« PrécédentContinuer »
ment of the institution. It has been begun and is principally supported by individuals of that sex, one of whose distinguishing excellences is a charity which never faileth.'
They may be encouraged to perseverance, we think, by the result of the many and laboured investigations into the causes of pauperism and the means of its relief which have been made in England. All that has been ascertained there tends to show, that the surest and best mode of giving assistance to the poor, is to afford them the materials and the inducement to labour; and we are happy to perceive, that the attention of our own legislature has been directed to this important subject, by an able and judicious report made, during the session of this winter, by the present speaker of the House of Representatives. This report, with the accompanying documents, abundantly confirms the conclusion which we cannot but regard as established; and we recommend the perusal of it to those who have any doubts as to the expediency or the practicability of giving employment to the poor.
The ladies who have instituted this society for the purpose, may justly boast of having acted upon a principle which is now sanctioned by legislative wisdom, and we do not feel it necessary for us to exhort those to perseverance, who seem to have so well considered what they were undertaking. We would only do what in us lies, to urge and excite many to follow the admirable example which a few have given. We understand that the funds of the society are yet inadequate to the accomplishing of all that the benevolent projectors are desirous of performing, and we should be much gratified to observe a few more names of those of our own sex on the list of subscribers. We think they will rarely find a better opportunity for charity; and we would remind all, both the wise and simple, the prudent and the undiscerning, that he who giveth to the poor, lendeth to the Lord.'
[We have received the following communication from a member of the Rev. Mr. Peabody's Society at Springfield, relating to a sort of excommunication of his church by their brethren of the first church in that place; according to the advice of an ecclesiastical council. Viewed merely in relation to those who are the
objects of this vote of the first church, the affair appears to be of a character to be laughed at and forgotten. But it has another aspect. Nothing subjects men to more contempt than the impotent expressions of ill will having its origin in any unworthy feelings. If any portion of the clergy will be engaged in transactions of this sort, that portion of the clergy cannot hope to retain the respect of the community. They are bringing disgrace upon themselves;-and that any of the ministers of religion should disgrace themselves, we do not think a slight evil. But, what is far worse, they expose religion itself to contempt; for men are too ready to believe, that what is done by its professors, and especially what is done in its name, is conformable to its spirit. It is therefore because we wish the clergy to be respectable, and religion to be respected, that we view the transaction at Springfield with somewhat different feelings from what it might otherwise excite.]
IN January 1809, the Rev. Samuel Osgood was with great unanimity ordained pastor of the first church and parish in Springfield. Soon after his ordination, he began to advance doctrines which many of his people considered unscriptural, and inconsistent with those he had avowed in public and private, while preaching on probation for settlement. In consequence of this and sundry other things, which I forbear to mention, there was in a few years, a strong and growing disaffection to Mr. Osgood in the parish. In June 1818, a petition was presented to the legislature, signed by a respectable number of the church and parish, to be incorporated into a separate society. The reason assigned was, that Mr. Osgood had changed his theological sentiments, and that they could not profit by his ministry. At a parish meeting however, in December 1818, the aggrieved, (for so I think they should be denominated) presented a memorial to the parish stating the reasons of their proceedings; and being very unwilling to separate from their brethren, desired the majority to unite with them in adopting measures for an amicable dismission of Mr. Osgood, and the settlement of another man, in whom they might all be united; but this was refused. The petitioners for a new society then requested an equitable division of the parish fund, which consisted of nine thousand dollars; but this was not granted. They then requested that as the parish were about to erect a new meeting-house, the old one might be sold to them at a fair price. This was also refused. An individual of their number then made a proposition to the other petitioners, that if they would provide a fund for the support of a Minister, he would build a meeting-house at his own
expense, and present it to the society. The proposal was immediately accepted, and an elegant house was erected (which was dedicated in January 1820,) and a permanent fund of sixteen thousand dollars established, for the support of a minister. The society was incorporated during the session of the General Court in January, 1819. In August, 1819, those members of the second society who were members of the first church, presented the following request:
To the Reverend Samuel Osgood and the Church under his pastoral care.
REVEREND AND BELOVED,
We the subscribers, members of this church, having become members of the second Congregational Society in this parish, and being desirous of uniting with sundry members of other churches in said society, and to be gathered into a regular Christian Church, that we may enjoy the benefits of divine ordinances, do hereby request your certificate that we are members in full communion with this church, and also that you would recommend us to the fellowship and christian watch of God's people; wishing you grace, mercy and peace from God, we subscribe ourselves your friends and brethren in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel, (Signed)
No answer could be obtained, although repeatedly solicited. After waiting about two months for an answer, an Ecclesiastical Council was called by the advice of the Rev. Dr. Lathrop, who would have met with the council, had it not been for his age and infirmities, but afterwards expressed his full approbation of their proceedings, of which the following is a copy.
