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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 veS
nerable Mr. Walter's Name and Worth been as universally known in the World, as
he was juftly reverenc'd and lov'd by all acquainted with his Person and Character, the genuine Remains of fo excellent a Divine might have been ventur'd abroad
vpon che meer Credit of the Title- Page. But as Custom makes it decent to introduce a posthumous Work with a commendatory Preface, fo this seems requisite, in regard of Readers who may have heard little or nothing of the Rev. Aurbor, 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 loog favour'd with his Acquaintance and Friendship, this has made us Debrors to his Memory : nor could we perfuade ourselves to let these Difcourses appear in Print without being accompany'd with a respectful Memotial of the Writer ; though we cou'd have wilh'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
He was the Son of worthy Parents, who originally çame from Lancashire in England. He had his Birch in Ireland, sometime in December
, 1663. And there was initiated in Grammar-Learning, at one of their best Schools, where he distinguish'd himself by his Profici. ency : 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 converfing in it, which he often had Opportunity to do, with Popisa Scholars in his Neighbourhood, who had learnt to speak it racher more fluently, - by Rote ; and in his Dispuces with them, he found it a Hngular 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 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 greatly chreatned Ireland, his Father Mr. 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 fouad, his Genius lay quite another Way, and inclined him wholly to Letters. His Book was his Delight. Accordingly, with a view to perfect bis School-Education, and prepare him for the College, he was committed to 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 Facher, with a great Encomium, pronouncing him already. well flock'd with Clafhek Learning, and abundantly fur. niih'd to enter upon Academical Studies.
In the 17th Year of his Age, he was admitted into Hurvard College, A. D. 1680, when the very learned Mr. Oakes was President, and Mr. Daniel Gookin and Mr. Samuel Andrews, Fellows : though the former of chefe foon removing, was succeeded by Mr. John COTTON, alverwards Minister of Hamplon ; who always mentiond Mr. Walter's Name with 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 Batchelor, of Aris; and Master in 1687. In the Interim, Ms. Nelson, a noted Merchant in Boston, who had a great Interest and Trade with the French ac Port-Royal (pow. Annapolis ) in NovaScotia, made him the Offer of a Voyage with him chither, in order to learn abeir Language, which Invitation he gracefully 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 fojourn'd for several Months in a private Gentleman's Family at a Distance, where he could hear nothing spok
but in the Language he was aiming to acquire. Is was a sober, and (in the Romih way ) a religious Family: che 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 a Master of the Language ; in which he afterwards morc fully perfected himself, by reading of French Authors, and by frequently conferring with some Protestant Refue in gees of that Nacion ; a small Assembly of whom subäfted 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 fame Time, he declio'd praying with them in it, perhaps from a modeft Sufpicion of his own Sufficiency for doing this çither eaftempore, or memoriter, and noc chufing co read a written Form.- But he was certainly able to discourse 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, that otherwise
he must have been unacquainted with : and accordingly his well-furnish's Library confifted, in great Part, of Pro: testant Auchors in the French Language ; among whom chose famous Divines, Mefficurs CLAUDE and PLACETT, were singularly valu'd by him.
Recurned from his Travels, he pursued his Studies at College, for several Years with clofe 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 Hebrew : 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 fo. fuperior a Figure among the Scholars of his Day, that in their Debates upon any Point, whether Philological, or Theological, still He was appealid to, and bis Opinion was wont to be generally decisive.-lo 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 ablene himself; always efteeming his place well sup-ply'd by Mr. Walter, and fully confiding in his Skill, Prudence, and Diligence. And on Mr. Corlei's Death
(linna, 1687, Æl, 77.). Mr. Walter, to express his Graticude and Honour to the Memory of so deserving a Person, publish'd an Elegy, donc in blank English Verle ; beginning with a modeft Apology for its appearing in that Form, and in that Language.--Mr. STONE, the late wor(thy and aged Paftor of Harwicb, having 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. Waliers ; "whom he daily, ascended achis Chamber in Gambridge, tra
velling 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 Cburch History ; in which he grew to be very well versed : particularly in those Branches of it referring to the first Ages of Cbristianity, to the Romijl Apostacy, 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 Controversial Writings on all Sides, and weighing their severat Arguments with his best Skill. Particularly he took this Method to seule his Judgment in the Episcopal and Presbyterian Controverlies (or those between the Church and Dissenters 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 Grder; most conformable to Goli pel-Institution and primitive Practice, as well as to the Principles of the Reformation, respecting the Rights of Conscience and private Judgment, the Perfeâion and Obligation of the Scripture-Rule, and the Supremacy of Christ as sole Head of the Church. Accordingly, he was firmly attached to the Congregationalıway: but will preserv'd a Candour for pious People of a different Perfualion and indeed was sometimes ready to think, that.certain Modalities in Religion, wherein Proteftants vary from one another, had an immoderate Stress Jaid upon them.
With him the holy Scriptures were the Test of Oriba. 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 primilive Feibers,