Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Hooker, Thomas

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HOOKER, Thomas, clergyman, b. in Markfield, Leicestershire, England, in 1586; d. in Hartford, Conn., 7 July, 1647. He studied theology in Cambridge, where he became a fellow of Emmanuel college. In 1626 he was made lecturer and assistant to a clergyman in Chelmsford, but in 1630 was silenced by Archbishop Laud for non-conformity, though he adhered steadfastly to the doctrine of the Church of England, and objected only to its ceremonies. He continued to reside near Chelmsford for a few months, and taught school in Little Braddon, having John Eliot, afterward the apostle to the Indians, for his assistant; but, as he was still persecuted, he fled in the same year to Holland, where he remained till 1633, preaching in Delft and Rotterdam. He was engaged as assistant to Dr. William Ames, with whom he wrote “Fresh Suit against Human Ceremonies in God's Worship.” In 1633 he emigrated to New England with John Cotton, Samuel Stone, and others in the ship “Griffin.” The danger of being pursued and arrested was such that Cotton and Hooker were obliged to conceal themselves until they were in mid-ocean. They arrived in Boston, 3 Sept., 1633, and settled in Newtown (now Cambridge), Mass. At a fast that was observed by the church on 11 Oct., 1633, Hooker was chosen pastor of the eighth church that was formed in the colony of Massachusetts. In June, 1636, he removed with his entire congregation to the banks of the Connecticut, where they founded the town of Hartford. Hooker's influence was very great, and whenever he preached in Boston he attracted large audiences. He was identified with all the important political and religious movements of the colony, and was one of the moderators of the first New England synod that was held in Cambridge in the case of Mrs. Anne Hutchinson. His death, which was caused by a prevalent epidemic, was considered a public loss. Gov. Winthrop says: “That which made the stroke more sensible and grievous, both to them and to all the country, was the death of that faithful servant of the Lord, Mr. Thomas Hooker, pastor of the church of Hartford; who, for piety, prudence, wisdom, zeal, learning, and what else might make him serviceable in the place and time he lived in, might be compared with men of greatest note; and he shall need no other praise; the fruits of his labors in both Englands shall preserve an honorable and happy remembrance of him forever.” He published many volumes of sermons and polemical works, the principal of which are “The Survey of the Sum of Church Discipline” (1648); “The Application of Redemption by the Effectual Work of the Word and Spirit of Christ for the Bringing Home of Lost Sinners to God” (1657: 2d ed., London, 1659); and “The Poor Doubting Sinner drawn to Christ” (7th ed., Boston, 1743). A selection of his works and a memoir of his life were published by his descendant, Rev. Edward W. Hooker (Boston, 1849). — His son, Samuel, clergyman, b. in 1632: d. 6 Nov., 1697, was graduated at Harvard in 1653, and ordained pastor of the church in Farmington, Conn., in July, 1661. He was a fellow of Harvard, and in 1662 was one of a committee of four to treat with New Haven in reference to a union with Connecticut.