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A Vindication OF THE New-North-CHURCH in Boston.

From several Falshoods spread IN A PAMPHLET Lately Published, Tending to their Defamation, Entituled, An Account of the Reasons why a considerable Number belonging to the New North Congregation in Boston, could no [...] consent to Mr. Peter Thacher's Ordi­nation there, &c.

With an INVITATION to the Dissatisfyed Bre­thren of the said Church to put an End to their Con­troversy in a Christian Way.

By several of the MEMBERS of that Church

BOSTON: Printed by J. FRANKLIN, fo [...] D. HENCHMAN, and sold at his Shop ove [...] against the Brick Meeting House. 1720.

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A Vindication, &c.

WHEREAS there hath late­ly been published in Boston a Pamphlet, Entituled, An Account of the Reasons why a considerable Number of the New North Congregation in Boston, could not consent to Mr. Peter Thacher's Ordination there, &c. In which Pamphlet are con­tained several plain and, positive Falshoods, as to Matters of Fact therein related, and many Misre­presentations of the proceedings of the said Church, in their bringing forward the choice of a Pastor to joyn with the Reverend Mr. Webb, in the work of the Ministry, and in their Electing the Reverend Mr. Peter Thacher to be their Pastor, and settling him in said Office. The Falshoods and Misrepresentations hereby spread concerning the Weighty and important Managements of said [Page 2]Church, loudly calls upon us to make our D [...] ­fence against those who make it evident to the World, that they are endeavouring to hurt us in our best and most valuable interests.

In order to our Vindication, we shall recite some of the most material passages mentioned in the said Pamphlet, relating to our Conduct, and set those proceedings of ours in a true Light.

First then, We find them asserting, That a Number of the Members of our Church did use underhand practices to Rob Weymouth, and Im­pose a Minister on Boston; which thing has been much talked of, and we thought we had done enough to prevent its being improved against us any more; for at a Church Meeting, where most of the dissatisfyed Brethren were present, that mat­ter was throughly debated, and every one that could be in the least suspected, declared they never were concerned, directly nor indirectly, by writing, or by any other means whatsoever, to invite Mr. Thacher to leave Weymouth and come to us. After these things were fairly and fully debated, it was proposed by our Reverend Pastor, that if we were in Charity with each other on that account, we should express it by lifting up our hands, which we concluded every one did; and we challenge any person in the world to prove, that ever any of the Members of our Church have been guilty of what they have charged them with in this Affair.

As to what they alledge of their being fallaci­ously dealt with (page 5, 6.) and being cut off from the benefit of a Vore we passed the 13th of [Page 3] May in favour of the Congregation; we say, that this one thing set in a due light, we can't but think silenceth one great clamour of our Oppo­sers, viz. Oppression; for this Vote was proposed and come into purely in indulgence to them, and to make them sensible we would do our utmost we could to quiet them and make them easy.

As to their being cut off from the Liberty gi­ven them in that Vote by an Obligation, which they say was tacked to it; We reply, that the obli­gation so much complained of is plainly implyed in the Vote, for that is founded on the Liberty given by the Province Law to the Congregations in the Country; and the reason why the Vote was not fully compleated at this Meeting was, we could not determine the Bounds of the Congrega­tion, and therefore deferred it till we had consult­ed with some of the chief of the Congregation; and then it was determined that all the constant Hearers and Contributers should be allowed the priviledge of a Vote, that would come under such an Obligation, which was no more than only a promise, That they would do their part towards the Support of the Ministry, so long as God in his Providence continued them in that place, which was signed by a considerable Number who did actually Vote in the Choice, and it was un­reasonable and groundless Jealousies that hindered the dissatisfy'd from coming into it.

As to a pretended promise made by the Rev. Mr. Webb, that they should see Mr. Thacher's Dismission, signed by the major part of the Church of Weymouth before we proceeded further; and that it was promised some of the Church should go to Weymouth and bring it; We reply, that we [Page 4]remember it was moved by them, but Mr. Webb an­swer'd to their proposal, that it was not reasona­ble nor practicable according to Custom in such cases, but that they should see a Dismission in usual Form, and such a Dismission we according­ly produced and offered, at the time when they were called to concur with the Church in the Choice.

