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Containing fome Minutes of the Rev.
Author's Life and Character.
INCE Books are usually valu'd as well for the Author, as the Contents, had the late ve
nerable Mr. Walter's Name and Worth 5 been as universally known in the World, as
me he was justly reverenc'd and lov'd by all acquain ted with his Person and Character, the genuine Remains of so excellent a Divine might have been ventur'd abroad upon che meer Credit of the Title Page. But as Custom makes it decent to introduce a pofthumous Work with a commendatory Preface, so this seems requisite, in regard of Readers who may have heard little or nothing of the Rev. Autbor, to prepare them for a suitable Recepcion and Entertainment of these his Writings; and likewise, in regard of others who knew him well, or have heard much of him, to refresh and excite their Minds, by Way of Remembrance. And as for ourselves, having been long favour'd wich his Acquaintance and Friendship, this has made us Debrors to his Memory : nor could we perfuade ourselves to let these Discourses appear in Print without being accompany'd with a respectful Memotial of the Writer ; though we cou'd have wish'd, this had been lodg'd in some other and better Hands.
The Materials of the Account here given of him, are collected, partly from what has been publish'd already, partly from Roxbury-Church-Records, partly from our own personal Knowledge and Conversation with Him, and partly from Informations receiv'd of his People wi ll
He He was the Son of worthy Parents, who originally came from Lancashire in England. He had his Birth in Ireland, sometime in December 1663. And there was initiated in Grammar- Learning, at one of their belt Schools, where he distinguish'd himself by his Proficiency : particularly in the Latin Tongue, which by that Time he was 13 Years old, he was such a Master of, as to be capable of readily conversing in it, which he often had Opportunity to do, wich Popish Scholars in his Neighbourhood, who had learnt to speak it rather more fluently, by Rote ; and in his Dispuces with them, he found it a fingular Advantage to him, that he had luch frequent Occasion to tax them of false Grammar, and cou'd cite them to the Rule ; which serv'd to put them to the Blush, or at leaft bring them to a Pause, and to give him Leafure to recollect his Thoughts."
Sometime in (or perhaps a little before) che Year 1680, when the Prevalence of Popery greatly chreatned Ireland, his, Father Mr. Thomas Walter removed chence, and came over to New England; bringing with him this his hopeful Son. Here he was first put to learn a Trade : but it was, foon found, his Genius lay quite another Way, and in. clined him wholly to Letters. His Book was his Delight. Accordingly, with a view to perfect his School-Educa. sion, and prepare him for the College, he was coipmicted to the Care of the famous Mr. CHEEVER, then Master of the Publick Grammar School in Boston ; who, upon i a thort Examination and Experiment, return'd him to his * Facher, with a great Encomium, pronouncing him already. well flock'd with Claffick Learning, and abundantly fur. niih'd to enter upon Academical Studies. : In the 17th Year of his Age, he was admitted into Hurvard-Gallege, A. D. 1680, when the very learned Mr. Q:AKES was President, and Mr. Daniel Gookin and Mr. Samuel Andrews, Fellows : chough the former of these foon removing, was succeeded by Mr. John COTTON, Allerwards Minister of Hamplon ; who always mention Mr. Walter's Name wich, peculiar Affection and Respect,
and wou'd frequently take occasion to speak of his fingular Progress in Learning while a Student at Cambridge, with much Applause.
