[The following material appears at the end of the notebook and is numbered in reverse. Omitted from this section is the covenant of the Salem church which Fiske included and the list of names of people who signed the covenant. This has been printed already in the Historical Collections of the Essex Institute, v. 1.]
Children Baptized in the Chelmsford Church
- Y. 65.
- 9 of 1. Rachel, the daughter of Jacob and Sarah Parker.
- 15 of 11. Josiah and Benjamin, the sons of John and Hannah Blanchard.
- 12 of 2. Mehitabel Barrett, the daughter of Thomas and Frances.
- 24 of 4. Solomon Keyes, the son of Solomon and Frances.
- 15 of 7. Samuel Proctor, the son of Robert and Sarah.
- 11 of 9. Ebenezer Wright, the son of John and Abigail.
- 8 of 12. Elizabeth Stevens, the daughter of John and Elizabeth
- Y. 66.
- 1 of 2d. Elizabeth and Mary, the daughters of James and Margaret Hildreth.
- 18 of 8.60. my contribution in f. . . in the peaters [?]
y. 60. paid by G. Spalding
item to Joseph Shipley in 2 food [?] mill
item, by Edmund Chamberlain ½ a. . . . . . Indian
[These are notes of disciplinary actions taken by the Salem Church while Fiske lived there.]
At a church meeting a question was propounded to the church by the desire of the magistrates of this country. What way or course is best to be taken of the church for ministers’ maintenance and the continuance and upholding of church ordinances. The church hath taken it into their consideration.
Our Brother Walker’s case brought to the church. He had been distempered in the head and distracted and for that time suspended from the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Now that he is judged to be recovered thereof, he is to be considered.
Elder: 1. that he hath not manifested himself to be humbled for his miscarriages in that time; 2. that he refuseth to come to assembly and to partake in the seals; 3. that he hath not brought his child, lately born unto him, unto baptism; 4. that commonly he neglects to beg a blessing and to give thanks at his eating.
Walker: he answers to the keeping back of his child that he judged himself as insufficient to one ordinance as to the other now the church had judged him as insufficient for one.
Elder: during the time of his distraction and since the elder had told him of the necessity of it [baptism].
Walker: yet he could not conceive but in the opinion of the church he was yet accounted insufficient because of his distraction.
Elder: then this should have humbled him before the church. But whether does he now desire communion with the church for he had manifested his desire of return to England?
Walker: he would demur at it and his reason was because of his unfitness through God’s visiting of him.
Elder: thus he charges God, not himself. Answer, he charges the devil, because his fall came from his tempting of him.
P.: charged him of having a lazy, idle disposition as the cause.
Walker: he justifies himself as yet.
R.: he hath sometimes desired freedom from the church communion. For coming into the assemblies, that he hath said that he is not bound to sit within the watch of the congregation, but may be abroad in time of God’s worship without the meetinghouse.
Walker: this he justifies also.
Elder, R. &c.: Their eyes (it is said) were fastened upon him. Answered, many objects are tendered abroad to draw away the mind.
Walker: (to the giving thanks at meat) that he is not bound to give appearance of it.
Elder: first in case of offense and second, in case of reverence some gesture is to be used after eating.
Walker: that soul repentance suffices and the hat may be on &c.
Elder: to that in I Cor. 6:20, when he had nothing to say in his defense further, they said he was convicted. Then he was urged, why he did not confess his sin?
Walker: that he desired not communion with the church, unless the church were content with the hand of God on him.
Church: it was objected against him: 1. that he would not stay from eating till others with him had begged a blessing; 2. that he would answer the church where he saw cause only; 3. that he was not bound in giving thanks to express words before God; 4. that it was supposed he was very ignorant.
P.: what is the fifth commandment? He would not tell and was asked, what difference there was between vocation and justification? He would, but could not tell. He confessed, that he read not a chapter by the whole week together, that he neglected the duty of prayer commonly in family, that he had said that points of evidencing of salvation are not to be meddled with by evil men, and that our pastor should catechise his boy and not him.
And the day after he was taken with a distracted distemper in his head. Issue, the church gave him an admonition out of Psalms 15:19–21 and upon it presently turning his back, he went forth out of the assembly.
