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all unconscious of the illusion which hurries them on to action. On no subject is there more need of caution and discrimination, and on none is there frequently less of either.
This instance of ministerial popularity and defection, and of asthetic infatuation, made a lasting impression on the mind of Mr. Woodbridge. He saw, as never before, that HOLINESS is the only safeguard of the ministry and of the churches. It taught him the necessity of keeping “watch and ward" over his motives, of praying in his closet before praying in public, of cultivating home and heart religion. It showed him the importance of putting only holy men iuto the pulpit, and of sedulously guarding it against the intrusion of insidious errors in doctrine, which stealthily, perhaps, yet surely, work defection of character. It doubtless influenced some of his later ministerial acts, especially on ordaining and installing councils.
The pulpit in IIadley, Mass., became vacant by the age and infirmities of Dr. Samuel Hopkins, cousin of the more celebrated Dr. Samuel Hopkins, author of the “System of Doctrine,” and who gave name to those peculiar views of Calvinistic theology called “Hopkinsianism."!
For nearly fifty-five years the former had been the acceptable minister of this large and prosperous church. A number of candidates for settlement as colleague with the venerable pastor were heard; but none satisfied. Near the close of 1809 Mr. Woodbridge was invited to preach a few Sabbaths. He continued his labors for several months. The people were pleased with him, and he was pleased with them. A call to become their pastor was cordially extended to him, which, after much reflection and prayer, he accepted. Ile was ordained June 20, 1810, in the twenty-sixth year of his age. The uncommonness of the occasion called together multitudes from the neighboring towns. The large and commodious house of worship, lately built, was filled to overflowing. Rev. Vinson Gould of Southampton preached the sermon.
HIS FIELD OF LABOR.
Hadley is a rich farming town situated on the eastern bank of the Connecticut, opposite Northampton; the main street of the former being about three miles distant from the court-house of the latter. The graceful sweep which the river here makes first towards the west, and then returning towards the east, describing a curvature of some six or seven miles in extent, measures off a broad inheritance of fertile lands, and imparts a softened beauty to the scenery. The town contains, indeed, hundreds of acres of alluvial soil, stretching mile after mile along the shore of the river, yielding abundant crops of almost every variety grown in Massachusetts; and on the east an extended plain, sometimes broken by slight undulations, gradually ascends towards Amherst, also furnishing excellent pasture and productive fields of easy tillage. Its main street, extending from the point where the curvature of the river commences on the north, to the point where it terminates on the south, ten rods wide, a mile in length, and adorned with rows of stately elms on either side, has long been regarded as one of the most attractive in the State. The spacious church with its lofty spire, occupied by Mr. Woodbridge, stood in the centre, a picturesque object, but somewhat disfiguring the otherwise symmetrical beauty of the scene. As might have been anticipated from the character of the soil, the town, from its early settlement, has been inhabited by a purely agricultural people. It is situated some four miles from Mount Holyoke, the most beautiful lookout of New England, if not of the world, from which its cultivated fields,
in conjunction with those of Northampton on the other side of the noble Connecticut, are seen spread out like a garden, and adorned, particularly when lighted up by an October sun, with the variegated hues of a carpet. The vicinity, in all directions, is distinguished for beautiful landscapes. The town is also redolent of interesting historic reminis
Here were concealed for some fifteen or sixteen years the regicides, Whalley and Goffe, who had fled to our shores as an asylum from bloodthirsty pursuers. Both had been officers in Cromwell's army, and both were decided Puritans. Ilere they prayed and wept, were comforted by God's word, and received secret communications from dear friends in their fatherland, breathing the sweetest and profoundest devotion; and here at least the spirit of one of them ascended to Ilim who gave them being. Such suffering patriots and Christians consecrate the soil where they dwell ; à fragrance long lingers around their footprints. According to tradition, the Indians attacked the infant settlement, Sept. 1, 1675. They came stealthily when most of the inhabitants were quietly enjoying the worship of the sanctuary. While thus engaged, unconscious of peril, they were startled by the wild war-whoop. A scene of alarm, confusion, and blood ensued. The men seized their fire-arms; they fought bravely, but were driven back terrified and discouraged by the fierce yells of their savage pursuers. At that moment appeared upon the scene a tall military figure, venerable and dauntless, with his white locks streaming over his shoulders, and, with his loud, clear voice of command, arrested the affrighted men, arranged them in military order, and bidding them follow him, rushed on the hideous marauders, and gained a complete victory. The stranger disappeared as suddenly and unaccountably as he came; and the opinion was long entertained that an angel descended to their deliverance. But when the secret residence of the regicides among them came to light, the
mystery of the stranger-warrior was explained : it was General Goffe.* The following June the Indians again attacked the settlement; but the inhabitants were saved by the timely arrival of Major Talcott. Two soldiers only, who ventured outside of the fortification, were slain.
