The Notebook of the Reverend John Fiske, 1644–1675

18 of 8t. 1644

A church meeting. There was a meeting upon the Lord’s day before, after the afternoon exercises, in which divers questions were propounded touching the setting in order the occasions of the church which, after much agitation, were left to further consideration until this day. Only at that time it was agreed by unanimous consent (considering the weight of the work, the paucity of the numbers, and the great temptation that lay upon us) to neglect all ordinary occasions of our own to attend these meetings with all care and diligence and conscience (the Lord only preventing it by some special hand). This day we met as agreed, only Brother Read absent.

1. To the question about receiving in such as be members of other churches coming to us. Resolved even such should make a declaration of the work of grace &c., upon Psalms 100:4, enter ye his gates with confession.13 Resolved because we could not else answer our conscience in exercise of the trust Christ hath reposed in us of receiving in such only as be meet. We are to judge by our own light and not others’. Because it may be a means of engaging of our affections, mutually beholding Christ in such &c. Because such a practice seems most safe for the church &c.

2. To the question about contribution, that it ought to be every Lord’s day: because of the opportunity of this joint service and fellowship; because upon the use of the ordinance our affection and hearts are more quickened and enlarged usually; and because tis a thank offering to God and suitable to the day, I Cor. 16:1. Second, that the ends of our weekly contribution are the occasions of the church’s expenses and the furtherance of God’s work. Tis given freely to God, especially for the seals14 and the poor.

3. That the maintenance of church officers shall not be wholly by our weekly contribution but by some other way raised, because we would not give the occasion to the question whether non-members may contribute and because also we would be of a known stipend to our officers.

4. That the time of our church meetings shall be publicly mentioned in the congregation to the end that if any member of the church shall desire to hear the relations of any to be admitted, as to be satisfied about our proceedings therein, they may with leave of the church officers be present. They are to ask their leave and manifest what their desire is to them and such as they shall judge meet to permit may come.

5. The church resolved upon the choice of Brother Read to do the part of occupying the office of a deacon by way of probation, in case he should satisfy the church because of his absence this day.

25 of 8t. 44.

The next Lord’s day being 20th of 8th. a meeting of the church agreed upon to be held the 6th day following at 12 o’clock. Accordingly the church met about the hour appointed. Only Brother Read came not until an hour and a half after the time. Who was then asked by the church the reason of his absence the day before and why so tardy at present. To both he spake satisfactorily, and the church accepted his answer. And so the desire of the church was propounded to him, and afterward he was voted to occupy the place of a deacon by way of probation for the present.

Also Brother James Fiske making it a two hours ere he came, the church required a reason of his absence now. Some agitation this matter occasioned in the church, both in case of this default and as in respect he had been an occasion of Brother Read’s absence the same day. After much reasoning with him, he appeared sensible of his failing and gave hopes of a more careful attendance upon this work of God for the future. So the church rested in some good measure satisfied for the present.

Some agitation was about women making their relations in public, occasioned from the practice of some churches to the contrary where the officers (as was said) and four or five of the members appointed to the purpose were to hear the same and testify thereof to the church, the same being taken down in writing by the officers from her mouth and related to the church. As for the considering that place in I Cor. 14, women not to speak &c., to the scripture it was resolved to speak by way of teaching a prophecy, as it seems the scope of this place, and such a speaking argues power. And so the parallel place seems to expound it in I Tim. 3. Whereas it was objected, but to ask a question in public they may not so much as do that, as expressed by the text ask your husband at home. Answered, asking of questions (imparts power also) in the church, but this kind of speaking is by submission where others are to judge &c. and to the glory of God, as Deborah, Mary, Elizabeth, Anne, &c. And resolved that they should make their relations personally in public; grounds, because the whole church is to judge of their meetness which cannot so well be if she speak not herself.

And likewise that both men and women should make the public relations again, though members of other churches, ere admitted.15 And to the objection that it seems to charge the church whereto they did appear sign of our unfaithfulness, twas answered no. For were it in our own matters or business we were at liberty to take upon trust. Though men refused to take gold, untold and unweighed, of their parents, not because they judged their parents unfaithful, but because tis known men are liable to mistakes. But secondly, tis not in our own but another’s matters and upon another’s account. We being only as stewards put in trust for Christ and by Him and thus must do that which may discharge our consciences before Him. Which we cannot do if we take them upon trust and mean testimony of others.

Also to the question whether our church occasions such as examinations of members to be admitted, hearing their relations, dealing with offending brethren, &c. should be done before a mixed congregation.16 Answer, it was conceived more comely and honorable for these matters to be transacted only before the church, none other present. Or if any, such as having manifested their desire were thereupon permitted for the time. Whether the case otherwise required the presence of others as in some public known offense of some brother? We reason: because church members being men and men having their weaknesses and weak men will be apt to show their weaknesses that these may not be known or manifested we know no reason to cry our weaknesses, but hide them for this for the honor of our husband and head Christ, nor to give occasion to others to speak reproachfully of the church or God’s w . . . her of them. Nor is there the freedom of speaking for some, nor in some cases, before a mixed multitude. But the question left to a further discussion upon both considerations thereof.

27 of 8t. 44.

The Lord’s day following another time of meeting set. After singing the psalm, Brother Read attended his work in gathering the church contribution.

1 of 9t. 44.

The church met again according to appointment upon the sixth day of the week at 12 o’clock. And the first question, whether the occasions of the church are to be handled in our church meetings only in the face of the church or in a mixed congregation, after some discussing of it it is left to further consideration.

Touching second relations or the relating of churches’ members, it was queried again whether there was aught anyone could object against it. Or if any of the sisters present, the wives of those who were dismissed from Salem being of the church there and conceived of to be dismissed with their husbands (as both Mr. Norris and Mr. Sharp conceived, because women are supposed to go with their husbands), whether these (being then all present) had aught to object against it. Nothing objected, it was voted that we agreed (according to our present light) to this practice, to receive none in without a relation. This testified to the church by the hands of three of the brethren, that these sisters were included in the last questions as the elders of Salem assigned to them.

Anne Fiske was called forth to declare what God had done for her salvation in bringing her to Christ and since &c. She delivered first her grounds of a second relation and that she could do it in faith from divers passages in Psalms 71. She was first convinced (at 12 years age) by a sermon on Psalms 32:1 discovering to her by misery while she was still unpardoned. Her particular sins were foolishness, vanity, and pride. This continued for divers years and was further followed, however, some seven or eight years after by divers sermons of Mr. Rogers of Dedham17 on Romans 3:13–14. So went on till Mr. Rogers came in his course of preaching to preach of that in Romans 3:24. Whereupon he, pressing the necessity of believing in the Lord, opened her heart to choose by faith in Christ (whereas before she rested on performances). Now her heart set to seek some faith &c. That scripture much help secured, Isa. 43:24, they bought me no sweet cane &c., so that decision [?] partly from necessity of believing from God’s command to believe, partly that He pardons for His own name’s sake.

Temptations. First about the truth of humiliation taken off of Mr. Roger’s handling on a sermon from Romans 4. touching Abraham protesting that he had nothing to glory of, ye wouldest something to glory of in the flesh then wouldest bring your humiliation &c. And so of a passage of Mr. Hopkins,18 not of any works lest any boast. And reading Mr. Colver’s19 view of faith and in respect of church covenant that passage, look not from qualifications or such a measure of humiliation &c. the Lord offers Christ freely.

Second that she should not persevere, to that Mr. Rogers in Romans 5:2, by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, whereupon declaring how only such in Christ stands and of the probability [?] of faith. His reasons: kept by the power of God it duly with Christ should be kept; that tis the will of God that all the further have given Christ (but her stick being whether God were willing); he that hath begun will persist.

Third that she was a hypocrite because greatly afflicted: to that the consideration of what David held forth of himself in Psalms 73 whereby it appeared affliction was not that ground or note of hypocrisy.

In coming to New England the hearing of opinions in New England (when in ship) some discouraged and meeting with them at Boston and in some meetings there finding they did only envy us the godly ministers here this made her the more willing to come to Salem, which was a place more free.20 And when at Watertown she heard oft that the church was more strict about receiving members. Yet she was willing to come thither but whereas in public their small trials and only about circumstances it was such a trouble as if had been against her. Join she would not for the present.

After joined immediately with smallpox. Then concerned if the Lord would try though his sister did not. So he did and did also help and to that end brought that place in Deut. 30:5. This Mr. Peters21 preaching urging then their want of growth touched her . . . . . . since upon . . . there were to be . . . and . . . . . . her . . . [five words illegible] would . . . . . . that were about the same time given notice of. Seeking God was answered from that scripture, Christ comes to take away sin and to dissolve the work of the devil. Which these answered and also about subscription to that in Isa. 1:19. Other trials to that in Isa. 1:27. And two things especially when she was near death: what would become of her children if she died and to that, this consideration she may live and be no help to them; and, the fruits of God’s mercy how to endure it and be fit for it. To that II Cor. 5:1.

8 of 9t. 44.

The 3d. being the Lord’s day, appointed another meeting the 6t. day following. The church met accordingly.

Sister Read called forth to give her relation. Her realizing by that and God’s restraining grace kept some . . . act in many evils that she was prone to. She was living in a . . . place and watched by others, whereupon she more secretly attended the means. Yet once to avoid that reproach not to see their sports on Lord’s day of what sin affected that should partake in evil and be occasion of grief to parents. Whereupon her parents put her under a good teacher. By his preaching something affected by use of . . . [seven words illegible] of prayers after to the gift of salvation that she heard set more close to the text in Psalms 1:4, ye wicked like chaff, showing the evil condition of the ungodly man as an apple that outwardly shows &c. but yet at the core is rotten. Hereupon she conceived that the show &c. and yet at the heart rotten, . . . her misery &c. Then to resolve, if it is to perish, yet in the use of the means of grace and so did &c. God set some promises that gave her hope, such as Mat. 5, blessed are those who hunger and thirst. Yet those apprehensions lasted not long.

Then some trials and afflictions that God caused her to search the text of the curse and some evils that showed her to be guilty. And some more than ordinary affections stirred her up to seek God. And that place at length brought to hand, Rom. 9:11–13, before Esau and Jacob were God heard one &c., whereupon the seeds of God’s grace showed which stayed her. Yet many temptations whether that promise applied or no because it was in question. Then that of Isa. 55, Oh every one that thirst and drink where the free in . . . to everyone. Many fears and questions after sin; that test, ye hate and corrupt . . . one day to that my grace sufficient for ye. She was in despondent condition believing that God hath begun and will persevere His good work, and desires and expects the further revealing of Himself to her. She was accepted after she answered some questions.

Sister Batchelor’s relation. Gen. 6:3, my spirit &c., conviction at it. She had rested upon prayer and thereupon thought her condition good. Because she omitted it the sin of commission touched her so again she thought her condition bad. She durst not pray because of wordly were abominable, from Jer. 4:1, if ye wilt return, return &c. [ms. cites Jer. 3]. Some stray that these the Lord would accept if a return. The doctrine of original sin handled, hence convinced of original sin from Isa. 44:22, I blotted out &c. I trod on the wine press alone. Objected, he that is in Christ . . . . . . . Answered, Rom. 8:1. Objected, but after the flesh. Answer, but not . . . after the flesh. And from Hebrews 12:1, twice shaken. She was asked some questions, moved and answered. Accepted.

Sister Moulton’s relation. Her parents were carnal, her education also. Many convictions from light by some she lived amongst, vanished in a form of godliness. From I Kings 18:21 she was convinced that served sin. Temptation, you can envy self, secretly upheld. Stayed from Jer. 3 where then backsliding &c. that one of a city. God’s free choice and she as one in the family. Temptation, that her parents were not careful of her dispose &c. as in Psalms 27, if father and mother forsake &c. A desire wrought in her after the hearing of the word where oft some stirrings where . . . made from New England that place in Ex. 14, stand still and behold the salvation of the Lord. Objected, the seas &c. Answer, I in the sin with ye &c. in the waters, Isa. 43:2. When under great affliction of body and spirit that promise brought to hand, Isa. 43:25, I blot out thy sins for mine own name’s sake. Then she discovered the freeness of grace.

Going to the seals she thought to turn back but if deadness of heart encouraged from Hosea, in me is the fruit found (in me is the help), and Jer. 31, I loved ye with an everlasting love. Temptation, because she was born of carnal parents where there was not the promise to the seed. Answer from Heb. 10, I have mercy on whom I will have mercy. Objected, a perverse heart. Answer, I make the crooked straight. Objected, that much under affliction. Answer, Deut. 8, that I try and prove &c. and do good in the latter end. Objected, in case of offspring. Answer, that in Isa. 44:3. After some questions passed and accepted.

Sister Geere’s relation. This practice of relation submitted to privately for example’s sake, the safety of this church, and this to the honor of God. Conviction from Jo. 3:18, he that believeth not is condemned &c., discovering the fearful state of unbelievers under God’s wrath more than if under a continual dropping of scalding lead. Hereupon at home she asked her father what faith was. He answered us Hebrews 11:1. After hearing one on Rom. 10, faith comes upon hearing, hereupon set upon hearing as the means of faith. Then one on John 5, the dead shall hear &c., those that are dead in sin He feels not a burden, taste not the most lucious promise, hear not the voice of the trumpet because dead. Further some that cursed . . . . . doth the work of the Lord negligently. Then where to seek help? Phil. 3:9, not having my own righteousness &c., not anything in me but in Christ found in him. Psalms 32, blessed he whose sin is pardoned. How pardoned? Only by Christ. Desired to know how to come to Christ, in a promise to that Isa. 43, I even I am he &c., for my own name’s sake &c.

This answered all objections and a resolution now, if perish to perish with Christ. Temptation, except my name in the Bible. Answer, from Mat. 11:28, come then to me, then Thomas, Mary, or whatever thy name is every burdened soul invited. I felt myself burdened. Question: how know whether I belong to God. Answer, Psalms 51, the sacrifice of God a broken heart. Objected, but then a legal and a evangelical breaking. Ice, if broken by a breath may congeal again, but when the sun get up and thaw then the heat of the sun permit it not to close again that is broken so because . . . [three words illegible]. Argument, two walking in the way, both weary, one lies down and there dies, the other goes on though weary and by little and little walks the journey’s end. So the Lord helps not to give over. That in I John 5:10, as unbelief, and to further assurance that in Jer. 31, I make an everlasting covenant, even the sinful way of David. This was God’s usual way. That she first met with a promise in private reading or otherwise, and after the some promises brought home in public. She, after some objections made, was accepted.

These last three were heard the day before.

8 of 9t. 44.

At this meeting it was propounded and agreed that trial should be made of such as were to be received into church fellowship of their knowledge: whether it was proportionable to their faith as freshly professed; and of the foundations of their judgments, whether they were not corrupt with such errors or tainted with such opinions as abounded in these last times;22 and that a consent and assent should be required to the profession of faith of this church. In this last respect, that this confession of faith23 should be read distinctly to them and time given them to return their answer. And if the season permit the next Lord’s day in the afternoon to be read and till that day sevennight time of consideration of an answer.

A question of whether a day of thanksgiving were not meet to be had of the church because of the success upon our endeavors. Left to further consideration until after the seals. The seal of the Lord’s Supper agreed to be had Lord’s day sevennight.

A meeting appointed after church next third day at twelve o’clock. Question propounded whether prayer to be adjoined to the word preached upon the day of the seals before such as were not members depart the assembly, and whether the blessing also.24 After much time spent in discussing the same it was referred to further consideration. Three objections were raised against it.

Objection 1: communion in that ordinance with unbelievers. Answered that first, it was no peculiar church ordinance, and second, communion may be had in prayer with such as are not church members, for some believers are not members of the church and not all communion members are believers.25

Objection 2: because here an ordinance presumes only that not members and ministers of the church and not of these that are not of the church. To that answered, if at any time we be called to show consideration and pity to them without, then at the time when we would Christ to show pity to us, and if any way then by prayer with them. And to that of ministers, prayer now is not an act of the ministers as of the church whose mouth in prayer the minister is.

Objection 3: because it may be a means of convincing some of them standing out of church state &c. Answered, and where a warrant for such means? And may not some such be prepared . . . by them thereby also? And it is rather a stumbling block to many and a stone of offense.

Grounds for it. It befits the practice of most of the church because a blessing is to be begged upon the word dispensed and this is dispensed to non members as to members. Because these partake of prayer before &c., why not after? Because that company that should partake of the word should partake of prayer, prayer being to be adjoined to the word.

10 of 9t. 44.

Lord’s day. This day the confession of faith publicly read after the exercise of the word in the afternoon. Also notice given of the administration of the sacraments of the Lord’s Supper on the next sabbath sevennight and a church meeting to be held upon third day next.

12 of 9t. 44.

Accordingly met, the question again propounded whether prayer after the exercise of the word to be used between it and the administration of the seals before those depart who receive it not. Afterward resolved. Because prayer is the ordinary way of obtaining a blessing upon the word in respect of those that have heard it. Because this practice would be a means of removing that offense in case of non-members, of too slight account of them. Because he that a minister hath some relation to and charge over, these that are not in church covenant, Ezek. 33:7. And further may appear, in as much as they hath some hand in choosing as a liberty either to manifest some assent to the choice or else to except against it upon just cause. Also in as much as they be required to administer towards the maintenance of such a one; I Cor. 9:11; Gal. 6:6 argue if all that are taught are to communicate to him that teacheth them there is relation between him that teacheth and all them that are taught.

Objection: that is true if they are inwardly taught. Answered, the apostle leaves it without such a limitation. Many are inwardly taught that are not in the church covenant; nay all are presupposed to be first inwardly taught before they be received into church covenant. Because many are out of the Church which we in charity judge to be such as Christ died for and be prayed for and to . . . .

Objection: true, but to pray with them? Answered, we deny not to pray with them at other times. If the Lord Christ accept them, then how can we refuse to pray with them? Prayer is no peculiar church ordinance; it may be proffered in presence of and with others that are not in church fellowship, Acts 7:60. Stephen lifted up his voice aloud for his persecutors praying. Because some of them that depart be members of the church (however not yet received into complete fellowship), as children of the church such as are grown persons,26 who may claim by a covenant right a share and part in the prayers of the church. Because some that do depart may be such as whose prayers are prevailing with Christ and to those joint prayers the more availeth. Because were the company a congregation present at the dispensing of the word all church members, considering the efficacy of that ordinance is only from Christ, tis not only expedient but necessary to adjoin prayer therefore and that not called for the manifestation of the church’s dependence upon Christ and His spirit for the enlivening and quickening virtue of the word; but indeed particularly to seek this at God’s hand by prayer without which we shall receive small benefit by the seals. Because we are expecting to receive mercy’s morsels from God tis meet we should be disposed to mercy’s morsels and this is a special act of mercy.

Objection: Acts 20:28, take heed, implying the church of the pastor to be the church. Answered, the church there spoken of is explained to the company of such as are redeemed with Christ’s blood. Are all in church covenant so and they only? Taking heed to that church implies not that they should not take heed of others too, such as in family &c.

Objection: but is this a meet season when he is called to attend the church’s business? Answered, one part of the church’s business is showing mercy, as well as receiving it; forgive us as we forgive them &c. If your brother had aught against ye, bear ye gifts, Acts 7:60 of Stephen crying aloud, also Phil. 4:8–9.

Objection: but this prayer may abridge of the time for the other ordinances and deprive the church of her right. Answered, there is not set time, as of an hour or two, for the administration of the seals. The prayer need not be so long. The master may upon this grounds omit prayer in his family this morning. The time then ought to be for it.

A second question propounded whether the blessing is to be pronounced upon the dismissing of such as are not members before receiving communion. Affirmative. If a prayer of faith may be used with them, then a blessing may be pronounced over them. If there be any depart who have covenant or church right to the blessing, then such as the children of the church. If any such depart who are qualified as those in Mat. 5:1–11 Christ had here a mixed audience yet &c. Even Jacob blessed Pharaoh when he took his land, Gen. 47:10, much more may the church confer. It is resolved by the church accordingly to both these.

It was resolved by the church accordingly that such as are members of other churches occasionally present in Wenham if they propose to receive the seals shall signify their desire of communicating to the officer that they assent if the church knew, both for order’s sake, to avoid miscarriages, and because they have not a right without leave.27

17 of 9t. 44.

This Lord’s day the sisters, Anne Fiske, Batchelor, Mary Moulton, Tryphean Geere, Read, received into covenant in the presence of the congregation after the sermon. After which dismissed the company with prayer and a blessing and the church stayed to receive the seal of the Lord’s Supper. There participated also Goodman Badger and his wife, and Anne Fiske, the wife of James Fiske, member at Newbury, Sister Star of Dorchester church, Sisters Young, Fairfield, and White of Salem.

1 of 10t. 44.

This Lord’s day agreed to a church meeting on third day following.

3 of 10t. 44.

The brethren accordingly met. Brother Moulton and Brother James Fiske related here what answers they had received from Elder Sharp of Salem, being sent to him by Sister White for her dismission. The answer was that he and the church looked at her and the other sisters as already dismissed, they being included in the church’s grant and permission given to the brethren and sisters at Wenham to gather a church there, or to this effect.

Hereupon was occasioned some agitation between the brethren touching this matter, considering these sisters did not join in that request at first, nor had hitherto manifested themselves. Yea and it appeared Sister Fairfield and Sister Young for some reasons were not yet free for some reasons they had. Hereupon this question: whether these sisters having yet never their desire propounded to the church at Salem were orderly dismissed and so whether it is orderly for us to receive members of another church before they be orderly come of thence? Twas answered and agreed by the most that considering this was conceived a permission and leave given by the church to all the brethren and sisters at Wenham to gather a church there, wherein willingly they included a liberty to so many of them as were willing, enforcing none, and out of the good experience that church had of the brethren who were to be of the foundation, whose request was particularly and by name manifested, and the approbation they gave unto their way being well persuaded &c. probably conceived a consent on all hands of those amongst us, yea, happily knowing of a desire even of these persons in question of the thing in the general, conceiving it meet to manifest themselves at once touching all. It is therefore now an orderly way for this church at Wenham to receive some or all of these, if they shall now desire it. But, by reason everyone agreed not to this answer, the thing was for present suspended until some had again advised with Elder Sharp.

Hence also another question fell into consideration: What the church is to do in regard of such sisters as do not, or have not desired it? To this it was resolved that two of the brethren should speak with them and put them upon a manifestation of themselves pro or con, and give their answer unto the church. As likewise to give notice to Goodman Badger and his wife of Newbury if removal expressed.

. . . . . also given a third question: Whether members of other churches residing amongst us are to be admitted to constant communion with letters of recommendation? Answer to third question.

1. It seems not orderly, there being no such rule or practice appearing in scripture, but the contrary, as in the case of Phoebe.

2. It seems not satisfactory to the consciences of the brethren of the church with whom such be constantly to communicate. For so an unworthy person may be received and one under the offense of the church where they are members.

3. The ends of such questions are not answered without them, Romans 16:1–2; to manifest that the person recommended stand in good estate with the church whereof they are members; to require on its behalf assistance spiritually and temporally as need is; the encourement and letters satisfying the church they be communicants with; to avoid disorder.

Resolved that strangers amongst us and of whose life we have not personal knowledge should be moved to show their letters of recommendation. Then other . . . . . this question: Whether a church hath any power over members of other churches, if not by virtue of letters of recommendation? It was queried whether a traveller or stranger accidentally passing by and desiring to communicate in the seals, the person being unknown, be to be received?

8 of 10t. 44.

This day a church meeting again appointed on sixth day.

13 of 10t. 44.

Accordingly met. Brother Read returned an answer from Sister Young that she desired to continue as she was till she had conferred with the elders. Sister Fairfield desired that she continue as she is till she has some issue with her husband. Likewise that Goodman Badger and his wife will procure letters of recommendation; the wife of Brother James Fiske to do the same.

19 of 10t. 44.

A day of solemn humiliation kept in regard of England and the spreading of errors there and here.28

22 of 10t. 44.

A church meeting appointed this week. Accordingly on the day appointed the church met. The church agreed to send to the elders of Salem for their advice in the case of the three sisters, Fairfield, White, and Young and also in the case that concerns the receiving of strangers to our communion. Hereupon the church’s letters were drawn up: In this put:

Reverend and Beloved:

Out of the good persuasion we have of your readiness to lend us your best help and lights as need requires, which according to the long and good experience those have had beyond ourselves in the way of Christ and the matters of His house, we conceive you able, through His grace unto, we are bold to send to advise with you in a case . . . concerning our particular which we have had already in some agitation amongst us, but not so fully and thoroughly.

Accordingly in the same mind we have judged it meet to inquire rather the clear light therein to practice anything on one hand or other whereupon anyone upon good reason seems scrupulous. The said is this, that considering our neighbors small or few and providence hath cast us nigh the road where many pass and frequently strangers as fall in amongst us, should it happen upon a day when the seals of the supper is administered that a traveller, unknown by any of our company present, should tender himself a member of such or such a church whether we should do well to receive him in this case, he having no letters of recommendation and whether the ordinance is not by this means exposed to reproach?

The second case is of our Sister White who desiring to join with us was advised to repair to yourselves for a permission so to do. She alleging she was not able so to do in many respects to go herself the winter coming on &c. she was advised in that case to desire two of the brethren to deliver her request. She did so, who receiving some answer from the beloved elder, Mr. Sharp, reported it to us in this spirit, as if it were needed not, considering all the brethren and sisters were together included in that liberty the church gave to us to gather a church here, which for as much as we understood it not to reach to these sisters whose husbands were not members, we gave this advice to her as said. Hereupon rises this question: Whether dismission could be given orderly to such as had not desired it? The most of us inclined this way, that considering this was only a giving of liberty to so many amongst us as would and not any enforcement upon as such as would not and the church might well apprehend and many it knew. These were all willing in the . . . . . which such a work might therefore conceive it meet to manifest themselves at once for all so as it seemed the way was clear for us to proceed with the said sister and the rest also as they discovered some desire. Nevertheless some others of us, being not so clear that it should be so orderly a manner of proceeding, for as before she was in particular propounded to the church, especially considering the other two sisters manifested themselves. viz. Sisters Young and Fairfield, to desire for present rather to stand as they are. Sister Fairfield till such time as the matters touching her husband be brought to some further issue in the church. Sister Young until she had manifested herself in something to yourselves which is in her mind. We therefore have consented in this to suspend the business till after your advice has been lent to us in the case.

John Fiske in the name of the church

Wenham 22 of 10t. 44.

To which was added a postscript touching such members of Newbury who could not have letters of recommendation or dismission but in the name of the elders.29

Two other questions the church this day considered of. The first touching the manner of proceeding in receiving in members that were not yet of any church. Whether the pastor was to propound such persons upon a sole or single trial? Resolved that it would be neither safe, comfortable, or honorable so to proceed. Hereupon voted that Brother Read should be joined with the pastor in taking the first trial of such members and with both of their consents they are to be propounded.30 Whether such to be propounded first to the church in private and so twice propounded according to the practice of some churches? Here some reasons alleged are for it: first, because of the preserving of the good name of the party; second, because that the things that be private be kept in private; and third, because of the preserving the honor of the gospel and the providing of the great peace and safety of the church.

To the first it was objected, in the case of . . . to proceed after second propounding and this no satisfaction. Answered, himself then makes it public and the church not in fault that hath endeavored to conceal the matters. This question referred to further consideration.

To the second question touching our church meetings, which should be public and which private, it was propounded here that such as be dismissed and members of other churches be propounded, do make their relations in private church meetings, in favor to those churches whereto they appertain, but others in the mixed congregation for edification. That private offenses between brethren be first heard in private church meeting to the end that if possible they may be concealed from the world for the honor of the gospel. But if not, that then all confessions be given in the public.31

Objection, a question for the first admonition, whether it ought not be in the private meeting. Answer that all first agitations receive privacy against the church’s order or wherein differences of men’s judgments may be likely to appear be held in private. That the consideration of such as be propounded to church membership be had in private; that if any have aught against such persons it may be first cleared before the matter comes into public. These left to further consideration.

Brother James Fiske craves advice touching the case about his wife, the elders of Newbury refusing to give her a dismission in the church’s name. The matter left to further consideration.

29 of 10t. 44.

This day appointed the seals of supper for next sabbath. And after the public work this Lord’s day in the afternoon the church was desired to stay and the letters from the elders of Salem were read to the church. The copy whereof was this.

Much Reverend and Respected in the Lord:

We have considered seriously of the contents of those letters to us, and the Lord hath been pleased to help us. We have here briefly returned our answer to those particular demands from our own practice and such light as the Lord hath lent each of us herein.

1. Concerning admission of any strangers to the seal of the Supper upon letters, testimonials, or recommendations only, we think not to be safe nor sufficient seeing such letters may be counterfeited and the church ordinances both abused and profaned, unless withall the party be known to some of the congregation to be in covenant elsewhere. And then peacefully admit them without letters upon a verbal testimony of one or more of the church upon some knowledge of them.

2. Touching the case of our Sister White, we had some speech of that together freely and concluded this within ourselves. That as many as had given up their name of manifesting their desires to join in that body with you at Wenham were included in the grant of the church here as if they had been named. So that our church need not to be further moved in it to give such a double dismission, but if any of our members joined not in that purpose and desire (whom you knew best) we think it fit and orderly that they receive letters of dismission here, which will not be denied them.

And this is the substance of what we have to say at present concerning these demands which is delivered somewhat briefly in case of shortness of time. Otherwise we being willing to have more enlarged, as we shall be at any time on the like occasion to do, for the testification of our natural love and respect unto you, as also the preservation of that uniformity and order between our churches as if according to God to whose grace in Christ we heartily commend you all and remain.

Your loving brethren,

Edward Norris

Samuel Sharp

Salem 24 of 10t. 44.

Postscript. Concerning our two members of Newbury, they are only yet upon convenience, but when we call for letters dismissory they must come from the church as well as the elders. Otherwise they will not be received here at any hand, it being no way fit to countenance their innovations in the church of Christ.

This letter those received was left to consideration and Sister White motioned to request some to move for her dismission to the elders of Salem again next church meeting.

5 of 11t. 44.

This Lord’s day we had the seal of the Supper. And Richard Dodge and Joseph Maston of the church at Salem, being present and desiring to communicate, were admitted by vote. Upon sixth day following there was appointed a church meeting at 12 o’clock.

10 of 11t. 44.

Accordingly the church met. Some questions touching Sister White again spoken to and the answer not conceived sufficient and that they gave a permission to those that did not desire it, nor did know whether they would. Brothers Read and Batchelor were appointed to return thanks to the elders in the name of the church and to take further light from them in the two queries about Sister White and about admission of strangers.

A question whether we may, and upon what grounds, oppose letters testimonial on the behalf of a brother or sister coming from their elders, in their names only?

The question of the twice propounded members taken in the same church meeting. The first propounding assented to. The grounds of the second propounding seemed, viz. to free the church’s practice in receiving in members from just exceptions to such as are without, to offer an occasion of further discourse of the party propounded whether from such as not members of such, as members of other churches. Hear the second propounding and after it a fortnight’s time before they are called forth to the relation of public trial.32

last of 11t. 44.

At a church meeting a question about the case touching letters of recommendation not allowed, whether the church ought to hold fellowship. Referred to further consideration.

The wives of Brothers Phineas Fiske and William Fiske propounded. Propounded touching a day of thanksgiving, the passage of this meeting . . .

Brothers Batchelor and Read returned their answer from the elders of Salem. Touching the admission of strangers, that not without some knowledge of them by some of your church. Touching Sister White, that they would propound her to the church at Salem for dismission. Touching Newbury members, that if they bring letters only in the elders’ names they should protest against them as an innovation upon the liberties of the church of Christ.

Here are the grounds considered of refusing such letters testimonial as come only in the elders’ names. First, because they have only power of receiving in. But the church and not the elders without the church have this power &c. Because of the end of recommendation which requires an act of the whole church, it being to the church recommended to of the meeting of the parties. Because none but the whole church can declare such a member to stand in good state with the whole church. Justification: some are under offense and the offense is known only to some but not wise from elders; some are of corrupt judgment; maybe the elders are corrupt too.

Second, from the other end, the requesting the inspection and watch of that other church over such a one as being more watch from themselves. If first the whole church be led to watch over such a member, then the whole church is likewise led to see and provide that some be watched over in the other church. Such a request first is no other but an effect of the church’s care and faithfulness. The contrary should seem to argue carelessness and neglect and not such a manifestation of their care as is required unto the faithful discharge of their trust committed to them over such a member. I Cor. 12, they care one for another.

Third, for the elders to act thus is an impeachment of the church’s liberty.

Fourth, tis more uncomfortable to the person they recommended who should go away with the prayers and blessing of the church. Acts 15:33, let them depart in peace; also because of Acts 40, recommended to the grace of God by the brethren.

This question was put to consideration whether members of other churches be to be retained in constant fellowship without letters of recommendation. This day at this meeting was propounded as desiring church fellowship the wife of our Brother Phineas Fiske and the wife of our Brother William Fiske.

A question or motion was again received about a solemn day of thanksgiving, none being yet kept by the church since the church gathering. After agitation it was left to further consideration.

14 of 12t. 44.

A church meeting again held upon sixth day of the week. This meeting was appointed for counsel touching the persons propounded for fellowship whether we should proceed with them to propound them in public. Here we considered who are not meet for church fellowship. Such as are yet uncalled and in the state of nature. Such as, though we be hopefully persuaded of them in the main, yet we find to be guilty of some scandalous walking or act unrepented of. For such as we may and must eject out of fellowship, such we ought to reject from fellowship.

Secondly, we considered whether near relations are to be present when the church do speak touching such persons as propounded &c. Resolved, they are to be present because Christ requires faithfulness in God’s members and even in relations. Because we find no rule to absent such nor sound reason. Divers reasons considered, but not found to bear on this case.

The case of the wife of Brother Phineas Fiske considered and reduced to two heads: whether any had aught against her conversation (private offenses excepted); who had aught for her. Two things were objected against her: her carriage towards her husband in accounting him an enemy and exclaiming against him commonly and saying he loved another woman better than his wife &c., and her miscarriage one Lord’s day presently after a prayer and ordinance to challenge Sister White for a debt, which it was determined she should acknowledge in the public congregation. Which, if she would promise to do and appear in some measure affected with and to speak to satisfaction to the brethren employed to acquaint her with the church’s mind, the church determined to proceed no further with her. The brethren appointed by the church to show her the church’s mind, and some days after she had duly considered of it to receive her answer, were Brother Read and Brother Geere.

The case of the wife of Brother William Fiske, because of want of time, was referred to the next church meeting to be considered.

25 of 12t. 44.

This day was delivered into the pastor’s hand a note, letters from the elders of the church of Newbury. The copy hereof follows.

To the Reverend and much Respected Mr. Fiske, Pastor of the church at Wenham:33

Reverend and Beloved:

For as much as Goodman Badger and his wife and Anne Fiske are by the providence of God removed into your town there to have their fixed habitation, we thought fit (having duly acquainted our church with the thing) to give them up to your care and inspection who can be present to overlook them. And we desire you to take them under the wing of your government as in particular appertaining unto you. So we end resting,

Yours in Christian office,

Thomas Parker

James Noyes

Newbury 20 of 12t. 44.

28 of 12t. 44.

A church meeting wherein the answer of Brothers Read and Geere was returned concerning the wife of Brother Phineas Fiske that by reason of the extremity of the season they were prevented and so have not yet taken her answer. The church considered the former letter from Newbury and the contents of it where divers objections were suggested against the letters.

First, that they were concluded to be letters of dismission because the party included be yielded up unto another’s care and inspection and desired to be so taken under his wing of government as particularly pertaining to him. Whereas two of these members within mentioned desired not dismission.

Second, that this dismission is not to the church mentioned (and may as well be said to be unto the town as unto the church) but unto the pastor of the church only as if the whole care and government belonged to him. Whereas by Mat. 16 and 17 it seems to belong to the church, and I Cor. 12, yet come in the . . . also severally one of another, and I Cor. 5, the power of examination is in the church; again of admission whereas Phoebe was commended to the church, Rom. 16:1.

Third, that this letter comes not in the name of the church but only of the officers and the intention first made known to the church.

Fourth, that these are not commended in these letters at all, not so much as if brethren &c. of the church. But as much as might be said of mere townsmen as of these. It was answered to this, tis probable they would reply they have remained so long a time amongst us as they be best known of ourselves. Brother James Fiske gave testimony of the carriage of the matters at Newbury, being there present at the meeting. Viz., the elders informed divers members gone from them to other churches who desired letters of dismission and he thought it meet to propound it to the church to see if any had anything against it. If none had aught against it, then he took their silence for a consent.

Fifth, that then this implies no other but the elders dismissal and sending letters of dismission in their own names with the consent of the church (this the . . . ministers to parishes in this sense).

Hereupon put the question what to do with these letters. Resolved: 1. That the letters are not meet to be read in public, but that they be for present concealed. 2. That if any of these should desire or move to join in fellowship (and could give the church satisfaction) that these letters do give liberty to the members, and the church may proceed with them and may receive them (as non-members), a manifestation only being made in the public receiving that we understand they be set at liberty by the church at Newbury. 3. It was moved that the counsel of the elders at Salem might be had in it. But resolved that for as much as this were in the same case and had not yet pressed for letters of recommendation from theirs, it were better bye and bye to gain the best light from them and rather to desire to see them in the quarrel first engaged than to manifest ourselves so to be. And to inquire also what they do at Ipswich in the same case. And considering our minority twas not supposed comely for us to appear first in the quarrel, it being the great and doubtful dispute this day in the world (as most may judge).34 4. That it was not yet a season to give so full and final resolution to the letters. But that rather we shall further consider of them as the church have an opportunity to speak to their members further and as the Lord shall spring new light.

At this meeting the wife of our Brother William Fiske her desire was spoken to and her conversation considered. The only exception was in respect of her reservedness, being usually observed to be silent from speaking of heavenly matters and spiritual matters. To this was considered that she was observed to be of few words in company in any case and that this particular, and her failing in it, was seen and confessed of her so to be. Though tis upon occasion some dealt with her about it, being not convinced of it as a sin. Testimony was given to the church on her behalf.35 The conclusion was she was conceived meet to be propounded in public.

2 of 1st. 45.

This day being the Lord’s day, the seal of baptism was administered in this church, the first time the church had that seal administered. Which by reason of the season one sabbath before the church being constrained to meet in our pastor’s house and now a second time, which was continued, the church meeting there two or three sabbaths after. The church member baptized was Anna Fiske, daughter to John Fiske, pastor.

This day being the Lord’s day, we agreed on a solemn day of humiliation to be publicly kept by the church in regard of the extremity of the season, the condition of the church in particular from God’s help to the receiving in of members that are meet &c, and in the case touching the sent Newbury letters, and the regard of the town, the low estate of it, and regard of England &c., Which was through God’s goodness accordingly kept upon the fourth day of the week. Ipswich kept the fifth day of the week in cause of the season.36

13 of 1st. 45.

This fifth day of the week the church met in the afternoon about the scandals divulged upon a brother, viz. Phineas Fiske, to inquire into the grounds of the same, his wife, known to be the person divulging them, being there present to make good her accusations. But not finishing the work resolved to meet again next second day.

17 of 1st. 45.

The church accordingly met. Where from the letters expediting of the business two things were at once done: the clearing of the question and the diverting to the most orderly proceeding.

Answered: to charge a brother upon mere rumors and reports without further ground is besides a rule. The case standing thus: such a brother is either innocent or guilty. If he should be innocent, tis but the duty of the church to clear his innocency. And a fruit of their love and this (as the case stands) is the only means of clearing.

Now how far is the church to judge whether he be innocent or no. Two things are considerable. First, our brother may according to the rule of love (I Cor. 13) be looked at and cleared by the church in two respects. 1. If the scandal raised against him be unjust. First, if there be no good grounds or bottoms of it. And therefore this is to be heeded in the first place whether this his offense may be proved against him. And therefore such interrogations to the brother as may tend to the making good their accusations by his own confession and so to entrap him upon mere suggestions, to bring a brother by this means into a snare seems beside the rule because it is against the law of nature for a man to be forced to accuse himself. 2. If the scandal appear to the church to be just in whole or in part, yet if in case a brother hath not appeared obstinate but sensible of it and humbled for it, confessing it and given satisfaction by that means, he is thereupon to be pronounced innocent and clear. As I suppose I have dealt with my brother in the first place and then he heard me and in the judgment of the brethren have manifested repentance and cannot be charged with the same since that. If after this my brother be brought upon the stage through occasion of my divulging it and this is understood by the church, she is to clear him.

Second, if guilty, the church is by the same rule of love to convince him and bring him to repentance.

Third, considering that the church being generally privy to the accusation may object, and the party accusing being upon trial to come into the church, the church act in receiving her and not first searching the truth of these charges or the grounds of them, justifying the person accusing and condemning the brother accused by consequence without hearing the cause.

Fourth, considering the pastor, who hath diversely been acquainted with the thing, goes under prejudice of uncharitableness &c. and therefore the cause requires hearing of the church to clear him.

Fifth, tis well known that both from within and without the church hath manifested us to have conceived here thoroughly of our brother, upon these reports, as if guilty of the scandal.

Sixth, all will be ready to say, where there is so much smoke there is some fire.

To the second expediting of this business tis meet that the church do first have the accusation, consider the rise and ground of them as may appear by testimony or circumstances, and then thirdly consider where and in what particular to charge it and put him upon his answer. Also that every brother that speak by way of question or objection propounds it to the church, and every answer to be given to the church and not one brother to another &c.

These things premised, the charges or accusations considered of these two meetings were: of falsehood in our brother or false witness bearing. Charged by his wife in sending a false report of her to the Widow Ingerson which she said the Widow Ingerson told her was this, viz. that he should send her word that if he paid her she should not think it amiss of him for he knew not of the bargain his wife made with her son. When in fact he did know of it, as she said. George Ingerson, who carried the message, testified to two of the church members that he told his mother to this effect.

Our Brother Fiske denied he sent so, but that he said he never told his wife their being there was worth 10 d. But he had told his wife their being at Goodman Underwood’s was worth 10 d., which he said before he ever knew of this bargain or them. (For Goodwife Ingerson and the wife of our Brother Fiske made the bargain for the being at his house for 6 d., and Goodwife Ingerson told her husband that Goodwife Fiske said her husband said twas worth 10 d. but she would take 6 d.) Goodwife Fiske said she said not so, but that her husband said their being at Goodman Underwood’s was worth 10 d., but she would take 6 d. for their being there.

Here it was conceived that our brother, being accused of sending a false report of his wife, could not be understood in this latter sense, but in the former wherein his wife said he knew of the bargain. Our brother, denying he sent this message in these terms, acknowledged that he knew of the bargain these made before the bargain his wife made. She asking him about it, he left her to herself and after twas made she immediately told him what she had done, which acknowledgement she consented to as true. This then was charged on our brother: that he clearing himself by this message the lie must needs lie upon her. Twas replied, twas a mistake (as probably might be conceived in the messenger) for it lies between their two. The messenger says he said he knew of the bargain; he says no. And moreover, George Ingerson said to two of the brethren that Phineas Fiske explained himself thus not to know of the bargain till his wife had told him (as before expressed).

So this was determined to this effect. That nothing in this could be fastened upon our brother whereby it might appear he was chargeable to the accusation. Nor could we see how he sent a false report against his wife, for first the messenger by which he sent it clears him, and secondly, had he said he did not know of the bargain it was in some measure true, for he neither knew before what she would ask nor was present at the bargain making, it being only by his wife with George Ingerson’s wife.

The second accusation: want of love towards his wife. The charge endeavored to be cleared in two or three particulars. 1. In not using means to clear his wife wherein she was innocent. Question: In what respect? In that she saying he did know of the bargain said true by his confession which he did not clear. Answered: He endeavored to clear it to the parties that heard the step, viz. to Mr. Endicott and to Widow Ingerson. This was good so far as the testimony of George Ingerson and his wife might have. Brother William testified this from them in writing. 2. It was cleared to the elders of Salem when they propounded and called her before the church the second time, which they would not have done had not the governor [Endicott] and the Widow Ingerson been satisfied touching that offense on her part. 3. Testimony was brought from Mr. Norton by Brother Batters that the Salem Church was satisfied. 4. Our pastor and his wife testified from Goody Gidney that the cause of her [Mrs. Phineas Fiske’s] second stoppage was something Francis Skirry had against her. 5. Our pastor remembers the wife of our Brother Fiske has often said to him, as to his wife, the only cause or reason she proceeded not in the church was that our pastor did not give in his testimony. Where upon he went with her to Mr. Sharp to remove that block. (And Brother William Fiske says she told the governor that everyone was satisfied excepting myself.)

So whereas in the first meeting through want of testimony to clear matters the church conceived he had been wanting indeed in the use of that means which especially was required to be used to clear his wife which was judged his duty, at this second meeting this thing was fully cleared by the first answers (and might have been further cleared if it had been needful by these two best answers here inserted in the parentheses). (To this was added. 6. That when our pastor and Brother Batchelor had the matters in hearing this was not charged by us upon him that he had not used means to take off this report and prejudice against her, at this we then found he had. But ourselves may work as to clear her apprehension in it that she might see he had and see that he had not sent that false report against her she conceived he had. 7. She testified to the church that she was satisfied concerning her husband in this particular and only spake of the thing to one or two to hear their private judgment, whom she thought would have been private.)

Second particular against her husband: for not praying with her and for her and not sympathizing with her condition. She denied she ever used the word sympathizing, but that he was not sensible of her condition &c. and for praying with and for her she meant not so much in that manner and such things as she desired him to do. Our brother answered that he did ordinarily mention her and her condition particularly in his prayers. Testimony was brought how he had been observed to sympathize with his wife very much and with tears and to remember her in public with great affection. Also that in family twas usual with him so to do (Brother James Fiske and Richard Petting, though their names not mentioned because of relations).

Third particular: for cruelty and bitterness in his carriage to her. Asked her in what sense she spoke it? Answer, not of bodily cruelty, but in speeches toward her. The church understood that these speeches she put cruelty in were before spoken to before our pastor and Brother Batchelor and wherein he was guilty he had given satisfaction. They left it.

Fourth particular: she reports that Goodwife Underwood told her that she dealing with our brother for his harshness towards her he said to her he would break her heart. This she stood to; her husband denied. So the issue was, some other particulars being known of the brethren, referred to them whether they would speak to them, but they being for the present silent.

Twas concluded by the church that our brother in the three former charges was to be quited and cleared, being judged (human frailties excepted) innocent in case of these so sad accusations. The fourth charge was left in suspension until an answer could be received from Watertown for the further clearing of it.37

Loving Cousin,

My love and my husband’s unto you and your wife, and I am glad to hear of your health and welfare, having received your letter. I did write unto you in part to answer your request, but taking it unto better consideration I thought to give you more clear and full answers according to the charge that is laid upon my cousin Phineas. I never did see anything that I did apprehend to be a miscarriage towards his wife from him. But this I remember, upon a time she being in distemper about beating of oatmeal which I thought was very violent, I spoke to him in her hearing that he should let her have her will at that time. I do think that he did say he should do well if he did break her of her will in that particular. This according to my memory for the satisfaction of my own conscience I have dealt faithfully as far as I am able to remember. I do entreat you to remember my love to my cousin Phineas and his wife, and I do wish the welfare of them both with all my soul. With my love to all kindred with you I rest.

Your loving kinswoman,

Martha Underwood

Watertown 19, 3 mo. 1645.

23 of 1st. 45.

Lord’s day. This day in the afternoon, after sermon and a psalm sung, the congregation stayed and the wife of Brother William Fiske made a declaration of the work of grace to good satisfaction and manifested by her answers to divers questions about the principles of religion a good measure of knowledge and finally gave her public assent to the confession of faith of this church and to the church covenant. And being so voted by the church as meet for fellowship was received into the numbers.

In her relation she held forth her first conviction from a sermon upon Col. 3:9 where a jesting lie was reproved and she was guilty. We heard of many other sins and of her miserable condition in case of sin, even of original sin. She was stayed somewhat by a place in scripture received from the same minister, in private acquainting him with her condition, from Psalms 28, he that confess and forsake sin &c., she finding her heart indined to confessing and forsaking. She looked at sin as grievous to God and herself as having offended Him. The temptation being to divert herself from use of the means as hopeless of . . . and to follow vanities. She was taken off them again by Eccles. 11:9 [?] and going with her mother to a sermon she heard from Jer. 31 that twas the work of God to turn the soul. He was able to do it and was to be sought to.

Then she set upon prayer for it and had thereupon some stay from the power of God. Afterward from Ezek. 33:14–16 she found some comfortable hopes upon this ground that she found a willingness and desire wrought in her to turn from her sins, but mixed with great fear and doubting considering her own inability to turn. At length, in private, from Mat. 11:28 she saw Christ tendered to her and Himself offering Himself freely could she by faith lay hold of Him through Whom she should have ease and pardon. And her heart was caused hereupon to lay hold upon Christ in the spirit. And secondly, in public, one applying that place in Mat. 11:28 as to know whether a soul was in Christ or no, by this if it could or could not of itself wholly unto Christ for bringing nothing to the . . . , which the Lord helped her to do. And so that time was full of fears and dwelling oft about her condition and upon seeking to God, He hath brought this to mind in Mat. 11:28 with that in John 13:1, whom he loveth, he loveth to the end.

10 of 2d. 45.

At a meeting the letters of dismission of Joan White from the church at Salem were read and accepted of, in case she gave satisfaction to the church otherwise. Hereupon the church desired her, being present, to make a declaration of the work of grace in her soul. Which was done, the substance whereof was this.

She was brought up in a poor, ignorant place &c. Her first conviction was of the sins of the breach of the sabbath and taking of God’s name in vain from the 3d. and 4t. commandments. Her heart being drawn to New England because good people came hither at last by a providence coming over she was shut up for a long space of time living far in the woods away from the means. And reading on Rom. 10, faith cometh by hearing, put her affections onward the desire of the means. Also at Ipswich from Isa. 41:17, here comfort and closure, heard of original sin &c. So Psalms 89:33 and at another time Jer. 31, I’ll be their God, they my people.

After some questions and her assent yielded to our church confession and covenant the church referred her to the next sabbath.

The letters from Newbury elders taken again into consideration and there was objected against them: that they fear by it too little regard of a church covenant and that they fear to allow of no power in the church for they ascribe nothing in it either to their own or this, contrary to Acts 15:22–23. No resolution about it yet, therefore still deferred to further consideration.

To the question touching a solemn day of thanksgiving considered of and the whole church inclineth that a day should be set apart to that purpose. It was referred to next church meeting to consider of the time and of the manner of the carrying it on.

13 of 2d. 45.

On this Lord’s day we enjoyed the seal of the Supper. George Norton, a member of the church at Gloucester, was admitted to participate with us in it.

After the sermon and singing a psalm the letters of dismission concerning Joan White were publicly read, and after the church had by vote manifested their willingness to reach forth unto her the right hand of fellowship, she was admitted and propounded an actual member of this church. The copy of the letter dismissive.

To the Elders and Brethren of the Church of Christ at Wenham the Church of Salem sendeth greeting in our blessed Savior.

Reverend and Dearly Beloved:

Whereas Joan White, a member of our congregation, by reason of her abode with you cannot so well partake with us in the ordinances nor live under our watch and hath therefore desired our letter dismissive unto you, know you therefore that we have consented thereto and request you to receive her in the Lord as becometh saints and watch over her, administering to her all the holy things of His house that she may be presented blameless in the day of Jesus Christ. To whose grace we commend you and with the desire of the communion of your prayers.

Your loving brethren in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel,

Edward Norris

Samuel Sharp

In the name and with the consent of the church.

Salem 10 of 2d. 45.

Testimony for her from Brother Batchelor and Brother Byam.

20 of 3d. 45.

At a church meeting the wife of Brother Phineas Fiske her case spoken to. The letter from Watertown was judged to clear our brother from the imputation cast on him by his wife. Concluded touching her that she should appear convinced of the evil of her accusations against her husband before we proceeded further with her and that the whole church severally should endeavor as opportunity serve to convince her in the particulars. And as this was conceived as a way to bring her to see her evil that everyone take meet season to tell her of it plainly. So secondly to pray for her, and thirdly to walk exemplarily before her.

And the evil that she is to be convinced of is especially, publishing what she should have concealed (had this been true) to the defaming of her husband. The evil from the mind of it. First, that twas done in way of extenuating her own evil. Secondly, that she said she was provoked to it. Thirdly, that she said there were some of the church that were not dealt with withall (which was conceived meant her husband). Fourthly, that he was the cause or occasion of her trouble. And fifthly, that she still justifies herself and these and such like. Considering her relation was an aggravation of her sin.

Here a question whether may not a private case be brought orderly into public while private by Mat. 18. Answer, negative, because there must be witnesses. Objection, witnesses not of the fault but of the obstinancy in it. Answer, if one affirms, another denies. What witnesses here of obstinancy? If one acknowledged the fact but denied the evil, then witness of obstinancy.

4t. 45.

On one Lord’s day is this John Moulton baptized.

6t. 45.

On Lord’s day we had the seals of the Supper and also the seal of baptism. Samuel Fiske and Sarah Geere baptized.

8 of 6t. 45.

On this day, being the 5t. or 6t. day the week following this sabbath, a public church meeting was held at which Mary Hersome made her relation, was accepted, and passed. See her relation after. Testimony from George Byam and James Moulton. The Lord’s day following the covenant administered to her, she manifesting her assent to the church’s confession of faith.

