תמונות בעמוד

to after ages : the inhabitants being brought under the strong obligation, to live in love and peace one with another, as being the most expedient way to obtain the God of love and peace to be with them, as in a special manner he was, while Mr. Higginson continued amongst them, with Mr. Skelton. But of the four ministers that came hither this year, the plantation needing huttwo, that are forementioned, to take care of its instruction, one of them was called to be pastor of the church at New Plymouth, viz. Mr. R. Smith, as was said before, to whom another was afterward added for an assistant, viz. Mr. R. Williams, who arrived here about the year 1631 : an unhappy thing for them who had wanted the benefit, though not of a judge, yet of a teaching priest, near ten years, should after so long delay meet with so great a disappointment, as soon after they found by uncomfortable experience in them both. Concerning the fourth, viz. Mr. Bright, there is at this time little known, and therefore the less is to be said, although one who affected him never the better for his conformity, gives this character of him; that he began to hew stones in the mountains wherewith to build, but when he saw all sorts of stones would not suit in the building, as he supposed, he, not unlike Jonah, fled from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Tarshish. The like character is as freely, by the same author, bestowed on another clergy man, called Mr. Blackstone, who on the like occasion, as he saith, betook himself to till the ground, wherein probably he was more skilled, or at least had a better faculty, than in the things pertaining to the house of God; as if he had retained no symbol of his former profession but a canonical coat. Antiquity was always wont to distinguish persons and places by their garb or habit, whose authority and example cannot well be questioned by the skeptics and juniors of the present age. But indeed for any one to retain only the outward badge of his function, that never could pretend to any faculty therein, or exercise thereof, is, though no honour to himself, yet a dis. honour and disparagement to the order, he would thereby challenge acquaintance with.

CHAP. XX. Of the civil polity and

form of government of the Massachusetts Company of New England by patent. ORDER and government being as necessary to the uniting together, and upholding a civil society, as is the foundation or the studs to support and conjoin the parts of a building, therefore it cannot be supposed that the chief undertakers who had the honour to lay the foundation of this colony, were not aware of a necessity to provide for that in the first place, as may be seen by the form of government they are directed unto in his majesty's royal charter and patent, confirmed by the great seal of England; wherein the patentees with their associates, are declared to be a body politick incorporate together, and to hold [as] of the manor of East Greenwich, in free and common soccage, and not in capite, or knight's service, and are to be styled, The Governour and Company of New England, and by that 'name to plead and be impleaded upon all occasions. To the governour are to be added, a deputy governour and eighteen assistants, who with the rest of the company free of the corporation, have power to make orders and laws within themselves, for the good of the whole, not repugnant to the laws of England, and to correct and punish all offenders accord. ing to the said orders and laws, as is more at large described in the said charter.

But this corporation or body of people being but then an embryo, was willingly subject to, and governed by those wholesome and known laws of the kingdom of England, acknowledging only its willing obedience to such rules and ordinances as were by the corporation agreed upon as necessary for the carrying on of their present affairs, and yearly sent over from England, while the charter remained, with the principal part of the patentees, in England. They impowered Nr. John Endicot, as was said before, one of their number, to nianage the company, sent over thither, as agent, in the year 1628, and hina they appointed their deputy gov. ernour in the year 1629, according to his best discretion, with due observance of the English laws, or such instructions as they furnished him with, till the patent was brought over, 1630 : the patentees themselves, most of them, coming along at that time there with.

The principal duty for those two years, incumbent on the agent aforesaid or deputy governour, was to take care of the welfare of the company, to order the servants belonging to them, and to improve them in making preparation for the reception of the gentlemen, when they should come; the which were carefully minded by the said Mr. Endicot. And also some endeavours were used to promote the welfare of the plantation, so far as he was capable in the beginning of things, by laying some foundation of religion, as well as civil government, as may appear by the ensuing letter sent by him in the beginning of the year, viz. May 11, 1629 to Mr. Bradford, gove ernour of New Plymouth, to obtain the help of one Mr. Fuller, a deacon of Mr. Robinson's church, skilled in the designs of the country, which those people that first

diseases? came over in those two years were filled withal, and also well versed in the way of church discipline practised by Mr. Robinson's church; which letter was the foundation on which was raised all the future acquaintance, the Christian love and correspondency, that was ever after maintained betwixt their persons and respective colonies, in which are these words: “I am satisfied by Mr. Fuller touching your judgment of the outward form of God's worship. It is, as far as I can gather, no other than is warranted by the evidence of truth, and the same which I have professed and maintained, ever since the Lord revealed himself to me."

