« PrécédentContinuer »
COVENANT OF A CHURCH IN GLOUCESTER, MS., 1728.
THE Church Belonging to Annis- only living and true God, and to our quam Parish in Gloucester, being then Glorious Lord Jesus Christ, as our Gathered and Incorporated by the only Saviour, The Prophet Priest and Revd. Mr. John White, Having chosen King of our Souls, and the only Meme, Benjamin Bradstreat (tho most diator of the Covenant of Grace; promunworthy of that office), to be the Pas- ising (by the help of his Spirit and tor over them In the Lord, publickly Grace) to Cleave unto God as Our owned and consented to the following Chief Good, and unto the Lord Jesus
Christ by Faith in a way of Gosple COVENANT.
Obedience as Becometh his Covenant We whose names are hereunto sub- People forever; We do also give up scribed; having' obtained Leave (by our own Offspring unto God in Jesus the Favor of God) to set up the Pub- Christ; Avowing the Lord to be our lick Worship, at a place where we and God and the God of our Children, our Children may more conveniently and Ourselves with our Children to be attend the same, and having been dis- his people, humbly adoring the Grace missed from the first Church in this of God that we and our Children may Town of Gloucester, in Order to our be looked upon as the Lord's; We do Embodying into Chh Society, and Also Give up Ourselves One Unto more complete Settlement according to Another in the Lord, according to the Gosple Order. Humbly confessing will of God; Binding ourselves to walk before God our unprofitableness and together as Becometh a Chh of Christ great Barrenness under past spiritual in all the ways of his Worship; acAdvantages, and often Breaches of cording to the Holy Rules of his Word, Covenant before God, which this day Promising in Love to watch over One we have been confessing and humbling Another And to submit to the DisciOurselves for, and having been earn- pline and Government of Christ, and estly supplicating the Pardoning Mercy duely to prepare for and attend the of God, thro' the Blood of Christ, we Seals and submit to the Censures and acknoledge we are Unworthy to be every Ordinance Christ has commandowned as the Lord's Covenant People; ed by his People, according to the as also our utter inability to keep Cov- Order of the Gosple. enant with the Lord, being also in Signed pr BENJAMIN BRADSTREET some measure sensible that it is an
Pastor. awful thing whither singly or Socially EDWARD HARRIDAN, SEN., to Covenant with the Infinitely Glori
ANTHONY BENNET, ous God, in humble Confidence of his
BENJAMIN DAVIS, Gracious Assistance and Acceptance SAMUEL LANE, each One of us for Ourselves and
SKETCH OF THE NORFOLK ASSOCIATION, IN MASSACHUSETTS.
BY REV. LUCIUS R. EASTMAN, JR., HOLYOKE, MASS.
The Norfolk Association, though ent from what they had been in the the largest connected with the General time of the Cottons. They had come Association of Massachusetts, cannot to be churches of a mixed character, lay claim to a very great antiquity. both in faith and practice, and their It had its origin in the early part of pastors, instead of being united in senthe present century.
timent, as formerly, were men of disIt is well known that when this cen- cordant views.” The consequence tury opened, it found evangelical re- was that men of loose opinions and ligion at a low ebb in the vicinity of doubtful characters, whenever they Boston. The churches of that region chose from any wordly consideration were originally strictly Puritan both to make the application, could find a in faith and practice. They believed ready admittance to some acknowlin the plenary inspiration of the Bible, edged Congregational church. Hence and received it as their rule of faith persons of all grades of sentiment, and practice. By common consent from the highest point of ultra Calvinthey adhered to the Cambridge Plat- ism to the lowest point of Arminianism, form agreed upon in 1648, and the Con- men who adhered to the Puritan faith fession of Faith consented to in 1680. and rigid practice of the Fathers of Some of the churches had for their New England, and men who scarcely confession of faith a simple declaration acknowledged the Christian Sabbath that “they held to the doctrines of as a day of holy rest, or prayer as Scripture as set forth in the Boston a Christian duty; men who walked Confession of Faith of 1680.” The circumspectly in the midst of a perAssembly's Shorter Catechism was
verse generation, and men who mingled taught in many families, churches, and with an unbelieving world in all their public schools. This became their “ ap- vain amusements and follies; men of proved symbol of faith, and bond of habitual seriousness, who daily sought Union, — to teach it to their children, the grace of God as their hope of saland select their ministers according to vation, and merrwho despised and even its spirit; choosing such and such only ridiculed this seriousness and reliance for their pastors and teachers as they upon the grace of God, believed would preach substantially in times found in the same church, meetaccordance with its teachings. But in ing together at the same consecrated process of time a departure took place table of the Lord. This was the state from the faith and practice of the of the Congregational churches with Fathers, -gradually indeed and some- few exceptions at this period through times covertly, — but really and sub- all the region which embraced the stantially affecting the character of the churches connected with the Boston churches and the ministry; so that, at Association of Ministers.” 1 the close of the 18th and commence- Such a state of things — fraught as ment of the 19th century, it came to it must have been with many difficulpass that the churches of Boston and ties — could not long continue without vicinity and of some other parts of
