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as that One Hundred fifty & one are admitted by Oct. 14 1632, when they peaceably Divide into two Churches.
“ Thus out of small Beginnings * Great Things have been produced by His HAND that made all things, and gives Being to all things that are: and as one small Candle may light a Thousand; so the Light Here kindled hath shone to many, yea in some sort to our whole Na. tion: Let the Glorious Name of JEHOVAH have all the Praise."
A service analogous to Prince's for Massachusetts, was performed for Virginia by William Stith, third
president of Virginia's college of William Stith, 1689–1755. and Mary, which was the centre of the intellectual life of the colony. Stith, like Prince, was a native of the region whose history was undertaken ; and, like him, he availed himself of the materials left by preceding writers. The parallel is continued when we say that Stith was a minister, that he lived at the colonial capital, and that both his studies and his personal acquaintance with celebrities were wide. Prince's book appeared in Boston in 1736; Stith's in Virginia in 1747 ; and both were but parts of projected works, Prince's coming down to 1630, Stith's to 1624. Neither book was a model of literary style, but Prince's could boast the more orderly arrangement. Stith, however, usually brought his sentences to a close, which Prince sometimes forgot to do.
Stith had not reached the modern critical position as an historian ; indeed, he did not sift alleged facts with sufficient industry. John Smith was at that time in full credit as a veracious chronicler, and
* This quotation is from Bradford.
Stith's “ History of the First Discovery and Settlement of Virginia " duly and respectfully follows his statements. But the manuscript and printed authorities in Williamsburg were by no means confined to Smith's works; and the learned author of this new book relied largely upon other sources. The History is decidedly the most important work of its class produced in the Southern colonies before the Revolution. Virginia had a record worth writing, and the time had come to reduce it to a permanent form. The original sight-seers had passed away; now followed the sober chroniclers of days already become historic. Virginia from 1607 to 1624 was in its first —but by no means its last-period of romantic story; and Stith did his best to describe faithfully the doings of men already half passed into a legendary stage. His success was not commanding, but it was respectable.*
* His book (published in 1747) appeared five years before the author became president of William and Mary. A verbatim reprint appeared in New York in 1866.
“The reverend William Stith, a native of Virginia, and president of its college, has also written the history of the same [early] period, in a large octavo volume of small print. He was a man of classical learning, and very exact, but of no taste in style. He is inelegant, therefore, and his details often too minute to be tolerable, even to a native of the country whose history he writes.”—Thomas Jefferson, “ Notes on the State of Virginia," ed. 1801, 346-7.
THE THEOLOGIANS OF THE SEVENTEENTH AND EIGH
WEIGHTY works with long titles—these we find by the dozen in the collections of American books and pamphlets of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. By them the bibliographer can minutely trace the progress of printing in the New World, and the theologian can define the character and follow the course of religious opinion and practice in a land where religion was the all-important thing. But have they any literary value ? What has literature to do with such treatises as these ? :
“ The Covenant of Grace Opened: Wherein These Particulars are Handled; viz.: (1) What the Covenant of Grace is ; (2) What the Seales of the Covenant are ; (3) Who are the Parties and Subjects fit to receive these Seales. From all which Particulars Infants Babtisme is proved and vindicated.”
“ The Application of Redemption by the Effectual Work of the Word and Spirit of Christ, for the Bringing Home of Lost Sinners to God."
“A Survey of the summe of Church-Discipline : Wherein, The Way of the Churches of New England is warranted out of the Word, and all Exceptions of weight, which are made against it, answered.”
The author of these books, and others like them, was Thomas Hooker, founder of Hartford, a church and town leader, a denominational authority, and
Hooker, a great and untiring preacher, in the opinion 1586–1647 of his hearers. Two hours and a quarter he preached, on one occasion, and the thunders of his spoken words were caught and held in many booklets and pamphlets once read in New England and even in London, but undisturbed now, save by the antiquary or the auctioneer. A good, magisterial, narrow, useful man-how often must this record be made of one or another of the early Puritans ! But his printed sermons, with all their intense theology, are not able to reproduce for us the achievements of the speaker : in nothing save doctrinal force do they surpass the utterances of a thousand pulpits to-day ; their kinship in literature lies only in the fact that they were written, and that they had an ideal theme. This must be the final verdict with reference to thousands of printed pages produced by godly and justly honored American ministers before the Revolution. Their quaint characteristics and their doctrinal systems do not make them literature, for the most part. But in them the American mind was steadily working. The force of that mind was first felt in theology, second, in politics, last, in literature proper.
It is not easy, in these days of the independence of the laity, to estimate rightly the power of the ministers in early New England. Few Roman Catholic priests exercise a more potent control over their congregations than did these ministers and
servants of the First Churches of Boston, Salem. Plymouth, over their independent and democratic flocks. Theoretically, the minister was but one among the congregation, or rather the body of church-members ; practically, however, he was a force in public affairs and in social order. He advised and warned on spiritual themes, and he spoke as one having authority in political questions.“ That deservedly famous man of God, Mr. John Cotton,” as John Cotton, John Norton called him, was the minister of 1585–1652. the First Church of Boston, and therefore held an official position which made him a sort of metropolitan, or presiding bishop, of the strictly Puritan diocese. That which form could not do, among these scorners of form, was brought about by sheer intellectual ability and the force of circumstances. Weaklings and dunces have occupied high positions in hierarchical organizations ; strong men have become leaders in democracies, religious as well as political. Cotton had been a famous preacher in Cambridge, England; he lost none of his resonance and robustness of manner and scholarship when he turned Puritan and came to New England. He had been an Anglican priest in Boston, England ; Laud hounded him out of the country; he fled to the new Boston, which was named in his honor; and there he found full scope for his powers.
. But of Cotton as a writer there is not much to say. Of his catechism called “Spiritual Milk for American Babes” (forming a part of that godly classic, the “ New England Primer"), we have already spoken; these nine little pages are now his only remembered