Mather, Samuel (DNB00)

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MATHER, SAMUEL (1626–1671), congregationalist divine, eldest son of Richard Mather [q. v.], was born at Much Woolton, Lancashire, on 13 May 1626. His father took him in 1635 to New England, where he was educated at Harvard College, graduated M.A. in 1643, and became fellow. He was the first fellow of Harvard who had graduated there. Having already become a preacher, he returned to England, and in 1650 was made one of the chaplains of Magdalen College, Oxford, under the presidency of Thomas Goodwin [q. v.], the independent. He is said to have been incorporated M.A.; of this there is no record in the register. He frequently preached at St. Mary's. In 1653 he resigned his chaplaincy, having been appointed to attend the parliamentary commissioners to Scotland. He was at Leith, according to Calamy, for two years, exercising his ministry, but without regular charge. Returning to England, he is said to have been incorporated M.A. at Cambridge; he went over to Ireland soon after with Henry Cromwell. He was incorporated M.A. of Trinity College, Dublin, in 1654, and appointed one of the senior fellows. On 5 Dec. 1656 he was ordained in St. Nicholas's Church, Dublin, by Samuel Winter [q. v.], provost of Trinity, Timothy Taylor [q. v.] of Carrickfergus, and Thomas Jenner of Drogheda [see under JENNER, THOMAS], all congregationalists. He was morning preacher at St. Nicholas's, and preached once in six weeks as chaplain to the lord-deputy. Wood commends him for his civility to episcopal divines; he declined to act on commissions for displacing them in Munster and Dublin. At the Restoration he was suspended (October 1660) for sermons against the revival of the ceremonies. Crossing to England he obtained the perpetual curacy of Burtonwood, Lancashire, a poor chapelry with a wooden chapel, in the parish of Warrington. From this he was ejected by the Uniformity Act of 1662. He went back to Dublin and gathered a congregation, which met at his house till a meeting-house was erected in New Row. He was arrested on 18 Sept., and imprisoned on 20 Sept. 1664 for preaching at a private conventicle, but soon released. A pressing call came to him from Boston, Massachusetts, which he declined. He died at Dublin on 29 Oct. 1671, and was buried in St. Nicholas's Church. He married a sister of Sir John Stephens.

He published: 1. ‘A Wholesome Caveat for a Time of Liberty,’ &c., 1652, 4to. 2. ‘A Defence of the Protestant Religion,’ &c., Dublin, 1671, 4to. Posthumous were: 3. ‘An Irenicum: or an Essay for Union among Reformers,’ &c., 1680, 4to. 4. ‘The Figures or Types of the Old Testament,’ &c., Dublin, 1683, 4to (both published by his brother Nathaniel). He wrote also a ‘Discourse’ against Valentine Greatrakes [q. v.], the ‘miraculous conformist,’ but it was ‘not allow'd to be printed’ (Calamy).

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iii. 941 sq.; Cotton Mather's Magnalia Christi Americana, 1702, iv. 136, 143; Calamy's Account, 1713, pp. 415 sq.; Armstrong's Appendix to Martineau's Ordination Service, 1829, pp. 79 sq.; Bloxam's Registers of Magd. Coll. Oxford, 1857, ii. 134 sq.; Catalogue of Dublin Graduates, 1869.]

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