Robert Cotty his case decided by the church which was that he conceived himself a member of this church. He came before the church with a portugal cap on. Against this it was objected from the danger of it, intimating that soul reverence only is necessary, contrary to I Cor. 11:7.
Second it was contrary to good report; whatever things are of good report provide all things honest in the sight of all men.
Question: he is a member of this church because he was recommended to the church, and because he was admitted to subscription to the covenant.
Reply: that he was not dismissed from his church but only recommended to the church which implied a purpose of staying for a time only hereto.
Question: the church now is dissolved from whence he recommended to go. Ezek. 44:5, Num. 13.
Reply: it is denied. Grant it that recommendation be so, a man may be of many churches together.
P.: to the two scriptures, Num. 13 was a rash vow. That the church inquired further upon him why he would subscribe and that the same day. For recommendations there are texts, though not so manifest for dismission. And that in Col. 4:8–9 shows that there is a distinction of members and a propriety to every church, one of you and one of us. The covenant then not first made, but renewed.
Cotty: that dismission is but a term of distinction for recommendation for letters dismissive are nothing but letters recommendatory.
Answer: as our Lord hath divers household now though the Lord sends a servant of one by the bye upon a message or the like to the other. Those servants shall give him entertainment, but he shall have no power of transacting anything in that house. Like as there from whence he came so here.
A question was moved to the church, viz. whether contribution was to be every sabbath and whether it was to be done so as every one might take notice what each doth contribute. It is referred to the further thoughts of the church.
Upon another day the case of our Sister Weston was brought before the church. When a matter of difference between her and another was at the court out unto the jury, she excepted against two of the jurymen, who were therefore offended and with them others also.
Sister: that she did think it her liberty.
Elder: true, that there is a liberty, but exception implies a just cause or tis not equal, viz. that he will not do justice or that he regards not an oath or that he bears some spleen.
M.: the law grants it in case of consanguinity or some nigh relation, but then the ground or reason must be showed to the judge of the court.
Sister: she denied to render a reason, lest that impeachment to his good name, whom she excepted against. And she said that the other was all one with the party against her and more frequent with him than any one member.
R.: Mr. Batter at Mr. Peter’s with Mr. Noyes afterward . . . the other have had frequent dealings there and that Sister hath broken a rule, Matt. 18 and Deut. 19, suspecting evil in them, she dealt with them. For the things were some long time before the courts.
Sister: she knew not they should be of the jury; she intended not a scandal. That she conceived them in a temptation and gifts blind the eyes of the wise.
R.: in aggravation of her fault, it was brought in against her, her carriage to our Brother Johnson, her disorderly carriage then before the church, he then taxing our pastor of hypocrisy, her opening the grievance there against a brother in her own case, her not dealing with such suspected brethren before, after so long a time, her confessing she saw no sin in them which aggravated her exception. So she was referred to the next church meeting.
Elder: he asks our Brother Walker how the case stands now with him.
Walker: that he justifies not his practice in the time of his distraction, that tis not in his power to reform himself, that he stands at the dispose of the church.
Elder: the church expects his repentance.
Walker: he knows not what to say to it.
Elder: what he answer to the church as touching the withholding his child from baptism.
Walker: he silent.
Elder: the church desires satisfaction.
Walker: that he looks not upon himself as meet for communion but that he shall be meet when God shall turn his heart (yet that he well understands the church’s expectations and that because distemper and faithless).
Pastor: that it appears he is under a temptation and that twere fit his case were commended to God by fasting and prayer.
Elder: whether he desires this?
Walker: that he knew not what to say to it.
Mr. Humphries case brought to the church.
Elders: he complains against the church of Lynn that twice he was there hindered the seals. The first because of some difference between him and Lieutenant Howe, who excepted against him. The second time because one Tomkins was received into church communion that day, notwithstanding he excepted against him.
Pastor: it seems as if the church there denied him not that communion. It was agreed upon that if the church may have the whole matter discovered by writing from both sides &c.
