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Cotton

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COTTON, John, American Puritan clergy man: b. Derby, England, 4 Dec. 1585; c1 Bos ton, Mass., 23 Dec. 1652. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and was after ward Fellow of Emmanuel and employed as lecturer and tutor. About 1612 he became vicar of Saint Botolph's Church in Boston, Lincoln shire, where he remained 20 years, noted as a preacher and controversialist, and inclining in his doctrines and practices toward the Puritan worship. He was at length informed against for not kneeling at the sacrament and cited to appear before Archbishop Laud in the high com mission court. Upon this he sought safety in flight, arriving in Boston 4 Sept. 1633. In October he was ordained on a day of fasting, by imposition of hands by the minister and two elders, teacher of the church in Boston and colleague with Mr. Wilson the pastor. In this connection he remained over 19 years, with such influence and standing that he has been called the patriarch of New England. His reputation for learning was very high, and, as was fre quent among the ministers of that time, was sustained by the accumulation of obscure and professional knowledge. He was a critic in Greek, wrote Latin with elegance, and could discourse in Hebrew, and spent 12 hours a day in reading, his favorite author being Calvin. His pulpit eloquence was famous for its sim plicity and plainness, and his discourses were exceedingly effectual in exciting attention to religion. His publications were numerous, con sisting of sermons and controversial works upon most of the subjects discussed in his time. The most important are those published in the course of his controversy with Roger Williams, 'The Bloody Tenent Washed and Made White in the Blood of the Lamb' (1647), etc., and 'The

Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and the Power Thereof,' on the nature of church government. He maintained that the church is constituted of elders and brethren ; that the elders are en trusted with the government to the extent of admissions and excommunications, yet that there is so much liberty left among the brethren that nothing of common concern can be imposed upon them without their consent. Against Wil liams he defended the interference of the civil power in religious matters for the support of the truth, maintaining the duty, for the good of the church and of the people, of putting away those who, after repeated admonitions, persist in re jecting fundamental points of doctrine or wor ship. A tablet, with a Latin inscription by Ed ward Everett, was erected in Saint Botolph's Church in 1857, in honor of Cotton, chiefly by contributions from his descendants in Boston, Mass. He published 50 volumes, among the most important of which are 'A Brief Exposi tion upon Ecclesiastes); 'A Brief Exposition upon Canticles) • 'A Treatise Concerning Pre destination,' and the famous catechism entitled 'Spiritual Milk for Babes.) etc. A part of his controversy with Roger Williams may be found in the Publications of the Narragansett Club (Vols. I and II, Providence 1866-67). Consult Cotton, Mather, (Magnalia) (1702); McClure, 'Life of John Cotton) (1846) ; Tyler, 'History of American (1878) ; Norton, 'Abel Being Dead, Yet Speaketh: or the Life and Death of that Deservedly Famous Man, John Cotton) (London 1658; Boston 1834).