The letter from Newbury considered. Concluded that from the substance of them they contain a dismission. The form was excepted against and agreed that this dissent should be publicly manifested at the reading of them. Touching the wife of our Brother James Fiske, in case she give the church satisfaction then to proceed with her.

Touching Goodman Badger and his wife, they having manifested they required not dismission nor would accept of a dismission, that therefore we look at them as neither recommended nor dismissed and so we have no right to receive them into constant fellowship that have letters for neither. Therefore agreed that they be spoken with from the church to be tried, according as we shall find we to proceed. Brothers Read and Geere desired to go to Goodman Badger and his wife and deal with them about the offense of the church touching the letters from Newbury and to bring back the answer to the church.

Also Brother Batchelor and Brother Read desired to go to Phineas Fiske his wife and to see how she stood in the particulars before specified and to bring some report to the church.

22 of 6t. 45.

A church meeting. Brother James Fiske’s wife, her relation. From her infancy to the time after she came to years of understanding she living under a powerful wrong was convinced of her misery. But set about feeling . . . in her own strength. She was here convinced of the necessity of a saviour for she was . . . and stayed from Philipians 1, he that begun will perfect it. After repenting, a sermon on Isa. 55 showed her first, Christ is offered to only one that be in a need of Him; second, Christ is offered freely, nothing could bring Christ to the . . .; and third, nothing could hinder her from Christ and joy.

After she was lifted up with the great things that were done for her. After she was convinced of it from a sermon of Mr. Parke38 on Isa. 1:2 whereupon the Lord made her sensible of her own unworthiness. Many questions after this as not yet humble enough to come to Christ. It was answered in reading Dr. Preston.39 Afterward carried on lively, but afterward by laziness grew cold and the Lord left her. After awakened when the Lord showed disposition of her heart and God’s love. And her heart shook with an awful fear (from I Cor. 12, will go away in unbelief) and the light to choose to perish at the feet of Christ and so God hath spoken.

Her assent regarding this given to this church confession and in particular that the power of the . . . to bring to the church that infants may lawfully be baptized from Gen. 17 and Mat. 28:18.

To the case of Goodman Badger and his wife, the answer not returned yet, they not yet being spoken with. Brother Geere his . . . (by Brother Read) not guilty, and he alleges he knew not of the church meeting. Brother Byam appointed in Brother Geere’s place and they were to go to Goodman Badger.

Next church meeting our brethren returned Goodman Badger’s answer that the reason why he contributed not was his inability, losses, expenses to strangers and travellers in relieving them, and taking Goodman Allin’s child. The reason why he absented himself from the seals was he did not know the seals were to be administered. And whereas it was objected to him he might perceive for what by the setting of the table, he answered he conceived it was so set to write on.

Our brethren returned also the message from Brother Phineas Fiske’s wife that the utmost she could acknowledge wherein she had offended and if she had walked contrary to a rule she should be sorry and pray to God to forgive her, or to this effect.

Touching the former the Church agreed that our pastor and Brother Read should again speak with Goodman Badger. Touching the latter, that this answer should be sent from the church to the wife of our Brother Phineas Fiske that her acknowledgement did not satisfy, but when once a manifestation of repentance was made they should joyfully proceed with her. But in the meantime surcease.

Next church meeting our pastor and Brother Read returned the answer to the church that Goodman Badger stood upon the same grounds as before, and moreover had four or five times expressed himself as if his affections should be withdrawn from them (as we understood, from the church). The church resolved, considering we were to have the seal of the Supper next Lord’s day, to manifest to him that touching that expression of his affections being withdrawn and that also of the reason expressed for his last absenting himself from the seals, they excepted against them and did desire he would give the church satisfaction before he received. Or otherwise if he could not acknowledge his failing therein, they would wish him to withdraw himself from present receiving.

This message was declined and upon the Lord’s day, after the congregation was dismissed, before the church Goodman Badger was demanded if he had aught to say to the church. And after some expostulations of the matter he required to know for what and excusing himself. Our pastor enjoined his silence that the church might attend the more weighty service at present. Both he and his wife returned themselves back out of the congregation.

This day, Goodman Badger manifesting himself to some of the brethren that he would give the church a meeting, the church thereupon for this and some other church occasions appointed a church meeting next 6t. day at one o’clock and gave notice to Goodman Badger of it that he had liberty to be present there and if he pleased.

12 of 7. 45.

This day the church met accordingly and the parties, viz. Goodman Badger and his wife. Where touching the wife of Brother Phineas Fiske the church resolved further to attend her and observe her spirit and conversation to see if any good fruits of repentance might further appear. Goodman Badger spoke much in defense of himself and excusing his absenting himself as before from the seals and his not contributing. But it was no way satisfactorily, with many unsavory expressions and reasons, and tedious, and with exceptions against the church.

15 of 7t. 45.

Church met and resolved Brothers Geere and Norton to be entreated to go again to Goodman Badger from the church as more indifferent persons in the case and remind him again of those things wherein he had given offense: 1. withdrawing from contributing; 2. withdrawing himself from the Lord’s Supper and the reasonless reason he gave for it; 3. testifying his withdrawing his affections from the church; 4. putting the church upon as using tricks and guilty with it; 5. touching the jealousies we have of his too frequent neglect of family duties.

26 of 7t. 45.

The brethren called to return their answer and Brother Geere spoke to this effect. That they could not reach with him one of the particulars, but he stood it out touching contributions. Only his wife at length answered that twas an ordinance but only in its season, but not for a weekly ordinance. So it was the practice of the church at Newbury every Lord’s day when many were in the country, but now that it is not so, when there is need, then the deacons give due notice and accordingly they contribute. As for him, he returns nothing but evasion and from his great feeling again denies the same thing and that he holds no principles as that granted upon the question by these brethren that weekly contributions were an ordinance to be set up in the churches.

It was concluded that his failings were such as the church was entitled to return him to his own church and refuse to communicate with him in the Supper. And letters to the purpose were to be compiled and sent to the church at Newbury.

28 of 7t. 45.

This day being the Lord’s day the letters from the church at Gloucester were read concerning George Norton’s dismission and his relations required. He accordingly does.

He was convinced on the very acting of some evil and of the guilt in that regard and brought to some reformation and to some civility. He set upon reading and to some profit and to some desire of good. For which he chose the way to this country and after that came hither feeling with the best . . . . . explanations and joined with the church at Salem, though there he made not his rest. After going to Plymouth he fell into Arminianism40 and held from free will. But he set upon it to read Dr. Preston’s “God’s All Sufficiency” which again settled &c. After coming to Salem again he read . . . and then convinced of an evil, but shame confessed so as could not discover. Afterward he fell to some loathing of it yet often fell into the sin again. Then Jer. 2:22, could not look for mercy, and that place seconded by that scripture, the dog returned to his vomit &c. He could not see which way God could show one mercy. Reading of Byfield41 tended more to his misery than his comfort; he could not see that God could be just and he receive mercy. Yet considered who the author of mercy &c. and came to consider maybe God might show mercy. Upon which the . . . . . . taken off when he cast himself upon God, though he could not see how.

Next that he reads was Mr. Williams,42 things very pleasing but not reaching his condition. After occasionally to baptism and with Mr. Cotton.43 What way to use to get from under the spirit of bondage? Asked, as God said, by casting self upon Him. Then He replied with many promises and that in Mat. 11:28, which I could not fend off. Coming to Salem, then some deadness. Afterward in the spring going to Mr. . . . to work he went to hear Mr. Hooker in Cambridge44 whose way was to answer a question and to insist upon it. And so that day where he met with one question in all the particulars if knew it. Touching the guilt of . . . of salvation. And troubled in the night he was minded to look at Psalms 124:7; rose to look at it and found it to suit him. Upon this concluded that he was in a good estate and grew serene. This before he heard Mr. Hooker preach something from Jer. 31, I’ll forgive iniquity. After, this query, how do I know that I profess in Christ? Answer, that in John 1:1, Christ is the word so as cannot receive the word kindly. Yet stick at that. Best promise from Mat. 11:28; the rest settled from Psalm 77, that stick ye yet not a purpose. This one sealed up at the Supper from these words, those that come to me I’ll in no wise cast off. This his state, that setting so to speak of that which rest from God’s glory some revolt &c. as in the case of some vow that was made to God which a just provocation of God whereupon there kindness ye met, better not to vow than not to perform. Thereupon then . . . the performing &c. and this God answered.

Upon questioning he testified his judgment in church government in baptism of infants &c. and his assents to confession of faith, that touching deacons excepted as ourselves. The covenant then administered to him. Anne Fiske, the wife of James Fiske, also received into covenant having manifested her assent to the church confession.

The letter of dismission from Gloucester for George Norton.

To our beloved in the Lord, the Church of Christ at Wenham, the church at Gloucester sendeth greetings:

Whereas this bearer our Brother George Norton is now by the providence of God settled with you there and can no longer live under the watch of this church, he also desiring dismission unto you, we according to his desire have thought fit to recommend the care of him unto you, desiring you to receive him and watch over him in the Lord and to communicate all the holy things of God’s house unto him. Thus with our love unto you and prayers for you, desiring your prayers for us, we commit you to the grace of God in Christ and so rest.

Yours in the Lord Jesus,

Richard Blinman

in the name and with the consent of the church

Gloucester 21.7.45.

28 of 7. 45.

This day were these letters following agreed to by the church to be sent to the church at Newbery.

To the reverend and beloved, the elders and brethren of the church at Newbury, the church at Wenham sendeth greeting in our blessed saviour.

Reverend and Beloved in the Lord:

For as much as Goodman Badger, a member of the Church of Christ with you, has been received to communicate with us in this church for some space of time as one of you (he not acknowledging the letters we received from you as letters of dismission). Since his abode with us he has given some offense by his disorderly walking. We having two several times by two of our brethren endeavored his conviction before the church, merely to avoid exception on his part before he gave out that he would give the church a meeting. Whereupon we considered and condescended accordingly to set a time apart and let him have word that he had liberty if he thought good to come and declare what he had in his mind before the church. Which he of his own accord did, though with no purpose to satisfy as his speeches and carriages did not sufficiently manifest in the apprehensions of us all. And thus we (professing no other power over him) have in a brotherly way endeavored according to our measure to carry ourselves towards him in this matter and he not hearing us we have therefore judged it meet to notify you thereof and of our intentions withall to withdraw from in our communion in the seals until some satisfaction touching his repentance is received.

The occasions which moved us to send at first to him were that we had observed: 1. his neglect of contribution; 2. his turning his back at a time (as to us it seemed) upon the ordinance of the Supper, departing home from the assembly; 3. some grounds of strong jealousies of a frequent neglect by him of family duties. To the first he makes allegation of his inability because of his expenses to strangers and otherwise, and this he seeks still to maintain which is no way satisfactory, especially since contribution being an ordinance of God confessed by him. To the second he replies his not knowing of the Supper to be administered then, which we conceived he could not probably be ignorant of (though we grant what he says, that he heard not the notice given for it the sabbath before and some other things also put to his consideration) considering what our custom is of setting the table out at length before the meeting in a readiness, whereupon he was forced to change his usual seat for that forenoon. To which he gives as unsatisfactory answer in saying he knew not but it was to write upon and considering he might easily have observed none of the church to follow him forth from the meeting nor in the way homeward. To the third he gives a preemptory denial that ever he hath omitted these duties morning or evening since he came here except such days as he went to mill before day, notwithstanding two which lived in his house have often spoken and yet do affirm the same and divers presumptions also which we have otherwise of it.

In all which agitations he hath very offensively carried himself towards the church and towards the messengers by his frequently granting the charges and with the same breath denying again the same things when he sees the consequence to reflect upon him, manifesting himself offended that we believe him not on his bare word, telling our messengers such doings would draw his affections from us, saying before the church we put tricks and quibbles upon him, and by other unsavory passages of this nature. In the close of all we a third time out of our earnest desire of his good and gaining of him, if it were still the will of God, addressed, after we had done all this, two other of our brethren to him whom we conceived might be most in esteem with him, who returned to us saddened as finding no effect of their labors but answerable to what had appeared before. In regard whereof we cannot (but in faithfulness to his sake in particular and to that trust reposed by yourselves in us, though not without great sorrow) thus remit him unto you to whom the charge especially appertaineth praying God to give him at length repentance and due sense of his failings and not to leave him to Satan’s temptation or a deluded heart and to that end bless your godly endeavors with him for the eternal peace and welfare of his soul which we seek unfeignedly. And so we rest.

Yours in the bonds of the fellowship of the gospel,

John Fiske

in the name and with the consent of the church

postscript. Touching the other two comprised in your letters, we have received Anne Fiske into covenant with us. We retain fellowship with Goodman Badger his wife as yet one of you.

Since these letters were agreed upon it was motioned and accordingly agreed that first these letters following should be sent.

To the reverend &c.:

Whereas Goodman Badger yet stands and have been received hitherto by us unto communion as one of you and now by his disorderly walking and it aggravated through his obstinancy have given great offense to us, we, not seeing how in faithfulness to his own soul and to the trust our Lord hath reposed in us we should continue so to do, have thought meet to give notice of our resolutions therefore to withdraw from him and to leave him to you whose inspection and care he most properly appertaineth. And so we rest entreating your prayers.


John Fiske in the name &c.

5 of 8t. 45.

Postscript. Touching his wife (they both refusing your letters of dismission from you as never desiring them as they say) she is yet continued unto communion as appertaineth to you. Anne Fiske is received into covenant with us as who lately was of you. We are ready to impart more unto you when you should desire it.

18 of 10t. 45.

A church meeting. [Phineas Fiske’s wife] she hoped to speak to satisfy the church. The particulars named by her she conceived the good of her feelings in their way . . . . . . of patience and things desired to practice wisdom and humility. And after she acknowledged she did evil in these particulars whereas she should have kept secret and as the duty of a wife and as . . . her carriage at that time. She was asked whether . . . some reflections were cast on her husband because she said she can pass by her husband’s failings.

Our brother Phineas Fiske was asked; he answered in case of particular, he sees not . . . , in particular touching the . . . . He saw not &c. in the second bitterness or cruelty. He answered that in the speech of the messenger, because he sent that message, was cruelty. The first touching her saying that her husband sent a false report of her, she answered that she knew not who carried or sent it, but it was a false report. So she . . . in grief &c. and could speak no more.

In the afternoon she came again and whereas she had in the morning expressed that her husband had acknowledged his failing to her and she had passed them by. It was agreed that she should express what these failings were. Where she related:

First, a speech he should use to her when George Ingerson and his wife came to call them to go with them to Mr. Endicott’s that he should say to her, we have lost one day and should lose another about her. So that she took offense in that he joined himself with them and left her out &c. Against her he answered this; that he remembered that he was humbled and grieved in his spirit that there should be such an occasion of going to Mr. Endicott and might explain himself unadvisedly in such kind of speeches as might justly give her offense. Though he remembered not yet any expression (this being some years since).

Second, she complained that he should object to her she could plead strongly for her accusations and that the woe would return to herself. He answered that for the former he suppose he did speak thus and in that speech did not act so tender toward her as he might have done and was sorry for it. In the latter part that that he spake by way of caution. She objected to him that . . . were begun by whom appeared he should bid her take heed the woe did not return to herself.

Third, that she inquiring about the church here, he would not tell her and . . . Brother James. He denied it that he did remember any such thing, only . . . the thing [?]. Brother James asked, remembered that he refused and forbid him. He conceived it was with respect that he conceived it not seasonable, in regard of her distemper. So he thereupon acknowledged there was not that wisdom and kindness in his carriage at such times as were meet toward her.

Our pastor upon this manifested the statement thus: these particulars had been heard some years since and satisfaction given on either side before him and Brother Woodberry and Brother Batchelor and were the grounds of her accusing her husband of cruelty towards her, which at the church meeting before were not in particular thought fit to be rehearsed and charged upon our brother there being . . . satisfaction given. But that the place . . . here between the church and her, that she could not acknowledge her evil in the divulging of these things to the scandal of her husband. Then it was asked her what she said particularly touching the business at Watertown. She acknowledged her failing there. Asked whether she had not herself seen the guilt of want of love and cruelty on her part, she acknowledged it. It was asked her how she thought of the proceedings of the church toward her; she justified the church and acknowledged their faithfulness toward her and blesses God for it. So is the issue tending to put things to an end and to settle, if possible, a sweet accord betwixt them. It was asked of our brother whether he was satisfied in her acknowledgement and could pass by any offenses given on her part toward him. He answered affirmatively. It was then asked of him if he could find in his heart to desire of her to pass by his failing toward her. He answered affirmatively. Then the same things were likewise put unto her. She answered to both affirmatively. So it was agreed that we should proceed to propound her publicly for a church member.

Goodman Badger also sent a message to this church meeting that he would willingly meet with the church. If therefore the church would yield to appoint two, he would also choose two to hear the prejudice between the church and him and arbitrate it. Resolved upon it that Brother Geere should carry this message from the church: that if he saw yet his failings the church charged him with, liberty should be given him, if he thought fit, to come to the next meeting to make acknowledgement of them unto the church, so the church should be willing to take any satisfaction in any way of God. Otherwise, it was resolved by the church neither to condescend from present to that motion as conceiving it not suiting with the way of Christ’s church for dealing with an offending brother, nor otherwise (as was motioned) to offer to him to bring two with him to have the hearing of the agitation between him and the church. But if this motion would not take to let it rest till the church at Newbury sought further after it, and then to do as occasion was administered.

Question: whether the wife of our Brother Phineas Fiske, having made her confession of these failings towards her husband in this church meeting, she should also acknowledge them in public. Resolved: she ought and should, this being public.

26 of 10t. 45.

At a church meeting. Question regarding such as are behind in contributions. Concluded corn to be paid to the deacon from this present contribution what is behind. Wheat price set at 4s. 6d. per bushel and those behind to bring in.

Question: how to procure wine for the seals?

Answer: what way to be raised?

[Three short succeeding lines are illegible.]

30 of 11th. 45.

At a church meeting. The wife of our Brother Phineas Fiske called forth to declare to the church how God hath gone along with her in bringing her soul to Christ.

When she was a servant 22 years old, by Mr. Davis she heard there every one gives account at the Day of Judgment for every work done in the flesh. She came to give account and said that she was guilty of two sins. After Rom. 3 from Mr. . . . was warned to remember what they received and heard. This took such effect as to . . . . . . [three words illegible] and to remember the neglect of that at . . . . Then that in Isa. 1, her heresy &c. Jeremiah hath . . . and the Lord . . . with the sin. This that she . . . and guilty of that the Lord did complain of her. Then she prayed to God to show what sin was and whether the Lord spoke to her. To that answer that in John 3, the wind bloweth where it listeth &c. And if an answer to her that in Rev. 3, I counsel you to buy of me gold &c. She met with that and at once she came to see thence her one hope and not also to . . . herself or do any spirit . . . but doubtful what effect on her. In that John 7, those that come to me I cast not away, and whereas she found that the Lord rejects not me &c. To that these words, none shall pluck them out of my hands.

Wherever a . . . yet sought to the Lord that He show her condition. And out of Isa. 1, ye princes [?] &c., then she saw that she is in a worse condition than any toad &c. Soon after the Lord spake to her (as twere a voice). Yet oftentimes she not resting content, but must look to God so she sought a place to pray and went trembling. And God gave her then a heart not to be satisfied till the Lord gave her some answer and given some assurance of His love in Christ. How she came out and He showed that nothing could help her but her hold of Christ and that if she has sins of 1000 worlds that was sufficient for her. And then she sought for a need of assurance and to that answered that in Rom. 8, shall I not with Him give all things. Yet she was not satisfied, but as Jacob wrestled . . . of Jacob to wrestle. And then Rom. 8, neither height nor depth, things present &c., and upon that went forth rejoicing and praising God, desiring the Lord to go on further with her. And so afterward in washing of Mary Christ’s feet &c., and she wished the like heart . . . and rests . . . .

When these new ordinances [?] came up in England &c. and she feared it a way of popery,45 she set upon prayer and that God would show her what to do and the more she sought God the more loathesome these things grew. And afterward that a . . . and she essayed to go and showed it to a woman who offered to go with her to Mr. Witherall who set to praying. When she prayed that he not hide aught to any troubled soul what that soul desired to know and after she desired his counsel. He said he darst not, the times now so. She minded him of what he prayed, then he took her aside and counselled her first to go to Mr. . . . and bid him give it her from the . . . . She said she . . . not &c. Then he told her that she must refrain and then, desires to come to this place &c. And when she came hither she found her heart so full of perturbation and distress and examined the cause &c. That in Heb. 10:25 by Mr. Phillips,46 whereupon she was encouraged to seek to join in fellowship and then she mind her after to come hither. G. Woodby, who encouraged her, and she went to Mr. Norris and then afterward Mr. Norris denied.

Question: What evidence was there of God all this while for that time hitherto? Answer: She had a desire still continued to enjoy it, and she presumed she desired it the more. Whereupon she examined herself and found that it rested with God thus she had walked so unevenly and ill thought . . . of it before and let it alone; but then thought the . . . violence and could not be content to live without them [the ordinances]. And it came to her mind she . . . . nd she found many temptations and trials, but could not be satisfied without them.

Question: Hath the Lord helped you to see any such failings as whereby you justly may be hindered? Answer: She would set down if hindered.

Question: But the Lord might be provoked and have occasion to glorify moreover in the knowledge of them. Answer: The Lord help you to see this failing.

It was put to the church whether they were satisfied in the relation. A brother objected how a word and divers workings, but how the word and work suit, viz. in that of conversion and the . . . choice. Asked her how she made comfort from those words alleged in Rom. 8. She answered that the spirit bears witness with her spirit and that to holiness. And she said from the promises to her this.

Question: How she made out the love of God to her sake from that scripture? Answer: She . . . . . . [three words illegible].

Question: How the word and work here agree to clear this? Asked her first in what word God showed Christ to her soul. Answer: She said it twas Christ that spake to her, because love was mighty in her heart to the end &c.

Question: How came she to believe? Answer: By that first scripture &c.

Question: But how came God your soul to rest upon? Answer: John 10, he that come to me I will in no wise cast off &c.

Objection: But this scripture in order was alleged as a stay only and before the legal work was off. Answer: It was intended as that scripture and so that Matt. 11:28.

It was asked here if more had aught further to query or object. It was requested that testimony should be given of a life suitable to this profession and confession. Her brother G. testified to this effect that for the time he had observed her he had observed nothing, but human frailties excepted, but what stayed with her profession and confession. This heard the second time: he stood to it. Then I replied I was condemned that twas an occasion of keeping her out hitherto for their offenses, which if but human frailties then I have done very evil in it. So her husband testified to the work his persuasion. Hereupon it was voted she should upon the Lord’s day next make a public acknowledgement of her miscarriages particularly. It was moved that she show her assent to the church confession of faith.

Brother Geere desired to speak and some agitation with him before he made a confession of his fault, the substance whereof was that he had no reference in his testimony to the things that were past and . . . that he did rashly speak &c. Objection: Whether he did contend that the party’s failing be scandalous? He answered, yes.

Objection: that he might say he spoke rashly though the things were true. He answered, but he spoke untruly in it (and here he desired the meaning of that in Ezek. 18:21). But when he delivered that testimony they appeared not then so to him and that what he did, he did it ignorantly. Twas replied to him he had in part cleared the church, but the offenses that they were not human frailties but gross sins. But no repentance yet appeared in him for his evil and his alleging the place in Ezekiel excepted against as whereby he either sought to divert matters or to color it. And there seemed inconsistency in his speeches. He answered: what would you have me confess and wherein he failed? He desired to [torn] it and be sorry for it.

5 of 12t. 45.

A day of humiliation, after the execution on it of the ordinance and preaching upon and singing of a psalm. The day occasioned in the case of our brother, his failings, and the party upon trial. Such a temptation being laid before her by him against others; resolved in church, town, country, and old England.

In the close of the day Brother Phineas Fiske’s wife called and made her confession, particularly of the evil by her speeches of her husband and against the church and pastor. It was voted satisfactorily.

Brother Geere’s testimony rejected as no testimony to her that he hoped this confession was truth and that he was well satisfied, perceiving in her a reformation and that he could willingly reach her out the right hand of fellowship.

Brother Geere called. His acknowledgement to this effect concerning any miscarriage of his either in word or action. He desires that God would help him to see it and that in that speech he had done foolishly, rashly, and spake untruly. And yet he desires prayers of Christ that the Lord assist with His protecting grace for the time to come. It was replied upon to that, viz. confession might have been that he should [torn] foolishly and rashly done though if it had been true, but also that this confession might have been made if spoken only by one brother to another.

Upon questioning, he answered: first, touching the scripture Ezekiel, he alleged it . . . as it stood there as his failing; secondly, touching the testimony as testimony of Christ, he had manifested and desired God will show him his failing and hath showed it.

It was replied: we could likewise desire he might see his failings. And whereas he saith he hath seen it we would know how and what sin in it and the root of it. And for the scripture alleged we would have the ground of his alleging it. As for the bare sense of it we conceived it the literal sense, and that carried as much with reference to what he upon that these here failings being repented of, they are not to be remembered by us any more. After much agitation he confessed it so understood by him and that he . . . alleged it.

Objection to him: that whereas he had said he did look at these sins as human frailties, till he was convinced of it on the last day of the week, how this allegation of this scripture now could stand with the truth of that speech that he was then convinced of it? Second objection: upon that speech it was asked of him how it was that he did not declare his judgment and his grounds unto the church, all the while this was in agitation and when himself was also vested by the church as messenger to the party, that they resolved she should publicly acknowledge these failings?

It seems that there was a discussion between the church and him in these facts and he was not of the same mind with the church and that he concealed it to this opportunity. It was also objected to him whether he did not say that he did not know they were more public than this church. He answered he did not know that the church of Salem knew it. And this we denied, saying he did know and some instances were give (& others might have been given, as that Mr. Endicott had had the hearing of some of these things. Sister Thomas, Francis Skerry, Richard Pettingill he knew these things). Again he excused himself (that as if he might say what he did) seeing he did not know these things from the beginning so not committing of those things and yet he intended not to speak so as he did, viz. that he observed nothing by her (human frailties excepted &c.)

The covenant was administered to the wife of our Brother Phineas Fiske.

Brother Geere called to make his acknowledgement touching the testimony given by him was evil if but from one to another, but it much aggravated to him considering the time, place, and before whom. And it was desired God to affect his heart in alleging scripture as whereby to seem to color and cloak his sin and in any to except sin’s coloring. And another aggravation, that not known of him till here and another aggravation that he first in . . . . . upon one of . . . . . and for the root in pride &c. Satisfaction taken.

3d mo. 46.

Mary Hersome baptized.

25 of 4t. 46.

A church meeting. The occasion hereof was some speeches concerning Brother Read, as if he was unwilling to give in to the church his accounts, and of his being much suspected to have done what he did in building and in buying a cow, as if not of his own but the church’s money. He was to free himself of the offense and reproach.

It was answered that if any of the church made these reports, then it . . . unto touching the former. It said that yet the party to Brother G. that told him, now says that he remembers not. But if he said it, then the brother told him it. The brother denies it. . . . had it of one of Salem, who says he will not believe it, but it was so. It is conceived that the further sifting into these things (as the case stand) would neither tend to the honor of the church or the protecting justly the reputation of either of our brethren. Brother being said to be . . . deceiving it, and the . . . . Such as it stands not so much with good reason that a reasonable man should tell so notorious a lie.

It is here averred by the church that she hitherto had not called this brother [Read] to account. Accepted reckonings:

  • Brother B.—7s. 6d., 1s., 8s. 6d.; B.B.—4s. 6d., 4s. 6d.;
  • Brother Ph.—2s. 6d., 7s., 2s., 1s., 10s.; Ja. Fiske—4s. & 5s.;
  • Wm. F.—14s. 6d., 12s. 6d., 3s. 6d., 8s. 6d., wheat 4s.;
  • Hersome—1s.; 1s. 6d.; Brother Dodge—2s. 6d.

It was determined in this meeting, touching that which is given in offering by strangers, however that there is a right that the church hath to some of it, in accepting that the intention of the giver is in case of all the ordinances they do share in. Yet they have given the same wholly to the pastor that which is past and to come.

Of the account of what was received and given account since and the residue in Brother Read’s hands, 1 li.–11 s.–6 d. Upon it (the account) it appeared Brother Read desires that he might resign.

Upon this occasion this question was set afoot: whether it be convenient and meet that an account should be given by a deacon to the church for receipts now considered. But because this was not determined when the question was thus resolved careless in the church, viz. whether the church should call for it, or whether the deacon reported it. It was now considered whether a set time for this end, as once in the year’s end, be taken, considering it may not only tend to discover the church’s stock, but also the defects of the parties blameworthy in case of contributions. Objection against it because and convenient for us in probation but not in office, because none be exempt or worthy deductions unless that which is delinquent. Brother Bat. answered reasons for conveniency. Brother Norton: that it is not so ordinarily, but a deacon is one in office and int. . . on account necessary in one upon trial; accidental as they excuse in one in office. Our Brother Read’s request to the church and the former question put to consideration again at the next church meeting, as also the advice about setting time for the Lord’s supper.

That touching Sister Harsom, her abode, spake to &c.

27 of 4t. of 46.

This day being the sabbath Benjamin Fairfield, the son of Goodman Fairfield and his wife of Salem, was baptized.

Concluded in the church that the third day of the week at the time the cows go forth the children to come down to be catechized and to give account of what they learned of the sermon sabbath before to pastor’s house. Notice given also of the Lord’s Supper next sabbath. Brother Richard Dodge of the church at Salem had a child baptized here.

16 of 7t. 46.

At a church meeting our Brother Read gave in his account of all expenses and dues to him for Sister Hersome being there: her sickness, burial, nursing her child &c., and the sum being 2 li–16 s–9 d. The church agreed he should have Sister Hersome’s cow for satisfaction, the cow prized at 4 li. provided he pay out 40 s. in Indian corn when it is merchantable at merchant’s price and the residue to take out of the church stock, namely 16 s.–4 d.

It was decided that our Brother Byam shall take the care of the education of this child [the orphan of Sister Hersome] and so to take it to him as his own and that in consideration hereof our Brother Byam shall have as his own property all the goods and estate which were left by her mother as expressed in the inventory, except the cow before specified in lieu of which our Brother Read is to pay him the foresaid 40 s. as specified, and the church to pay at two years end another 40 s. to our said Brother Byam, if the child lives, and this as said in reference to the approbation of the court.

25 of 10t. 46.

Being popish [?] day, this day was kept a general day of humiliation in respect of the churches.

15 of 12t. 46.

Baptized Eleazar Fiske, the son of John Fiske and Anne his wife. Baptized Sarah Norton, the daughter of George Norton.

1st of 2d. 47.

A fast by reason of the affliction of sickness and death of some in this town. From this day hence the hand of God stayed.

17 of 2d. 47.

This day the seal of the Lord’s Supper. All that had been visited and were [torn] the day of our fast coming again. [torn] Ephraim Geere baptized.

28 of 2d. 47.

This day (the day before the day appointed by this church for thanksgiving being 29 of 2d.) I was sent for to Sister Patch’s to see a child stillborn, having as said a head not like other children and un . . . in the body &c. Which child when I came to observe by the eye I could discern nothing defective in nature in respect of parts, which were complete and each their due place and proportion. I felt upon the body and the bones seeemed to have full growth and the skin and flesh not abated. Only I observed upon the breast and the right arm and the face that the skin was raised and as twere torn off, as we shall discern in some scalded place when the blisters are broken and the new flesh appearing, the breadth of a finger or two.

The head seemed bigger than ordinary as touching the hairy part of it only. And the hair upon it as usually in other children the day of their birth. I moved my hand to the head and it felt like some soft jelly under the skin. I pressed my fingers to discern the skull and finding it, followed it with my finger and thumb lightly till I found another part of the skull laid hollow in the hollow of that first part I felt and loose in the same like two dishes, the lesser welded under the bigger. I caused the women (viz. Sister White and Sister William Fiske and Goodwife Alley) to feel likewise and they concluded with me that the skull was broken and turned one part into the other. Notwithstanding, not so satisfied, I opened the head and laid the skull bare till I let out most of the jelly matter, which I had before felt and some of it consisted of brains, fibres, and blood, some congealed and some watery, so mixed as the brains and fibres could hardly be discerned for the congealed blood. When I had discovered the skull, I found as before the same to be broken as twere into two parts, the lesser turned into the hollow of the bigger which I took forth and laid into the basin to the eye each in other as they lay in their head. Then perceiving nothing offensive in the opening of the head, I smelled it, as likewise after me the rest of the women, and we perceived no ill or corrupt savor in aught. So we left it to be seen of others. The child in the whole body had a white and good color, not swart or black, but as might be supposed a child that had only the blood drawn forth from the body. So I apprehended it [the blood] gathered into the head [torn] the heart.47

2 of 5t. 47.

This day Elizabeth Moulton, daughter of Brother James Moulton was baptized.

22 of 6t. 47.

This day Joseph Batchelor, the son of Sister Batchelor (and Brother Batchelor deceased in first month), was baptized.

[Letter from Rev. Richard Blinman of Gloucester regarding his grievances against a member of Wenham church.]

Reverend Brother:

My love in the Lord Jesus remembered with thanks &c. I am bold to trouble you (especially being moved thereunto by our church) for the clearing of an unjust aspersion laid upon me by George Norton at my last being at Wenham. Viz. that when he was questioned by our church I produced Brother Smith as a witness against him and that he afterward told him that he never heard him speak any such words, and so I did wrong him. The case was this: when he was under question by our church, amongst other miscarriages he was charged with such a speech as this—that if Brother Smith and some others would but stick to him they would go well enough with all the rest. He (as he said) could not remember any such words, nor did he deny them, but rather thought he might speak so, seeing there were those that affirmed it, and he knowing the prejudice that was in his own spirit. The witnesses named were William Vincent and his wife and our Sister Smith. All which do still affirm the same. As for our Brother Smith, who (he says) was the only witness produced by me and who afterward denied it to him (as he saith) that ever he heard him speak those words, here are underwritten the names of divers brethren who perfectly remember that Brother Smith was never produced by me, but that the rest of the above named were.

I had hoped that his spirit had been brought down by the ordinances of God, but now I see it is not. And if his former rancor of spleen had not been enough against the poor church of Christ with us (which he would have broken in pieces if he could) and myself in particular, he now adds iniquity unto his sin in renewing a calumny. I shall therefore entreat you to clear me from his unjust charge which was laid with much stomach and snuff and heat of spirit upon me, unbecoming a Christian, as his own wife can witness, if she will, and Mr. Pritchard who then of his own knowledge and remembrance contradicted him. If the Lord humbled him truly for it, I shall be glad, but I saw no sign of it when I spake with him lately at Ipswich.

This with my kind love to your Sister and Mrs. Fiske, desiring the Lord to bless and keep you, I rest.

Your loving friend and brother,

Richard Blinman

Gloucester 15. 4t. 1646

We whose names are underwritten do testify that we heard George Norton speak the words that are in this letter charged upon him.

William Vincent

Sarah Vincent

Grace Smith

We whose names are underwritten do perfectly remember that the parties above named were nominated by our pastor to witness that particular and that Thomas Smith was not named.

Hugh Caulkin

William Vincent

Andrew Lyster

11 of 8t. 47.

At a church meeting the wife of Richard Dodge was propounded. The wife of Brother Norton, having letters of dismission, was propounded.

Sister Norton makes her relation. She was born of godly parents. From a sermon of Mr. Hooker’s which she heard repeated on John 3, he that believeth not is condemned already, whereupon she saw herself lost and condemned. Hereupon would not hear and darst not &c., till one told her that God not so condemned us without hope. She then set upon reformation with what she could do in her own strength. She heard the work of God manifest to destroy the works of the devil by Mr. Peter, who told that the works of the devil were: first, self principles; secondly, secrecy; which found her own condition. And she would not disclose to her husband, though she found that she settled on self principles.

From II Cor. 11:2, I jealous over you, by Mr. Ward48 at Ipswich made her question whether Christ was willing to bestow himself. Here cleared this, looked at Christ as the only joy and to take Him upon His own terms. And this she said her heart answered to and here cleared it that twas the work of Satan to draw . . . to be willing to come to Christ. Afterward gained yet her case again and she doubted whether she was willing and doubted whether her . . . and sacrifice would be accepted, and she had no promise to rest upon. Yet to [torn] I love them that love me, and they that seek me early shall find, she questioned after whether she had God. Yet after in prayer she came to find that she had God and that because He heard it.

Yet her question was because she had not a word of promise to trust on and would reason with herself, they . . . say remember the word when they point whereon He caused them to testify. Afterward it came to her, having been at prayer, in promise to ex. . . upon that in 2 Cor. 6:2. And here she gave her consent and was full of joy &c. Yet afterward she came to question whether this indeed was the time and answered because God had emptied her of herself she would have it other ways by coming to N.E., by a husband, by ordinances; but they could not do it and rest came when depending on God only &c. And this case continued after question you hath because the joys continued not. Mr. Peter told her of the leper that lept yet continued not always lepping.

Two questions were put to her: first, touching experience of growth and here she bewailed the want of it; second, touching the source of her spirit towards such as here dealt with her at any time. She so saw them as the light at . . . and was convinced &c. and took it thankfully and sought the watch of the church &c. The Lord’s day afterward she was received into covenant, having manifested her consent to the profession of faith.

Afterward the letters from Mr. Blinman before specified, touching Goodman Norton, received. Brother Read, Brother Batchelor, and myself gave him three or four meetings and spent divers hours to convince him of a wrong done to Mr. Blinman and the evil of it as of the manner of his carriage to be evil. And we brought him thus far that he acknowledged his failing in the matter unto some satisfaction to us and likewise that he was so persuaded for the matters that Mr. Blinman endeavoured not to wrong him so to name Thomas Smith for a witness, but only did mistake, in the nominating of witnesses, him for another but that was wived and so that by consequence he was wronged. This he stiffly stood unto.

During this time, the letter being lost and by divers allegations the matters being darkened, we were forced to leave it off for the present as not being able to make any work of it. But the more we speak, the more confirmed in his sense he would seem to be.

In the mean space it pleased God to take to Himself our Brother Batchelor, a man wise, moderate, and very able to be helpful in such cases. So the matter rested until about the middle of that month in 1647. At that time the former letter coming to hand William Vincent, being at my house, I queried him about it, who although very inconstant to himself in his relations, so far forth as concerned the witnessing to the case, yet in divers circumstances gave some light to the understanding of the thing. Whereupon, calling Brother Read, we [torn] spent some time further with Brother Norton, but were not able to cause further conviction or to do aught more than to remove a ground or . . . . . . that seemed to lie upon his spirit in cause of the letter and the answer to it.

At length we resolved (and that upon his own hinting it) to have a conference with Blinman and the witnesses. And so we wrote after this manner.

Reverend Sir:

Saluting you in the Lord. We having bestowed some prayers with our Brother Norton in the business you were pleased to write about, and after much agitation and the serious consideration of the matters cannot find how comfortably and unto our own satisfaction (much less as we may well suppose yourself) we shall ever be able to issue the thing unless we may obtain a brotherly conference with yourself and may hear the witnesses speak and testify to the thing face to face. If you shall judge it worthy of your labor and attendance we could entreat in love that you would be pleased yourself (if so you shall see meet) and these brethren, viz. William Vincent (with his wife) with respect to the former things asserted in the letters, Hugh Caulkin, and Andrew Lyster. With respect to the latter, to vouchsafe us a meeting at Manchester and shall you please to set or appoint us a day, which may best suit your own occasions, and send us word upon three or four days warning we are resolved, if the Lord shall permit, not to fail you, provided the weather be seasonable. Which should it happen otherwise then the next day or according as we do understand by your writing your determination. And gladly we would that the hour to be so appointed and as near as may be attended as we may dispatch for return the same day. Which we do hope through God’s blessing upon these our sincere and impartial endeavors we shall attain unto. And so leaving you with ourselves and the case unto God, beseeching His presence and favor to be extended to us herein, so as mutual love and accord may be. . . , all occasions tending to hinder our mutual edification be removed, we take our leave and rest.

Yours in the Lord,

John Fiske

Esdras Read

Wenham 20 of 8t. 47.

Hereupon return was made from Mr. Blinman in this wise.

Reverend Brother:

It hath not been out of any neglect that I gave you not an answer sooner. Our brethren have now determined (if God please) to give you a meeting at Salem on the first day of the next week, as early as you come in the morning, which will be the second of 10t. month. We judge it more meet for both sides to meet here and more convenient for you than Manchester. We propose to be there over night the 4t. day. You shall hear of me at Mr. Norris’ provided that if the 4t. day or 5t. day morning should prove foul or unfit for travel you may not expect us till the 4t. day of the next week following. This with love to you and yours, desiring God’s gracious presence with you, I take leave and rest.


Richard Blinman

Gloucester 26 of 9t. 47.

Upon the day appointed we all accordingly met at Salem (except William Vincent’s wife). The effect of which conference was: first, the three witnesses affirmed that neither they nor any of the church as it had appeared to them could remember Thomas Smith was nominated at all as a witness, though otherwise he was nominated occasionally in the discourse; secondly, that the other three named in the letters were produced as witnesses to that case. Besides Mr. Blinman tendered if but one of the church could be brought to affirm that he was nominated he would lay down his place. But confident he was of the contrary.

Goodman Norton could not yield it, any mistake on his part, notwithstanding some laboring with him about it. Many passages were insisted up bye the bye, in . . . seemed for no contradictions.

Mr. Blinman later pressed the former with the present charge he had laid on him doing of all again which he had done in his acknowledgement before the church at Gloucester and a justifying of all his sundry failings, pressed it with divers aggravations, struck at his very spiritual estate and his church relation, in so much as in the close I was forced to profess that, if Goodman Norton were such a one as he had been all along represented being, he were altogether unmeet to be continued in church fellowship and were a judgment unto us here. But however it were (having before moved him to speak somewhat to satisfy in this case, he professed he could not say more than he had spoken) I conceived him not capable at present of speaking aught satisfactorily and so broke off the conference. That night coming home along with Goodman Norton I could do nothing.

The next second day following we adjourned to Brother William Fiske’s and kept so long with him in which meeting it pleased God so graciously to go along with us as to convince him so as he so fell by charges:

  1. 1. to . . . . . . [four words illegible];
  2. 2. to yield right reason to the work of judging and discovering misapprehensions from right apprehensions;
  3. 3. that the mistake might be easy in case of the so nigh sending of the words of Brother Thomas Smith and Brother Thomas Smith’s wife and in the case of his own testing of mind at that time of five several charges fixed upon him;
  4. 4. that notwithstanding human frailties as he might be privy to in the witnesses, yet he could not say but it was a witness of Christ and a true witness;
  5. 5. that he could not allege aught, any one reason of weight to bear with us or any in . . . . . person, that the acknowledging a mistake on his part should mend his life considering such testimony and such reason as he could not deny might justly lead us to judge the mistake on his part, which thing being by him and divers others, in sin.

He fell and acknowledged the mistake according to the testimony and the reasons did lie on his part and that he had wronged Mr. Blinman in the foresaid speech even as touching those matters. And so the Lord’s day after he confessed his wrongs to Mr. Blinman in the public congregation.

17 of 2d. 48.

The Lord’s day before we concluded of a church meeting to clear something amongst us privately in regard of some prejudice conceived between some of the brethren. And so accordingly we met in private at the pastor’s house where first Brother Read’s case was proposed for advice, which was this. Whereas there had been some private differences between Brother and Sister Read on one part and Brother and Sister Byam on the other part, which had been heard and ended in private before the pastor, which principally arose from words which occasioned prejudice on either side. It was occasioned by some trifles which possibly seemed withheld by Sister Read of the things which were Sister Hersome’s from Brother Byam, wherein Brother Byam’s wife especially conceived a wrong.49

Brother Byam let it fall in his discourse such a saying as this: that others thought (as well as he) that Brother Read might give as much to the church as the most amongst us, or to the like effect, because as he had little charge so his stock was increased and, as some would speak behind his back, that his yard was full of cattle upon dead man’s goods and some of the church too. This last passage because it savored of scandal as if Brother Read had increased his estate unjustly and Brother Byam refused to nominate his authors (such especially as were of the church) but referred himself rather unto the church, if the church should give him any further light herein.

Two things were considered of: first, the way of clearing Brother Read; and secondly, the case whether Brother Byam was required to bring forth his authors. To the first it was considered that the dead persons’ goods with which Brother Read had had to do with were either Sister Hersome’s, which had been inventoried and accordingly Brother Byam had received them (that was well known that Brother Read could not enrich himself by them), or from Goodman Young’s and of this he had given a clear account to Mr. Bartholomew, the supervisor, before Mr. William Brown, executor, and the pastor. Which things being considered and the last testified by our pastor this did as was conceived clear him. The brethren undertaking upon these grounds to endeavour on his behalf to stop any scandalous speeches they occasionally should hear tending that way.

To the latter issue it was concluded after some agitation that Brother Byam should himself deal with the brethren or sisters or any other that he knew had used such expressions tending to the disparagement of our brother and to show them the sin and if it did not satisfy them then to bring them forth orderly to the church, such as were of the church, and to take some of the church to witness with him how he endeavored the conviction of such as were not of the church. Which things Brother Byam promised faithfully to endeavor accordingly.

After this was issued the case of two of our brothers, Brother William Fiske and Brother Phineas Fiske, was proposed for advice which was this. Whereas Brother Norton had publicly before many persons said he could dear Goodwife Bailey, as touching a crime suspected by her about a lace she sold and was challenged, yet he did not. And there was a common rumor that she had stolen the lace and Brother Norton had made her [torn] whether this Brother was not accordingly bound to clear it or how could they satisfy else their own confessions as touching some prejudice they had touching our Brother Norton that he could not clear her.

Hereupon the two brethren were desired to declare to the church about the passages. They both related to this effect. That there being a matter committed to arbitration between this Goodwife Bailey and some others touching some scandalous speeches against her by them about a sheet or sheets she had lately got and these being cleared, that she came honestly by them. Brother William, occasioned by Brother Norton’s speech saying that he wondered they should have such jealousies touching the women as . . . purpose, replied to Goodwife Bailey he himself had jealousies about the sheet by occasion of what was rumored about lace she sold which was strongly suspected she came never honestly by and not only because it had been challenged but because also she had told divers contradictory tales about it and Brother William told Goodwife Bailey twere well if she could clear herself of that, wishing that if she could she would.

Brother Norton (as the Brother William testified) replied that she should not answer. And enjoining her silence said that he could dear her if he would, and he would undertake to clear her. And he added a second time that if they or any would charge her, he would clear her.

Then Brother Norton being desired by the church to speak whether these things were so, he replied in a very audacious, vaunting wise &c. He denied it that ever he said he could or would clear her.

〈To this testimony Brother Byam testifies it true, being there present. Brother Fiske’s wife being present at the time she was desired to speak. She testified to the truth of what the two former witnesses asserted.〉

Brother Norton defended his assertion still in many regards saying they might be . . . for as much as he remembers he said, if he could clear her, he was not hired to do it there &c.

〈And that Brother Norton said if he could not clear her he will give them this. He remembered this last that he said, give them this, as he said, his ear, but said it was spoken to . . . witnesses. Much agitation about this.〉

That this the residue of the day was sadly spent publicly in reasoning with Brother Norton to evidence that he said the words and to convince him of it. Which in fine he said that he could not remember it. Privately in convincing him of his sinful and disorderly carriage in denying the testimony of two witnesses and justifying it in a scripture, Esther the 3rd and 4th had likewise spoken.

The brethren, being grieved and wearied out, went away many of them one after another so as we were forced to leave it, we finding him convinced but not repenting. Which reasons on the church’s part the Lord pardon, that they should omit to hear a conference upon the Brother, these transgressing before he went away.

By the agitation this discovery was made, that Brother Norton could not clear her but that indeed she was by her own confession to him guilty. And that Brother Norton well held forth a falsehood to these brethren and the rest and had justified a wicked woman or endeavored to make her to appear clear to the brethren and the rest of these passages said and owned by him manifested:

  1. 1. that Mrs. Price was satisfied in her spirit toward the woman;
  2. 2. that Mrs. Price (who challenged it and from whom she had stolen the lace) would not say twas her lace;
  3. 3. that Goodwife Tomkins would not take oath twas the lace of her making;
  4. 4. that himself then said that for the clearing of her then twas a thing could not be, seeing the witnesses were far off, as at Lynn &c.;
  5. 5. that were he or they called to account they could not give account of every thing they had, where they had it &c.

20 of 2d. 48.

A general fast held by order and authority of Court and general consent of the churches for England, the West Indies, and ourselves.50

3 of 3d. 48.

A public church meeting this day about Brother Norton who in the mean time having been privately dealt with, for this and for another public miscarriage. At this meeting he now held forth his acknowledgement to this effect.

1. Touching his miscarriage before the church, from what his . . . did work upon apprehending provocations, that twas sinful, for the manner sudden, rash, and fierce. For the matter of denying the testimony of two witnesses, twas not only against religion but reason and he desired to lie down ashamed and desired of the church pardon and that the church would pass it by.

2. Touching the thing to the credit of the witnesses he said and did about Goodwife Bailey, that if he could free her from guilt, she being guilty, that twas sinful as an untruth. And a . . . some over much forwardness in speaking and to multiply expressions in speaking. And for that which offended to the justifying of the persons that God did justly leave him there to himself, he taking a case in hand which concerned him not and getting out of God’s way.

For the other case, these expressions he should use about the corn that it was carried away, he condemns as used inconsiderately and were very sinful. And so he blessed God for the faithful labor of his brethren, and for what he hath seen by himself thereupon is thankful for and retains no grudge against them.

It being hereupon propounded to the church that if any had now any scruples, queries, or objections touching his acknowledgement wherein they do desire satisfaction, that it was now a season for them to propound the same to the consideration of the church that so as occasion and need did require our brother might be desired to answer to the same for further clearing.

Brother Read objected first, that divers passages stood to reflect upon the church in saying he apprehended provocations. He Norton answered: twas not for the church, nor by any brethren before the church, but in case of something before which, because he had professed to lay down, he was unwilling to name. So the pastor declares it and asks the brother if it were not that he asserts which was touching the manner of bringing it forth. Hereupon also the manner of proceeding was declared to be this. The pastor being made privy to the perplexed thoughts of the brethren and the more perplexed by reason of the nighness of so solemn a day of humiliation, they neither being able to fasten a sin upon the brother for want of proof, nor yet to free themselves from jealousies; partly of the brother because of the reason that he might here find; partly of themselves that they might . . . the truths by entertaining jealousies upon such means, was advised to bring the matter as a case before the church to see how God would work it. The case also being public.

The brother was desired to manifest whether he now looked at it as a provocation. Brother Norton: he desired to be spared an answer to this, saying he alleged it not in way of extenuation but aggravation. It being then moved to him how then these jealousies and prejudices might be prevented that might take root behind him and such as were entered in the business. He answered that he would endeavour the burying of it in his thoughts and that the church nor any of the brethren should never hear of it nor have it reflected upon them one way or other.

To that of the corn and his speech about it his saying he intended it not, he answered he did not before intend it, but he knows not his own apprehensions or intentions at the time of speaking the words. For he upon his own memory testified he could not remember the words, but he believed the testimony of the brethren and in particular of Brother William Fiske and out of the good opinion of the faithfulness of these brethren did own them in this very expression.

〈the witnesses: Edw. Sp. and his wife; 2 time, Bro. Wm. Fiske, Wm. Th. (as sd.); 3 time, Geo. Byam.〉

Touching his not remembering the words being three times used by him at different times much was spoken and something agitated. At last this scripture was left with him: they would remember their own evil ways and doings and loathe these (Ezek. 36:31); where these and other things were noted to him. First, that the not remembering of one’s own evil ways or doings is a sin and does argue a neglect of the spiritual watch. And whereas he had said he remembered not his intentions or apprehensions at that time that there was too great a neglect of the watch of the heart. Take heed to the heart for &c. (Psalms 4:4).

To that speech of his, twas a . . . very in the brother, he acknowledged there was evil in that speech and considering in fine was somewhat too general, in the latter confessed there being falsehood. There also appeared to have been a justifying of the words and a strong appearance of condemning the witnesses. He was wished to consider of these scriptures which set out the particular . . . sins in Proverbs, he that justifieth the wicked &c. is an abomination to the Lord, and in Rev. 21:27, he that maketh a lie shall not enter in &c. And so it was concluded without any manifestation from the church of any satisfaction taken.

21 of 3d. of 48.

Joseph, the son of William Fiske and Bridget his wife, was baptized.

31 of 3d. of 48.

This day Mary Goldsmith was called forth to make her relation. She therein held forth a discovery of her acursed condition in the state of nature some six or seven years ago from the preaching upon that subject in her hearing, and in particular the discovery of her sin of disobedience to them over her and her unfaithfulness in her particular calling. Also many evil thoughts &c. and she was convinced from these scriptures: servants submit &c. with . . . of heart, and answer not again &c. Manifold temptations . . . . . . [four words illegible] of her mind though in and out many supports. Still the word; Isa. 41:10, fear not for I am with ye &c., we are as clay in the hand of the potter, thou shalt run and not be weary &c. And other passages of scripture applied some to the consideration of her sin; fear not of obtaining mercy, . . . . . . better satisfaction. Her closing with Christ came especially in that of John 6:37 and . . .; as fear of deadness Isa. 1:8–9; fear of not accomplishing of the promise from Heb. 10:36.

