On April 30, 1891 he was elected sixth Bishop of Massachusetts, and on the 14 October was consecrated to that office in Trinity Church.He died unmarried in 1893, after an episcopate of only 15 months.There were no choir stalls to distract from the central altar, which was hardly recognized as an altar in a period when most altars were backed up on to elaborate carved screens. Brooks preferred to preach his legendary sermons from a modest lectern near the rector's stall on the south side of the chancel.There was also an eagle lectern on a balustraded ambo in the center at the chancel steps.In addition to his moral stature, he was a man of great physical bearing as well, standing six feet four inches tall.During the American Civil War he upheld the cause of the North and opposed slavery, and his sermon on the death of Abraham Lincoln was an eloquent expression of the character of both men.John Cotton; through his mother, Mary Ann Phillips, he was a great-grandson of Samuel Phillips, Jr., founder of Phillips Academy (Andover, Massachusetts).Three of Brooks' five brothers – Frederic, Arthur and John Cotton – were eventually ordained in the Episcopal Church. He worked briefly as a school teacher at Boston Latin, but, upon being fired, felt that he had failed miserably.
In 1881 he declined an invitation to be the sole preacher to the university and professor of Christian ethics.
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