222 Thomas Hollis to Benjamin Colman

    London January 28, 1720/21

    Mr. Benjamin Colman

    Dear Sir

    I have received your kind letter dated Novem. 21, in answer to mine dated Aug. 1 and September 10. I did write to you again September 23 in answer to yours of July 23, which I hope you have received, and wait your answer unto. Your goodnes incorages me to make remarks and inquiries for my information at this distance and will excuse my Mistakes. I have altred in my paper of institutions with my Will the stile and name of your Governors and College according to your present direction, and folded up your letters together. I see letters in towne dated 12 December and wonder I have not been favored with one from Mr. Tyler since I wrote to him Sept. 30 with invoyce and bill of lading for Nales by his order in Capt. Thomlinson £58.12.6 Star. I did write also Sept. 30 to Mr. White your Tresurer with my bill on Mr. Tyler to pay him the Nett produce, but Capt. Osborne tells me the ship was not arived at Boston when he came away. I hope however she is safe and next letters will give us account of her arival. I had conceived a very good opinion of Mr. Tyler as to his ability to pay his contracts as wel as to his honesty, by what you had writ me of him. But your letter has shockt me, that he could not raise money for payment of his contracts as they became due, but has given the Tresurer his Bond. I shal desire to know when it is paid, unles the Tresurer thinks his bond as secure at Intrest as other Mens he must place it out unto for the annual Increase. All which I must leave to his prudent Management and amongst you.

    I am informed since mine to you of Sept. 10 that Mr. Yale is in a little better temper towards the College called by his Name. And he sayes he will make over £200 a yeare to it while he lives, but should doe it more cheerfully if it were to educate youth in the Church of England way. I shal be glad if he continues his Mind and does doe as he sayes. When you see Mr. Cradock, he can inform you largely of him, if He pleases. [2] I have received a letter from Mr. Callender Senior recomending one Student Seth Sweetzer1 to my consideration in your College. I supose his father is a baptist, but says nothing of their Circumstances or Character. I pray consider of it, and let me have your opinion or advice. It is a plesure to me, because so rare, in England or elsewhere: Baptists devoting their children for the Ministry, and quallifying them for it, by training them up in Arts and Sciences. I would encourage it as a means to correct crude and Ignorant explications and aplication of Scripture attended with a little enthusiasm too often, which narrows that Catholick Charity among all Christians, recomended by the Apostles of our Lord Jesus.

    I have discourst Mr. Cradock sundry times, since his coming to London, and told him how gratefully his service to the College two years agoe is mentioned by you to me. I am treating with him, about sending you another bounty by him. He expresses a redines to foregoe his own Proffits of Sales and Commissions to help forward a Charity for the Service of your College. And I beleive I shal send your Tresurer his Bill for a sum as will be thought valluable if it Please God to succeed him and insafe the Ship to Boston. The Goods I send he will have the care of buying now here, and I suppose onely such as are alredy contracted for and ordred from Boston. With your letter I received one from Mr. Dennis2 your Student, came to my hand 17 January, and I thank him for it, and I pray God to say amen to his Pious intentions to studys and your prudent concern for him.

    I am pleased with what you write me of Mr. Tresurer White’s answer about managing my Trust in the College and thank him, but I cant foresee who may come after him, therefore I have apointed a smal acknoledgment in my Institutions, annually for the Tresurers making up my account. He may take or give the letter dated July 22 signed by your self and Mr. President Leverett. I answered fully as to the Students, and made some enquiry about Hull Abbot and what stipend might [3] be thought honorable for a Professor of Divinity to read Lectures in the Hall to the Students, and some other Queries to which I wait an answer, if not too much troublesom to you.

    I am sorry if Mr. Tyler has any reason to blame the packing or sorts of Goods in the Cask sent for Mr. Callender. I beleive they are all fresh and good and exactly such as he bought when in London and left the coppy with Mr. Lance and ordred me if I would send more to follow that coppy, which I have done and beleive to be exact, till he explains himself particularly to me wherein. I rather aprehend what he complains of is onely for an excuse to delay and protract payment, but as I wish him well, so I hope payments to one and the other will ishue well.