Again, we find asserted, (page 12.) That we chose Mr. Thacher to be our Minister when he was the Minister of Weymouth, which we declare to be a positive Falshood; and can prove, that Mr. Thacher had his Dismission from his Pastoral Relation to the Church of Weymonth by a Vote of that Church the 23d of February, 1718, 19, and that another Pastor, viz. Mr. Thomas Pain, was chosen both by Church and Town, and had actu­ally taken Charge of the Pulpit before Mr Thacher left them, and was ordained in his room before we made choice of him to be our Pastor which was on the 9th of September, 1719. And now the Church of Weymouth being settled undersano­ther Pastor, they dismist Mr. Thacher at his de­sire, as a Member, and gave him a Letter of Recommendation, wherein they say, That his Con­versation with them had been as becometh the Gospel, and that they parted with him in perfect Charity; for which there was a full Vote in the Church, and not one Person objected against it, as some of us were assur'd by the present Reverend Pastor of that Church; tho' we find it asserted (page 36.) they can prove it was a lean Vote, and objections made against the Recommendation.

[Page 5] Again, We find them by way of Query (page 28.) asking, Whether Mr. Thacher did not send a Letter, and charge the Church not to consent to a Council, or desire some Friend to do it for him, for such a Letter there was, and it had its Influence. This we declare to be a positive Fashood; for our Church as a Body, nor any single Member of it, as we know of, ever received any such Letter from Mr. Thacher, or any other person in the World; nor ever had the least hint there was such a Letter, 'till we found it asserted in the Pamplet.

There are many more Notorious Falshoods in the forenamed Pamphlet, which we think it not needful for us to answer, since we know not the Author; and those Particulars which we have already answer'd are the foundation of the Contro­versy; and we have no prospect of its being ended, tho' we should answer every Particular.

And we hope no serious Christian will justify that Pamphlet, which appears to be written with so much Heat and Anger; for it's evident, that the force and strength of its Rage is levelled at our Ministers; and what can the design of this be, but to render their Labours unsuccessful, and pre­judice People against them? If this be their de­sign, and they should in the least obtain their end, certainly without deep Repentance and Sorrow for such Sins, dreadful must be the Account which such persons will have to give up another Day. Our Ministers are very dear to us, and some of us can very truly, and we hope very feelingly say that we have cause to bless God for them; and we trust there are great Numbers in the Town that have a great affection for them, for the re­markable [Page 6]Meekness and Moderation they have shewn in this more than ordinary Difficulty and Tryal they have met withal.

And whereas we find them charged with an un­becoming Te [...]per and Carriage in the forecited Pamphlet, in which they very particularly bid the Readers to enquire with what a Temper Mr. Thacher acted upon his admission into the Church, to whom (if any should enquire) we should be glad of the opportunity to relate; Namely, That it was with great Meekness he addressed himself to the Church at that time; and his Expressions were so Christian, and in so moving a manner, as affected the greater part (we believe all, except those few who opposed him) and they being the persons to whom he chiefly apply'd, it was very surprising to all the the rest, that they were no more affected with it.

They charge the Reverend Mr. Webb with parti­ality in our Meetings in reproving Sharply those who were not of his mind, and not reproving those who were, when they spake unbecomingly; we can truly say, we Never once observed it to be so; but always to the contrary, Exhorting us all to a Christian Temper one towards another; and when he saw any thing otherwise with a great deal of meekness and moderation Administred a reproof to one as well as to another; and in all the manage­ments of our affairs carryed it with the same tem­per to the dissatisfyed as he did at the Meeting-House when the Reverend Mr. Thacher was Instal­led; and what his behaviour towards them was at that time and their carriage towards him, we [Page 7]leave to the many hundreds then present to judge. And both our Pastors have always prest it upon us to study the things that make for peace, and to overlook whatever Ill treatment we met with from those who dissented from us; and we hope we have endeavoured to observe those directions, and still are inclined so to do; and can truly say, it is and always hath been a great grie [...] to us, to have such a difference with any of our Bre­thren, and are willing to do any thing that lies i [...] our power to come to an agreement with them and to live in love and peace as becomes Brethren.

