Sluice Box Adventures

Believing Bible Study in the 21st century

The Generation of Richard Mather

In 1636, there came a man with his family to the shores of New England.  This man feared the God of The Bible. He is my forefather who fled from the religious persecution that came with the attempt to institute popery (or Roman Catholicism) over the land of England.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."

Rev. Richard Mather

Old Paths Baptist Mission © 2011 Richard St.James

The Generation of Richard Mather


 By Richard E. Mather, August 5, 2011

Richard MatherIn 1636, there came a man with his family to the shores of New England.  This man feared the God of The Bible. He is my forefather who fled from the religious persecution that came with the attempt to institute popery (or Roman Catholicism) over the land of England.

Now, God attaches much to the importance of the record of the generation of Jesus Christ … as shown in the Bible [The King James Bible]

[Matthew 1:1]:

“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

It follows [in similitude] that men ought to know their “generation” for this reason. Men learning from their “generation” [their heritage] will help men to learn the lessons of their forefathers.

Thus we have here an attempt to begin a short work to document the generation of Richard Mather.

And who is Richard Mather?   For this I will resort to a short narrative found in a book called:

The Mather Family
By Enoch Pond
Professor In The Theological Seminary, Bangor [Maine]. Second Edition, Boston 1844


The name of Mather is one of frequent occurrence, and of distinguished honor, in the early history of New England. The first of this name, who came into the country, was the Rev. Richard Mather, long the faithful and successful minister of Dorchester, Mass. He was born of poor but respectable parents, in the small town of Lowton, Lancashire, England, A. D. 1596.

He was early sent to a public school at Winwick, where he was boarded in the winter; but in the summer (so great was his desire for learning), he walked daily four miles to school, from his father's house. He suffered much, while at school, from the unreasonable strictness and severity of the teacher so much, that he often entreated his father to take him away, and permit him to relinquish his studies altogether. But to this his father would not consent, but encouraged him to persevere; and for his firmness in this particular, the world is under lasting obligations to the good man; and Mr. Mather himself did not cease to remember him with gratitude and honor, as long as he lived.

It is evidence of the proficiency of young Mather, and also of the confidence which his rigid master reposed in him, that he recommended him as a teacher of a public school, at Toxteth Park, near Liverpool, when he was only fifteen years of age. He continued in this school several years, discharging the duties of preceptor with distinguished success, and perfecting himself, meanwhile, in those branches of study which he had occasion to teach. It was while he was here, that he became a subject of renewing grace.

The principal means of his awakening was the strict and holy example of a Mr. Aspinwall, the gentleman with whom he boarded. "The exemplary walk of that holy man," says Cotton Mather, "caused many sad fears to arise in his own soul, that he was himself out of the way; which consideration, with his hearing a Mr. Harrison preach about regeneration, and his reading of Mr. Perkins' book, showing how far a reprobate may go in religion were the means whereby the God of heaven brought him into the state of the new creature. The troubles of soul which attended his new birth, were so exceedingly terrible, that he would often retire from his appointed meals into secret places, to lament his miseries; but after some time, the good Spirit of God healed his broken heart, and poured into it the consolations of his great and precious promises."

From this period, Mr. Mather seems to have had his mind fixed upon the holy ministry ; and that he might prepare himself in the best manner for so great a work, he resolved to relinquish his school, and connect himself with the university at Oxford. His residence at Oxford could not have been more than two or three years; for in 1618, when he was only twenty-two years of age, he received an invitation to return to Toxteth, not as a schoolmaster, but as a minister of righteousness.

He was ordained, at the same time with several others, by Dr. Morton, bishop of Chester. When the ordination was over, the bishop took him aside, and addressed him in the following remarkable language: "I have an earnest request unto you, Mr. Mather, and you must not deny me. It is that you would pray for me. I know the prayers of such as fear God will avail much, and I take you to be of this number,"

In 1624, two years after his settlement, Mr. Mather was married to an excellent lady, the daughter of Edmund Holt, Esq., of Bury, who was his assistant in his labors, and the partner in his pilgrimage, for more than thirty years.

