View Facsimile




            Jan 16 1671

    A Reply to a letter sent to S P. from Mr John Woodbridge in Justi

    fication of their practise in comeing to the Lords table notwthstanding

    the sad divisions amongst them.[14]


      Reverend & Dear Sir.

    Though I have noe great Rest nor leisure for writings of ys nature, yet your

    long epistle necessitating some reply; I doe intreat your consideration of these few

    lines in way of answer: you doe in yours informe me that ye br opposite to

    Mr Parker doe incorraging ymselves by something they have heard from me

    as if I profest against your practise in celebrating ye Lords supper in such

    a time of division; I know not what reports you have heard, nor from

    whom nor upon what ground you receive them; notwthstanding I deny not

    but upon occasion I have sayd I was of ye last councills mind in ys matter

    (who advised a cessation at present till your spirits were healed, & sweetned

    wth love one toward another) & have Expressed noe less to Mr Parker

    before ye council was sent. But if it be ye way of Mr Woodman & ye

    rest with him to take advantage by any hint (as you say) though never

    soe felicetous, you needed not to take such notice of yr taking incouragmt

    from such hints, nor take soe much pains to confute them.

    Conserning ye Question as your self have stated it, it is easily answerd

    for your self confess that if yr were any thing Chargeabl on ye Reverend

    pastor & br wth him, why they should abstain from ye use of ye sacramt that

    then you would acknowledg yt ye case were somwhat altered if it were soe

    But yt I conceive is ye case for ye Pastor & ye Br wth him stand chargd

    by a councill to have acted irregularly in several things. 3 are in

    my mind at present.

    1 that Mr Parker contrary to ye agreemt in ye former council did refuse

    to admit some into fellowship because yei were of different perswasion from

    himself, whereas, different perswasions on either side was to be noe lott as to

    2 That thes articles of agreemt of wch ye forementioned relating to admission

    to wch Mr Parker consented & several principal br [----] wth him

    that yet he should refuse to publish them & to endeavour a consent to ym

    was an omission that had sad consequences following it amongst ym

    selves; not to speak how much the former councills pains was made

    thereby ineffectual, & gods name taken in vayne while solemn thanks

    was given to god in ye churches that he had blessed indeavours & incl:

    =ned all hearts to such Articles of agreemt

    3 that ye pastor & br wth him redress a sentance against Mr Woodmans

    party before calling upon them for Repentance, or advising on so waighty

    a matter wth other churches; & though you once expressed your self that

    these were circumstantiall omissions (Tho Mr Parker did not see into your

    cause &c) I concurr that they were; especially the former a substantiall

    omission as if attendance to ym therby that calls upon us to have patience

    wth all & not to reject him presently wthout using [illeg.]


    [14] Rev. John Woodbridge, former minister of Andover, Mass., 1645-48, who returned to England to preach at several places but was ejected in 1662, returned to New England, settled at Newbury, Massachusetts, and served as a magistrate and Assistant. The “sad divisions” to which Phillips refers was a longstanding controversy in the Newbury church that arrayed the Presbyterian-leaning and authoritarian ministers, including Thomas Parker, mentioned below, assisted by Woodbridge, against lay members who advocated for congregational rights. Through the late 1660s and early 1670s a series of ecclesiastical councils, which included Phillips and lay representatives of Rowley, tried to bring peace, for some time to no avail, finally siding with the dissenters. Woodbridge withdrew, while Parker stayed on at Newbury until his death in 1677. Cooper, Tenacious of Their Liberties, 145-49.