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desire to be described just as he was, a strong character, fixed in purpose, “by nature" “dead in sin," but quickened by the Holy Ghost, and subdued by the power of Him who rightly claims the prerogative of doing what he will with his own.
He was born in Southampton, Mass., Dec. 2, 1784. His first progenitor in this country was Rev. John Woodbridge, of Andover, Mass., the son of Rev. John Woodbridge, a distinguished nonconformist minister of Stanton, Wiltshire, England. The earliest known ancestor of the Woodbridge family was Rev. John Woodbridge, born in 1493, a follower of Wickliffe, Between him and Rev. John Woodbridge of Stanton there were three generations, and, as tradition reports, in each a Rev. John Woodbridge ; all Wickliflites or Lollards, the product of the same soil of free thought, which, after years of rooting and ripening, yielded the richer harvest of Puritanism. Rev. John Woodbridge, of Andover, Mass., was the sixth Rev. John Woodbridge in the regular line of descent. He was born in 1613, piously trained, and sent to the University of Oxford, where he remained till the oath of conformity was required of him, when he left and pursued his studies in private. Thoroughly imbued with the Puritan spirit, he came to this country in 1634, in company with his uncle, Rev. Thomas Parker, and took up land in Newbury. There he continued prosecuting his studies till the death of his father required his return to England. In 1611 he sailed again for New England, attended by his younger brother, Benjamin. He was ordained over the church in Andover, “then first peeping into the world, Oct. 25, 1615, the second minister ordained in New England. Here he continued discharging the duties of the ministry with great acceptance till 1617, when he was induced, by the solicitations of friends and admirers, to go back to England. He was first appointed chaplain to the commissioners treating with the king at the Isle of Wight, and afterwards preached at Andover in Hampshire, and at
Burford in Wiltshire. Soon after the restoration of Charles II. he was ejected, in company with other distinguished nonconformists, — Owen, Baxter, Bates, Corbet, Charnock, Fairfax, Poole, — "some of the richest minds and the best spirits of England." He came again to New England in 1663, and soon after settled in Newbury as assistant with his aged uncle, Rev. Thomas Parker. Here he continued his ministry for several years, till a difficulty arising in regard to church government, he was induced to resign. " The country chose him a magistrate of the colony, that so he might, in a yet more extensive capacity, be a minister of God unto them for good.” Ile was also employed by the settlers of Andover, then only nineteen in number, to purchase the town from Cushamache, sagamore of Massachusetts, which was effected for six pounds and a coat. After leaving the ministry," he was remarkably blessed in his private state.” But as riches increased he set not his heart upon them. A messenger one day announcing to him that he had lost a large amount of property, he cheerfully replied, “What a mercy that it is my first loss !” Ile is represented as a person
of truly excellent spirit;" "a pious disposition accompanied him from his early childhood," and gave evidence“ of his having been sanctified from infancy.” He spent much time in holy meditation, by which “the foretastes of heaven were continually the feeding of his devout soul." Just before he breathed his last, being offered a glass of wine, he refused, saying, “I am going where I shall have better.” Cotton Mather says of him, he was “a great reader, a great scholar, a great Christian, and a pattern of goodness in all the successive stations he was called to fill.” He had a commendable command of his passions, and evinced the utmost magnanimity in the forgiveness of injuries. He died March 17, 1695, aged 82.
His brother Benjamin was the first graduate of Harvard University ; "the lasting glory as well as the first fruit of that Academy.” After his graduation he returned to Eng
land, and became successor of the well-known Dr. Twiss, at Newbury, where he won a “mighty reputation as a scholar, a preacher, a casuist, and a Christian ;” and where he achieved great success; “there being scarce a family where there was not praying, reading, and singing of psalms. Aster King Charles's return he was appointed
one of his chaplains in ordinary, and preached once before him." Ile was offered a canonry in Windsor provided he would conform, but be refused. He was accordingly ejected. He was one of the commissioners at the Savoy. IIe suffered much and variously for his nonconformity. He was, says Calamy, “ a great man every way;" " was a universally accomplished person, one of clear and strong reason, and of an exact and profound judgment;" a"charming preacher, with a commanding voice and manner.” In temper, "he was staid and cheerful ;” in behavior, “genteel and obliging." Ile wrote a book of much ability on
" Justification ; he was also the author of another book of note, entitled “ Church Members Set in Joint ;” also of two or three pamphlets, which left their impress on the hour.
