« PrécédentContinuer »
THAUMATURGUS: vel N°927 900, i. e. Liber Memorabilium ;
(THE WONDER-WORKER; OR, BOOK OF MEMORABLE EVENTS.)
PSALM CVII. 43: W8080 IS WISE, WILL OBSERVE THESE THING8.
THE SIXTH BOOK.
REMARKABLES OF THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE,
AMONG THE PEOPLE OF NEW-ENGLAND.
§ 1. To regard the illustrious displays of that PROVIDENCE wherewith our Lord Christ governs the world, is a work, than which there is none more needful or useful for a Christian: to record them is a work, than which, none more proper for a minister: and perhaps the Great Governour of the world will ordinarily do the most notable things for those who are most ready to take a wise notice of what he does. Unaccountable therefore and inexcusable is the sleepiness, even upon the most of good men throughout the world, which indisposes them to observe and much more to preserve the remarkable dispensations of Divine Providence towards themselves or others. Nevertheless, there have been raised up, now and then, those persons who have rendered themselves worthy of everlasting remembrance, by their wakeful zeal to have the memorable providences of God remembred through all generations. Among those worthy men, a most "embalmed memory” is particularly due unto the Reverend MATTHEW Pool, who, about the year 1658, set a-foot a glorious design among some divines of no little figure throughout England and Ireland, for the faithful registring of remarkable providences. But, alas! it came to nothing that was remarkable. The like holy design was, by the Reverend INCREASE MATHER, proposed among the divines of New-England, in the year 1681, at a general meeting of them; who thereupon desired him to begin, and publish an essay; which he did in a little while; but therewithal declared, “that he did it only as a specimen of a larger volume, in hopes that this work, being so set on foot, posterity would go on with it."
§ 2. But as the national synods in France could not, by their frequent admonitions unto the churches to procure a good register of remarkable providences, effectually rouze their good men out of their stupidity, so the pastors in the churches of New-England have mostly been too much under the power of a like indisposition, to "regard the works of the Lord and the operation of his hands." That this indisposition might, if it were possible, be shaken off, there were proposals again made and sent thro' the country; whereof I will here annex the copy; and yet I must complain of it, that unto this hour there have not half ten considerable histories been trulsmitted unto us in answer unto these proposals.
Made by the President and Fellows of Harvard College, to the Reverend Ministers of the
Gospel in the several Churches of New England. “1. To observe and record the more illustrious discoveries of Divine Providence in the governé ment of the world, is a design so holy, so useful, so justly approved, that the too general neglect, of it in the churches of God is as justly to be lamented.
“ II. For the redress of that neglect, although all Christians have a duty incumbent on them, yet it is in a peculiar manner to be recommended unto the ministers of the gospel, to improve the speria cial advantages which are in their hands, to obtain and preserve the knowledge of such notable occurrents as are sought out by all that have pleasure in the great works of the Lord.
“ III. The things to be esteemed memorable, are especially all unusual accidents, in the heaven, or earth, or water: all wonderful deliverances of the distressed: mercies to the godly; judgments on the wicked; and more glorious fulfilment of either the promises or the threatnings in the Script tures of truth ; with apparitions, possessions, inchantments, and all extraordinary things wherein the existence and agency of the invisible world is more sensibly demonstrated.
“ IV. It is therefore proposed that the ministers throughout this land would manifest their pion regards' unto the works of the Lord and the operation of his hands,' by reviving their cares to take written accounts of such remarkables; but still well attested with credible and sufficient witnesses
“V. It is desired that the accounts thus taken of these remarkables, may be sent in unto the President or the Fellows of the college ; by whom they shall be carefully reserved for such an use to be made of them as may, by some fit assembly of ministers, be judged most conducive to the glory of God and the service of his people.
“VI. Tho' we doubt not that love to the name of God,' will be motive enough unto all good men to contribute what assistance they can unto this undertaking, yet, for further encouragement, some singular marks of respect shall be studied for such good men as will actually assist it by taking pains to communicate any important passages proper to be inserted in this collection.
INCREASE MATHER, President.
Neuem. WALTER, “Cambridge, March 5, 1693-4."
§ 3. Tho' we have been too slack in doing what hath been desired and directed in these proposals, yet our church history is become able to enter tain the world with a collection of remarkable providences that have occurr'd among the inhabitants of New-England. Besides a considerable number of memorables, which lie scatter'd here and there in every part of our church-history, there is a number of them, enough to make an intire book by themselves; whereof having received sufficient attestations, I shall now invite the reader to consider them.
A certain critick so admired those verses of the poet Claudian,
Sæpe mihi dubiam traxit sententia mentem,
• To doubts like these my thcughts are oft betrayed
Is God e'er mindful of the world He made ?
Does Providence control our mortal state:
that he said, whoever would be a poet, must perfectly settle them in his memory. This critick might perhaps be something of a deist. But, reader, if any doubts like these of Claudian's, about the existence and providence of God begin to poison thy soul, there are six or seven chapters of history now before thee that may be thy antidote.
It is obsery'd that the name cuxn (or Fortune) is not once used in all the works of Homer. We will now write a book of rare occurrences, wherein a blind fortune shall not be once acknowledged. Austin in his retractations complains of himself that he had used the word fortune too much; but the use of it shall be confuted, as well as avoided, in the book now before wherein all the rare occurrences will be evident operations of the Almighty God, “whose kingdom ruleth over all.”
CH A P LEB I.
CHRISTUS SUPER AQUA S;*
RELATING WONDERFUL SEA-DELIVERANCES.
Vela damus, vastumque cava trabe currimu
They "that go down to the sea in ships, these do see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep." And what if our collection of remarkable providences do begin with a relation of the wonderful works which have been done for them that “go down to the sea in ships,” by that great Lord “whose is the sea, for he made it?” I will carry my reader upon the huge Atlantick, and, without so much as the danger of being made sea-sick, he shall see “wonders in the deep."
I. A Pious ANCHORITE.- Let Mandelstoe tell of his poor Fleming, who lived an Insulary Anchorite upon a desolate island many months together; I have a story that shall in most things equal it, and in some exceed it.
On August 25, 1676, Mr. Ephraim Howe, with his two sons, did set sail from New Haven for Boston, in a small ketch of about seventeen tun; and returning from Boston for New-Haven, September 10, contrary winds detained him for some time, and then illness and sickness till a month expired. He then renewed his voyage as far as Cape-Cod; but suddenly the weather became so tempestuous, that it forced them off to sea, where the outragious winds and seas did often almost overwhelm them; and here in about eleven days his elder son died, and in a few days more his younger. It is noted in 1 Chron. vii. 22, that when the
+ We set our sails, and plough the mighty deep.
• Christ on the sea.