    Whereas you expres a pleasure to heare that I am as a man related by mariage to Mr. Neale3 the Minister whom I owne and Vallue, and as a professing Christian to the Church meeting at Pinners hall under the pastoral care of Mr. Hunt,4 who married another of my Kinswomen, and is a Learned man and a Critical and Just Expositor of the holy Scriptures, perhaps if I should add some lines, you will not be displesed. And I would write for the Glory of God, ascribing what I am to Rich free and soveraine electing Love, manifesting forth his favour to me in time by his Word and Ordinances. I was born A.D. 1659 my father and Mother then members of the same Church, Mr. Simson and Mr. Cradock being Pastors. By them I had a religious education and trained up in the knolege of the Scriptures and Chatechisme, and had many early impressions of sin and Duty in my Youth divers of which lie minuted by me—for occasional reviews to this day—and for my humbling to find the effects of corrupt nature so early budding notwithstanding the Bridle and restraint I was under. About 1669 I had the smal Pox in a severe manner, and find I made Promisses of after care and amendment if I recovered, but about 1670 I grew weary of privat devotion till by an unusual providence I was awakened to it again, and freindly advized by a servant maid to write down and keep minutes by me of passages relating to my Soul, which might be of use in after trials and temptations to review. About 1671 I had fresh convictions of Sin and fears of Hell awakened in me under Mr. A. Palmers ministry, especially while he preached from the 10 Matt. 28 which I often recollect, and some time after from the 36 Eze. 26, 27 verses made me pray for a thoro conversion to God. [4] About 1672 I was sent to France but by bad wether our Ship was leaky returned to the Downes and she was sunk under Dover Castle. I came a shore first in the boate and returned to London, with many pious resolutions in my Mind. About 1673 I was sent to Shefeild in Yorkshire on my fathers business in trade, where I gained more knoledg in Religion under old Mr. Duvants preaching, and reading one of Mr. Polhills books, treating of Redemption and the work of Conversion. About 1674 I went to France and lived in a sober family in Rouen—where I learnt french—and most of that family in the Persecution came to London. Some are yet alive. Being returned to London—and reading the Scriptures, my father being a Baptist in profession—I saw it to be my Duty to own and profes the Christian Religion and the comand 28 Matt. 19 to be baptized and had lately received incoraging hopes from 11 Matt. 28 and afterwards from 6 John 37 a choice text and 55 Isai. 1. About 1676 I made publick confession of my Faith and Hope and submitted to Baptism, desiring to evidence in my life the things signified thereby. After this my father sent me on busines, where I travailed far over in France, and had been in danger of falling by Youthful Lusts but God kept me by his direction 1 Cor. 6. 18: 2 Tim. 2.22 and litterally fleeing the Company as Joseph set me an example. What need have we to pray to God to keep us by his good Spirit from falling, and often remember Christs Cave,5 Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation. Our Lord himself after he was baptized was led into the Wildernes to be tempted—and it is recorded for our instruction—and I bles God for that word 1 Cor. 10.13 who kept me and found a way of escape more then once. Being returned to London about 1677, I sett my self to review what evidences I had of a converted State, and a Christians duty was to goe forward in the wayes of Religion and to shew my Love to Christ by keeping his Commands and I found Church communion and the Lords Supper possitive institutions—in obedience to which—I addrest to Mr. Palmer the then pastor of the Church, who encoraged me to offer my self to the Church for examination of my Right to it, which I did and was accepted by them admitted a Member, written in their Book. Oh! may I be found written in the Lamb’s book of Life and [5] approved by him as Judg in the Great Day. Some time after Mr. Palmer died and Mr. Richard Wavel was chosen Pastor, there was then a numerous Society many knowing Praying Men and Women among us, almost all which now sleep in Jesus, I think we are but three alive and I am the youngest, and have reason to mourn for my little proficiency in Grace and Knowlege. About A.D. 1700 I was chosen Deacon of the Church—and accepted, and have exercised a conscience therein as to God—in the care of all the Tables—but I see many defects in my best services, and flee to the covenant mercies of God in Christ. When I look back and take a narrow view of my Wayes, that text is some refreshing to me 1 Cor. 6.11 with 3 Tit. 3.

    About 1707 Mr. Jeremiah Hunt was chosen Pastor, and by the grace of God we continue our Church state and meet in the same place, thorough good report, and evil Surmises. Our numbers have been smal some years, but we have walked in Love, till lately some few have been made uneasy by a hot zeale without knolege. Yet I hope shortly the innocency of the upright shal be manifested, and the Slanderers be ashamed. We have need to pray for Truth and Peace with Love. I desire your prayers that I may be kept honest and found faithful and endure to the End, which is now nearer then when I first beleived. Bearing in heart and memory Judes exhortation v. 20, 21 and joyning in the same faith and Doxology with him v. 24, 25—your goodnes will excuse this long digression—possibly Mr. Callender Senior would be pleased to read it, seing his letter now before me of himself, has stirred my thoughts to write it.

    I having with drawn myself in a good degree from Trade I have more liberty for Reading and some services of goodnes and Charity, but doe not find it easy some times to improve my Time as I would to good purpose. I desire to have a regard to watch my Thoughts, but oh how unstable. I have with comfort lately perused Mr. Hows book called Blessednes of the Righteous—and long to have such thoughts be more abiding. I make the bible the Rule of my Life and practice—and ground of my future hopes, though I am very Imperfect in Works, and weak in Faith.

