Kindly submitted by Glenn Scott Kurth. Rev Jonathan Scott was his 5G Grandfather. Through this lineage he is related to the Cook, Hilton, Ring, and Weston families of Yarmouth. One of the descendants, Ellery Scott was his Great Grandfather. This Obituary provides some historical aspects of the early 19th Century.
Extract of a Sermon, delivered at Minot, Me. Oct. 24, 1819, being Lord’s Day after the funeral of the Rev. Jonathan Scott, by Allen Greely, minister in Turner.
The late Rev. Jonathan Scott was born in 1744, in that part of Lunenburg, County of Worcester, Massachusetts, which has since been incorporated into the town of Fitchburg. The 12th day of this month completed 75 years of his life. His father dying when he was 12 years of age, he was left without a necessary guide of his youth. He lived some time in Roxbury, near Boston, and when about 20 years old, went to the province of Nova-Scotia. Among other employments, he, for a time, followed that of a fisherman. The place of his settlement was Yarmouth, Queens County, the westerly town in the province. Being among those who were first settlers, the stated preaching of the gospel was not enjoyed. By some means, now not distinctly known to the speaker, his mind, with that of others, became awakened to attend to the subject of religion. The consequence was, that a church was organized in the infant settlement, and Mr. Scott was one of its original members. As laborers in the spiritual vineyard, at that day, and in that part of the country, were few, they seldom had the opportunity of hearing the gospel preached. The exercises of public worship of course, if performed at all, must devolve upon the brethren; and he was often requested to lead in prayer. After reading the Scriptures, as suitable sermons to be used were not numerous, it was not unnatural, that it should be wished of the brethren to express their thoughts upon the portions read. As this was an exercise to return periodically, and the portions selected to be read might be chosen before hand, the observations made would become a kind of paraphrase, or comment. Little perhaps did he think that these exercises should be the occasion of his introduction to the Christian Ministry. But so it proved. His brethren and the people, perceiving, as they thought, that he grew both in knowledge and grace, after some acquaintance with his performances desired him to preach the word of God among them. He, accordingly, at the age of 24 years, began the public preaching of the gospel, in 1768. After more than three years acquaintance with his labors, by the unanimous invitation of the church and congregation, he received a call to become their stated pastor. Without deciding on the proposal made to him, he went to the county of Plymouth, accompanied by a committee of the church and people, and put himself for a few weeks, under the tuition of the Rev. Mr. Conant, of Middleborough. After becoming acquainted with several ministers in Plymouth Association, the call he had received was regularly laid before an ecclesiastical council assembled at Mr. Conant’s, and he was ordained April 28,1772 as pastor of the church and people, Jebogue Society, Yarmouth, Nova-Scotia. After this solemn introduction into the Christian Ministry, he returned to the people of his special charge, and gave himself to the work for which he was set apart. When he first began to exercise his gifts in a public way, his only assistant was the Bible, with Canne’s marginal references. Afterwards, he obtained the Westminster Confession of Faith, with the larger and shorter Catechisms, and the Scripture proofs annexed at full length. This was a rich treasure, and in his estimation, a large addition to his library. Taking into view the little opportunity for a previous education, and the few means he had for being fitted for the Christian ministry, he has often astonished his brethren of classical education, by the regularity, pertinence, and correctness of his sermons, and especially by the numerous, exact, and appropriate quotations from Scripture. He labored in connection with the people at Yarmouth, as their pastor, about 20 years, and it is hoped not wholly without success. Though no general revival prevailed as the special fruit of his ministry, saints were edified, some it is hoped, were awakened and renewed, and much seed sown, which will not be lost, but may spring up after the laborer is forgotten. In his ministry at Yarmouth he was not without his trials. At the time of his ordination he had a wife and three small children. Little being offered him by the people as a salary, he was laid under the necessity to labor hard and constantly with his own hands for the support of himself and his family. His own dwelling was two miles from the meeting-house, on the opposite side of a river, which he had to cross in a boat or on the ice. Separated by water from near two-thirds of the people to whom he was related as pastor, he was under the necessity of rowing in boats to attend worship, visit the people, or do business. The situation of the church and people, also was about 100 