Page:Anne Bradstreet and her time.djvu/36

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20
ANNE BRADSTREET.

brought together the usual throng of under-graduates, fellows and professors who looked for the usual entertainment. Never was a crowd more deceived. "In preparing once more to preach to this congregation of worldly and witty folk, he had resolved to give them a sermon intended to exhibit Jesus Christ rather than John Cotton. This he did. His hearers were astonished, disgusted. Not a murmur of applause greeted the several stages of his discourse as before. They pulled their shovel caps down over their faces, folded their arms, and sat it out sullenly, amazed that the promising John Cotton had turned lunatic or Puritan."

Nearly twenty years passed before his energies were transferred to New England, but the ending of his university career by no means hampered his work elsewhere. As vicar of St. Botolphs at Boston his influence deepened with every year, and he grew steadily in knowledge about the Bible, and in the science of God and man as seen through the dim goggles of John Calvin."

His power as a preacher was something tremendous, but he remained undisturbed until the reign of James had ended and the "fatal eye of Bishop Laud" fell upon him. "It was in 1633 that Laud became primate of England; which meant, among other things, that nowhere within the rim of that imperial island was there to be peace or safety any longer for John Cotton. Some of his friends in high station tried to use persuasive words with the archbishop on his behalf, but the archbishop brushed aside their words with an insupportable scorn. The Earl of Dorset sent a message to Cotton, that if he had only been guilty of drunkenness or adultery, or any such