« PrécédentContinuer »
for its absent members, owes a most know thy works, that thou hast a name sacred duty to its sister churches. that thou livest, and art dead.”
So far as our observation extends Such members are drones wherever and we believe that the observation of they may be. They are more, — they any one carried to any limit, will show not only have the credit of doing noththat in every congregation there are to ing to advance the interest of Christ's be found many sheep that have strayed cause where they have located themfrom their own folds without the selves, — they are a positive injury knowledge of their shepherds. And to the interests of the church where thus they remain, - many for months they worship. The church, then, whose and even years,
-without any recogni- members are abroad grazing in other, tion, in their temporary residences, of pastures, has a duty to perform to its being members of Christ's Church. sister churches in this matter, which is Such wanderers are of little or no value sufficiently obvious; and that is either to the churches where they worship. to use every proper method to bring They add nothing to their spirituality. the wanderers home, or constrain them Having no ties that are publicly recog- by the most affectionate appeals to nized, to bind them, they do little or their covenant obligations, their love nothing to sustain the institutions of for the Saviour and his cause to remove the gospel. Though more than usually their church connections and identify interested in all church affairs, yet it is themselves with God's church and peotoo much the case that they are giving ple where Providence has placed them. their influence to the world. They We have thus briefly touched upon may be found at the communion table a few of the duties of the church for a time; but even this after a time nection with its absent members. is deserted from the conscious fact Others might be noticed, but enough that their covenant relations are with has been said for our present puranother church and another people. pose, which is simply to bring the
The consequence is that their obliga- subject before the churches and their tions become weak, their attachment pastors, with the hope of stimulating to the church loses its vitality, and they thought that may lead to an investigagradually subside into the state of those tion in this department of our church who belonged to the Laodicean church statistics, over the results of which and finally end in the sad and woful every friend of Christ would have occondition of those of whom the angel casion to rejoice. of the church in Sardis wrote: “These If such might be the result, we things saith he that hath the seven shall feel that we have not written in spirits of God, and the seven stars: I vain.
HISTORY OF THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH IN GUILFORD, VT.
BY REV. PLINY H. WHITE, COVENTRY, Vt.
THE Congregational Church in Guil- dence of it in point of antiquity. Its ford is one of the oldest in Vermont, records prior to 1779 having been lost, the churches only in Bennington, New- the date of its organization can not be bury, and Westminster, taking prece- definitely ascertained, but there can be
no doubt that it was organized in 1767, tions of the Gospel. In 1793, Rev. or at the latest, in 1768. The charter Elijah Wollage was ordained of the town, which was granted in pastor, and sustained that relation four 1754, gave the grantees full power to years and some months, during which transact all the business of the town, time thirty-eight additions took place. subject only to the British Parliament. For six years after Mr. Wollage left, Emigrants came in from all quarters, there was no stated ministry, and only and the town became, and for more eight members were admitted. than a quarter of a century continued Early in 1803, Rev. Joseph Brown to be, the most populous town in the became acting pastor, and continued State. “Yet,” says Thompson's “ Ga- till August, 1804. Ten persons were zetteer,"
,” “ there was not a single vil- admitted to the church by him. In Nolage in the township, or rather, the vember, 1807, Rev. Jason Chamberwhole township was a village. All the lain was invited to the pastorate, and hills and valleys were smoking with in the succeeding January he was orhuts."
dained. · During his pastorate of three The early settlers, many of whom years, twenty-three additions took had been educated in the faith of the place. He was an able man, but was Puritans, brought their religion with tainted with Unitarianism, and his inthem ; and, within a year or two after fluence upon the church was disastrous. the first settlement, the congregational About a year after he left, Mr. Wolchurch was organized. For many lage returned, and was acting pastor years it was the only church, and to till near the close of the year 1816. its worship the people with one accord During this period there were thirtyresorted from Sabbath to Sabbath. one admissions ; twenty-eight of which Those were years of prosperity both were the fruits of a revival in 1818, to the church and to the town. For About that time the population of the some time prior to the settlement of a town began to decrease by emigration, pastor, this church shared with that and this depleting process has continin Brattleboro' in the ministerial la- ued ever since. The church declined bors of Rev. Abner Reeve. In 1775, with the town, and also suffered loss Rev. Ebenezer Gurley was settled by the formation of other churches. as pastor. His ministry was useful, In 1818, the number of resident and numerous additions took place; members was fifty-two.
