Brooks - BX9338 .B7 1813 v3

HOOKER. 65 Mr. Hooker having tasted that the Lord was gracious, resolved to employhis time andhis talents in the workof the ministry, when he commenced preaching in London and its vicinity. He soon became celebrated for his ministerial endowments, particularly in comforting persons under spiritual distress. In the year 1626, having been disappointed of a desired settlement at Colchester, he was chosen lecturer at Chelmsford, one Mr. Mitchel being the incumbent. His lectures were soon numerously attended, and a remarkable unction and blessing attended his preaching. A pleasing reformation also followed, not only in the town, but likewise in the adjacent country. By a multitude of public houses in the town, andby keeping the shops open on the Lord's day, the people of Chelmsford had become notorious for intem- perance and the profanation of the sabbath. But by the blessing of God, so plentifully poured out upon Mr. Hooker's ministry, these vices were banished from the place, and the sabbath was visibly sanctified to the Lord. His zealous and useful labours, however, were not continued very long. For in about four years his 'difficulties were so great, on account of his nonconformity, that he gave up his pulpit and com- menced teaching school. He could not defile his conscience by the observance of the superstitious ceremonies: he had rather give up his pulpit and his public ministry, which he dearly loved, than sacrifice the " testimony of a good conscience." Though the best and most delightful employment of this worthy servant of Christ was gone, his influence was not lost. Thiswas wholly employed to promote the Redeemer's cause. He engaged the various ministers in the vicinity of Chelmsford, to establish a monthly meeting for fasting, prayer, and religious conference. By his influence, several pious young ministers were settled in the neighbourhood, and others became more established in the fundamental doctrines of the gospel. Indeed, so great was his popularity, and so high his reputation, when silenced, that no less than forty.. seven conformist ministers of his acquaintance, presented a petition to the Bishop of London ; in which they testified, " That they knew and esteemed Mr. Hooker to be orthodox in his doctrine, honest in his life and conversation, peaceable in his disposition, and, in no Wise turbulent or factious," But these powerful mediators could not prevail. Mr. Hooker being stigmatized as a puritan, must be buried in silence. He was bound, about the year 1630, in a bond of fifty pounds, to appear before the high commission ; but this VOL. III. P