During his Ministry at Toxteth, Mr. Mather was abundant in labors, not only among his own people, but in the adjoining towns and villages. He preached once a fortnight at Prescott, and always seized the opportunity, which his attendance upon funerals afforded, for imparting instruction to the living. He frequently preached upon holidays; because, as he says, "there was then an opportunity to cast the net of the gospel among an abundance of fish." Great assemblies were then brought together, which otherwise would have been worse employed.

Having spent about fifteen years in the diligent and faithful performance of duties such as these, complaints were at length urged against him for his non-conformity; and in August, 1633, he was suspended from the ministry. By the intercession of friends his suspension was removed, after a few months; but it was again inflicted the next year, under circumstances which led him to despair of being ever more permitted to exercise his ministry in his native land.

About this time, Mr. Mather entered renewably, and more thoroughly than ever before, upon the study of church polity, assisted by the writings of such men as Cartwright, Parker, Baines, and Ames. The result was that, he became a decided Congregationalist; and was known henceforth as the expounder and earnest defender of Congregational principles.

By the opening of the year 1635, Mr. Mather had made up his mind to join the goodly company of confessors and pilgrims, who were bidding adieu to their native land, and migrating to the distant shores of New England. Our fathers of that day reasoned after this manner: "The natural sun shines as pleasantly on America, as on England; and the sun of righteousness much more clearly. We are here treated in a manner that forfeits all claim upon our direction. Let us remove whither the providence of God calls us, and make that our country which will grant us (what is dearer than property or life) the liberty of worshiping God according to the dictates of our own consciences." During the twelve years of Archbishop Laud's administration, four thousand emigrants become planters in America.

Neale informs us, that he had a list of seventy-seven divines, ordained in the Church of England, who became pastors of churches in America, before the year 1640.

Among these divines was the Rev. Richard Mather. Fleeing in disguise from his persecutors, who were in close pursuit of him, he embarked at Bristol, in May, 1635, and arrived with his family at Boston, in August of the same year. Near the end of his voyage, he encountered a terrible storm at sea, and was on the point of being swallowed up; but the Lord graciously preserved him, to be an ornament and blessing to the infant churches of New England.

Before his arrival, the church, which had been first planted at Dorchester, under the charge of Rev. Mr. Warham, had removed in a body, with its pastor, and settled at Windsor, Connecticut; leaving the remaining settlers at Dorchester in a destitute condition. Mr. Mather was almost immediately called to exercise his ministry among this people, and after due consultation, he concluded to accept their invitation. A new church was gathered, and he was regularly constituted its pastor, in August, 1636. And here he remained to the day of his death, a period of more than thirty-three years. He was earnestly solicited to return to his former charge in England, after the downfall of the hierarchy, and the establishment of the commonwealth; but he rightly judged the Lord had called him to this country, and that this was the place where he was to spend his days.

The preaching of Mr. Mather is represented as being not only sound and instructive, but very direct and plain. He "studiously avoided," says his biographer, "obscure and foreign terms, and the unnecessary citation of Latin sentences; aiming to shoot his arrows, not over the heads, but into the hearts of his hearers.” Yet so scripturally and powerfully did he preach his plain sermons, that Mr. Hooker used to say, "My brother Mather is a mighty man." He had great success of his labors, in both England’s, in converting many souls to God. One of the hearers of Mr. Mather, speaking of events which took place in Dorchester, soon after his settlement, says, "In those days, did God manifest his presence among us, in converting many souls, and in gathering his dear ones into church fellowship, by solemn covenant.

Our hearts were taken off from old England, and set upon heaven. The discourse, not only of the aged, but of the youth also, was, not how should we go to England? But how shall we go to heaven? Have I true grace wrought in my heart? Have I Christ, or no? There were many tears that have been shed in Dorchester meeting-house, at such times, both by those who declared God's work on their souls, and by those who heard him!"