Anno 1684, he commenc'd Batcbelor, of. Aris; and Master in 1687. In the Interim, Mr. NELSON, a noted Merchant in Boston, who had a grear Incerest and Trade with the French at Port-Royal (now Annapolis ) in Nova. Scotia, made him the Offer of a Voyage with him chither, in order to learn their Language, which Invitacion he gratefully accepted. And the more speedily to effect his Design, presently on his Arrival he retired from che Fort, that he might be out of all English Conversacion, and fojourn'd for several months in a private Gentleman's Family at a Distance, where he could hear nothing fpok. en but in the Language he was aiming to acquire. It was a sober, and (in the Romila way ) a religious Family: the Heads of which he was wont to speak of with great Gratitude for their handsom Treatment of him, and to express his charitable Hopes concerning them, as really pious, upon the Observations he had made of them. After passing a few Months there, he return'd very much 4 Master of the Language ; in which he afterwards morc fully perfected himself, by reading of Frencb Authors, and by frequently conferring with Tome Protestant Refygees of that Nation ; a small Assembly of whom subfifted for many Years (and till very lately) at Boston, to which in the Absence of their Pastor, he has sometimes preached, in their own Tongue, to their Edification ; though, at the same time, he declin'd praying with them in it, perhaps from a modeft Sufpicion of his own Sufficiency for doing this either eastempore, or memoriter, and noc chufing to read a written Form..But he was certainly able to discourfe very promptly in the French Language, and good Judges. have faid, with great Propriety. His Knowledge of that Tongue he accounted a vast Privilege, which he frequently mentioned with Thankfulness to God; particularly as it gave him the Opportunity of consulting many valuable instructive Books, chat otherwise
he velling thither on Foot every Morning, though above a Mile from his Father's House ; and for whom he ever maintained a very high Efteem. · Mr. Walter early began to acquaint himself with Church History ; in which he grew to be very well versed : para ticularly in thofe Branches of it referring to the first Ages of Cbristianity, to the Romißb A postacy, and the Protestant Reformation.--He was well-ftudy'd too in the Popill Controversies, in the Lutheran, and in the Arminian Cons troversies ; also in the Disciplinary Disputes among Proteftants :-impartially reading the Congroversial Writings on all Sides, and weighing their severat Arguments with his best Skill. Particularly he took this Mechod to secrle his Judgment in the Episcopal and Presbyterian Controversies (or those between the Churcb and Diflenters in England, and between Presbyterians and Congregationals) consulting the most eminent Writers on each side of the Question: and after much Deliberation, he fell in with the Way of the Churches in New England; as thinking their Conftitution and Practice in general, with respect to Worship, Discipline and Order; most conformable to Gori pel-Institution and primitive Practice, as well as to the Principles of the Reformation, respecting the Rights of Conscience and private Judgment, the Perfeaion and Obligation of the Scripture-Rule, and the Supremacy of Christ as sole Head of the Church. Accordingly, he was firmly attached to the Congregational way : but fill, preserv'd a Candour fór pious People of a different Perfuafion ; and indeed was sometimes ready to think, that.cer tain Modalities in Religion, wherein Proteftanes vary from one another, had an immoderate Stress laid upon them.
chose famouers in the French filed, in great parecordingly
he must have been unacquainted with : -and accordingly his well-furbish's Library confifted, in greac Part, of Pro testant Auchors in the French Language ; among whom those famous-Divines, Messicurs CLAUDE and PLACETT, were singularly valu'd by him. . .
Recurned from his Travels, he purfued his Studies as College, for several Years with clofc Application ; discover. ing a laudable Thirft after Increase in all useful Literature, and giving Proofs of bis Industry and Ingenuity, by his exemplary. Proficience in the liberal Arts and Sciences.He had a great Command of the Latin Tongue, became a Critick in the Greek, and had a good Insight into the Hebret : attain'd to a considerable Acquaintance with Pbilosopbical Inquiries; and in Thort, possess'd a happy Fund both of human and divine Learning.-He was indeed much of a Humanist ; though Divinity rather was his Favourite Study.--He bore so superior a Figure among the Scholars of his Day, that in their Debates upon any Point, whether Philological, or Theological, still the was appeal'd to, and bis Opinion was wone to be generally decisive.-l.reflected a Luftre on his Character, that the memorable Mr. ELIJAH CORLET, Master of the Grammar School in Cambridge, used to express a distinguishing Value for him, by employing him to officiate at 'Times in the Care of his School, when obliged to be absent himself; always etteeming his Place well supply'd by Mr. Walter, and fully confiding in his Skill, Prudence, and Diligence. And on Mr. Corlei's Death
Anne, 1687, £t. 77.). Mr. Walter, to express his Grati. * Cude and Honour to che Memory of fo deferving a Person, publish'd an Elegy, done in blank English Verle ; beginning with a modeft Apology for its appearing in thac Form, and in chat Language. -Mr. STONE, che lace worthy and aged Paftor of Harwich, having made his chief Progress in School-Learning under that very excellent Divine, the Rev. Mr. NEHEMIAH HOBART of Newlown, had his last Preparation for the College by Mr. Walters; whom he daily ascended ac his Chamber in Gambridge, tra
With him the holy Scriptures were the Test of Oribo. doxy, and Measure of Truth. He took the Word of Christ for the Guide of his Thoughts in Religion, and from thence form'd his Sentiments upon the several Dottrines, which have been the Subjects of so many warm Controversies in the Church from Age to Age. ---He had a Reverence for the Memory of many of the primitive Feiber's,