Pierpont, James

Pierpont, James a noted New England Congregational minister of colonial days, was born at Roxbur, Connecticut, in 1661. He was educated at Harvard College, where he graduated in 1681; was ordained fourth minister in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1685, and retained that connection until his death in 1714. In the year 1698 Mr. Pierpont was one of three ministers who concerted the plan of founding a college — a plan which took effect in the establishment of Yale College in 1700. As one of the original trustees of the institution he was untiringly active; and it was through his influence, in no small degree, that the distinguished individual from whom it received its name was induced to make it the object of his liberal benefactions. Dwight, in his life of Edwards, states that Mr. Pierpont read lectures to the students in Yale College as professor of moral philosophy. This, however, Dr. Bacon considers doubtful, as the college was not removed from Saybrook till after Mr. Pierpont's death. Of the famous synod held at Saybrook in 1708, for the purpose of forming a system that should better secure the ends of Church discipline and the benefits of communion among the churches, Mr. Pierpont was a prominent member. The "Articles" which were adopted as the result of the synod, and which constitute the well- known "Saybrook Platform," are said to have been drawn up by him. The only publication of Mr. Pierpont was a sermon preached at Boston, in Cotton Mather's pulpit in 1712, entitled Sundry false Hopes of Heaven discovered and decryed. Mather introduces the sermon with a short preface, in which he says of the author, "He has been a rich blessing to the Church of God." New Haven values him, all Connecticut honors him — they have cause to do so. Dr. Bacon writes thus concerning him:

"That we are not able to form so lively an idea of him as of Davenport is partly because his life was shorter, and was less involved in scenes of conflict, and partly, no doubt, because his nature and the early discipline of Divine Providence had less fitted him to make himself conspicuons by the originality and energy of his character and to leave his image stamped with ineffaceable distinctness on the records of his times. In the pulpit Mr. Pierpont was distinguished among his contemporaries. His personal appearance was altogether prepossessing. He was eminent in the gift of prayer. His doctrine was sound and discriminating, alnd his style was clear, lively, and impressive, without anything of the affected qnaintness which characterized some of the most eminent men of that day." See Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit, 1:205, 206; Bacon, Historical Discourses, page 171 sq.; id. Genesis of the New England Churches. (J.H.W.)

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