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‘ [241] June, 1762. At the age of seventeen, I began to prepare for College under the tuition of Rev. Mr. Samuel Woodward, who was an able instructor and linguist, the minister of Weston, my native town. I was offered by him for examination, and was admitted a student of Harvard University in July, 1781, and graduated in 1785.’

After he had taken his degree, he taught a grammar school in Lexington, and boarded in the family of the Rev. Jonas Clark. He returned to the University in Cambridge, and studied divinity under Rev. Prof. Wigglesworth, and was licensed to preach 8 Aug. 1786, by the ‘Association of Ministers in and about Cambridge.’ He preached his first sermon in his native town, and after supplying several vacant parishes, was invited in March, 1787, to preach to the Second Congregational Church and Society in Cambridge, then called Menotomy, now West Cambridge. On 16 July, 1787, he received a call to settle as their minister. ‘I hesitated,’ he says, ‘for some time, whether to decline or accept their invitation. The parish was very small and poor, and considerably involved in debt, having been destitute of a settled minister about six years, and were in a broken state, very much reduced in numbers and property.1 It was generally thought doubtful whether they would be able to support a minister, or pay the small salary they offered me. . . . But it was feared by many, and so stated to me, that if I gave a negative answer, the church and society would not make any further effort to obtain a minister, and would be broken up and dissolved.’

He accepted their invitation, and was ordained 23 Apr. 1788. The proceedings in reference to his settlement are entered elsewhere in this work. Having cast his lot with the ‘Second Church and Congregation in Cambridge,’ he immediately endeavored to allay the difficulties that obstructed their prosperity. He began by relinquishing a part of his salary. To supply the deficiency of his support, he boarded and instructed children and youth, and some he prepared for admission to college; he instructed many daughters of his parishioners, and other young ladies of the neighboring towns.

Though this employment occupied much of his time, yet he was enabled to perform the usual duties of a minister, and to ‘study and write and preach’ upwards of twelve hundred sermons during his ministry. He visited and taught his flock from house to house, gave religious instruction to youth, and continued the practice adopted by his predecessor, the Rev. Samuel Cooke, of meeting the children annually, and oftener, for the purpose of examining and assisting them in their knowledge of the Assembly's Catechism, which was universally taught then by their parents and heads of families. Sabbath schools were designed at first to aid this practice. He assisted in defraying the current expenses of the parish; he contributed fifty dollars

1 Col. Thomas Russell remembered that after the Revolution, when it took a generation to recuperate from the general poverty of the time, so scarce were pins, hooks and eyes, that long thorns were used in place of them.—J. B. Russell.

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