The affairs of religion in the Massachusetts Colony in

New England, during the first lustre of years after the
first attempt for the planting thereof; from the year
1625 to the year 1630.

It doth evidently appear by the premises, that what purses soever were improved, or what charges they were

ať that first appeared, in laying the foundation of the Massachusetts Colony, the chiefest intentions and aims of those that managed the business were to promote religion, and if it might be, to propagate the gospel, in this dark corner of the world. Witness the industry and solicitousness of Mr. White of -Dorchester in England, that first contrived the carrying on a plantation of sober and religious persons, together with a strange impression on the mind of Mr. Roger Conant, to pitch upon Naumkeag for that end, and his confidence and constancy, there to stay with intent to carry on the same, notwithstanding the many cross providences, that seemed at the first view to thwart that design : so as in the conclusion, it may truly be said in this, if in any other of like nature, the hand of the Lord hath done this, which therefore should be the more marvellous in the eyes of men.

In the beginning of that plantation at Cape Anne, they had the ministry of Mr. Lyford, that had been dismissed from Plymouth; with whom came some others, out of dislike of the rigid principles of separation that were maintained there. After he went to Virginia, they were without, till Mr. Higginson and Mr. Skelton came over, who that they might foreslow no time in the matters of the house of God, they did like Abraham, (as soon as they were hither transported, and here safely arrived,) who applied himself to build an altar to God that had appeared to him, and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldees; and so began in the first place to call upon the name of the Lord.

In like manner did those in the first place endeavour to set up some publick form of worship, that so coming thus far into a remote wilderness to enjoy the liberty of their consciences in matters of religion, and to plant and preach the gospel amongst a barbarous people, that never had heard the joyful sound before, they made as much expedition in the said work as well they could. For hav. ing had sufficient experience, and acquaintance one with another in the way, as they came over the sea, and a month or two after they were here planted, they resolved to enter into church fellowship together, setting a day


apart for that end; which was the 9th day of August, next after their arrival here. They had beforehand, in order thereunto, acquainted the present deputy governour with their purpose, and consulted one with another, about settling a reformed congregation, according to the rules of the gospel, as they apprehended, and the pattern of the best reformed churches, that they were acquainted with, it being their professed intention in this great and solemn undertaking, to go on therein as they should find direction from the word of God. Concerning the way and manner of their first covenanting together, and entering into church fellowship one with another, it doth not appear that these were, like those of New Plymouth, aforehand moulded into any order, or form of church government; but were honest minded men, studious of reformation, that only had disliked some things in the discipline and ceremonies of the church of England, but were not precisely fixed upon any particular order or form of government, but like rasa tabula fit to receive any impression, that could be delineated out of the word of God, or vouched to be according to the pattern in the mount, as they judged. Nor are their successours willing to own, that they received their platform of church order from those of New Plymouth; although there is no small appearance that in whole or part they did, (further than some wise men wish they had done,) by what is expressed in Mr. Endicot's letter, above inserted; or else good wits, as they use to say, did strangely jump very near together, into one and the same method and idea of church discipline. And it were well if Mr. Skelton, when he was left alone soon after by the death of Mr. Higginson, did not in some things not only imitate and equal, but strongly endeavour to go beyond that pattern of separation set up before them in Plymouth, in the pressing of some indifferent things, that savoured as much or more than they of Plymouth did, of the same spirit ; as in that of enjoining all women to wear veils, under the penalty of noncommunion, urging the same as a matter of duty, and absolute necessity, as is by some reported, as well as in refusing communion with the church of England.

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