So manifestation being made of her assent to our church confession and covenant, and some questions about her knowledge of the principles of religion answered, and testimony by Phineas Fiske and Sister Batchelor given, she was referred to the next Lord’s day.

Richard Goldsmith his case determined that two of the brethren should speak with him from the church to hear how he could satisfy for his deferring so long the satisfying of our Robert Allen about the flour he took of his unwittingly instead of his own after he knew Robert Allen challenged it.

Goody Shipley propounded to the church and two things left with the church to consider of touching her: how far forth S. . . and the uncleanness and uncivility of her children might be to her default.

At the same meeting, in the conclusion, our Brother Norton’s business again called upon and first it was propounded to himself whether he had a desire to speak aught further to the church touching his offenses, or that the Lord had helped him to see further now in this interim of time &c. that he had aught to manifest more fully by way of acknowledgement. He replied to this effect: that what he had before acknowledged he must acknowledge the same again, if he were called to speak, even the same things for substance but more he could not.

Then it was put to the church to manifest by vote whether they were satisfied in that acknowledgement. And being voted, so many as were satisfied to manifest it by the lifting up of their hands. Everyone suspended. Then were the brethren desired particularly to deal faithfully with the brother’s soul and to express themselves wherein they were satisfied.

Brother Read began to speak to this effect to show himself sorry that there was the occasion offered, considering Brother Norton could not be ignorant that he had not given the church satisfaction, and how he expected that ere this he would have voluntarily tendered it. And though for the general matters of his acknowledgement it gave him satisfaction and glad he is, he does still own that yet for the manner of it it was neither free but drawn and extorted from him, nor full but bare and scanty with many extenuations, as that which was a lie, and self had to call it an untruth, nor was the spirit of it such as would satisfy him.

Brother Phineas Fiske added as that which in his acknowledgement he alleged as the ground of that his lie (or untruth as he called it), viz. his forwardness to speak and to multiply expressions in speaking which how could that be a ground of telling a lie, and a lie against his own knowledge, could not appear. Brother William wished that things were more particularized. Brother M. and Brother B. could not add more, but seemed to assent unto these.

Myself, having manifested that these brethren not being forestalled by me, I should now speak both to show that there was weight in these exceptions and to add that considering what was then left with him in the close of the former day what was added by myself immediately to him the same day at . . . in the way, and what [torn] who promised me to be plain with him. I asked that he would ere this have freely tendered better satisfaction. Yet had the church been satisfied I should then have concealed my exceptions now and applied myself unto him in private. But moved I was by the lie and . . . to call him forth. And I added I looked at the acknowledgement as so scant as he could not have said less, if he had intended to have said anything to stop further proceedings at present. And whereas in his acknowledgement he excused or put off from himself that of being as a pillar or principal, as not looking to himself as such, he ought rather to have reflected upon his abusing of his gifts or parts and to see his failing now in denying what God hath given which might justly occasion the Lord to lessen those his gifts, whether of grace or nature, and how little he hath answered all that time and means he had so long enjoyed in Christ. . . when for the time he might have been as a pillar or principal and of what little use he is of, yea, of what use?

And to that particular touching Goodwife Bailey, his not taking notice of the greatness of his sin in that lie as his own knowledge, as he justified the wicked and might harden her in her sin, hinder her repentance, &c., and his condemning the righteous. That he took not notice of his great sin of denying, excusing, extenuation, &c. this before the church, more of the evil in not remembering these and from that in Ezek. 36:31. And the watchlessness of his own heart. . . him, withall that an acknowledgement in such general terms would never have satisfied him if it had been another’s case.

Brother Read added this, that touching his saying the corn was carried away he should acknowledge it was inconsiderately spoken. We could not see how it could be put upon inconsiderateness considering he did trice repeat the thing, viz. at three separate times.

So it was put to the church whether they would leave an admonition upon him or rather give him further respite for as much as considering he can not have intended to acknowledge further than he had acknowledged, we could not so consistently put him now upon it. It was concluded by the church to give him respite until next meeting and in meanwhile liberty to tender his satisfaction, if God did move his heart, as upon next Lord’s day or after. Only before the church’s mind was thus known to be moved he asked for liberty to speak wherein he first endeavoured to excuse himself from speaking so briefly considering his aptness to speak nonsense when he spoke much and for his not remembering he looked at that as a failing.

To the former twas replied that that was his sin and he ought not to have confined himself to a few expression in such a case it was a heart shakened—for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh a stinting of the spirit, which in a broken heart could not contain itself in a few expressions. It also showed a fear of being caught and whereas in such case we should labor for the fear of the failing in our own hearts and trust God for the expressions and the guiding of us in them.

So the further considering of the matter was referred to next church meeting, only it was moved by some brethren that if in mean space God did open his heart he might have liberty to make his further acknowledgement, he desiring it.

Next Lord’s day he desired that he might speak and so did to the effect as followeth: that he desired God may be glorified and he one of His own share in that wherein he had miscarried that he hath formerly acknowledged and now more fully does acknowledge.

First, in that he denied before the church that which two brethren had testified; he looks at it as his exceeding great failing because what he denied he denied therein Christ himself, and it was highness of spirit, and that he looked at it as a truth that they did testify, as this their testimony is the voice of Christ Himself speaking by two of His members and many more evils did accompany that his saying which they testified to, as to harden a party that was so palpable of guilt and to take the words out of their mouth to speak not . . . to him to that effect.

And so that of the corn to say that it carried away, it was self, and to say it was gone, it was likewise self or to say &c. for the corn was exchanged or rather sold. This that he hath seen and rejoices of the opportunity that God might be glorified and he asks his own share.

To this it was replied to this effect, that the acknowledgement came short of expectations in as much as the particulars spoken to last church meeting were not touched upon and his several denials, extenuations, excuses, &c. not any fear of them in particular was manifested and indeed came short of the acknowledgement that before which yet was then accounted too short and too general and with no manifestation, it lacking &c. Besides that yet what is acknowledged is upon the matters upon the testimony of the witnesses, not upon his own knowledge and remembrance. Hereupon it was asked whether he yet did not remember the answer, likewise that he held at the testimony of the witnesses as of the voice of Christ.

It was suggested how he could testify to the church that he could not remember ever he said these things and this not as his own . . . and light, and whether it were reasonable to conceive that it is not so considering: first, he may well be supposed . . . from temptation now than he was when he spake these words; secondly, that he did then four several times speak falsehood as his own knowledge and why might not as well now; and thirdly, that the time he hath had to consider of it being a matter of seven weeks hath not brought (as he pretends) so much as one particular to mind. That the former particular was remembered by him to be related to Sister White and her daughter with a day two or three afterward, as the witnesses do relate the same expressed.

This touching Sister White came now by a special providence to knowledge since last church meeting and was this. Upon 3 of 3d. after the church meeting Sister White going in to visit Sister Read being sick relates to her somewhat of the proceedings of the church with George Norton and withall intimates that she could have said something which was not yet spoken to, but because she had not yet told himself in private of it she was silent.51 Last church meeting Sister Read hints this unto another sister whereupon the pastor coming to hear of it makes inquiry and understood from Sister White herself the matter who withall related to him she had spoken to George Norton since that time about it and that he said if he did say so he did not remember it. She related likewise another circumstance to it. George Norton used the manner of his speaking it to her that he gave them (viz. the brethren who presently . . . about the clearing her in the matter of the lace as for that he would clear her) play.

It was moved to Brother Norton whether he remembered this. He answered before the church he remembered being at Sister White’s soon after that agitation and had some speech with her about the thing by . . . of her note testimony set down in writing to the arbitration at the time of the business about the sheet was, but remembered not he used these expressions to her. Yet . . . confesses upon demand he remembered Sister White told him of it; asked whether he remembered that circumstance, that he gave them (the brethren) play, he answered he apprehended he spake some things to that effect, whether the same words he could not say.

It was put to consideration the frame of his spirit both in the time of agitation when he charged the brethren twas the fancy so to urge that matter and now after to make the matter a matter of play, in which the brethren were so serious and conscientious. And twas said that in like sort as to these brethren so the church he hath in effect carried himself as giving the church play all this while as the brethren put things in particular to him. He began to expatiate in some time of verbal acknowledgement, as if still drawn forth, and he being questioned whether he could say Goodwife Bailey were guilty he desired to be spared in that lest he should lay himself open to the advantage of the law. Which expression and answer of his was very offensive as tending to evade the truth still of the matter.

After much agitation between the brethren and him it was in fine moved by the pastor to the church that we should not suffer the time thus to be trifled away nor the holy ordinance of God to be in such sort dallied with. And last considering what pains and patience had been already used by the church towards him whether it were not time to consider whether the church had not discharged her duty and that the brethren would answer whether they did conceive him to have heard the church as to be yet in a fair way to approve of hearing her, and divers did answer negatively to the two latter. And it was voted that he was ripe for censure, but about this the brethren somewhat differed in the judgment. Which censure some conceiving that though not finally an admonition had been dispensed and yet the matter of an admonition had been given him and that which would amount to it, in both the two former church meetings and no guilt appeared thereof.

Hereupon Brother Norton speaking to this effect, that if the church did see cause and say it would be for his good, they should do well to pass the cause upon him and he should desire it. This speech was constrained to intimate some fall of his spirit and so it was voted rather an admonition and to wait yet a little longer. So thereupon he was admonished by the church solemnly. In the name of Christ prayer proceeding the dispensation of that censure. The scripture whereupon the admonition was granted was Heb. 3:15–16.

The brethren upon the admonition the next week following visited him and labored much with him, now some and then other some, and we found him the two following days in a kind of sullen frame holding forth that the church would force him to confess that he sinned against knowledge which were, he said, to sin the sin against the Holy Ghost, but he had peace and had not sinned wittingly &c. The fourth day morning myself went in and seeing him so to lie and refraining to eat or to regard anything in his family (and yet professing he had not trouble in his soul, so laying hard to him such a practice as sinful). After I was gone he rose and went about his work and thence forward professed great inward joy and peace and much of God’s presence &c.

15 of 4t. 48.

This day the church kept a day of humiliation for him together in private and the scripture handled that day was I Cor. 5:2. Himself had liberty to come if he could. So he came; but after the sermon in the forenoon stood up in great distress and spake as one offended, turning his back in great heat to be gone. But myself staying with him and persuading him (likewise the brethren with him) he stayed it out, yet he behaved himself sometimes somewhat offensively. And after ending of the exercises of the day he spake something which was not material to the case nor satisfactory to any person but angering some in consideration of his. . . .

Next morning he sent his wife to me intimating he perceived we would have counsel if, first, we, any of us, would go to any elders, he would go with us for counsel. Or would speak together with Major Endicott at his return who was expected at my house the day after. To this last I condescended. But he not calling (as was expected) we referred the thing. In the meanwhile we perceiving he made this advantage of it as to give out the church was at a loss and saying he would have a hearing and intimating as if the church were under some failing &c. and with these at a stand and such like.

Myself with Brother Phineas Fiske going to him to give him notice it was the church’s mind he should refrain from coming to the seals (the Lord’s day following), he answered he should refrain and prayed God to give the church the blessing of this and not to impute to the church the failings, which occasioned an hour’s reasoning or more. At what time he held forth to us (about the matter of the lace) that God had helped the evening of the day of humiliation clearly to recall things and his own intentions and the acting and carryings of matters at the arbitration, and he found he could say he spoke then the truth and nothing but the truth, but not the whole truth and he had peace &c. And it being objected how this could stand with his professing he did fully believe the testimony of the witnesses, he strove to reconcile them to us. He did believe they did report the words he used (though he could not remember these words) according to their understanding and apprehension but not according to his intention in speaking them. For his intention (as he said) was to decline the clearing of her and was forced to use such arguments as he could to show the unreasonableness of the brethren’s reasoning. The same things to effect he spoke also unto other brethren as these things were after testified to his face before the church.

But hereupon myself refused to him, to go with him for counsel, himself manifesting such confidence on his own part and pretending to make a matter of arbitration of it. This thing was so divulged by him as that many began to interpret our setting apart a day was to seek God for light in the case and that ourselves now in the dark as not knowing how to act and the matter must be put to counsel &c. Which forced me next Lord’s day to apologize before the whole congregation to take off such misapprehensions touching the church. After that the thing coming to the Reverend Mr. Norris, I was enforced to do the like to him and as the case stood to declare against counsel in the way as he would have it, viz. as to a hearing of a third party by way of arbitration for reconciliation as it had been at Gloucester, as he said, in his case.

3 of 5t. 48.

This day a church meeting. Richard Goldsmith made his relation and after testimony and his assent to the church confession (a passage therein only concerning the resurrection, he querying whether this were not a first resurrection, as from that in Dan. 12:1 and Rev. 20:6 according to the judgment of some divinity and Mr. Barrowes,52 as he said) passed the church. Some speech also about G. Shipley.

After that it was concluded by the church that it was time to call Brother Norton to see what good he had got by the admonition and so the matter was left to the pastor in case because of the time. Only so as something might be done soon about it because of the desire of the church manifested of having the seals.

Next Lord’s day warning was given in public to him that the church intended to inquire Lord’s day following of him how he had profited by the admonition. This night Goodman Norton went with me to Richard Goldsmith’s. We dealt with him for that which he said before Richard Goldsmith his wife, they having dealt with him upon a Lord’s day before.

In the mean space he went to Salem to the elders there and told his tale and procured at length a letter from Reverend Mr. Norris.

10 of 5t. 48.

Upon the Lord’s day the letter was passed in private by the brethren and we find not any reason or light given us thereby to divert our thoughts but somewhat perceived thereby his sins and how he had misconstrued the actions of the church. Concluded of some questions to move to him. After the afternoon exercise we called him forth and moved the questions.

  1. 1. What twas it he conceived the church would have him see which he could not see (for so he had said to that effect)? He answered this, that he should knowingly persist in his sin.
  2. 2. What he meant by these expressions the day he was admonished: if the church saw it for his good to dispense the censure, he deserved it? He answered after some demur and a little agitation that he desired it that he might have good by it. It was replied did he judge the church as faithful then? He answered yes.
  3. 3. This question, why he reports the church first dealt with him in public before any of the brethren had dealt with him in private? He answered, because had he heard of it in private or sooner he might better have remembered things. And asking advice he could not but relate the matter else he had dealt deceitfully. It was replied, did he judge the church did not go then in an orderly way? He answered that he looked at himself as unfit to declare whether this did or did not.
  4. 4. What made him to report that the church did press him to confess what he could not remember and that at last he was admonished? He answered, he understood it or apprehended it as the ground of the admonition and that Brother Read did assent to it at Mr. Norton’s. Reply by Brother Read, he denying it saying twas not that only. Then twas declared the cause that moved the church to the admonition were many perceptions the church had of his persisting in his sin without due sense of it and humiliation and repentance for it, but rather still continuing to lessen and evade them as the several exceptions as his acknowledgement did declare. And for this it was likely according to reason his affirming he could not remember these things was contrary to knowledge and as was declared when he was admonished. The church had reason to credit his affirmation or assertion in this case, considering how many lies he was charged with which he advisedly and considerately had spoken. And when we could not disarm any temptation or provocation, truth should induce him to it, but his own corrupt heart &c.
  5. 5. Of the ground of his peace, comfort, work of God and His presence, he held forth upon his admonition? He answered, the discovery of some sin that sometime since (as also he declared in his confession) which he looked at as the effect of the admonition.

So liberty being given him to declare what fruit he had found of his admonition he spake briefly and generally to this effect. That touching that he could remember of the things he spake at the times when he should speak these things which he was charged with, that he spake the truth and nothing but the truth (so far as himself could remember). But that he confess not the whole truth and thought then he had spoken safely yet now he find he spake sinfully because he did not speak the whole truth. This he remembers of himself and in examination of the case why he should be so left of God, he had found this that he sinned against God in leaving the church of Salem, a complete church to go to an incomplete, as which had then no officers or ordained, and here his great sin in that he answered falsely, as against his heart (or to that effect) in the congregation and that speaking falsely in the congregation was his great grief and that this was now discovered to him (which if this occasion had . . . he knew not whether . . . should) and this he was thankful to God for. This was his joy, in this he find the presence of God and this the fruit now of the admonition. Then was he minded of what he said to Richard Goldsmith and his wife about the lace, alas poor woman she is clear, which he could not remember. Hereupon (manifest from other things he said) this was put to him whether he did not remember any one lie he told at that time? Answer: he denied to remember any. Reply: he did remember he said she could not be cleared then (because the witnesses at Lynn); his own words confessed were (should she fetch witnesses from Lynn) what said he to this passage was then not a lie here, he knew she had no witnesses at Lynn who could clear her. Besides herein he justified her lie, saying she bought the lace of a woman of Lynn which he knew likewise to be false.

This in much agitation he stood to justify in his intention and as the words were spoken as no lie. Then the rest of the time was mostly spent to clear and bring him to see and acknowledge that the only difference between the church and him when he was admonished, or the only thing wherein the church was unsatisfied, was not because he could not remember the things witnessed against him and repeated the other as exceptions wherein the church had that time manifested these to have expected in his confession satisfaction which he touched not upon unless in a like, persisting in the same offenses. And these were particularly laid this day before him and he was asked wherein the same he had endeavoured the satisfaction of the church touching them. He answered diversely but for his pretending he had, but could not instance in what expressions or in what way, but he thought he had. And in fine saying he perceived he was mistaken and might he have longer respite he hoped he should satisfy the church.

Likewise it was pressed upon him that day divers further offenses since, as: 1. in estranging himself from the brethren this time and not coming to any of them to satisfy but only to trip them, upon occasion, for his own advantage; 2. in endeavors of alienating the minds of some of the brethren from the church in case of their proceedings; 3. in misrepresenting matters to the reproach and scandal of the church &c.; 4. in not seeking so much as the prayers of the church all this time &c.; 5. in seeking to enfeeble the testimony of the witnesses and that he declined to call the witnesses by the name of brother, as three came before the church that day; 6. in maintaining still that he, if he spoke these words, spoke them inconsiderately and rashly; 7. in divers contradictions between what he professed in public and frequently spoke in private sometimes to one, sometimes to two or three as occasion of speech offered. All which were conceived inconsistent with the nature of true repentance and humiliation. So the business was respited unto the next Lord’s day.

22 of 5t. 48

This Lord’s day after the evening exercise called and first it was demanded of him whether he continued in the same mind and opinion he manifested himself of last Lord’s day in the answers he gave to the church. He answered, he saw no reason of altering aught that he then said or held forth. And divers of the particulars were insisted upon to which he yielded the same answer and with some more offensive aggravations.

Then it was put to the church whether they would desire any further acknowledgement of liberty to be given to speak what he might be prepared to speak (for as much as the same what ere it were could not satisfy, matters standing then at such a distance). Divers moved that yet he might have liberty whereupon he spake to this effect. First, manifesting how he was denied a copy of the eight particulars by the pastor and could not remember all. But such as he remembered . . . should name touching the . . . of the evils he was guilty of, it lay in his own heart the hardness to be convinced was . . . sin. Non-remembrance was a defect in nature, the charging with such a manner of speech as imputed the extenuating or denying his gifts, his speech that way he strove to repeat and justified it, as which he might use, the forwardness in speaking as the good of a lie he only named and went to another thing, justifying his speech of fetching witnesses from Lynn as no lie, in the way in which he spoke it.

It was demanded twice whether he had any more to say. He was silent. It was demanded what he said to that passage of speaking the truth and nothing but the truth, but not the whole truth. He answered (by an evasion) saying he spoke it of two or three passages only used in his discourse as before last Lord’s day. Thus it appeared to us he suspected not his memory in anything which he thought might tend to excuse or lessen his offense.

It was required that he should speak something in particular touching the corn. He replied, he must say that to say twas conveyed away was false, and to say twas gone was false &c. (as in his former confession) for the corn was lent or rather sold to him &c. His manner of expressing himself was taken up as for some a self condoning and saying I said false or lied in that so and so I said &c. Reminded whether he yet judged himself to speak these lies inconsiderately. So here are the particulars where the distance between the church and him lay, being repeated: 1. his non-remembering what the witnesses testified; 2. his maintaining that he spoke this inconsiderately (this the . . .); 3. his non-remembering one lie upon his . . . or excusing that matter of fetching witnesses from Lynn as containing no lie in it; 4. his affirming he spoke the truth and nothing but the truth with which excuses it was testified to the church he opposed the testimony of the witnesses, saying they testified their apprehensions and were indeed mistaken &c.; and, 5. his reproaches of the church in two false reports. These false reports: viz. first, that he was dealt with in public before he was dealt with in private whereupon it was put to the whole church to say what sin was charged upon him in the first church meeting besides that of denying the testimony of the brethren. So the scheme was manifested as consent that there was . . . . The second reproach that the only matter lying between the church and him and why he was admonished was his non-remembering. And here he being demanded whether he yet judged so still, he answered he could take no notice of aught else with divers other particulars as before in the story. Hereupon the church voted themselves unsatisfied and secondly that he was right for the great confession. So that it should be dispensed which accordingly (prayer proceeding) was done. And so after the same dispensed the condition of a person justly under such a censure was briefly explained. He bid to depart and with some words, as praying the Lord to forgive the sin of the church, went out after a strange, disdainful manner.

The particular charges resting upon Goodman Norton (as by the same is manifest):

  1. 1. his strengthening the hands of an evil doer;
  2. 2. his notorious lying in the matter of the lace at the time when the arbitration was from Goodwife Bailey;
    1. 1. when he . . . her of some speaking saying he would never speak to clear her;
    2. 2. he could clear her if he would;
    3. 3. if any would charge her he would dear her;
    4. 4. if he could not clear her he would give them this.

This witnessed to the church by William Fiske and his wife, Phineas Fiske, and George Byam. Besides these five particulars which he did hear . . . most of them confessed by himself as may be seen from the first day’s work at . . . some of which were falsehoods at Sister White’s. Repeating the discourse of the arbitration with words used by him to the same effect as that he should dear her, saying he held them play. At Richard Goldsmith’s house using these words: alas, poor woman, she is clear. And the . . . testified by his wife thus: that yet even when Goodman Norton did discourse at their house touching Goodwife Bailey and should say (as her husband remembers) alas poor woman she is clear. That she apprehended so much his discourse did . . . too, though she particularly remembered not the expressions and she well remembers that she replied to him in these words: why hath she told so many tales then about it. And he answered again: if he were called to account for what he had in his house, where he had it, he could not remember where he had it. And that twas clear to her what she heard of the discourse between her husband and him was touching the lace, not the sheets.

In the matter of the corn which he was to pay widow Robinson but attached or destroyed in his hands by the constable upon his instigation (as James Mather testified). That he should say twas destroyed (or attached) and carried away. Testified to by William Fiske and Mr. Thorndike. And the same thing a second time to others, Goodman Spalding his wife and son. The same thing a third time to others, George Byam.

These evils diversely aggravated all along as the story of the church proceedings with him do manifest, with many lies, evasions, reproaches upon the church, &c. George Norton’s expressions before the church thus related: to speak of her clearing tis a thing that cannot be she must fetch witnesses from Lynn; and he hearing, asked what interpretation he made of these words, replied, I grant that these words did make against me.

The proceedings of this church with George Norton.

17th of 2d. 48.

An occasion being offered of meeting for the church only in regard of a public day of humiliation to be on 20 of 2d. After that business was ended it so fell out as by reason of a common rumor that Goodwife Bailey had stolen a certain lace and that Goodman Norton had made her peace. Two of our brethren that had heard George Norton say and defend to them for about three quarters of an hour openly before many that he could and would clear her. Desiring some light how to carry themselves towards such a brother they brought the matter before the church, by way of an inquiry whether that brother was not bound to clear the woman, or himself at least, for their satisfaction &c.

Hereupon it was moved to George Norton first to speak his thought to it to save the church happily some labor since the person whom it concerned being manifestly known to all. Though so thought the woman upon this clear, who suddenly stood forth saying he denied that ever he said he could or would clear her. His behavior and manner of speaking being withall very haughty, insolent, and much offensive.

Then two others of our church testified to the same thing as the former with some circumstances added. One of them saying he believed till then upon his speeches the woman had been clear and not guilty of the fact as reported. George Norton replied (after the same manner as before) that they were mistaken and labored to make it good, but as we conceived with many inconsistencies. At length, after much agitation tending to evince that he had said the words, he after divers evasions and extenuations of such passages as might seem offensive came to this: that he could not remember them.

〈Goodman Norton was frequently wont to trouble the church with cases and if he had aught against any in his spirit he would himself propound a case. And Providence so ordered it, as besides our expectations, a case was his discovery and otherthrow. The passages they testified he used were these:

  1. 1. when he talked of Goodwife Bailey so speaking he said he could clear her if he would and he would undertake to clear her;
  2. 2. being pressed then so to do he said if any would charge her he would clear her;
  3. 3. if he could not dear her, he would give them this, putting his hand upon his ear.〉

Though he could dear her yet he would not then; this he confessed before the church (as see after 16 of 5t. month). Finally this meeting was closed with some reasonings with him tending to convince him of his disorderly and proud carriage before the church. But no good effect we saw at present. Before the next church meeting some of us dealt privately with him partly about this matter of the lace and partly about another offense in that about the corn. Touching the former: first, we labored to faze him with his disorderly and offensive carriage before the church; secondly, with lying in saying he could clear her. Whereas he both knew she had stolen the lace and had himself but a few days before made her peace, and this was further aggravated by often repeating the same speeches in effect as the brethren testified. And thirdly, we charged him with laying a stumbling block before the woman in the way of her repentance by appearing to justify her, to her face, taking up her cause and not suffering herself to speak.

Touching the latter, viz. the business of the corn, we dealt with him for lying in saying the corn was carried away when he knew it was not. He aggravated this his evil in speaking the same three several times to several persons. In the close, after we had to this purpose laid the evil of these things before him, he seemed somewhat to fall. Whereupon we persuading him to be ready to give God the glory in a public confession, seeing they were public offenses, he seemed to accept thereof pretending he would count it a favor to have the liberty to mention the evils himself in his own confession and not to be first charged with them in public, which was yielded to.

〈Twice I dealt privately with him for this. The first time he defended the mistake of the witnesses and of one said he had seen his error and would not . . . it which he in coming to my house as the words were uttered I asked him &c. George Norton preventing him speaking charged him as in two of his questions and as speaking God’s presence to take heed what he said, for he had two witnesses to contradict him. He answered if he had a hundred he must say as he had said. He had mad [?] thoughts otherwise. This in . . . her would use as negative testimony and yet before had excepted against it in his own case . . . whole church . . . . . . [three words illegible].〉

3 of 3d. 48.

At a church meeting he was called (after prayer and something promised to show the work of the day) whereupon he spake directing his speech with respect to his former miscarriage before the church and the offenses he had given in the matter both of the lace and of the corn. At which his acknowledgement divers things were objected at present such as: 1. the generality and scantness of it; 2. the defect of that sense and sorrow that would be expected in an offender; 3. his seeming to reflect upon the church or the witnesses in saying he apprehended provocations and if made the ground of his miscarriage before the church; 4. his not remembering any of these evils but putting them upon the testimony of the brethren; and, 5. his extenuating his speeches as spoken inconsiderately and contrary to his intention.

To which, whereas he answered not satisfactorily, myself (some good space of time having been spent in his agitation) closed the meeting, having left him with these scriptures: Ezekiel 20:43, Proverbs 17:15, and Revelations 20:1.

〈We had the rather reason the more narrowly to observe his acknowledgement because there was feared any of the brethren to whom he had not said, touching his satisfying the church there at Gloucester, he had confessed more than if it had been to do again he would ever had done.〉

31 of 3d. 48.

This day the church having another meeting upon occasion of receiving in a member. After this was done he was again called. Divers having moved that he might not be longer deferred considering some space of time was past wherein it had been expected he would voluntarily have tendered better satisfaction. And every day seemed to discover in him a greater strangeness from the brethren than usually. And something was come also to light which seemed to contradict what he had publicly held forth. And our so long delay already was doubted would be interpreted the church was satisfied. Hereupon it was moved to him whether he had a desire to speak aught further to the church touching his miscarriages for now was an opportunity &c. He replied he thought the church had been satisfied and for his part could say no more than he had said.

Hereupon the whole church manifested themselves very unsatisfied (marvelling at such his answer) and endeavored to show him particularly wherein they could not be satisfied as namely in the specials above mentioned and likewise in these following: viz. 1. his mincing his lies (in his confessions) with fair term of untruths; 2. his declining to confess the evil of those extenuations and evasions which he had used in the first church meeting and to weigh his spirit in them; 3. his excusing his lying from his over much forwardness in speaking and in multiplying expression which how it could be the ground of telling a lie against one’s own knowledge and deliberately, could not be conceived 〈The word lying he used not, but in these words, that he said &c.〉; 4. his so deep silence in so great a sin, as the justifying of one in a wicked act to her face to the greater hardening of her as the very consequence declared. She upon it boasting she was clear and in that who said she had stolen the lace did wrong her and such an honest man could clear her and had undertaken and would clear her. And which evil of his was aggravated by many arguments he then used (as was apprehended) to persuade the brethren that she was indeed clear and had not stolen the lace. Such as were acknowledged and remembered by him we mainly urged and dwelt upon.

  1. 1. That Mrs. Price (the party from whom she had stolen it) was satisfied in her spirit touching her.
  2. 2. That the said Mrs. Price durst not say twas her lace.
  3. 3. That Goody Tomkins (the woman that made the lace) durst not take her oath that this lace was of her making.
  4. 4. That he could not clear her then seeing the witnesses were far off, viz. at Lynn. (This particular he would hold forth as expressed by him thus: how can I clear her now, must I fetch witnesses from Lynn?). The evil of this passage the church looked at as aggravated in that it seemed to justify a lie in the woman, telling her neighbors she had bought the lace of a woman of Lynn.
  5. 5. That were he called to account he could not give account of everything he had.

(For it seems, upon these and such like grounds, he held up the discourse for about three quarters of an hour in the hearing of ten or eleven persons.) His usual answer to these was that he did thus speak to show the unreasonableness of the brethren’s reasonings in pressing her to confess whether she had stolen the lace.

A fifth thing the church at that time reminded him of was his sin of forgetfulness and in neglect of his spiritual watch which they observed him to decline the taking notice of all this while.

In fine, after the church had thus labored with him for some space of time it was concluded to give him some further respite and if God did move his heart between this and the next church meeting he should have liberty to tender his acknowledgement to the church. This being the Lord’s day he desired his liberty and accordingly did speak very briefly. The sum of which was to put much upon the witnesses saying he should have heeded their testimony as the voice of Christ and blaming himself especially for taking the woman’s matters up when not called to it, yielding it an evil to give any occasion of hardening a woman so palpable of guilt. And further touching the corn, that to say twas carried away or twas gone twas false.

Which acknowledgement the church could not take satisfaction from as neither being uttered in a way of self judging nor scarce touching upon any of the particulars left with the former church meeting. Besides twas objected that such an acknowledgement did not hold forth to them any signs of true repentance, nor did it reach to the vindicating of God’s glory, the stopping of the mouths of the wicked, nor the satisfaction of the conscience of the grieved, nor yet it was ever such as himself would have accepted from another.

〈For he was the most rigid by far of any amongst us and most hard upon all occasions to take satisfaction in so much as often I have been forced to moderate matters with respect to him. And much was he wont to stand upon the order and liberty of the church as witness his stirring last year when the church was to send messengers to the Cambridge Synod.〉53

And in this way the brethren labored with him, some even with much affection and tears urging divers things upon him, and in particular: first, his non-remembering, suggesting that they would have hoped in all this time he might have recalled to mind something at least, he being observed to one of a strong memory (as was said). And the rather seeing (as was testified) touching the matter of the lace, he could remember two or three days after to relate some passages, the witnesses testify to as used by him, word for word and that vauntingly boasting also that he had held them (the brethren) play (for the testimony of Sister White was brought in this day as coming to light since the last meeting). Secondly, nor that on the other side he yet laid to heart the evil of his forgetfulness and the neglect of his watch.

Something was also urged at this time touching his spirit and in particular in the speeches even now mentioned of holding the brethren play. As also in respect of another passage that he had used to their faces at what time they first reasoned with him about it, that twas their fancy. (When so far as the church was able to observe and gather the brethren were serious and conscientious in those agitations and acted piously.)

He was also again minded of his excusing those speeches (viz. his lies) as used by him (as he said) inconsiderately, suddenly, and contrary to his intentions, which the church could discern no reason to look at as other than wittingly, willingly, and in some sort considerately spoken.

In these and some others he standing to justify himself before the church it was in the dose conceived high time to leave him under a church admonition which was accordingly voted by all the brethren unanimously and with prayer dispensed making use of that scripture, Heb. 3:15–16. 〈For these things led us to conceive him unpenitent notwithstanding what he had seemed to confess some times.〉

11 of 4t. 48.

The brethren having observed in George Norton this last week passed divers sad and desperate effects of the censure upon him (and being much affected herewith, as fearing his condition) upon serious consultation did with one accord incline to and did vote to keep the 14 of 4t. following a day of solemn humiliation on his behalf, leaving it at his own liberty whether he would be present or no.

Some of the more remarkable of these effects were these, viz. that he held forth in express terms or to that effect.

  1. 1. That the church would force him to confess what he could not remember. Whereas the church had more than once manifested themselves publicly to him to the contrary and declared that the end of pressing his non-remembrance was to put him upon yet a more serious search of himself whether either on one hand he might not be possibly under a temptation to conceal what he did remember or on the other hand he had used all diligence to recall what might have slipped his memory. 〈At this he took in public a deep imprecation that God would confound him and his nature &c. if so or so. So apt he was to take imprecautions as in private often, notwithstanding I rebuked him as oft therefore.〉
  2. 2. That the church did pass the censure merely because of his non-remembering which the very carriage of the matter, as is above specified, in his own hearing and towards him does clear to arise from an evil principle.
  3. 3. That the church would urge him to confess that he had sinned against his knowledge and therefore the sin against the Holy Ghost which we looked at as a most desperate and politic, if not malicious, assertion and exceeding scandalous, the sin not being once mentioned to him by the church and himself not apprehended so ignorant as to judge every sin as knowledge of the sin against the Holy Ghost. He being one of parts and of a strong memory and having been for nineteen years a member of a church in New England, which therefore if out of ignorance must needs be out of gross ignorance. 〈This confessed to me by himself in the hearing of Richard Goldsmith.〉
  4. 4. His professing great inward peace and much of God’s presence now since the church censure and no trouble of conscience &c.

14 of 4t. 48.

The church met accordingly and kept the day as abovesaid. George Norton being present seemed to some of us even to enforce himself continuance rather to catch than otherwise. And twice he took liberty to speak and that marvelously distemperately and offensively, manifesting a very incomposed frame of spirit. (His speech did not tend to confess his own failings, but to cavil at some expressions of ours.) And for the consequent of it he gave out that the church was at a loss and in the dark and had proceeded further than they could well justify, or to that purpose, and so therefore kept that day. And thence forward he began to move arbitration or a hearing, justifying himself and blaming the church &c.

9 of 5t. 48.

This day he had notice given him in public of the church’s intention next Lord’s day to call him forth. This week he bestirred himself (as was by some conceived) to entrap the witnesses (having somewhat endeavored it before) to make some of the church in his party, to vent his complaints against the church &c. 〈With his he . . . possessed some of the brethren as if I assumed, like some presbyterian or the like, the power of the church and to appoint times in . . . without them. Whereupon one or two came to me as offended. One went to Mr. Norris who satisfied him for as usual with them.〉 By reason whereof I sent to Rev. Mr. Norton to assist me with his presence next Lord’s day. This was my own, not the church act, though he gave out to the contrary. 〈Thus he informed Mr. Norton, Mr. Sharp, Mr. Hathorne, and carried witness that there were two of the brethren that knew not of Mr. Norton’s sending for.〉

16 of 5t. 48.

He was called forth and the agitation was long, even till within the night. What he professed in words, as the effect of the admonition, was (as before said) much peace, comfort, and of God’s presence. The ground whereof he pretended to was because the discovery of an evil four or five years before committed by him in leaving the church of Salem, a complete church, to go to an incomplete. And there in answering the query of the church at Gloucester asking him if he were willing to join &c., he answered affirmatively against his conscience, he not being (as he said) willing. And that therefore God had left him in the matter of the lace not so to speak so safely as he might. 〈What is this to the affirming the woman was clear of stealing the lace.〉 For God (as he said) had helped him since the admonition to clearly recall things and his own intentions and carriages at that time. And he did find that he there spake the truth and nothing but the truth, but not the whole truth, which was his failing. And that he could not remember one lie he uttered at that time, justifying that which he said touching the fetching of witnesses from Lynn (as he said he spoke it) as no lie. The church laying before him the particulars above mentioned he at first pretended he had given the church satisfaction in them. Then they being severally put to him (at least the most of them) he could neither express how nor did the least (as we could judge) endeavor it at this time. 〈There was some agitation about that expression confessed by him to be used at the arbitration. Though he could clear her yet he would not then; the words before Richard Goldsmith.〉 But at last saying he perceiving he was mistaken, he desired further respite and he hoped he should satisfy the church. 〈This appeared to us afterward to be a pretense both to gain time and to get a copy of particulars under my hand.〉

Hereupon the church, not knowing how yet God might work with him, granted a respite until the next Lord’s day. Withall meekly minding him of some further offenses more lately taken.

  1. 1. His estranging of himself from the brethren and not coming to them (unless of late to trap some of them or to alienate their minds from the church). 〈For twas evident to the church he did withdraw and as twere discovenanted them before the church did begin and this was his spirit before them upon the last offense of any pr. . . he would profess he could not hold communion with them.〉
  2. 2. His misreporting matters abroad to the scandal and reproach of the church.
  3. 3. His not seeking the prayers of the church all this time, though he had been moved by some to do so.
  4. 4. His endeavor to enfeeble the testimony of some of the witnesses and declining to use the name (brother) when he did speak of or to them publicly or privately. 〈Thrice this day twas observed by him in public and he minded of it, to which he answered ruggedly, he knew not whether he should call them brethren.〉
  5. 5. His yet defending the speaking of the words the witnesses charged him with to be spoken inconsiderately &c.
  6. 6 His frequent contradictions between what he would seem sometime to confess and what he says otherwhile and so wished him hereupon to be serious in considering the frame of his own heart &c.

23 of 5t. 48. [previously dated as 22 of 5t.]

Being again this day called (as before appointed) and demanded whether he continued in the same mind or opinion as he manifested last Lord’s day or whether the Lord had helped him to see aught further he answered that he saw no reason of altering aught. Then the church descended into particulars to which he gave answers as he had done before and with some more offensive aggravations. Then the church desired to hear what he was prepared to say or to confess. And in answer he first endeavored to excuse himself because his memory could not retain the particulars and the pastor had denied him a copy of them. And after added in this wise, that the evils he was guilty of the cause was his own heart; that for any hardness to be convinced of that was a sin; non-remembering was a defect in nature; in his manner of speaking of fetching witnesses from Lynn was no lie.

〈This was omitted before because I remember not justly the place and time. These confessions following were in answer to questions put to him.〉 This saying that he spoke the truth and nothing but the truth but not the whole truth he intended it in regard of two or three passages to which it should be restrained. For what he should speak touching the corn he should say as he had done before &c. And for his speeches which did give offense they were uttered inconsiderately not wittingly.

This manner of confessing (all one as to the telling of a tale in a third person) was judged by the church very strange and unbecoming a disciple of Christ and short of those expectations which we had reason to gather from the close of the last day. Yet once more did the church lay before him the sins he was first charged with and divers of the forenamed particulars he was minded of last day. But mostly insisted upon were these.

  1. 1. His non-remembering—how he could not remember aught of that he should say (he could clear the woman) whereas he had used such expressions more than once or twice at the same time. And when he had used the same or like expressions a second time as to this effect to others—alas, poor woman, she is clear. And likewise in third place to others repeating his own expression vauntingly to the same effect, and yet not to remember that ever he said so seemed strange. And likewise touching the corn he had three several times and to several persons to speak the same thing—that the corn was carried away—and not to remember aught here neither. Nor yet secondly to appear to us to suspect his memory in anything that made for his turn, but stiffly to hold it to an “if” and an “and.” Nor yet judging himself for his watchlessness, heedlessness all this while, but contrariwise excusing his forgetfulness by a natural defect. But other-while confidently affirming some time he never could nor should remember these things.
  2. 2. His standing to it that he spoke those words inconsiderately and rashly whereas yet he knows not (as he professes) upon his own memory that he ever spake them.
  3. 3. His defending his speech of fetching witnesses from Lynn as no lie.
  4. 4. His maintaining that he spoke (in the matter of the lace) the truth and nothing but the truth, only not the whole truth.
  5. 5. His reproaching of the church in divers particulars. Two were especially instanced: 1. that the church dealt with him in public before he was dealt with in private; 2. that the sole cause of his admonition was his non-remembering. Both of which were false as may appear by that which is abovesaid.

So he being demanded what he could say he replied, he could not say more than he had formerly. 〈All which particulars together argued to us obstinancy and great height of pride and . . . against the church.〉

In the close the church voted with one accord the casting him out which (prayer preceding) was accordingly done. After which he went forth after a disdainful manner uttering such expressions as these—the Lord pardon the sin of the church.

9 of 5t. 48.

Richard Goldsmith taken into covenant having made his relations 3rd of . . . at a church meeting.

15 of 8t. 48 or thereabouts.

Mary, the daughter of Richard and Mary Goldsmith, baptized.

29 of 8t. 48 or thereabouts.

The wife of John Shiply received into covenant having made her relations and declared herself of the opinions of the women of Eli. However she had been with them and the matter in question before the church being cleared to the testimony coming from Salem divers of the church besides the elders on her behalf. About three weeks after her three children, John, Nathaniel, and Lydia, baptized. About this time Joseph, the son of Richard Dodge and his wife, was baptized.

21 of 11t. 48.

John Fiske, the son of Brother Phineas Fiske, received into covenant having made his relations and testimony being given for him.

12. of 10t. 48.

An apology on the behalf of this church tending to vindicate the same from such prejudices as either are or may be taken up by any against the proceedings thereof in the late censure passed upon George Norton.

Having duly weighed the hand of divine Providence in various changes befalling this town within a short space of time such as many being deceased, many also removed, and divers appearing sometimes somewhat unsettled, and considering my times are in God’s hand, so as how soon I may be taken hence I know not. And observing the wily plotting of the said George in gathering up of witnesses and tends to make his cause appear not so foul, as indeed it is, and with what artifice he endeavors to insinuate himself into the affections of such as are strangers unto the matter and were unacquainted with the spirit of the man. Meeting withall with many secret whisperings of some foul mistake in the business of a fair construction conceived might be put upon the matter of his offense, of suspicion lest things might be too much carried by relations and acted out of prejudice and such like.

And minding hereupon how much the hand of God and of His holy ordinance the safety and due account of this church in future times the due conviction of this part and the freeing of the succeeding members of this body from delusion may be concerned herein. I have thought it needful to have this following apology in record with this church as annexed to the former declaration of its proceedings with this party all along that light and necessary direction may not be wanting to the same in the future as occasion may require.

For the avoiding of suspicions and jealousies on one hand or calumnies and reproaches on the other hand we ought not at any hand to contract the least guilt or sin upon ourselves and to our great grief it is that some whom we do dearly respect and tender in the Lord and whose spirit we ought not to make sad have seemed to have been too prone to yield credence to the reports against this church. Nevertheless it may somewhat tend to justify our proceedings and to discover his delusions that hitherto we neither knew nor do hear of one brother or sister (one young man only excepted) in either the churches whereof he was heretofore and amongst whom he is best known that have appeared to favor his cause. And further we can safely say that such of other churches as were settled amongst us and observed our proceedings did manifest their approbation. Before ever we passed any censure, yea more, the matters of his offense were neither such as wherein any these relations, nor indeed any of the church, were personally interested nor any other way than as any brother or sister who had been present and had observed the same might or ought by rule to have been. Nor do I know what either the church or any particular person might expect to gain hereby other than the peace of a good conscience in endeavoring to discharge our duty. Sure I am divers of us have looked at it as a great affliction, yea have professed it the greatest we have met with since we came together to behold the adversary54 thus to both rend and to hold off one of our members, notwithstanding all endeavors to the contrary. And as no small loss of what we might have enjoyed in a way of brotherly help and assistance from him had he stood right, which loss reason would give we had no need to put voluntarily upon ourselves especially being so few as we are. But this we trust God will in His due time somewhat supply, at leastwise with some more abundant fruits of his presence and blessing.

Tis well known amongst us how he was dealt with by the church (amongst other evils) for notorious and gross lying. What full testimony the church had thereof. How he denied it; how he sought from first to last to evade the same and to extenuate the evil of it; how contrary to all good reason he still pleaded non-remembrance. Some can yet testify what workings there were to discover a mistake in the witnesses, to enfeeble their testimony, to entrap some of them, and to wrest what he could catch from them to the further cloaking or hiding of his sin. And likewise how he gloried in an advantage he thought he had gained amongst one of them; yea in what way of inequity and guile he sought to interrupt and discourage a brother when about to give in his testimony and what threatenings he used in that case.

Few of us whilest matters were fresh in mind but were able to show how inconsistent his confessions were with himself and with his other actings all along. How in the same breath he would unsay what he seemed to say before. In what dubious expressions also he would carry along his matters when he would seem to confess and what senseless senses he would put upon his expressions when urged to an explanation.

Twas manifest how high, haughty, and disdainful a carriage he oftentimes used to the church when they applied themselves to be most plain with him and how little sense, sorrow, remorse, and shame he discovered at any time because of his sin. Doubtless we should have been glad to have discerned never so little as which would have given us hopes of more.

Divers did then observe how ready he was to interpret the good meanings of the church to an intending or going about to trap him, to a dealing with him for his faithfulness, to a pressing him to confess against his conscience. 〈Because it judged his lies were wittingly spoken &c. to the putting him upon sinning the sin against the Holy Ghost, it was evident to be seen what an evil eye he did still cast upon any such was were most plain with him and how he sought to prejudice them. Yea what prejudices he has endeavored to bring from time to time upon the church.〉

Touching his lies when he could not evade them he would mince and extenuate them as mere slips, unadvised and rash and inconsiderate expressions &c. And frequently he would justify himself in all by his intentions and in the matter of the lace that he had spoken the truth and nothing but the truth but not the whole truth. And this was his failing, he not speaking so safely as he might and ought to have done. Though he pretendeth not to remember that ever he said as the witnesses do testify yet will you not conceive he believes their testimony (for he hath oft said he does, especially when before the church). However he when with one alone endeavored the prejudice of them still; sometimes one, sometimes more of them, pretending the mistake was on their parts and that they understood him not aright and insinuating a falsity in their testimony which when brought again to public scanning he would seem more plainly to express his meaning to be that they spoke as they apprehended, not as he spake or intended.

One time we should hear him say he should never remember what they witness against him, another while that God had helped him clearly to recall things. One while he will apply that of speaking the truth and nothing but the truth to all he did speak at such a time, viz. at the arbitration at what time he gave the offense about the [torn]. Another while to some two particulars: one while you might have heard him say—here is ado about words and a passage might slip him inconsiderately and besides his intention, as a word may slip a minister in the pulpit; another while to press some misapprehension in the witnesses as if they took up but a part of the sentences uttered by him and left out the dependence or some more emphatical expression or word and did not relate it as it was spoken by him and all this to the same matter.

To them which sometimes have been insinuated, of some violence and precipitancy used by us in the case, I may safely say I am not privy to myself in my best observation as hitherto. Wherein I hope none will judge the evidence of convincing reason, scripture arguments, prayers, tears, a kind of violence faultworthy. For my part I do judge he had need of them and truly as he grew more insolent and obstinate more sharpness might be used as cause did require happily. Yet let it be said, if at any time he was debarred of any just freedom of speech, if any motion from any brother or sister in the church were not attended to so as either themselves were satisfied or the motion itself (viz. as concerned him) condescended to, and whether precipitancy was used let the fourteen weeks space in attending him in public, the many hours spent publicly and privately in laboring with him, testify. We know that if men should be silent in this case our very meeting house, some of our private houses, his own house, the highways, and the very trees in the field might clear us in this particular. (absit factantia verbis or I might appeal to his conscience to speak his experience of nineteen years observation of the church way, comparatis comparandis.) But his conscience will one day speak how backward the church was to proceed with him and what gave the great lift unto it at last. Twas most easy to discern how he trampled upon the church, how he dallied with the ordinances, yea how he was lifted up (as he professed) with a strange kind of joy, peace, comfort, and sources of God’s presence suddenly after the admonition and so continued on to the last censure and even the same hitherto so far as is perceived. Yea let him say, if he can with a good conscience, if he did not most perversely interpret our humbling of ourselves before God solemnly on his behalf as that twas therefore because we were at a loss and in the dark and as if we had done more than we could justify.

And if indeed he has not had an evil eye upon us as an incompetent judge in his case and therefore have pressed for a reference. Yea what pride and contempt his very carriage and speech to the church argued, and his manner of going forth the assembly after the sentence was propounded in charging the church with sin. It hath struck me with horror and amazement to ponder sometimes some passages, and those not a few which I have received from credible hands, that he hath used near about this time to single persons betraying cheap impiety and desperate profaneness of spirit (if not hellish policy to bring some into a trap) in which regards I shall forbear the mention of them and leave the matter to Him who judges the secrets of all hearts. If any should object that it should seem to argue some clearness and innocency in him to make his addresses in such wise as he does to divers reverend elders, I should answer that I think then he should not decline such as have the best knowledge of him and in times past the special watch over him. But tis like he knows them too well and they him and their testimony (as we have the same under their hands and which I wish we had not found in our experience too true) may discover something this way. And moreover I conceive if it be well weighed how some of them have seemed to doubt our church was not unanimous in the censure, how it was sudden in the great censure after the admonition, and how it went against him in that matter of the corn upon a single testimony, and how that Reverend Mr. Norris approved not but disliked our proceedings, it will be judged such have been somewhat abused by him, the things being untrue.

It hath been said he hath held it out as if some of them have judged him wronged and advised him so and so that he might be right. Is not this an apparent abuse of them? As if any of them should so far forget themselves as to pass such a judgment without just information and the hearing of the other side.

And his most notorious, the gross abuse he hath offered to one of them upon whom still he hath been wont to father the goodness of his cause, wearing his name threadbare and producing his letters wherein he gives hopes of a hearing and desires that the Lord would be with him in the day of his calamity &c. and all this upon essays. Did ever that reverend brother dream that such a perverse use should be made of his handwriting as is? And that it should be boasted of before it matters not who? Is it not easy to conclude from hence that tis not so much the honor of the ministry or ordinances that he regardeth as the purchasing or pursuing of his own honor and credit before men?

But (that we may draw towards an end) this man wherein hath he been wrong? Were not the causes just for which he was dealt with? If yea, then wherein appears his repentance? Not in confessing, for he confessed not but upon the credit of the witnesses. And yet in what sense he did credit them is manifest from what is above said. Besides he hath defended and now after all hath found out witnesses to bear the word in hand that he did not absolutely say he would or could clear the woman but “if he could” and that his whole discourse was carried along by “ifs” and suppositions. These witnesses, why were they not produced before whilest the matter was in agitation before the church? Yea, how is it that some of them do contradict under their hands (if they know what they have set their hands unto) what themselves have testified whilst the matter was upon inquiry by the church? And whether his repentance appears by forsaking of leaving his lying those can best say who have since most diligently observed him. Finally his confessions and repentance may somewhat be discerned, of what stamp they are, by what he manifestly insinuates against the justness of the cause in his professed hopes that his lies shall be made to appear all truths in his frequent forced senses and interpretations of his expressions, contrary to all good sense and reason and the evidence of clear circumstance and opposing his newfound testimony (such as it is) to the testimony given to the church (such as it was) and his intentions to their apprehensions and now at last in pretending the church cast him out for an inference. We are men subject to frailty and might possibly in some circumstances miscarry and though we cannot condemn ourselves in any particular yet are we not thereby justified. We appeal to God touching the rightness of our hearts and in aught wherein we have erred do pray Him to show it to us and to pardon all our petitions adhering to our best actions.

Touching this man, George Norton, let our apology witness him most worthy of and most justly under this censure (though we ourselves were most unworthy to judge him thereto). Touching ourselves let the same testify to succeeding times our endeavor of preserving the purity of God’s holy ordinances and of our holy fellowship and of the bringing back of the wanderer out of his by-ways whom I leave now to God and ourselves with the Lord who I trust will never leave nor forsake us. Amen.

To the general of this apology we can to our best remembrance testify to the truth thereof whose names are underwritten.

Esdras Read

William Fiske

Phineas Fiske

James Moulton

William Geare

Richard Pettingill

At the Court twas proved against him that he said to this effect—God should not be just in sparing him if these [torn] which were witnessed against him.55

14 of 5t. 49.

At a church meeting this day it was propounded: for letters of dismission to Sister Norton at her desire; the letters of dismission that Brother Kellam tendered from the church at Dedham; what order the church were to take with those amongst us of other churches that continue without letters of recommendation.

The letters of dismission were granted to Sister Norton. Brother and Sister Kellam passed the trial and next Lord’s day were taken into covenant.

4 of 6t. 49.