Who were the Authors of said Pamphlet wekno [...] not, but find the names of several of our Brethre [...] of the Church inserted in it, whether nhey ga [...] their consent that it should be so, we know no [...] but since it is so, and we find in the Preface a Cha [...] lenge to answer any objection against it, either b [...] fore the Civil Authority or a Council of Churche [...] we do now in the most open and Publick mann [...] Declare, that we are freely willing to submit a [...] our differences with our said Brethren to a Coun [...] of Churches as we publickly voted on the day [...] the Reverend Mr. Thacher's Instalment; when bo [...] our Pastors and the whole Church openly expre [...] their readiness to submit whatever concern'd eith [...] of them in the management of their late Importa [...] affair to the hearing of [...]ouncil, & as the next day [...] offered 'em when Mr. Webb sent for all the dissatis [...] Brethren of the Church to give him a Meeting at [...] House to consult about the calling a Council, se­ral of them then refused to come, & those who d [...] refused to joyn Issue with us. A Council is t [...] which we have always been for and never refu [...] [Page 8]except One which we were desired to call at a Juncture when the Church verily concluded (all things consider'd) could have no tendency to esta­blish Peace among us, nor in the Town, and if we were out in our Judgment about it we earnestly [...]esire to be made sensible of our Error in it, and to make Christian Satisfaction for it. But always before and ever since have been ready to leave our whole controversy to the examination of a Council of Churches according to our Constitution, and [...]nd do now heartily consent to joy [...] issue with [...]ur Dissatisfyed Brethren in that way, excluding [...]hose Churches who have been concerned in any [...]f our late managements and those Persons who [...]ave prejudged the cause. And upon the first no­ [...]ice we have from our Brethren of their Inclinati­ [...]n to joyn with us in calling such a Council we [...]all heartily embrace it, and rejoyce at the very [...]pearance of such a prospect of putting an end to [...]r unhappy controversy in this Christian way.

And having openly and freely declared our selves, [...]e hope it will be a sufficient Vindication and [...]fence against all the unjust Charges made against [...] in said Pamphlet; tho' we have not given [...]either shall we pretend to give) a particular [...]swer to each one of them in this way; much [...]s shall we Recriminate upon our Brethren, and [...]blish to the World in the way and manner they [...]ve done, what the just grounds of our Grievan­ [...] at them are; for so to do we judge wou'd but [...]ry the unhappy Controversy farther, and excite [...]d confirm greater Prejudices in each against o­ [...]er; and we suppose it is own'd by all men of [...]servation and tho't, that such a way of mana­ging [Page 9]Controversys of this Nature never ends them. And we have no Rule that we know of in Scrip­ture to proceed in such a way; and therefore must condemn the Practice as unchristian, and the Treat­ment we have met withal in it as unfair and un­just. What we have therefore to alledge against our Brethren, we propose to do it in a more Christian way, and if they see reason to accept the offer, we shall refer it till we come to have a hear­ing before a Council of Churches regularly called, from whom we may expect to have such directio [...] and advice as by the blessing of God will have an happy tendency to restore peace and unity among us. In the mean time, and at all times we hope w [...] shall study the the things that make for Peace and are heartily willing to observe and conform t [...] that Character which our Blessed Saviour ha [...] given of his true Disciples, Joh. 13, 35. By thi [...] shall all men know ye are my disciples, if ye love on another. We earnestly desire to love our Brethren and do now invite them to terms of Peace and uni­ty, the blessed effects whereof we have elegant [...] expressed in Psal. 133. And upon the whole, w [...] humbly intreat of all our Christian Brethren an [...] Friends a Charitable opinion of us and our manag [...] ments till we are regularly convicted of tho [...] Crimes which we really think the Authors of t [...] late Pamphlet have in a very unjust and unchrist [...]an manner charged upon us.

Signed in the Presence of the Brethren of the Chur [...] by their Order, By

  • CALEB LYMAN
  • JOHN BARRE [...]
  • JOHN DIXWELL
In behalf of the rest.
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POSTSCRIPT.

