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Note 19, page 34.
The first three deacons of the church were Ralph Mousall, Robert Hale, and Thomas Lynde. Ralph Mousall and Robert Hale were among the original members of the church, and were probably appointed when the church was organized; the first died April 30, 1657, and the second July 16, 1659. Thomas Lynde was admitted to the church February 4, 1636; but of his appointment to the office of deacon, no record is left. He died December 30, 1671. William Sti/son and Robert Cutler were ordained deacons October 16, 1659, the former of whom was admitted to the church March 22, 1633, and died April 11, 1691, aged ninety-one years; and the latter was admitted to the church at the same time with John Harvard and Anna his wife, November 6, 1637, and died March 7, 1665. John Cutler, the son of Deacon Robert, and Aaron Ludkin, were ordained deacons February 25, 1672, and both died the same year, 1694; the first, September 18, and the second, March 26. "On the 28th April, 1695, three deacons (the church being then wholly destitute) having been formerly and regularly nominated, and declared in the whole congregation, namely, Mr. William Foster, Mr. John Call, and Mr. Joseph Kettle; Mr. Foster excused himself because of the infirmity of his age, and therefore the other two only were this day ordained."1
There is in the burying-ground, the grave-stone of Deacon Edward Wilson, who died December 31, 1706, aged seventy-three. He was admitted to the church July 29, 1660; but of his election or ordination to the office of deacon, no record remains.
In addition to those mentioned above, the following persons have successively filled the office of deacon
Jonathan Cary, chosen Deacon .
May 3, 1710.
February 5, 1752.
January 10, 1S33.
1 Record hy Mr. Morton.
Note 20, page 35.
The town records say, under date of November 26, 1639, " Mr. William Rainsborough bought the old meeting-house and paid for it in full payment, to Mr. Nowell and Thomas Lind, one hundred pounds for the church's use, which monies went towards charge of building the new meeting-house."
And in the margin is the following: "Mr. William Rainsborough pays for the old meeting-house that stands between the town and the neck, £100 to Mr. Increase Nowell and Thomas Lind towards building the new meeting-house, newly built in the town, on the south side of the Town Hill."
It would seem from this, that the Great House was either abandoned and another built farther up, or else was moved from the place where it was built. But this is the only notice I have found of any meetinghouse " between the town and the neck."
In Winthrop's journal, under the date of June, 1636, is the following notice: "Mr. Winthrop, Jun., gave £5 towards the building of the meeting-house at Charlestown. I sent it by James Brown." This it would seem from the date, must have been given for the house "between the town and the neck."
In this connection it will be interesting to introduce an order from the town records, which exhibits the care of our ancestors to provide for the comfort of those who come from a distance to attend worship. Small houses were built, called Sabba'-day houses, for such to assemble in as lived too far to return home at noon. Under date of May 9, 1639, is the following record: "It was ordered that a watch-house should be built with a chimney in it of convenient largeness to give entertainment on the Lord's day to such as live remote from the meeting-house, and that there shall be a small room added or taken out of it for widow Morly to live in. The two constables and Robert Hale were appointed to order the building of the watch-house."
This proceeding may reveal, perhaps, the cause of the erection of a meeting-house towards the neck, and the condition upon which it was rebuilt in the square. But, however this may be, it is interesting, as exhibiting a usage of those early days.
It was customary in country towns, to erect several small houses for the purpose for which our watch-house was built. The following is an extract from the centennial address of the Rev. Grant Powers, of Goshen, Connecticut.
"These houses generally consisted of two rooms ten or twelve feet square, with a chimney in the centre between them, and a fire-place in each room. They were generally built at the united expense of two or more families. Dry fuel was kept in each house, ready for kindling a fire. On the morning of the Sabbath, the owner of each room deposited in his saddle-bags the necessary refreshment for himself and family, and a bottle of beer and cider, and took an early start for the sanctuary. He first called at his Sabba'-day house, built him a fire, deposited his luncheon, warmed himself and Family' and at the hour of worship, they were all ready to sally forth, and to shiver in the cold, during the morning services at the house of worship. At noon they returned to their Sabba'-day house, with some invited friends perhaps, where a warm room received them; the fire having been in operation during the morning exercises. The saddle-bags were now brought forth, and their contents discharged upon a prophet's table, of which all partook a little, and each in turn drank at the bottle. This service being performed, and thanks returned, the patriarch of the family drew from his pocket the notes he had taken during the morning service, and the sermon came under renewed and distinct consideration, all enjoying the utmost freedom in their remarks. Sometimes a well-chosen chapter or paragraph was read from an author, and the service was not unfrequently concluded by prayer; then all returned to the sanctuary to seek a blessing there. If the cold was severe, .the family might return to their house to warm them before they sought their habitation. The fire was then extinguished, the saddle-bags and the fragments were gathered up, the house locked, and all returned to their home."
Note 21, page 41.
Mr. Savage, the learned editor of Winthrop, thought it more probable that Mr. James did not return to England, but was the Thomas James who died in East Hampton, 1696. He is now, however, satisfied that they were different persons. The testimony of Prince and Hubbard would seem decisive; and that he had a son who was studying for the ministry, we learn from Johnson. Prince says, p. 413, " When I lived at Comb's in Suffolk, from 1711 to 16, Mr. Thomas Denny, a pious and ancient gentleman there, informed me that he knew the Rev. Mr. Thomas James, minister of Needham, about four miles off, who he said came from New England." Hubbard says, p. 191, that he continued in the work of the ministry till the year 1678, when he was about the eighty-sixth year of his age, and might be living at the time he wrote. Johnson bestows the following lines upon him:
"Thy native soil, O James, did thee approve,
God's people there in Lincolnshire commend;
Till Christ through seas did ihee on message send.