miles from any other church or gospel minister, except the French Roman Catholics, who were on both sides of the town. In the period of 20 years, while Mr. Scott was pastor at Yarmouth, he never had opportunity to exchange one day with a regular ordained pastor of his own denomination. These circumstances rendered his public employment very trying, wore down his strength, and broke his animal constitution. But in the midst of these trials, others are to be named. In Dec. 1777, he was called to part with the wife of his youth. Being left with six children, the eldest but nine years old, and the youngest fourteen months, his case would be thought by most to be uncommonly hard. A trial however still more severe was reserved for him. In this situation his mind fell into darkness as to his acceptance with God, and the fear, the distressing fear came upon him, that while he preached to others, he himself should be a cast-away. The speaker believes that for months, and even years, his mind was in this painful state. But although the evidence of his own salvation was obscure, when he could forget himself, he had enjoyment in publishing the truth to others. In due time, the Lord was pleased to deliver him from this trial, and make it work for spiritual good. His trials, however, were not yet ended. The quiet of his mind, as well as that of his church and people, was disturbed by the breaking in among them of evil, erroneous, disorderly, ignorant, and separate preachers; the consequence was, that order, union and peace were destroyed in the place. After many trials and difficulties, concluding that his usefulness in a great measure was at an end, he proposed that a dismission should be given him. This proposal was not for a long time assented to; and he continued six or seven years in this trying state, often requesting a dismission and the people as often refusing to grant it. At last, after making a particular and full statement of circumstances, and of their broken and divided state, the dismission of which he had long sought, was obtained the 2nd of Nov. 1791. Notwithstanding this dismission, he continued to preach as he had done before. In Oct. 1792, he took passage for Boston, to visit his relatives in Massachusetts. By contrary winds he was detained at North-Yarmouth, near Portland, and became acquainted with the Rev. Mr. Gilman. After preaching to great acceptance at North-Yarmouth, it being a time of an extensive revival of religion, he proceeded to Massachusetts, and having made his intended visit, returned to his family at Yarmouth. From North-Yarmouth, the people of Bakerstown, including what is now Poland and Minot, obtained some knowledge of him. A church the year before had been organized in the plantation; and it having been the time of some special attention to religion, a strong desire prevailed to enjoy gospel privileges. Accordingly a committee of the church in the spring of 1793, repaired to Mr. Gilman, and authorized him to write to Mr. Scott to come among them and preach the gospel. Not receiving the letter under six months, he reached this place, for the first time Dec. 11, 1793. He spent the winter and a part of the spring in preaching among the people, and in June, 1794, again visited his family at Yarmouth. Before leaving Bakerstown, the people by their committee proposed to him to come among them again. But he gave no assurance that he should comply with their request. He spent most of the summer in preaching to his former people in Yarmouth. In August, he again left Yarmouth, and reached this place about the middle of Sept. Not long after this, the people became intent that he should remove his family, and take up his abode among them. About sixty families in the northern part of the plantation, made proposals for his support for one year and a half. In these proposals all the members of the church in regular standing were agreed. After duly weighing the proposals, he consented, and turned his thoughts to the subject of bringing his family to Bakerstown. This was affected by the assistance of a kind providence, and they arrived here May 1, 1795. Before the year and a half had expired, the plantation became an incorporated town, by the name of Poland. Attempts were therefore made that as a town he should be settled in the ministry among them; but such attempts were not successful. This induced a number of persons, nearly 100, and mostly heads of families, to enter into a covenant and agreement to call Mr. Scott to the work of the ministry among them. In this call there was also a concurrence of the church. After deliberation, he gave an affirmative answer, and, by an ecclesiastical council, he was installed pastor of the church and covenanted society in Poland, July 27, 1796. Being now entered into a solemn relation to this people as their pastor, he doubtless felt desirous to be faithful to them as a minister of Jesus Christ. Hence he visited the whole of the families in the place where he could gain admittance in the space of about a year, a territory spread abroad as much as ten miles square, and the families about 200 in