Of these, but his untimely death, at the age of two male and nine female members twenty-nine, was the first of a long withdrew, upon the establishment of an series of calamities which befell the Episcopal church, and with them there church.
withdrew many members of the socieThe next pastor, Rev. Henry Wil- ty, by which means the strength and liams, was settled in 1778. He was pecuniary resources of the church were evangelical in his sentiments, but took so impaired that it began to falter in an active part in political affairs, by supporting the institutions of the Goswhich his influence was so much im- pel. The supply of the pulpit was paired that he had but a short and only occasional and inconstant, and the troubled ministry, which came to an ordinances were administered at uncerend in about five years. During his tain periods ; till, in 1824, there appears pastorate, thirty-eight were added to the last record of the celebration of the church. Dissensions and divisions the Lord's Supper, and in 1831 the now prevailed, and for ten years there last record of a baptism, prior to 1855. was little done to maintain the institu- During that long and dreary interval those who remained faithful hung their was opened for worship on the first harps upon the willows, and wept as Sabbath in September, 1856, and was they remembered their once prosperous dedicated 24 September, 1856. Rev. Zion. The communion service was George P. Tyler, of Brattleboro, carried by one of the sec ng mem- preached the dedication sermon. bers to the church with which he From January, 1857, till September, united, and was not restored when re- 1860, the pulpit was supplied princispectful request was made for it; and pally by missionaries of the Vermont the house of worship became the prop- Domestic Missionary Society, not less erty of Universalists.
than sixteen of whom preached for But the church did not become ex- longer or shorter terms during that tinct, nor even lose its organization. period. An interregnum till May, When Mr. Wollage retired in 1818, 1862, then took place, and the church William Gregory was elected clerk, to once more became almost extinct by hold the office till another person deaths and removals. Mr. Grosvenor should be chosen in his stead, and he again became acting pastor, and continued to discharge the duties of remained about three years. The the office till a resuscitation of the church is now reduced to less than ten church took place in 1855, at which resident members. time he was the only surviving male
PASTORS. member. In the summer of 1854, Rev. Moses G. Grosvenor was provi- 1. Rev. Ebenezer Gurley, son of dentially detained in Guilford over the Deacon Jonathan and Hannah (Baker) Sabbath, and by request of a few per- Gurley was born in Mansfield, Ct., sons preached in a public hall. After- 25 May, 1747, and was descended in ward he was induced to return there the fourth generation from William for a few weeks, as the result of which Gurley, of Northampton, Mass., an so much interest was awakened that it emigrant from Scotland. was resolved to attempt once more the graduated at Dartmouth College in maintenance of stated preaching. He 1772, was ordained at Guilford, 28 remained as acting pastor two years October, 1775, and died 17 July, and a half. The church was re-organ- 1776. “He was a young man of ized in April, 1855, at which time it science, and much respected for his was found to consist of only ten mem- pious and amiable deportment.” He bers.
married Desire, daughter of Capt. The Sacrament of the Lord's Sup- Timothy Dimock, of Mansfield, and per was administered on the second by her had one child, who died in PortSabbath in May, after a lapse of more land, Me. than thirty years. Two were added by 2. Rev. Henry Williams was born profession, and five by letter, and three in Stonington, Ct., in 1744, and was others were added during Mr. Gros- ordained at Guilford, 28 October, venor's ministry. An ecclesiastical so- 1778. Rev. Bunker Gay, of Hinsciety was organized, and measures dale, N. H., preached the sermon were immediately set on foot to raise from 2 Kings iv.: 40,“ O son of man, funds for building a house of worship. there is death in the pot.” It was at In aid of this enterprise the churches the time when continental currency in Brattleboro' and Dummerston was greatly depreciated, and the docVt., Greenfield and Shelburne, Mass., trine of the serion was, that to pay a and Toronto, C. W., contributed to the minister's salary in the depreciated amount of about $600. The house currency is death in the pot, both to
minister and people. Mr. Williams mor on, being struck down by an was a violent Yorker, and when Guil- acute and rapid disease, while preparford submitted to the authority of Ver- ing sermons for the approaching Sabmont, he found it expedient to depart, bath." The following is the epitaph with others of the same political faith. on his gravestone : “For more than He was accordingly dismissed in 1783 half a century he proclaimed the gosand was installed 10 November, 1784, pel of Jesus Christ, and has now the first pastor of the Congregational gone to receive his reward." He Church in Leverett, Mass. The ser- published a Discourse on the Death mon was preached by Rev. Gershom of Mrs. Catharine Janes, of St. AlC. Lyman, of Marlboro', Vt. He re- bans, 1808. mained pastor at Leverett till his 4. Rev. Jason Chamberlain, son of death, which occurred without a mo- Jason (of Staples) and Abigail (Whitment's warning, while he was sitting ing) Chamberlain, was born 9 Febin his chair, 27 November, 1811. He ruary, 1783, in Holliston, Mass., of was never graduated at any college. which town her father was long a resibut received the honorary degree of A. dent citizen, and many years a repreM., from Dartmouth College, in 1782. sentative in the legislature. His mind His epitaph says: "He was an ardent was precociously developed. He studpreacher, eminent in prayer, a faithful ied Latin in the common school, purminister of truly evangelical senti- sued other studies with Rev. Timothy ments." His only publication was a Dickinson, of Holliston, and Rev. Sermon on Seeking the Lord, 1809. Caleb Alexander, of Mendon, and
3. Rev. Elijah Wollage was born in was graduated at Brown University Bernardston, Mass., about 1769, and in 1804, with the highest honors. His was graduated at Dartmouth College first service in the ministry was in in 1791. He was ordained at Guilford, Thomaston, Me., and he preached in 13 March, 1793. Rev. Allen Pratt, of several other places for short terms. Westmoreland, N. H., preached the He was ordained at Guilford, 5 sermon. He was informally dis- January, 1808. Rev. Pliny Dickinmissed, 11 June 1797, and regularly son, of Walpole, N. H., preached the dismissed, 22 April, 1805. From 1797 sermon, and it was published. He was till 1811 he was acting pastor at Cam- dismissed 26 February, 1811, to bebridge, Vt., and elsewhere. In 1811 he come Professor of the Latin and Greek returned to Guilford, and was acting Languages in the University of Verpastor nearly seven years.