    [6] I am favored with a Wife, who hath lived with me now above 37 years in Love, a sharer and partner of my Joyes and Cares, and a helper forward of every good work I project, and her self a Dorcas ordering and making Coats for the poor. I have been a trader and Marchant about 40 years and used Dilligence in my calling without neglecting my family worship. And my God whom I serve has mercifully suceeded my Indevors and with my Increase inclined my heart to a proportionable distribution. I have Credited the promise he that giveth to the Poor lendeth to the Lord and have found it verified in this life—and 32 Is. 8 glory be to his name. I note it to the praise of my kind Preserver. I have not been left to the general temptation of late befallen all ranks and degrees of Men in London—more—more. I have endevored to be content with what I had gotten by honest labour and industry, tho I suffer as my estate is embarast in a Comon calamity, yet I have through Gods Goodnes remaining for my self and family, to pay my just debts, and to give to the needy that asketh, and to meditate prudently some largesses over and above as you will find, if the Lord succeeds. And now what shal I render to the Lord for all these mentioned benefits, Glory be to his name, oh give thanks with me. I think not hereby to be justified—my rejoycing is in Jesus Christ my God and Saviour—my hope is to be accepted in the beloved and to be acquitted and justified before God the Father onely on account of the Obedience active and passive of the Lamb of God who taketh away the Sin of the World. He is the Propiation for our Sins, and through Faith in him, I hope for peace with God, the continued influences of his Spirit and complete Redemtion. Glory be to God in the highest, while we adore the Oeconomy of the Divine Three in the revealed works of our Salvation. Amen.

    [7] I have read Dr. C. Mathers letters newly printed here,6 and wrote my opinion of them by this conveyance, to Dr. Increase Mather, to which I refer if you are intimate with him, to read. The two gentlemen he addresses unto are zealosly affected, they think in a cause as needs it, but som by standers think that Cause needs not such methods as they engage in.

    Feb. 9.

    A few days past Mr. Dummer brought me a letter dated July 4, but no name to it, which is hansomely worded recomending to me the Collegiate School at Newhaven, inclosed in one to him dated the 3. xber from Mr. G. Saltonstall, Governor of Connecticut, earnestly pressing the same affair. I have answered Mr. Dummer that as I am projecting some things in Harvard College—until I have finisht—I think not to take his case into consideration. He being a man in a publick character I care not for free conversation with him. He tells me he has £300 Star, for being your agent—£100 for the other—and £50 per annum well paid for a third, but what does he doe of servis for all this money: and what does he doe with it, perhaps is a harder Question?

    I send you herewith 3 sermons preached by Mr. J. Hunt my Pastor, perhaps you will not be displeased to read them. I think it is all he has published. The other 2 Sermons is onely to shew that our publick Auditories are entertained now with very different discorses 30 Jan. from former times. I beseech you to pardon the length of my Epistle. My humble servis to Mr. President and all the Fellowes of your College praying God to succeed all your labours for his glory by the mighty workings of his Holy Spirit


    Your very Loving Freind and

    humble Servant

    Thomas Hollis

    I send a coppy of this letter of Jan. 28 by Capt. Letherid with a letter to Mr. John White the Tresurer in which I shal inclose my bills of exchange.

    London March 1, 1720/217


    I send you herewith Dr. Mathers letters which have been made use of to continue our divisions. I presume to think he has not had a true state of our Salters hall differences, else he would not suggest such things therein contained against his Brethren who Love the Lord Jesus, and him for Christs sake, so contrary to the Catholick charity he expressed in the printed sermon preached at Mr. Callenders Ordination. I thought Mr. I. Watts and Mr. Neale, the former of which lived nine or ten years in my family, by their Letters had set things in a better and truer light. I doe heartily forgive him, so far as I am concerned I owne my self to have been one of the Committee called, of the three denominations, who mett many times about drawing up the Paper for advices to our freinds at Exeter for Peace, and I cant yet see reason to Repent any paragraf therein contained, though I owne when it was neere finished from the caridg of a few in the committee, I moved and urged it should be dropt, and not sent to Salters Hall, fearing Divisions from the temper of a Few which indeed fell out so greatly exeeding my feare. I beleive all the Gentlemen concerned in signing the letter of whom I was one of the meanest in character were very far from any Plott against the honour of our Lord Jesus, whom we beleive God over all Blessed for ever, but if it must be called a Plott, it was to restraine a few overheated zealots from too rash censuring their Brethren. And to look back, I think had there not been a Majority against subscribing the Roll at Salters hall—at that time—such a Test would have bin through all the Churches in England by this time, which would have endangered many Schisms and silenced many useful Preachers, and I rejoyce their Plott did not succeed.

    Your Loving freind

    Tho. Hollis

    Mrs. Ellis, who with her Sister does some work for my Wife, was lately at my house and brought in your sermon and Mr. Coopers confession at his ordination,8 which I have read with plesure, the one and the other. She tells me she is a neare relation to Mr. Cooper; pray remember her and me to him. While her Mother lived with her, the children carried it well to her in her [distress] with tendernes and I had oportunitys, being Warden of my Company, to shew her kindnes once and again. The young women are Diligent, and sober, live in Love but under strait and difficult circumstances. She says she has been invited to Boston and now her Mother is dead I beleive she might be willing to goe, but perhaps is not able to beare the charges of such a remove, and how to imploy her self when she comes there she knows not, being bred up a shop woman, and her needle doe not devise or incline to an Idle Life.

    [Endorsed:] No. 6, received June 14, 1721.

    Hollis Letters and Papers, p. 10. In this letter Mr. Hollis goes into considerable detail as to his life.