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    114.    180                      1679


    In not coming before you in publick when sent for at your 2d sessions, & yet the

    church did give you a meeting (before your dissolving) in the meeting house to our

    farther greif and dissatisfaction, In that you read what you had determined in a

    way of blameing & reflecting upon officer & brethren, before the countrey, we have

    ing noe oppertunity to make answer for our selves, neither could our reasons of dis

    sent from the councills advise be published, which we humbly conceive had bin æ

    -qual as well as to publish your results. _____

    2 we were sencible of our unreadiness to answer suddenly what might be spoaken to

    us by word of mouth (as it might fall out half an hour together) without time to

    call to mind what was spoaken & what answer to make, and why the church must

    take Mr Mr[103] Nelsons acknowledgmt in writing, & not have liberty to express yr

    minds in writing we know not

    3 In the first meeting of the council we mett with open wrong, whilst the council

    was (as we conceive) too ready to read Mr Nelsons papers of fals apsersions a

    =gainst the church without giving us any oppertunity (though it was desired) to

    answer for our selves, & to convince him of his Sin therin, & we knew not

    but as he was allowed to doe before, soe he might obtain the publishing of some

    more such papers of fals accusations, & we noe more liberty to clear our selves yn

    we had before, & this is strang to us that one man could have liberty to publish

    soe much in his own vindication, & alsoe to reproach the church, & yet the church

    could not have the like liberty publickly to wipe of those objections by a just ans

    =wer to them

    And wheras you declare that you will give an account to the churches what op

    position you mett with, we desire you would also declare our grounds of proced

    -ing with the offendour, & our reasons why we could not sit down by your advise

    nor with the written confession you appointed Mr Nelson to write

    And for what is threatened in case we submitt not to your advise : we look for

    sufferings not onely from enimise of Gods pp, but from Brethren themselves, &

    chuse rather to suffer what God shall permitt that way, then to act any thing wch

    is not of fayth for that were sin

    And for our see[m]ing to be irreconcilably set against Mr Nelson, it is strang you

    should soe judg of Gods church heer as if they were of an Implacable spirit and

    would upon noe tearmes forgive them that offend them : It has bin found other-

    =wise hitherto, & we hope will be soe for the future : Ther is not a man in this

    church (I dare say) but would gladly forgive & embrace Mr Nelson, If God open

    his heart to judg himself for those evills, wherin he has plainly broaken the

    Rule, but yet iustifyes himself in : As for withdrawing comunion from us

    seperating from the comunion of a church must be grounded (as Divines gene

    =erally hold forth) upon waightier causes then differences in matters disputable sup

    =pose ther are irregularityes in our proceedings, not soe great as were found

    in the church of Corinth & Læodicea (To say nothing of ye Jewish church wch Xst

    seperated not from nor taught others soe to doe) & yet we find noe church seperating

    from them.

    Why was not this threatend against the first church in Boston who sat not

    downe by the advise of 13 churches mett in council;[104] If it be a duty which the

    late council owes to us to tell us of withdrawing comunion from us, It was

    an omission of a duty then, but we are smal (if not contemptible), yet I hope

    such as would not willingly forget Gods præcepts : How much such a declara

    =tion of non communion hinders the fruit of the word, & the increase of Gods

    Kingdome amongst us, I leave it to your self to judg, is this to help to build gods

    house or to follow the things that make for peac & wherwith we may edify one a

    =nother, who will seek to joyne with us, when a council declares that our neigh=

    =bour churches are like to withdraw communion from us? but we hope we

    shall never se that acted in the churches (without waightier grounds) which


    [103] MS sic.

    [104] Referring to the division in the Boston First Church over the Half-Way Covenant; see Cooper, Tenacious of Their Liberties, 98-107.