Monday, November 14, 2011


I've written here before about my 8x great grandfather the Reverend
James Keith of Bridgewater, Plymouth, Ma. Apparently he was a
friend and colleague of the famous Cotton Mather, who gave this sermon
on the occasion of my ancestor's death. I found it in a free Google
edition of "New-England historical and genealogical register, Volume 
19, page 245:

On The Death or Rev. James Keith, From The Text

*' Alas, The Angel of the Church of BRIDGWATER has this Last Week
heard that Voice from Heaven unto him, Come up hither! And he's flown!
A Desirable Man, if any among us were worthy to be Esteemed so !
Yea, you now know, whom I had in my Eye, while I was describing, A
Man Greatly Beloved: It was HE who Satt, for my Pencil to take the
Features from him! The Desireable and very Venerable JAMES KEITH,
who Preached his First Sermon in the Place where I am now* Standing,
more then Fifty Years ago, and sweetly Entertained - us again a Few
Months ago, is this Last Week Expired: That Silver Trumpet has done
Sounding. And it were a Fault in me, if I should not in this Place take
Notice of a Man who had so much of GOD in Him, and who deserves
so much to be had in Everlasting Remembrance." .... "Discharging
both Publickly and Privately, the Work of his Ministry, even to the Last,
and for Seven Years after he had passed thro' a Jubilee." ....
"He was the First Pastor of Bridgwater;" .... "'Twas then a Sett of Pious
and Praying People: A Town that stood in a Land of Unwalled ' Villages,
when there were Armies of Bloody Indians, destroying round about them,
not very long after their KEITH was come to be, their Decus ae Tutamen;
a Glory and a Defence unto them. It was Remarkable that tho' the Town
was often Assaulted by formidable Troops of Salvages, yet in all the sharp
Assaults it never lost so much as one of its Inhabitants. They wanted not
for Solicitations to desert their Dwellings; But having a KEITH to animate
them, they Resolved, that they would keep their Stations; and Stand still
to see the Salvation of God. Once the Indians began to Fire the Town;
but, they had a KEITH, with his Faith, to Turn to Flight the Armies of the
Aliens. The People with a noble Courage issued forth from their Garrisons,
to Fight the Enemy. But God at the same time Fought for them, with a
Storm of Thunder and Lightning and Rain, whereby a considerable part
of their Houses were preserved. 0 Man Greatly Beloved! Of whom it
might be said Cui Militat Aether!—After that Memorable Time, the Town
went on, Prospering and Flourishing under the Care of their Faithful
Shepherd; until anon they became Two Bands; Their Pastor did
generously Approve and Assist, the Peaceable Swarming of a New
Assembly from him; and on the Day when they First Met in their New
Edifice, he preached unto them, that Savoury Sermon, which was
afterwards Published under the Title of, A Case of Prayer, handled
on a Day of Prayer. A Sermon worthy to be their Perpetual Monitor.
And, which Two Years before his Death, he Concludes with minding them,
This Exhortation is given you, by your Aged Pastor, who hath served
you in the Gospel now full Fifty-Four years, and I hope, by the Grace
of God in some measure of Sincerity, tho' attended with much Weakness,
great Infirmities, and manifold Temptations."

1 comment:

Kristin said...

I was just thinking about Cotton Mather yesterday.