"At an ecclesiastical Council, convened by letters missive, in the first parish in Springfield, October 27, 1819, for the purpose of organizing several members of churches in this neighbourhood into a Christian church, were present;
From the Church in Suffield, Rev. Ebenezer Gay.
The Rev. Mr. Gay was chosen moderator, and Rev. Mr. Sprague scribe. The Council was opened with prayer by the Moderator. The Committee by whom the letters missive were signed, then proceeded to make a statement of facts, which have resulted in the convocation of this council.
New Series-vol. III.
A communication was then exhibited from the first church in Springfield, requesting that the Council now convened should adjourn till after the meeting of a council contemplated by them at a future period, as soon as may be convenient.
The Council, after duly considering this instrument, voted, unanimously, to proceed to the business for which they are convened.
The Committee then presented a paper, containing a solemn covenant, subscribed by thirty-one persons, members of the second Congregational Society of the first parish in Springfield, in which they engage in the fear and love of God, to walk toge ther as a Christian church in the faith and order of the gospel. The Council, having received satisfactory evidence that each of those persons were members of Congregational Churches in regular standing, and having received a declaration from them that they are satisfied with the mode of admission adopted in years past by Rev. Mr. Howard,
Voted, unanimously, that they be and hereby are organized into a regular church of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to be known as the second Congregational Church in the first parish of Springfield: that they be vested with all the powers, and entitled to all the privileges of a Christian Church, that we cordially give to them the hand of Christian fellowship, acknowledging them as brethren in one common Lord, and recommending them to the communion of all God's people.
(Signed) Attest, WILLIAM B. SPRAGUE, Scribe."
EBENEZER GAY, Moderator.
After the very harmonious settlement of the Rev. William B. O. Peabody, over the new society, in October last, it was fondly hoped that the members of both societies would cast the mantle of charity over every unpleasant event which might have occurred in consequence of the separation, and study the things that make for peace; and in a short time restore that harmony
*The following is a copy of the Covenant referred to:
"We, the Subscribers, disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, do hereby, in the fear and love of God, enter into solemn covenant with each other, to walk together as a Christian church, in the faith and order of the Gospel; and we do engage to cultivate and cherish in our hearts a sacred regard for the character and word of God, and the institutions of the blessed Gospel: we do also engage to make the Word of God the only rule of our faith and practice, humbly relying on the merits and mediation of our Lord Jesus Christ for pardon and eternal life; we do also engage with brotherly regard and affection to watch over, to admonish, to instruct and to comfort one another, according to the word of God as occasion and opportunity may require. Praying for all men, that the kingdom of God may come, and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
and good neighbourhood which had so long and so honorably characterized the whole parish. But this hope has been disappointed. In January of the present year, the following extraordinary vote was passed by the first church in Springfield.
"Whereas Jonathan Dwight, Rev. Bezaleel Howard, &c. [Here follow in the original the names of twenty-three others, members of the Rev. Mr. Peabody's church] without a regular dismission or recommendation, left this church, and were professedly organized with others, and denominated a church in the third society in this town, in the month of October, 1819, and for some months before had, and ever since have absented themselves from worship and communion with this church, therefore, pursuant to the advice of the council called by this church, to advise them as to their present duty, in respect to the said persons
"Voted, That as they have gone out from us, they be no longer regarded as of us, and that this church do hereby withdraw its watch and fellowship from them.
"A true copy,
(Signed) "Springfield, Jan. 5, 1821."
The Council mentioned in the above vote was understood to be formed by the following clergymen :
Rev. Dr. Chapin, of Weathersfield,
Rev. Dr. Shephard, of Lenox,
Rev. Mr. Snell, of North Brookfield,
It is understood that these gentlemen were all present, with the exception of Dr. Hyde, of Lee.
The Rev. Mr. Osgood, and the Rev. Dr. Chapin have been severally applied to for a copy of the result of council. If it should be obtained, it will be forwarded to the Editors of the Disciple.
SAMUEL OSGOOD, Moderator.
Notice of some attacks upon liberal Christians at New-York.There have lately appeared at New-York various exhibitions of the same spirit which formerly showed itself in the Panoplist, while that work had an existence; but which seems now to be almost repressed in our neighbourhood by the decided expression of public opinion. There are many things of this sort which we are very willing to pass by without remark; because we believe that we can rely securely upon the honorable feelings of the community, and upon the prevailing sense of pro