireland, and that without conforming to the corruptions of the times, and this for seven or eight years together, I should not have believed it; I should have thought it next to an impossibility; but with God all things are possible.'
Mr. Mather continued with patience and hope through the remainder of his labors for his Master.
While he was so engaged, it pleased God to remove from him his devoted wife. She was taken ill in 1668, and lived but five weeks. When she drew near the end her husband, seeing her in such pain, said, 'You are going where there will be no more pain, sighing, or sorrow.' Whereto she answered, 'Ah, my dear, and where there will be no more sin!' And her sister saying to her,' You are going to heaven,' she answered, 'I am there already!' So she went away, having those for her last words. 'Come Lord, come Lord Jesus.' After Mr. M. became master of possessions in Ireland, he was as dutiful as Joseph was in the earlier days to his kindred, in that Mr. M. sent over to his aged father in America yearly costly presents so long as his father lived. Mr. Mather left some valuable writings, the principal one (540 pages) 'The Figures or Types of the Old Testament.' "