« AnteriorContinuar »
wealth, talents and worth, and these, unit God over all blessed forever," and to him ed to each other by such kindred views, who would degrade the eternal Saviour, habits and affections, as were necessary to to the rank of mere manhood. lay the foundation of these colonies, lo discipline, the founders of the New. would, have been induced to the arduous England churches were strictly congregaenterprise."-p. 15.
tional. They denied the authority of
Arcb Bishops, Bishops, and all such eccleOn this subject Dr. Spring has the
siastical tribunals, as esercised a coercive
power in England and Scotland; but tbey following remarks.
admitted the right and expediency of ConWhen difficulties and darkness perples- socialing for mutual edification and aded them, [our ancestors,] God sent his
The religion of our puritan fathers did light and truth to lead them. When they
not consist in mere abstract doctrinal were hemmed in by enemies, he opened a
propositions and modes of church governpassage for them “through the sea ;"
ment. when they “wandered in the wilderness, practical. It was a religion of the heart, as
Is was eminently spiritual and where there was no water, he brought wa
well as the bead. The essence of it was ter out of the rock, and rained down man
that holiness without which no man shall na for them out of heaven." "He found
see the Lord "-that 6 love whicb is the them in a desert land, in a waste howling fnlfilling of the law.” Tbey were men of wilderness; he led tbem about, he instruct
prayer, and they were “strong in faith." ed them, he kept them as the apple of bis
They knew wbat it was to wrestle with eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest
the « Angel of the covenant and prevail." Auttereth over her young--spreadeth They were peculiarly attentive, both to abroad her wings-taketh them-beareth
the smiles and frowns of providence. them on her wings ; so the Lord alone Public dangers and distresses, such as exdid Icad them, and there was no strange
posure to enemies, unfruitful seasons, the god with them." How obvious to the
destructive rage of the elements, the ravmost superficial observer, that the whole
ages of insects, and all the more private course of our venerable forefathers, was
afflictions and disappointments which the result of the divine purpose, lay under bey experienced, were regarded by them the divine inspection, and was directed by
as the rebukes and judgements of a boly a divine and omnipotent hand. There God, and as calling for public and private was no slumber to his eye, no intermission humiliation. Accordingly, they kept a to his agency and care.”—p. 13.
great many solemn fasts, and received ex
traordinary answers to the prayers which But we must hasten to exhibit a very on such occasions, they offered up to him brief sketch of the character, laws, who was able to save. and institutions of the early settlers
No people, I believe, ever set a greater of New England : Mr. Humphrey,
value upon the institutions of the gospel,
or more conscientiously regarded its holy says,
precepts. There was no sacrifice wbich
they were not ready to make, to secure to In doctrine they harmonized with the themselves and their families, the regular great luminaries of the reformation. They administration of divine ordinances. worshipped God, as Father, Son and Holy Their first care, when they landed upon Ghost, ihree in one, and one in three. these shores, and afterwards is extending The proper divinity and vicarious suffer. their seltlements was, to organize churchings of the Lord Jesus Christ, the super es, settle ministers and build meeting. natural agency of the Spirit in renewing houses. And so higbly did tbey prize rethe hearts of sinners, justification by faith ligious instruction, that in some instances, alone, divine sovereignty, personal elec even while their congregations were tion without any fore-sight of worthiness small and feeble, they supported both a in the creature, perseverance in boliness pastor and a teacher at the same time. unto the end, and the eternal punisbment 'This was the case at Salem, Hartford and of the wicked, as well as happiness of the New Haven.-pp. 27, 28. righteous; these and the other kindred doctrines, were prominent articles in all With our ancestors a profession of retheir confessions of faith. They had none ligion, was understood to be a profesof that critical acumen, which is now so
