Mather, Nathanael (DNB00)

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MATHER, NATHANAEL (1631–1697), congregationalist divine, second son of Richard Mather [q. v.], was born at Much Woolton, Lancashire, on 20 March 1630–1. In 1635 his father took him to New England, where he graduated M.A. at Harvard College in 1647. He finished his studies in England, probably returning with his brother Samuel [q. v.] in 1650. He was assistant to George Mortimer at Harberton, Devonshire (a sequestered vicarage), and succeeded him there in 1655. In 1656 he was presented by the Protector to the sequestered vicarage of Barnstaple, Devonshire, in which the vicar, Martin Blake, B.D., was reinstated at the Restoration. Mather then went over to Holland, and for some years was pastor of the English Church at Rotterdam. On the death of his brother Samuel, he succeeded him (1671) as minister at New Row, Dublin. In the troubled year 1688 he left Ireland, and became pastor of the independent church in Paved Alley, Lime Street, London, vacant by the death of John Collins (1632?–1687) [q. v.] He joined the ‘happy union’ of 1691, but was a leader in its disruption, owing to the alleged heresies of Daniel Williams, D.D. [q. v.] On the withdrawal of William Bates, D.D. [q. v.] (who sided with Williams), from the Pinners' Hall lectureship, Mather was appointed (1694) in his place. He died on 26 July 1697, and was buried at Bunhill Fields, where a long Latin inscription was placed upon his tombstone; a still longer Latin epitaph is in Isaac Watts's ‘Lyric Poems,’ 1709, pp. 300 sq. He was of tall stature, and a dignified preacher.

He published: 1. ‘The Righteousness of God through Faith,’ &c., Oxford, 1694, 4to (his first lectures at Pinners' Hall). Posthumous were: 2. ‘The Lawfulness of a Pastor's acting in other Churches,’ &c., 1698, 12mo. 3. ‘Twenty-three select Sermons … at Pinners' Hall,’ &c., 1701, 8vo.

[Calamy's Account, 1713, p. 238; Calamy's Continuation, 1727, i. 257 sq.; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, 1714, ii. 196, 216; Wilson's Dissenting Churches of London, 1808, i. 231; Armstrong's Appendix to Martineau's Ordination Service, 1829, p. 80.]

A. G.