Received letters of recommendation from the church of Salem in behalf of Richard Dodge and Richard Pettingill.

12 of 1st. 50.

Goodman Foster his desire manifested to joining to our fellowship. He speaketh as follows. He cannot call to mind all matters from his childhood. He was brought up of godly parents. The . . . arose then to convictions of the evil of many provocations and some delight in that which was good. . . . cause of his coming to this country. Here he was left a more flat condition than before, since he had the understanding of a man from two or three years. Till what time Mr. Allin56 preached on Luke 13. Of the figure three years which was applied to him it was meant he being about three years in the bad the . . . of which providence affected him &c. And he used some means and finds to know touching his conditions and for good counsel. He was troubled about his election but advised by pieces from scripture to make out his calling for this country. Labored to clear it by some qualifications agreeable to the . . . . And about the same time Mr. Philips preached touching Christ’s reconciliation by Christ and to pray for it. And Mr. Allin preaching on the parable of the prodigal and his father freely accepting his returning which he attributed to the rich mercy of God in freely accepting repentance. And . . . to him he found himself willing to come unto Him and confess Him and he does acknowledge indeed His rich goodness. And God directed him to that in Ezek. 44, I am he that pardons inequity for my own name’s sake.

He finds as then so still that need to cleave to God’s rich grace for he hath wearied himself by his sins and tis His mercy through which he must expect mercy. And desires how to take Christ upon His own terms as a king to rule, priest, and prophet, there being, as he knew, no other name given. Acts 4:12 and that in Rom. 8, if the spirit of Christ dwell in ye &c. And he finds in himself there is no question nor opposition to any good duty and whereas he finds to the contrary. He hopes that this by the spirit this he hath spoken and he hopes according to the truth. And he desires to wait upon His grace who hath promised not to break the bruised reed.

Testimony given by Brother Killam, John Fiske, William Geere.

14 of 3d. 50.

At a church meeting the confession of faith by the assembly at Westminster being presented and the platform of church discipline being again let to consideration,57 after some agitation and debate as touching some expressions in either of the same it was unanamously voted by the church and by the vote declared:

That we do assent and approve of the vote of the synod at Cambridge touching the said confession of faith published by the assembly at London according as the said vote of synod is expressed in the preface unto the foresaid platform. And likewise that we do freely assent to the said platform of church discipline agreed upon by the said Synod at Cambridge as touching the substance thereof always provided and that we do declare ourselves that this our assent extends not itself to every particular circumstance in every chapter and section in the said platform according to that sense the letters sometimes might seem to carry as taken apart by itself and not explained by and compared with other places and expressions in the said platform touching the said matter, as for instance the parentheses in chapter 10, section 8, and one passage in chapter 16, section 5, and some such other in some other places and sections in the said platform.58

There were absent at this time only two of our brothers, Brother Moulton and Brother Spalding, whose assent was not given in with the rest.

14 of 5t. 50.

Sarah, the daughter of Brother Goldsmith and his wife, was baptized.

22 of 8t. 51.

At a church meeting after the lecture on that day met to consider whether there were not need to choose some other brother to be an assistant to Brother Read in the work of a deacon. And it was resolved upon many reasons to the affirmative by vote. And in conclusion Brother Phineas Fiske and Brother Geere we put to nominations and so the further decision of the matter left unto Brother Read’s return.

Much of the time was spent about the agitating of this question, viz. whether we might by rule choose any of the brethren amongst us to this work whilest they continued members of other churches. And we come to resolutions from the affirmative, with this proviso, that we acquainted their church about any such a one appointed.

Therewith the day following this day the question being again put and the resolution was that in case the church pitch upon any not yet in full fellowship, that considering our present help we should not employ such a one till in covenant and fully joined with this church. Upon agitation Brother Phineas Fiske declined, considering he neither could write nor read written hand and for other reasons some brethren had in the spirits, not excepting aught otherwise against his own person. And Brother Kemp nominated in his room.

9 of 10t. 51.

This day at a church meeting it was unanamously voted the church’s call and desire of employing Brother Kemp in the work of a deacon and assistant to Brother Read upon his getting of letters of dismission to this church and joining in covenant therewith. But at present he excused himself and especially by reason of some thoughts he had of a remove, about which he had referred himself to counsel with the church at Dedham. Till which time as he hied thence he could not determine and so it was left for present.

22 of 10t. 51.

Robert Gowing’s requests to the church proposed. First, that considering some were not clear touching his carriage and scandal going upon him for lying, there might be some course taken by the church as he might clear himself. Secondly, that he might see the rule of the church’s proceeding (in the case of Brother Kemp) as why in a public scandal (of covetousness or oppression) going upon him, there should not be a public clearing.

[torn] of 11t. 51.

At a church meeting Brother Gowing to the first of the former questions explained himself. That his scope therein was only because he had understood that divers in the church had been offended by him that first, they might then object or manifest such as had for offenses that so he might as to know in what and clear himself. Yet he would neither produce any persons that were offended nor make any charge against any.

In the issue, the church conceiving no ground to lay any charge upon him nor looking at it as the end of that meeting but rather to answer his desire. First it moved him to know in what he did desire they should clear him. Wherein he was not willing to express the matter, but held rather that the church would have heard upon charging him. And so the case fell, the church not admitting of any single testimony or accusation by a single person.

To the second matter upon question he answered, first, that he apprehended Brother Kemp under a public scandal but and granted that he never manifested that his apprehension to the church. Secondly, that he knows not that the church know Brother Kemp to be under any such public scandal. From these grounds this was granted, twas concluded he might answer himself in the last query.

25 of 6t. 52.

At a public church meeting the church took satisfaction concerning George Norton, partly upon his confession which was very short of satisfaction in itself, being a lax, lame, general acknowledgement, and a new . . . drawn confession and chiefly upon the testimony of the two Ipswich elders being the persons who testified, first that he was of a troubled frame of spirit, secondly, that he was grown weak in memory. That they conceived him to be truly humble in two of his sins and to have truly repented.

7 of 10t. 52.

At a church meeting the letters of dismission concerning Edward Kemp and his wife passed from the Dedham church were read and the matter proposed to consideration. It was desired that Brother Kemp should speak somewhat tending to satisfy the brethren touching the scandal that went of him touching suspicions of drunkenness. He answered to this effect.

That he went to Salem upon a lecture day fasting and continued there fasting till after the lecture. And meeting Rice Edwards he asked him how he did, saying he looked not as if he were well. Edward Kemp answered Rice, he was not. He asked him if he would be willing both to eat and drink for he had eaten nothing that day. So they went in together to Mr. Gouges and being there Rice said yonder is our neighbors’ child (Mary Dodge). I wish that she might drink with us, but I could not get her in, I would that you would desire her. Then he went out and got her in. So they had three quarts of beer and bread and cheese. The cheese smelled of tar and as if it had come out of some ship which somewhat offended him in the eating. Yet being hungry he ate of it and the shot came to 18 pence, whereof he paid 12 pence. Afterward he went to Mr. Brown’s who was in his parlor reckoning with William King. He spake to Mr. Brown, but Mr. Brown not being at leisure he there sat down a while. By and by his stomach wrought and he rose to go out of the house, but before he could get out he vomited in the house and so he went forth and vomited a second time in the street against the pales. He found himself much overcome with wind (it was his folly and simplicity he confessed that he made no apology for himself but went afterward into Mr. Brown’s shop and dispatched his business with Mr. Brown). And after that other business in the town and came home with William King in his canoe and rowed as he came.

The church had nothing to contradict this nor except against what he had said or done. But as concerning the answer those most unsatisfied declared themselves satisfied for present. These proposed this case, whether a presentation of a person upon suspicion be a just reason of the church suspending the proceeding in such a case. After much agitation because of the church being variously inclined the case was deferred and concluded to wait until after the court when it would appear.

9 of 5t. 53.

At a church meeting the case of Brother Kemp came again into consideration the proceeding of the court touching the presented being past and the matter cleared to have been a groundless surmise. The mouths of those brethren which so greatly opposed before were now stopped and nothing lay in the way to hinder his joining with us.

So the letters of dismission from the Dedham church being commended to the church the purport whereof was this.

To the Reverend Pastor and Brethren of the Church of Christ in Wenham:

The only wise God having disposed of our beloved Brother Kemp and Sister his wife to live amongst you as we judge it most meet according to the mind of Christ that they should join themselves to your society so at your request we do freely consent thereunto desiring you to receive them in the Lord and praying the Lord Jesus to bless all means of grace amongst you to their edification and to make them a blessing to your society. Therewith we tender of our brotherly love desiring your fervent prayers we rest in Christ.

Your unworthy brethren,

John Allen, pastor

John Hunting, elder

In the name of the Church of Christ in Dedham.

The sum of Brother Kemp’s relation. He, when of years of understanding, was convinced of his evil condition by nature. The effect of which his conviction was from resolution tending to reformation and to take up the performance of some external duties which he was not formerly used to. Yet still seized him a fear what should become of him if God should take him away in that condition which he apprehended yet evil notwithstanding such an outward reformation, though never so great. And after in hearing the word (and that Ezek. 26—when in the blood) he was driven to consider whether he had begun aright.

At length that though from the free mercy of God propounded and the exhortation to believe from John 7, he that is athirst let him come and drink &c., he was encouraged and persuaded in obedience to the command to yield it his duty and thereupon to pray that God would enable him hereunto. Whereupon through His compassion he was drawn hereto &c. Afterward hearing the duties pressed upon the believer as to mortify the flesh &c. he was put upon some questioning, in [torn] of his estate, his love to God &c. And his finding the word to be precious to him, [torn] to him that he was in the state of grace and moreover because he found his heart to go towards these matters most that most spoke to the searching out of sin. . . . thereof and went nighest &c. Some . . . in . . . after the ordinance in some growth and a desire that affliction to him might be satisfied and therewith concluded.

Sister Kemp she made her relation with great breaking of affection or in remembrance of her former sins and her state of conviction when it was set home upon her as reason, not her own only but also of her parents, seemed charged upon her (her parents being natural). This by Mr. Cook putting on young folks great . . . and much oppressed with fear of death. No hope of a better life. It wrought to cause her to affect the better things. Her story in this line, God would not quench the smoking flax and that there was mercy in Christ after whom she was drawn to see a necessity and of her duty to believe. This is the will of God that they should believe on Him (John 6:29) and in the pressing of Isa. 55:1 her soul was drawn to close with Christ &c.

After some little consideration and agitation these two were voted and received into our fellowship and covenant with us.

Brother Rogers his motion to the church, viz. that after his thankful acknowledgment of the comfortable fellowship in this church he desired to put it to the consideration of the church whether in his joining he might obtain a liberty reserved of removing himself if God should so dispose of him, so that no just objection in regard of place . . . . . . [six words illegible] &c. to which he goes could be made. His reason was his questioning the condition of this place, being so little and so stricken, which was a great disheartening to him whether it would be for a continuance.

The answer given was that it was everyone’s case and the same liberty might be desired from everyone. Whereupon divers declined to consent though some seemed to be inclined. Whereupon it was reserved to further consideration again at the next church meeting.

At this meeting also this case was propounded, that seeing the church hath employed our Brother Read in the work of a deacon now for many years upon probation whether it may not be meet to come to some resolution in this case what to do as whether to call him to office or no. This being taken into consideration and much agitation thereupon in the issue it came to this resolution; that the church desired him to give in his accounts. The reasons were these which follow.

  1. 1. Because the church cannot else judge of his faithfulness as not knowing what he hath received or what is laid out or how.
  2. 2. Because something seems to reflect upon the church in regard of divers necessities yet awanting and not all this time provided for the more comely and decent carrying on of that ordinance of the Lord’s Supper such as flagon, bottle, &c. and these things required to be borrowed at such times.
  3. 3. Because the brethren through ignorance of what stock is in the church and what need the church may stand in as touching the increase thereof, neither do they know how to regulate themselves in giving, nor in forbearing as were meet.
  4. 4. Because some have taken notice of the church lying under some scandal in payment of public debt which have been complained on and tis not known whether the same be yet taken off and satisfaction made.
  5. 5. Because it is said or at least supposed by divers that there is a considerable stock in hand and still upon all occasions we do hear our deacon complain of very little or nothing in hand when occasion is of defraying any public charges and tis not discerned where it is nor understood what improvement hath been made of any part of the church stock unto the public advantage.

[?] of 12t. 53.

This day being the Lord’s day a church meeting was appointed the sixth day following in case of some public offense given by Sister Batchelor.

[This entry is followed by two blank pages.]

9 of 8t. 5 [?]

The answer of this church returned to the honored General Court touching the confession of faith set out by the assembly at Westminster, London, and touching the platform of church discipline &c. by our late synod at Cambridge.

  1. 1. Touching the London confession: that we do readily approve of the vote of that our synod as concerning the same in those terms as we find the said vote to be printed in the preface of the Platform of Discipline.
  2. 2. Touching the said platform (or draft) of church discipline: that we are not willing to except against every such expression therein which we could have yet wished had been otherwise set down or more fully explained. The chief of which we have hinted after this our answer. As desiring and expecting the liberty of interpreting the same in our own sense and conceiving provided we may enjoy our own interpretations, the same may so pass. Hoping and beseeching that there be no such attempt as to impose in a way of authority and such drafts or determinations from this or any other synod as binding canons or perfect platforms from which in either opinion or practice we may not in the least jot or tittle digress or alter and better our judgments by light from the holy scripture.

This we are willing to do, to bear witness to the world (in these distracted time of error and confusion) to that way of truth and peace wherein we have been taught according to that measure of light we have through the grace of Christ hitherto attained and to leave this testimony to the succeeding generation for their better information and confirmation according to God. And in no wise to precipitate or forestall any further light which it may please God to cause to break forth unto us or ours or other churches hereafter as conceiving the fullness of the gentile light yet scarcely come in. Which if it were, yet in the recalling of the Jews we doubt not but there will be a more clear and full understanding of the whole scriptures in the things appertaining to the kingdom of Christ than ever yet hitherto. And with these provisos we willingly and thankfully do hereby declare, as touching the substance of the said book of church discipline, our ready acceptance and approbation, our good liking thereof according to what we are able hitherto to judge.

And yet the mass and marrow of the matter therein contained should pass to public view as our testimony jointly with others to what we are or do judge we should be in practice of. And do hereby wish such a confession might pass into public from the bosom of our churches under the countenance and approbation of the honored court, deprecating any other impress of authority upon any the imperfect drafts of frail man, as should cause the same to become as any compare to the perfect canon of holy scripture which only is delivered by infallible inspiration of God and a snare to us or our posterity in after times, our faith to godward not being to stand in the wisdom or will of man.

This answer passed amongst us by a unanimous vote. The expressions or passages in the platform which seem more dark to us, or at least many of us, are these.

  1. 1. In chapter 10. section 6, that parenthesis (the council of other churches directing thereunto) not but that we approve of council and the use of it where need require and the furthering of the same so far as the same agrees with scripture rule.
  2. 2. In chapter 16. section 1, synods we acknowledge as the ordinance of Christ and (section 5) ordinance of God which we cannot take in strict sense as we perceive some do.
  3. 3. In chapter 16. section 5, (the directions &c. of synods do bind for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordinance &c.) that they bind by way of Christian counsel given according to the truth; we deny not but what that synodical power or authority is to speak properly we are to seek and therefore cannot profess to defend.
  4. 4. In chapter 16. section 4, where the assembly in Acts 15 is termed a presidential synod which we cannot assent to if we understand synod in the usual strict sense.
  5. 5. In the same section (it belongeth unto synods and councils to debate and determine controversies of faith &c.) which taken exclusively as if the same belonged to no other we cannot assent to.

8 of 12t. 53/54.

At a church meeting there was some agitation passed about some help to be afforded to Brother Goldsmith in the keeping out his child, being at our Brother Geere’s and resolved that help is needful. Item that if aught be in the deacon’s hand accordingly something to be done that way, and so it was left to consideration how much till we see what is in the deacon’s hand. Only some agitation about the price because some thought that Sister Geere required too much a week. And Brother Read said that he took but three shillings a week for Sister Hersome’s child. Hereupon Brother Read was desired upon the motion of some to give in his account and he answered he was ready when he was called to it. So it being said that it was desired to be seen, he answered he had not his book there. But a paper he brought forth wherein he exhibiteth his account in this sort following, in two small papers.

From the beginning to the end of 47.
Recd. li. s. d. Paid. li. s. d.


– 08

– 15

– 9


– 10

– 01

– 07


– 02

– 16

– 6


– 02

– 00

– 10


– 02

– 18

– 0


– 02

– 14

– 08


– 03

– 01

– 11


– 03

– 18

– 02


– 03

– 02

– 07


– 02

– 07

– 06


– 03

– 10

– 00


– 02

– 08

– 06


– 01

– 16

– 05


– 03

– 11

– 08


– 00

– 10

– 06


– 00

– 01

– 04


– 11

– 08


– 14

– 03

to the 6th of 12t. of 53.

To the 6t of 12. 53

since by mistake it appears



– 13

– 5

so rec.


– 5

– 1

So by the account.



1 – 5



6 – 10



0 – 6



0 – 13



0 – 2



1 – 5



0 – 2


1. He being demanded what he meant by the beginning, he said: from the time the church was gathered to that year and that he could not well bring in the particulars before or since that year 47.

2. He being asked what he understood by received, he answered: not that which was engaged, but what was satisfied or paid.

3. Being asked whether there was aught behind, he said: there was about six or seven pounds.

4. Asked in whose hands it was and why he had not received it and why he had not also brought them in all this time to the church, he answered: divers were behind and he had oft pressed them to pay it in, but he was loathe to offend and so brought them not forth for they would have been troubled at him if he had and he waited for a call.

5. It being said that twas desired to know who they were, he said: then he should show it. Whereupon the next third day at nine o’clock in the morning it was agreed a church meeting again.

6. Being asked what he meant by paid, he said: so much he had paid out of his hands.

7. Being asked that seeing the payments some years were greater than the receipts of what he paid, he said: of his own.

8. Being asked how it could be that he had corn in hands to pay towards the foresaid child as he had before said in this meeting, seeing by the accounts the church is indebted to him, he answered: he had corn of his own which he intended to lay out for the church as expecting and having the promise of corn from some that were behind.

25 of 1st. 53/54.

Church meeting. The causes proposed were: 1. Brother Read bringing in his reports to the church in whose hands remains the church treasury or stock; 2. Brother Rogers his request concerning joining; 3. the conclusion of the church nigh two years since conceiving the adjoining of Brother Kemp as assistant to Brother Read; 4. the considerations regarding Mr. Gott, now by divine providence removed hither, about the electing him for an elder, if it be apprehended the church to be in a capacity hereunto.

These last two left to consideration again at another meeting and first we heard from Brother Rogers. First he declared himself this, that however he had formerly made a proposition of liberty to remove &c. yet to the end he might neither trouble the church nor hinder his own enjoyment, now though long . . . he being satisfied about his said motion he desires rather to leave his case to the providence of God.

Secondly touching his relation of the work of grace he declared that he being brought up in a godly family he was thereby kept free from many evils in the town and place where he lived and that many others did run into. Yet he so continued without any sense of the impurity of nature. And after living with Mr. Rogers of Dedham from that scripture Romans 3:12 God showed him the impurity of man’s and nature so as though he was kept from gross evils yet his nature was as bad as the worst, that he was unprofitable to God and himself and unable in regard of himself to do aught pleasing. It was (as he did and does in judgment) an effectual word to humble his soul in the face of his natural corruption and that word hath carried him hitherto to see more and more the corruption of his own heart and as face answers to face so the heart of man to man. The same impurity in one, the same in all by nature.

Touching his closure with Christ he professed himself not able to speak so satisfactorily with respect to the particular scripture as some may. He desiring to speak the very truth and not to color aught. The substance was this, he said, viz. that as they now saw God had helped him to see his inability to help himself. So from the word that oft he had heard to see likewise the sufficiency that is in Christ and so to stay himself upon the free tender of God’s grace that is in Christ, as persuaded of the all sufficiency of that way (and the insufficiency of all other ways). And here he desires to rest all his days. From such scripture as hold forth this, he professes to God to have helped him in the application thereof, such as Matt. 11:28. Otherwise that he was not able to speak as to one scripture as in the former part of his speech.

Question: What scripture or word he minds to have stood by him at what time he hath been tempted to call in question the truth of the work of grace in his heart, if he hath met with any such temptation?

Answer: He answered that neither here doth he mind any particular scripture but at such times that God hath helped him to compare that work of God with the word of God as holds forth the same, as to see if the same agree as that in Gen. 17:1 and such like scripture as holds forth such works in which the purpose of God’s all sufficiency and of all good is made unto. Sometimes that in Col. 3, if ye be risen with Christ, seek &c., and though little he saw of that in him, yet he was helped to consider whether his soul was unsubdued unto the will of God or not in submission unto His will. And in cases of this matter though he could not say that there was such a subduedness as ought, yet that he should dishonor God and prejudice his own soul if he should deny a true submission of will. They that are in Christ are new creatures.

Touching his confession of the faith, considering he had not [torn] the book allowed by the churches and time would not permit that he should dilate himself in these matters, there was committed to him the books of the confession of this church to peruse and so to give his assent thereunto. Also he requested that if the church shall accept of him they would signify so much to the church at Watertown as whereupon he might gain his letters of dismission for they would not otherwise (as he said) grant them. So this matter referred till he should manifest whether he consented with us in the said confession of faith.

Touching Brother Read, he being desired now to let the church to understand in whose hands the stock was. He returned first this answer, that upon the casting up of his book he found a mistake in the paper he had given in the meeting before and desiring the former paper of receipts he added:

upon years 49 more received

00 – 07 – 05

in year 52 more received

00 – 6 – 00

So as by this account he have in his hand of the church’s

00 – 10 – 10

Secondly touching the rest of the church’s stock as not yet paid in he gave in a small paper which is thus copied out word for word.

Phineas Fiske

– 04 – 08


– 01 – 09

William Fiske

– 05 – 00

John Fiske

– 11 – 01


01 – 02 – 05


– 01 – 04


– 01–10


– 14 – 08


– 00 – 08


01 – 08 – 00


– 11 – 08


– 18 – 11


– 02 – 11


– 04 – 03


– 07 – 00


– 08 – 10


– 01 – 04


– 11 – 01

He being asked some questions answered to this effect. First that he had demanded it of Brother Pettingill and he answered twas paid to the town in board for the meetinghouse. And twas conceived by some of the brethren that his whole was in the town’s hands, part in that board, part in something he had laid out for weights and measures and so it was concluded that ought to be gathered then in by rate and so returned into the deacon’s hands.

Secondly that he had not reckoned with Brother Byam nor could certainly tell whether all this were given by him since his remove and thus whether this eleven shillings, one pence was intended to the church or to the minister.

Third that Brother Killam and he had not reckoned but yet Brother Killam accounted he had it in his hands. But upon scanning the matter Brother Killam granted there was never such an agreement between them and though Brother Read might owe so much to Brother Killam yet he could not orderly stop in this case. So Brother Killam proferred a calf about the price to the church to go to the church stock and be brought up which was left to consideration.

Fourth for Brothers John Fiske, Phineas Fiske and Kemp they agreed and Brother John Fiske undertook to see to get some clothing with what was in their hands for Brother Goldsmith’s child, Thomas Goldsmith.

Fifth for Sister Batchelor that he had not reckoned since the year 50. at what time there remained three shillings due to the church and the rest added since.

Sixth for Brother Gowing that he never yet paid in anything. The rest referred to further consideration. Some brethren declared themselves not satisfied with this so general accounting and desired to know in what the disbursements had been.

After this Brother Phineas Fiske moved this question, whether there be a binding rule in the scripture providing this way of contribution for the seals. Which question being a little agitated was referred to further consideration till next church meeting. As for further satisfaction in the account and it appointed a church meeting next lecture day after lecture.

14 of 3d. 54.

The proportions due by Brother Read’s book to the church given in by himself on this day to the church.

Brother Phineas Fiske

00 – 00 – 11

Brother Dodge

00 – 00 – 03

And Brother Read to pay Brother Kemp five shillings.

Brother Jo.

00 – 00 – 09

Brother Killam

01 – 04 – 03

Brother Geere

00 – 00 – 09

Brother Kemp

00 – 02 – 02

Brother Spalding

01 – 08 – 10

This rest upon Brother Read’s care to see paid

Brother Moulton

00 – 13 – 00

Brother Rogers

00 – 03 – 02

he engages it to the church, testified. Phineas Fiske.

Mr. Gott

00 – 01 – 03, he was absent

Brother John Fiske engages.

Brother Gowing

00 – 04 – 03, this from the 16

of 4t. of 49. to 19 of 12t. of 53.

Sister Batchelor

00 – 07 – 00

The rest excepting Brother Spalding have themselves these several sums to the church or are accepted so as Brother Read is discharged of them. Also Brother Foster’s debt and engaged to the church 00 – 01 – 10½.

The church agreed by vote the wheat to be paid in from deacon’s contribution at five shillings from year to year and the butter at six pence per pound and in case they will not pay at these prices the deacon to take notice of it in his book and as the case is in reference thereto as to other emergent occasions to move for the . . .sion of the contribution.

Brother Read testifies to the church that the church owes him nothing to any from this time but what himself either hath satisfied or stands in his person engaged to satisfy. To this last clause (of testimony to the church) subscribed.

Esdras Read

So he also hath naught of the church’s in his hands; he gives in two cups as applying to the church which he purchased by the contribution to which Sister Shiply received of the church a peck of wheat worth 1s. 3d.

item: in cloth for a cloak

14 – 00

item: Edwards for looking to Sister Shiply

00 – 7½

item: herself ½ peck of wheat and a peck of malt

02 – 7½

19 – 7½

Brother Kemp chosen to execute the place of a deacon upon probation in Brother Read’s room, takes and discharges the contribution henceforward.

Upon 4 of 7th. 1654 was dated a letter under the hands of Robert Fletcher, Thomas Adams, William Fletcher, and William Butterick in the name of the rest engaged in the new plantation at Chelmsford. Wherein the pastor with the rest of this church at contribution at Wenham were invited. This letter being soon after conveyed to us by the hands of Isaac Lernet and Thomas Adams was communicated to the church and a liberty by the major part granted so far to attend the providence as to permit the pastor to go over and see the place. Accordingly a day was set of meeting at Chelmsford and thereupon the messenger returned.59

Upon the day set divers of the brethren accompanied the pastor over unto Chelmsford where the committee and divers others were present. A view was taken of the place. The brethren present satisfied themselves about their accommodations and proposals were then made to the pastor for his accommodation and yearly maintenance as to be tendered unto him by consent of the whole number of inhabitants and in their name by the committee. These proposals were promised with their further request to be taken into consideration and in some short season after the return of an answer and resolution to be sent by Brother Spalding as at his coming over.

After this return of the pastor and brethren upon the 10th of 8 mo. 54. the resolution and engagement of divers of the brethren was in the face of the whole church at a church meeting concluded upon whereas five absolutely engaged, two conditionally and in word only, refusing at present to subscribe their hands. Yet after sent their engagements personally by Brother Spalding so as the greater number of the church now stood engaged in case the pastor engaged also.60

Upon 6th of 9 mo. the pastor sent his engagement by Brother Spalding and his resolution as respecting the engagement of so many brethren as said. Thus the matter lay dormant as twere all winter till the 1st. month 55 at what time Brother Read coming over informed us in such wise here at Wenham as thereupon both the pastor and the said engaged brethren demurred upon the proceedings and some that had sold here at Wenham redeemed their accommodations again into their possession and a letter was suitably sent by Brother Read to acquaint the Chelmsford committee how things stood and advised them to look elsewhere.

Between this time and the 6th of 4th month 55 things hung uncertain and uncleared, notwithstanding some letters passed and some agitation at Wenham between Isaac Lernet, agent from Chelmsford, and Wenham brethren. But as upon 6th of 4th. foresaid was dated a letter and sent by the hands of Isaac Lernet, Simon Thompson, and Thomas Adams with full power to them to treat and finally to determine the business pending between the two parties.

Upon their coming over to Wenham the matter was determined between them and the said pastor touching the building of the house, terms of accommodation, and of yearly maintenance, as under their hands affixed to the letters was sent before dated in first month, tenth day. Likewise it was concluded between them and brethren at Wenham to refer the matter to council and the parties agreed upon were: Mr. Endicott, Governor, Mr. Mather, Mr. Allen of Dedham, Mr. Cobbett, Mr. Sherman, Capt. Johnson of Woburn, who determined the case for Chelmsford. This case thus determined, on either side preparation was made for the removal of the church.

Accordingly about the 13th of 9th. month of 55 there were met at Chelmsford the pastor with the engaged brethren of Wenham church, viz. Esdras Read, Edward Kemp, Austin Killam, Samuel Foster, George Byam, and Richard Goldsmith, seven in all. To whom such of the brethren of the Woburn and Concord church who had before propounded themselves to join the church late of Wenham now in removing to Chelmsford and presented themselves with their letters of dismission. Upon satisfaction and testimony given were by a unanamous vote received into fellowship. They being the greater number in a way of mutual compliance, a relation passed on either side as each one voluntarily would. Viz. members:

Isaac Lernet (he died of 10. 57)


Simon Thompson (he died about three quarters of a year after at Woburn)


William Underwood


Abraham Parker


Benjamin Butterfield


Thomas Chamberlain


next received Daniel Blodgett who brought letters of dismission from church at Cambridge


So after this the seals of the supper administered and there were admitted by vote these members of other churches to communion with us in these seals: Mr. Griffin, Mr. Fletcher and his wife, Thomas Adams and his wife, Brother Underwood’s wife, Edward Spalding, Brother Butterfield’s wife, Brother Chamberlain’s wife, Edmund Chamberlain’s wife, Abraham Parker’s wife, Joseph Parker’s wife, Isaac Lernet’s wife, Simon Thompson’s wife. Since received into fellowship was Jacob Parker, Thomas Adams, and Edward Spalding on 27 of 2d. 56.

Children baptized:

Isaac Lernet’s child

viz. Isaac Lernet

Abraham Parker’s child

viz. Mary Parker

Joseph Parker’s wife’s child

viz. Ann Parker

Daniel Blodgett’s child

viz. Anna Blodgett

Brother Underwood’s child

viz. Samuel Underwood

Thomas Adam’s child

viz. Edith Adams

3 children of Jacob Parker’s on 19 of 2d. 56

27th of 2d. 56.

Sergeant Hildrich of the church at Cambridge received unto the seal of supper as a member of that church. It was propounded to the church this day to consider about the choice of some to the work of the deacon.

11 of 4t. 56.

A public general fast. In the close of the day was the church covenant renewed and repeated and voted by the brethren. There were received into our covenant professing their willingness to own that our covenant as had been expressed: William Fletcher dismissed from the church of Concord, Brother Adams’ wife Mary Adams, Brother Underwood’s wife Sarah Underwood, Anna Butterfield the wife of Brother Butterfield, Mary Chamberlain the wife of Brother Thomas Chamberlain, Mary Lernet the wife of Brother Isaac Lernet, Mary Thompson the wife of Brother Simon Thompson, Rosa Parker the wife of Brother Abraham Parker, Margaret Parker the wife of Joseph Parker, Mary Chamberlain the wife of Edmund Chamberlain, all dismissed to us from the church at Woburn.

29 of 4t. 56.

This day the Lord’ Supper and here communicated with us Robert Proctor of Concord, Rafe Hill and his wife and George Farley of Woburn, and William Baker of the church at Charlestown.

This day agreed by the church that the officer should repeat and declare the relation of the women of the church. Also that when any such person as has been yet no member to any church congregated orderly propounds himself, the same be propounded to the church privately, testimony concerning his life and conversation inquired into, some persons be assigned to be joined with the officers the day set and liberty for any other of the brethren or sisters to be present at the first trial.

6 of 5t. 56.

Agreed that the next Lord’s day the brethren should bring in their votes by paper for the nomination of one deacon. He that had the greater number of votes to have the first place in nomination and in case the church agree not about him then in the second place, the second next and so forth. And in case the church came to a joint agreement about one, then that one accepting of the call to have the liberty of nominating a second.

Testimony this day was given touching Joseph Nutting and his wife who had propounded themselves to our fellowship, viz. Isaac Lernet, Simon Thompson, and Abraham Parker.

13 of 5t. 56.

Isaac Lernet was chosen as aforesaid to officiate the office of a deacon by way of probation. He was advised to leave the place of a sergeant [in the militia] as too great a burden to retain both that and this too. And at the end of half a year he was to be proposed to the church for officer. After some agitation and a modest refusal at first he was persuaded to accept of it which he doing desired with the prayers of the church.

It was left with him at his liberty to nominate a second to be joined with him upon next Lord’s day which, if upon consideration he should then refuse, the church then to be in a readiness by paper votes as before to bring in new nominations and the proceedings afterward to be as before. In the absence of the person nominated to discuss the matter and in case of a closure to proceed accordingly.

Before this choice of Isaac Lernet to a deacon’s place (whose work was declared to lie in taking care and providing by all due just and lawful outward means the supporting of the ordinances of the church) there was joined to the church John Nutting after his relation made and assent manifested to the profession and covenant of the church. John Nutting’s wife her relation being repeated by the officer of the church.

20 of 5t. 56

The question being put upon what account the church proceed to a new election, there being two brethren which had officiated by a call of the church of Wenham in that place present and not put out by any cause alleged. Upon this Brother Lernet declined the call as querying the openness of it.61

It was answered that the church proceeded to this way as resolving it this day fortnight. That twas upon mutual agreement between the church and them the brethren freely laying down and Brother Read again this day expressed himself both to lay down and also to decline to accept of the call if he should be desired and called for some reasons by him alleged. Brother Kemp likewise lay down and consent to the . . . of the answer.

It was referred to next Lord’s day to agitate and ripen for a vote whether Brother Fletcher having our votes of nomination or Brother Kemp for six month shall come unanamously to be pitched upon.

27 of 5t. 56.

This day Brother Blodgett’s wife propounded to the church. Brother William Fletcher chosen by general vote to occupy the place of a deacon with Brother Lernet and he accepted it. Brother Kemp also by silent consent, after some agitation occasioned by a pretended case of conscience put by him how he could lay down his place without some reflection upon his good name was permitted by the church to continue the place upon probation. Deacons probationary elected, Isaac Lernet, William Fletcher, Edward Kemp. It gave occasion of examining the principles we went upon unto a new choice and found this as by the acknowledgement of many brethren.

First that the church of Wenham upon their removal hither, not having any deacons in office, did refer the matter to a new choice as the brethren of Chelmsford being the greater numbers might equally with them have satisfaction therein, as enjoying their liberty with them as was manifest at their coming up, upon the receiving in of the Chelmsford brethren into the covenant, and that by common consent Brother Kemp was to be continued until the spring when they together should proceed to a new election and this by Brother Kemp was consented to. Also that this day three weeks ago Brother Read and Brother Kemp both consented to the church’s proceeding in that way. Likewise this day seven nights ago they both again declared themselves to lay down and to proceed with the church. This day also Brother Read fully declared himself before the election proceeded, but Brother Kemp seeing which way the election would work again declared himself as before which caused some perplexity in our proceedings more the vanity of experimenting till what time twas concluded as said.

3 of 6t. 56.

Three of John Nutting’s children were baptized: John, James, Mary.

10 of 6t. 56.

Testimony came in of the conversation of Brother Blodgett’s wife such as which was satisfactory and the third day set for their trial and examination. This day the seals of the supper.

17 of 6t. 56.

The wife of Brother Blodgett admitted into this church and fellowship.

24 of 6t. 56.

The letters dismissory for James Parker from the church of Woburn were read and he making his relation &c. and testifying his assent to our church profession was admitted into our covenant.

24 of 9t. 56.

Sister Fletcher presenting her letters of dismission from Concord church was admitted into our covenant

1st of 11t. 56.

This day a church meeting was held which was agreed upon the Lord’s day before (wherein there being absent these brethren, viz. Adams, Read, Underwood, and Blodgett; Foster he being detained by illness.)

24 of 11t. 56.

The church present concluded of these following propositions which had been before for about a quarter of a year from time to time still in agitation. And voted unanamously the same in the form as follows.62

1 of 11. 56.

Children of the church we do conceive:

1. That all they that are in church covenant are church members.

2. That baptism (being the initiation seal of the covenant) belongs of right to all such. (These two were voted by the whole church the Lord’s day sevennight before.)

1 of 11. 56.

And this day the church proceeded in the rest as follows:

  1. 3. That the children of church members under the age of 14 or 15 years when their parents took the covenant are included in their parents’ covenant and to be reputed members and consequently to be baptized, not having been before baptized.
  2. 4. That the church is now bound to extend her inspection and care over them and as they grow to exceed the said years to exercise church discipline towards them in case of their being scandalous.
  3. 5. That the church is likewise bound in pursuance of this her care over them to stir them up to acquaint themselves betimes with God and with His will and accordingly to get the knowledge of the principles of religion and to avoid scandal in their lives.
  4. 6. That such of these as being under the age of fourteen or fifteen years shall behave themselves scandalously (as by lying, filthy communication, or otherwise) shall be responsible to the church by their next parents as either their natural parents or such as be in their stead (if of the church).
  5. 7. That such of these as have attained the knowledge and understanding of the principles of religion and are without just scandal are to be encouraged to lay hold on and so own their parents’ covenant personally.
  6. 8. That such of these younger ones as have once thus personally engaged in covenant may present their children to baptism now in their right who are their next parents.
  7. 9. That notwithstanding the said younger persons should be in personal covenant and privileged with the baptism of their children as said yet as the case may require the church may do regularly to satisfy themselves touching their further fitness ere they yield them the liberty of partaking in the Lord’s Supper and of voting in church affairs.
  8. 10. That in order to the church’s satisfaction this way a confession of the faith and repentance of the manner of God’s working with their souls may be required, even of these.

Hereof letters to the church at Concord and Woburn were determined to be sent to acquaint them with this. Brother Adams made some proposals (to be sent also) which see (additional propositions).

[The following material down to 1 of 12t. 56, originally entered on the opening pages of notebook, has been placed here for clarity.]

1 of 11t. 56.

At what time we proceeded in voting the propositions concerning the children of the church, at a full church meeting and voted the third proposition and so on (Brother Adams objecting as formerly) and voted the sending of letters to the church of Concord and Woburn. Brother Adams desiring we should join with him to send his propositions: but was refused. And the pastor answered the same in writing and read them to the church.

Brother Adams’ Propositions

His propositions declared in a way of query, in writing, were these.

  1. 1. Whether the covenant of grace be not the church covenant and no other?
  2. 2. Whether the covenant of grace doth not admit of a distinction in respect of the internal and external part of it?
  3. 3. Whether this covenant of grace, in respect of the external part of it, was not given by God himself for this very end: to engage a congregation in communion each with other, as well as, by the external part of it to engage them in communion with God himself?
  4. 4. Whether the external part of the covenant of grace hath not a constituting power in it for this very end?
  5. 5. Whether all that are within the external part of this covenant are not church members?
  6. 6. Whether there be anything in the covenant that is external but circumcision or baptism, in the frame of it?
  7. 7. Whether the work of such a congregation as are under the badge of such a covenant be really to reform or to constitute churches?

The answers thereto, as read to the church to 1st. If the covenant of grace and the church covenant be all one and that there is no other covenant of grace but the church covenant then:

  1. 1. None but visible church members are in the covenant of grace.
  2. 2. No duty is required of us in the covenant of grace but such as are obvious to church judicature.
  3. 3. The covenant on man’s part is of as great a validity and of as large an extent as is the covenant on God’s part.
  4. 4. In point of grace man is as much beholden to himself as unto God (but this stands not with free grace).
  5. 5. Out of church fellowship there is an impossibility of salvation.
  6. 6. All in church fellowship or in church covenant and under the covenant of grace, in the very external dispensation of it, are necessarily in the covenant of grace, who must then either certainly be saved or fall from grace.

To 2nd. We know no distinction that the church covenant decreed . . . in respect of an external and an internal part of it:

  1. 1. Because what is covenanted here it is of that which is obvious to the church’s cognizance, inspection & judicature.
  2. 2. Because suitable to such parts of the church covenant supposed must be the churches proceeding with a covenant breaker, viz. externally and internally.
  3. 3. Because grant we such an internal part of the church covenant as of the covenant of grace, we must grant the churches endowed with, and enabled to act by, an infallible and unerring spirit.

To 3rd. The covenant of grace was given for this end amongst others:

  1. 1. To engage a congregation to engage in communion with each other and to engage a particular person to engage in holy communion with such a congregation in the worship of God and the use of holy means appointed for their mutual edification.
  2. 2. Yea and for this end also, to engage a congregation jointly to engage themselves with one consent unto the Lord to improve those means to the advantage of their enjoyment of spiritual communion with Himself. And all this, not in their own strength, but through the help of his grace; the grace of the covenant of grace.

To 4th.

  1. 1. The covenant of grace doth not only appoint or ordain such a state of a people, but does graciously and sweetly encourage, draw, and allure a congregation to enter into such a church state. But of a constituting power in other sense, as respecting a church or churches, we are ignorant.
  2. 2. As for the church covenant, we take it to the constituting cause of a church in being.

To 5th.

  1. 1. All within the church covenant are church members.
  2. 2. Those 3,000 in Acts 2 before they were added to the church or were of church members were interested in the covenant of grace; or the grace that stirred in them at what time they were said to be pricked in their hearts and to inquire after the ways of grace was no grace of the covenant.
  3. 3. If all within the covenant of grace, as concerning the very external dispensation thereof, are church members, then it is either some external work of God and of His spirit upon them, or some external act of their own that makes them church members, whether a church shall accept of it, yea or no.

To 6th.

  1. 1. There is none besides circumcision or baptism comprehended in the external part of the covenant of grace. And by name, the church covenant and all the institutions concerning the external worship of God, with the external manner, and with the time prefixed.
  2. 2. If circumcision or baptism be all the externals of the covenant, then he that is once circumcised or baptized hath thereby fulfilled the whole law as in respect of the external part of it.

To 7th. Tis the work of the people that is under the badge of the covenant both to reform and constitute churches as the case may require.

1 of 12t. 56.

Upon this day the brethren presented their children, names and ages as follow.


Brother Lernet

Mary about 10 yrs. old, 15 of 5t. 56.

Anna, 8 yrs. old, 11 of 6t. 56.

William, 6 yrs. old, 1 of 8t. 56.

Sarah, 4 yrs. old, 15 of 9t. 56.

Isaac, 2 yrs. old, 1 of 8t. 57.

Benoni, baptized 17 of 10. 57 [added later].


Brother Fletcher at this time

John Bates, about 15 yrs. old.

Joshua Fletcher, about 12 yrs. old.

Lydia, about 9 yrs. old.

Samuel, about 4 yrs. old.

Paul, about 2 yrs. old.


Brother Thomas Adams








Brother James Parker

Elizabeth, 12 yrs. old 4 of 1st. 57.

Anna, 10 yrs. old & 14 days.

John, 8 yrs. old & 12 days.

James, 5 yrs. old about 15 of 2d. 57.

Josiah, 2 yrs. old & 4 months.

Samuel, 6 months old.


Brother Abraham Parker

Anna, 11 yrs. old in 8 mo. 56.

John, 9 yrs. old in 8 mo. 56.

Abraham, 4 yrs. old in 6 mo. 56.

Mary, 1 yr. old in 9 mo. 56.


Brother Jacob Parker

Jacob, 4 yrs. old in 3 mo. 56.

Sarah, 2 yrs. old in 2d mo. 56.

Thomas, I yr. old in 1st mo. 57.


Brother Underwood

Remembrance, about 15 yrs. old.

Sarah, about 14 yrs. old.

Priscilla, about 10 yrs. old.

Aquilla, about 8 yrs. old. He on 17 of 5:57. drowned & on 18 of 5 buried. On general training day he died being in washing.

Sister Underwood’s son

Deborah, about 4 yrs. old.

Samuel, 1 yr. old 1 mo. 57.

Thomas Pellet, 22 yrs. old.


Brother Thomas Chamberlain

Anna, about 20 yrs. old.

Thomas, about 17 yrs. old.

Samuel, about 10 yrs. old.

Mary, about 6 yrs. old.


The wife of Edmund Chamberlain

Mary, about 8 yrs. old.

Sarah, about 7 yrs. old.

Elizabeth, about 5 yrs. old.

John, about 3 yrs. old.

Edmund, about 1/2 yr. old.


Brother Benjamin Butterfield

Benjamin, about 20 yrs. old.

Jonathan, about 15 yrs. old.

Nathaniel, about 11 1/2 yrs. old.

Samuel, about 8 yrs. old.

Joseph, about 6 yrs. old.


Brother Blodgett

Thomas, 2 yrs. old on 24 of 11. 56.

Anna, 1 yr. old on 2 of 9. 56.

Daniel, born 7 of 11. 56.


Brother Read

Bethiah, about 19 yrs. old.

Obadiah, about 17 yrs. old.


Brother Spalding

John, about 23 yrs. old.

Edward, about 21 yrs. old.

Benjamin, 14 yrs. old on 4 of 2d. 56.

Joseph, 10 yrs. old on 25 of 8. 56.

Dinah, 7 yrs. old on 14 of 1. 56.

Andrew, 4 yrs. old on 19 of 9. 56.


Brother Foster

Hannah, about 7 yrs. old.

Samuel, about 6 yrs. old.

Eli, about 3 yrs, old.


Sister Shiply who was admitted into covenant with this church at Wenham 15 of 8t. 48.

John, about 19 yrs. old.

Nathaniel, about 17 yrs. old.

Lydia, about 15 yrs. old.


Brother Nutting

John, 5 yrs. old 25 of 6 mo. 56.

James, 3 yrs. old 30 of 4. 56.

Mary, 1 yr. old. 10 of 11. 56.


Brother Simon Thompson

Sarah, 10 yrs. old on 25 of 12. 56.

James, 7 yrs. old. 15 of 1. 56.

Mary, 5 yrs. old. 9 of 11. 56.

Anna, 1 yr. old. 30 of 5. 56.

We received from the church of Concord dated February 2 that we proceeding according to these said propositions it shall not be offensive to them. We received also a letter from the church at Woburn dated 2d. of 12t. 56 wherein they desire our scripture grounds to the said propositions. Whereupon the letter being received on 17 of 12t. and presented to the church on 21 of 12t. it was concluded and voted to send the substance of this the issue. So it was drawn up and the true copy of that sent (besides the letters expressing with them) follows.


Hints of grounds

To 1st.

  1. 1. From I Cor. 12:27, the church is a spirital corporation receiving its being from the mutual covenanting of the parts. The church at Corinth was a body; the parts of it were members thereof.
  2. 2. Otherwise there should be some nonmembers in church covenant and who they should be we know not.
  3. 3. Our ordinary practice in our admissions and excommunications concludes this proposition true in our ordinary account.

To 2nd.

  1. 1. From Matt. 28:19 first disciple them and then secondly baptize them (says that our commission).
  2. 2. From Acts 2:41 they that gladly receive His word (which we conceive does comprehend their professed submission unto the government of Christ the Lord as in verse 36) were baptized.
  3. 3. We cannot conceive what members they should be to whom baptism belongs not.

To 3rd.

  1. 1. If not children under the age, then no children. And under that age by common account they are in their minority and children in respect of age as well as of relation.
  2. 2. That there are children which are included in their parents’ covenant appears by the Apostles’ phrase in Acts 3:25, for they could not be otherwise children of the covenant some they were not as yet believers, as verse 19.
  3. 3. That such the initiating seal of the covenant belongs to (as who are in the covenant whether immediately or mediately we here say not) appears Gen. 17:11–14.
  4. 4. If they be not included in their parents’ covenant and so members then we in our churches do baptize nonmembers.
  5. 5. That the children of confederate believers have right to be baptized appears to us by the many scriptures grounds maintained against the antipaedobaptists from Gen. 17, Matt. 28, I Cor. 7, Acts 2, &c. And for our parts we would decline to spend much of our precious time in a vain contest with the generation that does stick as deep against the free grace of the covenant.

To 4th.

  1. 1. We conceive we must necessarily grant them under the church’s inspection and care if we grant them members (I Cor. 12:25) and if we grant them to be lambs of the flock (Acts 20:28 verse). The lamb is as well in danger of the wolf as the sheep; the lamb may as well need the benefit of the shepard’s staff and rod too as the sheep (Psalms 23:4). The good shepard carries these in his arms (Isa. 40:11). Their souls may need both food and physic and the general charge expressly reaches these (John 21:16).
  2. 2. We take these to be of the household of faith (Gal. 6:12); holy in respect of. . . . . . and church holiness (I Cor. 7:14); those olive plants in the Lord’s garden which is His church (Psalms 128:3 with 144:12 and Psalms 4:12–13) and therefore to be husbanded accordingly; of these whom the Lord challenges as born unto him and to be his (Ezek. 16:20–21).

To 5th.

  1. 1. The grounds of the 4th proposition seems to us to leave this out also.
  2. 2. The duties enjoined us by commandment 5t. as in respect of such under our care and charge urgeth us to this (Deut. 6:7, Jos. 24:15, Gen. 18:19).

To 6th.

  1. 1. The same grounds that bade our honored General Court in that so pious and necessary a law against Sabbath breakers (30 of Aug. of 1653) rendering those under the ages of 15 years responsible to civil authority by the next parents, the same grounds we do conceive may suffice to us rationally in this case. But lest we should be misinterpreted as though we did make their civil act or rule which were a mistake of our assertion we thought fit to add.
  2. 2. That in Gen. 17:14 where tis said that the uncircumcised man-child was a breaker of God’s covenant and to be cut off, yet in that case (Exod. 4:24) Moses the father was nextly responsible whom the Lord sought therefore to kill. And the parents in that case reckoned as uncircumcised and to be debarred from the passover (Exod. 12:48 and Gen. 17:15, yea Sarai, Abraham’s wife was personally called into covenant and as a sign thereof her name changed to Sarah).
  3. 3. That in John 9:21 where however the parents of him that was born blind did sinfully decline to speak aught that might be interpreted a confession of Christ for fear of excommunication yet for the matter of their answer it seems to carry good reason with it; and of the Pharisees it was so accepted without further reply. There is a time wherein one may be said to be of age and therefore in good reason may be called to speak for himself and his confession or testimony taken as credible being now so far forth testifies . . . &c. And this argues there is also a time in respect whereof it cannot be so affirmed.
  4. 4. And Mark 10:14 our Savior would have children suffered to come unto him when as yet their parents must indeed come and bring them in their arms.
  5. 5. And also tis most rationally probationary that the scandalous behavior of children under that age is not without some great default on the parents’ part.

To 7th.

  1. 1. Some of our scriptures be these. Isa. 56:4–5. The eunuch that taketh hold on the covenant &c. (tis meant of a personal and immediate act of his own) shall have a place and name; better than of sons and of daughters (namely as who stand in that relation by only a parental covenant) Neh. 10:28–29 their sons and daughters (every one having knowledge and understanding) were admitted and encouraged to take that covenant and oath; see also Deut. 29:11–12.
  2. 〈A difference between owning the covenant and taking hold on it; the . . . act an act of religion, piety, and faith.〉
  3. 2. Some of our reasons be these also. Because a personal covenanting in this wise:
    1. a. may avail to a more full information and conviction of them as touching what is required and expected (according to vote and to such a relation) at their hands;
    2. b. may avail to the closer holding of such from cavilling against the prosecuting the rule toward them or from starting aside from the condition of the covenant;
    3. c. may avail as a stronger tie and band upon their consciences the more to quicken and to provoke to that which they now have by their own act engaged themselves and theirs unto.

To 8th.

  1. 1. That scripture in I Cor. 7:14 seems to us clearly to carry it from the next parents. We collect also something to that purpose from Gal. 3:9 and Acts 2:39–41.
  2. 2. We conceive though Esau had right unto circumcision yet not his children for the seal attends the covenant.

    〈I might add these children are to have their proportion of the bread in the family (Matt. 15:26 with Luke 12:42).〉

  3. 3. We apprehend this way of baptizing grandchildren hath no stop and may (we fear) lead to the prophanation of the ordinance.
  4. 4. That in Exod. 20:6 of God’s showing his mercy unto thousands (whether it respecteth persons or generations we do not say) evidently seems to us restrained to those that love him and keep his commandments so that we see no rule of affixing this token of God’s covenant on that seed whose immediate parents can in no wise be hoped or judged such.
  5. 5. Nor see we any rule of baptizing such as the church hath no power over, either mediately or immediately.

To 9th.

  1. 1. We limit this proposition in these words (as the case may require the church may do).
  2. 2. That there may be such a case appears to us amongst other reasons for this because tis not membership simply that makes capable of all church privileges but membership invested with certain suitable qualifications requisite: see I Cor. 5:2 & 12 and 11:28–31.

To 10th.

  1. 1. In this last we show our apprehensions and say what may be not what must be required of such a one.
  2. 2. Amongst other scripture leading us to apprehend such a things may be lawfully and without breach of a rule requireth we have I Peter 3:15. Thus if the reason &c. may lawfully be given it may lawfully be demanded and if any may lawfully demand it then much more the church to whom is committed the trust of the holy things of God as appear from Matt. 16:19, I Tim. 3:15, Rom. 2:2, I Cor. 5:12.

8 of 1st. 57.

