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THE SEVENTH BOOK.
THE DISTURBANCES GIVEN TO THE CHURCHES OF NEW-ENGLAND.
If any one would draw the picture of the church, (saith Luther,) let him take a silly poor maid, silting in a wilderness, compassed about with hungry lions, wolves, boars and bears, and all manner of cruel and hurtful beasts; and in the midst of many furious men assaulting her every moment: for this is her condition in the world. Behold that picture of the church exemplified in the story of New-England, and now writ under it,“ having obtained help from God, she continues to this day.''
But before I have done my work, I should remember, without having Pliny for my remembrancer, ingenuum est confiteri per quos profeceris.t Indeed, our “ History of New-England” is as little to he compared with Sir Walter Rawleigh's famous “ History of the World,” as New-England it self is to be compared with the whole world. Nevertheless, the incomparable Colonel Sydney assures me, he was so well assisted in his “ History of the World,” that an ordinary man with the same helps might have performed the same things. Whereas I must in the first place humbly complain of it, that I believe such a work as this was never done with so little assistance from the communications of inquisitive and intelligent friends. Two reverend persons, indeed—namely, Mr. John Higginson and Mr. William Hubbard—have assisted me, and much obliged me with informations for many parts of our history; and I have a parent also, who has often, to full satisfaction, answered many things that I have therein had occasion to be asking after. Some other particular persons have sometimes favoured me with memorable passages, which they knew concerning their own relations; and yet I know that many will ungratefully complain of me for not inserting of things which they never sent me, though they had an early advertisement of my undertaking; yea, the absurd and brutish treats which I have sometimes had from the relations of some whose lives and names I have heretofore, unto the best of my capacity, eternized in composures already published, have caused me to know that there are base people descended from good ones. But every undertaking of this nature being expensive, 'tis highly reasonable that I should make a publick and thankful mention of those worthy persons who have generously expressed their good will to my endeavours, by bearing some of the expences which this work hath called for. Our honourable Lieutenant Governour, William Stoughton, Esq., the worshipful Samuel Sewal, Esq., the worshipful John Foster, Esq., the worshipful Adam Winthrop, Esq., and my good friends, Mr. Robert Bronsdon and Mr. Samuel Lilly, are those that have kindly Mecenated these my labours: may their names be found written in the Lamb's book of life, as well as ours !
After all, and above all, I must not incur that rebuke Deus hic nihil fecit! I do on the bended knees of my soul give thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ, thro' whom strengthening of me, I have done all that I have done. “Bless that Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name!" • The battles of the churches. + It is the part of magnanimity to own by whose aid we havo profited.
Has God accomplished naught of this ?
СЕ АРТЕЗ Т.
MILLE NOCENDI ARTES;*
OR, SOME GENERAL HEADS OF TEMPTATION,
WITH WHICH THE CHURCHES OF NEW ENGLAND HAVE BEEN EXERCISED.
Habet et Ecclesia Dies Caniculares.t-TERT.
§ 1. It is written concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, "that he was ler into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil;" and the people of the Lord Jesus Christ, "led into the wilderness" of New-England, have not only met with a continual temptation of the devil there--the wilderness having always had serpents in it—but also they have had, in almost every new lustre of years, a new assault of extraordinary temptation upon them; a more than common "hour and power of darkness.” Besides the general disturbances which were given unto the minds of men, when the ecclesiastical controversies, which called for synods to compose them, were generally agitated, there have been successive "days of temptation," relating to the posture of things in the Commonwealth. Sometimes the contestations about the negative, have made us too nigh the denying of reason to one another: sometimes the measures of compliance with demands from the other side of the water, have occasioned some fire of contention among
And there have been successively many “days of temptation," in this and that particular plantation throughout the country: one while, the rebuilding and removing of meeting houses has unfitted the neighbours for lifting up of "pure hands without wrath" in those houses: one while, the enclosing of commons hath made neighbours that should have been like sheep, to "bite and devour one another;" and one while, the disposal of little matters in the militia has made people almost ready to fall upon one another "with force of arms.” It is to be added, there scarce ever was any one great man engaged much in the service of this people, but the people have at some time or other made it an extraordinary “day of temptation” for that man. And sometimes little piques between some leading men in a town, have misled all the neighbours far and near into most unaccountable party-making. Reader, every clause that thou hast hitherto read in this paragraph, is a subject upon which my observant countrymen can give themselves an ample history; and unto their own reflections I leave it, with the confessions which the synods in the primitive times often (and I think too often) made, Peccavimus Omnes!
