at a late Church meeting, spoke in my favour, on one of the points now to be decided by the Council ; one of the influential members, an officer in the church and one of the church Committee rose, and told the church, that what that brother had said was the less to be regarded, because he had manifested liimself to be of my opinion with respect to the Qualifications for communion. And the public acts of this people, show how fully sensible they are of the strong tendency, which sameness or contrariety of opinion will have to prejudice ministers and churches. To what other cause but such a consciousness, shall we attribute the fact, that they strive so laboriously and perseveringly, to confine me exclusively, in the ultimate decision of this controversy, to judges who are on their side of the question ; and that they have hired able Counsel, to plead in their behalf for this very purpose. If identity, or diversity, of religious sentiment has no tendency to bias the mind, why all this anxiety, and effort, and expence, and struggling to confine me to judges, who differ from me and

agrec with themselves? “As to the neighbouring ministers, I sincerely profess a very honourable esteem of them, and desire to be thankful that I have lived in peace and friendship with them; and I doubt not that they are gentlemen of too much judgment and candour, to regard it as a personal reflection, when I suppose them, as well as others, liable

İ to prejudices from this cause. I presume none of us are unwilling to own, that we are the subjects of the common infirmities of human nature; and doubtless we have found this the fact in so many instances, that we should in some cases not think it wisdom to trust our own hearts.

“ This then being so evidently the case, if the Decisive Council are generally of an opinion contrary to mine, and the same with that of my opposers, on the matter in dispute, they cannot be re

garded as impartial; and of course I shall have no fair chance for -justice from them; and shall not, in debating and determining the matter in controversy, stand on equal ground with the other

party. “ The point then is plain, beyond all question, that I ought not to be confined to such a Council.

“How tender does the wisdom and justice of al} civilized nations teach them to be towards every one, who has a deeply interesting cause depending, with regard to the impartiality of his judges. When he has any objections against any one, proposed as a judge, how easily do they admit them, if there be the least appearance of any circumstance, tending to bias and prejudice the mind. How readily, for example, are such objections admitted against any who are nominated to be of a Jury?

“Local proximity, I fully admit, ought ordinarily to be regarded as a circumstance of weight in a Council who are to be judges in a religious controversy ; but in no measure of equal weight with the essential qualifications of the judges themselves. And as to the


qualifications of a judge, what is so essential as Impartiality? What can be more essential in a balance, which is to determine the true weight of things, than that the scales be even?

“ Thus I have given my reasons why I think the rules of equity and a regard to the common rights of mankind, do most evidently require, that I should be allowed to go beyond the limits of this County, in my choice of some of the members of the future Council. I now proced to mention several circumstances, which render it highly expedient that I should have this liberty.

“ This Rev. Council cannot but be sensible, that it deeply concerns my reputation and my future usefulness, as well as the subsistence of my family, that I should have justice done me in the result of the Future Council; and of course that that Council should be an impartial Council. The removal of a minister from his people ordinarily lays him under great disadvantages, and commonly hurts his reputation though indeed he be not to blame. There is left on the minds of the world some suspicion, whether something or other blame-worthy or unhappy in him, his temper, or conduct, was not the cause. People therefore are generally not so willing to employ such removed ministers. There is commonly a great deal said against them; and how much of it is true and just, and how much unjust and false, the world do not know, and do not think themselves obliged to be at the trouble of enquiring; but rather think it their province to have nothing to do with them. Hence, as I think I have been innocent, and conscientious, and fair and faithful, with my people in this affair, according to the best light which I enjoy ; so it concerns me greatly, that I should have full justice done me, in the result of the Final Council.

“ That some of the members of that Council should come from beyond the limits of this County, deeply concerns my future usefulness in another respect; viz. That if I am ever employed in the work of the ministry hereafter, it is not probable that it will be in this part of the country, or any where in these western parts of New England; and it will have a vastly greater influence as to my reputation, in other parts of the country, farther eastward than Hampshire, if some ministers of note, who belong in those parts, having had full cognizance of those affairs, do recommend me.

" It is the more expedient that the separation of the minister and people of Northampton, if it take place, should take place under the direction of a Council, having some of its members from distant places and of chief note in the country, as it will be an event on great and extensive influence on the interests of religion, and the Church of God. Northampton having been a place much heard of, and extensively observed by the church at large, as to its religious concerns, and the past state of things between minister and people, having been much known; the report of our separation must needs produce an extensive and great effect-as great, and on some accounts much greater, on places at a distance, than on places that are near. People at a distance have been more ignorant of our former imperfections, and have been ready to look on Northampton as a kind of heaven upon earth. The result of the Final Council will undoubtedly be published to the world, and will be regarded with deep attention by many, not only in New England, but in the other provinces of North America, as well as by some perhaps in England and Scotland. Hence surely it is best, before this unhappy event of a separation shall take place, that some of the wisest and ablest men in the country, should have an opportunity to look into our affairs and give us their advice, and use their wisdom if possible to prevent this calamity, and that, if it must take place, a just report of it, with its causes and circumstances, may be given to the world by men whose characters are known and respected in other parts of the world. Both my reputation abroad, and the interests of religion greatly require this.

"It is the more reasonable that, in the determination of an affair of such extensive influence, I should not be confined to the limits of this particular neighbourhood, because, as things are constituted in this country, there is no appeal from one Council to another, no appeal from a Presbytery of a vicinity to a Council or Synod from larger limits. But, if the case goes to the vicinity, that is the last resort, and they will have as much power in the case, as the General Assembly of the whole nation would have in the like case, in Scotland.

