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 discourse. When he ascended the pulpit on Sundays and lecture days, he carried thither not only the wisdom of his beloved master Calvin but the whole Puritan theology to buttress his theses. Good men were drawn to him irresistibly by his sweetness of temper, and evil men were overawed by his venerable aspect. For all his severe learning he was a lovable man, with white hair framing a face that must have been nobly chiselled, gentle-voiced, courteous, tactful, by nature “a tolerant man,” than whom none “did more placidly bear a dissentient,” or more gladly discover a friend in an antagonist. If his tactful bending before opposition, or his fondness for intellectual subtleties, drew from his grandson the appellation “a most excellent casuist,” we must not therefore conclude that he served the cause of truth less devotedly than the cause of party. For in his mildly persistent way John Cotton was a revolutionist. A noble ideal haunted his thought, as Utopian as any in the long roll of Utopian dreams — the ideal of a Christian theocracy which should supersede the unchristian government which Englishmen had lived under hitherto. A devout scripturist, he accepted the Hebrew Bible as the final word of God, not to be played fast and loose with but to be received as a rule of universal application, perfect to the last word and least injunction. The sufficiency of the Scriptures to social needs was an axiom in his philosophy; “the more any law smells of man the more unprofitable,” he asserted in his proposed draft of laws; and at another time he exclaimed, “Scripturae plenitudinem adoro.” He chose exile and the leaving of his beautiful English church rather than yield to what he regarded as the unscriptural practices of Laud, and now that he was come to a new land where a fresh beginning was to be made, was it not his Christian duty to “endeavour after a theocracy, as near as might be, to that which was the glory of Israel, the ‘peculiar people’ ” ? The old common law must be superseded by the Mosaic dispensation, the priest must be set above the magistrate, the citizen of the commonwealth must become the subject of Jehovah, the sovereignty of the state must yield to the sovereignty of God. It was a frankly aristocratic world in which John Cotton was bred, and if he disliked the plebeian ways of the Plymouth
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