number. As the support he received from the people was by no means equal to the necessities of his family, he felt it incumbent on him to make provision for them by his own labor. Having procured some land, he proceeded by cultivation to render it productive of what was needed for their support. In a great measure, by the labor of his own hands, he changed the farm he possessed from its natural state to what it is now. To those that have best known him since he came to this place, it must be evidence that his trials have been many and great. In common with every child of God, he was tried with the prevalence of sin in his own heart. Although his outward behavior was circumspect, his example becoming, and the attachment which he seemed to have to the kingdom of Christ constant, the eye of scrutiny which he kept upon himself discovered much that caused his grief at times to be sore. The little success also, which attended his labors in the ministry, was to him often the subject of lamentation. His heart’s desire was that God would make the truth delivered by him effectual to the spiritual good of his hearers. For this he prayed, and on this his heart was much intent. But no general revival was at any time the effect of his labors. To preach as he conceived the truth from Sabbath to Sabbath, and to have much reason to fear that it would be the savor of death unto death to some, if not to many, was a trying and painful reflection. He was also called to witness sad separations & divisions both among the church and people, respecting places of public worship. Those whom he had seen happily united, and agreed in going to the house of God in fellowship, were afterwards seen by him to have their faces set against each other, and engaged in the most unhappy contentions and separations. The consequence was, that a part of the church became disconnected from the original body, and were organized into a separate church. Trying cases of church discipline have also occurred to perplex his mind, and bring his patience to the test. In such scenes of tribulation, the wisdom of the serpent and the harmlessness of the dove, were needed; & if not in possession of those in a degree more than common, he could not expect to escape without censure. Like his Devine Master, while conscientiously engaged within the limits of his own duty, he has often been called to bear a torrent of slander and scoffing. Doubtless he, if any man beside the apostle could say, But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus. It seemed to be the design of divine providence, that his case should not be an exception to those words of Scripture, That we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. On one of the coldest nights in Feb. 1807, his dwelling-house was found to have taken fire. Awaking from sleep, and calling his family, some attempts were made to extinguish the flames, but they proved unsuccessful. After removing a few articles, they fled to a neighbor’s house as naked as when in bed. Here they discovered that the youngest child, a lad between eleven and twelve years of age, was missing. It was immediately concluded that he was consumed in the flames, and what they feared was found to be true. His loss by this providence was great, and in some respect irreparable. Not only his child, but most of the papers of the church, and his private writing in which there was a record of his most valuable thoughts, became a prey to the devouring element. These could not be restored, although his friends and a sympathizing public did much towards repairing his loss in other respects. Notwithstanding he was left during his ministry in this place without a regular and sufficient support, he was constrained by convictions of duty, to be laborious for the spiritual good of his people. Seldom did he fail, for five and twenty years, to go to the place of public worship, and preach the unchangable truths of God’s word. Every day found him employed upon something that was useful; and when even the smallest portion of time seemed to run to waste, it was to him a subject of regret. His usefulness was great as a spiritual instructor, and many doubtless have been greatly benefited by his ministry. In his family he seemed to be desirous that those under his care should be trained up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and hence, in their early childhood, he began to give them religious instruction; and although the seed did not immediately produce a spiritual harvest, he lived to see several of his children hopefully possessors of the one thing needful, and by profession, the visible disciples of Christ. His usefulness was by no means limited to his own family, and the people of his special charge. His brethren in the Christian ministry have derived much help from his advice and labors. Whatever light could be derived from the word of God, on interesting questions and trying occasions, seemed with him to be ready; and, by the opening of his lips, issued forth to enlighten others. On all occasions, when it was proper, he was a living and speaking concordance; and when his