Sarah, the wife of Jacob Parker, taken into covenant with this church. William, the son of William Fletcher, baptized. Elizabeth, the daughter of Robert Proctor, baptized. On this day it was proposed to the church whether they would, according to agreement on 13 of 5t. last, now proceed to ordaining of the deacons or whether they desired further time of trial and to intimate their minds, if they desired it between this and next Lord’s day or otherwise I resolve. Silence.

29 of 1st. 57.

Anna Chamberlain made her confession of her sin in reproaching Samuel Fletcher. This day Sister Nutting (having received the report from the said Anna) was charged with divulging it contrary to rule. And she charges Sister Thompson to be the first divulger and names some persons that she pretended could witness it.

22 of 1st. 57.

Bethiah Read for travelling with John Johnson as man and wife up and down, being desired to come before the church for counsel, refused her . . . . . . . . . and so it answered.

12 of 2d. 57.

Resolved by the church concerning such children of the church as are capable of answering for themselves that in case the officer takes cognizance that any such are taken notice of as taking such a course as exposes them to their danger of temptation or shall need counsel from the church, that the officer as cause is offered put it first to the consideration of the church and as then the church shall see cause either to call such a one before them or to appoint some to attend the matter. So it shall proceed, the officer having, if a private matter, used private means first. The cases instanced were familiarity, loud company, or attempting to match themselves contrary to rule &c.

15 of 2d. 57.

Before Brother James Parker, Brother Lernet, and myself Sister Nutting acknowledged to Brother and Sister Thompson’s satisfaction her evil, both in receiving the testimony of Anna Chamberlain concerning Samuel Fletcher to his reproach, to the breach of rule and in divulging it, viz. that she did sinfully therein. Secondly as concerning these circumstances touching the drawing it out from Anna, although she remembers not them yet she grants she should have done evil in so doing and she dare not but suspect herself and give credit to the witnesses in these particulars.

Sister Thompson also acknowledged freely and very satisfactorily to us her evil in receiving the said report from Anna Chamberlain and not suppressing it at her first speaking of it. So she and Sister professed reconciliation. Sister Nutting also acknowledged she did sinfully in charging Sister Thompson with being the first broacher or divulger of it when it was groundless and upon her mere suspicion and could not by legal witnesses prove that she had divulged it.

3 month 57.

Edward Foster, the son of Samuel Foster, baptized.

5 of 4t. 57.

Brother Farwel’s wife of Concord and her daughter of Taunton and Brother Rogers of Watertown admitted to partake in Lord’s table this month.

1 of 9t. 57.

Mary Parker, the daughter of Sister Parker wife to Joseph Parker, baptized. Nathaniel Shiply he was on this day called before the church having been dealt with before in private by the pastor in the presence of four or five brethren for notorious lying. His lies, objected, were then confessed by him. First that he reported that he lying asleep on a plank at the mill Thomas Adams took by the heels and hung him over the pond and made him believe he would drown him if he would not help him to husk that night and come to be catechised. Also he said Abraham Parker bids him, drown the rogue, drown him. There was but one witness to that expression (rogue). This Nathaniel remembered not as he said, but confessed he had spoken the other words as expressed. Also he confessed that Thomas Adams neither did nor said any such thing, only that he spoke to him to come to be catechised. Five lies in this.

Secondly, that he said at Thomas Chamberlain’s that he had lived in Goodwife Byam’s house and that he said she was a hard woman and would beat him often and that he trod on her toes and did run away from her to the mill to her husband. These things he acknowledged he spoke there and their substance to George Robbins. But these things were all untrue.

Thirdly, that he said that he shot three heath hens as he sat on his mare’s back and that they were sodden and eaten with other circumstances. He confesses he so said but there was no such thing.

Fourthly, at Thomas Chamberlain’s on a sabbath that he coming there he told them he had cut a cow of theirs that was hung in a tree and had cut the tree asunder which was big as his waist with his knife and that in the mean time other cows came and ate his dinner and had spoiled a new testament of his. These things he acknowledged as he had said but none of these were true as himself also confesses.

Fifthly, that being early at Jacob Parker’s one morning she asked him whence he came and he said he lodged at Mr. Fiske’s house with his children in the upper room and pitied them for lying so cold. These he acknowledged he spake but they all were false; neither did the children lodge them in that wise nor was he there.

31 of 11t. 57.

On this day the church voted the following letters, first to James Fiske and his wife and second that to Brother Read to be sent.

To our dearly beloved Brother Esdras Read, the Church of Christ in Chelmsford wisheth grace, mercy, and peace in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Dearly Beloved Brother:

It is not unknown to you how sadly the providence of God hath so late frowned upon us in the taking of our Brother Lernet from us to Himself. The loss of a member so greatly useful as who was willing to spend and to be spent for the public good of this poor church and town as it cannot nor indeed ought but deeply to affect us. So it doth administer unto us just cause to consider what may on our parts be the occasion of the Lord to bereave us of so great a blessing as he already hath been and much more was likely to be unto this place. And amongst other things which our own consciences may search us for we know not but our . . . heretofore in performing these offices and duties of love and watchfulness which we do mutually owe each to other, in furthering the things of Christ, whilest we busy ourselves about our own matters in a conscientious care of preserving the order His house and in a self denied bearing the burdens of each other may have had no small influence in so sad a stroke upon us.

The breach that is thus made amongst us we do take notice to be so much the more widened by how much yourself especially considering your age, gravity, and experience as we should hope in the things of Christ these no mean endowments whereby there might have been fit to have done Christ some good service here and that freedom as respecting the occasions of earthly cares far greater than as we would have looked upon it in you than in most, if not indeed any others amongst us. Even you, brother, notwithstanding all these have been not only denied a heart to bestow these few days and behind of your hoary head in the improvement of these the talents for public good of this church and place as might have tended to our greater joy and rejoicing, but also even a heart (your heart rather inclining you to a remove) to own so far forth your esteem of us (a poor church of Christ) as worthy of meet either to counsel and advise with you in the matters or to be so much as desired to mind you is our prayer or indeed to be so much as acquainted by you with your purposes and way.

Further you as the whole world may by the event of your acting take notice of, which as it cannot but tend to our further grief, so it does the more in that we do now understand by what we are informed you have said and by what we have taken notice you have done in the dispose of yourself, you are now resolved and have now (for sometime) in your resolution and in act, so far as concern you, indeed left us. And now orderly and regularly we doubt not but yourself be able to judge. And though we should not be worthy yet is He worthy of whose house we are that His order should have been attended and that body without whose consent we could not have joined to have been moved at least for its consent to the departure and that seasonably. And that the honor of His gospel should have been so attended by them as not by such your example to have opened so wide a door for members to depart from the churches whereof they are whether, when, and how they please, which had it been suspected by you (of whose judgment to the contrary some of us have had proof heretofore) you had probably heard from us ere this.

Now therefore, dear Brother, we can do no less than entreat and require of you an account of this your proceeding and satisfaction according to rule for this so [torn] leaving of us. As also touching their clearing your case (not only of remove but) to the kind of employment and way of life you resolve upon, which though lawful and warrantable employment yet attended with so manifold temptations as a Christian cannot attend upon wanting a clear call, without eminent hazard to his soul and scandal to his holy profession.63 Besides of your manner of living otherwise and together herewithal in the fourth place, of your refusal (as we understand) to disburse you proportion to the catechism’s printing, which the church stands engaged to see satisfied. And in these respects we are in expectation of your address and answer to us. And so we rest.

Yours in the Lord Christ,

John Fiske

in the name and with consent of the church

Chelmsford 31 of 11 mo. 57.

To our beloved Brother and Sister, James Fiske and Anna his wife, the Church of Christ at Chelmsford sendeth greeting:

Whereas it is now a long space of time since your remove from this church whilest it was abiding in Wenham and hitherto you have not received nor so much as desired (that we do know) any letters of dismission from us and in that respect do to this present remain of us and under our watch and care, however so far distant and removed from us as we cannot discharge our duty of inspection over you according to what we are commanded. We in consideration thereof (as being desirous to quit ourselves with peace and good conscience before our Lord and master Christ as to yon word) have at length upon serious consideration of your not so orderly standing and continuance there (as we suppose) and of your relation to us thought meet to write these few lines to you to desire and advise you in the name of Christ our Lord to consider with yourselves and with as much expedition as you may, to apply yourselves to us, either personally or at least in writing, to give us an account of your continuance voluntarily (for aught we know) and without any pressing necessity of providence so enforcing you (so far as we do understand) apparently in a way not agreeing to the holy order of Gospel [torn] and perilous in respect of yourselves. Rendering yourselves under an incapacity for the time of your continuing (which not only have been already for divers years but for aught is manifest intended for the time to come, we know not for how long to rest) we say uncapable of performing those duties or enjoying those privileges of members which otherwise by your church covenant you have professed and by the rules of the Gospel you be bound unto.

Besides that we look at your exemption which if tolerated by us may be likely to amongst others. Whereupon what in discharge of our duty towards you and what out of a brotherly care and affectionate desire of your spiritual good and peace and a holy jealousy also, lest the serpent should gain some advantage over you (as the ravenous wolf some straggling sheep) out of Christ’s fold and way to the hazard of your souls, we could do no less than to make this our address unto you and do both expect and require you would some way according unto rule apply yourselves unto us to our satisfaction. And so desiring the good spirit of God to direct and guide you in all your ways of truth and holiness we rest.

Yours in the Lord Jesus Christ,

John Fiske

in the name and with the consent of the church

Chelmsford 31 of 11t. 57.

28 of 1st. 58.

Brother Read this day he appeared before the church (having before sent a letter wherein he had expressed his purpose in that respect) and being demanded the reason of his going away without acquainting the church therewith &c. he replied.

First by propounding what rule there was for his so doing for he knew not that he had broken a rule. To which many things being answered and in particular that it was a breach of a rule of order and being also urged with his former judgment to the contrary. He thought he had a rule there and twas to seek of it he answered. Second, that he had some thought to have acquainted the church therewith but the reason he did not was because he apprehended a withdrawment of the pastor’s affection from him. But upon agitation of the thing he held to it that twas his apprehension and had been even for some years before he came from Wenham. Yet he seemed to speak as if he wished rather he had mentioned his desires first to the church, because he would not give the . . . of God and did desire their prayers for him.

To the second charge he was moved to give the reason of his remove. To which he answered that one reason he would give, viz. the weakness of his body now to labor as heretofore and the remoteness of the place from market. Whereupon this occasion being offered to him to such an employment, he accepted it. But he said there was some other reason of greater weight (or to that effect) which he was unwilling to name because it respected some in the church which was the main cause of his remove. Divers of the brethren being unwilling it should be urged upon him it was so left.

To the third charge, for the catechism, after some agitation he in fine promised to pay his proportion. So some good counsel was given him by one and another and the church’s love and affection manifested to him and desire of his best good. And he desired the church’s prayers for him and so twas left there. In fine, he desired letters of recommendation from the church here which was left to further consideration.

4 of 2d. 58.

Brother Proctor’s answer was related to the church wherein he expressed himself to desire only to live with us by way of recommendation and not to be dismissed unto us. His reason being he desired to leave his children rather under the watch and care of the church of Concord than this.

Brother Read’s desire was also again considered of and both these referred to further consideration. Some agitation there was about the way of proceeding in catechising our younger persons. And then the members concluded upon the Lord’s day in afternoon for the . . . upon the day after our lecture constantly at 3 of the clock in the afternoon at the pastor’s house.

6 of 4t. 58.

Brother Read’s case about dismission discussed before the church whether to be dismissed or recommended twas voted by the church that he be put upon . . . manifesting his resolution not to return to us, is to be dismissed and to be required to send us word as to what [torn] &c. The copy of the letter to Brother Read.

To our Beloved Brother Esdras Read the Church at Chelmsford sendeth greeting.

Beloved Brother:

We lately having had occasion offered us to consider a second time of your motion touching letters of recommendation from this church (although as yet you have left us in the dark to what church you desire to be recommended) and of former advice, rather to take letters of dismission as more orderly considering the condition you seem to stand in to usward by divers of us apprehended that was sent unto you by our Brother James Parker understanding that you made or might make at least such an evil construction thereof as this that twas not the act of the church but rather of some in the church desirous to be rid of you.

Our advice now therefore is expressly unto you (and this to prevent or remove such a sinful and unjust misinterpretation) that you declare yourself whether indeed you be resolved to return unto us and within what space of time. And moreover in case you do declare yourself otherwise intended or purposed (as really by what we are informed you have said to some and by what we observe of your actings and the disposal of what you had here we are easily led to conjecture). Besides the reason of your removing and so held forth unto us by you which we suppose not removed (if indeed as to youward removeable), our further advice is you (as said) declaring yourself not purposed to return to live amongst us within some short time that you rather accept of letters of dismission from us and do signify to us the church you desire to be dismissed to. We desire you would be plain with us and let your speeches and actings appear to hold a consistency as to this matter and to breath what may tend to the cherishing of love and peace, according to gospel rule. So praying the Lord to keep you from or in this hour of temptation we rest.


John Fiske

in the name and with the consent of the church.

Chelmsford 20 of 4t. 58.

6 of 4t. 58.

This day, Josiah Nutting, Brother Nutting’s child, baptized. Joseph Hildrich baptized some few weeks before: Brother Hildrich’s child.

12 of 7t. 58.

This day Moses Fiske, being suddenly to depart to the college, was called forth before the church and owned there his . . . covenant in the face of the church. Personally in covenant engaging himself to the church and the church to him, as in the form that follows.

It being moved to the church whether any had aught against him for matter of offense, as touching his life and conversation, alleging that in Psalms 50:16–17. And there being no objection it was then proposed to him. You Moses do here before the Lord, His angels, and us His people promise and engage yourself personally to own and stand to your parents’ covenant with this church and in particular.

1. To own no other God, but only the true and living God, even the maker, preserver, and governor of all things, to be your covenant God and do give up yourself unto Him.

2. To own the Lord Christ in all His offices as to be your mediatorly prophet to teach you the will of His father, your priest to reconcile you to His father, and your mediatorly king to rule and govern you.

3. To walk according to the holy order and rule of the gospel according to your best light without giving just offense unto any.

4. And you do here by your own personal act give this yourself to the watch and care of this church. And all this by the help of God’s spirit and grace.

To which he answered severally in the affirmative the church’s answer upon the church’s vote to this that follows. It was answered him. The church then by the help of the supreme spirit doth promise to perform unto you her duty of church inspection and care and also to be ready to own you afterwards to further privileges in the church, as the Lord shall qualify you thereunto. Letters of recommendation were voted on his behalf to the church at Cambridge which were to this effect.

To the Reverend &c.

Reverend and Beloved:

We being (for our parts) convinced according to the light appearing to us that it is our duty to own such children of members in personal covenant with us as who were in their minority at what time those their parents entered in covenant with this church to be members thereof from that time forward and consequently to have right unto baptism and to . . . inspection and care as parents of the same body. And considering that the ordering hand of divine providence hath disposed of one in such wise related to us (Moses Fiske by name) to live for a certain space of time amongst you a member of the college for his better advantage in good learning. Notwithstanding we are in some good measure competently satisfied touching the pious care of the President and Fellows of the said college, as in reference to all the members, as even to this particular, yet out of conscience of discharging the uttermost of our trust over him, he being now more remote from under our eye and observation, we beg and intreat of you (brethren) that you would please to take the cognizance of him and to do both us and him this office of love, as to extend your inspection and watch over him as may concern both the preventing of scandal by him and the furtherance of his spiritual good according to God and to the rule of His holy gospel. In which respects we do commend him over unto you for the time being, craving of you your prayers for him, as for ourselves, so leaving you to the gracious guidance of the spirit of Christ in, and His blessing upon, all your pious administrations and endeavors we rest.

Yours in the Savior alone,

John Fiske, Thomas Adams, James Parker

in the name and with the consent of the church.

Chelmsford 12 of 7t. 58.

12 of 7t. 58.

This day also Nathaniel Shiply was called before the church to give satisfaction about his offense, who uttered a short general yet full confession as acknowledging his sin of lying with several aggravations, justifying God and the church and condemning himself as worthy of the censure and or hell itself. Said he was sorry for his offense, desiring pardon of God and that the church would pass it by and that the church would pray for him. He showed also his proficiency in the hearing of his catechism in answering to divers questions. Only there arose a question whether this confession was not a form merely yet and being put to it by what word or how he came to be convinced lying was a sin, he not being able to answer it. The church divided about proceeding with him or respiting him. It was at length concluded to respite him one month longer.64

17 of 8t. 58.

This day Nathaniel Shipley again called and he only expressed these words in Rom. 3: 16–17 and of David, he watered his couch with his tears &c.

7 of 9t. 58.

At a church meeting it was considered meet to have the seals administered nine times this year as before 24 of 10t. 57 for it determined upon our intention by the year which as the . . . to 12 times a year. Propounded: 1. the way of procuring wine for the Lord’s table; 2. the providing for cloth and vessels for the table; 3. the payment for the catechisms.

To the first, the procuring of wine the better because not always a stock in the deacon’s hand. These propositions voted severally this day by the church. First that the deacons are to provide the wine and bread for the Lord’s table faithfully upon the best terms that they can and that which is most suitable. Second, that in case they cannot get wine but upon such terms as are doubtful can be raised in the church that the case be proposed to the church. Third, the church engaged themselves to see them seasonably satisfied according to the nature of the pay.65

To the second, that the contribution be called in by our brethren and improved to the best of their discretion for the seasonable procuring of the said utensils and the rest for the advantage of the church stock, to the best advantage.

To the third, concerning the payment to bind of the catechisms66 (4 li., 8 s. or 10 s.), the particulars behind:

I. Lernet




Brother Underwood




Brother Read




Brother Thompson




Brother Butterfield




Tho. Chamberlain




Br. Abr. Parker




Br. Nutting







Tis agreed that our brethren the deacons do demand the pay to be brought in to Brother James Parker within a fortnight next after this day and in case any one of the summoned refuse so to do or to be defective of the time that they propose and bring the persons before the church.

This was also voted. Fourth, to the case touching a child of the church giving offense by any scandalous sin, resolved: he being a member and having now broken covenant that satisfaction (necessarily) is required now of such a person in church state rendering himself profane and impenitent which evidences repentence vindicates God’s honor. Further that in case a person in church state rendering himself impenitent or profane, the church delaying to put their censure in execution the same satisfaction now is required that the sentence should not yet pass as at first. For the church’s indulgence is not in feeling of rule, it remaining the same whether the church shall see reason to herself to make delays, yea or no.

The brethren taken notice of as absent for this meeting were Br. Underwood, Br. Spalding, Br. Tho. Chamberlain, Br. Nutting, which next Lord’s day are appointed to be called before the church to give the reason of the absence and to know whether they consent to what the church hath done.

14 of 9t. 58.

John Shipley called before the church for lying and stealing. The lying proved; first in saying that he was not at Tho. Hincksman’s himself in presence of our . . . and when an ordinance; second, lying in that John Hale struck him nor shuffled with him; and, third, that he had no pipes in his sleeve &c.

These proved, the stealing of pipes. John Hale’s testimony and his own . . . he had his hand on the barrel. His putting pipes in his sleeve and his former denial that he had pipes in his sleeve and John Hale did stick him and that the barrel was so low as that he could not reach the pipes. Whereas according to Goodman Hincksman’s and John Hale’s testimony the barrel was full of pipes. Third, his breaking of Goodman Hincksman’s horse. He confesses himself guilty of lying and stealing.

Nathaniel Shipley detected and proved guilty of two lies. One in saying Goodman Wheeler was at Concord at his daughter Sarah’s marriage when he was not and he confessed a lie in it. Another in saying he lodged at Ensign Wheeler’s and told Ensign Wheeler he lodged at another house. The church votes him excommunicated.

23 of 10t. 58.

Voted by the church that the 33s. 9d. which the church stood engaged to see paid to Brother James Parker for the catechisms should be for the present lent to him out of the church stock and if light appear hereafter to the church where it lies behind to be taken in to the deacon’s hand on the account of the catechisms in lieu of this loan. If not light then this part of the church stock to be here levied in his hands as assigned to the discharge of this debt of the church.

29 of 2d. 59.

The copy of the church’s answer to the letters from our brethren of Wenham, dated 31 of 1st. 59.

To our Beloved Brethren of the Church at Chelmsford resident in Wenham Grace, Mercy, and Peace be multiplied by Jesus Christ.

Brethren Beloved in our Lord:

We received of late letters from you by our Brother Byam whereby you expressed your desire of our present approbation, counsel, and prayers in order to the erecting of a church amongst yourselves and to the calling an officer to administer unto you the things of Christ, manifesting your hopes of enjoying Mr. Newman in that work and function.67 And afterward (when you shall be fully resolved of this) that accordingly we would condescend to yield you letters of dismission to that work of God. This being (as we gather by your expressions) the naked meaning of the request we have considered thereof in our measure and do return this answer plainly and briefly, viz. that such your desire and longing after God in all His ordinances (as we hope uns. . .edly to be in you) is to us no small matter of rejoicing and thankfulness and most especially considering the lives and places such as wherein the ordinances of God do grow apace into a very, very low esteem and professors, yea old professors, can find in their hearts at least to content yourselves without them, if not indeed to be active in the suppressing of them, or if short of these yet siding rather with such that in appearing to the upholding of them you do (we doubt not) know the . . . of Satan in some degree, who seeks malicously by the subtle machinations of his instruments to undermine the kingdom of our Lord Christ and the comfort and edification of his members.

Now brethren your hearts being set through grace, self-deniedly, sincerely, and with all holy resolution in the strength of Christ to lift up that His great name in His own pure worship and ordinances and to keep yourselves from the defilements of the times and the mixtures of unworthy spirits acting their own dividing principles, we should desire these the Lord would keep this disposition forever in the imagination of the thoughts of their hearts and ply your hearts unto him. So shall we lifting up our hearts in prayers, thinking of you with [torn] faith you may as . . . yourselves (through the grace of God upon us) of our approbation. And for matter of advice and counsel were it not that your so pious a choice of one (whom you mention in expectation for office) did remove the occasion we should have intreated you (brethren) to have attended it, as your most prudent course. And that which would undoubtedly most nearly answer the rule, most surely prevent the wily strategems of the adversary of your souls and more certainly redound to your own spiritual edification and consolation, not only to set your eye upon one desirable and fitted for the office, but to make some such a one sure unto you, ere you enter upon the gathering a church amongst yourselves.

And thus we cannot but greatly approve of your prudence in not determining that matter or desiring letters of dismission from us to that work before you have received a full answer from Mr. Newman in the case, which if we understand to be once given according to your desire expressed so as he shall both join with you in the gathering a church and undertake office amongst you (which for aught we know may be accomplished on the same day), you shall not need question a readiness and means on our part to grant you letters of dismission. Yea and our hearts and prayers shall go along with you for His gracious presence and blessing to be vouchsafed you in Jesus Christ. So desiring the God of all grace to make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you in His own holy truths and ways, we take our leave at present and rest.

Your loving brethren in the bonds of the gospel,

John Fiske

in the name and with the consent of the church

Chelmsford 24 of 2d. 59.

[torn] 59.

About this day the question formerly agitated in the church touching the length of men’s hair of their head it was voted by the church (Brother Adams only . . .) that the nourishing of the hair of the head in whole or in part to such a length usually and ordinarily as to the covering any considerable part of the face or countenance or as to extend below the ears and to the covering of the neck or that manifest of any part of it to a manifest disproportion with the length of some other part thereof or of the hair on some other part of the head is judged by us justly offensive.68

The grounds in general we conceive it, the long hair, condemned in I Cor. 11:14, and secondly in particular some when first wrought upon conversion have been convinced of and have . . . confessed these evils in this particular.

I. That which is manifested to such a length as it was covering part of the face or countenance is offensive.

  1. 1. Because the face or countenance of man is a choice piece of God’s workmanship in man’s body, obvious unto view and distinguishing this noble great man from all other His creatures over which the Lord hath given him dominion and lordship. And it is not to be disguised, set in secret, or covered (Job 24:15) unless in case of humiliation and mourning (II Samuel 19:4).
  2. 2. Because by the face or countenance the Lord hath marvelously distinguished one man from another, so as each one may be known thereby (Gal. 1:22).
  3. 3. Because much of God and his image doth appear in the face or countenance of man above what in any other creature and in a godly man sometimes above what in him that is ungodly, in humility, sobriety, modesty, shamefastness, and other graces displaying and discovering these oftimes in the countenance; contrariwise in the ungodly oftimes is discovered (Psalms 10:4 the pride of his countenance, and Jer. 3:3 a whore’s forehead &c.).
  4. 4. Because the hair which covers the face must needs be an impediment to action unless bound up, which is unsuitable to that sex (I Cor. 11:14–15 and Deut. 22:5, the original never translated, apparel, is there a word of larger significance and includes any ornament, dress, furniture, or attire whatsoever one may deck himself with).
  5. 5. Because the nourishing of hairs to such a length we cannot apprehend to be of any profitable use, but to carry with it rather an appearance of evil and to prove in some an incitement to corruption or an occasion of temptation and to give suspicion of levity and inconsistency of mind, of needless expense of time &c. Now we are to avoid from all appearances of evil (I Thes. 5:22) and occasions of sin and temptation &c. and to give an account unto God even of vain thoughts (Jer. 4:14).
  6. 6. Because so far forth as the face is covered the modesty, shamefastness, and bashfulness of the face (which both morality and divinity commends for virtues) are concealed and hidden. Not to know shame is a property of an unjust person (Zeph. 3:5).

II. That which is nourished to that length as to below the ears as to the covering the neck (of for ornament or comliness or under a mere pretense of a lawful liberty) is offensive.

  1. 1. Because some women (whose constitutions and temperatures do give it) have had and have hair, especially in some climate of somewhat like extent, though not by any artifice impeded of its natural growth.
  2. 2. Because the practices of some pagans, guided only the light of nature and common reason have been, some by customs, some by human constitution, confirmed in the wearing of the hair within these bounds, which the Apostle might eye when he says, nature teacheth.
  3. 3. Because hairs of such an extent hath been within memory of man worn only by such in our nation as were commonly judged ruffians and debased persons and occasionally censured by the judges in the annual circuits and therefore it being a matter of so late scandal is not yet without some appearance of evil.
  4. 4. Because it may breed many perilous inconveniences in him that weareth it as Mr. Bolton in one work of his declares and the practices of some pagans polling their heads when they went to war against their enemies may show.
  5. 5. Because the holy scriptures seems expressly to prohibit unto the people of God in these latter days the suffering their locks to grow long (Ezek. 44:20). They shall only poll; the original word signifies here to even or make equal their hair, as Oecolampadias a learned and godly divine interprets it testifying twas the practice in ancient times and in hotter climates to do it once within 30 days.

III. That (to speak of long hair in a comparative sense) as either compared with the length of the hair usually worn by the most grave, serious, and solid Christians of these times and places wherein the power of godliness is upheld or otherwise compared with the length of the hair on some other part of the same head. For instance, as when one is cut after the old monkish fashion, or as some of our nation and of the French were sometimes since wonted with a long foretop, or a long low back, or as we may see some Indians their hair cut short away on one side and left to grow on the other side of the head. Hair which is nourished thus to an extent manifest carrying disproportion of length with other part of the hair of the head is offensive.

  1. 1. Because it speaks a humorous, fantastic frame of spirit.
  2. 2. Because the principle of it we apprehend is not justifiable and the practice to savor of the flesh.
  3. 3. Because tis observable to have been distasteful ordinarily to the most serious and mortified Christians.
  4. 4. Because it hath been observable usually to be taken up by professors in a way of compliance with the world and by such as are time servers.
  5. 5. Because tis likely it may prove some stumbling block to the conversion of these natives.
  6. 6. Because there can be alleged no such good use of it as of apparel. This being by divine institution given to man for the covering of his shame or nakedness and for a lasting document of humility and mortification. That, not to any like use, exposing (according to the Apostles’ arguments) to obliquey and shame.

17 of 5t. 59.

This form of confession following being drawn up was presented and read to the church as on behalf of some of our young men who the Lord’s day before had given public offense and by the vote of the church they were to be put to it whether they would own (only Brother Adams, as usually in other cases) objected against it, saying amongst other things (notwithstanding the pastor had declared the reason of a form as respecting the case, the quality and condition of the persons offending, not known to be of that capacity to express aught to edification &c. and not to hinder, in case any of the brethren could testify upon their knowledge touching any of them) that they were prepared and were conceived fit to speak in their own expressions to the purpose and to edification as being truly sensible of their own evil. And that even notwithstanding this, if any were lively touched with the evil of his own offense, he should have the liberty to speak and urging it three times that there might have been a confession of their own, though but two or three words. And put they severally moved to it, were silent nor did Brother Adams urge or persuade any of them with one word thereto. This it is apparent that uncharitably he sought to prejudice the pastor and to avert the confessing of these offenders. As he had Lord’s day before laid the proceedings and determinations of the church under our own proceedings and as not using the levity [?] that ought to be, speaking much in favor to the young men. But the works passed thus.

Whereas I (A.B.) did last Lord’s day (which was 10th of the present), to the dishonor of God and just grievance of many, disorderly and offensively demean myself in such manner as tending to the hazard of the diminution or obstruction of the peace and good accord of this society, of the interruption and disturbance of the public ordinance of divine worship, of the bringing of the authority of the place into contempt, and of the exposing of myself unto temptation, together with the emboldening of others to offend after my example by my stubborn refusal of coming into and sitting within the place of our public meeting in the time of the public ordinance. Notwithstanding entreated, yea and after required, thereunto partly by some of the selectmen, partly by the church officers, and after by the constable severally (as by some others also persuaded thereunto). Also by my refusal to present myself to be catechised at the time of the exercise thereof. And finally by my refusal of coming in after the exercise in the afternoon, after the dismissing of the congregation, at the request of the church officers and of several others, to give an account of what I had profited that day by the hearing of the word, in showing what I had remembered whereby to have cleared myself that though sitting abroad without doors contrary to the order appointed I had yet yielded diligent attention unto the holy word of God dispensed and had not vainly occupied myself as the nature of youth is prone unto, especially when out of the sight and watch of their superiors.

I do therefore confess and acknowledge my great evil and miscarriage in these forementioned particulars as having broken the holy laws of God and in spirit the fourth and fifth commandments touching the sanctifying of the sabbath of the Lord our God and the honoring of my parents, both civil and ecclesiastical as well as natural. And I do profess a desire that the Lord would show me more and more effectually the evil thereof and that I may obtain the prayers of the church for me to that end and so forgiveness both from God whom I have offended and from whomever amongst us have been agrieved at such very disorderly and evil carriage, promising by the help of God to endeavor a reformation and amendment for the future.

This was declared to be understood, owned, and assented to (before the whole assembly) and by Tho. Chamberlain, John Bates, Adam Waters.

Brother Adams having taken offense upon occasion of some passages which were used before many of the church and . . . after the dismissing of the congregation by the pastor upon occasion of divers absenting themselves from catechising and sitting abroad, wherein himself having spoken some words before as were apprehended in favor of these young men, took himself as charged by the pastor and so in the public manifesting himself then certified his matters to the church. The brethren not taking it up and he occasionally urging the thing at a time having said to two brethren that the pastor lay under the guilt of a breach of several commandments. And when the pastor applied himself to him with the said brethren, he put it of that he had referred the matter to the church. He said also to the pastor that the church was under the guilt of sin in . . . respect the matter brought before the church. After long agitation of the matter and endeavor of helping each other it came at length to this vote in the church.

First that touching that matter of Brother Adams laying the church under guilt of sin, second touching that matter of the charge that Brother Adams took himself to be laid under by the pastor, and third that touching that matter of Brother James Parker undertaking to manage a part of the said conceived charge and the offense that had grown thereupon between them, that a final issue was to be put to the said things and no more to be said on either side about the same.

Jonathan Danforth he about 7 of 12t. 56 proposing himself for fellowship it was concluded to answer him as follows. Jonathan Danforth his desire being proposed to this church upon . . . of that . . . to join himself in fellowship with us, it was considered of and agitated and in fine determined by joint assent to return him this answer in effect as followeth, namely.

That in case the church at Cambridge shall grant him a permission to do so yielding up what right they have in him unto this church, and we shall receive satisfaction touching his being meetly qualified for the enjoyment of all church privileges, we shall willingly attend his desire to the receiving of him. Otherwise we know no rules of orderly proceeding with him in this way, he being by virtue of his father’s covenant under the immediate inspection and charge, as we conceive, of the church at Cambridge.

Afterward the elders of Cambridge church writing to us as from themselves some apprehensions, or to this effect, they conceived we might notwithstanding receive the said Jonathan without offense to that church.

22 of 1st. 56/57.

It was returned this, Jonathan Danforth his desire, being upon this day a second time proposed to this church with letters from the elders of Cambridge church. The result of our church agitation amounted in effect to this, viz. that we approving he may be fit to enjoy all church privileges cannot otherwise but sympathize with him; nevertheless as the case to us appears at present we do not apprehend we are orderly called as yet to satisfy his desire for out parts, conceiving he belongeth to them whose we think he is either plainly to disown him or to dismiss him. And in case neither of these may be we know no rule or reason why he may not justly join himself in personal covenant with that church and afterwards as just cause offered to be either recommended or dismissed or both unto us, or else if by reason of his distance from that church this be refused why as yet there are, as we suppose, members of the said church residing nigher to him than any of ours. He seems called for his own part to sit still a while or wait till God more fully clear us his way.

11 mo. 59.

Jonathan Danforth brings letters from the church of Cambridge wherein they resign up all their right in him . . . us to proceed with him. After some longer agitation, at three several times and divers questions in . . . of order proposed, the case at length came to be stated and the case as touching order upon several grounds concluded. And thereupon the whole church agreed to send a letter to the brethren at Billerica to take off occasion of offense and to clear more fully our way as followeth.

To our Beloved Brethren at Billerica &c.

Beloved Brethren:

Whereas Jonathan Danforth, an inhabitant amongst you, hath for some time since proposed himself as desirous to join with us in church fellowship and hath of late obtained liberty from the church at Cambridge so to do as by letters to us from that church is manifest to us. And whereas we have been in some demur about it since that time as being hopefully persuaded that the longing desires of your souls after the enjoyment of the ordinances of Christ amongst yourselves would have set you upon that work of gathering a church and ordaining an officer in that place and that your experience and observation of the said Jonathan would have led you to have encouraged him in his desire after the ordinance in taking amongst you in the said work and unto the same, or otherwise in case of personal exception against him as regularly unmeet for fellowship to have cleared yourselves in the matter.

But perceiving that neither this nor that is attended by you so as we for our parts are ready to apprehend had we been in your case it had concerned us. Therefore we have thought fit to write unto you to desire you would speedily and with the first opportunity inform us of these two things. First whether indeed you be or do intend soon to be in hand with the said work of gathering a church and within what space of time there is an intention or likelihood of accomplishing the same and whether you do intend to accept of the said Jonathan amongst you into the work. And if not this or not that then if we may be so far in your favor we should look at it as an act of brotherly love to be informed from you of the grounds, which if we may apprehend just, you shall have us (through the grace of Christ) in a readiness to strengthen your hands in what may concern us. If otherwise, we shall desire to act our own apprehensions as in what we shall conceive our duty, and in particular in reference to the said Jonathan, without just cause of offense to you in case you do not lay before us grounds of conviction to the contrary. How meet we may find him for fellowship we cannot yet determine. To rob you of him, in case meet, far be it from us. To receive him, you regularly judging him unmeet and so to retain him to us when once you have a church amongst you, be it as far from us as the other.

Testimony from amongst you we do (in part at least) expect and on the other side as you will approve yourselves faithful to Jesus Christ and to the soul of the said Jonathan, we do look you should and hope you will orderly remove matters of just offense, if any there be, or seasonably and regularly inform us. Seriously we do desire you would not slight (as we dare not conclude you will) this our address unto you by a silent answer or by retarding a return to us from you. But that you would let us, within short time, hear from you and for the interim we commend you to the guidance of the good spirit of God and rest.

Yours &c.

Chelmsford 29 of 11t. 59.

13 of 12t. 59.

A church meeting agreed upon the evening before by the church upon occasion of counsel given to our Brother Adams by the pastor and his manifestation of refusing of it and resolution to the contrary. Considering if the church should prove divided about the thing, some for Brother Adams and some otherwise, it might occasion some hindrance of the church’s peace &c. Thus twas meet to consider of things amongst ourselves to settle peace in the church.

The counsel to Brother Adams arose as in reference to a return from the court concerning him presented there to be allowed to be our chief military officer. Wherein the court testified that they being informed he was hesitant to the way and practice of these churches did see not cause to allow him till further satisfaction.69 The counsel was first, that our brother would attend this present hint of providence as in reference to the place he once thought himself called to as a speaking of the voice of God and to surcease from further accepting thereof. Second and as in reference to his good name which he may think by this means impaired to consider what was said to Amariah in Chron. 20:8–9.

The brethren being come together and the name of God called upon, first the proposal was whether the church saw fit to join with our pastor in this counsel. This was declined as yet to be further spoken to. The second proposal was that the church might attend to consider whether or no they could clear our brother from being hesitant as to the way and practices of the churches and how their church might clear herself from being also so. An objection or two being removed this motion was consented to, to be attended.

First objection was in the matter of offense in respect of the information if it did arise from amongst ourselves as whether carried in a brotherly way and according to rule. Answered, that this could not orderly be our work now, nor could the church make a determination thereto unless the informer and his allegations for himself were known.

Second objection was that we must not conclude that a man’s judgment which may be expressed by way of reasoning from light. Answered that we judge of a man’s apprehensions, by his own expressions, professions, and practice. First our brother hath professed to differ in his apprehensions from us, but he would call the matters of difference circumstances. And some times were instanced, as when John Fiske was here. Second our brother hath not only reasoned against our proceedings as when the matters of his judgment were concerned but hath suspended his vote and that . . . upon that ground. Third our brother hath taken occasions to discourse of these matters with those of weaker abilities than himself which could not be supposed to be for light.

These things being evidenced to the church the second motion was closed with. And in consideration what was the preferred way and practice of the churches in the judgment of the court and the law twas conceived amongst us to be the same that is declared in the book called the Platform of Church Discipline,70 now attested to and countenanced by authority. Here twas objected whether we went about to find matters of charging sin upon him and twas answered, no that . . . no and accordingly we stood to brethren. Hereupon the platform was viewed and what could be remembered by all or most, or at least so many as to make a church testimony (some what was otherwise rejected) that our brother had held such as his apprehensions and what the book held forth were compared and conferred together in divers particulars.

Whereupon the vote of the church passed that the church (could not clear our brother as before said) judgeth our brother to differ in his apprehensions or judgment in divers things from the ways and practices of these churches. It was objected, some could not remember some particulars. It was answered but the whole church had full testimony of every one and of the last and some other all did remember the same, so the vote passed the second time unanamously.

Next it being considered how to apply ourselves to our brother. Twas agitated and so determined and voted, viz. to present these following particulars as in point of difference before him. First as to the matter of the churches as touching quality as in chapter 3 of the Cambridge Platform. Saints by calling as there described as such as have attained the knowledge of the principles of religion, are free from gross and open scandal, do make profession of their faith and repentance, and walk in blameless obedience to the word. Our brother differs therefrom as arguing only for the two former.

Question: the visibly confederate and their children (chapter 3, sect. 2 with chapter 2, sect. 6) to which our brother’s assertion does disagree, making all baptized persons, or to use his phrase, all under the badge of the covenant, church members.

Question: as to the form of the churches (chap. 4, sect. 3) a visible covenant or agreement &c. (with sect. 5.) a mutual covenant whence (as sect. 1) saints by calling have a visible political union or else one not yet a particular chuch &c. This called the church covenant (sect. 3). Our brother differs therefrom in owning no church covenant but the covenant of grace, a covenant of God’s free donation to His followers, and argues for the church covenant and the covenant of grace to be all one. And as to chapter 4 (see the gathering of a company of visible saints into church state by entering into covenant) he differs therefrom in holding that the gathering of . . . constituting of churches is proper only to persons converted and belongs not to these under the badge of the covenant who are of the church already and the work now is a work only of reformation and of receiving of covenant in which he differs also from that in chapter 15, sections 3–4 and in chapter 17, section 1 touching gathering into church estate.

As to that about admission of members by way of trial and personal relation of their spiritual state as in chapter 12, sections 5–7, he differs from us conceiving it required only of those that were never under the badge of the covenant or church members (and was alleged to himself his own personal practice did speak his judgment therein as refusing it in way of trial before his admission). As to that concerning members of other churches joining with the church in order where they inhabit (chap. 13, sect. 6) and concerning their dismission (chap. 13, sect. 7) he differs from what is there showed and affirming that members of one church are members of all churches.

Nextly it was voted that our brother be desired by the church either to relinquish and revoke what he hath in the said particulars formerly manifested to have holden, or held forth amongst us, differing or contrary to the said platform, acknowledging his errors therein and withall owning his consent or assent to the said book called the Platform of Church Discipline. Or otherwise, if he cannot so do, then to attend the counsel given him by the pastor as aforesaid.

It was proposed to consideration what is to be done as further to clear and vindicate the church, especially in case of our brother’s refusal of this counsel. Whilest we were entering upon this, our brother came in. The church then addressed herself unto him as to lay before him as the difference of his judgment from the way and practice of the churches and laid the particulars before him, reasoned with him concerning the same, and declaring to him the vote of the church. The which he took into consideration, declining to resolve at present, yet showing his inclination rather to proceed in his former purpose.

Sarah Nutting, the daughter of Brother and Sister Nutting, baptized. Zechariah Parker, the son of Brother James Parker, baptized.

4 of 1st. 60.

Upon this day, being the Lord’s day, after the afternoon exercise was read the dismission of Brother Farwel and his wife and Brother Hincksman and his wife and it was considered of receiving members dismissed. And by clear vote of the church (two only suspending, James Parker and Thomas Adams) the liberty of the church to take trial of members dismissed, touching the soundness of the judgments and truth of the work of grace, was reassured and determined to be improved for the future, till such time as the church shall see cause to lay it again aside. And this upon the following reasons then concluded, as which were first presented to the church and read in their . . . . Isaac Parker objecting that the church had formerly concluded to the contrary, twas answered as denying it as in that sense, to cut off herself for making use of this liberty at any time thereafter. But what was done was only in reference to this brother that then appeared in view, in a readiness to join with the church of Wenham upon her remove hither upon consideration that they were the greater number and so satisfied each in other as intending together to have erected a church of themselves, if the brethren of Wenham had not come hither. Otherwise that the church had sinfully done to have deprived herself of a lawful liberty for the future and to be . . . if always to the liberty of such as join . . . out herself of her own liberty.

Several arguments to prove it necessary, regular, and orderly for the church and officers thereof, especially in these perilous times, to pass a trial touching the knowledge of and assent to the doctrines of faith and also touching the work of grace of members dismissed to them from other churches, before their admission into church communion with them.

〈Because of the odium put by some upon relations there was 16 of 9t. 60. this alteration.〉

  1. 1. Because error and corruptions may creep and have crept into the most famous churches which it stands each church in hand for her own part to see (as much as in her lieth) to prevent. And to Ephesus is commended for trying such in Rev. 2:2.
  2. 2. Because God may by this means discover some unworthiness in a person which did not appear in him at his first admission into church fellowship. As we see in Simon Magus, what Phillip and the saints at Samaria discerned not by him at this first admission Peter (upon a new trial and the suspension of the laying on hands as to that expected gift and privilege Simon had in his eye) discovered. Acts 8:13–28.
  3. 3. Because each church is left to its liberty to admit and receive such as she herself finds fit, according to the rule of the word, and to refuse others without respect to what they have been before. Else the act of one church in this or that were a binding rule for another church. But we are not to follow persons or churches further than we do see they do follow Christ and the rules of His word, I Cor. 11:1. Hence that exhortation: Try all things, I Thes. 5:22.
  4. 4. Because in such times as wherein corrupt persons marching under the cloak of a goodly profession especially wherein corrupt opinions do abound it is not only more safe for the people of God but also expected from them and charged upon them not to believe every spirit but to try the spirits (and especially of those that crave fellowship and society with them) in the things and ways of God whether they be of God or no. I John 4:1.
  5. 5. Because a pious attendance upon this way in admission of members may tend much to edification of others to consider God’s way with a poor soul in supporting, succoring, strengthening, comforting it all along and rendering such ordinances of His efficacy to that end. I Cor. 14:26.
  6. 6. Because this practice in its own nature tends not to the hurt or prejudice of any soul but rather to its greater benefit for the future; even his further either humiliation, if aught be discovered which is amiss, or confirmation upon a fresh and further testimony given Him by such a child of Christ as had the promise of His presence in the midst of her. II Cor. 8:18.
  7. 7. Because much glory is oft brought by this means unto God by reason of the occasion offered unto the church to magnify such His grace as by any the remarkable passages thereof to the poor soul doth now manifest itself. Acts 11:18 and Rom. 15:6–7.
  8. 8. Because it much tends often times to make the more room for them in the hearts of the brethren, as experience teaches. Occasioning a sweet closure and union of their spirits together; for by how much the better satisfied the church is as touching such a one by so much she will the more confide in him.
  9. 9. Because the church to whom is committed the keys of the kingdom and the trust and custody of the holy things of Christ must so discharge this her trust as she may be able to return a comfortable account to Him, her Lord. Necessary it is therefore she should see with her own eyes and herself judge of those that are meek ere she open the door of admission. Matt. 16:16
  10. 10. Because it may tend to singular advantage both to the officers there and to the brethren in the execution of their watch to understand how it is with such as they take under their inspection, as touching their spiritual estate. I Cor. 14:1, Pro. 27:23, Heb. 10:24.
  11. 11. Because of false brethren that unawares may creep into one church and when they perceive they can neither effect their purposes there nor there remain any longer undiscovered they may happily remove themselves to some other church where they may conceive hopes either to reach their said purposes or at least to avoid the dint of that they in their consciences do justly deserve. Gal. 2:4–5, Acts 15:1–5.
  12. 12. Because of the preserving the liberties of the church which by degrees might else through custom of the contrary become impaired and hardly at length again recovered, viz. if members of one church obtaining dismission thence should think (or grow) to intrude themselves upon another church without trial. Gal. 5:1.
  13. 13. Because of the avoiding the offense which some might take if put upon the trial in that way when others are exempted. Whereas the sincere need not fear the trial but expect an advantage thereby; the unworthy only being they who ought to be rejected according to the rule. Jam. 2:1.
  14. 14. Because the just offense might (seems at least to) be given if the members of one church should be tried and not the members of another. They were church members of whom John the Baptist took trial of the work of grace coming to his baptism (Mat. 3). So was the eunuch even proselyte of whom Philip demanded this work of faith (Acts 8). Paul took also a trial of John’s disciples at Ephesus ere he would lay his hands on them (Acts 19:1–6), and Saul (who was afterwards called Paul) could not join himself to the church at Jerusalem (notwithstanding he had been some time a member of the church at Damascus and probably might carry some letters, testimonials, or dismissions with him, he being persecuted and so secretly conveyed by the disciples thence) till he had given satisfaction to the church and passed the trial with them. Acts. 9: 19–26.
  15. 15. Because the refusing of this is a hiding of what God hath done for a soul the contrary being not only commended by the example of the prophet (Psalms 40:10 and Psalms 66:16) but commanded (I Peter 3:15) and here the duty is urged by a double argument; first of meekness or humility, whereas pride does oppose, and second of fear, the fear of God pricking the soul with an awful reverence to God’s own ways and ordinances. Now repentance from sin, faith unfeigned, and effectual calling (which are the things required to be declared) are the reason of a well grounded hope.
  16. 16. Because by this the abilities and gifts of a person that is received into fellowship are the better disarmed and in that respect his fitness or unfitness for such services as the church may have cause to employ any her members about.

〈Add these arguments.〉

  1. 17. Things must stand and pass in the church under a full testimony which is by two witnesses and these witnesses must be seen to agree—the two witnesses that give testimony to the sincerity of a person propounding himself. What can this be but profession and conversation both holy and breathing Christ and both these witnesses must agree therein.
  2. 18. Each one must be a follower of Christ (Psalms 40) and be declared God’s righteous in the great congregation &c.

Respecting Mr. Farwel, myself with two of the brethren, viz. Brother Kemp and Brother Byam, took his relation and drew it out by divers questions and in substance it amounted to this. First that his education was godly. His first work was more insensible and gradual whilst in England whereafter that by the ministry of the word and . . . helps God had helped him to see his sinful estate by nature. Through His goodness by the preaching of His spirit in the word there was wrought in him an inward change and he was brought to roll himself upon Christ and Him alone. The scriptures he made use of were: look unto him all ye; the ends of the earth and be saved; and, he that believeth on him shall have eternal life (he stood much upon this). To show how to his own soul he answered himself that there was the work of a new creation in him, as for that shall be their faith by their works. That faith starting him about the doing of good works, which by nature he was averse unto, and in special in his saddest times his dislike and hatred of sin and grief for it where he saw it in any, and especially if in professors, looking at sin as a dishonor to God. And that God inclined his heart to love these in whom he saw the image of God according to the scriptures. If ye love one another then are ye my disciples and such are translated from death to life. Many . . . he hath had and still have with doubtings, but from time to time the Lord is pleased to bring to hand some word or other for his help. The many scriptures he is not able to call to mind. That one he mentioned was, I will not leave ye nor forsake ye. As in reference to such time of doubting as touching his standing in grace and as to the improvement of ordinances, they both are much in judging themselves as being a stand to hold . . . and intreating prayers desires to unite . . . . . . [seven words illegible].

Respecting Mrs. Farwel her relation was brief, clear, and full as respecting the manner of God’s drawing her soul unto Himself. Her education was godly. Her living under Mr. Cotton’s ministry God made him instrumental of the work upon her for the discovery of her miserable condition by nature unto her preaching out of Matt. 3:10–12 where the particular she applied as her condition and that she deserved to be cast into the unquenchable fire. Which work was set on unto greater terrors &c. for these words applied by him; he that being often reproved hardeneth, his neck shall suddenly be destroyed and that without remedy. And in that sad condition she continued till such time as the Lord met her in that the speech of the leper to Christ (Matt. 8:2); Lord if ye wilt ye canst make me clean. Here Christ was presented to her as an sufficient help and savior. And lastly that command came true unto her in the ministry of the said Mr. Cotton. Trust in the Lord, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. And from thenceforth she found stay to her soul in Christ.

Respecting Thomas Hincksman’s relation that the Lord seized for convictions soon after his coming to Concord, he being about fourteen years old, such as with putting him upon the exercise of private prayers, but now the . . . . . . of the adversary and prompting attending it but in a formal way, oft reminding him there was time enough before him and he was yet young &c. Till it pleased God by the ministry of Mr. Bulkeley on Psalms 62:8–9 (trust in the Lord, pour forth the heart before him, surely men of low degree are vanity &c.) to awaken him. This moved him to consider how vain, unprofitable (for so he explained vanity,) and sinful he was in his life, ways, actions, &c. This caused trouble in his spirit and sadness so as the honored Mr. Flint, his master, taking notice of it at length had him go to Mr. Bulkeley71 and so he made known his condition to him. He applied himself in many speeches to him and in special in these scriptures John 6:37, him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out, and Matt. 11:28, come unto me all ye that are weary &c., which was for present quieting to his spirit and put him upon seeking to God afresh &c.

Yet afterward the adversary prevailed so far as to force him to break off from the duty, Satan tempting him and telling him that twas not his right to seek after God &c. In such tossings of spirit he was till he went to his pastor and advised with him. He encouraged him to pray and not to give over. And to that he objected touching his sin and that he never repented as he should. The Lord by him set home these scriptures: Ezek. 36:26, a new heart also will I give you and a new spirit &c.; Isa. 55:7, let the wicked forsake his way &c. and turn to the Lord and he will have mercy upon him and to our God and he will abundantly pardon us; Psalms 8, for my thoughts are not as your thoughts &c. Whence he had some sweet encouragement to go on in seeking of God &c.

Yet again (that there was nothing in him, nor could he do anything &c. being considered by him) it was wrought in him some perplexedness of mind but that the Lord was gracious and directed those scriptures to him: Isa. 54:7 (the words he mentioned not they were these, for a small moment I have forsaken ye, but with great mercies will I gather ye with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on ye); Isa. 43:25 (he named not the scripture, but the words) I even am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake and will not remember thy sin; and, Isa. 55:1, Oh, every one that thirsteth come ye to the waters, come but wine and milk without money &c. These set him a work to go afresh to God and to desire that he would . . . to do these for him &c. Afterward that scripture was objected to him: he that believeth not is condemned which set sadly on him till what time Mr. Bulkeley in his catechising handled that question, how may one know whether he hath faith or no? And among other things he answered if the soul satisfaction be placed above on Christ and placed on that scripture Hab. 2:4, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him but the just shall live by his faith. Hereupon his soul was drawn to take to Christ and riches of God’s grace in Him alone.

Afterward the Lord did further strengthen and encourage him in this way, from the preaching of Mr. Bulkeley on Psalms 71:5: thou art my hope, O Lord God: God, you art my trust from my youth. Whereon he showed twas a blessed thing where the beginning of our days are given up to God and divers reasons he had. Amongst others these in regard of God: first twas God that blesses youth with many blessings and blessed helps; second, God required this of youth; third, God does take it kindly at their hands who do give their youth to God. The consideration of which, seeing he served God, had enkindled in him a desire to give up himself in his youth unto God did greatly refresh his soul and from thence forward the Lord hath helped him to care to attend upon the ministry and ordinances and by them in some measure he trust to profit. This being that his desire, even that he may receive the benefit of them &c.

