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PREFACE,

Containing some Minutes of the Rev. Author's Life #W Character.

IN C E Books are usually valu'd as well for the Author; as the Contents, had the late venerable Mr. Walter's Name and Worth been as univerfally known in the World, as he was justly reverene'd and lov'd by all acquainted with his Person and Character, the genuine Remains of so excellent a Divine might have been ventur'd ahroad upon the meer Credit of the Title Page. But as Custom makes it decent to introduce a posthumous Work with a commendatory Preface, so this seems requisite, in regard of Readers who may have heard little or nothing of the Rev. Author, to prepare them for a suitable Reception 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, hf fVay of Rememhranc-e. And as for ourselves, having been long favour'd with his Acquaintance and Friendship, this has made us Debtors to his Memory: nor could we persuade ourselves to let these Discourses appear in Print without being accompany'd with a respectful Memorial of the Writer; though we cou'd have wish'd, this h:j4 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 Roxhury-Church Records, partly from our own personal Knowledge and Converfation with Himy arid panjy.from Informations receiv'd of his People. ^ 'i

He

Pie was the Son of worthy Parents, who originate

came from Lancashire in England. He had his Birth

in Ireland, sometime in December 1663. And there was initiated in Grammar-Learnings at one of their best Schools, where he distinguished himself by his Proficiency : particularly in the Latin Tongue, which by that Tiroe 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, with Popijh Scholars in his Neighbourhood, who had learnt to ipeak it rather more fluently, by Rote ; and in his Disputes with them, he found it a singular Advantage to him, that he had such 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, pr at least bring them to a Pause, and to give him Leasure to recollect his Thoughts.

Sometime in (or perhaps a little before^ the Year 1680, when the Prevalence of Popery gready threatned lreland,\\\% Father Mn Thomas Walter removed thence, 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 inclined him wholly to Letters. His Book was his Delight. Accordingly, with a View to perfect his School-Educa,

; tion, and prepare him for the College, he was committed

-so the Care of the famous Mr. Cheever, then Master of the Publick Grammar School in Boston; who, upon a short Examination and Experiment, return'd him to his .Father, with a great Encomium* pronouncing him already well stock'd with Claffick Learning, and abundantly fur

. rostv'd. to enter upon Academical Studies.

.-;.,.Jn the1.17th Year of his Age, he was admitted into Hurvard-Callege, A. D. 1680, when the very learned Mr. Oak.es was President, and Mr. Daniel Gookirund Mr. Samuel Andrews, Fellows : though the former of these soon removing, was succeeded by Mr. John Cotton, pfterwards Minister of Hampton •, who always mentioned Mr. Waller's Name w'uh peculiar Affection and Respect,

and and wou'd frequently take occasion to speak of his singular Progress in Learning while a Student ac Cambridge^ with much Applause.

Anno 1684, he cotnmene'd Batchelor, of. Arts; and Master in 1687. In the Interim, Mr. Nelson, a noted, Merchant in Boston, who had a great Interest and Trade, with the French at Port-Royal (now Annapolis) in NovaScotia, made him the Offer of a Voyage with him thither, in order to learn their Language ; which Invitation he gratefully accepted. And the more speedily to effect his Design, presently on-his Arrival he retired from the Fort, that he might be out of all English Conversation, and sojourn'd for several Months in a private Gentleman's Family at a Distance, where he could hear nothing spoken but in the Language he was aiming to acquire. It was a sober, and (in the Romilh 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. a Master of the Language j in which he afterwards more fully perfected himself, by reading of French Authors, and by frequently conferring with some Protestant Refugees of that Nation ; a small Assembly of whom subsisted tor many Years ( and till very lately) at Boston, to which in the Absence of (heir Pastor, he has sometimes preached, in their own Tongue, to their Edification ; though, at the fame Time, he declin'd praying with them in it, perhaps from a modest Suspicion or his own Sufficiency' for doing this either extempore, or memorilery and not chusing to read a written Form.—But he was certainly able to discourse very promptly in the French Language, and good Judges, have said, 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 consuiting many valuable instructive Books, that otherwise

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he must have been unacquainted with: and accordingly his well-furnish'd Uhraty consisted, in great Part, of Protestant Authors in the French Language j among whom those famous Divines, Messieurs Claude and Placett, were singularly yalu'd by him. ""* •

Returned from his Travels, he pursued his Studies at C*ll*ge,iot several Years with close Application ; discovering a laudable Thirst after Increase in all useful Literature, and giving Proofs of his 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 Heirexu: attain'd to a considerable Acquaintance with Philosophical Inquiries; and in short, 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 a~ mong the Scholars of his Day, that in their Dehates upon any Point, whether Philological, or Theological, still fie was appeal'd to, and his Opinion was wont to be generally decisive.—It reflected a Lustre on his Character, that the memorable Mr. Eljjah 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 esteeming his Place well supply'd by Mr. Walter, and fully confiding in his Skill, JPrudence, and Diligence. And on Mr. CorJeth Death .(Anns 1687, Æt. 77.) Mr. Walter, to express his Gratitude and Honour to the Memory of so deserving a Person, published an Elegy, done in blank English Verse; beginning with a modest Apology for its appearing in that Form, and in that Language.—Mr. Stone, the late worthy and aged Pastor of Harwich, haying made his chief Progress in School-Learning under that very excellent Divine, the Rev. Mr. Nehemiah Hobart of Newtown, had his last Preparation for the College by Mr. Walter, ., whom he daily, attended at his Chamber in Qambridge, travelling selling thither on Foot every Morning, though above a Mile from his Father's House ; and for whom he ever maintained a'very high Esteem.

Mr. Walter early began to acquaint himself with ChurchHistory •, in which he grew to be very well versed: particularly in those Branches of it referring to the first Ages of Christianity, to the Romijh Apostacy, and the Protestant Reformation.—He was well study'd too in the Popish Controversies ; in the Lutheran; and in the Arminian Controversies ; also* in the Disciplinary Disputes among Protestants :—impartially reading the Controversial Writings on all Sides, and weighing their severaf Arguments with his best Skill. Particularly he took this Method to fettle his Judgment in the Episcopal and Prejbyterian Controversies (or those between the Church and Dissenter* irv England, and between Presbyterians and Congregationals) consulting the most eminent Writers on each Side of the Question: and after much Deliberation, he fell in wikh. the Way of the Churches in New England -, as thinking their Constitution and Practicein general, with respect to Worship, Discipline and Order^most conformable tO/Gof-. pel-Institution and primitive Practice, as well as to the Principles of-the Reformation, respecting the Rights of, Conscience and private judgment, the Perfection and] Obligation of the Scripture-Rule, and the Supremacy o£ Christ as sole Head of the Church. Accordingly, he was? firmly attached to the Cdtigregat{onal"way: but still pre-, serv'd a Candour for pious People of a different Persuasion ; and indeed was sometimes ready to think, that.certain Modalities in Religion, wherein Protestants vary from, one another, had an immoderate Stress laid upon them.

With him the holy Scriptures werfe-lhe Test: of Orthodoxy, and Measure of Truth. Hetook;rhe Word of Christ for the Guide of his Thoughts7 in Religion, and from thence form'd his Sentiments upon the several Doctrines, which have been the Subjects of so many wslrm Controversies in the Church from Age to Age.—He had a Reverence for the Memory of many ofthe primitive Fathers,

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