$ 2. There have been in the country, on the one side, rigid and highflown Presbyterians; on the other side, separating Morellian and Brownistical Independents; and not only have both of these had such a "jealous eye
+ Even the church has its dog days.
• A thousand banerul schemes.
* We bare all signed.
uron one another, as has produced much temptation unto both, but also the true Congregational man, asserting the authority of the Presbytery, ad yet not rejecting the liberty of the fraternity, maintaining the decisive
pover of synods, and yet leaving to particular churches the management of their own particular affairs, with a power of self-preservation and selfreormation; these have, between both, met with such things as have had no little temptation in them. One of our magistrates—namely, MajorGeneral Denison-has written an irenicum, * relating to these differences, which has a good spirit breathing in it; whereas there have been persons among us which would make one think of Dr. Sibs's memorable words: "When blindness and boldness, ignorance and arrogance, weakness and wilfulness, met together in one, it renders men odious to God, burdensome in society, dangerous in their counsels, troublers of better designs, untractable and uncapable of better direction, miserable in the issue.” Between such violent persons on both extreams, the truly moderate have sometimes been so crusht, that they have thought themselves, with Ignatius, between the teeth which would have ground them, to be made Manchet for heaven: for it has not at all times been the good hap of all men to believe, with Ambrose of old, Si Virtutum Finis ille sit maximus, qui Plurimorum spectat Profectam, Moderatio prope Omnium est Pulcherrima:1 Yea, so violent Once was one of these factions, that in a General Court of a Colony they exhibited a certain instrument, wherein the ministers of the churches indefinitely were charged with "a declension from primitive foundationwork; innovation in doctrine and worship, opinion and practice; invasion of the rights, liberties, and privileges of churches; usurpation of a lordly Prelatical power over God's heritage, and the like things, which are the leaven
, the corrupting gangreen, the infecting, spreading plague, the proFoking images of jealousie set up before the Lord, the accursed thing which hath provoked divine wrath, and further threatens destruction.” Even good men have terribly and openly, at this rate, charged one another.
Tante ne Animis Cælestibus Iræ ?1 $ 3. If the ministers in this countrey, from the very beginning of it, might have their complaints heard, they would complain of extream Emptation attending them in the business of their maintenance. The people being, as one of the ancients expresses it, apos sa osia uixgonoysu svon § have many times been content, that their pastors be accounted rather the eurs than the lamps of the churches, provided, like the stars, they would thine without the supply of any earthly contributions unto them. All the provision hitherto made for the maintenance of the ministry, bas been this: That while many ministers chuse to leave their salaries unto the voluntary
Message of peace.
If that is the highest attainment among all the virtues, which looks to the greatest good of the grentest numbet, then moderation is about the best of all. Can such resentments dwell in heavenly minds ?-VIROIL.
4 Chaffering and higgling in religious concerns.
contributions of the people, who upon the first day of the week make their collections, as the apostles directed the primitive churches to do; there are other ministers, who (sensible of what the great Voetius writes, Homi num sæpe tanta est injustitia, fallacia, lubricitas, profanitas, ut erpediat con. tractum intercedere, *) make their contracts with the people at their first coming among them, or, perhaps, from year to year, for certain stipenis; and though the stipends, by these contracts engaged, are usually small enough, yet by bad payments, (which are in the countrey known by the name of SYNECDOTRICAL Pay, being a certain figure in our avaritious and sacrilegious rhetoric, by which their passes, pars pro toto,t) they are usually made much smaller; nevertheless, if any should go to take the remedy which the law gives him for the recovery of his arrearages, he would find the remedy much worse than the disease, and by using the law, wound all his future success in preaching the gospel. Rabbi Tarphon, (who was probably the Tryphon with whom Justin Martyr had his famous disputations,) was called 7 'wyn 172n—"the wealthy priest.” But such a sight has been much a stranger in any of our Christian synagogues.