Thomas Hincksman’s wife, her relation. She was first convinced of her estate by nature by means of her godly parent oft instructing of her and telling her what her condition by nature was and how to get out of the same. Thereupon she was stirred up to seek unto God by prayer, but twas in too formal a way and God taking away her father she went on in such a dead formal way for a season till God met her soul by Mr. Bulkeley’s ministry on II Cor. 6:2, behold now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. The day is the time of the gospel with whom is it given to a particular soul when the soul have lived under the light of the gospel and hath rejected it and the heart do grow more hard and dead &c? She went along with it, as looking at it, as her condition. Yet after, he adding some cautions, showed that if yet the soul be awakened to seek to improve their day better, there is yet hope and it hath the day still, which afforded some encouragement to her. The day, in respect of her, was not yet at an end, yet by reason of her sin and corruptions she feared her condition &c. Then to Col. 1:14, in whom we have redemption through his blood, here the question, how know that you have a part in the blood of Christ? He answered: first, consider how the heart is carried in love to Christ to do or suffer aught for Christ; second, how the blood of Christ hath softened the heart; and third, whether then best content with Christ alone &c. Which things upon examination seemed to her refreshing.

But afterward, being in doubt touching her condition, fearing that the work was not in truth, she repaired to Mr. Bulkeley and asked how a soul might know that there were any beginnings of grace in truth. Answered, if sensible of misery, loathing of sin, seeking after the righteousness of Christ, attending in all the ways that God hath appointed to seek Christ in. Which brought her some comfort considering God had wrought her heart to such a frame. Yet after she met with some further trouble again about her condition and some fears because she could not find growth but rather declining. But from Mr. Bulkeley on Eph. 2:8, by grace ye are saved, clearing a state of grace and salvation by these particulars amongst others: 1. the esteeming the working out our salvation as the greatest work; 2. the soul not satisfied with beginnings but striving after more grace. This gave her some refreshing again. Yet after she was troubled in spirit in cause of her spiritual deadness, unprofitableness, &c. though then this she found, viz. a desire of her soul not to forsake the Lord but to follow hard after Him.

Then from Psalms 72:7, in his days shall the righteous flourish and abundance of peace, Mr. Bulkeley showed us the kingdom of Solomon, so of Christ, is a kingdom of peace and in one respect because of peace of . . . . Objection, many are dear to God but want that peace. Answered, there are degrees of peace. The want of peace there arises from want of subjection to Christ’s kingdom. Saying of the least degrees where true: 1. a soul will not part with the beginnings of peace for the world; 2. the soul is in a quiet waiting upon God for a return when tis interrupted &c. This gave some present stay, but after the temptations returned again. And she was tempted that she was a hypocrite and all her professions in vain. Then going to Mr. Bulkeley he . . . her not to let her hold go, but to commit her soul in sincerity unto God in the use of all His means and He would never leave her. This encouraged her.

Afterward she being exercised with some untoward afflictions and withall with inward griefs of spirit, God yet stirred up her heart to seek more diligently after Him and that God would manifest Himself to her soul. And pondering upon her condition she hoped that she had given up herself to God and so waiting the Lord answered to her salvation next sabbath by Mr. Bulkeley on Psalms 81:8–10, hear O my people &c. I am the Lord your God &c., where he observed that to those that desire and seek that God be their God, He is willing to be. The Lord setting in with it she became in some measure persuaded that God was her God. After from Psalm 92, with horn shall you exalt &c., whence he observed that these that truly believe in God love, fear, and obey him whatever promise God hath made such a soul ought to apply. Objected, how do you know this? Answer: if a care of keeping first with God &c. From this she found further stay and refreshment.

After upon her move hither her fears revived and lest she should fall again into a fearful frame and her desire being to find God in His ordinances, from Cant. 1:2, let him kiss &c. Objection, that the lively &c. powerful application of the word to the soul by the spirit is esteemed as greatest token of Christ’s love and sought after by a gracious heart in the perfection of which she found God appeared to some reviving to her. And then by Mr. Bulkeley again on John 14, if I go away I will send the comforter, where he gave signs. How we may know the spirit to be a comforting spirit to us? 1. By some measure of true sorrow for sin agoing before. 2. The carrying the soul in love to Christ. 3. The putting on the soul to purge itself. 4. The . . . the soul in God’s cause and in suffering affliction for Christ. And this further tending to clear her condition from that Psalms 21 [?], ye . . . expecting the liberty of &c., also the true child of God the subject of this glorious liberty. Here how know that God is our father? Answer: that a childlike love to God as a father and to go to Him in our wants; fear to offend Him; and, obedience to Him in all things. Which God applied to her to . . . comfort and refreshing her soul.

After the Lord suffered her to be exercised with some strong temptations of Satan yet He helped her by these scriptures: I Cor. 10, there is no temptation happened to ye but that which is common &c., the Lord knows how to . . . from temptation, whom God loveth he loveth forever even with an everlasting love. Thus from time to time she professed she found God in His word and even the public ministry as from that Acts 2, when they heard this they were pricked &c. Objection: God will sooner or later break a sinner’s heart whom he intends to save. Some . . . were showed of:. . . sight of sin causing some restlessness in the soul; from a fear of falling into former sins; and, from a hatred of sin and this from a delight to have sin discovered and a mourning for sin &c. Which things did show that she had had that rule of God upon her to true conviction.

After going to Mr. Bulkeley in his sickness the fear of his death wrought some discouragement in her till the end help her to consider, though the stream be cut off yet the fountain remains. There hearing Mr. Edward Bulkeley on that Balaam desired to die the death of the righteous, he answered that how one should know whether his desires be right and sincere? He answered that then they are laborious, grieving, waiting, and submissive desires. The perusing of which was some cheering to her and so from Rom. 8:28, with all things shall work together for good &c. Objected: how know that I such as truly of Lord God? Answered: when the word of God being made known to us, we submit to it without gainsaying; when we prefer the honor of God before our own; and, when we show a sincere love to those that are truly beloved of God. These she found to lead to some spiritual quickening in her. Her burden she professes it is, that she is . . . to fear to lose again that she hath gained and to grow deadening. Yet she still finds God merciful to her in supplying fresh encouragement and receiving as for that Rom. 8:30, whom he predestines them also he called in. In discovery of effectual calling, how is it known? First, consider whether ye hath chosen the Lord for thy only portion; second, whether thy heart doth subject to the call of God in His word; third, whether there be true love to those that are called of God. By which her heart is further drawn to attend the Lord in His own ordinances. And tis the earnest desire of her soul He would more and more manifest Himself unto her and so she does beg our prayers to that end.

25 of 1st. 60.

On this day the relation of Brother Farwel and his wife and Sister Hincksman read and their assent given and Brother Hincksman made his relation viva voce. And the church after (none objected), upon their approbation of the same by virtue of the persons for . . . observance and their desires and their assent to the said profession of . . . , voted the receiving into our covenant. And so they were.

22 of 2d. 60.

Vote concerning Jonathan Danforth, that the church refers the case to testimony according to vote as so to desist, always provided that in case he join in fellowship with us and in case that a church should not be gathered at Billerica within two years after his joining he shall as providence make way (engage himself to) remove his family either to this town or else some other town where a church of Christ is settled. [This entry is marked out with X.]

28 of 3d. 60.

Voted 5 li. to be given to John Shepard out of the church stock at harvest next.

28 of 5t. 60.

Voted the suspending of Brother Proctor and returning him to the church at Concord for his not attending the rule in joining . . . . . . to us, he making this his place of settlement. On this day, 19 of 6t. 60, a report brought from the church of Concord desiring him to own communion with them as one of them for a space until they shall try out the matter, especially the return, because they conceive, as he professes, he will attend a remove back unto them.

12 of 6t. 60.

Voted by the church that Brother James Parker officiate the place of a deacon (in Brother Lernet’s place), adjoined to the other two, by way of probation.

19 of 6t. 60.

In the presence of Brother Parker and before the mixed congregation this was declared to the congregation and to Brother Parker and it was put to the brethren (or who would) to object or else their silence to be a consent. Testifying that Brother Parker found none in their hearts as to such a . . . in the church. None objected, but the silence taken as consent the call declared to Brother Parker and he desired to attend it. It was put to him to declare his assent and his silence (he standing up some space of time silently) was interpreted and declared to be an assent.

8 of 7t. 60.

Yet some further instances occasioned by the manifestation of unsatisfaction with this our brother after much labor and care to bring things to an issue and finding all to be as they declared satisfied as either to myself or to other credible persons. Upon 8th of month, on Lord’s day, this satisfaction declared by myself to be given to and taken by the persons found out in church and town unsatisfied. And none now opposing, our Brother Kemp and Brother Fletcher were desired to declare their consent and willingness that our Brother Parker join with them in the work of a deacon. They both so did and Brother Parker was spoken to in the name of church thenceforth to attend his place and work and he accepted.

23 of 7t. 60.

I gave notice to the church that seeing they had elected three of the brethren now to the office of the deacon and there had been sufficient time of probation of them already, I intended, if the church had nothing against it, to proceed to the ordination as that which I looked at as concerned me by my office.

21 of 8t. 60.

I stayed the church and told them I supposed they had had consideration of my motion before said and thus expected now their resolution. If thus none did object, I conceived that their silence might be taken for their consent. Second, I proposed to know the judgment by an actual vote whether they looked at the deacon by his office to take care of the table of the minister as of the Lord’s table. And of the power and by vote it was declared in the affirmative, only our Brother Fletcher suspending his vote. And it being put to him particularly to know his judgment in the case, queried about it considering that there was a provision as by poor rate made here for the ministry. Twas answered that ends in a civil way to bring people up to their duties, but the deacon’s work is an ecclesiastical way. Twas now also voted that Brother Adams and Brother James Fiske should join in the work of laying on of hands.

28 of 8t. 60.

This day after exercise in the afternoon I addressed myself (having at noon desired Brother Blodgett his bringing out of his child) to ordination and inquiring for Brother Fletcher, he was absent.

4 of 9t. 60.

On this day the ordination again being intended Brother James Parker and divers other brethren were delayed abroad by the violence of that storm of rain on 6t. and last day. On this day after the evening exercise I stayed the church and proposed a scruple concerning our proceedings unto consideration of the church. This, that whereas in handling in the morning (from Levit. 8) the preparatory part of the priest’s consecration which lay in one thing, in Moses his washing of them with water. This washing with water signifies their being washed in the lavor of regeneration and with the blood of Christ to justification and sanctification, showing what manner of person they must be and how qualified with inward grace that be meet to bear the public office of the ministry in God’s church and that there must be a visibility of this. Which visibility attainable is by the use of God’s means and so in lieu of this washing the New Testament required probation or trial. And of the deacons whether in particular they hold their mystery of faith in a pure conscience. The query, whether in particular they hold their mystery of faith in a pure conscience? The query first proposed was grounded on that in I Tim. 3, let him be first proved, and which was presented to my mind upon my delivery of the aforesaid matter in the morning (my mind having been much taken up before I came to the meeting with what should be that which the providence of God in so disappointing us in our proceedings should speak to us and in the time of the delivery aforesaid matter, it was so fastened upon me that this might be it, viz. what I proposed to the church from I Tim. 3. Whether churches do regularly and according to gospel order be ordained such a one to the office of a deacon whom they have never proved as touching the work of grace wrought in him otherwise than by observation of his conversation and not by requiring of him to relate or give a reason of the hope that is in him and show what the Lord hath done for his soul?72

11 of 9t. 60.

The church again being stayed; the occasion of the scruple again related the scripture in I Tim. 3, let him first be proved, being mentioned. The query was again proposed and it was desired that the church would attend it, so as either to call our Brother Fletcher yet to do it or else to convince me of the weakness of this scruple. Much time was spent in agitation, though very little to the purpose. Brother Adams by many considerations waiving the thing. So as in the issue we were forced to refer it unto next 6t. day at 2 o’clock in afternoon to be further considered of.

16 of 9t. 60.

The church met again and the rule for our practice in such a way was again required. None being able to give any the rule that favored the way upon a relation of the work of grace proposed from Matt. 16:1, I Peter 3:17, I Tim. 3:9–10.

The thing was assented to and voted by the church to desire him to show what God had done for his soul. Much agitation there was with him about it. At last he satisfied the church in answer to divers questions put to him to that purpose alleging Matt. 11, Acts 2 &c. for it and that the bruised reed he will not break. Only he having given occasion touching second relation at admissions he was put to it to manifest himself touching it, but he querying many things about it many arguments were used to bring him off. Thereto it was at last mentioned that the case should be voted again in the church. Which vote passed by the whole church present (Brothers Adams and James Parker and Brother Farwel being absent and Brother Fletcher being present . . . and testifying he could not close therewith).

The vote passed in these terms, viz. that tis necessary, regular, and orderly for the church and officers thereof (especially in these perilous times) to pass a trial (knowledge and assent to the duty of the faith and also the work of grace) of members dismissed to them from other churches before the admission into church communion with them the . . . (the 4 of 1st. 60. brethren requiring a profession of the faith and also by a personal relation of the work of grace; see platform, chap. 12, sect. 4–6; Mr. Hooker part 3,73 to give some reason of his hope in the face of the congregation). Brother Fletcher declining to vote with the church herein and standing out many arguments and persuasive pleading he scrupled it in his conscience (though he had no scripture ground to allege for his scruple, being oft put upon it to know the ground of his scruple).

The church thereupon passed this following vote, viz. that we proceed to the ordination of the two other brethren in nomination and that Brother Fletcher only be continued still as before (upon probation) to see if he can come off to the vote of the church touching the trial aforesaid of brethren of other churches offering to join with us which if in convenient time he do not that then the church may take her liberty to look out another in his place if she see cause. But if he does come off (the church being satisfied with it) he to be proceeded also withall to ordination.

18 of 9t. 60.

This day was Brother Edward Kemp and Brother James Parker ordained to the office of deacons in this church. It being first proposed to the church, second to the brethren of other churches, third to the rest of the town, whether they had aught to object and that they had not or silence declared. Only Brother Proctor first desired to have the church vote for them expressed in public, but three or four of the brethren testified that they had voted it before. He objected against this business and ridiculous talk he brought against James Proctor but neither of the matters seemed of weight nor had he legal proof of it (did it as after it opposed censure upon him but another it being a mistake).

Then the two deacons manifested their consent and acceptance of the work and the church voted submission to them in the regular administration of their office. Then after prayer the hands of the officer and of Brother Fiske, chosen to that purpose by the church, were imposed and this following form of ordination used severally to each, viz.

We the pastor and departed brethren of this church for and on behalf of the whole church in the name of Christ our Lord separate and hold the Lord (our savior) apart and according to the commission warrant and appointment of our said Lord ordain unto the office of a deacon of this church. Assuring ye as on the behalf of Christ according to the word of His truth the gracious presence and assistance of Himself and spirit with ye to the end and always in this faithful, sincere, and conscientious endeavors through His grace performing these thy sanctions, to the honor of His name, the advance of His kingdom, and promoting of His ordinances here in this place. And in like sort purifying thee on behalf of this church. All due encouragement to ye in this thy service by the help and grace of Jesus Christ.

19 of 10t. 60.

At a church meeting on this day these following conclusions were agreed upon by general vote.

  1. 1. For the raising of a church stock or treasury amongst us by the Lord’s day contribution to be in a readiness to answer the emergency conditions of the church accordingly to what had been proposed formerly (viz. 28 of 7t. 58) in the trial touching a church treasury and its use.
  2. 2. For the raising the provision of the elements for the Lord’s table out of this church treasury the proportion of each communicant being attended as thereto respecting quantity and kind.
  3. 3. That such as do not ordinarily upon the Lord’s day and in some degree proportionately to the blessing of God upon them contribute unto this treasury shall be liable in cases of common concern to the church to bear their proportion of charge to the same to be from time to time required from them as the cases shall appear and gathered in by our deacons.
  4. 4. That the proportion of such as have contributed as aforesaid to the church treasury shall be paid out of the said treasury unless that which they have in bank there do come short of their said proportion in which cases they shall make good the residue which shall be required of them accordingly provided that it appear they or any of them have not contributed already according to their ability.
  5. 5. That the deacons shall call and receive in the Lord’s day contribution engaged by payees between the last of the 7th month and the last of the 9th month yearly and from year to year and shall give in their accounts also yearly in the 10th month to the church.
  6. 6. That the accounts to be given shall be: of what is received by the deacons; of whom; how aught of it is disposed of; what is behind or still due to the church; and from whom; together with the debts of the church (if any there be) what they are.
  7. 7. That the deacons shall in the disuse of aught of the church treasury attend the uses and ends of the same as abovesaid. And as the case may require advise with the ruling elders of this church for the time being. And if there appear to them matter of difficulty and tending to any considerable expense of the church treasury then to attend the consent of so many more of the brethren which ordinarily and to their proportion have contributed to the same as may amount to the major part of them so concerned in the said treasury.
  8. 8. That as to the present case touching the defraying of the charge of the utensils for the Lord’s table the rate of proportion to be the same as have been observed of late amongst us for defraying the yearly charge of the elements for the Lord’s table, as to all the brethren in full fellowship with us.

20 of 11t. 60.

This day the church voted the dismission of Brother Read and his wife to the elder church [First Church] in Boston and the following sabbath the letters of dismission were read in the church and consented to. The copy whereof these following.

To the Reverend the Elders with the Honored and Beloved Brethren of the elder church in Boston, grace and peace.

Honored Reverend and Beloved:

These are to signify that (upon the desire of our brother) Esdras Read (an inhabitant with you) proposed to the church here at Chelmsford on the 20 of 11t. 60 and the condescending of this church to that his desire, expressed by a unanamous vote. He, our said beloved Brother Esdras Read, with our sister his wife have liberty from us to . . . themselves unto you in the covenant of your church, if it seemeth meet unto you to receive them into your holy fellowship. They are willingly resigned over by us under your faithful inspection and watch whom we pray you to receive as becometh saints. And to extend unto them such the fruits of your brotherly love as may conduce to their spiritual edification and to their furtherance unto perfection in Christ Jesus. So praying the Lord to continue His presence amongst you and the blessing of all His holy administrations unto you, with the request of your prayers for us, I rest.

Yours &c. J.F. with consent of the church

This altered as see after.

27 of 11t. 60.

26 of 2d. 61.

On the said 20 of 11t. it was also proposed to the church whether it were meet as to the glory of God and the welfare and peace of the church that William Newman should be suffered to take up his habitation or abode with us, in this town, as considering the danger that our youth should be corrupted by him. Which was voted by the church in the negative, viz. that we judged it not meet.74

27 of 11t. 60.

On this day the church being stayed and the former letters of dismission read. These following propositions concerning order were severally voted by the major part of the church. And a resolution professes to attend to the keeping up of order amongst us for the future accordingly.

1. That when a church officer shall orderly and regularly propose any matter to the consideration, agitation, and determination of the church it is a breach of rule of order for any brother or brethren to appear to decline the attendance to the matter in hand by seeking to administer discourse in the church of any other matters before that proposed by the officers be issued. And that whoever shall so do shall justly be liable to the censure of the church in case of non-satisfaction for the breach of a rule.

2. That tis a breach of a rule or order from any person or persons to bring any new matter, case, or offense to the public cognizance of the church where the officer hath not been first consulted with and where the bringing of it to the church by him hath not been first attempted and by him refused. And that whoever shall so do, shall be &c.

3. That tis a breach of a rule of order for any one or more to answer or reply upon any case in agitation in the church when any crime, fault, defect from any rule, or breach of rule is inquired into, condemned, reasoned against in an orderly way. Even for any to reply upon this or the like case by way of recrimination or retention of any crime, fault &c. upon any one or more of the brethren directly or indirectly to their aspersion or prejudice. And that &c.

4. It is a breach of a rule of order for any to prosecute his or their own apprehensions to any case in any heady or tumultuous way in the church of Christ. And that whoever shall appear to raise or manage any such tumultuous discourse at any time or upon any occasion in the church shall be liable to church censure in case of non-satisfaction according to rule.

17 of 12t. 60.

On this day at a church meeting upon some complaints brought to the officer it was proposed whether the church did allow of the falling off of some from our weekday catechising. And if not what course to be taken with them that do intermit or retain their children therefrom? Brother Adams took up the case and by many allegations from the . . . and concerned of his employees, from his inability to infuse grace in his children, from the command of God to work six days &c. to excuse his own neglect, pleading his case to be singular and that his children might attend on the Lord’s day. The church seeming to be divided touching his case, divers speaking on his behalf, the officer only bore witness against the carnal reasonings as to the case and so dismissed the assembly.

24 of 12t. 60.

On this day the church stayed again and the officer made these following proposals to the church for her approbation and assent which were assented to by a silent vote, nemine contradicente. That the time be continued as formerly for the maids and girls, viz. to report to the pastor’s house upon the day after the lecture at 2 of the clock in the afternoon in winter and at 3 of the clock in summer. Likewise for those boys that hitherto have attended upon the 2d. day of the week next following our lecture, at 2 o’clock in the afternoon in winter and 3 of the clock in summer. That those that have discontinued, as whose parents may have occasion to employ them about their outward business, do come upon the 2d. day of the week as aforesaid in the afternoon at about an hour before sunset to the officer’s house.

That considering Brother Adams’ case is said to be singular and that he desired his upon the Lord’s day, that once in a 3 weeks or month (in case they come not on the week day it be on Lord’s day [torn] and staying in the afternoon. 〈This day Brother Adams manifested himself that his reasoning the day before was for all and not his only on Lord’s day.〉

10 of 1st. 61.

On this day, before the administering of the sacrament, it being declared to the church that Thomas Barrett desired some further time to consider about the manner of his joining to this church and that therefore he might without offense communicate with us at present.

Brother Nutting excepted against him as having given public offense by reproaching him before the whole town on the lecture day before, as generally the brethren knew. And that the matter not being cleared the one of them must needs be in fault and for his part if the church did admit Thomas Barrett he could not see how himself could stay or to this effect. The pastor not having heard of it before inquires about it. Thomas Barrett justified himself and speech saying Brother Nutting had told a lie.

Robert Proctor added, twas true enough. So some of the brethren said that the thing was likely to be made out. Hereupon they both were desired to withdraw for present and the matter should be further examined in the afternoon. Then the time being over and the church stayed John Nutting declares, viz. that on 5t. of present being lecture day he in declaring in the presence of the generality of the town to the selectmen his grievance upon their mentioning the charging the said John payable to the constable 1s. 6d. for seizing his meadow. Complained that twas seized and he did not know it.

And Thomas Barrett (whom the constable had called with him for witness to his seizing of it) replied that twas as arrant a lie as ever was told by man. Thomas Barrett gives this reason, because he had told John Nutting that day that the constable was going to attach his meadow.

Brother Nutting’s reply was that he remembered it not. Brother Barrett was asked who heard him tell John Nutting so. He answered, nobody, for he told it him in private. And in the agitation gave this reason of the privacy because the constable had before said he would not have John Nutting know that they went about it then. This matter the constable (it being inquired into) would not own, though at that time he was silent. The constable was asked whether he had told John Nutting that day what he went about and he denied that he did either before he did it or after he had done it. But says he said, if he would not pay, he must distrain.

John Nutting acknowledged he so said to him and he bade him strain anything in his house, except one, viz. his warming pan, supposing that for small a matter he would not have stayed his meadow. Much was pressed by some of their selectmen to make it a lie as first because John Nutting could not be ignorant of the town order, second because the selectmen had told him that they would send the constable to stay his meadow, third because the constable had formerly told him that he must stay his river meadow. Many things were replied by other of the brethren. As by James Parker that when he told John Nutting about four days after what the constable had done at such a time (he hearing the constable’s return to the selectmen and having redeemed the meadow from John Nutting) that he wondered at it, saying he had not heard of it. By Abraham Parker (he being with the constable when he demanded the pay of John Nutting) told John Nutting after the constable was gone, doubtless he was gone to stay his meadow. John Nutting said he believed not that and if he had thought so he would have gone with them. By Jacob Parker that he conceived that notwithstanding all that was said and that Brother Nutting had taken notice of what John B. says, he said in private to him yet could he not judge it a lie because he could not truly say he did know twas strained, notwithstanding he had been informed by them of their intention unless the constable or some other had told him what he had done or that he had seen them do it. But James Parker seems the first that told him after he had redeemed it for him.

And hereupon this occasioned the story of the boy that kept sheep was mentioned who twice or thrice called out, the wolf, the wolf, and the neighbors running together to rescue the sheep finding twas not so the next time when the wolf came indeed they would not believe the boy. So twas conceived Brother Nutting might by the selectmen’s delay apprehend they were not in good earnest. (This was offense to the constable, as is said.)

The next Lord’s day the matter so far as was proceeded in was declared. Many questions moved to one and to other and upon the answer given to the testimony, the charge was urged as irregular and Brother Nutting ecclesiastically clear as to the matter of the lie. And the case returned upon Thomas Barrett, whereat divers of the brethren of the selectmen seemed offended. Yet after the church was dismissed upon reasoning they brought Thomas Barrett to some sight of his evil. And he with divers of the brethren came to the pastor’s house, when was drawn up a confession which Thomas Barrett set his hand to.

29 of 1st. 61.

The church being stayed Thomas Barrett’s confession was read to the church. And Thomas Barrett being desired to show whether he owned it replied with an explanation, viz. that to the manner he had done evil, but to the matter he spoke but the truth which he hoped God would in His time clear and bring to John Nutting, his mind. This reply was very unsatisfactory and averse to the matter of the confession under his hand so that matter was left for present. And next Lord’s day he owned the confession and it was read in the mixed congregation.

Hereupon there rose another matter by occasion of a passage Thomas Barrett used at first, as a circumstance he said to bring the former passage to remembrance, viz. that John Nutting should say that the selectmen stole his grass. Here one of the selectmen desired this might be taken notice of and after revived the motion again (because these were concerned in it). So this being now an occasion to look into what right there was in it, Thomas Barrett was asked whether he did remember he so said and how he could make it out. Replied to this effect, he would not charge John Nutting with it. The pastor conceived the reason to be because he could not prove the saying because twas said in private. Twas the circumstance of the private discourse and that again before James and Joseph Parker he had said to him twas spoken when the constable was going away. But at this time he added the constable could also witness it, but he was not present. The pastor sought to cast it out of the church; the selectmen pressed a hearing so twas deferred.

21 of 2d. 61.

Next Lord’s day the church stayed about something concerning Sister Fletcher’s propounding, also about Jonathan Danforth, when they would that we should proceed to trial with him in order to his joining, a testimony under Mr. Whiting’s and Jacob Parker’s hands being read.

Then there was handed forth to the pastor in the view of the church a paper without any hand to it pretending to be there testimony of Thomas Barrett (in these words). Being present to go with the constable to John Nutting’s house to demand his meeting house rate he said that the townsmen had stolen his grass and that he would sue them for it, the constable being present at that time. So this matter was left (the constable not being there till the next Lord’s day).

28 of 2d. 61.

Much agitation about this testimony (carrying the sense of a libel) and a seeking to eject the writer of it (was said to be Edmund Chamberlain). At Thomas Barrett’s desire the invalidity of the testimony was pressed, the disorder of their bringing it forth, the refusal of Thomas Barrett to charge John Nutting, but that the thing would be proved. John Nutting denying the expressions, though granting he had said the townsmen took away his grass without his leave which Mr. Cotton said was stealing (as in his catechism). The selectmen pressed the proceeding in the thing and there would be who should charge and proof would be produced. So a church meeting agreed on, there came Robert Proctor and Thomas Barrett. Thomas Adams, in the name of the selectmen, made their complaint in the church thus: John Nutting had abused them saying they stole his grass, setting it forth in many words and concluding his speech to John Nutting as a case determined as in order to . . . his conscience with the greatness of the evil produced in the former testimony of Thomas Barrett and also calling for the testimony of Robert Proctor which was also handed in writing in a paper.

The testimony of Robert Proctor who saith that upon the demand of John Nutting’s meeting house rate John Nutting charged the townsmen with stealing of his grass and he said that he would sue the townsmen for stealing of it. Thomas Barrett being present at the same time. John Nutting says he remembers not he used those expressions. The testimony being read it was by the pastor proposed to Robert Proctor to answer of some questions tending to the clearing of the testimony. First, if he owned it as his; he answered, yes. Second, where and when it was asked him did John Nutting speak these words. He answered, though he knew where and when yet he would answer no other questions. There was his testimony, so he refused to speak more.

Thomas Barrett rose up and though desired to stay went his way. Hereupon rose a greater agitation. Thomas Adams pressed on behalf of the selectmen a proceeding with John Nutting and that the testimony was valid. And so next meeting and the last meeting about the case. And all their arguments he was observed to use was, if it might not be valid here it should be elsewhere. The contest being between that John Nutting spake in expression and in effect. In the issue John Nutting makes his confession again to that which concerned to the effect to the most of the church was very satisfactory and if he should call to mind that he used these expressions he would ingenuously acknowledge it.

The offenses resting upon Brother Barrett and Brother Proctor are: first, that they both have broken a rule of order in bringing their offense against Brother Nutting into public before they had dealt with him in private; second, that they both divulged the matter disorderly, Thomas Barrett by getting Edmund Chamberlain, a non-member, to write his testimony and Robert Proctor his brother-in-law John Hildreth; third, that they both have manifested their contempt of the church and of the authority of Christ in His church—Thomas Barrett departing without leave and being desired to stay to speak further to the case and Robert Proctor in refusing to answer the questions put to him for closing his testimony. Both their testimonies were invalid. Thomas Barrett his in altering thrice his tale as making this a third time that he used these words, the first time in private, the second time at their parting, and the third time this at the bridge. And also for bringing it forth disorderly: first, as a circumstance when it does not appear any circumstance to help Brother Nutting in his remembrance of the former things as he pretended; second, as telling a divers tale—the second to the first time, and the third time to the second varying in case of time and place.

Robert Proctor his testimony was invalid in as much as he neither says he heard John Nutting, nor will declare where, nor in what manner he used these expressions, so as he might affirm all therein said upon the credit of Thomas Barrett’s report. Though he heard them not as he did in the first case before the church say when he was an occasion of Brother Nutting’s being put by the sacrament when as that which he said touching the lie Thomas Barrett charged upon John Nutting twas true enough. When as yet Thomas Barrett confessed after that he spoke it in private to John Nutting and that the constable heard him not and Robert Proctor yielded so much. Although in the close of all, after a third meeting of the church about it and much contest in the church, he in close was pleased to express that he hears John Nutting use the words that the townsmen stole his grass. Which yet as to the very expressions, as he laid them down, is very doubtful to many, though it be manifest that John Nutting said that which would carry the effect. But both the witnesses declined and so did Thomas Adams to charge it in this sense, that he said they stole his grass or words to the same effect.

Upon the closure of this business was appointed a day of humiliation before the scriptures, which was kept and a seeming reconciliation on all hands in the church. However some have given out as if the church was divided, but so far as we may judge according to charity tis otherwise through mercy.

On this same day new letters of dismission were dated and directed to Brother Read for his joining at the new church in Boston [Second Church]. Altered from the former dated 20 of 11t. 60. thus.

To the Reverend and Beloved the Elders and Brethren of the New Church in Boston, the Church of Christ in Chelmsford sendeth greeting:

These are to signify that the desire of &c. on the behalf of himself and wife being manifested to us under his hand in these expression, viz. my request to the church is that they would be pleased to direct the letters for our dismission unto the church whereof Mr. Mayo is pastor, bearing date of 18 of 2d. 61 and his said request accordingly condescended to his desire as was manifested by their vote. Namely, that our beloved Brother Esdras &c. (according as it followeth in the former dated 20 of 11t. 60).

John Fiske

in the behalf and with the consent of the church

5 of 3d. 61.

At a meeting on this day these following conclusions were consented to by the church expressing their assent and approbation by word of mouth. That we judge it a breach of the order of the gospel instituted by Christ in His churches as in Matt. 18:15–17.

  1. 1. That any person do offer to give in his testimony to the church against any brother concerning any private offense he hath taken up against that brother, he not having first dealt with him in private in the first and second place.
  2. 2. That the church do not receive and accept of such a testimony of a private offense so brought in as aforesaid against any brother as a testimony of ecclesiastical validity.
  3. 3. That any brother or brethren do offer and accordingly take upon him or them to charge openly in the church such a brother with the guilt of such an offense privately given before the said brother have been dealt with privately by such brother or brethren in the presence of such witnesses.
  4. 4. That any person do make report of such an offense so given by such a brother to any one or more of the other brethren either before himself have dealt with the said brother or though after he hath so dealt with him in private and alone if not in order to the dealing with him in the second place with his or their help or assistance.

On this day joined in covenant with this church Samuel Fletcher’s wife.

12 of 3d. 61.

On this day Jonathan Danforth joined in covenant with this church promising to attend the rule of order of the gospel as touching joining with that church at Billerica, if once gathered, or else to remove his station to this or some other town where a church shall be.

6 of 6t. 61.

The vindication of the particular offenses against Brother Proctor declared in our letters to the church of Concord. The church, after we heard of his denial of the charges and of the church at Concord their address to this church, again considered of the particulars by way of . . . and voted after a particular agitation and consideration of them that they judged them true. Brother Adams and Brother Fletcher suspending to vote thereto.

Charge 1. That he refused to adjoin to our covenant and gave no satisfactory reason for it. He answered his reasons given were; from his affection to some friends in Concord and from his unwillingness to leave his children under the watch of this church and his desire of leaving them with the Concord church. To which we say if God hath called and fixed him here, these reasons cannot exempt him from his duty of attending the order of the gospel in this place. Secondly, this seems a reflection upon this poor church where we hope God is present and to impart some dissatisfaction and dislike towards us.

Charge 2. His over lax liberty he hath taken amongst us in being present at our church meetings and absent at his pleasure; speaking and silent when he list &c. First, that he hath several times stayed upon his own head without being desired by the church as if he had been one of us; second, otherwhile he hath absented himself when there might have been use of his presence as in a case of late wherein he was looked at as concerned as an offended person and a witness. Yet sabbath after sabbath we were enforced to break off our agitations waiting his pleasure of attendance and when earnestly desired to stay about the matter he refused and went his way.

Charge 3. It hath been too frequent a thing for him to offer to speak and to speak out his mind in our church meetings undesired and uncalled for, yea without leave. And to name one instance, in an offense depending between two of the brethren when the one of them said to this effect, he did not remember it (speaking to the thing the other charged him with) Brother Proctor suddenly and abruptly replied he was sorry to hear him say with other words, imparting his not believing of him. Yet he could or did give the church no grounds besides his own apprehensions.

Charge 4. And that which mainly gave us the occasion to consider amongst us the too disorderly liberty he hath used was this in that of late he so peremptorily denied and stiffly refused to answer in a case wherein he professed himself a witness. For being asked by me about some circumstances of time and place &c. he answered he could tell but he was not minded or to that effect. And when I was about proposing another question he said he would answer to no questions nor speak any more in the case, or to that effect, and was as good as his word for there passed several meetings ere we could get aught from him as to that matter.

Charge 5. For his refusing to give the church a meet account &c. We say that in or about 19 of 3t. 61 (the church having concluded the Lord’s day before that twas meet our Brother Proctor should give satisfaction for some offenses as were then instanced in) myself taking the opportunity of his being present at a meeting of the freemen, before the brother told him what the church expected (and mentioned the following offense which these even now spoken) to which he hath hitherto declined.

An additional offense which was the following offense above mentioned, his bringing his offense into public before he had dealt in it in private we say. First, it was an offense in the nature of it in that form or declared by him and manifest to us (as attended by him) an offense to him. Second, that he had not dealt in it in private was manifest for partly himself yielded, partly the omission of his duty in the second place does declare it. Third, that it was a private offense appears because at the outside there could be but two that were privy to it when twas given. Fourth that he was a publisher of it is manifest because we look at him as an accuser (yea, if we mistake not ourselves the first accuser to the church) and because he tendered his testimony and came in as a witness to the offense when first given.

To the former our Brother Proctor may recall himself how in the troublesome business begun in this church on 10 of 1st. 60/61. on a sacrament day, and not issued till about 19 of 3t. he entreated himself. For upon occasion of a brother of another church [Barrett] being propounded to partake in the sacrament with us and objected against by a brother of this church for a public reproach of him at a town meeting saying he had told an arrant lie. Brother Proctor stood up to justify the thing, in such sort as the said objector was suspended in the sacrament and the matter referred to a hearing in the afternoon. And this to the great wrong of our said brother as after did appear. For our Brother Proctor used words to this effect: (and that uncalled and of his own accord) twas true enough and twould be proved. Which his accusation he hath neither made good nor satisfied for to this very day, at least in the sense as twas then understood. For it was after cleared that the offense could not be the same that the other brother intended because Brother Proctor knew it not, it lying only between one and one, and a yea and a nay. And if Brother Proctor denies that he brought into public any other offense, if this were true tis manifest he had none, for it must be that other or none.

But after the said brother (the objector) was ecclesiastically cleared of the former there was a second offense against him considered of which was also of a private nature. And our Brother Proctor is looked at as a principal (if not the) publisher of it. For if he intended this in his first speech on the sacrament day after so explained himself to some of the brethren. And if he or they that promoted the handling of it in the church when some would have had it cast out of the church, as orderly not of church cognizance, knew it from him (as there are some can remember) then our brother must be so the publisher of it.

Considering Brother Proctor as a witness so he was a publisher of his own private offense: 1. firstly given and taken by himself with one other present who sought to decline their having any hand in it; 2. his testimony a voluntary act of his own; 3. and when he got his testimony written and that not by any of the church it seems to us he did thereby irregularly publish it in the town so as the offense came to be commonly known to the disgrace of our brother before the church had due cognizance and proof of it (as was asserted in our church).

We judge that an offended brother may be a witness to the church by that Matt. 18:16, if he will not hear take with ye one or two or more that in the mouth of two or three witnesses &c., so as our brother’s allegation of being a witness is to us weak. This offense came not in unto the church’s cognizance orderly by the officers but was brought in disorderly. Wherein we look at this our brother principally instrumental. The officer not having any cognizance of it before it was in a manner commonly known (as said) in church and town.

9 of 9t. 61.

On this day the three brethren, James Parker, James Fiske, John Nutting, propounded to the church that they having some thoughts and inclination to a remove, desired to propound it to the church that (as they may see God to make way for them) they may have the church’s loving leave so to do, and their prayers for them for a blessing of God upon their undertakings. This being proposed by the pastor, he added that himself declined to speak aught in the case one way or other, but desired that the brethren might manifest themselves.

Brother Kemp, apprehending not any necessity of the remove, wished they would attend God’s call here. Brother Adams said twas a question whether the case will be resolved at present as in case of the desire. Twas replied, that they being yet disengaged had but the opportunity as till the next third day of the week to give in their answer to Groton and thus desired an answer from the church by that time. Brother Adams further said they favored a call of God leading them to this place and if they apprehended a call of God away twas necessary they should give an account to the church of their call hence. Brother Chamberlain pressed also that they render to the church their grounds.

The pastor answered that if any one or two more did speak to that purpose he would put it to the vote to see if it were the church’s mind they should give their grounds. And if it appeared to be the mind only of two or three brethren, he should have them to take private satisfaction. Hereupon scarce a man in the church but presently said, the grounds, the grounds. So the pastor desired the brethren again to press their grounds.

Brother Parker stepping up to speak, the pastor asked him (he speaking in the plural number) whether he spake the grounds of them all three or only his own. Parker answered though they had each of them some particular grounds of less consequence yet in the main they were all agreed, or to that effect. And then he said that he for his part owned that God had a hand in bringing him hither and he hoped he should see the same overruling hand of His in his remove. And as to their grounds, tis not their desire to express them in particular unless it shall be particularly desired and urged. Only in general that it is because of several things pressing upon their spirits as in reference to church administration and some uncomfortable differences, as ye all know, are wonted to arise about the same.75 And added that if he could enjoy all the ordinances or administration as according to rule, as he apprehended, he for his part would not remove. Brother Fiske professed his assent and added that as his ends of coming were well known to God and in some measure to the church so it would be no small thing that should move him to a remove.

Hereupon much was said by one and other and the pastor perceived the matter to tend to much agitation moved for a church meeting the following day. Brother Adams (opposing the hearing of the grounds in particular) having proposed that it might be put to pass the church whether the deacons of the church remain such in the church of Chelmsford as there is no cause for these brethren upon that account to remove. Brother Parker replied, first that the proposals for vote seemed not according to rule, and second that if the grounds might not be heard he hoped they would not make the church a prison. The pastor moved that their grounds might be considered, considering it would also reflect upon the church. They were brethren and either in an error and mistaken and then needed to be helped or not and then the church needed to consider it. And so he pressed for a meeting next day. Brother Adams declined it and objecting against it tooth and nail said it tended to the breach of the church and we had no call of God to hear them. Twice it was voted: first for a meeting at 10 o’clock and then all voted except himself and one more; then at the motion of Brother Fletcher at 9 o’clock and then three or four only dissented.

10 of 9t. 61.

At this church meeting Brothers Adams, Fletcher, and Chamberlain absent, rest present. Brother Chamberlain probably knew not of the meeting. At which meeting they professed if the church had been all together they would and had intended ingenuously to have opened themselves, but seeing some principal ones are as seems to purposely absent they conceived it their prudence rather to decline the expressing of the grounds in particular than to give occasion of any breach or division in the church. And as they remove for their own peace sake so they are unwilling to spring aught (though lying as . . . such grief upon their own spirits) as should tend to the breach of the place. It being professed by divers yesternight that the church is looked at to be in good state and union at present, neither was it the meaning to speak so, if they had spoken as to accuse the church or any particular persons in the church, but to have seen what ease they could have obtained to their own spirits.

Brother Nutting proposed one ground further in case of his own particulars, viz. the inconveniences of his present situation and that he could not help himself for in removing to his remoted accommodations, having several small children, he should much deprive himself or his wife of the ordinance by that means and sought rather the settling himself comfortably for the outward man nigh to the meetinghouse. After much agitation in the presence and absence of these three brethren they came to this result for answer. That the cause of the brethren’s remove was doubtful to us at present and we desired further consideration of it so as if providence shall in mean time, before they can hear further from us, settle them in the proposed way we shall leave the matter to God. If otherwise by the season or other providence they shall be delayed we shall be willing they shall hear further from us so soon as we shall resolve ourselves.

At this meeting it was also voted that we should call upon Thomas Barrett to know his reason why he prosecuted not his notion of joining in our covenant. Voted also that Jacob Parker should be joined with the pastor and deacons in private trial of Barrett. That in case he altered with a desire to proceed, he should be informed that tis the mind of the church that he should first satisfy the church for his unbrotherly and treacherous appearing at Concord church against this church in Brother Proctor’s case and that after himself had declared himself satisfied with the church. So the case is left. That in case these brethren there remove suppose (as in charity them) their plea real. A brother or brethren having neither of grief or offense upon their consciences respecting ecclesiastical administrations, neither themselves may be admitted into a capacity of becoming better informed, in case erroneous, nor the church nor any brother in the church, if under sin, of seeing their own evil and these sin shall be smothered and conscience scruples slighted!

23 of 10t. 61.

A church meeting appointed upon occasion of giving in the deacons’ accounts. At which meeting it was agreed and voted the nomination of some person to officiate by way of probation till Mr. Parker removes. At this meeting there were present thirteen of the church. Brother Fletcher went away at the beginning and absent were Brother Adams, Brother Blodgett, Brother James Fiske, Brother Underwood. And first it was argued whether the church might go about so weighty a business without the rest of the brethren, they not having notice of the business. And twas resolved: first, that their absence ought to be no hindrance to the church’s proceedings, seeing they ought to be there, it being publically agreed of; second, that they absent could not be ignorant of Brother Parker’s remove and of the necessity of the consideration of a seasonable supply in his room; third, that there is no rule obvious that ties either the officer to mention beforehand all the occasions of a church meeting or for a church, if occasion be offered of the consideration of some new matter when they are together, to defer the determinations because it was not either foreseen or fore declared as one reason of the meeting; fourth, that where a church meeting is by general consent appointed and publicly known there they that do meet have the power of transacting and determining matters as a church of Christ, the greater number at leastwise being assembled.

It was argued whether our Brother Fletcher stood yet a probationer. And twas resolved that 16 of 9t. 60 it being voted that Brother Fletcher should be continued still upon probation to see if he can come off to the vote of the church touching second relations, or trial of members of other churches dismissed to us, touching the work of grace before admission. Brother Fletcher thereupon declined as he openly had testified both by word and action as several did there hold forth to continue in that employment and thereupon even contrary to many entreaties and persuasions had forsaken the deacon’s seat so as twas not the church but himself that had set himself by.

Hereupon the brethren proceeded to nomination by papers and whereas it was objected against Brother James Parker and Brother Nutting voting because they were upon a remove. This case was also agitated and it resolved that they being yet in full communion with us had by rule a right of voting and acting with us and ought not to be denied it. So they two also voted. And in the voting Brother Hincksman had 7, Brother Farwel 5, and Jacob Parker 1 vote. Hereupon the two former brethren being desired their absence a while the rest controverted, argued, and agitated the matter and in fine by a unanamous vote agreed that the said two former brethren should be taken in as probationers and nothing appearing to the contrary that it was intended by the church in season to proceed with them both to ordination.

So Brother Hincksman was to keep the box, book, and accounts of contributions. Brother Kemp to provide the bread and the wine. And Brother Farwel to take the charge of the linen and pewter &c. This day Brother Abraham Parker was chosen in Brother Nutting’s place to take care of the cleaning of the meetinghouse that it be kept in a decent posture, of the hour glass, cushions &c. for a year. 〈He refusing it Brother Byam was chosen and accepted.〉

Brother Thomas Barrett’s case was considered on as standing off from joining in with us [torn] a difference (as he held forth) between James Richardson and himself. So twas resolved that he should be at present let alone and observed to see his way and what he would do seeing that neither we had reason to urge him nor reason to remit his letters of dismission such as voted pass current.

The accounts being given in by Brother James Parker of the church’s receipts, expenses &c. for year past, so far as concerns the Lord’s day contributions. Whereas there appeared some that had not contributed to the church stock or about what was belonging to the defraying the charge of the elements they should be brought up to their duty. They answered: first, the church had left them to their liberty; second, that were exempted the having any hand (in the disposing of any part of the church stock) with the rest of the brethren. The accounts are to be delivered into the pastor and other deacons to be recorded by them.

2 of 3d. 62.

I having heard by Brother Abraham Parker and others that Brother Proctor had complained lately the church had wronged him by the letters they sent unto Concord concerning him and had falsely accused him therein &c. I went on this day unto him with Brother Abraham Parker and Brother Kemp and Brother Hildrich and held a long agitation of the matter with him. He alleging many things to make good the expressions and declaring his purpose to be judged by his brethren of Concord who he was persuaded would see that right should be done him. And that he expected satisfaction from this church and such as the . . . might be as large as the . . . he having been discredited publicly and before many even of other churches, as Concord, Woburn, &c. and that the church had in their proceedings with him wrapped themselves under the guilt of that they charged him with, viz. of bringing his matters into public before they had dealt with him in private and had refused to accept of satisfaction tended by him. Which all being answered to and his allegations taken off in a late three hours discourse or better, telling him withall that the business was . . . . when Mr. Bulkeley was with us, as between the churches and we suppose Concord church would not meddle further [torn] or if they should we should rather apologize than consent to reviewing of it and making a new inquiry about it by agitation with them &c.

And in fine he confessed he was sorry he had spoken concerning this church and promised silence for the future. I put him upon it to take it off from these brethren he had spoken it to or otherwise if he declined that he had aught further against the church he would attend at my house next Lord’s day, being 4t. of present, before these brethren that were then with me. Which if he did not, we concluded that the matter is ended. Also I required of him to send down his children to be catechised that I might discern how they had profited. Else if he neither would that nor see that they did indeed profit it would be a bar to his admission into our covenant.

16 of 9. 62.

On this day Brother Jonathan Barge and Brother John Blanchard, having about three weeks before orderly propounded themselves to join in covenant with this church and having passed the trial of the officer in the presence of Brother Kemp and of Brother Jacob Parker, they were on this day in the public exercise (being the Lord’s day) proceeded with as followeth. 〈Children with them Sarah Barge, Jonathan Barge, Jonathan Blanchard, William Blanchard, Elizabeth Blanchard, Anne Blanchard.〉 First the officer declared they had stood propounded some space of time and no objection had been brought in against them, notwithstanding if any had aught to object against the church’s proceeding with them, with either of them, at present twas desired they should speak. All being silent Brother Barge was first spoken to, to know if he did continue his desire of joining in our fellowship. He answered in the affirmative. Then it was desired that if he had any experiences of the workings of God upon his heart in it since his conversion as might tend to the church’s edification, if he pleased to hold it forth for now was a season, or to this effect.

Whereupon he rose coming forth from his seat unto the altar before the desk, he first presumes touching the use and lawfulness of declaring before the church the working of God upon his soul, with the one that named him to join with this church in fellowship, being removed by providence amongst us, as considering that his settling out of our fellowship was like a bone out of joint &c. Then orderly and distinctly he declared how he was convinced, comforted, helped against temptation, and several passages of God’s goodness towards him since his coming under the enjoyment of the ordinances. (He brought forth his two sons and set them by him during the time, they bowing, as he did, in coming to the place) and when he departed the officer, after he had spoken, testified how upon private discourse with him he had taken satisfaction for his own part. And notwithstanding if any present of the brethren did query aught about what he had spoken, it was at their liberty to manifest themselves. After silence the officer proceeded and demanded of him his consent to the church confession and covenant. Which he manifesting, the officer told the congregation they should now be informed of the liberty the church whereto he had appertained had given to us to proceed with this their member. Again also (that which now in order came to be considered) the testimony they gave to his conversation and so the letters of dismission being read, the church was asked to testify if they were willing to reach out the right hand of fellowship to him and receive him and his into our church covenant. Which being voted (only Brother Adams suspending) he was admitted in this sense or manner to this effect.

The church of Christ here doth readily reach out the right hand of fellowship to you, promising in the strength of Christ to watch over you and yours and to administer all the ordinances of Christ. You are likewise to promise in the strength of Christ to give us yourself and seed to the gospel of Christ in this church and to submit yourselves to all the ordinances of Christ here. Which he did. So he was declared to be now an acknowledged member of this church. The like was concerning Brother Blanchard and accordingly he was likewise admitted and declared a member of this church with his children.

25 of 10t. 62.

On this day a church meeting and first the result of the synod read76 and left upon consideration for the space of about a month. Secondly the church took account of our deacon and he gave in the church debits for bread and wine for two years or 21 times—07–05–11—and whereas at some time 5 or 6 shillings a time would serve, it was charged at some other time 10s. One reason was because the wine was procured at so difficult times and fetched sometimes at Woburn’s ordinances. Whereby we saw the defect of a church stock. Hence also we were enforced to raise the proportion of each communicant two pence a person, viz. is., 8d., a communicant by the year so that in two years it came to 3s., 4d. and 6s., 8d. a couple. Then is the sum we found it came to but 6 li., 7s., 10d.; whereupon after some agitation the church consented to add the remainder out of the church stock.

Item. he gave in the church debits


– 18

– 1

for hour glass and bottle


– 3

– 0

to Edmund Chamberlain


– 5

– 7

total debits


– 14

– 6

total credits


– 7

– 0

So upon this account there rest in church stock

Item: lent by James Parker to the town in paying Goodman Nutting sexton


– 0

– 0

Item: sent to Edmund Chamberlain


– 4

– 0

The church passed several votes.

1. That within a month the church meet together again to consider of the synod questions in order to a resolution about them.

2. That the church having found by experience from the trial had these two last years that through defect of several persons in contributing to those proportions by the Lord’s day contribution to the very provision for the Lord’s table she is enforced to add out of the church stock eighteen shillings and better to satisfy for the bread and wine expended these two last years. The church hath therefore agreed for the future that the charge for the seals shall not be mixed with the Lord’s day contribution, but shall be raised according to proportion from the several constant receivers.

3. The church hath agreed that Brother Kemp shall between this day and the last Lord’s day of the 11th month 62 call in and recieve the contribution that is now behind. And whoever shall be therein defective, as not to bring it in by that day, shall then be turned unto the pastor that the church may take further order therein.

4. The church being informed by Brother Barge that he and Brother Hildrich are ready to testify to the church that Brother Fletcher hath said in their hearing that the church laid him by (his place of deaconship) we agreed and resolved to attend the business the sixth day of the following week (at 9 o’clock in the forenoon) to take account of Brother Fletcher for the said expressions and to know of him the reason of his so speaking and that this be done in the presence of whoever will amongst us come to hear the case. 〈The private examination: Brother Hildrich following the case and a single testimony appearing we would not urge this in the church, Brother Fletcher denying it so.〉

5. That Brother Chamberlain be again examined by our pastor concerning his expressions in informing the church that several brethren of other churches and neighbors amongst us were dissatisfied touching the church’s proceedings with respect to Brother Hincksman and the case appearing to bring it to the church in season.

14 of 11t. 62.