sion of real holiness of heart, a living dexterously employed, by some of their descendants, to explain away the most faith in Christ, and a sincere dedicapositive declarations of scripture; none tion of soul and body to God, for time of that daring which would pluck the and eternity. They were remarkably crown from the head of Jesus; and none strict in the administration of gospel of that charity, which would present the right hand of christian fellowship indiffer. discipline, and their form of covenantently, to him who adores “Immanuel as ing was peculiarly solemn and impres
sive. Dr Hyde has copied from stewards.- Promising also, unto our best Mather's Magnalia, the covenant of ability, to teach our
children and servants
the knowledge of God, and of his will, the first church that was formed in that they may serve him also; and all Massachusetts, which is in our judg- this, not by any strength of our own; but ment, so very excellent, that we shall by the Lord Christ, whose blood we desire
may sprinkle this our covenant, made in here present it at full length to our
bis name." readers. “We covenant with our Lord, and with
In their observance of the Sabbath, one anotber; and we do bind ourselves the first settlers of New-England in the presence of God, to walk together in all bis ways, according as he is pleased tious. With them it was a day of
were remarkably strict and consciento reveal himself upto us, in bis blessed word of truth; and do esplicitly, in the
sweet and sacred rest. It was whol. name and fear of God, profess and protestly devoted to reading, meditation and to walk as followetb, through the power prayer, in private ; and to family inavouch the Lord to be our God, and our struction, and social worship in pubselves to be his people in the truth, and lic. We beartily join with Mr. Ches. simplicity of our spirits. We give our. ter in the following sentiment. “O selves to the Lord Jesus Christ, and ibe word of his grace, for the teaching, ruling clime they make their home, be dis
may their descendants, in whatever ship and conversation, resolving to cleave tinguished like their fathers, for their unto bim alone, for life and glory, and to sacred regard to the Sabbath of the reject all contrary ways, canons, and con Lord to its hallowed rest—to its stitutions of men in his worsnip. We promise to walk with our brethren, with delightful duties.” all watchfulness and tenderness, avoiding
Sach was the abhorrence of imjealousies and suspicions, backbitings, cen. morality amongst our puritan ances. surings, provokings, secret risings of spirit tors, and so strict were they in the against them; but in all offences to follow the rule of our Lord Jesus, and to bear
education and government of their and forbear, give and forgive, as he hath children, that vice sought a distant taught us. In public, or private, we will retirement, and scarcely found a place willingly do nothing to the offence of the
among them. This fact is attested church; but will be willing to take advice for ourselves and ours, as occasion shall by almost all the records of those be presented. We will not in the congre times. We shall only copy the tesgation, be forward, either to show our timony of the Rev. Mr. Firman, in a gifts and parts in speaking, or scrupling, or tbere discover the weakness or failings
sermon which he preached before the of our brethren; but attend an orderly Parliament, and the Assembly of Dicall thereunto, knowing bow much the vines at Westminster. “I have lived, Lord may be dishonored, and his gospel said he, in a country, (meaning Newdistempers and weaknesses, in public. England) seven years, and all that time We bind ourselves to study the advance. I never heard one profane oath, and ment of the gospel, in all truth and peace, all that time, I never did see a man both in regard of those that are within, or
drunk in that land." Alas, what without; no way slighting our sister chur.
would be his testimony could he now ches; but using their counsel as need shall be; not laying a stumbling block be. return, and spend seven years more sore apy; no not the Indians whose good in New-England ? we desire to promote ; and so to converse, It seems to be taken for granted, as we may avoid the very appearance of evil. We do hereby promise, to carry by some, that the men who lived two ourselves in all lawiúl obedience to those centuries, or a century and a half wbo are over us in church, or common. ago, must have been very inferior in wealth, knowing how well pleasing it
point of education, if not of talent, to would be to the Lord, that they should have encouragement in their places, by the present generation of their deour not grieving their spirits, through our scendants; and that they could not irregularities. We resolve to approve have duly appreciated the importance ourselves to the Lord in our practical cal.