His people in New England thou must feed;
Then part wilt thou lest farther jars should breed,
Hut my muse wails that any soldier should
Back thou retreat'st—then valiant fighting; hold
His bands increase when leaders he provides j
Thy loss repair, and Christ thee crown besides."1
1 Wonder Working Providence, ch. 26.
Note 22, page 46.
The following facts have been gleaned by Mr. Savage, in his late visit to England, respecting Mr. Allen. He was the son of John Allen, a dyer, of Norwich, of a competent estate, born and baptized 1608. He was chosen minister of St. Edmund's a second time, and continued so till August 24, 1662, about eleven years. He took his first degree, 1627, and his second, 1631. His first wife was Anne Sadler, of Patcham, in Sussex, by whom he had a son, Thomas. His second wife was the widow of Major Sedgwick, by whom he had no issue.
Our church records show the baptism of Mary, daughter of Thomas and Anne Allen, 15th 12mo., 1639. And from the Boston records we learn that Mary, the daughter of Thomas and Anne Allen, was born 31. 11. 1639. And Sarah, their daughter, was born 8. 6. 1641, and was buried 21. 2 1642. Elizabeth, their daughter, was born 17. 7., and died 29. 7. 1642. And Mercy, their daughter, was born 13. 6. 1646, and died 17. 6. 1646.
Note 23, page 47.
At the session of the General Court, in May, 1646, a bill was presented by some of the elders for a synod to be held in the end of summer. The magistrates passed it, but the deputies objected, because the churches were required by the bill to send messengers, and they were not satisfied that Christ had given the civil authority any such power over the churches, and also because the design of the synod was to establish one uniform practice for all the churches, which was to be approved by the General Court; and this seemed to give power either to the synod or the court to compel the churches to practice what should so be established.
In answer to these objections, it was said and admitted by all, that the civil magistrate had power to require the churches to send messengers to advise in regard to those ecclesiastical matters, either of doctrine or discipline, the purity and truth of which the magistrate was bound by God to maintain. And then it was held, the synod was to proceed not by way of power, but of counsel from the word of God; and the court was at liberty to disannul or establish the agreement of the synod as they saw fit, which put no more authority into their hands than they already had by the word of God, as well as by their own laws and liberties. It was voted, therefore, that the civil authority had power to call a synod when they saw fit; but from tender regard to the scruples of some, it was determined that the synod should be convened by way of motion only, and not of command to the churches.
As the time for the synod to meet, drew near, it was propounded to the churches, and the same or similar objections were raised as had been made by the deputies. Those who were principally concerned in raising these objections, were some persons in Boston who had recently come from England, where the largest liberty was claimed and allowed by the Independents, and the greater part of the House of Commons. Governor Winthrop has preserved a particular account of the debate held on this subject, in the Boston church. The question was agitated and no conclusion reached, two Lord's days; and the elders sat down much grieved in spirit, but told the congregation they felt it their duty to attend the synod notwithstanding; not as sent by the church, but as called by the court.
The assembly met at Cambridge, 1st September. The next day, being the Boston Lecture, Mr. Norton of Ipswich, preached a sermon to a vast auditory, on Moses and Aaron kissing each other in the mount, in which he laid down the nature and power of synods as only consultative, decisive, and declarative, not coactive; and spoke with so much effect upon this subject, and upon the duty of churches to yield obedience to the civil magistrate, and the great scandal of refusing to do so, that on the next Lord's day, a majority of the church voted to send three messengers with their elders to the assembly.
Owing to these circumstances, the synod, upon coming together, discussed the question as to the magistrates' power in matters of religion; and after a session of fourteen days, delivered their judgment in the following proposition: "The civil magistrate, in matters of religion, or of the first table, hath power civilly to command or forbid things respecting the outward man, which are clearly commanded or forbidden in the word, and to inflict suitable punishments, according to the nature of the same."
This proposition, with arguments and testimonies in confirmation of it, was printed at London, 1654, together with a discourse upon the doctrine, by Thomas Allen. It was bound up with a small treatise about the nature and power of synods.
It being near winter, and few of the elders from other colonies being present, the synod adjourned to June 8, 1647. At the second session, no business was accomplished in consequence of an epidemic disease, which prevailed through the colonies, among Indians and English, French and Dutch, of which died, the very day before the synod assembled, the Rev. Thomas Hooker, of Hartford, and just one week after, Margaret, the wife of Gov. Winthrop.
The synod met again by adjournment, August 15. Mr. Allen, of Dedham, preached from Acts xv., a chapter containing the history of the council of Jerusalem. The Platform, framed by the synod at this time, was presented to the General Court, in the month of October, 1648, and by them accepted and approved.
From that time to this, the Platform, for substance, has been recognized as the standard of Congregational discipline. This Platform has been once solemnly re-affirmed. A synod convened by the General Court, at Boston, September 10, 1679, having read and considered it, unanimously approved of it, " for the substance of it," " desiring that the churches may continue steadfast in the order of the gospel, according to what is therein declared from the word of God."