A church meeting; on this day the church met (Brother Underwood only absent who after manifested himself before Brother Kemp and to myself that he closed with the church in their conclusions). And whereas on 18 of 3d. 62 when it was proposed to the church whether they were willing we should proceed to the ordination of the two brethren, Brother Farwel and Brother Hincksman, to ordination they having stood in nomination upon trial such a space as at first prescribed, Brother Parker being now removed, or that they would further defer it. And Brother Chamberlain objecting not only against the present proceeding but the proceeding at all, insinuating with his own dissatisfaction a dissatisfaction of several brethren of other churches and neighbors amongst us to the church’s proceedings. And whereas, he being desired to explain himself and to show in what respect, seeing that the objections might lie against both the brethren. He seemed to reflect upon Brother Hincksman saying there was not the same reason for him as for Brother Farwel. But would not then express what, but left it so in the general.

Brother Adams taking it up first from Brother Hincksman’s modest excusing himself from the work which he imputed to his unwillingness &c.; first, that we were not to enforce him, second, saying we had a deacon already which in process of speech he manifested himself to intend Brother Fletcher whom he looked at as laid by &c. (as in one day late). Whereupon Brother Chamberlain declared himself unsatisfied as to that business. Hereupon the matter was deferred and a demur upon the church’s proceedings. Brother Hincksman relinquished the work and gave up the box. Brother Kemp continued only in the work.

Next Lord’s day in private and several times after the pastor with one or two of the brethren had discourse with Brother Chamberlain about what he testified but could get out nothing but in generals. Hereupon the pastor made inquiry throughout the town and of the brethren of other churches with us and they all under their hands or before witness except two or three gave in their approbation of Brother Hincksman. Only by this means he came to understand that the matter of trouble lay because they looked at Brother Fletcher as laid by and that for not assenting to the vote touching second relations as called.

So upon occasion of what was presented to the church (as before) we advised together and determined a church meeting and liberty for all wherein to debate these three things: touching second relations as called; touching the cause of Brother Fletcher’s not continuing his place; touching Brother Hincksman whether there was aught justly to be alleged against him.

Accordingly upon the said 14 of 11t. the church met and some few of the town. Whereupon first we began with second relations, as called, only we promised not to meddle with the manner of the report but to make inquiry as to the matter or to any particular and herein we offered to hear what objection any had against it and the vote of the church touching the same.

Brother Barrett first spoke and he desires to know if there were any rule out of scripture to compel any to second relations. Reply, asked what he understood by second relation, for if he stand upon the words we could not debate with him about it. But as to the thing which he granted, viz. as the church’s passing a trial on members &c. touching their knowledge and assent to the profession of faith and touching the work of grace. Brother Hildrich manifested he had nothing against it and that twas practiced in Cambridge. Brother Proctor’s question, what is not of faith is sin and if this of making second relation be fundamental of faith and may appear he should consent to it, but a tree is known by its fruits. Reply, we look at it as a liberty of the church in order to her own well being. But that application of the tree known by the fruits, if he intended it only as to the outward conversation, it makes against first relations as well. Brother Proctor would suppose a person coming from another church not able to make a relation and to make it a binding rule, no rule. Replied, first extraordinary cases are not intended in our vote and second our own practice notwithstanding this vote . . . our meaning.

Brother Adams: the things &c. cover fundamentals, substantials, and circumstantials. I suppose you refer this thing to substantials, for what members can be admitted with us but in this way. Now in point of instituted worship is there anything to be owned which can be proved only by necessary consequences seeing under the law everything to the least was expressly prescribed? Replied, the thing touching trial is expressly charged in scriptures (Ezek. 20:27, Rev. 2:2, John 4:1). Objection but we find not that they that have passed under the rod and measuring rod should pass it a second time. Answer, yes as John the Baptist tried such of the church of the Jews as came to his baptism. And Peter, John described ere he would lay hands on him. So we communicated the church’s scripture grounds for this way as also some other arguments added as see our day book. In fine the brethren of other churches, viz. Brother Hildrich and Brother Barrett and Brother Proctor, seemed to be satisfied.

In the afternoon we met again and propounded to speak to Brother Fletcher’s case whether the church laid him by or he himself. And hereupon addressed ourselves firstly to Brother Chamberlain as in his speech 18 of 3d. aforesaid seemed to impute that the church laid him by and so Brother Adams, though he affected what he did we supposed upon information (which Brother Adams declined to own and would defend it by argument).

  1. 1. Brother Chamberlain’s argument: because when a brother said he would not attend the place with Brother Fletcher unless he come off to consent to the vote of the church touching the second relation the church was silent and sustained that brother in the office by vote to be ordained. Replied, the church was not silent for beside what severally many said the church vote speaks that the church did speak.
  2. 2. Brother Adams: that he speaking upon occasion of the pastor’s speech, no church act was to be raveled [?] but for sin, thus no person so employed in the work of deacon by the vote or anointing of the church should be laid aside but for sin. Replied that this touched not the question but takes that for granted that the church laid by Brother Fletcher.
  3. 3. Brother Adams again objected the unblameableness of Brother Fletcher, the willingness of Brother Fletcher to serve the church in that place (as to his own knowledge &c.) and he being now out of the place how can there be grounds for other apprehensions that the church laid him by. Replied, we have been tender of our Brother Fletcher’s reputation, what his willingness was to attend the place and upon what terms, we say not. But yet there might be grounds for himself to lay himself by that we are not privy to. And it follows not necessarily that it must lie on the church’s part to prove that twas their act.
  4. 4. Brother Adams: a father having two children or a man two servants, one he hath employed several years and found him faithful in his business, the other which he hath had the trial of for but a few weeks he engages to attend the second business with his brother but he excepts against it unless his brother yield to such condition which he cannot. The father fosters the younger in the work and gives him his breakfast, the other is neglected and so attends not the business as before. He looks, and who would not look, that the father laid by the elder. Replied, the similitude makes for us, if the church be mother, to the particular members and hath a parent like authority over them for he, resolving that both shall attend the business together, it is belonging on him that contrary to the charge and resolution of the parent deserts and leaves it.
  5. 5. Brother Chamberlain: because the church dealt not with Brother Fletcher and quickened him not up to his work. Reply: first, what rule had the church to deal with; second, some were inclined so to do, but it was not agreed as to the rule that they should fasten upon him that he should have broken.
  6. 6. Sergeant Adams: because I Tim. 3:10, being found blameless let him use the office. Replied: who hindered him?
  7. [interlineated] Those words, let him impart a permission twas at their liberty they might lawfully employ him without breach of rule if they saw use; not an insinuation they must and should do sinfully in not employing him, though . . . . . . that were in their hearts, or their . . . . . . led them to pitch elsewhere.
  8. So after the vote read and analyzed. And four arguments raised thence to prove Brother Fletcher laid by himself. Twas voted in the church that Brother Fletcher laid by himself and not the church.
  9. 7. Since we meet with our . . . arguments, viz. that the godly came into this country from England twas because they could not enjoy their worship of God without mixtures of humane inventions there. And that is concluded that they were put out thence. Replied, this supposes the church resolved Brother Fletcher should not continue in his place unless he closed with the church’s vote which yet none amongst us can say seeing the church never acted so far. But her determination was prevented by the act of Brother Fletcher himself leaving his place. As if these godly should have left England for fear of such a thing, before ever it was determined that they should not enjoy the worship of God without yielding to the crown commission.

The third issue of the day the matter touching Brother Hincksman was clearly asserted that there was no stumble concerning his being deacon. Brother Chamberlain affirming twas never in his purpose to oppose him as unmeet for it &c.

10 of 12t. 62.

At this meeting (appointed at 9 o’clock Brother Thomas Chamberlain and Brother Proctor were complained of to the church by our deacon for being defective in bringing in the contribution. Brother Chamberlain seemed to excuse it from his forgetfulness and because he had nothing but Indian corn to bring in, but promised he would bring it in in Indian, as the corn . . . carry it down.

Two votes passed. The first with reference to the sisters of the church whose husbands were not of us, for as that Shipley (as the church was informed) seemed to decline payments for his wife. First voted that if any of our neighbors whose wives relate to the church shall not, may be lovingly persuaded to contribute the proportion of their wive’s parts to the maintenance of the elements of the Lord’s table that then the deacons, being out of it, shall take it up out the church stock and bring it in with his other accounts unto the church.

Second vote, that in order to the seasonable supply of the elements belonging to the Lord’s table, each constant communicant shall pay in unto our deacon after one shilling, three pence per head in wheat, butter, or other valuable pay, to the content of our deacon, between this day and the last of the third month ensuing for a stock to procure wine in a readiness at the best hand. And whosoever shall be defective herein shall allow his proportion to the seals as formerly. And the account of this to be brought in by the deacons in their yearly account.

By reason of our Brother Chamberlain’s absence the rest of the time was spent in considering the propositions touching the subject of baptism and comparing the 5 scriptures with our own agreed propositions. And after Brother Chamberlain came we left it and went to his business.

Brother Chamberlain after that he had answered the case concerning contribution we came to some matter of offense that had been several times heard and dealt in in private before the officers and Brothers Kemp and Jacob Parker. The offenses were given congregation and carriages, 18 of 3d. 62. upon occasion of the proposal of this motion to the church whether we shall proceed to the ordination of the two brethren in nomination for deacons or defer &c. For after much dealing with him in private (as twas related to the church) he appealed to the church to be called to an account there.

Accordingly the thing first declared to the church that some of us had taken up some offenses against him and he had desired to be called to account to the church. We demanded of him what he had to say as touching any those things wherein as he was privy to himself we had more privately been dealing about. He answered that to these that were offended he had spoken as far as he could. But to the church if he hath offended and she sees cause to call him forth as an offender, he shall answer, having moved, in what way he conceives the church should manifest her offense. And after some agitation it being conferred upon the officer, the officer shows that he should express before the church his own offenses, such as he had dealt with the brother about in private and so did.

First offense. The first that our brother had broken a received rule of order in bringing his offense, grievance, or dissatisfaction that day to the church before he had consulted first with the officer. And here the church’s agreement was produced and that was according to rule offered to proof, in case it were denied. But the rule owned that this was that which order required. It was charged on him. First, that he that day broke a rule of order contrary to I Cor. 14:40 and acted not only therein contrary to a known agreement of the church but to the officer’s charge and directions given in public, viz. that if any had aught to object in that case he should bring it seasonably to the officer who should communicate it to the church, contrary to Heb. 13:17 and I Cor. 11, despise ye the church of God. Second, in justifying by his manner of speaking and acting the disorderly and sinful practice of such as backbited the church who if they had walked orderly should have in case of offense and dissatisfaction applied themselves as the rule directs (Matt. 18:15). For that which he said before the church on the day aforesaid was that there were several of other churches and neighbors in the town that were dissatisfied with the church’s proceedings and he himself was dissatisfied also. And the thing had never been imparted to the officer by himself nor any such, if such there were any beside himself. His answer in effect was, he was occasioned to speak by Brother Hincksman’s speech and that was sudden and he in conscience was bound to say it and that for the honor of God and the vindication of the honor of the church &c. Twas replied we meddled not with intentions; a good intention could not make a bad actions good &c. Answer, he insinuated the occasion with reference to Brother Fletcher’s business and several other things and thought himself harshly dealt with and he thought that he had the liberty of a brother to speak. And Brother Adams urged that men might lawfully move from scruples and that we should not make a man an offender for a word. We answered that a brother must mind the rule and must speak according to rule. That a scruple is no scruple if not of conscience and if of conscience then for sin and let the sin be showed and that he was made an offender for breach of a rule.

Second offense charged on him. That he voted with the church for Brother Hincksman and yet objected against him and that not for aught fell in between. But for following before, viz. his years and his distance of living which was before at his nomination considered by the church and determined in his hearing to be no just let to the church why she should not employ him in that work. Wherein besides that he opposed his apprehensions to the judgment of the church. He first trifled with an ordinance of God contrary to commandment 3. Second he discovered himself unstable in his ways (and so double minded, James 1:8). To which he replied that he did sinfully in voting and that because Brother Fletcher was not employed. Answered the reason was the same to the whole church. Much was said about this and relating to Brother Fletcher’s case, but no argument brought to demonstrate that the church laid him by. Besides in three places that he on that day (again since in private) . . . his objections so generally reflecting upon Brother Hincksman as did to sh. . . .g appearance cast some reproach on him.

Third offense we charged upon him was a breach of a rule of charity and love towards and of his covenant with church in taking up and keeping upon his spirit an offense of . . . breach of a rule by the church for nigh two years and not orderly to seek satisfaction or as by his own expressions for about half a year even from the day of proposal for ordination and never orderly seeking satisfaction. As also an evil frame of spirit to pitch upon that day to declare his dissatisfaction and that to the whole church &c. To this he replied forgetfulness but in express words denied the charge and added that he was not out of charity with the church and that the things were strained and he should confess if men’s mouths were stopped.

Brother Adams took in with him all along, sometimes to deviate the business, sometimes to lessen his offenses. And he at last moved that all might be quieted and no more spoken on one side or other, but that we together go to a new choice. We answered, first that sin must not be so smothered but our brother having broke the rule must see it and because that our brother might leave the church to speak twas voted that these charges were just. Then Brother Adams flew off and would have no hand in any way of compliance. So matters were left upon consideration with our Brother Chamberlain till that day sevennight at 9 o’clock at what time he was required to attend the church. This these brethren think that the church may dispense with the rule.

17 of 12t. 62.

At this meeting Brother Chamberlain (after the church had consulted apart and by joint consent agreed about some questions to be proposed to him, as in order to satisfaction touching the three former charges in case himself declined to manifest himself in way acknowledgement to satisfaction, and had determined what was to be laid before Brother Adams with reference to his taking part with an offender, and with reference to the matter wherein the church and the dissenters, viz. Brothers Adams, Fletcher, and Chamberlain, differed).

1. Brother Chamberlain brought in his acknowledgement in writing which upon some agitation with him and explanation of some things therein by him and a particular answer to the three questions in the affirmative, viz. that though he did sin in voting as for his own part, yet he acknowledged that the brethren that voted to the same case might not sin. The church voted themselves so far satisfied with him as to pass it by.

2. To Brother Adams this: that whereas we have not observed it the practice in any other churches or that there is any rule does allow that any brother take upon him in any degree to defend an offender, especially and that before his face, he was desired from the whole church to forbear the very appearance of any such practice for the future amongst us.

3. To the case: there were two proffers made to the dissenting brethren. First a hearing of the case and arguments on both sides by the elders meeting at Boston on some lecture there and some to attend on either side to that end. Second or if the dissenting party will please to set down their arguments to the affirmative of the question (under their hand), that I would present them and bring an answer under the elders’ hands.

They troubled the business about the stating of the question for they would have had it thus, whether the church did regularly lay by Brother Fletcher. But in issue the question whether it may truly be said that the church did lay by Brother Fletcher, the church denied and the dissenting brethren affirmed. They seemed to accept of the tender of a hearing and that of the former proffer and I was to give notice to one of the three dissenting brethren when the season shall permit so as we may together attend at Boston.

26 of 2d. 63.

This day I propounded to Sergeant Adams to agree about a time of going down into the lecture for counsel in the said case and he deferred it as saying he should speak to Brother Chamberlain to come down with him to have some discourse with me first for there was something to be considered of first.

Billerica’s case. On 12 of 2d. 63 we received a letter from Mr. Whiting and the brethren there for the pastor and one of the brethren to join with some other messengers of churches in counsel to be given them about their proceeding to church’s estate. Brother Barge being chosen with the pastor, attendance was accordingly there given on 27th of 2d. as appointed where met us the messengers of the church of Woburn. But Cambridge and Watertown messengers came not being as seemed by letters hindered by providence. The messengers of the two said churches beforesaid being present were desired by the brethren of Billerica notwithstanding to hear the case and if possible to help them. Accordingly it was attended upon their desire and on the 28th day, being the following day, Mr. Whiting and the rest on both apprehensions met. But we could not come to state the questions between them till afternoon. So after we had made many essays with them together and apart at length finding: first, that there was a willingness and desire on both parts to join together in the work of gathering a church and carrying on of the ordinances amongst them, notwithstanding the differences of the apprehensions about children’s state in the church, saving the conscience; and second, that the dissenting brethren to Mr. Whiting’s part had declared themselves that the children of parents in full communion were to be baptized, that these children being baptized are under the care of the church which is to see to the pious education in the knowledge and fear of God and to be catechised &c., only some of them would not have them under the power of the church to be censured. Though some of them yielded that they were members and might be excoriated if deserving, only they could not convey any right of membership to their children nor could their children be reputed members unless their immediate parents were in full communion upon this account.77

The following question being drawn up and proposed was consented to on all hands to the question. The copy of the question and answer given by the council to the Billerica brethren is as follows:

Question: Suppose an equal number of persons differing in their opinions about children’s interest in the church (both infant and adult) and both willing to practice their opinion, how may such persons join together to a rule and live together in a church state according to rule?

Answer: We conceive as followeth.

  1. 1. That the two dissenting parties do each of them choose equally (suppose forever) each of them of their own apprehensions to be the matter of foundation.
  2. 2. That these all, mutually and jointly, do take and give satisfaction each to other touching their meetness unto this great work as in all other respects.
  3. 3. That if there appear any just cause of laying by any one of these upon the foresaid account that then one other person be chosen according to the first proposal in his room.
  4. 4. That each trouble not the other as to the matter of their apprehension about the question between them otherwise than by a meek, brotherly, and modest reasoning out the case of difference by the word of God as occasion is offered for the mutual help one of another.
  5. 5. That in case of any matter of practice arising in the church as touching the subject in question wherein they cannot reconcile between themselves then counsel should be desired.
  6. 6. That the matter of difference as to the case of children simply become no bar or let to any otherwise fit to be received in or added to them.

Postscript. And we do hope, through the Lord’s help, that if you can thus join in all brotherly love and go on together in the due exercise of the same love, forbearance, and tenderness, you may long continue together with the Lord’s blessed power since, in the midst of you clearing up His will and way more fully to you in His own season, which we shall pray for on your behalves.


John Fiske

Thomas Carter

Edward Johnson

Jonathan Barge

8 of 3d. 63.

The church met about the question touching the children’s interest in the church some brethren as hereafter named absent they met there three former and referred to another church meeting upon the election day about magistrates, then the church to agree of a time.

24 of 3d. 63.

A church meeting appointed on sixth day come sevennight at 10 of the clock at the pastor’s house, Brother Adams dissenting.

19 of 4t. 63.

After our election of magistrates the brethren considered of a church meeting and referred it to be appointed next Lord’s day. And it was proposed to the dissenting brethren about the attendance of the hearing of the case in discussion according as the church had formerly tendered them. Brother Adams, Brother Fletcher, and Brother Chamberlain did severally express themselves to this effect, that for their parts as to the present case our question they declined it and so the hearing was laid by and that by the act of the dissenting brethren. So the church hath proceeded this far in tenderness to them to help their satisfaction but the last and most effectual means being declined by them to be attended or embraced the church now is in her way, et videant, we infer.

19 of 5t. 63.

John Stevens he upon relation of the rule of grace as his salvation, profession of his faith briefly held forth, hands assent to the church’s confession and covenant, and testimony by Brother Hincksman, Mr. Webb, Daniel Blodgett touching him was admitted to our covenant and communion. And Lieutenant Underwood, Mr. Wilson, and Elder Perhams testifying from the . . . at Boston church for such our proceeding with him.

26 of 5t. 63.

Sarah Fiske upon satisfaction given to the church touching her knowledge of the principles of faith and the work of grace upon her soul, upon testimony given by Sister Barge and Jacob Parker and his wife was received into full communion and covenant with this church.

A church meeting as before determined was held on the day and at the place afore mentioned where the synod book was in consideration. The third proposition assented to first. The fourth with reference to baptism left upon further consideration.78

It was also voted that Brother Barge and Jacob Parker be added to Mr. Farwel and Brother Kemp as joining any two of them with the pastor in the taking trial of such as desire to join the covenant of this church.

It was also voted that from this time forth the pastor taking one of the said brethren with him (at least) shall take some opportunity to inquire into the spiritual estate of the children of the church grown up to years of discretion (both our own and those of other churches) and examine them touching their knowledge of the doctrine of faith, touching their experiences. And shall make seasonable report thereof unto the church how he finds it with particular persons at some private church meeting for further consideration. And he shall begin with his own family and then follow as the houses in order do stand till he hath gone through. The time alloted sabbath day after evening exercises and fortnight meeting days after the meeting.

Began: Moses Fiske his knowledge competent touching experience. Sarah Fiske she were taken into full communion.

next Lord’s day:

John Fiske merely as to understanding.

Anna Fiske more in the letter than as to understanding.


Samuel Fletcher so competent as upon his desire thought him fit to propound him.


John Farwel

Olive Farwel

these merely as to understanding.


Jonathan Bates this very ignorant.

Joshua Fletcher as to the very loathe or much . . . the understanding, see our paper.

Nathaniel Butterfield

Jonathan Butterfield

They answered beyond expectation as to understanding, though short of what is required.

Jonathan Wright his knowledge comfortable and a good relation of a work of grace, only not clear as to the work of closure with Christ. He upon consideration and to come again upon trial.

Benjamin Spalding answered in part well, though his memory seems better than his understanding.

Edward Spalding being twice spoken to by the pastor, the first time desired of consideration, not being so fitted or prepared, but the second time refused unless it were by the pastor alone and privately.

Abraham Byam his father being spoken to for his son’s attendance on 24 of 7t. about an hour by sun (it being our fortnight meeting day) he came not (notwithstanding his father going that week to the boy told me as he went he had spake to him to attend and he hoped he would) so we lost our time.

20 of 7t. 63.

Richard Hildrich having been tried and propounded, presented his letters of dismission from Cambridge. After a manifestation of God’s work upon his soul with several experiences of God’s going along with him since he joined in church fellowship at Cambridge both there and here (and therefrom tending much to edification) and declaring his consent to our church confession was received to the covenant and fellowship of this church.

11 of 9t. 63.

Messengers from the church attending the church gathering at Billerica where they all made a relation of the rule of grace and consented in a written profession of faith and Mr. Whiting ordained pastor. The day was comfortable.

25 of 9t. 63.

Letters from Wenham for the dismission to the gathering a church read and their dismission voted.


16 of 9t. 63.

Grace and peace be multiplied Loving Brethren:

Whereas we have received letters from Mr. Newman on their behalves where with theirselves we pub . . . in the end by which letters we perceive your desires if the Lord so (please to) favor to join together in erecting a church amongst yourselves and in calling an officer to administer unto them the holy things of Christ. And we by confessing these letters with their former sometimes since sent unto us (to which these did refer) we likewise perceive it your desire and intention to pitch upon Mr. Newman for your officer of whom you have had now large trial and experience and in order thereunto you do desire letters of dismission from us. You shall hereby understand that the church here hath considered of the matter and do rejoice that the Lord hath at length been pleased so hopefully to make way for your comfortable closure together in that work of Jesus Christ. To which work the church hath voted your dismission so as if it shall please God to prosper you in these your intentions as there shall close together to gather a church according to the rule of the gospel and to call and ordain a teaching officer to you according as you seem to profess your intentions and desire to do.

The messengers of neighboring churches yielding their approbation thereunto we shall own you not as of us hitherto but as a sister church with us bound up in the bond of that holy fellowship which ought to be according to gospel rule observed between the true churches of Jesus Christ. And particularly to the said work we freely do dismiss you dear brethren, viz. Phineas Fiske, Austin Killam, James Moulton, William Geere, John Fiske, Richard Goldsmith. And the church being erected, unto the said church in being we dismiss our Sister Killam, our Sister Moulton, our Sister Geere, our Sister Goldsmith together with all such children as if named as are at that time in their minority. And so we desire the blessed and effectual presence of the spirit of Jesus Christ to be with you.

Grace be with you all, Amen.

Yours in the Lord, John Fiske,

in the name and with the consent of the church



You may further understand that we are not against but for your approving yourselves to the satisfaction of the neighboring churches, yea and if the whole assembly present at their gathering there together concerning your meetness for such a church state and even foundation work therein by some meet way of holding forth the same doctrine, yea and the work also of faith, or by manifestation of the knowledge of the main truths of the gospel to be believed and practiced and of the experimental particular application of the same as to the inward work in your own souls and to the actual conformity thereunto in your lives. And though we ourselves were comfortably satisfied concerning you yet neither do we judge ourselves so perfectly to discern nor so infallably to judge in such cases as we would presume to bind others, or even to reckon others bound to our measure. Nor do we take it any disparagement to us that others should try you upon such an occasion as this when themselves are called actually to approve or disapprove and that on behalf of the church and not themselves alone. Nor any danger nor damage to yourselves whom we hope to be sincere and not like refined hypocrites who have only tasted of Christ. But as those who have with the wise merchant sold and renounced their all for that peerless pearl and whom we hope in this long absence from us not to have declined but rather to have thriven and grown in knowledge and in grace. This we have added not knowing whether opportunity will advantage any of us to be present with you at that day, to prevent any such scruple or objection as may lie against the usual practice of the churches at their gathering as to your case, with respect to yourselves. So we take our leave and rest.

Yours, John Fiske

11 of 12t. 63.

Whereas our brethren of Groton who removed here had desired our advice in two of their straits they were driven into by reason of the differences there so as they could not see how to go on with them there in the way they propounded about church work, nor to desert the work without sin. On this day (the three brethren being with us and joining in a solemn day of seeking God, partly upon this occasion, partly because of the general sickness and cold scarce a family or person that had not been visited, and partly upon other causes, after which we had concluded that day the church present for the generality) consulted together apart and agreed to this following advice, which they being called in and declared it to them, viz.

  1. 1. (After some manifestations of our sympathy and concern with them) that though the church would so far be tender to them as to the judging about the cause of the remove from us yet that we would so far remember them of the same as to wish them to examine themselves about it, and to take over the same again between God and their own selves lest there should be anything therein whereby God might be offended with.
  2. 2. That considering at such a time as this, a time wherein the adversary would watch for their [torn], they would be exceeding watchful lest in word or in action they should lay any just scandal or offense before any of them there. For if they should, we should not be so able to hold up our heads comfortably on their behalves, in case we should never so desire to yield them our assistance.
  3. 3. That seeing our savior pronounces them blessed who are peacemakers and we are exhorted as much as may be to have peace with all men, we advised them to endeavor to approve themselves men seeking peace and endeavoring to keep peace with them they had there to do with those that were of a contrary apprehension, so much as possibly they might with the truth and good conscience.
  4. 4. That seeing conscience is a tender thing and to do aught, especially in and about the worship of God, contrary to our persuasion and when not of faith, is sin. That they do take diligent care not to condescend to the doing aught in that matter amongst them in compliance with them of a contrary persuasion to the breaking of the peace of their consciences.
  5. 5. That in case they cannot comply in aught with them (this or that, whatever it is) as concern the work of God’s house or worship of God that then they rather do sit still and wait upon God, observing and attending such His providences as may open to them the enjoyment of their desires with liberty of the consciences.

This is the substance of that counsel which was delivered to them in some other vanity of expressions by word of mouth or gathered up to be the word of the church and the same we had discoursed of and agreed to give them, for the present manifesting our willingness to afford them further advice afterward as occasion did require.

6 of 1st. 64.

A sacrament day. This day Sister Sheldon was granted her dismission to the church at Billerica, sent by Jonathan Kittridge to her.

13 of 1st. 64.

This day Jonathan Martin joined to our fellowship.

20 of 1st. 64.

This day Margaret Hildrich her confession and her dismission read and she received into our covenant. This day we began our recitations.

10 of 3. 64.

A council being called to attend at Groton about differences there, there appeared upon this day at that place Major Willard, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Webb, and myself. The business committed to it was this (by the whole town it being declared that these were jointly chosen by the same) that whereas by reason of some uncomfortable differences that had been amongst them as about church government they had been hitherto hindered from going on with that work of Christ of coming into a church way to enjoy all ordinances amongst them. They had now resolved to lay down and to bury all former differences amongst them and (had sent to the persons above mentioned to be as a council to them to which they) submitted themselves (to seven) to be directed, according to the rule of God’s word in these following particulars.

  1. 1. To consider whether there may be found a competent number amongst them meetly qualified for the laying a foundation of a church there. And in order thereunto to nominate such amongst them as may come upon trial to that end.
  2. 2. To put them into that way of trial which is according to the word, as according to which they might satisfy themselves one in another (and consequently in any others afterward as should desire to join with them).
  3. 3. To give them advice from the rule for the both carrying on of matters in that preparatory work which concern the coming orderly into a church state together and for the after carrying on church work according to God.

The proceedings of the council in order to the accomplishing these things at that meeting was thus. Together with the seven which had been by the consent of the whole town formerly in nomination amongst themselves and had been attempting to an agreement about church work but hindered by their disagreement, four others were added as to stand in nomination for trial. So as there were now eleven who were come into nomination, viz. the six brethren amongst them in full fellowship with Mr. Willard and four others of the town, viz. Mr. Willard, James Parker, James Fiske, G. Lawrence, G. Salter, G. Martin, Jonathan Nutting, William Lakin, Ellis Barnes, Richard Holden, Matthias Farnsworth.

When these were pitched upon, their names were sent to the whole company (of the town) being present at a training to be propounded to them to see if any of these were under any offense amongst them or any of them. The return was in the negative.

These eleven being called before the council presented themselves and being minded of the greatness of the work they were now at attend about and some other things as referring to their own spiritual comfort and peace and the honor of Christ and the gospel were desired to go apart and consider amongst themselves each in other as to the going on together in that work and in case of agreement to come to us and (make) report of it and of the way they had agreed upon. In case otherwise to let the council understand wherein they disagreed and the grounds.

Upon their return they declared they had not agreed nor were like to agree. Upon which much agitation passed that evening and with some advice they were left to further consideration of the matter between themselves and to attend again together before the council next morning.

Upon 11 of 3d. 64 in the morning they came before the council again and made the same report as before. After much debate and advice given unto them they being sent out again together returned to us their agreement in these following particulars.

  1. 1. That there be a visible profession made (by each one unto the rest) of his knowledge in all the fundamental principles of Christian religion necessary to salvation.
  2. 2. That each be of an approved conversation.
  3. 3. That conviction of sin be visibly professed together with the means and also how God hath helped the soul unto a Christ.
  4. 4. That all this be held forth either before the whole church (by whoever shall after join to the church when once it be gathered) or else before the officer and those that church shall depute together with the officers.
  5. 5. That none shall be pressed to give this manner of satisfaction before the whole congregation or town who is not himself willing thereunto, but that the satisfaction be taken only before the church.

These things being they comfortably agreed upon and the council being by them desired either to take trial of them or to afford their presence with them in their trial of each of the other. The council upon consideration that some of them could not stay so long upon it at present and that the work was of great weight and required deliberation &c. advised as followeth in effect.

  1. 1. That these eleven do set apart a solemn day to humble themselves before God for their former miscarriage and to intreat His presence with them in the great work they were about.
  2. 2. That they together agree about the order of proceeding who come upon trial by the rest first and who second and so on to the last man.
  3. 3. That they attend the way themselves had agreed upon with each one without partiality.
  4. 4. That upon the day they agree upon to that work they (after seeking of God) do go about it in the manner as aforesaid and if they think good to send to us (if the council would then) attend them (if God will) at the time and after that is finished (as the Lord may help us) go there for further advice as occasion [torn].
  5. 5. That each one submit himself to the satisfaction of the rest and be willing [torn] by if the rest be not satisfied with him.
  6. 6. That in the mean time they acquaint themselves familiarly each with other to see how God may persuade their spirits . . . to a mutual closure.

30 of 10t. 64.

A church meeting this day met to consider the deacon’s accounts.

By Lord’s day contributions year 64. car. . . in particular

9 – 03– 0


7 – 01 – 5

charged to seals

3 – 04 – 3

received also

1 – 0 – 0

of 63.

0 – 12 – 6

of 62.

3 – 14 – 9

Total in Brother Hincksman’s hands this day of the church stock.

9 – 04 – 5

0 – 07 – 2

Rest due from particular persons due to

9 – 11 – 7

the church not yet in deacon’s hands

2 – 01 – 7

0 – 07 – 2

1 – 14 –5

al. [?] out of

2 – 01 – 0

Brother Fiske’s debt

13 – 04 – 9

charged to the church

3 – 04 – 3

Brother Hincksman’s debt to the church as having in his of church stock

10 – 00 – 6

And rest due from particular persons to the church

1 – 06 – 0

30 of 10t. 64.

On this day it was agreed and declared as the mind of the church now present that whereas there was an agreement by the church 19 of 10t. 60 wherein the deacon’s hands seemed to some to be tied, contrary to the true meaning of the church in that case, that the church stock is (now) left to the deacons to dispose of to any pious or charitable use according to their best understanding and discretion. And that when themselves see need they may, as the case may present, call the brethren together to consult with them about the matter. Always provided that the matter as to their yearly giving in their accounts to stand as formerly. The church voted the desiring and intreating our Brother Hincksman to continue his place of a deacon until such time as the church shall have further consideration of the matter.

28 of 3d. 65.

Joseph Parker’s wife and her children dismissed to the church at Groton as about a quarter of a year before the wife of James Parker, of James Fiske, of Jonathan Nutting likewise with their children dismissed as before.

16 of 5t. 65.

This day upon occasion of a brother under offense to several and warned in private by the pastor the Lord’s day before to abstain from the sacrament because he could not come without breach of that rule (Matt. 5:24). Yet he presumptuously coming, to the great offense of many brethren, it was voted that in such a case the officers should observing such a one to stay should before the administration take occasion to declare to the church that there is a brother &c. present who is under offense and so to desire and warn him to withdraw himself (and this as an act of the church).

This day Thomas Chamberlain, senior, being called before the church on Lord’s day sevennight and having been orderly dealt with for offense and being to appear with the offended brethren, viz. Brother Foster and Brother Byam, on the sixth day of week before came not, being [torn] on the day before hand. Charged before the church: first, for denying or refusing to hear the said brethren and saying to them in expressive terms he would not hear them, carrying it toward them in a way of great discontent, and using unworthy or recriminating or reviling speeches, especially to the one of them. Second, for coming to the Lord’s table before he had sought reconciliation with the brethren and contrary to the officer’s warning of himself. And having before the church carried them very highly as in saying: I. that he was not careful to answer in this matter; 2. in urging that the witnesses should prove that he said he would not hear them and that they did not bring the matter to the church orderly because they had not dealt orderly with him for his saying he would not hear them; 3. that he was but one and they two and that if their testimony should be taken he must suffer and many the like standing in extenuating the offense, self justification, and evading the matter. Whereas divers were for a present admonition to be dispensed, yet several pleading he might have some respite for more serious consideration of the matter. Much labor being used for his conviction whereupon he was drawn to yield in express terms. 1. That he said he would not hear them. 2. That he therein had broken his covenant with Christ and His church in not submitting to an ordinance of His. (For the brethren told him, coming to him in the second place, that they came in a way of an ordinance of Christ to him and told him their offense which so soon as he understood, he replied he would not hear them.) 3. That though he was warned of coming to the sacrament yet he looked like offense was not just. 4. That he was abroad upon his occasion not of town the day he should have come to the officer.

So this day the matter being called upon again and the offenses in general laid before him, both the two former, as mentioned, and his high carriage before the church last Lord’s day. His answer was: 1. for that speech before the church that he was not careful to answer in the matter &c. they were inconsiderate expressions; 2. for his coming to the sacrament, if he had known it had been a just offense and that he had been convinced of it, he should not have come, but he did not see he had given just offense; 3. for his saying he would not hear them he heard them and heard them not. In fine, after much reasoning with him, the church voted for admonition which was solemnly dispensed with prayer. The grounds were: for contempt of an ordinance of Christ &c.; for presumptuous coming to Lord’s table &c. (Matt. 5:24); for proud and high carriage before the church and contempt of the church the sabbath before (I Cor. 11:22). He went away seemingly discontented without begging the prayers of the church.

28 of 8t. 65.

This day after the afternoon exercise the church met at my house. To Brother Hincksman’s proposition that he might have leave to lay down either his deacon’s place or his commission office as manifesting himself not willing to attend them both. The church resolved that they would not interfere with the town that had so clearly called him to his commission office of an ensign’s place. Yet by vote manifesting their desire he might attend also the deacon’s place. And if any in the town or otherwise did manifest themselves unsatisfied that he should hold both, the church did undertake the defense thereof and of the regularity thereof upon themselves from off his shoulders. And in case himself in his own conscience should not be satisfied the church left it with him that he would not make that use of this their vote to fling off or lay down his ensign’s place but address himself to the church who if they could not satisfy him would rather dismiss him from his deacon’s office and choose another in his room.

My son Moses was propounded to the church to join in full fellowship.

Mr. Webb having both obtained reconciliation with the church at Boston and also voluntarily made his confession upon our lecture day (Oct. 3d.) was propounded to this church at this time for their acceptance of him unto the participation of the sacrament with us as a member of the church at Boston and this church by vote granted to him that liberty declaring their satisfaction. Only Brother Adams was absent from this church meeting.

5 of 9t. 65.

Moses Fiske, after a profession of his faith made in the public congregation respecting both the doctrine of faith and the work of faith upon his own soul and the manifestation of his application of and consent to the confession of this church, was received into the covenant of this church and so into full communion.

12 of 9t. 65.

This day Moses Fiske exercised [preached] in public in the afternoon from Eccles. 12:1 (Remember now thy creator in the days of thy youth. While the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt say, I have not pleasure in them.)

This day, we having the sacrament in the forenoon, before the administration thereof whilst the church was only together the officer informed the congregation what the church had done on last church meeting on behalf of Mr. Webb. Whereupon Sergeant Adams stood up and objected his dissatisfaction as concerning Mr. Webb in regard of some personal and particular grievance. But upon agitation (for it bred some disturbance) the church finding that Brother Adams had broken a rule of order both in that he had not proceeded orderly with Mr. Webb according to rule (Matt. 18.) and in that he acted contrary to a vote of the church prohibiting any to bring any offenses &c. to the church before the officer had been acquainted therewith and the bringing it to the church by him had been first attempted and by him denied. He was himself therefore because of this disturbance by such a disorderly acting dismissed from the seals and Mr. Webb according to the church’s former vote continued to partake.

After the afternoon exercise the church met at the pastor’s house further to endeavor Sergeant Adams his conviction. After much agitation prevailed with him to acknowledge his transgression of the rule and to condemn himself for it. Whereupon the church remitted him and declared their satisfaction and she withall gave Sergeant Adams liberty to present his grievance or offense against Mr. Webb according to orderly proceeding if so he would. And the church would seasonably attend him in the matter at his desire. (But twas a question whether the pretended offense was given or taken for to this day 4 of 9t. 68 he never brought it forth to the church.) Sergeant Adams was much left (if . . .) to himself in this whole matter and hardly could excuse himself from a lie in his saying he knew not that Mr. Webb was reconciled to the church at Boston; and second he knew not of the church meeting or at least what was done in it; and third in denying that Mr. Webb tendered him a hearing before magistrates, elders, or discerning three others; and fourth that if it had been one of this church he should have proceeded orderly with him but because he was not that he thought it his liberty &c.; and fifth that his single testimony should have been attended by the church because he was a member in good state with the church and Mr. Webb not of the church and such like passages.

14 of 10t. 65.

The deacon’s accounts: item, the money given in year 65. is the pastor’s, he paying the deacons in other pay. Voted, viz. 8s. 1d. The accounts given in as cleared to the end of year 64 and the church debits to the deacons, 7 – 02 – 9; credits by the deacons, 14 – 11 – 9; so rest in Brother Hincksman’s hands of the church’s, 7 – 09 – 0. Item, resting for year 65 to be paid in to the deacons 8 – 05 – 11, which when paid in the church stock will be 15 – 14 – 11 whereof in Brother Hincksman’s hand 7 – 09 – 0 out of which he is appointed to buy a cow for the church and catechisms. The contribution which the present deacons are to gather in amounts in sum unto, 8 – 05 – 11.

Vote 1. Voted that a place be made in the meetinghouse, by the deacons, upon the church’s account to lodge the corn contributed until such time as the same shall be disposed of. And that a day be set wherein each person shall bring in their contribution as said engaged upon Lord’s day.

Vote 2. That Brother Hincksman shall purchase a milch cow out of the contribution in his hands and the deacons shall let it out for the church’s use.

Vote 3. That the shorter catechism of the assembly of divines at London (with the parts at large) shall be procured upon the account of the church stock and ordered to Brother Kemp to the number of 100 for him to sell out to the town and receive in the pay for them and the same to be returned to the church.

Vote 4. That Brother Butterfield shall officiate the place and work of a deacon to this church by way of probation in the room of Brother Hincksman until the church shall have further trial of him.

Vote 5. That first third day of the week in the 12th month called February, being the lecture day, is appointed by the church the day to bring in the contribution to our deacons yearly and from year to year.

5 of 11t. 65.

Brother Hincksman hath paid to the church in a cow which is by the deacon’s hand left in Solomon Keyes his hand to winter her until Mayday next for her milk and thence forth for a complete year for 10s. the hire. Brother Hincksman hath as demanded paid herein 4 – 05 – 0. Brother Danforth had this day letters of dismission to the church at Billerica granted him upon his desire.

5 of 11t. 65.

At a church meeting. This meeting agreed upon (on sabbath foregoing) to give a hearing to Brother Thomas Chamberlain wherein the occasion of the brethren dealing with him being examined and the whole day spent in the same to find out whether Brother Chamberlain had broken covenant with the company in refusing to herd his cattle, yea or no. And observing the company at that end divided in the matter, some saying there was no covenant, others there was. Some saying that what he promised was to their understanding absolute, others conditional. Some saying that in case of the condition that a cow keeper might have been had, others not. And so testimonies coming point blank each as others, yea some of them in writing and Brother Proctor his hand given to the writing on both sides. The matter was so clouded as in fine the church came to these determinations.

1. In general in reference to the difference between the brethren and neighbors of the west end about the cow keeping year 64, that the church conceives (as things present themselves) it is not in the power of the church nor of man (if the Lord opens not the hearts of the one side to manifest otherwise than is yet manifested) to determine but must leave it as a secret to God.

2. In particular as in reference to Brother Chamberlain’s case whether he be truly guilty before God of breach of covenant that the church conceives herself necessitated to leave that also to God. Only that she sees no rule to blame the brethren in dealing with him for the same. But rather do command their faithfulness and love to their brother therein (there being an appearance of that sin and such sin as in charity we do . . . not but persuaded ourselves that they did attend conscientiously and in the fear of God to help our brother in for so they apprehended and judged, though considering what is said on the contrary side the matter appears such as is to be left as a secret to God) and advised our Brother Chamberlain to examine himself between God and his own soul seriously about it and withall to take in good part what our brethren did in that case.

3 Lastly for the issue of all tis the advice of the church that our brethren concerned in that matter of cowkeeping as abovesaid and so in this controversy would on each side suspect themselves and be ready to confess to each other as God discovers aught unto them and to pray each for other. And for the future endeavor to carry it more clearly and openly each to other in matters of this nature. In fine all the brethren of the church (included in this said controversy belonging to that end) did severally and for their own part promise before the church to lay down the said controversy with all matters relating to differences upon account thereof for the future and to bury the same so as never upon any occasion to revive this said difference again between them. Also some of the brethren did forgive their own parts that which was upon dr. . .d from Thomas Adams and Thomas Chamberlain due about cowkeeping and the said Thomas Adams and Thomas Chamberlain promise the payment of some proportions to them absent and Thomas Adams promised the paying also the brethren he being paid his dues.

This night Thomas Chamberlain by his confession presented himself hopeful to give satisfaction to the church for his offenses for which he was sentenced.

7 of 11t. 65.

On this Lord’s day after the afternoon exercise Thomas Chamberlain being called forth in the congregation made there his confession particularly of his former miscarriages to good satisfaction to the church and in some car. . . argued . . . according to rule. Whereupon the church by vote discharged him from under the foresaid sentence of admonition absolving him therefrom.

28 of 11t. 65.

Brother Jonathan Wright’s child baptized, Ebenezer Wright.

6 of 12t. 65.

Agreed by the church that the same course of catechising of all under 16 years old be attended at the house of the pastor, viz. for maids the day after the lecture and for youths the second day of the week following the lecture.

Item: that for all young men above 16 years old, unmarried, that it be moved, who will voluntarily appear to give in their names to answer in public, and for such as shall decline, if children of the church, that the church shall see that they attend to be catechised by the pastor in his house upon the second day of the week monthly after the lecture at the usual time of meeting (viz. about 3 of the clock in afternoon). And if they shall neglect to come on one day, to bring as much the next time as may proportion the time.

This voted that we begin the work in public about the beginning of 2d. month. The catechisms to be delivered out by Brother Kemp at 6d. per piece.79

It agreed and voted that whereas Mr. Waldo and his wife stand propounded to the church that William Fletcher, Richard Hildrich, Jonathan Barge, Abraham Parker shall (as chosen by the church) take the next opportunity (that they can meet with conveniently) to confer together with him about certain matters scrupled by some about him and accordingly to make their report unto the church how they find (proceeding with him . . . as the matter may require) until which time the church defers further proceeding with him. Voted, that the agitation and matter of it concerning Mr. Waldo should be concealed, each engaging to it and not to divulge or speak of it to any.

11. of 12t. 65.

Elizabeth Shipley [?] baptized.

18. of 12t. 65.

Lydia Parker, the daughter of Abraham Parker, baptized.

28 of 12t. 65.

A day of public humiliation kept in this church.

4 of 1st. 66.

Brother Barge and his younger son being up at their farm at Stony Brook lost the sabbath expecting the following day to have been present.

11. of 1st. 66.

The sacrament administered. Brother Barge excluded from partaking as being under offense of the church. After the afternoon exercise the church met about Brother Barge his case in private. And upon examination of it were divided in their apprehensions by reason they apprehended him penitently affected with his miscarriage and in fine concluded some counsel from the elders met at last lecture the fifth day of the said week and chose Brother Jacob Parker to carry down the case which was by the church there stated whether such a brother having so forgot the Lord’s day appearing to the church to be penitently affected with his miscarriage should be accepted upon a public acknowledgement without any church confession passed upon him. The elders’ return was for the affirmative, only a humble, serious, and hearty acknowledgement with due sorrow was to be afforded it being (as they called it) a strange and very blameable forgetfulness.

18 of 1st. 66.

This day Brother Barge made his public acknowledgement unto good satisfaction to the church and was reaccepted into their business.

7 of 4t. 66.

Brother Abraham Parker having charged Brother Blanchard with breach of covenant (a covenant or agreement made between these that pertained to and were proprietors in the field called Robbin’s Plain) after three several times hearing of the case on this evening they were to come again and did and there were present to assist me Mr. Adams, Brother Spalding, with Brother Fletcher, Brother Jacob Parker, and my son Moses. And after the examining the case (Brother Barge being brought by Abraham as a witness and the testimony of Joseph Parker) we gave this sentence. That according as it was presented and as we could discern of it by any evidence or proof &c. we judged that the charge was very rash and unadvised and without any regular ground.

After this was done we above named dealt with Brother Barge and Abraham Parker for the breach of that rule (Jer. 4:2) in a testimony they gave in unto the Court in 5t. of present in the meetinghouse in Jonathan Waddle’s case. Which was so far travelled in as twas concluded upon next Lord’s day (they having manifested to us for conviction of their evil) that they should make the confession publicly before the whole congregation. Which upon the 10th day of present, being the Lord’s day, they did and that unto some comfortable satisfaction.

8 of 5t. 66.

Samuel, Pelatiah, and Abraham, the sons of our Sister Butterfield in their minority, baptized.

16 of 7t. 66.

On this Bridget, the wife of James Richardson, taken into full fellowship and her youngest child, Elizabeth, was baptized. Edward Spalding, senior and Brother Underwood testified for her. Her confession whereof account was given to the church follows under these heads.

  1. 1. Conviction in general from Acts 16:18 a passage by old Mr. Bulkeley thereon that such as turn not from their worldly worries to come off to Christ shall be turned out with dogs. Whereupon her heart was smote with fear that twas her case. In particular of original sin from Job, can a clean thing come out of an unclean, and Psalm 51:4 actual sin and particularly from Commandment 4.
  2. 2. Stay from Isa. 1:18, though their sins were as scarlet &c., and from Isa. 55:1, Come buy of me without money &c. and incline their ear and your souls shall live.
  3. 3. Motivated to take to Christ from Acts 4:12 and II Cor. 5, the love of Christ manifested constantly.
  4. 4. Promise of comfort from John 6:37, he that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
  5. 5. Temptations and how overcome. 1) Fear of having sinned against the Holy Ghost by that passage in scripture, he that so sinneth hath not a heart to repent or to ask pardon; from Ezek., I take no pleasure in &c., and she apprehended or found in her heart a desire to repent. 2) God must be sought whilst He may be found &c. but it was too late for her, particularly from John 4, draw nigh to me and I will draw nigh to you. 3) She found nothing but sin in her and twas in vain for her to make use of ordinances &c., this from Rom. 7, the example of Paul saying the good that I would do I do not &c. 4) Her inability to do anything but here she must do to God in the name of Christ. She . . . as . . . and grace to serve Him.
  6. 6. The benefit she looked for from Christ was to help us save from sin for the time to come as well as to pardon sin for the time past.
  7. 7. The order of her joining, God requiring her to have respect to all His ordinances and to seek Him in all His ways.
  8. 8. The benefit by the supper, spiritual nourishments, and growth by Jesus Christ.
  9. 9. Her duty as to such she fear to break the rule of God: first, in general to show him his evil and press upon him to own his sin; second, in particular the manner and order as in Matt. 18; third, then to be satisfied when he appears willing and ready to confess and own his sin and humble himself for it.

Hannah Fletcher baptized, the daughter of Samuel Fletcher’s wife, viz. Margaret Fletcher.

23 of 7t. 66.

Baptized Thomas and James, the sons of Sister Richardson, the wife of James Richardson.

13 of 12t. 66.

A church meeting: about the deacon’s accounts. Inprs. [?] of that in Brother Hincksman’s hands, he in year 65 debits to the church as abovesaid, 07 – 09 – 00. Credit for a cow in Brother Keyes’ hand, 04 – 05 – 00. Item for 124 catechisms bought for church’s use, 03 – 02 – 00. Item upon mistake in former year 64., 00 – 02 – 00. Total 07 – 09 – 00. So Brother Hincksman’s accounts with the church be quitted. Brother Butterfield, the Lord’s day contribution,

year 65


year 66




Debits for year 65


for year 66 (viz. as which he had gathered in)




Credits for church expenses year 66 as in

these particulars appear:


Inprs. [?] for wine, 10 days


item: for bread


item: a swine for Brother Martin



item: for Brother Martin 2 bush. Indian



item: for Brother Jacob Parker a

messenger to the Bay


for what he hath received into his hands of

the church’s debit


for what he hath expended, credit


so he rests debit


There remains behind to be gathered in of

the Lord’s day contribution:

for year 65.


for year 66.


Due to the church but yet in the deacon’s hand

from particular persons



Church stock:

item: a cow

item: 04–19–02

item: 05–12–05

total 10–1–0780

item: bought in catechisms, 03–02–00

item: in Brother Keyes’ hand the cow’s hire, at May 67. 00–10–00

Mr. Webb, Brother Hincksman, and Brother Fletcher voted to be desired by the church to inquire and lay out to see how the contributions to the poor societies in England may be conveyed and to inform the church that what is engaged may be called in and disposed of accordingly to the end it was gathered.

Item: voted that the building of a place in the meetinghouse to lodge the contribution corn be referred and delayed this following year. Brother Butterfield to receive the contribution to his own house.

Sarah Hildrich propounded to the church as desirous of church fellowship.

26 of 3d. 67.

Sarah Hildrich taken into covenant full fellowship with this church. Sarah Farwel, daughter to the present pastor, dismissed to the church of Christ at Concord.

To the reverend &c.

The wise hand of God’s providence having so disposed of Sarah Farwel our sister, the wife of John Farwel, as to have her fixed residence amongst you whom you have admitted now for some space of time to the ordinances of Christ amongst you as one of you (which proof of your owning communion with this church we readily take notice of and as gratefully acknowledge) and of whom you have had the advantage of some competent acquaintance and experience. Upon her desire of dismission from this church unto you after due consideration of the matter and approbation given to her said motion, her said desire was granted by a free and joint vote in the face of the whole congregation upon the 26 of present. These are therefore to signify unto you that you being satisfied concerning her she is at liberty and we judge it her duty to join with you in the covenant of your church and to intreat you to receive her in the Lord as becometh the saints to watch over her and to administer unto her all the holy things of His house to that end as she may be presented blameless before Jesus Christ at His great day. And so commending you to the grace of God with the desire of the communion of your prayers do rest.

Your brother in the faith and fellowship of the gospel,

John Fiske

in the name of the church

Chelmsford 27 of 3d. 67.

Upon a report touching Joshua Fletcher that he had been at Rhode Island among the Quakers and of his idle and expensive courses at Groton, Concord, &c., the church was called to consider of the matter. Brother Adams confirmed the report saying to this effect in the church, that he was in a way to gain himself and to spoil others. And he would be in danger to spoil his children (for at that time one of his sons was with Joshua at Groton, gone thither when he was from home and had been there several days and had bought a horse there but his father made his bargain void). In the process of the discourse Brother Adams pressed the church to look into the groundwork, viz. his father’s family, and spake much that way laying the cause and root of all this upon the parents and the family.