of literature and science to a commulings, sbunning idleness as the bane of any state ; nor will we deal bardly, or oppres. nity. But this opinion does great insively with any, wherein we are the Lord's justice to the pilgrims. “It is no
partial or extravagant representation sound and able men. They brought to say, that they were men of vigorous with them the most valuable libraries
they were familiar with the fountains of talent, enlarged views, and uncom- knowledge wbich all must seek, and at mon learning.” Many of them re which the distinguished divines of this ceived the best education which could day, must be furnished and instructed. be obtained in the English Universi- The gospel was preached in the demon.
stration of the Spirit, and with power." ties. Cotton, Hooker, Davenport, Its great truths were as ably stated-as Mayhew, Norton, Winthrop, Eaton, well defended—and as powerfully enforHopkins, Wolcott and others, will ceu as they ever were, or ever can be, by long be remembered as the enlight
mere uninspired men.” Mr. C. p. 17. ened and distinguished patrons of Ed This we think is going rather too ucation.
far. It seems to suppose, that no ad" Ansiously attentive to the general vance has been made in the science diffusion of science, our forefathers of theology, for the last hundred laid the basis of their exertions, in the
years; or at the very least, that the extended establishment of common schools. It was as much a point of con
great truths of the bible, can never science with them, and it entered as re
be better understood, or more ably ally into all their plans of colonization, to illustrated and defended, than they furnish their posterity with the means of were by the fathers. But surely it intelleclual advancement, as to provide
can be no disparagement, to the memthem with the means of daily and comfortable subsistence: and they early laid theory of those venerable and "mighty foundations of those higher seminaries of elders,” to hope and believe, that learning, which bave been justly consider with the help of their labors, some of ed among the brightest ornaments of the the divines of the present and of sucland." Ďr. Spring, p. 22.
« Next to the advancement of pure and ceeding centuries, will surpass them undefiled religion in their own souls, and in theological knowledge. Other in the communities to which they belong.
men of equal talents and industry ed, the promotion of sound learning in public seminaries, and of general educa
may be raised up; and as the millention among the people, were objects which ium approaches, may be more “ ferlas nearest their hearts. In proof of this, vent in spirit;” or if this should not it'is only necessary to trace ibe history of be the case, why may not the inferiors mon schools, as exhibited in their respect in other respects) of Hooker, and ive charters, in the public acts for their Cotton, and Davenport, become mighencouragement, and in the private muni. tier in the scriptures than ever they ficence by which they were early suppor- were? It would be strange indeed, sed and endowed. To mention but one source of information on this subject: if a man of ordinary stature, standing whoever may think it worth the trouble, upon a giant's shoulder, could not, to look into the colonial laws of New from this elevation, see farther than England, will find the broad basis of oor 'the giant himself. whole system of education, carefully laid by our wise and provident ancestors.
But to proceed :-The pilgrims of Mr. Humphrey, p 30
New-England brought over with them In reference to the first preachers a missionary spirit. They had pity of New-England, we can subscribe
on the heathen.' The Rev. John Elwith some little abatement of super- iot, the famed Apostle of the Indians, latives and comparatives, to the fol
was among the early settlers. The lowing paragraph.
Mayhews were but little behind him,
in zeal and activity; and the success 4 Their views of truth were uncommon. of these missionaries, in turuing the ly vivid and correct. They enjoyed the best opportunities to acquire a profound
Aborigines from daskness to light,was knowledge of the scriptures. They were
almost without a parallel. At a very well acquainted with the writings and early period, there were no less than disciples of the reformers. They lived at fourteen towns in Massachusetts, ina period when the ministers of the Protes- habited by these evangelised sons of tant Churches,were among the most learned and acute scholars and critics, that
the forest. In 1652 two hundred erer preached the gospel. They were and eighty two of the natives of Mar
tha's Vineyard, had embraced chris- ry conclusively we think, " unless it be tianity; and at a later period, the understood with much qualification, is
most illiberal and unfounded. They did Rev. Experience Mayhew enumera
coact laws, against the teaching of doc. ted, no less than thirty Indian minis trines, and the adherence to practices, ters. How animating the thought, which were subversive of their own. Leathat many, thus "turned from dumb ving all men to entertain their own opin
ions, they yet required those, who held idols,” by the blessing of God, upon opinions destructive to the vital princi. the earliest missionary labours in this ples of their community, either to abstain country, are now in heaven, with their from inculcating them, or to leave their pious and indefatigable spiritual Thought of the expediency of it, they had
This, whatever may be guides and teachers !
