Oldalképek
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

“ Then it was proposed, Whether the Council should be a Council of Ministers or Churches ; and it was determined by a vote, that it should be a Council of Churches. And then with respect to the number of Churches of which the Council should consist, it was voted that it should consist of ten churches.

“ Then we proceeded to a nomination and choice of particular ministers and churches, of which the Council should consist. I first proposed Mr. Billings and the church of Cold Spring, which were voted. Then it was moved that a Committee of the brethren should be chosen to go aside, to consider whom to nominate to the church to be chosen on their part. Accordingly a committee was chosen, viz. Maj. Pomroy, Mr. Joseph Hawley, Lieut. Wright, Dea. Pomroy, and Dea. Cook; and after they returned, we went on with the choice. On the whole, of those whom I nominated were chosen the following Ministers, with their churches :

Within the County. Rev. Mr. Reynolds of Enfield, Rev. Mr. Billings of Cold Spring,

with their churches; Rev. Mr. Abercrombie of Pelham, and provisionally, in case either of these should fail, the Rev. Mr. Woodbridge of South Hadley, and his church.

Without the County. Rev. Mr. Foxcroft of Boston

with their churches;
Rev. Mr. Parkman of Westborough,
and provisionally, in case of the failure of these,

Rev. Mr. Wigglesworth of Ipswich Hamlet, with their
Rev. Mr. Hobby of Reading,

s .

churches.
“ By the nomination of the Committee, were chosen on the part
of the church,

Rev. Mr. Woodbridge of Hatfield,
Rev. Mr. Breck of Springfield,
Rev. Mr. Hubbard of Sheffield, with their churches;
Rev. Mr. Williams of Hadley,

Rev. Mr. Ashley of Sunderland,
and for a reserve, in case of failure of either of these,

[ocr errors]

Rev. Mr. Williams oflmne Meadow, } with their churches ;

Somers, “Then it was voted, That the day for the opening of the Council should be the 19th of June next.

“ Then the brethren proceeded to choose a Committee, to be their agents, to represent them, and manage their cause before the Council; and the persons chosen were Major Pomroy, Lieut. Wright, and Mr. Joseph Hawley.

“ Then the church meeting was dismissed, and the Precinct meeting was opened, who determined to defray the charge of en

[ocr errors]

tertaining the Council; and desired the Committee of the church to procure some person, either a minister or a layman, to act as an advocate for the brethren and plead their cause before the Council.” Thus far the Journal of Mr. Edwards.

Accordingly,” observes Dr. Hopkins," the churches were applied to and the Council was convened on the 19th of June. Nine churches were represented by their pastors and delegates: one of those selected by Mr. Edwards, that of Cold Spring, did not see fit to join the Council ; but the minister of that church, being at Northampton, was desired by Mr. Edwards and the church to sit in council and act, which he did. Yet, as there was no delegate from that church, the council was rot full; and there was a majority of one in the council opposed to Mr. Edwards. After they had made some fruitless attempts for a composition between the pastor and church, they passed a resolution, by a majority of one voice only, to the following purpose : “That it is expedient that the pastoral relation between Mr. Edwards and his church be immediately dissolved, if the people still persist in desiring it." And it being publicly put to the people, “Whether they still insisted on Mr. Edwards's dismission from the pastoral office over them?" a great majority, (above two hundred against twenty,) voted for his dismission." Accordingly on the 22d of June the Council came to the following result:

a

a

66

« The Result of a Council of nine Churches, met at Northampton,

June 22, 1750; with a Protest against the same, by a number of the said Council.

“ At à Council of nine Churches, viz. “ The church in Enfield, Rev. Peter Reynolds, pastor ; Mr. Edward Collins, delegate.

Sheffield, Jonathan Hubbard, pastor; Mr. Daniel Kellogg, delegate.

“Sutton, David Hall, pastor ; Mr. Jonathan Hall, delegate.

“ Reading, William Hobby, pastor ; Mr. Samuel Bancroft, delegate.

" The first church in Springfield, Robert Breck, pastor; Mr. Thomas Stebbins, delegate.

“Sunderland, Joseph Ashley, pastor; Mr. Samuel Montague, delegate.

Hatfield, Timothy Woodbridge, pastor ; Oliver Partridge, Esq.

delegate. • The first church in Hadley, Chester Williams, pastor ; Mr. Enos Nash, delegate.

“Pelham, Robert Abercrombie, pastor ; Mr. Matthew Gray, delegate.

“ Convened at the call of the first church in Northampton, to

gether with the elder of the church in Cold Spring, * added by the consent of both the pastor and church of Northampton, in order to advise to a remedy from the calamities, arising from the unsettled broken state of the first church in Northampton, by reason of a controversy subsisting about the qualifications for full communion in the church.

“The Rev. Mr. Hubbard was chosen Moderator, and the Rev. Mr. Williams, Scribe.