The national synods, in the French churches, were often put upon renewing of declarations, like that at Poictiers:
“The consistories of the respective churches shall be advised that for the time to conne they do better discharge their duty towards their ministers, by succouring them in their necessities, and raising maintenance for them and their families, because foreign countries have been exceedingly scandalized at the neglect and ingratitude of divers churches, even in this particular."
And like that at Paris:
"A minister, complaining of his church's ingratitude, the provincial synod shall take enge nizance thereof, weighing diligently the poverty of the church, and the temporal estate of the minister; and in case that church be guilty of very great and notorious ingratitude, the synod shall have full power to remove him for his better accommodation elsewhere; and all the churches shall be desired to shun ingratitude unto their ministers; (a sin too rife among us) and to take special care that they be more respected, and their labours better rewarded; not to enrich or fatten them, but to give them a becoming and a sufficient maintenance."
And like that at Montauban:
"Forasmuch as the ingratitude of divers persons, in not contributing to their minister's subsistence, is more notorious than ever, and that this crying sin threatens the churches with a total dissipation; after mature deliberation, we do decrec, that in case these ungrateful wretches, having been several times adınonished by their consistory, do persist obstinately in this their sin, their consistory shall deprive them of communion with the church in the sacraments,"
The crime of ingratitude unto their ministers in the French churches, has been too frequent in the New-English; but with this difference, that here no synods ever did, as there the synods often did, with just corrections ani
* The injustice, the dishonesty, the duplicity, the impiety of men is oftentimes so great, that it is expedient to interpose formal contracts in order to enforce the performance of their obligations.
† A pay for the wbule.
mıdvert upon it. The best ministers of New-England have generally been Calvinists, in respect of that contempt of riches which the great Calvin expressed when he wrote
"Clara voce pronunciavimus, Episcopum furem esse, qui ex opibus Ecclesiasticis plus in Usum suum convertit, quam, quod necesse est ad Sobriam frugalemque, vitam sustinendam: Testati sumus, Ecclesiam pessimo veneno tentatam esse, dum tanta opum affuentia onerati sunt pastores, quæ ipsos postea obrueret: Consilium dedimus nt Ministris tantum erogaretur, quantum ad frugalitatem ordine suo dignam sufficeret, non quod ad luxum redundaret."*
But they have not all enjoyed the competent and moderate subsistence, which would thus have well contented them; while the law has exempted them from taxes, they have in reality been taxed above any one rank of men, whatsoever; nor does any but the Lord Jesus Christ know the temptawa that many of them have endured, when they have been cheated of the dues promised unto them, and when a Res Angusta Domit has broken their
irits, and hindred their studies, and ruined the liberal education of their families. Antigonus, wondring to see that studious philosopher Cleanthes erinding his own corn at the mill, Cleanthes told him, "I must either grind et starve:" Whereupon Antigonus noted it as a great indignity, that the hands whereby excellent things had been written, should be galled with mechanick labours. But New-England hath often caused the hands which laptized its people, and broke the "bread of life” unto them, to be galled with inferiour labours for the getting of bread; they must either plough or starte. The people have usually pretended their poverty as the cause of their thus "withholding more than is meet;" but it would be a scriptural, od therefore a rational conclusion, if they should conclude, that their thus *withholding more than is meet,” has been one moral cause of their povtity. However, there has been the wisdom of the Lord Jesus Christ in tous ordering his ministers to preach "under the Cross!"
$ 4. Sometimes in this countrey there have been prodigious and astonisling scandals given by the extraordinary miscarriages of some that have made a more than ordinary profession of religion; and incredible temptation has hereby been laid before the minds of multitudes. The wise man says, "A righteous man falling before the wicked, is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.” There have been among us those persons who have made such a profession of righteousness, that much notice has been taken of them, and others have been ready to think, "Surely Christianity is just sach a thing as the lives of these men do represent it.” Now, the falls of these men before the wicked among us, have been “as a troubled fountain
* We have proclaimed aloud, that the bishop who converts more of the resources of the church to his own
than are necessary for a moderate and frugal style of living, is a robber: we have bome witness, that the church stanţted with a poisoned cup, whenever the ministers are so overloaded with riches that they are likely to be boral in them: we have counsolled, that the church be required to furnish the ministry with such a subsistence caly as comports with the frugality of their order, not with luxurious superfluities. + Stinted supply of the necessaries of life.