the right to do. For the express purpose of “ As the first settlers of New-Eng. forming a community, accordant with land, believed in the absolute neces
their views of the Gospel, they came with sity of regeneration, by the Holy Spir
immense expense, to these retired shores.
That they might interfere with no rights it, they were friends to revivals of re
of their fellow men in the prosecution of ligion. They early fasted and pray- this design, they selected a part of the ed, for the effusions of divine grace
world, that was unoccupied only by sav. upon the infant churches and settle
ages, of whom, by fair and open purchase
they received it. This in the highest sense, ments; and many were the times
was their domicil, and as such, they reaof refreshing from the presence of the sonably demanded of their fellow men, Lord.' Thus the Spirit was remark- the privilege of enjoying it, for the purposes
for which they possessed it. But in the ably poured out in 1629, 1630, and
year 1656, a number of persons of the de 1637. In 1680, there was a general nomination of Quakers, for the purpose, as revival in Massachusetts, Plymouth, there is reason to believe, of trampling upand Connecticut. In 1677, 1683, on tbe religious order of the colonies,
came from England to Massachusetts, and 1696, 1712, 1718 and 1721, there
immediately began, in the most public were happy and powerful revivals,
manner, to revile both the ministry and in various parts of New-England." the magistracy ; to denounce them as a Since the last mentioned date, also, system of imposture and tyraony; and to we believe that this our goodly her
threaten the severest judgments of heaven
upon the people, if they did not abandon itage,' has been more highly favour them. Their conduct was in some instaned with revivals, than any other por ces, an intolerable outrage, not only upon tion of the globe, and in consequence,
established order, but upon common de we have no doubt, of the institutions,
cency. The penalties of the laws were
accordingly enforced by the infliction of piety and prayers of our ancestors. fines, imprisonment, flagellation, or ban.
Of their laws, we have only room ishment, according to their aggravation of to say, that they resolved to make the offence; and when these were found
ineffectual, a law was enacted, “that ang the Bible the basis of legislation, as
Quaker returning from banishment, to rewell as the standard of faith ; and it
new his offences against the peace of the was owing to this circumstance, we colony, should be punished with death." are fully persuaded, more than all Under this law, several were esecuted.
This is a matter of deep regret. So it others, that their civil and criminal
seems to have been viewed by our fathers codes, so far surpassed those of any themselves, for in each of the colonies, other infant colonies, whether ancient the law was soon repealed, or was not eoor modern. After all, however, the
forced. Yet it should be remembered, that fathers of New-England have receive or in any other form, suffered, not directly
those who were punished either capitally, ed their full share of obloquy and re for their religion ; but for their disturbance proach. “Just escaped from perse
of the public peace, and their infraction of cution themselves, it has been said,
the first principles of the established gor
ernment." they demonstrated, that it was not the principle, but its application which Upon the unhappy occurrences, they condemned: for the moment which mark the early history of Newthey had the power, they becane England, on the subject of witchcraft, persecutors in their turn."
Mr. Porter has the following judicious “ This,” Mr. Porter contends, and ve. remarks.