intellectual faculties were in full vigor, it is believed that had the word of God been wholly destroyed, he could have given an exact transcript of many parts of the Old Testament, and most of the New. Possessed of such qualities and acquisitions, although the place of his settlement was remote from a dense population, he could not remain unnoticed. At the formation of the Maine Missionary Society, in 1807, he was present, and at that time was elected one of the Trustees; and he continued a member of that Board till death. In 1808, he preached at the first anniversary meeting. This sermon was printed; and in reading it we have a specimen of what was his manner in public discourses. He also preached at the funeral of Rev. Samuel Foxcroft of New-Gloucester, March 9, 1807. This sermon exhibits much ingenuity and originality of thought, and would be no discredit to one of more finished classical education. These two sermons together with A brief View of the Religious Tenets and Sentiments published and spread in the Province of Nova-Scotia, printed at Halifax, 1784, are his only publications from the press. Had the whole of his private journal, in the form of a diary, escaped the flames, which altogether must have been as voluminous as 20 quires, a selection from it might have been made, which being placed beside Brainerd, and other eminent servants of God, would have had a respectable and it might be hoped not a useless rank. He was also a man of prayer. When called to lead in devotion with others, the impression usually left on the minds of the pious was, that in his thoughts and feelings, he had a peculiar and holy nearness to God. His views of the Supreme God, the divine government, the person of Christ, the operations of the Spirit, and the system of redemption, were scriptural; and much of these was often interwoven with his devotional performances. To one under the influence of his temper of mind, death must have often been the subject of contemplation; and when in prospect it seemed to be approaching, would doubtless be viewed with quiet feelings. He was taken off from his public labors about eight months before his death. To his Christian friends who visited him during his confinement, when the subject of recovering his health was mentioned, he has often observed that he had no choice respecting living or dying, and should it be left with him to decide he should refer it back again to God; that he had no worldly object for which he desired to continue here on earth. The covenant of grace was a theme on which he dwelt much as the foundation of all his comfort and hopes. His last sickness was in many respects trying and painful, and he sometimes expressed fears lest he should be left to dishonour the Christian cause. On the day before his death, it was apprehended from appearances that he could not continue long. At his request he was led from the bed across the room and the exertion so much exhausted him that his speech failed. Fears were then entertained, that he was falling into the hands of death. Being somewhat revived, and his speech in a measure restored, his voice seemed to be altered and he said that he had gotten so far through he was almost loth to come back. Being desirous to express his views in the words of a dying saint, his memory failed as to the name. Mr. Edwards name was mentioned to him. He replied, No. What is the name of that other great man? One standing by replied, is it Mr. Hooker? O yes; Hooker is the one. Dying Hooker, when one said to him, you are going to receive the reward of your works, replied, I am going to receive mercy; & added. “It is mercy I hope to receive.” During some part of the day on which he died, he sat up and conversed considerably on the affairs of the family. He seemed however to be apprehensive that death could not be far distant; and towards night he observed that to him it seemed as if nature were dissolving and that he had felt the pains of death since midnight. He however signified that he was not in much pain, and that if he were dying, it was not so distressing as he had heretofore thought. He then addressed his family as follows: “Dear Mrs. Scott; you are about to be left alone. The widow’s God is a dear God. Put your trust in him. Read Psalm 68th. A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widow, is God in his holy habitation. Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive, and let thy widows trust in me. You, Children, are following after. See that you follow in that good way. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Make choice of the God of your fathers for your covenant God, the God of Abraham. The blessed God grant that you may make much of a title to that great charter - Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Serve one another in love.” After this he said but little, and about seven o’clock seemed inclined to sleep. Remaining two or three hours in sleep, attempts were make to awake him, but they could not succeed. He continued to breath for about an hour, and then ceased. His end was peaceful, and it is hoped his eternity is blessed.