1 Joshua Bates, D. 1., in Pres. Allen's Life New England were essentially differ- of Dr. John ( olman.
some disturbance. Churches found it aroused evangelical Christians to their difficult to settle pastors. If ministers danger. felt it their duty not to lay hands sud- During this period, also, the General denly on any man, they were “some- Association of Massachusetts was ortimes not permitted to make the req- ganized and brought into successful uisite inquiries to satisfy their minds operation. The Boston Association whether the candidate did or did not had declined to connect itself with the possess the requisite qualifications for general body, as they regarded it as a Christian Bishop.” E. g. see action originated by, and under the control of Norfolk Association at a meeting of the evangelical party. in Danvers noticed further on.
At this time there was but one A great difficulty was also experi- church in Boston which still adhered to enced in reference to exchange of pul- the old faith, namely,“ The old South,” pits. A conscientious minister must which stood firm though “shivering in either use every possible artifice to keep the cold.” This remained steadfast to from exchanging with some members the Old Catechism. During the first of his Association, or he must openly eight years of the century some of the decline, or he must publicly refute, Baptist churches of the city had been from the pulpit, sentiments which he visited by the Spirit. A few brethren had learned to have been preached by of the Old South desired to join in the brother with whom he had ex- holding prayer-meetings, but were opchanged. It was on this point of ex- posed by the members of the society changes that the famous controversy and some of the church. Nine brethin Dr. Codman's church hinged, and ren, however, formed themselves into by which he was prepared to enter a society for mutual religious improveheartily into the new Association.
ment, holding weekly meetings, and Matters were coming to a crisis. frequently enjoying the presence of About this time the chair of Theology Rev. Dr. Eckley, the pastor of the Old in Harvard College became vacant. South. For sixty years there had Nearly two years passed before it was been kept up a social prayer-meeting filled. Dr. Ware was the candidate consisting of several ladies, members of the liberal party. President Jesse of the Old South. It was originated Appleton, and Jedediah Morse, D. D., about 1745 or 1750, by Mrs. Abigail of Charlestown, were among those Waters, a lady of most eminent piety mentioned by the evangelical party. and usefulness, who was converted Dr. Ware was elected. “ In spite” under the preaching of Mr. Whitefield says Dr. Jos. S. Clark, “ of all remon- and Mr. Tennent. She died, Nov. strance, a man known to be an anti- 22, 1816, at the great age of ninety-six. Calvinist, suspected of Arianism, and In the summer of 1818, the evangelical soon to be developed a full-formed Uni- element received a powerful impulse tarian, was put into an office whose in- in the presence and preaching of Rev. cumbent was solemnly bound to “pro- Dr. Kollock, of Savannah, Georgia. fess and teach the principles of the He came in the fulness of the blessing Christian religion according to the of the gospel of Christ. “He spoke," well-known confession of faith drawn says one who heard him, “with irreup by the synod of the churches in sistible power. Unaccustomed as we New England. The reckless manner were to hear anything moving, his apin which this explicit condition was set peals came upon us like thunder. aside, 'gave signs of woe that all was Crowds hung upon his lips and con1 ost.” Yet it resulted in good, as it fessed the power of earnest truth earnestly preached.” The presence of condition of religion in the vicinity of this preacher emboldened the little Boston attracted the deepest sympathy praying-circles just mentioned, and led of all friends of the truth out of as from one step to another, till Park well as in New England. Among Street Church was organized, Feb. 27, other valuable suggestions, he made 1808. Only three churches were rep- the following: “I am more and more resented on the Council, namely, the convinced that the friends of evangelchurch in Charlestown, Rev. Jedediah ical truth in Boston and its neighborMorse, D. D., pastor; the First Church hood must consent, at least for a time, in Cambridge, Rev. Dr. Holmes, pastor; to be a little and comparatively a deand the Second Church in Dorchester, spised flock. They must form a little Rev.J. Codman, pastor. The Old South world of their own, and patiently bear was invited, but declined to be present. all the ridicule and insults of their Dr. Kollock was immediately invited proud and wealthy foes. If they do to the pastorate, and Dr. Griffin, Pro- this; if, instead of despairing or being fessor-elect at Andover, to preach once impatient in the day of small things, on each Sabbath. The people of Sa- like a band of brothers they humbly vannah would not consent to Dr. Kol- wait on God, and when he tries their lock's removal from their city. After faith, instead of being discouraged, various efforts in different directions, still trust in him; if in short they take Park Street Church succeeded in per- for their model the conduct of the suading Edward Griffin, D. D., to settle apostles, when all the wit and learnover them. He received the call in ing and wealth and power of the world Feb., accepted it, May 1, and was were leagued against them, — they will installed July 31, 1811.