“ Those occurrences, were the effect of and immoral men'? and that the foundaa popular delusion--a delusion, however, tions, which the fathers laid, for the support which was by no means peculiar to New- of an able, evangelical ministry, would England; but prevailed throughout the extensively be broken up ? Could they British dominions; and was countenanced now witness the change, with the feelings by such men as Keeble, and Sir Mathew that belong lo fesh and blood, what would Hale, and Baster--a delusion, which in this be their emotions ?" Mr. Porter. p. 18, 19. country, was soon exploded, and the tragic " The almost entire neglect of gospel al scenes of which, were deeply and almost discipline, is one of the features in Newuniversally lamented ;-a delusion, more England's degeneracy, which greatly ob. over, in which the fathers of New-England, scures her ancient glory. The greater were not in the smallest degree concern part of her churches, have thrown aside ed; as it did not begin its reign, till sisty ihose common bonds of union which, in years after the settlement of the country, the days of our ancestors, contributed so when they were resting in their graves. much to purity of doctrine, and mutual p. 13-14
comfort and edification ; while a growing,
contempt of creeds and confessions of Upon the whole, that the founders faith, has facilitated the encroachments of of New-England were perfect ; that error, and given countenance to those they were chargeable with no errors
wbo deny the essential truths of christian.
ity. It cannot be dissembled that a very in judgment, or practice, is not preten- different
faith is inculcated from some ded :--but that they were distinguish of the pulpits of New-England, from that ed for their piety, for their love of libe which supported our fathers under all their erty; for their observance of the Sab- trials, and which they trusted would be
the liope ond consolation of their children bath, and high estimation of all the in future ages ;-a faith which so far from institutions of religion ; that some of humbling ine pride of men, commends them were men of uncommon talents, itself to the unrenewed heart, and constideep learning and extraordinary fore- tutes precisely the resting place for a mind
awake to its obligations, and determined cast ; and that New-England is more to maintain its rebellion against the Most indebted to them for her freedom, High :-a faith which mocks at the seriousreligion, science, and general pros- ness, and spirituality and self devotement perity, than to the wisdom, piety, val- ibe tenderness of an awakened conscieuce, our apd patriotism of any subsequent all anxiety for the salvation of the soul, generation, cannot now, be reasonably all the solemnities of conviction for sin, as questioned, and will we are persuaded well as." all joy and peace in believing,"
the object of ridicule and sarcasm :-a be universally acknowledged, by a
faith which relaxes the obligations of permore remote and religious posterity. sonal and domestic religion ; which with. But alas ! " how is the gold become out scruple allows ministers and people dim, and the most fine gold changed!”
an occasional indulgence, in the more reOn the painful topic of New-Eng- often descends low enough, to caricature
fined and fashionable vices; and which land's degeneracy, Mr. Porter and Dr. the simplicity and purity of better days. Spring, make the following remarks. Yes, all this is to be found in New-Eng.
land- where the “daughters of Zion was " As a community, how different is our ouce comely as Tirzah, fair as the moro, character from that of the pilgrirns! Could and terrible as an army with banners ;"they have imagined, that within two where our fathers enjoyed such memorable centuries after their Bight to this shore, for effusions of the Divine Spirit, and beheld the express purpose of advancing the chris. such illustrious exbibilions of the Divine tian faith, ibe very churches which they Glory-where so much has been accomfirst formed, would have denied the Lord plished and so much, endured 10 estend that bought them ?” that sectarian ani and perpetuate a pure and undefiled reli. mosities would have shaken others, in ev gion." Dr. Spring. p. 38–41. ery part of the community to their foundations that the family altar which ihey While we feel constrained to admit erected, would every where, and by the the general correctness of this lamenied that the sabbath would in all places, tation over the degeneracy of Newasd with no oppositon, be publicly viola England, we cannot say that we fully led? that profaneness, lewdness and most coincide with Dr. Spring, in eveci her forms of atrocious aud polluting vice; ry particular. Much as the people the magistracy itself, would in many in- have “provoked the Lord and gone stances, be conferred upon unprincipled away backward,” we trust there is Vol. 3.-No. Y.