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him? If no satisfaction can be given in these inquiries, still let it appear how far he excelled in the humbler duties of promoting the institutions of society. The sketch of Mr. Ames' life, in the first part of his political writings, may be considered a eulogy, rather than a biography, dictated both by motives of private friendship and political reasons, and in that view should be regarded as an unexceptionable composition, not in the least degree affected by the preceding observations. But the same sketch, when viewed as a biography of a distinguished man, may be liable to the above critical remarks.

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CHAPTER IX.

Ecclesiastical matters. Extracts from the church records, written by the reverend John Allin, relating to the gathering the Dedham church. Ordination of teacher and elder. Discipline. Ministry of the reverend William Adams. Ministry of the reverend Joseph Belcher. Of the reverend Samuel Dexter. Of the reverend Jason Haven. Events since 1833. History of the churches and ministry in the other parishes.

THE following account is expressed in the language of the records, so far as is consistent with an abridgment of them.

The Dedham church was gathered on the eighth day of the ninth month, 1638. The manner of it was on this wise. In 1636, there were here about thirty families, and about eight unmarried men. In 1637, we agreed to meet at each other's houses the fifth day of each week, in order to discuss such questions as tend to a peaceable civil society, and a spiritual communion in the church society. All the inhabitants were invited to these meetings. The following are some of the questions proposed and settled among us.

May such as in judgment of charity, who look upon one another as christians, assemble and speak and hear and pray and fast together, being out of church order as we are? Answered in the affirmative.

What offices of love do christians in our situation, owe each other? Answer-We owe each other all the duties of love enjoined by our religion. To exhort, to admonish privately, to communicate and inquire after the guilt of persons to mutual edification.

Are christians bound to join in church communion? Answered affirmatively, because it is necessary to convey us to the ordinances.

What is a church? Answer-A number of visible saints or believers, who agree to live together in spiritual communion, for the sake of enjoying the ordinances.

Who is a fit member for church communion? He who in addition to a good life, makes an open profession of his faith, and gives satisfactory proof of the work of grace in his heart.

Of a church covenant? It is the appointed means to knit this church society together.

No one ought to be admitted into the church until he makes a profession of his faith, and shows the work of grace in himself.

We concluded, that a church thus gathered, had a right to all the institutions of the gospel; likewise the power of the keys whereby she may dispense the same to her members. This power is derived from the church. For the keys were not given to Peter, as an apostle, but unto him as a member of the church, on the confession of his faith.

The ordinances are to be administered, and power exercised, by church officers, elected and ordained in the name of Christ. The officers are pastors, teachers, rulers, deacons and widows. Yet the church may depute some to exercise gifts to edification, when she is not furnished with regular officers.

The teaching officer is to pray, preach and instruct. The pastor only to administer the seals of baptism and the sacraments. The ruling elder to admonish, ex-communicate, absolve and ordain. Deacons to regulate the collections for the poor, and sing psalms. These and many other questions were discussed until 1638, when the inhabitants looked to John Allin, who had been invited into the town with a view to employment in public work, to take the lead in forming a church. Mr. Allin being qualified, by general consent, for admission into the church, he declared Mr. Ralph Wheelock a suitable candidate for admission. These admitted the third person, and these three it was agreed should admit the fourth member, but this mode of proceeding being liable to objections, was abandoned. Then we two, (Allin and Wheelock,) invited eight persons, in our opinion the most suitable for the church, to unite with us in setting apart a day of solemn fasting and prayer, to prepare ourselves for laying the foundation of the church. They united with us accordingly, and we ten then proceeded thus to choose church members. The company requested Mr. Allin to absent himself from the room, that the remaining nine might elect or

* Dr. Bates, in a sermon delivered February, 1818, which was published, did not notice that part of the record which states that the first method of admitting members was abandoned, his subsequent account therefore of its being done by ten persons, seems to be incorrect.

reject him. So each man in his turn, went from the room that he might be elected or rejected. The result was, six only out of the ten were admitted. Edward Allyne, in regard to some offences given to some of the company in England, was desired to wait until he could explain. Anthony Fisher, by his rash carriage and speeches, savouring of false confidence, gave offence to some, and was put off for further trial. Joseph Kingsbury, although good hopes were entertained of him, yet some in the company were jealous of him, that he was too much addicted to the world. Thomas Morse was thought by the company so dark and unsatisfying, as to the work of grace, although innocent in respect of men, that he should be delayed.

We ten continued to meet at the weekly meetings, sometime longer. Mr. Edward Allyne was admitted. Mr. John Hunting coming unto us that summer, was added unto the church. Joseph Kingsbury remained stiff and unhumbled, but at last when we were desirous to determine his case, the Lord left him unto such a distempered passionate flying out on one of the company, whom the Lord had employed to charge home upon some injustice, that we thought him unfit for the church.

Our number being eight, we had a meeting of all the inhabitants, in which meeting we stated our intentions of forming a church, and the names of those admitted, and desired that if any one knew any good cause why we should not proceed, that he would come forth and declare it. Objections were again made against several persons, but were cleared up to our satisfaction. We then had frequent meetings to form a church covenant. The names of the eight members are John Allin, Ralph Wheelock, Edward Allyne, John Leuson, John Frayre, John Hunting, Eleazer Lusher and Robert Hinsdale.

Having thus prepared the way for entering into church convenant we appointed a day for that purpose. We then sent letters to the magistrates and churches, giving them notice of our intention, and requesting the countenance and encouragement of both magistrates and churches.

By an answer from the governor, we learned that no church should be gathered without the advice of other churches, and consent of the magistrates. This we conceived might be prejudicial to the liberty of God's people, and some seeds of usurpation upon the liberties of the gospel.

Whereupon we called on the governor for an explanation. The governor then informed us that there was no intent to abridge our liberties in gathering a church privately, as if it were unlawful, or as if such a church was not a true church, and righly gathered, but the design of the law was, that if any people of unsound judgment or erroneous way, should privately set up a church, the commonwealth would not so approve them as to communicate the freedom and privileges they did to others. This answer satisfied us!

In the letters we sent to the churches, their presence and spiritual help was requested. We agreed that the day appointed should be spent in solemn prayer and fasting. Mr. Wheelock was to pray, then Mr. Allin; and Mr. Allin by way of exercising gifts, spoke to the assembly. Then each of the eight persons made a public profession of his qualification as to faith and grace. Then Mr. Allin addressed the churches, and desired them to speak plainly and faithfully their opinion of what they saw and heard. The elders of other churches then conferred together; afterwards Mr. Mather, of Dorchester, said they saw nothing that should move us to desist, and gave us some loving exhortations. After this, Mr. Allin dismissed the assembly, and then the elders gave each other the right hand of fellowship in token of loving acceptation of us into communion.

Soon after the church was thus formed, several desired to join us, but considering the Lord Jesus had committed unto us the keys of his kingdom, to open and shut the doors in his name, and knowing of how much importance it is to proceed with caution in our great weakness and inexperience, in founding a pure church, we spent all the winter in inquiring into their qualifications. Several were admitted in the spring.

After nearly two years trial of the gifts and graces of each person in the church, John Allin was selected as the leading church officer. He was chosen into the teaching office, but whether pastor or teacher was to be his title, was not easily determined. On this point the advice of the churches was requested, which answered that it was a matter of indifference. Thereupon John Allin assumed the title of pastor elect.

The next thing in order, was to choose one or more ruling elder. After much inquiry into the characters of several candidates, John Hunting was chosen into that of

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