This day Deborah Holden, Brother Gidney’s wife, Brother Marshall’s wife, James Moulton made their professions and testimonies were given of their godly life and the next sabbath they were received into church communion.
Some others propounded should have come in but were excepted against. Whereupon warning was given by the elder that the reasons of their exceptions might be brought in to him before the next church meeting.
Deacons propound to the church to consider the dispose of Mr. Skelton’s children.
10 of 11t. mo.
Mr. Humphries case the second time. In the interim our pastor was sent for to meet the elders of the church at Lynn to confer with them. Who from both parties brings this relation to the church. First, that he withdrew himself because he was loathe to offend the church. That in the second time he withdrew himself again because he was offended by the church who took in an unworthy member.
To this twas determined. First, that the church is to deal with Mr. Humphries for withdrawing himself and not rather for dealing with the first brother privately according to rule first. Second, here in the interim fell in this discourse, viz. question whether an irritation unfits for the sacraments. It should appear because anger is a short madness. Answer, I Cor. II, an examined man tis his duty to eat. Question, whether a brother may abstain when he is like else to give offense to another. Answer, no.
That this church is to write to those elders and church: 1. because they take on members against opposition and privately; 2. because they suffer the unreasonable opposition of members, for members are not to reason between themselves before the church by way of opposition, but members must speak their case to the church. This writing to be sent by part of the communion that is between these churches.
The case of the lay brethren that withdrew themselves from this church brought forth.
Pastor: that they do it, 1. out of conscience; 2. because they would the peace of the church seeing they cannot peaceably hold communion with the church; 3. they are not resolved, as they pretend, whither to go. Answer, that they object not against the church only. That those that received one did not renounce publicly the government of England and that one about hearing in England and that one that they no liberty of objecting in the church against what is taught.
Item 1. put to the church’s consideration whether if 6 or 8 of the church and which we hope to be godly yet not agreeing with us in their judgment may not have a peaceable departure from us to gather a church?
Reply: 1. these persons must first give the church satisfaction for their schism; 2. tis probable that these would not keep communion with this church; 3. these have not asked leave of the church but do take leave of the church. It was determined these should be sent for.
Elder: desired of our Brother Weston the grounds of his withdrawing from the church.
Weston: that he had already told the elders his grounds.
Elder: he desired him to declare them to the church.
Weston: that the church he counts to walk according to her light or apprehension and he walks according to his. Granted because he not suffered to ask questions in public, but tis imputed to him for pride.
Elder: tis desired that he should refrain in regard of the season, it was the Lord’s day. But questions is this a ground of his withdrawing.
Weston: yes, because he counts himself bound presently to object and so seek clearing of truths.
Elder: he never dealt in private with elders for it.
Weston: two reasons, because when he questioned about our pastor touching his coming off at Rotterdam and what kind of church that was, twas answered by some that he was neither fit for church not commonwealth. Because some are admitted into this church from Rotterdam, touching whom they write that they came disorderly away. If that be a true church why are these received without satisfaction first given.
Pastor: that he was in town two years and a half and not objected thus against. That the second matter of his wife who had no letters of dismission from thence, question how far or whether a wife ought to seek letters of dismission if the man be dismissed.
Reply by M.: that it was not needful.
Objection: she must come in in a way of God here.
M.: tis satisfaction enough that she be a member of another church.
Objection: that church hath manifested itself offended for her disorderly coming away.
Pastor: she thought not herself bound to require their letters, her husband being here.
Objection: it should appear as if there might be something disorderly observed in her carriage since her husband’s coming away.
Pastor: the fault was of negligence by the elders in not propounding her to the church.
It was at last concluded that letters should be written to Rotterdam about the persons that did disorderly come off thence.
Pastor: meant in a way of Christ.
Ma.: to the second reason that twas that said he was neither fit for church nor commonwealth because of his oft questioning grieves the magistrates and ministers and so that he thinks still so long as he hold that way.
Here Brother Talby objected that it was an uncharitable speech.
Reply: that he breaks a rule seeing he should have dealt with our Ma. privately and this kind of speaking is disorderly.
Weston: fifth reason was because this church holds communion with such as do hold communion with the church of England, viz. Mr. Lathrop’s congregation which hath both communion with this church and the Church of England.