The wife of Rev. John Woodbridge, of Stanton, England, and mother of Rev. John Woodbridge, of Andover, Mass., was the daughter of Rev. Robert Parker, a learned and celebrated Puritan,” eminent alike as a preacher and writer. He was a man of firm principle and stalwart character ; a Christian warrior, who could both wield his ponderous weapons with effect, and stand erect amidst the flying missiles of the foe. Falling on
troublous times," bis fortunes were various. Ilis marked abilities and wide influence drew the attention of the ecclesiastical powers then swaying the English church. They watched his goings. True, some quiet periods of labor were allowed him ; for years he enjoyed at one time the parsonage of Wilton, Wiltshire. But ecclesiastical jealousy could not long slumber. He often felt the rough pressure of the hand which was over him.
Twice or thrice he was hurled from his benefice, and forbidden to
preach the gospel which he loved. Once he escaped the officers of justice by a singular providence. At the instigation of Archbishop Bancroft, a sheriff with a search-warrant was sent to the house where he was concealed. A guard was stationed at the door. Mr. Parker determined, in a disguised dress, to attempt his escape. Just as he opened the door, the guard espied his intended bride passing on the opposite side of the street. Ile stepped over to speak with her a moment, and when he returned to his post, the caged and guarded eagle had flown. Mr. Parker was at length exiled to Holland, where he died in 1614. In 1598 Bishop Bilson published a work to prove that Christ, after his death, descended into the region of the damned. Mr. Parker wrote a reply, "a learned piece," entitled “Descensus Christus ad infernos." Ile published, in 1607, a treatise on the Cross in Baptism, entitled, “A Scholastical Discourse against symbolizing with Antichrist in Ceremonies, especially the sign of the Cross." Of this Dr. Ames says, “It is a work, in truth, of such strength and beauty that it dazzles the eyes of even envy itself.” He was also the author of a work entitled “ De Politica Ecclesiastica," in which he maintained “ that Christ alone is the Doctor and Teacher in matters of religion.” Brooks says of him," he was an able writer, and a man of great learning.”
Rev. Thomas Parker, son of the former, was admitted to Magdalen College, Oxford, before his father's exile. After that event, he went over to Ireland and studied with "the famous ” Dr. Usher. He subsequently removed to Ilolland, and enjoyed “the tuition of the learned Dr. Ames." Ile returned to England, studied theology, and located himself at Newbury, Berkshire, where he taught school. He was for a time assistant to the celebrated Dr. Twiss. In 1634 he emigrated to New England, and the year ensuing became pastor of the church in Newbury, Mass. “ The holiness and humility of his life gave a lively commentary on the doctrines he preached.” By his incessant application to study
he lost his eyesight, but he was still able to teach Latin, Greek, and Hebrew with success. “He departed to the world of light, April, 1677.” He was esteemed the best scholars and divines of his age.'' Ile was never married.
Rev. John Woodbridge, of Andover, in whose veins mingled two strong currents of Puritan blood, married, in 1611, Mercy, daughter of Ilon. Thomas Dudley, who came to America in 1630 as Deputy Governor of the Massachusetts Company, and was not only one of “ the founders,” but one of the pillars ” of the colony. Ile was born at Northampton, England, 1574. It has been conjectured that he was a lineal descendant of John Dudley, Earl of Warwick and Duke of Northumberland, who was son of Edmund Dudley, an eminent lawyer and minister of Ilenry VII., and greatgrandson of John Sutton, Lord Dudley, who distinguished himself “in the Wars of the Roses." The Duke had several sons — Ambrose, Earl of Warwick, called “the good Earl of Warwick,'' a distinguished ornament of the English court; ” Lord Guilford Dudley, the husband of the unfortunate Lady Jane Gray ; Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, the favorite of Queen Elizabeth. The fact that Thomas was a native of Northampton, in Northamptonshire, a county adjoining the county of Warwickshire, and the tradition that one of the family, by the name of Thomas, settled in Northampton, together with some other slight incidents, may be thought to give a color of probability to the supposition that he was a descendant of the famous Duke. But the lineal connection cannot be traced with certainty. His family, however, if not of noble lineage, are known to have been highly respectable. They were entitled to a coat of arms, which he affixed to his will; and which his son Joseph, when governor of the Massachusetts colony, always affixed to his state instruments. This proves at least that he belonged to “the gentry.” He was for nine years in succession steward of the Earl of Lincoln, and secured the