"The Council, after seeking the Divine presence and direction, had the matter in controversy laid before them, and finding the sentiments of the pastor and church, concerning the qualifications necessary for full communion, to be diametrically opposite to each other; the pastor insisting upon it as necessary to the admission of members to full communion, that they should make a profession of sanctifying grace; whereas the brethren are of opinion, that the Lord's Supper is a converting ordinance, and consequently that persons, if they have a competency of knowledge, and are of a blameless life, may be admitted to the Lord's table, although they make no such profession : And also finding that, by reason of this diversity of sentiment, the doors of the church have been shut for some years, so that there has been no admission : And not being able to find out any method, wherein the pastor and brethren can unite, consistent with their own sentiments, in admitting members to full communion : The Council did then, according to the desire of the church, expressed in their letters-missive, proceed to consider of the expediency of dissolving the relation between pastor and people; and, after hearing the church upon it, and mature deliberation of the case, the questions were put to the members of the Council severally;

“1. Whether it be the opinion of this Council, that the Rev. Mr. Edwards, persisting in his principles, and the church in theirs in opposition to his, and insisting on a separation, it is necessary that the relation between pastor and people be dissolved ? Resolved in the affirmative.

“2. Whether it be expedient that this relation be immediately dissolved? Passed in the affirmative.

“ However, we take notice, that notwithsthanding the unhappy dispute which has arisen, and so long subsisted, between the pastor and church of Northampton, upon the point before mentioned, that we have had no other objection, against him, but what relates to his sentiments upon the point aforesaid, laid before us: And although we have heard of some stories spread abroad, reflecting upon Mr. Edwards' sincerity with regard to the change of his sentiments about the qualifications for full communion; yet we have received full satisfaction, that they are false and groundless : And although we do not all of us agree with Mr. Edwards in our sentiments upon the point, yet we have abundant reason to believe, that he took much pains to get light in that matter; and that he is uprightly following the dictates of his own conscience, and with great pleasure reflect upon the christian spirit and temper he has discovered, in the unhappy controversy subsisting among them; aud think ourselves bound to testify our full charity towards him, and recommend him to any church or people agreeing with him in sentiments, as a person eminently qualified for the work of the Gospel ministry.

* The Rev. Mr. Billing.

“And we would recommend it to the Rev. Mr. Edwards, and the first church in Northampton, to take proper notice of the heavy frown of Divine Providence, in suffering them to be reduced to such a state as to render a separation necessary, after they have lived so long and amicably together, and been mutual blessings and comforts to each other.

“ And now, recommending the Rev. Mr. Edwards, and the church in Northampton, to the grace of God, we subscribe,

“ JONATHAN HUBBARD, Moderator,

* In the name of the Council. Northampton, June 22, 1750. “ A true copy, examined by

CHESTER WILLIAMS, Scribe.

The vote on this result stood as follows:

AFFIRMATIVE.

Pastors. Jonathan Hubbard, Robert Breck, Joseph Ashley, Timothy Woodbridge, Chester Williams.

Delegates.—Daniel Kellogg, Thomas Stebbins, Samuel Montague, Oliver Partridge, Enos Nash.

NEGATIVE.

Pastors.—Peter Reynolds, David Hall, William Hobby, Robert Abercrombie, Jonathan Billing.

Delegates.-Edward Collins, Jonathan Hall, Samuel Bancroft, Matthew Gray.

" The dissenting part of the Council entered their protest against this proceeding, judging that it was too much in a hurry, considering the past conduct and present temper of the people. And some part of the Council, who were for the separation, expressed themselves surprised at the uncommon zeal manifested by the people, in their voting for a dismission; which evidenced to them, and all VOL. I.

51

66

discerning spectators, that they were far from a temper of mind, becoming such a solemn and awful transaction, considered in all its circumstances.” The following is the Protest of the minority of the Council.

PROTEST. “We cannot agree to the dismission of the Rev. Mr. Edwards, at least for the present, for the following reasons : previous to which we observe, that, though we presume not to infringe the rights of others' consciences, yet we beg leave to enjoy our own; and being sought to for advice in the Council at Northampton, we are constrained to say to the church, that,

“ 1st. We disapprove of the separation of the Rev. Mr. Edwards from his people; because that, in the nature of the thing, there is no just cause therefor; his sentiments being, as we apprehend, perfectly harmonious with the mind of our Lord Jesus Christ, and strictly conformable with the practice of the Apostles, and that of the Reformed Church in general through the world :

“2d. On the supposition, that Mr. Edwards was in the wrong in the present controversy, yet there is, as we apprehend, no proportion between the importance of the controversy, and that of his dismission :

“ 3d. That it appears to us, that there have been no proper essays, in the way of fair reasoning with or before the parties, to convince either of them of the truth or falseness of their principles; which, love to the truth itself and their souls requires:

“ 4th. Because the church, or at least its committee, while they offer us reasons for separating them from their pastor, yet will not suffer us so to enter into the grounds of those reasons, as to offer to them that light which the word of God affords: which we esteem an imposition upon our consciences, and which doth but tend to keep them in the dark. “ These, brethren, are some of the reasons, for which we can

means approve of a separation, at least at present. But if such separation should eventually come on, we bear a free and cheerful testimony in favour of our dearly beloved brother, your once dearly beloved pastor, though now esteemed your enemy, because, as we apprehend, he has told you the truth. He needs not, indeed, any recommendation of ours, which is more properly a commendation of ourselves than of him. Nor need we say much to others, for that his praise is in most of our churches through the land: yet we are constrained to say to the world, that God has furnished him with those ministerial gifts and graces, by which he has hitherto shone as a burning and shining light. And though his people in general cease to rejoice in his light; yet we hope and trust others may rejoice in it, for a long season. So, wishing that the dear people of God in this place, may take the point in contro

« ElőzőTovább »