Elder: that he should have dealt with the members privately.
Weston: sixth reason was because he is counselled to follow peace and this is the end of his practice thus.
Elder: but the beginning must be peaceable too.
Ma.: the case may be resolved on this one question, whether one under sin in his opinion not in the opinion of the church is a just ground of his leaving the church.
Weston: a private scruple against any is not to be made public, lest others should be brought to scruple too.
Ma.: whether a private scruple is a ground of separation. This course tends but to schism and so to heresy which is damnable.
Weston: this which is now called damnable was once called lawful.
M.: he which holds and teaches that one may break off from a church upon any discontent or at taking offense against a brother &c. is in a damnable heresy, for it raises the foundation of grace.
Elder: that Brother Weston show a text for scripture for his separation.
Weston: he is silent.
Elder: he is desired to be at the next church meeting.
Brother Ony, he is desired of the church the grounds of his separation. Ony: that he had told them to our pastor and he desired him to discover them to the church and his withdrawing was but for the present because the sacrament came suddenly before he could inform the church of his scruple. Whereupon it presently went abroad that he was quite broken off. Whereas he conceived himself under a temptation and having touched a dead body ought to refrain.
Question by Ony: whether a man may break off communion with a church if he sees or supposes some practice in the church that he allow not of?
M. or P.: negative, Gal. 5, circumcision a fundamental error yet not a ground or rule there throughout the epistle of separation from that church, so in the church of Corinth, fornication so holding of Paul, so of Apollos, so in Thyatyra, Jezebel’s doctrine and yet no rule given for separating from either.
Ony: were such members admitted?
Ony: such as have been defiled with idolatry have been here admitted without washing their hands by repentance.
M.: their practice gives satisfaction in that they join with the true church of Christ.
Ony: they may yet retain Babylon in their hearts.
M.: we are to be more charitably affected to such.
Ony: Ezek. 43:9–11.
M.: are not our brethren ashamed of their doings when they will not abide by it?
Brother Gidney: he gave the right hand of fellowship to me.
Elder: why so lately and not now?
Ony: that judgment altered so as now not know how to give the right hand of fellowship to the church.
Pastor: that you are so newly altered in your judgment consider. 1. The frame of your heart at that time, were you in a humble, praying frame and in the way of an ordinance? 2. Does it carry you nigher to Christ now and to more humbleness? 3. You should have told it to the elders, Pa. 9:7, rebuke a wise man &c. 4. That place in Ezek. 43 you misapply for from thence we note: those are most capable of the things of God that are ashamed of their iniquities; God will never show the true forms of His house but to those that are washed from their iniquities and these forms are the inwards which are the seals; the story is this, this church had revolted and relapsed and the prophet exhorts her to hear first love again and told her what she should see upon her return, for in their falling off they lost their patterns of their house. 5. Can you challenge any of spiritual whoredom amongst us?
Ony: that if those that relapsed, being in a church state, ought to be ashamed ere they capable &c. So much more these that never in a church state. He could not challenge any without prejudice or offense, but this professors of all men were most bitter against separation at first who now join without being ashamed of that.
Pastor: such breaches as these in churches give occasion to them of their bitterness.
Ony: there ought to be yet a public detestation against these courses; his texts for separation, II Cor. 6, be not unequally yoked.
M.: that yields no reason of his withdrawing unless were proved idolators. And we have a text opposing this practice of his, Rev. 2:18–20, where the Lord acknowledged the good in that church then he speaks of her sins and judgments, and in Psalms 24, he says to those that not so sinned, they lay no other burden upon you but &c. The . . . of idolatry or of circumcision may be held in a church and yet the church be a true church.
Pastor: that place in II Cor. 6 meant of idolatry out of the church and the Apostle wrote to the whole church.
R.: meant of their being among idolators and the joining to their idol feasts. Church separated not from the Jewish synagogues.
Ony: there are divers reasons of that for the prophecies were not fulfilled and Christ communicated not in the corruptions.
Pastor: in Zech. 11. there is set down the worship Christ did communicate in.