Whereupon the church chose several to be joined with the officer to search into the matter and to drive it as far as they could and then to bring it unto the church. The brethren chosen were Brother Farwel, Brother Spalding, Brother Adams (who declined to act in the matter because of relation), so the church chose Sergeant Foster in his room. Others present at the private agitation at my house were Brother Barge, Brother Jacob Parker, Brother Kemp, and Moses Fiske.

26. of 10t. 66.

We met and Joshua Fletcher attended. Several things were spoken to him but he excused and evaded all. And in reference to his leaving his family and to being out of God’s way, he alleged his father’s consent. And as to the cause there were some that would manage that, besides some more private examining of things between his father and him.

1. of 11t. 66.

Joshua being sent to by Brother Farwel and Brother Spalding to attend on this day after the lecture who also had promised them, yet attended not the brethren who waited for his coming till nigh sunset. And after we had information that he rode by the house in the time whilst we were together with Mary Martin behind him. Matters lay upon further inquiry and consideration until 3 mo. 67 and then upon a sabbath day after the afternoon exercise he had notice by Jonathan Barge and Jacob Parker to attend the church but he attended not.

About a fortnight or 3 weeks after he was called forth in the mixed congregation and charged with these four particulars: first, his nonattendance upon the church when required; second, his non-attendance upon the officers and brethren when required; third, his non-attendance upon catechising neither in public nor private since his leaving his father’s house; fourth, his non-attendance upon his father’s counsel and government. His answer to the last was that he could not justify it but did condemn himself. In that the other he somewhat shifted and excused. But before his charges he publicly owned himself (being demanded) to be under the watch and government of Christ in His church.

After several agitations in some private church meetings about the matter twas voted that he should be admonished. The vote passed 23 of 4t. 67. The admonition was given 30 of 4t. 67. The ground was his having for some space of time acted the part of a child of Belial (II Cor. 6:15).

2 of 5t. 67.

After the lecture the brethren met at the officer’s house and had some miscarriages of first Brother Fletcher in consideration as: his charging of the testimony of Jonathan Stevens and William Blunt, concerning Jonathan Bates, with falsehood; his reproaching of witnesses that were called upon to bring in their testimony with respect to some dis. . . . reported to have been in his family with the town d. . . .; his neglect of his duty touching the well governing of his family and in suffering sin and miscarriages therein (under his nose); conniving and smothering the same as instance especially in case of John Bates and of Joshua Fletcher, as also of his wife. In the issue it was concluded and he was advised to abstain from the Lord’s table till such time as he had given satisfaction for these offenses and the matters were cleared.

Second, miscarriages of Sister Fletcher against whom were brought in testimony of her frequent using of reviling terms to and concerning others and not only Joshua but even her own children calling them by the name of rogue, rascal, hellbound, the devil will take them (and as said the word devil had been so oft in her mouth as the very Indians had taken notice of it and spake of it in the town, but this was yet reported in the church second hand). Hereupon it was agreed the same concerning Sister Fletcher that she should be advised to abstain until satisfaction had been given and these presumptions cleared.

Sister Fletcher was publicly admonished as in the form of admonition, the causes candidly expressed. And about a month after upon her open confession restored again. Jonathan Bates was excommunicated. Joshua Fletcher admonished.

12 of 11t. 67.

Anna Fiske propounded to the church for full communion.

18 of 12. 67.

A church meeting upon the deacon’s accounts.


their disbursements in year 66 for bread and wine 9 days


to Brother Martin for 12 weeks, 3s. a week as by the

church appointed


to Mr. Moses Fiske


to Brother Martin in money


total expended



in hand of Lord’s day contributions year 67.


in payees not yet paid them


so the total of year 67.


So the church stock is, as follows.



Item: in a cow with Brother Keyes


Item: in rent due last May


Item: upon former reckoning year 66.


Item: in catechisms lent





Item: as abovesaid


so rest


Whereof in a readiness for dispose as being in the hands


and out of the hands in other hands as said


That whereas some were taken notice of as behind in their contribution for year 65 and 66, viz. Thomas Adams for y. 66. 00–07–00; Robert Proctor for y. 66 00–01–09; William Underwood y. 66 00–03–00; Richard Setchwel y. 65. 00–08–06 and y. 66. 00–09–09.

That the church made no proceedings with the two brethren in fellowship because the deacons took upon their own account and made themselves debtors for Thomas Adams and William Underwood. This day there passed these votes:

1. That the maintenance of the elements for the Lord’s table shall be raised from each and every communicant by their proportion or by vote (his rate) and not taken out of the church stock raised by Lord’s day contribution.

2. That to the g. . . of three pounds be raised for the relief of Brother Martin and the sum to be presently paid in to the deacons who shall weekly disburse to him 3s. per week so far as it goes and in case of his non abode with us the same to cease and the residue to be kept in the deacon’s hands for other church uses. This was concluded to be by a voluntary contribution of the brethren present and not out of the church stock because there wanted a sufficiency in hand for this and there defraying other necessaries. The contribution on the particular has amounted unto 03–02–00. 〈Mr. F. 0–5–0, Mr. W. 0–8–0, F.W. 0–3–0, S.F. 0–3–0, T.H. 0–6–0, W.F. 0–6–0, D.B. 0–3–0, B.B. 0–6–0, H.F. 0–3–0, J.H. 0–3–0, G.B. 0–3–0, A.P. 0–3–0, E. Sp. 0–3–0, G. No. 0–1–6, F. Bl. 0–1–6, E. Ch. 0–2–0, tot. 3–2–0.〉

3. That the deacons lay out to the value of 20s. for the use of Sister Shipley this following year to the procuring her some wine, sugar, or such other refreshings as she may stand need of and to bring it in in their accounts.

23 of 12t. 67.

Anna Fiske propounded to the church 12 of 11t. 67 and about a fortnight after propounded in public, was on this day. After her relation expressed (according to our order as taken in writing from her mouth before Brother Barge and Lieutenant Foster) was, after testimony given by Edward Spalding, Senior, and George Byam, admitted into full communion in this church.

17 of 3d. 68.

The church being met about considering the fact of Joshua Fletcher and John Waldo. John Waldo was concluded to belong unto Ipswich church he being (as his father testified) 19 years and upward and when his parents were admitted to this church not received in with them because he was neither dismissed to or by Ipswich church with his parents and according to this church’s vote was above 15 years old, see the note of 1 of 11t. 56.

This day letters of dismission upon Josiah White and Anna White, children of this church, unto the church at Lancaster were voted.

Voted also after much agitation that Joshua Fletcher should be called before the church to answer to the matter of fact charged against him and the church to consider of his answer and accordingly to determine in what way to bear witness against the sin of it or by what censure.

12 of 5t. 68.

The church after much agitation and conference with Joshua in several meetings and finding him still to grow more stiff and obstinate than other, resolved in fine that he should be called forth in public and that there the particular offenses would be openly laid before him and his answer demanded. Upon the return whereof the church to consider in what way they should bear witness against the same. Accordingly on this day after the exercises his miscarriages were mentioned with commandments or rules broken in this following:

  1. 1. Those for which the church at first called him before her; first, for refusing our proceedings from unjust prejudices and calumnies, and second, for his more manifest conviction as was then manifest and it done by order and agreement of the church, though some would not understand it so.
  2. 2. Those he gave to the church when met the former were; first, those that related to his pretended making love to her who is his wife, whilest in single estate, and second, those that intervened between that time and the time of his second admonition from the church.

Touching the second it was premised that he made love to her or that lawfully he might so do, neither did religion oppose nor we object nor would any reasonable person be offended at had he carried it according to the rules of verity, yea of sobriety, modesty, and civility. And in an orderly proceeding with consent of parents that he might have as certainly obtained his desires as now compassed in a more disorderly, scandalous, and indirect way.

The evils. In respect of first, his making love to her and consequently entangling her affections toward him without the consent, yea privity or knowledge of them who then were her immediate guardians or governors and to commandment 5. The pleas of consent of natural parents (if really it were so and that the young ones both knew it) aggravates this sin, as it infers their neglect of their duty to have counselled him in a way of God, Proverbs 22:6, or (as we rather judge) his stubbornness that would not observe their counsel, Deut. 21:20. Secondly as it infers that there was no necessity urging him to so irregular a course for had he met with opposition from her master or mistress (which he had no reason to conclude of), of her natural parents having (as said) consented might have eased it at their pleasure.

  1. 1. Misled her: he was merely through his own sinful heart and Satan’s lure. An act bidding defiance to all good order and government.
  2. 2. The time: his coming to her under such a pretense both in the night, in the dark of the night, speaking it a deed or work of darkness which we should have no fellowship with, Eph. 5:11. And even in the dead of the night, a time wherein persons are usually in their sound sleep. And how then which sensible of greater thunders, lightening, noises, &c. why such a season must needs be made choice of, if not to accommodate to some such design as no other season could suit and thus speaking some intended act of lewdness and dishonesty. Twas a leading her and himself into temptation (. . .) Lord’s prayer, Pet. 6. Twas a cross to a gospel charge, Rom. 13:12 and against commandment 7.
  3. 3. The place: her bedchamber when she was either in or upon her bed, an act of shameless impudency contrary to the exhortation, Tit. 2:6. Such as which he had no right or leave to come into but he usurp a liberty, a lawless, licentious liberty hereunto, whether from his own motion or the motion and countenance of any other we leave. This is an overturning of another’s just propriety and levelling of rights contrary to commandment 8.
  4. 4. The space of his abode with her: his continuance with her in this place at such a time for several hours together (from 11, 12, or I at night to the morning) and this at such a season of the year (in month 11 and 12, second day) when frost and snow was on the ground. And thus rationally conceived it hardly can be how it should be tolerable to have sat and abode with her without fire or other help of warmth, in a modest way. This to all rational men speaks incivility and immodesty.
  5. 5. The manner of coming into that place: (climbing up the house and entering in at the window). These scriptures left to consideration Job. 24:13–17 and Joel 2:9. The very manner of acting being the very shame of religion, yea of humanity and civility and the turning of our Bethels into Bethavens, the bringing in devils, satyrs, and Ziim [Hebrew for wild beast of the desert, Isa. 13:19–22] and Ijim [Hebrew for wild beast of the island, Isa. 34:11–15] to play their pranks there were we would have expected a guard of holy angels about ourselves. As this is contrary to piety, commandment 3, and to righteousness and civil peace, commandment 8 is broken.
  6. 6. Two other circumstances: that once at least this was done on the Lord’s day night or the evening after the Lord’s day exercises, a practice savoring of profaneness against commandment 4. That at that time he took a consort with him. John Waldo and him (after some space of time vainly and sinfully expended by them that evening together) led into the said chamber with him. As if he went to teach him the like ways withall impudently disclosing (in some degree at least) his said actings to some other young ones (this) to corrupt them and make them like himself in shameless wickedness.

His miscarriages with the time intervening the admonition and this great negligence in his calling, idle and expensive vagaries &c. His miscarriages before the church especially in her last meeting, pride, prejudice, and stubbornness manifested, shifting and excusing his matters, especially in that which concerned his horse coursing & races wherein there appeared some strong shows of falsehoods. Recriminations of some &c. one while with negligence of duty, another while with doing that we ought not as if we were too inquisitive and lazy and looked more strictly to his matters than to others and not dealing so gently with him as was meet. As if we unseasonably attended such matters on the Lord’s day and for not attending the same in the public congregation where he seemed by his expressions rather desirous to speak.

Joshua his answer, that he had said to the church what he hath to say and this is all he would now say. Being moved by the officer 4 several times to consider himself and to give some further answer or to desire at the least of the church some further respite, as until the next Lord’s day, to give in his answer and being offered by the officer if he would come to him in the week time he would help him in any the particulars whereas he said they were many. He held to that his first resolution and whereas the will of God and Christ was proposed to him what the church should then do from Matt. 18:17, he answered more than once, let His will then be done or to that effect. He heard and answered all along boldly and as without shame.

It being objected by some that these particulars were never thus laid before him twas answered and proved that all those (so the substance of them) which are expressed (except his last miscarriages before the church) though not in that order and method as here expressed have been more or less dealt in. Several of the brethren spake, Mr. Webb, Brother Hincksman, Abraham Parker, &c.

In fine the church voted him guilty of not hearing the church as Matt. 18:17. Voted that he should be excommunicated. Accordingly the sentence was propounded upon him and he departed.

This day also was appointed a day of humiliation and seeking of God by this church, viz. the following 5t. day of week being 16 of present on behalf of our English nation and ourselves in particular.

4 of 12t. 68.

A church meeting. At this meeting it was voted that the deacons should yearly give up their accounts to the pastor and two brethren sometime within this month. Ensign Hincksman and Richard Hildrich were voted to be joined as the two in this matter to audit these our accounts. Henry Farwel was also voted to read and set the psalm on Lord’s day. Also that Brother Foster should procure a flagon for the Lord’s table with that legacy Brother Kemp gave to the church. Goodman Proctor intruding himself was sent away, the meeting appointed only for the brethren of this church.

At this meeting it was propounded the main reason of their being called together, viz. the considering about the procuring of another teaching officer and that the desire of divers brethren coming to the pastor to move it. And it was asked John Barge (who formerly was the mouth of the said company) if it were not so, who granted it. After a speech exhortory to unity, agreement, and concurrence it was proposed for an engagement so to act for the future and that articles of the engagement be read. After the reading of the same deliberately once and again and asked if yet they would hear it again, twas answered they did understand it. Then I put it to the vote so many as were free to subscribe to this engagement to manifest it by lifting up of their hands. To which about 10 voted and these were the said 10 that subscribed in the presence of their brethren.

Thomas Chamberlain objected that he did not like the distinction of parts, one part and the other part, whereas he pretended we were all one. This answered unto. Then twas objected that twas expressed on one part, the brethren that have been moving for another teaching officer to satisfy them twas altered. They who have been moving for a church meeting about &c.

Richard Hildrich objected against the first article touching the passing of offenses on either part as that which laid a tie upon the cause of these that had offenses against their brethren that they could not attend the rule. This the most of them laughed at and much time was spent about the reasoning of that particular. In so much as the pastor did desire if the offense lay against him they should do it to the rest of their brethren and exempt him. They answered in the negative. Several, viz. Sergeant Adams, Richard Hildrich, Thomas Chamberlain and some were silent. Several other brethren then proposed the same thing, but they were silent and refused to express who. Then twas propounded to them to omit the first article. At last after much reasoning an hour was granted them and they went to John Fiske’s house about 9 or 10 of them, Henry Farwel staying behind. And there they were, as some did judge, about 2 hours and were in mean time sent for but came when they saw their own time. When they came they declared their refusal, but no reasons. Then it was desired to know if they had not taken a copy which at first they sought to hide. It was urged if they had that it might be produced and compared which they promised should be before divulged.

(So upon the Lord’s day even following Thomas Chamberlain brought it and so compared it.) They desired further time of consideration about it only Richard Hildrich was peremptory in his denial, urging that the first article lay a tie upon his conscience, that he could not proceed against an offending brother for any former offenses according to the rule (Matt. 18).

Nextly their motion was considered of and agitated and it desired of them to make it out that the town was able to maintain two ministers. Richard Hildrich opposed to attend that as saying it was not the work of this meeting but to consider whether we need a teacher and whether we were willing to have one. These things were spoken something to and we returned to the former. There it was pressed, seek first the kingdom of God &c., and that it lay more upon the will than upon the ability, and a few showers of rain may do much towards the enabling the widow that cast in these mites. N. . . that in that great work consulted not with flesh and blood, they living by faith and what will a man do if his life lies at the stake for a skin and all that a man have will he give for his life. Some of which were spoken to as that of the widow, she contributed not to the ministers for she had no tithes to pay &c. but this was to the treasury and that in Matthew &c.

Brother Hincksman moved first to consider and provide and plan for the minister’s rating was conceived would not do for many would decline. It must be by voluntary contribution and so set himself down to write who would. It being urged that they that were so forward for another minister would underwrite what they would contribute towards it. But after about 3 quarters of an hour waiting and discussing about it, to saying that must be God present and enough, none would begin. So they moved that the church would commend it to the town. But we declined to act unless they would subscribe to the articles of agreement. If the selectmen saw cause they knew what they had to do. So the meeting was dismissed.

The copy of the articles as was propounded to be subscribed to another part. Chelmsford 4 of 12t. 68. An engagement between the pastor and brethren with him on the one part and certain other brethren of the same church who have been moving for a church meeting about another teaching officer on the other part, subscribed to in the public church meeting upon the day abovesaid.

We, whose names are hereunto subscribed, upon certain considerations propounded and had amongst us do solemnly and in the presence of God (namely the pastor and brethren on the one part, to their other brethren on the other part as abovesaid and the other brethren on the one part to the pastor and brethren on the other part even so many on each part as have hereunto put our hands) promise and engage each unto other jointly and severally. First freely to lay down and let fall all differences and offenses that may have formerly risen between us standing in any reference to the present matter (touching the procuring another teaching officer) on whither part seen or to any other matters and transactions had on either part to the grievance of the other, formerly or latterward, so far as the same are of an ecclesiastical nature and consideration whether common or personal. And so to endeavor and strive by the help of the Lord to avoid all the very appearances of any such evil for the future as is the acting of either part in any separate and divided way from the other in any such matter of common concernment to the whole church. And otherwise to use and exercise all Christian and brotherly charity, forbearance, tenderness, godly plainness, and openness of heart each toward other.

And further that neither we the pastor and brethren with him without our other brethren, nor we of those other brethren without the pastor and brethren with him on either part hereunto subscribing nor without the free mutual and joint concurrence, consent, and agreement of the other part first orderly obtained and had shall or will attempt or do aught in this matter above specified or in any other of the like nature for the future. And that by the town (concurrence) it shall be understood that a concurrence of the pastor and brethren with him with these other brethren on the other part and of those other brethren of the other part with the pastor and brethren with him even so many of us on either part who have hereunto subscribed. In all the votes which shall pass amongst us about the matters abovesaid essayed is included.

John Hincksman, Benjamin Butterfield, Cornelius Waldo, Abraham Parker, Edward Spalding, Senior, Samuel Foster, Thomas Hincksman, Thomas Barrett, John Blanchard, George Byam. The subscribers were such as were only on the one part.

3 of 1st. 69.

A church meeting where proposed the first article of agreement. They partly. . . it, partly performed a closure with their brethren but declined either subscribing or voting to it. Some expressed they were our article. Thomas Chamberlain objected against Abraham Parker his saying that they were like the Ephesians. Thomas Adams took in and would swear to these expressions. I opposed it as not understanding him to use these expressions but to speak by way of caution only and objected that Abraham Parker immediately explained himself. At that time they sought to make it a public offense before the church, but upon agitation the time when it was spoken was not a church meeting but upon 27 of 10 month when the 10 brethren came to move for a church meeting being Lord’s day after exercise. Hence twas concluded not a public offense wherein their church was orderly concerned. Abraham owned and stood to it that he spoke by way of caution. Thomas Chamberlain saw his own disorderly acting and took satisfaction from Abraham.

Many queries upon this first article as to evade it. First, in case a civil proceeding be first and does after discover . . . that not yet discovered. Second, in case it headed off since. Third, in case a private offense not satisfied. Fourth, if the means have been used and the end for time to come. Fifth, in case satisfaction hath been taken and after it appears otherwise. Which all were answered and an explanation tendered of that proposition of passing by all offenses before that 4 of 12t. Not these that arose since their time also of now a month to clear all offenses urged upon them. An explanation tendered of the other articles, viz. that the concurrence be understood of the major part of the brethren on both parts and in case of difficulty arising from the promises in any future case due counsel to be taken and made use of.

Notwithstanding all they denied the either subscribing with us or the voting to the same. At last in order to the sacraments the first was propounded to be voted: several forms of vote were proposed but excepted and cavilled against. At last Thomas Adams (a great speaker) expressed himself in these words, that we find nothing that should (regularly) retard or hinder the church regularly from communicating together at the Lord’s table. Which words were presently taken up and put into the form of a vote and put to vote. The major part voted this (Brother Underwood, Daniel Blodgett, John Wright, John Hildrich, the two Chamberlains, Thomas Adams, William Fletcher, suspended) in the affirmative and negative. But being put to it to give the reason of their suspension they granted an implicit vote and themselves were to be included as voting the same. So the sacrament was given notice of to be next Lord’s day upon this answer given by Thomas Adams and the rest, except Richard Hildrich, seeming to us to consent to it.

Also myself, Brother Hincksman, and the rest of our part did particularly declare to this effect, that as to the procuring another teaching officer they should not expect us to act therein with them but against them so long as they concurred not with us in the articles of agreement propounded or in some other of the same validity. So I gave them flatly a negative answer on behalf of myself and the rest of the brethren with me to these propositions to the church about the joining to get another teaching officer.

6 of 2d. 69.

By John Stevens was presented to me under the hands of 10 of them certain grievances as they called them concerning of our propositions and negative answer.

19 of 2d. 69.

To which an answer was after returned upon this day as the copy of the said answer. . . . . . [three words illegible].

9 of 3d. 69.

It was sacrament day with us and Richard Hildrich being present at the word withdrew from the sacrament. Hereupon a church meeting was called and himself warned to attend the church. Of whom the officer after prayer demanded the reason of his withdrawing at that time as also two sacrament days before absenting himself on these two days out of town. He replied, asking him whether the church did demand it. To which he answered in effect that the officer had orderly called the church together and warned him to give an account of this thing before them and now according to the trust committed to him by Christ and His church demanded this of him. Then Richard Hildrich gave this answer. First, that he had answered the officer before. The officer replied he had had no such speech with him before about this last thing but the two former times and this last act of his was a publicly manifest offense. Besides what was formerly said by him in the two former cases was in private and whether he would stand to it now was not known and that his express answer was now required.

He said it was out of conscience that he did it (or to that effect). Asked why, he alleged things being as they were in the church; asked what these things were and what he meant by the actions, he spoke of the sabbath before, the day of public humiliation in the face of the whole congregation. He said things, not persons (though asked by a brother who was that action, he named and pointed to Brother Hincksman and the officer and said others but this he showed from arguments as desiring an interpretation of his meaning) the things were pressed to be showed what they were. He instanced in the way of the propositions (much being discoursed about them). The answer was given, first, that he might have understood by the answer of the pastor &c. to their grievances concerning them, that they were laid by and that the reason given in that answer of their negative answer to their motion about a teaching officer was the use of their lawful liberty. Second, that not withstanding these propositions the church had voted in the church meeting on 3 of 1st. 69 that they found nothing that should regularly retard or hinder the church from communicating together at the Lord’s table. Third, that in case there had been just offenses given him by several brethren of the church yet in case he had done his duty he ought not to withdraw in this ordinance of communion, he withdrawing therein not only from offending but not offending brethren and in charging the cause upon the offense given him by some. He actually by his withdrawment charges it upon the whole church.

He said that he had not done what he should have done. The which answer was taken of that there was a double guilt. First, that he owned himself to have been in the neglect of a duty though not in part but in the full performance of what he ought &c. Second, his heart could not frame to repentance for it as a requisite preparative to the Lord’s table. He said (to this effect) he would and intends to do more &c. and there seemed to weary of the sight and owning his sin, replying of times to the care of keeping the peace of his conscience. And when he was pressed with the breach of a rule in breaking the communion of the church and separating from it he said (to the officer) he preferred the peace of his conscience before their communion. In fine whereas the brethren had reasoned about their leaving or laying by of their proposition which last namely to lay them by so as not to make use of them further than as necessity urged for their own . . . defense. And they had desired time of consideration whether they should accept of it and so close, yea or no, this meeting was deferred to that day sevennight to receive in the brothers’ answer and Richard Hildrich minded to prepare to give the church then also a more satisfactory answer than he had done now.

23 of 3d. 69.

Hannah Blake received into full communion this day sevennight. She had this day two children, viz. Hannah and Sarah, baptized.

This day a church meeting (for the day appointed was deferred hitherto) Richard Hildrich acknowledged his offenses, desiring the prayers of the church.

The case left the former meeting was proposed again to the brethren whether they would set down with the laying by the aforesaid proposition. Their answer by William Underwood amounted to this, that they expected them to be laid by and that the church should go on to consider further of the brethren’s proposition about an officer, either teaching or preaching, there being an inconvenience in having but one.

It was replied. First, that their proposal was only upon account of a teaching officer and in agitation this was consented to that twas that was sought. And one reason given because the present could of times not be heard. Second, that the inconvenience instanced in did seem to favor that report that went abroad the present officer did refuse to bring the offense of a brother to the church and that twas desired they would express if any such thing were intended. And the two Chamberlains affirmed, saying there was such a thing. William Underwood and Thomas Adams denied that that was intended, but the officer when the case was propounded both testified that though he dissuaded the bringing it to the church as not being of church but of civil cognizance yet that he need peremptorily denied it. Edmund Chamberlain, though he contradicted this a while, yet in fine did grant he did not press it.

The officer desired all the brethren to bear witness from him that in case the offended brethren did come to him and require it he would bring it or any other offense heretofore taken up unto the church. However he should then to the church declare it was contrary to his advice served into the church and also his judgment as to the case. Edmund Chamberlain thereupon said to effect he thought not to bring it to the church. Third, that their answer in effect amounted to negative, viz. that they would not sit down upon laying by of the propositions. And on the other side it was said in case they would not sit down but proceed about the first proposition and pressing for a church meeting upon that account, that we intended not lay by these propositions, that in case of a church meeting whereas we had given in our negative answer to their proposal, as above-said, and they would not be so satisfied we should expect from them such reasons as might cause us to change our minds or we should be where we are and the meeting was not desired by us but condescended to only to gratify them; and that in case they intend any offenses to be called upon in that meeting that they should then attend order in bringing them beforehand to the officer to be made in a readiness for the church or else they were not intended by us to be attended.

27 of 4t. 69.

A church meeting agreed on following fourth day at 10 o’clock.

30 of 4t. 69.

The church met. The officer declared that the best account he was as then under a capacity of giving of the cause of the meeting was the gratifying the desire of some brethren that had much moved for it and so moved them that by some one of them the reasons of that their desire might be as from themselves expressed (for upon Lord’s day before when the officer mentioned the occasion two of the principal of them, Thomas Adams and William Fletcher, pretended to know or remember no such thing and said for their propositions formerly made to the church twas not irrational and Richard Hildrich made a matter of great wonder as if some strange thing had fallen out that the officer should then leave it to them to mention the time, whereas the officer said that some had confined it to some one of the four first days of the week and the last meeting before unto one day because of his non-attendance else that week and second that in this case he would not go before them in that business they were apprehended to be upon. Thomas Adams answered to the rest. First, that it was that they might have a loving debate together. Second, (he seeing the officer going to write) he desired nothing to be written. To which twas replied that twas hoped that we considered that we are before the Lord and now not intended to speak aught but we would be content to hear of it again if cause were. Pressed to declare the thing or things they desired to be spoken to twas then replied it was to consider with them about another teaching officer. We said that we stood to our negative answer and pleaded our liberty and first that we desired them to give in their reasons to see if they might move us to change our mind. And the officer said for his part he was determined not to speak much at present but considering he had said that they were before troubled that they had not liberty to speak all that they would they should now have full scope. Only order should be seen to by him to be observed.

Thomas Adams answered that: first, they had not complained of any abridgement (which if foresaid true, was not true); second, twas dissatisfactory to them that we should come up to a negative answer before a serious discussion of the matter. Thomas Hincksman answered that the matter had had a large discussion in the church already and much spoken to it on our parts and oft considered by us and we concluded against them that the place was not able to maintain two. Then Thomas Adams replied that he knew no rule that we must have so much or be so much worth before that we shall promote the ordinance of God (he had before said that their motion was either from the spirit of God or from man). Abraham Parker answered that then the pleas not long since for want of ability in the like case was not from the spirit of God and added Christ sent out two and two hath appointed pastors and teachers without any such limitation that we must be first so much worth and in Malachi bids us bring meat unto His house and prove the Lord &c. Twas said those things had been discussed already, that in Malachi answered and twas moved if indeed they did think God did call them to this at this present.

Thomas Adams boasted that his estate known and how much better than formerly and that he had not been behind hand and he had not complained and if God laid a bigger burden on him, God would enable him to bear it and that in the use of means we may expect the larger blessing. Answered that all these arguments tended to this, that we were called of God (as they would pretend) to get another minister and then to trust God how we should maintain him. But we conceived contrariwise and these allegations did not take off our resolution. To which Thomas Adams replied he had done.

William Underwood then took it up and urged if we let the ministry fall and that be not upheld what are our estates are worth and Boston was once as poor as Chelmsford yet they had two ministers and twas the advance of their estates. Thomas Chamberlain urged that 40 li. per annum might be a competent maintenance for a single minister and if ministers and their families would stoop so low as to fare and to go as themselves they might maintain two. Thomas Adams followed it and said tis matter to be humbled for that we cannot see pastor, teacher, and elder. Thomas Hincksman replied the poverty of the town, instanced in their own speeches upon several cases as the meetinghouse &c., and for him to act in this case to lay a burden upon others he should not deny his proportion if the rest concluded and he with Brother Butterfield either their poverty or their dishonesty.

Edmund Chamberlain objected that the poor should be no obstruction seeing we should have poor with us always. Thomas Hincksman replied that if they that desired it would help out these poor out of their own estates something might be done. But in this case he should not but see to do righteousness and pay that he could. Much was said of this and that they had estates, though they did honestly in being in debt for they hold their creditors how it was that they did so leave them. Abraham Parker replied that it would fall out as at Concord when they had two they must part because they could not maintain both and for himself, considering the state of his family, he was afraid to run himself upon a temptation for should he engage for two he did doubt whether when it came to he should find a heart to pay. Then the officer replied where God appoints the end He appoints the means and to that Malachi 3:10, it makes again them. F.B. urges that if God calls them there is a freeness and readiness in the people hereto. Thomas Chamberlain, the rising generation is to be looked to and we rather to expend our estates then to let souls run on to hell &c. And I Tim. 6:6, godliness with contentment is great gain. Thomas Hincksman’s answer, let us see how we can maintain another? Richard Hildrich: who made Chelmsford able to build bridges, meetinghouse, &c. to defray so many hundreds of pounds already? William Fletcher urged that there be some ready to pay double their former portion. Edmund Chamberlain urged Mat. 22:4 that when some ministers did not convert God sent others, so we having had little converting work under the present minister should look out for another. Thomas Chamberlain, Eccles. 4:9, two is better than one &c. Replied that several of these allegations had been answered in a former meeting. Thomas Hincksman said that there were many in the town that did profess against it not to give anything towards another. That in I Pet. 4:1 proposed on the other hand that we should minister according to the ability God hath given us and that that same Matt. 22:4 is of a parable applied to the Jews that successively had been supplied with prophets as some were taken away others came in their room and they up . . . that profited by none.

In fine this expedient was proposed to see what could or would be done first to accommodate a minister and so this vote was put. Vote, so many as be willing that it be propounded to the town by the selectmen in some public town meeting to consider together and to provide a house and accommodation in a readiness for continuance for the ministry. This was voted in the affirmative by all, none exempted, and the copy of the vote was left with Thomas Adams. After this it was proposed the way of catechising from house to house and the young or unmarried persons to meet at some one house of 4 or 5. The married to be visited in their own houses. Also for the propositions about baptizing of the children of the church children not yet come up to full communion which were left upon consideration.

27 of 12t. 69.

Mary Butterfield this day she was taken into full communion with this church having her dismission from c. . . Groton church, owned thereby . . . as a child of the church. Her relation being related and it very satisfactory and testimony given and taken.

14 of 1st. 69/70.

Deacons’ accounts. Brother Butterfield sent in his accounts by Brother Farwel. To this appointed by the church to receive himself being not well, viz. Ensign Hincksman and Richard Hildrich with the pastor. And it was found as followeth, that in 12 mo. year 67 he was debtor to the church stock, all the church debts discharged, 16–06–10. Out of which was deducted Richard Setchwells &c. 01–01–04.

So rest upon old account debits


item: by the Lord’s day contribution y. 68


item: by Lord’s day contribution y. 69


item: by rent of the church cow from May y. 67. to May y. 68





to Goody Shipley laid out


to Edmund Chamberlain set off


to widow Parker of the 2 last years set off








So Brother Butterfield rests debtor at this day to the church stock for contribution on Lord’s day reckoned to be received by him to the church use together with the church cow according to the price that was given for it, the rent from the cow two years 20s., that of the church stock taken for their procuring catechisms 3 li., 2s., all the church debts discharged he, I say, debtor and to be countible for the whole sum, 22–07–00. Deduct of there Goodman Setchwell’s account 00–17–06.

10 of 2d. 70.

This day the sergeant (Thomas Adams and his wife) absent. Phoebe Richardson, the daughter of Sister Richardson and James Richardson, baptized.

17 of 2d. 70.

Elizabeth Boutel propounded to the church.

8 of 3d. 70.

Mary Butterfield baptized, the daughter of Mary Butterfield.

15 of 3d. 70.

Nathaniel Blodgett, the son of Daniel Blodgett, baptized. Elizabeth Boutel taken into the covenant of this church.

3 of 5t. 70.

This day Elizabeth Stevens propounded to fellowship. Church meeting. After discussions the brethren stayed and Richard Hildrich his offenses with an im. . . of the pressing im. . . of the said Richard that they should be presented to the church. The offenses were against Thomas Barrett who he charged with lying saying on 1 of 1st. 70 in a public town meeting that his hair stood right up or on end when to the observation of witnesses it did not. This thing, after scanning, was by vote cast out of the church. There were only 7 or 8 voted, the rest suspended.

Also against Lieutenant Foster charging him for reproaching him in neglect of catechising at the same time. This was for present after some agitation left in suspension upon the seeming clearing and proving of the charge. Something being said by some which Lieutenant not being present could not be so answered unto to general satisfaction.

5 of 5t. 70.

Being lecture day, after lecture I spoke to the church that considering the sacrament was to be next Lord’s day and Lieutenant Foster was not at home that they would consider of sometime before they departed for the church to meet together. What day between that and the Lord’s day they could agree of to issue the said matter concerning Lieutenant. So I left them at present, some town business being in hand. But as touching any meeting nothing was determined by them and the next Lord’s day they came without any further objection to the sacrament who before professed themselves offended.

10 of 5t. 70.

The sacrament, all came to the sacraments and none manifested any offense against Lieutenant.

1 of 6t. 70.

Brother Farwel died suddenly in the morning and was buried upon our lecture day. After lecture the church met and chose Brother Hincksman to assist next Lord’s day at the sacrament.

24 of 5t. 70.

Elizabeth Stevens, the wife of John Stevens, her relation being read to the church and testimony given for her by William Underwood, Daniel Blodgett, and Sister Shipley she was received into full communion. (Sergeant Adams only suspending his vote, as usually.)

14 of 6t. 70.

Sister Goodhue, late the wife of Mr. John Webb, had her dismission granted to Ipswich church and accordingly sent on 16 of 6t. to her from Mr. Fairweather to be conveyed to her.

7 of 6t. 70.

Sacrament day, at night the church came to my house and by paper votes nominated Brother Hincksman for deacon, three votes only for others. And upon conference (in his absence) all except one voted for him. So the church gave him a call to the work and he took a fortnight time to consider and return his answer.

21 of 6t. 70.

The church received the answer from Brother Hincksman for a present attendance upon the work (this at a meeting at my house after evening exercise) and the church chose and desired our Captain to set the Psalms and Brother Hincksman to read them. Brother Hincksman propounded his grievance about the defect of many in the Lord’s day contribution and how dishonorably it was carried on, sometimes only two or three, and pressed for consideration and twas after some agitation referred unto a meeting upon some weekday to discuss the matter according as after should be agreed.

After all was done Richard Hildrich proposed his grievance that the Lieutenant’s offense (as he called it) was neglected by the church. Some uncomfortable agitation it occasioned and his disorder spoken to, though nothing could be issued in it.

28 of 6t. 70.

The church stayed, it was propounded for a church meeting upon the weekday with respect to the matter of Lord’s day contribution and to Richard Hildrich’s grievance. The brethren were not free for a meeting because of the stresses of the occasions. But as to Richard Hildrich’s business they thought a few words might issue that. So the charge lying upon proof, the church’s mind was desired if they would look into it. And some altercation about it, whereupon Lieutenant took occasion to speak and explained himself what he drove at in his speech and told the church that nowithstanding if [blot] proof came in and positively testified to that he said which himself was not advised of, viz. that Richard Hildrich neglected catechising in his family, he must lie down under the testimony and own the evil of the expression and as to the public speaking of it, considering the evil consequence of so much disturbance following if it had been to speak again he would not have spoken it publicly at that time but had taken another more seasonable time to have told Richard Hildrich his mind. With this the church was satisfied and generally voted it (even Thomas Adams voted hereto).

1 of 10t. 70.

Brother Butterfield’s accounts.

debts to the church

in y. 65


in y. 66


in y. 67


in y. 68


in y. 69


in rent of a cow


in catechisms received (left in Brother Foster’s hand of the catechisms 01–12–00

he debtor total




He rest to the church debtor


The year 68. 04–06–02 taken out of the church stock to be in the deacon’s hands to enable him to provide for the seals till the rate comes in. The cow not reckoned nor her rent since in Brother Barge’s hands. Lieutenant Foster have in his hands of the catechisms 01–12–00.

y. 70 debts


the cowhide


item: by Brother Byam


more in part rent of cow



So 10 of 10t. 70. upon accounts Brother Butterfield debtor to the church


and Brother Keyes behind of the rent of the cow


that of Edmund Chamberlain for seals y. 69 deducted


then rest


Brother Butterfields accounts; credits

in y. 66


in y. 67


in y. 68


abated by Richard Setchwel


by widow Parker


by Edmund Chamberlain


by Edward Spalding senior


delivered to Sister Shipley


item: to Sister Shipley y. 70



29 of 11t. 70.

Mary Colburn, the wife of Robert Colburn, commended to us as a child of the church. I communicated the letters of recommendation of Mary the wife of Robert Colburn, Junior, from the church at Beverly to be received and watched over by us as standing in such a relation to them as not in full communion but having owned the covenant of God personally and subjected herself under the watch and government of Christ in that church and engaged to walk in obedience to the commands of Christ.

23 of 2d. 71.

John Martin. At a church meeting Brother Martin having been several times dealt with for idleness and his neglect of his particular calling or living disorderly and not employing himself in any lawful outward employment. The charge was before the church laid before him and in particular that in the space of a year’s time he had been observed not to do so much as might amount to a penny a day taking one day with another throughout the year. Witnesses and evidence ready, but Brother Thomas Chamberlain and myself testifying to some particular, they testified the church thought it no need to call them in. For himself granted both formerly in private and at this time to us the truth of the charge. And he alleged his inability and that he hath not whereabout to set himself awork and he refers to a certain paper concerning a case which he had given in for satisfaction as he said.

The church resolved that these answers were not a sufficient plea, but confuted each of them and objected his neglect of teaching his grandchildren to read when desired. In fine the church unanamously voted that he was guilty of willful idleness and neglect of a particular calling or any employments suitable to his ability and that he should be publicly admonished therefore. And twas agreed that the selectmen should consider some way of employ for him and put him upon it seeing he could find out none himself that he could frame to. And that his paper of answers should be further considered of to see if aught could be found out of reality according to the purport of the same. For he would . . . no person.

30 of 2d. 71.

This day, after the afternoon exercise, in the public congregation John Martin was called forth. The case declined, himself demanded what he had to say and if yet God had affected him with the sense of his evil. His answer was to this effect, that offenses must come but woe to him by whom offenses come and that as to the offense charged, he was guiltless. After some speech with him and he standing to his former plea of inability it was first moved to any of the brethren if they had aught to speak why the church might not proceed to censure. Richard Hildrich only spake that the proceeding should be as determined for no satisfaction was tendered (or to that effect). Whereupon a silent vote was put and space given for consideration and speech. But after long space of silence the admonition was given him. Prayer promised for a blessing upon that ordinance. The form and manner of his admonition was in writing which may be seen amongst the other writings concerning church affairs.

17 of 3d. 71.

After election of magistrates the brethren stayed to debate some grievances that Brother Hildrich and his company pretended to have against the pastor and several other of the brethren. And after much debate, even until night, they came together to this ensuing vote. Vote: these several particulars following lovingly debated between the brethren of this church, viz. a passage charged upon the pastor to have been used by him to 7 or 8 brethren sometime since. The passage being this: that the carrying about the paper for another minister was sinful.

An offense taken up by Brother Richard Hildrich against Brother Parker. The matters of a paper &c. carried about by Brother Hildrich for another minister, Brother Hildrich’s speech at the town meeting. The presentation of Brother Hildrich. The propositions. The brethren in the several particulars manifested themselves satisfied touching the other. Thereupon all former offenses upon these accounts we hereby vote to pass by as touching one another and laying by all chargings of other with respect to former particulars for the future to look home each into our own hearts. And therefore do agree upon a day of humbling ourselves together before God and imploring His favor and a pardon of all our evils. The day agreed upon being 25t. of instant, the 5t. day of the week.

21 of 10t. 71.

Vote about deacons at a church meeting. To prevent future . . . about the power of deacons to dispose of the church stock put into their hands it is concluded by the church and they do hereby manifest that the church hath left the same wholly to the deacons to dispose (as God shall direct them and according scripture rule) of the same without consulting the church.

This day at this meeting Brother Thomas Hincksman and Brother Foster were chosen to the office of deacons. Brother Butterfield at his request by reason of his age being discharged. And the matter of proceeding with these abovesaid two deacons in way of ordination is left upon (further) probation and consideration unto the latter end of the first month 1672.

The matter about baptizing of the children of these whose parents are not in full communion with us agitated and referred for a conclusive vote to next Lord’s day.81 The next Lord’s day this matter abovesaid about baptizing and referred to that day sevennight.

31 of 10t. 71.

The church met again and voted as followeth. That such persons amongst us whose parents were or are one or both of them in full communion with this church and have children one or more being willing and desirous to have them baptized are to repair to the pastor of this place and manifest to him such their desires. Who shall appoint with them the day and hour of their coming to his house to be examined by him touching their knowledge of the ways of God. And they have their liberty to bring with them one or two of their relations or others in full fellowship with this church to hear such their examination. The pastor also having his liberty to call in any one or two of the brethren in full fellowship to be with him at that time.

And the account of this examination (with the answers) to be taken in writing and communicated in the gross or substance of the same to the church. And the persons accepted by the church shall be propounded in the public congregation upon some Lord’s day. And if between the day of their propounding and the next sabbath no objection comes in against him or her so propounded carrying matter of scandal the pastor is to give him or her notice to bring forth their children on some Lord’s day convenient unto baptism. Where these parents publicly declaring their assent unto the doctrine of faith as held forth in the catechism of the assembly of divines and owning the covenant of their parents here engaging themselves to stand to the covenant which their parents are entered into with the Lord and professing and engaging their subjection to the government and discipline of Christ in this church, their children are to be baptized.

It was also agreed by the church that only the former part of this vote should be publicly declared. And that after such their examination they should be propounded to the church. And then that they shall have further order declared to them by the pastor for their further direction and their season of attendance to the bringing forth of their children to baptism.

To this vote and agreement abovesaid Brother Blanchard and Brother Stevens declined to join. Brother Blanchard manifesting his scruples in writing and so be set down passive. Brother Wright and Brother Richard Hildrich were not present in any these church meetings.

7 of 2d. 72.

This day after sacraments and afternoon exercise Mrs. Elizabeth Hincksman propounded to the church and her relation read to the church and brethren to consider of her for their satisfaction to the next sabbath. And if no objection comes in then to propound her in public.

That the matter of the call of our 2 deacons to office having had some time of probation it was agreed to reserve the further conclusion of the matter unto this day 5 weeks being the next sacrament day. And in mean season each side to satisfy themselves touching their taking office and being ordained.

14 of 2d. 72.

Mrs. Elizabeth Hincksman propounded in the congregation.

18 of 2d. 72.

Mary Warren, the daughter of Richard Hildrich, presented herself to trial, propounded to the church.

22 of 2d. 72.

Mary Warren propounded in the public congregation.

28 of 2d. 72.

Mary Warren after owned her baptismal covenant and her two children baptized. The elected deacons upon the time aforesaid refused ordination but were persuaded to continue their places provided the church to look out for one to supply Brother Hincksman.

Mrs. Elizabeth Hincksman the elder taken into the covenant and fellowship of this church at the age of about 67 years.

2 of 12t. 72.

Eleazar Brown, he having stood propounded 3 weeks was this day taken into the church into full fellowship after the relation of the work of grace made by him, his assent manifested to our church confession and covenant, and testimony of Mr. . . . Bulkeley, Lieutenant Hincksman, and myself.

30 of 1st. 73.

Josiah Richardson, he having been propounded 3 weeks to the church and a fortnight to the mixed congregation after the relation of the work of God in drawing his soul to Himself, and his assent manifested to our church confession and covenant, and the testimony of Lieutenant Hincksman, and Ensign Fletcher for him, he was I say, received into the church in full fellowship. In month second his children baptized.

11 of 3d. 73.

Priscilla Spalding this day she having stood propounded a fortnight was admitted (her relation being read) unto full communion. Her children, Dorothy, Deborah, and Sarah baptized.

13 of 5t. 73.

Lydia Perham this day her relation being read and other things orderly attended she was admitted to full communion. Her children Mary, John, Joseph, and Anna baptized.

10 of 6t. 73.

Hannah Spalding received into full communion with the church and her 6 children on 24 of 6t. baptized, viz. John, Edward, Samuel, Eunice, Hannah, Deborah.

24 of 6t. 73.

Mary Woodward received into full communion in this church and her 2 children that had been baptized in Concord.

9 of 9t. 73.

Hannah Farwel she admitted to our covenant and after Hannah, Joseph, and Elizabeth baptized.

3 of 10t. 73.

Vote that every settled communicant at the Lord’s table amongst us do between this present day and our next lecture day bring in or cause to be brought in unto one of our deacons of this church the proportion of 18d. per head in silver. And if more of the same family proportionally and this to be in the deacons’ hands to procure wine from time to time for the use of the Lord’s table. And when the stock is nigh expended the officer is to give notice of another day for the bringing in the like proportion in silver, as aforesaid, to the same use. And so on from time to time as need shall require. Our Brother Foster is to receive it at present and procure the wine. Brother Hincksman to continue his place and pressed for what is behind.

10 of 10t. 73.

Deacons’ accounts.

Brother Butterfield hath delivered up into Brother Foster’s hands of the church stock


item: Brother Keyes owes the church for rent of the cow


item: in Brother Foster’s hands rest of the church catechisms


item: contribution for y. 71


item: contribution y. 72


item: contribution y. 73 (4 of 10. 73).


so total 3 years contribution


Out of which is to be taken Capt. Adams his contribution on Lord’s day which he gave to the seals, his whole being 00–10–00 and he debtor to the seals, 00–10–10 for years 71, 72, 73, so of the 3 years contribution rest 05–04–01 so in Brother Foster’s hands of the church stock



Besides the catechisms abovesaid


Item: yet remaining in Brother Keyes hands for the cow rent of the church’s


These accounts on 4 of 10t. 73.

27 of 5t. 73.

At the meeting of the church at my house voted Brother Richard Hildrich’s case. That the case or matter of controversy between Richard Hildrich and Robert Proctor concerning the bounding of the meadow between them, and the sin relating to the same as on Richard Hildrich’s part be suspended from further consideration.

Agitation in the church until the sin and matter of offense be orderly charged and brought before the church. So Brother Hildrich being left to answer to the charge of his unjust charging of Robert Proctor with breach of promise or covenant and was ordered by the church to make his acknowledgement thereof.

3 of 7t. 73.

Brother Adams notwithstanding interposing to suspend his said acknowledgement saying a charge should be brought in in writing and the evidence when it came into public was after some agitation put upon Richard Hildrich to speak by way of acknowledgement. Brother Hildrich his acknowledgement: he acknowledged his infirmity and the rashness of his act in being instrumental of hindering his son Proctor from the sacrament and that himself is a man of much weakness and that he hopes it shall be a warning to him for the future. But he looks at naught else that he is to speak to, though he hears of many things to be laid to his charge which he is not now fit to speak to and objected the offended brethren had not orderly dealt with him yet about these things.

Next Lord’s day the charge brought in to myself by Brother Proctor with the pretended evidence. But by same not evidencing the charge we suspended the proceeding of it. Brother Proctor himself letting it fall and not prosecuting it.

30 of 6t. 73.

So Richard Hildrich called upon to make his acknowledgement of his evil in the unjust charge of Robert Proctor as said used these expressions: he was sorry for it and desired to be humbled for it; hoped it would be a warning for him; and that it was no small trouble to him that he had troubled the church &c.

Objection being made against the shortness and leanness of this confession and the former matters about the civil interest and the contest about it, being objected I dismissed the congregation and had the brethren to my house where after some agitation we brought it to this vote. That considering these matters as circumstanced we do rest in this acknowledgement and do leave the matter further to God and to our Brother Hildrich’s own conscience and himself to the liberty of communicating with us as of old until further light does appear.

This vote being in the affirmative by the major part by two, before I manifested the matter to Richard Hildrich or would admit the calling him in, I proposed in case of the rest unsatisfied herewith (as apprehending some guilt upon the church) that we should yield for their sakes, that the matter might be considered by a council and notwithstanding what we had voted that we would yield to that light they should help us unto upon their hearing of the case.

The brethren that voted in the affirmative many of them manifested themselves willing thereto, but the other refused saying the church had orderly cast if and they would there rest. So Richard Hildrich was called in and the matter declared to him with some serious counsel and he was silent.

5 of 8t. 73.

Samuel Chamberlain appearing before the church for his former absenting himself from public catechism promised for the future to attend in public according to the order (as he said because of quietness) and that he would be ready to attend also at my house to give me (with others when called) an account of all the former part learned by him to commandment 9th.

Brother Adams promised on the behalf of his sons; Sergeant Underwood promised for his sons that they would come to catechism.

19 of 8t. 73.

Mary Wadle she having been admitted into full fellowship with this church was herself and her three children (Mary, Rose, and William) baptized in the face of the congregation.

14 of 10t. 73.

Joseph Spalding, the son of John and Hannah Spalding, baptized.

11 of 11t. 73.

Samuel Fletcher, Senior, his child baptized called William Fletcher.

18 of 11t. 73.

Richard Hildrich had his dismission and of 3 of his children, Joseph, Percy, and Isaac, granted him to the church at Cambridge according to his desire, he declaring his purpose of settlement there and of living and dying there.

8 of 12t. 73.

Jacob Warren and Mary Warren these two admitted to full communion this day in our church and they and 2 children, infants, which they resigned to the watch of this church, Jacob and Joseph.

17 of 11t. 74.

John Waldo he being married and now having a child and his father speaking to me of his son’s desire some days before this that he would desire baptism for his child and telling me he would counsel his son himself to come to me only himself making light of it as wishing him fit and telling him he must be himself a believer (or to this effect) yet upon 15th of present his son came to me and declared his desire of his child’s baptism. I told him of the order of the synod and of this church. Which if he attended I know not at present but he might enjoy his desire and so left it to his consideration. On 16t. of the said month in the evening John came again to me and told me that he was willing to attend the trial as expecting that on this day I should appoint with him a time for his attendance. But the answer I then gave him was to this purpose, that I had forgotten when I spoke before with his father and after with himself that he was not of this church, but of Ipswich church, and that without his recommendation or dismission could not act.

His father came to me on this day after the afternoon exercise. Lieutenant Hincksman, Richard Hildrich, and some others being present and whereas I had given his son as if his child might be baptized I had upon my last speaking to him again discouraged him. I rehearsed to him what I had before said to him and alleged that the grounds thereof were forgotten by me when I had had discourse with himself and after with his son about the matter. But upon 15 day in the night, having a few thoughts about it, God brought it to my mind that he had been before rejected by our church and referred to Ipswich (see the cause in y. 68 in Joshua Fletcher’s case for which the church had concerned herself in him had he been of this church) and the reason why rejected as not belonging to this church (see 17 of 3. 68). And withall I manifested myself to be troubled with his son that he (as he confessed to me knowing the thing) and with himself much more that he being not ignorant of it himself should conceal it from me. Whereas they had had all this space of now nigh upon 7 years to clear this matter between Ipswich church and our church and should take this advantage, as twere, upon a sudden business to settle it and at such a season as upon hopes I would have forgotten it. And so it might have wrought to my prejudice when once the matter shall be remembered by some other and so I left it. After some agitation about it all which his allegations I answered him from the synod book and our church’s former vote.

31 of 11t. 74.

Henry Farwel, the son of Hannah Farwel, baptized.

28 of 12t. 74.

Elizabeth Woodward, daughter of Sister Mary Woodward, baptized.

4 of 2d. 75.

Joseph Barrett (being taken into full fellowship last sabbath) was on this day baptized and his daughter Rebecca baptized.

7 of 5t. 75.

John Bates he upon being pressed to go upon the country’s service against the Indians82 came in the morning to me touched with his sin and his condition in regard of the church censure and made to me a confession with much seeming affection which I wrote from his mouth with his desire of the prayers of the congregation for him, not knowing how God would dispose of him. Which I intended to present to the church the next day being Lord’s day but being dismissed home again I spake to him about some things short in that confession. On the week following he presented me with another more particular which after I had transcribed, for I could not read his own hand, I ordered him to attend me with the 2 brethren that were joined to me and in issue agreed to present his said last confession to the congregation upon which the church took off the censure and returned him to his first estate, as a child of the church. 25 of 5t. 75.