"I beseech this Rev. Council, most deliberately and impartially to consider these things, and give them their due weight, as I doubt not they would govern themselves by those good rules of equity and charity,—“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," and, "Do unto others, as thou wouldst they should do unto thee."

“I now proceed to answer some Objections.

“In reply to all the arguments derived from the Platform of Church Discipline, as a constitution or establishment binding these Churches, I would suggest the following observations:

“1. I know of nothing possessing the force of a rule or establishment to bind particular Churches of Christ, without an express act or consent of their own, unless it be the Word of God. On the principles of Protestantism, I know not by what rule, a Council, which sat ninety years ago, could make a rule or establishment, which could bind the present churches, without any free act of theirs, or without making it their own rule.

“2. The present church of Northampton never made that platform their rule, or had the least regard to it in any one public proceeding, since I have been their pastor; and I know so much of their present and past state, that I may be bold to say, they have never pretended to make this rule a directory in ecclesiastical matters, since any one of the present members of the church was a

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church-member. I never heard it mentioned by any of the church on any occasion until now; and I verily believe that, until a little while since, the great body of the members never knew there was any such thing in existence.

“3. It is inconsistent with the principles of the compilers of the Platform, who were all Congregationalists, as well as inconsistent with the very Platform itself, that it should be of the nature of a constitution, or establishment obligatory on future churches, or on present churches, any farther than by their own free acts; for the compilers of that Platform plainly show it to be their opinion, that each particular church has, under Christ, all power of discipline within itself, without being bound by the determinations of other churches ; and that the government of the Church is Congregational, and not National, nor Provincial, nor Classical, and therefore not subject to the decisions and constitutions of national, provincial or classical Synods, unless by their own free act.

“4. The Platform itself allows expressly of departing from the vicinity, when the nature of the case leads to it. The words of the Platform are, “ There should be liberty, without offence, to make use of other churches, as the nature of the case, and the advantage of opportunity, may lead thereto."-I think I have plainly shown already, that the nature of this case does lead to it, and absolutely requires it.

“As to the Vote of this Church, in the days of our fathers, thirty-five years ago,—That they would be subject to a Council of the Churches of the County, until some superiour Judicature were established in the Province,-it may be sufficient here to suggest the following brief considerations :

“1. No persons professing Protestant principles will maintain, that christians of the present generation are bound, in affairs of religion and the worship of God, by the determination of their forefathers, unless they have adopted the act of their forefathers, and made it in some way or other their own, by their own act and consent, either express or implicit.

“ 2. This appears still more obviously, in the present case, from the very different circumstances of the County, in this generation, and in the last. This change in the state of things, shows this act to be void, unless it has been renewed since. Had their circumstances been like ours, our forefathers, we have the best reason to believe, would never have formed such a determination. We have now two associations. The churches are far more numerous and more dispersed. And as the state of things, which was the ground of this act of our ancestors, has ceased, we must suppose the act itself to cease as to any obligation on us, unless it has been renewed.

“ 3. There has been no recognition of this act by us, either explicit or implied. Certainly there has been no explicit recognition. Who can point out any act or vote of us, the existing church members, by which we have recognized its binding force. Neither have we implicitly consented to it. Since I have been the pastor of this Church, though we have on may occasions had the subject of Councils before us, we have never, in any one instance, paid the least respect to their act; nor do I remember that it has ever been once mentioned before the Church.

“4. We have implicitly renounced it in several ways. Our proceedings have always been inconsistent with it. The Vote refers to a Council of Churches ; whereas we have been connected only with Councils of Ministers. The Vote refers to a Stated Council of the Churches of the County, according to Mr. Stoddard's known Presbyterian principles, and not to Elective Councils; whereas all the Councils with which we have been connected, have been Elective. We have also implicitly renounced Presbyterianism, which that Vote was intended to introduce; and have adopted Congregationalism.

65. If it had not been renounced, but made our own act as much as we could make it so, it must be understood only as a general rule, and could not be of force in extraordinary cases, in which it would be contrary to reason and the rights of mankind to adhere to it; for as far as it is contrary to these, it is contrary to the law of nature, which is the law of God, and the law of Christ the great Head of the Church.

“6. In this very case, the Church themselves propose to renounce this act. The Vote speaks of a Council of all the Churches of the County, taking them as they are, without election; whereas the Church have only insisted on a small part of these Churches designated by election. But surely if all of the Vote is not binding, no part of it is binding.

“ As to what I wrote fourteen years ago, in the controversy, concerning the settlement of Mr. B-at Springfield, wherein 1 say,—That the affairs of Religion are not confined to single churches, properly belonging to the neighbouring churches ;-1 would observe as follows :

"1. It would be unreasonable to understand me otherwise than I really intended, viz. That this ought to be regarded as a general rule, and an ordinary point of regularity. I suppose that the neighbouring ministers think it a good general rule as well as I, and have perhaps, expressed themselves to that effect; yet I have no reason to think there is one of them, who thinks it a rule that will allow of no dispensation. Which of the Rev. Ministers here present, who knows what the state of things has been of late in Connecticut, with regard to some of the associations there, and especially with regard to one, would think that every church and every ininister within its bounds, in all ecclesiastical affairs in which they needed the help of other churches and ministers, ought to be obliged in

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