Mr. Mather lived at a period, when much attention was given, both in this country and in England, to the subject of church government. Our fathers had little dissension or discussion about the doctrines of the gospel. These, having settled down on the good old scriptural foundation of Calvinism, had scarcely begun to be disputed. The doctrinal articles of the several reformed churches were remarkably at agreement. But many points of church government were still un-decided. The sense of the inspired writers in regard to them had not been satisfactorily ascertained. To these, therefore, the minds of Christians, at that day, were directed, with a deeply interested attention.

It is evidence of the standing of Mr. Mather among his contemporaries, and of the estimation in which he was held that his services were in continual requisition, in resolving and defending points of this nature. In the year 1639, thirty-two questions, relating to church government, were propounded and printed by the General Court, for the consideration of the ministers. Their answer to these questions was prepared entirely by Mr. Mather. He was a prominent member of the Synod of 1648, and with his own hand drew up the substance of the celebrated Cambridge Platform of discipline, which was then adopted. He is said to have been a member of every synod that was convened in New England, during his residence in the country; and was actually the moderator of an ecclesiastical council, at the time of his death. This circumstance led one of his brethren to write for him the following epitaph: Vixeratin synodis; inoritur moderator in illis; — among synods he lived; the moderator of one he died.

He was one of three ministers, who prepared the New England version of the Psalms; — a work more creditable to his piety and orthodoxy, than to his poetical inspiration. He wrote an answer to Mr. Davenport, of New Haven, on the subject of infant baptism, with which old Mr. Higginson, of Salem, was so well pleased, that he said,

* The question between them did not respect the validity of infant baptism, but the lawfulness of baptizing any, except the children of church-members in full communion.

"Mr. Mather is a pattern to all the answerers in the world." He was the author of several other works, chiefly (though not wholly) on his favorite subject of church order and discipline.

Mr. Mather was not only an active, but an eminently studious man. "So intent was he upon his beloved studies, that only the morning before he died, he importuned the friends that watched with him to help him into his study," where he had not been for several days, and where, he remarked, "my usual works and my books expect me. Is it not a lamentable thing that I should lose so much time?"

Up to the time of his last sickness, the health of Mr. Mather had been uninterruptedly good. He had never had occasion to call a physician; he had never been sick of any acute disease; nor in fifty years together had he been detained so much as one Lord's Day from his public labors. His fatal disease was that terrible one, the stone, with which he was seized while attending an ecclesiastical council in Boston. He was able to be removed to his own house, but never able to leave it afterwards. In the paroxysms of his disease, he never shrieked, and but seldom groaned; but was a pattern of patience to all around him. He fortified his soul under suffering by reading Dr. Goodwin's Discourse upon Patience, which he continued to study to the day of his death. When any one asked, how he did; his usual answer was. Far from well; yet far better than mine iniquities deserve. He died in peace, April 22, 1669, aged seventy-three; having been, for more than fifty years, a preacher of righteousness.

 It is remarkable that the last sermon which he preached to his people, being then in usual health, was from these words: "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course: I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day." 2 Tim. 4:6—8

The sermon before the last was from these words: "All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come." Job 14: 14.

A sermon which he had not preached, but which was prepared previous to his last fatal attack, was from these words: "We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." 2 Cor. 5:1.

It has long been a favorite opinion with some, that holy men have not infrequently a presage of their approaching dissolution, before the event actually overtakes them. How far the facts above stated may go to confirm such an opinion, I leave for my readers to decide.

About twenty years previous to his death, Mr. Mather had been called to part with the wife of his youth, — a most excellent help-meet, "by whose discreet management of his affairs, he had been so released from all secular encumbrances, as to be wholly at liberty for the sacred employments of the ministry." She died with the following words on her lips, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive the things that God hath prepared for them that love him."