as certainly finally triumph over the The two or three years, which had enemies of Christ, as there is a King seen Park Street Church struggling in the Holy Hill of Zion.” Such ininto existence, were also the years of spiring words must have been pecultrial with Mr. Codman,-- years, through iarly encouraging to Mr. Codman in which he was carried most trium- his trying position. But they are of phantly, - years, which secured a great special interest to us at this time as victory to the cause of evangelical seeming to give the first hint which truth. It was one of many events led to the formation of this Association. which were fixing very distinctly the The letter was dated, “New York, line between the two parties. The Nov. 19, 1810.” This Association friends of evangelical truth felt that was organized the 29th of the next they were standing comparatively May. Dr. Griffin had accepted his call alone. They were cutting themselves to Park Street, May 1, and was inoff entirely from all ministerial inter- stalled the succeeding July. course with the great majority of the The first meeting of the Association, congregational clergymen of the neigh- of which there is any record, was held borhood. They were few in numbers, at Mr. Armstrong's book-store in but strong in faith, and in God as their Boston, May 29, 1811. strength. About the close of Dr. The record of this meeting reads as Codman's controversy, he received a follows: long and very kind, cordial letter from
" The Rev. Reuben Emerson, Joseph EmerRev. Samuel Miller; D. D., for some
son, Samuel Walker, and John Codman met at time one of the eminent professors Mr. Armstrong's book-store in Boston, May 29, of Princeton Theological Seminary. 1811. From this letter, it is evident that the Rev. R. EMERSON was chosen Moderator, and
Rev. J. Codmax, Scribe pro tem.
flourishing. Believing that we cherish desires The meeting was opened with prayer by the which should actuate every Christian minister, moderator.
and anxious that we may contribute all in our The Constitution was read article by article, power to the advancement and peace of the and accepted and subscribed by the above
Redeemer's kingdom. we, the subscribers, mentioned gentlemen.
after serious deliberation, and prayerful enN. B. The Rev. Dr. Morse had previously treaties for divine direction, agree to form oursubscribed the Constitution, and the Rev. Dr. selves into an association, under the regulations Griffin subsequently to this meeting.
and for the purposes, expressed in the followRev. Dr. Morse and Rev. R. Emerson wer
ing articles : chosen delegates to the General Association to meet at Salem in June next. J. Codman was Art. 1. The Association shall be denomichosen scribe to the Association.
nated The Union Association in Suffolk, MidVoted, that the next meeting be at Rev. Dr. dlesex, Essex, and Norfolk Counties. Morse's, in Charlestown, at the time he may
Art. 2. The meetings of the Association notify the Association.
after the present shall be semi-annual, namely, (Signed), JOHN CODMAN,
on the last Wednesday in April, and the last
Wednesday in October, at 10 A. M. The place Scribe."
of each meeting shall be appointed at the one
next preceding. Special meetings shall be Thus did the friends of evangelical three brethren.
called by the moderator at the request of any truth “form a little community of their Art. 3. The eldest member shall be moderown." They called it “The Union ator of the Association, and the eldest member Association in Suffolk, Middlesex, Es- present at each meeting shall preside.
and Norfolk Counties." sex,
Art. 4. There shall be a scribe chosen at
They fully believed that Union is Strength, every meeting in April, who shall carefully and acted on the principle which Dr. of the Association.
make, and preserve a record of the transactions Miller had earnestly recommended. Art. 5. Each meeting shall be opened and
The Boston Association had declined closed with prayer, which service the brethren having anything to do with the Gen- shall perform in turn, beginning with the moderal Association, which was understood
Art. 6. There shall at each meeting be to be composed of ministers of evan
read a discourse upon some subject in Theology gelical faith. This new body showed agreed upon at the next preceding meeting. what ground they would take on this This service shall also be performed by the question by choosing at their first brethren in turn, beginning with the youngest. meeting two men to represent them in The discourse exhibited shall be submitted to the General Association at its next the free observation of the brethren.
Art. 7. As we sincerely lament the presmeeting. The spirit and feelings
ent low and declining state of religion and which actuated the originators can be morals in our country, and particularly in our understood from the state of the times vicinity, and as we believe that the Association and from the constitution which they known by the name of The General Associaadopted, and which reads as follows: – tion of Massachusetts proper is calculated to
strengthen and advance the cause of evangel
ical truth and piety, we agree, that so long as “ CONSTITUTION.
our present views of that body remain, we
will annually choose two members to attend the The conviction and reformation of sinners, annual meeting of the said General A-sociation the instruction and improvement of Christians, for the purposes specified in their constitution, and the purity and prosperity of the church which members shall make their report to the are objects which engage the first desires and Association at the meeting in October. labors of every faithful minister of Christ. Art. 8. The state of religion and morals All exertions which appear adapted to pro- in the societies and the concerns of the mote these objects receive his hearty approba- churches under our particular care, and in the tion, and every institution calculated for their country at large, shall at every meeting be a success he rejoices to behold supported and subject of serious inquiry and free discussion.