mont. Into this office he was inducted menced supplying the pulpit in Rock- 1 August, 1811, and he retained it ingham on the first Sabbath in July, about three years. He married, in 1818; and, after preaching four months, January, 1814, Elizabeth Williams, was engaged as acting pastor for four of Burlington, Vt., a native of Boston, years from the time of his commence- Mass. In 1814 he went West, and was ment. He was at Putney, N. Y., about one of the founders of Jackson, Mo. seven years, after which he preached at He retired from the ministry, went Wheeler and Starkey, N. Y., and died into the practice of law, and in 1820 in Starkey, 18 July, 1847. An obituary was drowned while going the circuit notice, published at the time of his of the courts in Arkansas. death, says : “ He ever exemplified His publications were the truth he so earnestly preached to at the funeral of Gen. Henry Knox, others by his daily walk and conver- 1807 ; and an Inaugural Oration at sation. He fell, as it were, with his ar- Burlington, 1811.
à Century Sermon, at Lexington,
1813. 1. Rev. Avery Williams, son of 2. Edward Royall Tyler, son of Rev. Henry Williams, was born 9 Royall and Mary (Palmer) Tyler, January, 1782, and was graduated at was born 3 August, 1800. His faDartmouth in 1804. He studied the- ther was “a wit and a poet, and a ology at Princeton, was licensed in No- chief justice," and his maternal grandvember, 1805, and was ordained pastor father was Col. Joseph Palmer, of in Lexington, Mass., 30 December, the Revolutionary Army.
He was 1807. Rev. Samuel Kendall, D. D., graduated at Yale College in 1825, and of Weston, preached the sermon, studied theology at New Haven Theoand it was published. He devoted logical Seminary. In December, himself to study and pastoral labors 1827, he became pastor of the Congrewith such unremitting diligence that gational Church in Middletown, Vt. his health failed, and in the sum- This church was reduced to a very low mer of 1813 he was attacked with estate, but during his pastorate it bleeding of the lungs. In September, rallied, and to him it owes much of its 1814, he went South, and spent the fol- present vigor. He was dismissed in lowing winter in Charleston, S. C., and April, 1832, and in March, 1833, was in-. the vicinity, with so much improve- stalled in Colebrook, where he rement that he returned home in the mained till June, 1836. He then enspring, and resumed his labors. But gaged for a while in special labors for his health again failed, and this time so the anti-slavery cause, after which he hopelessly that he resigned his pastor- edited a religious paper, and finally esate, and was dismissed 6 September, tablished the“ New Englander," which 1815. He began another journey to he edited till his death, except a very the South, 26 October, 1815, and trav- short intermission occasioned by ill eling by short stages, arrived at Spar- health. His death took place 28 Septanburg, S. C., 20 January, 1816. tember, 1848. Among his published There he gradually declined, and died works were a volume of sermons on 4 February, 1816.
Future Punishment, a Congregational He married a sister of the Hon. Catechism, a sermon on Holiness preGeorge Grennell, of Greenfield, ferable to Sin, and one on Slavery a Mass., and by her had two or more Sin per se. He was twice married ; children, one ; of whom, Avery Wil- in May 1828, to Ann Murdock, daughliams, Jr., became a physician, and ter of Rev. James Murdock, D. D. ; in settled in Lanesboro'.
July, 1831, to Sarah A. Boardman, of His only known publication was Middletown.
BY REV. JOEL MANN, NEW HAVEN, CONN.
As the subject of Expository Preach- may not be unacceptable. For many ing has excited some attention of years I pursued a regular course of exate, the opinion of one who has had position of the sacred Scriptures, makmuch experience in the practice of it, ing it the exercise for one half of each