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2 Peter i. 13.-" YEA, I THINK IT MEET, AS LONG AS I AM IN
PRINTED BY FLAGG AND GOULD.
The Author had no reason to expect, when he wrote and delivered this Sermon, that it would be requested for the press. However, as it has been requested, he consents it should be made public with this impression full upon his mind, that no person will think he has aimed at any thing more than truth, impartiality, perspicuity and precision. As it may occasion unpleasant feelings in the minds of some of his people, he requests them to consider, that it is as suitable to discover engagedness for the cause of truth, as to go to law for the sake of justice, or take physic for the sake of health.
The Author, therefore, dedicates this discourse to the people of his charge, with his best wishes for their peace, prosperity and eternal happiness.
ECCLES. i. 4.
ONE GENERATION PASSETH AWAY, AND ANOTHER GENERATION COMETH; BUT THE EARTH ABIDETH FOREVER.
We live in a changing world; this truth is evident from
our text, from our observation, and from our experience.
We have no need of going to the Bible to discover, that one generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: we know it by our own observation. Where are the people who were old, twenty five years ago? They are dead, with only one exception. I remember that Mr. Joseph Cody was an old man, when I first saw him. All the rest are dead!
Where are those who were twenty five years ago, in the midst of life, active, useful and promising? All who are living, have now become old, and are drawing toward the grave; for the grey hairs are growing thick upon their heads.
Where are those who were young twenty five years ago? They have come forward to the midst of life, and fill the most active, honorable and useful stations. Some of them are Deacons of the Church. Magistrates of the Commonwealth. Selectmen of the Town. Military Officers of various grades. And others in more private stations, acting in different town offices; members of civil society; heads of families, &c.
And what shall 1 say more?
Shall I say that more than half our inhabitants have been born within that time? It now lacks less than twenty five days, of twenty five years, since my first coming to this place, to preach to this
people. At that time I had only arrived to a state of manhood; I had youth, activity, and a considerable share of sprightliness on my side; I am now old. I have lived to see more than half a century; the grey hairs are growing upon my head; the grinders cease because they are few ; the keepers of the house tremble; my infirmities indicate, that I have but a few more years, or months, or days to live!
Is it not evident, then, that we live in a changing world? Is it not evident that one generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth forever?
If we appeal to our own experience we shall find, that we live in a changing world. The seasons of the year are changing. Our circumstances are changing. Our relations are changing. The inhabitants of the world are changing. One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh but the earth abideth forever.
There was formerly a man living in the kingdom of Great Britain, whose name was Edward Hopkins. This man was not one of those ignorant, selfish, narrow-contracted souls, who could think of nothing but himself, his family, and friends. He could think of America; an infant country, though it was three thousand miles distant. He could think of the benefits of education. His enlarged mind took into view the difficulties of educating youth, in an infant country, to fill important stations in Church and State.
In the year 1636, the General Court granted four hundred pounds to erect a College within the Commonwealth. In the next year they voted' that the College should be erected in that part of Newtown, which is now called Cambridge. The year following they decreed that the College should be called Harvard College, in honor of the Rev. John Harvard, who had bequeathed his library, and upward of seven hundred pounds for the benefit of the College.
In the year 1642, the General Court established a board of Overseers. In 1650, the Charter of the Corporation was granted. And in the year 1657, Edward Hopkins Esq. made his will.
The Father of Spirits had not only endowed 'Squire Hopkins with an enlarged mind, but he had given him a great estate; and what was of vastly more importance, he had given him a benevolent heart.
'Squire Hopkins was a man of great wealth; his estate was estimated at twenty thousand pounds sterling; equal in value to $88888,88. Eight hundred pounds sterling of this property was given to be laid out in lands, three fourths for the benefit of the College, and one fourth for the benefit of the Grammar School in Cambridge. That is to say, $2666,66 were given to the College, and $888, 88 to the Grammar School in Cambridge. This was given "for the breeding up of youth in the way of learning for the public service of the country in future times."
"For the upholding and propagating of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ." These are expressions taken from the will of Edward Hopkins Esq. In the year 1710, it was ordered that this money should be laid out in lands. This donation of 'Squire Hopkins to Harvard College was the money which first purchased Hopkinton, which in its original state contained what is now called Hopkinton, about three thousand acres of Upton, and five hundred acres of Holliston. The lands began to be settled between 1710, and 1712. On the 13th day of December, (Old Style,) which according to the present mode of reckoning brings it to the 24th day of December, 1715, this town was incorporated. This day, therefore, is the beginning of a new Century, to the inhabitants of this place.
As the town was purchased by the donation of 'Squire Hopkins to Harvard College, the lands were to be leased out to tenants, at one penny sterling per acre, to be paid