Page:Anne Bradstreet and her time.djvu/35

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ANNE BRADSTREET.

Boston in Lincolnshire, and there an acquaintance was formed which had permanent influence on the minds of all.

Here dwelt the Rev. John Cotton, vicar of the parish and already obnoxious to the Bishops.

No man among the Nonconformists had had more brilliant reputation before the necessity of differing came upon him, and his personal influence was something phenomenal. To the girl whose sensitive, eager mind reached out to every thing high and noble he must have seemed of even rarer stuff than to-day we know him to have been.

At thirteen he had entered Emmanuel College at Cambridge, and adding distinction to distinction had come at last to be dean of the college to which he belonged. His knowledge of Greek was minute and thorough, and he conversed with ease in either Latin or Hebrew. As a pulpit orator he was famous, and crowds thronged the ancient church of St. Mary in Cambridge whenever he preached. Here he gave them "the sort of sermons then in fashion — learned, ornate, pompous, bristling with epigrams, stuffed with conceits, all set off dramatically by posture, gesture and voice."

The year in which Anne Dudley was born, had completed the change which had been slowly working in him and which Tyler describes in his vivid pages on the theological writers of New England:

"His religious character had been deepening into Puritanism. He had come to view his own preaching as frivolous, Sadducean, pagan." He decided to preach one sermon which would show what changes had come, and the announcement of his intention