He was united in a second marriage with the widow of his distinguished ministerial brother, the Rev. John Cotton, of Boston. This lady survived him. By his first marriage, Mr. Mather had six sons, four of whom graduated at Harvard College, and were able and faithful ministers of Christ.

The Generation of Richard Mather:

1 Rev. Richard Mather, b. 1596, Lowton, Winwick Parish, Lancashire, England , d. 22 Apr 1669, Boston, Suffolk Co., MA
2 Timothy Mather, b. 1628, Liverpool, England , d. 14 Jan 1685, Dorchester, Suffolk Co., MA
3 Rev. Samuel Mather, b. 5 Sep 1650, Dorchester, Suffolk Co., MA , d. 18 Mar 1727, Windsor, Hartford Co., CT
4 Dr. Samuel Mather, b. 1677, Dorchester, Suffolk Co., MA , d. 6 Feb 1746, Windsor, Hartford Co., CT
5 Nathaniel Mather, b. 8 Aug 1716, Windsor, Hartford Co., CT , d. 31 Aug 1770
6 Elijah Mather, b. 1 Dec 1743, Windsor, Hartford Co., CT , d. 11 Dec 1796, Windsor, Hartford Co., CT
7 Elijah Mather, b. Dec 1768, Windsor, Hartford Co., CT , d. 27 Sep 1798, Windsor, Hartford Co., CT
8 Epaphras Mather, b. 16 Aug 1795, Windsor, Hartford Co., CT , d. 1 Feb 1875, Suffield, Hartford Co., CT
9 William Mather, b. 23 Nov 1823, Suffield, Hartford Co., CT , d. 18 Sep 1876, Hartford Co., CT
10 Charles Walter Mather, b. 6 May 1861, Windsor, Hartford Co., CT , d. 25 Sep 1937, Hartford Co., CT
11 Harold W. Mather, b. 25 Apr 1898, Hartford Co., CT , d. Apr 1976, Hartford Co., CT
12 Elmer Richard Mather, b. 24 Jun 1925, CT , d. 17 Jul 1997, Hillsborough Co., FL
13 Richard Elmer Mather, b. 11 Dec 1949, Middletown, CT
Richard Mather's Church

Back to: Learn History

Men Never Learn From History!

It is a heart problem!

 Men refuse to learn the "lessons" afforded by the light of HISTORY:

 the recorded historical events which occurred as fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Now, these are the basic truths with which we all must deal with one way or another!

Two Basic Reasons For Our Failing Our History Lesson!

The Removing Of The Anchoring Landmarks
We have steadily almost imperceptibly at times removed one by one the great principles that were part of the formulation of the United States of America.

We have been busy for generations removing the anchoring landmarks that came as a result of the revivals God blessed this country with in its early years by the preaching of the word of GOD.

We have disobeyed the commandment in Proverbs 22:28- "Remove not the ancient landmark which thy fathers have set."

The Departure from the BIBLE
What was the catalyst or reason for this downward spiral? Are you ready! The eyes of men everywhere had been clouded over with cataracts because of our apostasy or departure from the BIBLE … God’s word (and more exactly including the multiplicity of translations and corruption's to God's written word).
This apostasy began in America in the BIBLE SCHOOLS early in the last century (1901) when Philip Schaff (with other rank liberals who had rot-gut unbelief in God's word within their hearts) colluded with the English RV committee of 1885 (Westcott and Hort) to produce the American Standard Version (ASV), also known as "the Rock of Bible Honesty" by the scholars, or more accurately, by Bible believers, as a prime example of a new age version of a corrupted bible.

Baptist's Heritage

It is to the Baptist's ... that we owe primarily ... our religious freedom, and it is Roger Williams [of Rhode Island] in particular, that is the most important contributor of our religious freedom we enjoy in the United States of America.
The Bloody Tenet of Persecution for Cause of Conscience is the primary document, which provided the underlying principals for religious freedom, which in turn gave rise to the then future documents of The Declaration of Independence, The United States Constitution and The Bill Of Rights.