Other memorials exist of the perils of these early settlers. The remains of the ditch by the palisade running along east of Main Street are still visible. Just across the river in Hatfield, spreads out “ Indian Meadow," memorable for the bloody battle fought there in which twenty-five savages were killed and wounded, and five sons of Iladley were slain ; and just below, on the south, Shepard's Island reposes in the Connecticut, one of the retreats of King Philip in his devastating wars. Such historic events, lying so near the infantile life of our republic, never lose their influence on susceptible minds associated with them.
The Puritan element has always been strong in IIadley; and though, as the ages have passed on, its radiance has been at times dimmed, it has ever illumed the moral atmosphere of the town. The spirit of the Pilgrims presided at the organization of the church. The settlement was a protest against that strange indiscretion, not to say blunder, of our fathers, the "half-way covenant." That dogma, replete with "mortal poison,” had been broached in Connecticut, and advocated by several leading divines, especially by Rev. Tim. othy Woodbridge, of Hartford. A council, composed of some of the ablest ministers both of Connecticut and Massachusetts, adopted it, and nursed it up to manhood. Rev. John Russell, pastor of the church in Wethersfield, firmly believ
The above is substantially the account given of this battle by our most reliable historians — Holmes, Hoyt, Holland, Palfrey, Barry, Felt, Farmer, and others. But since penning the above paragraph the author has listened to an address before the “N. E. Historic Genealogical Society," by George Sheldon, Esq., in which he endeavored to show that this whole account of the battle of Sept. 1, 1675, and the achievement of General Goffe, are a myth. The address was published in the “N. E. Historical and Genealogical Register,” to which the reader is referred.
ing that evidences of regeneration were essential to churchfellowship; and that the privilege of infant baptism belonged exclusively to the children of believing parents in covenant, boldly avowed his principles. He was reprimanded by the civil powers of the day. Party feeling ran high ; a tempest of controversy arose. A large portion of his people sided with him. IIe also had many warm adherents in Hartford. These, combining under his leadership not far from 1659, removed and established themselves in IIadley, two years before the first pastor of the church in Northampton was ordained, and eleven years before the organization of the church in Ilatfield.
Neither grace nor attachment to religious principles is hereditary. Weeds grow naturally; wheat only by cultivation. Religious error is the indigenous product of the human heart. Holy truth is never agreeable to it while unrenewed. Every successive generation, whether descended from the devout or the profane, shrinks from its intense light, and seeks to hide itself beneath some quieting illusion. It is by grace alone that God preserves his own. Left to themselves, their invariable tendency is downward. It is no marvel that the valiant Russell and his robust Puritan associates failed to secure in full the perpetuation of their principles: especially, considering the disposition of the times and the malady which had already begun to palsy the churches. The early law of the New England colonists restricting the rights of citizenship to the members of churches, had contributed largely towards the adoption of the scheme called "the half-way covenant." This scheme, by enlarging the domain of the civil franchise, had relieved the difficulties which disturbed the social harmony of the period, but failed to remove them. That unhappy ecclesiastico-political law,
, continuing in force for many years, gave momentum to ideas and customs which, embodied in the early organism of New England society, affected it long after the exciting cause had ceased to exist. A sort of charm long adhered to the