WHeras there is a an Attempt to prove me guilty of promise breaking and falshood, as to my staying and Administring Special Ordinan­ces at Weymouth till they had another Minister Ordained. I solemnly declare I have with the greatest exactness and most impartial care recol­lected my own words and managements on that Head, and can't find that I made such a Promise, [...]nd therefore the charge upon me in that Regard must needs arise (to speak with the utmost guard) from mistake if not worse. This will appear to Presons at leisure to be informed, by the Tenour of the Vote of Dismission, and some glances at Fact, the vote of Dismission ran thus, That I had their Consent to remove whensoever I saw it con­ [...]enient and proper. This joyned with some facts [...]ust set me fair in this Matter in the Conscien­ [...]es of all judicious and charitable Christians. The reason why the Vote of Dismission ran in the [...]entioned Tenour was this; One of the principal Men of the Church, Deacon Edward Bates, in Con­ [...]e [...]sation with me before the Church Meeting, [...]id, their desire was, that I would assist them [...] the settleing another Minister, and that if the [...]ote was not worded accordingly, I should have [...]o Power after the Vote to administer special [...]rdinances, while I stayed to help them in that [...]ffair; whereupon I Worded the Vote so as to [...]e looked upon as their Pastor, but upon my Re­ [...]ove ceased to be so.

[Page 11] Before this Vote was passed, I explained my self to the Church, and told them, it was my de­fire to see them in a good way of Settlement before I left them, and therefore proposed to stay with them some time, if they concurred to it, to assist them in that great Work; and that I worded the Vote as I did, that while I did stay I might [...]e able without any ones Objection to administer special Ordinances: Upon this Explication they concurred, with a Dissent but of Three Men; and I did stay according to my own desire, till the Church had chose Mr. Pain, and the Congregati­on had concurred to that Choice: But not on [...] word as I remember passed about Ordination and my staying till then,

Two Circumstances more I call to mind ver [...] particularly: That the Committee to invite M [...] Pain, after they had done treating with him di [...] by one of them, viz. Mr. John Torrey, desire m [...] to preach with them one Sabbath and the a [...] proaching Fast, because by that time their Mini­ster would return; which I promised and pe [...] formed. I won't suspect the Readers Understand­ing so much as to argue upon it, That this plai [...] ly signifyed, they did not look upon me under su [...] an Engagement.

And to conclude, just before my actual Remo [...] several of the principal Men came and took lea [...] with all proper Love and Respect to me, and dont remember that any of them signified to [...] that they so much as looked upon me Obliged [...] promise either to stay or return to administer s [...] ­cial Ordinances. Neither did the Church Weymouth ever send to me since my removal to co [...] and Administer.

[Page 12] Having thus Declared my self I hope the persons who have been drawn in to testify against me will Solemnly consider the Charge made, as they will Answer it to their Great Judge another Day, and do Justice to my reputation, and not ruin their own Souls to destroy my Character and Ministry. And I would promise my self that the Church, whose Souls and welfare have always been, and now are very dear to me; who have so often declared my faithfulness while among them, and their great [...]ffection, will not suffer me to be oppress'd in so open [...]nd approbrious a Manner for want of testifying to [...]he truth of this Declaration, as obliged by the clea­ [...]est and strongest bond of Justice and Charity.

PETER THACHER.

WHereas in a Pamphlet lately Printed and spread abroad, I am charged with down­ [...]ght Breach of Promise to Mr. Lee, and several o­ [...]ers that were with him at my House, on the Day [...]pointed for the Instalment of the Reverend Mr. [...]acher in the New North Church, and am desired by [...]me of my Brethren to give them a brief and plain [...]lation of this Fact. In compliance with their fire I do it: And to the best of my remembrance, is as follows.

On the Day aforesaid about 5 or 6 of our ag­ [...]eved Brethren, some of the Church, the Rest of [...] Congregation were at my House, and as they [...]ate, desired a hearing of their Case by the Reve­ [...]d Elders and Messengers before they should pro­ [...]eed to the Publick work and Business of the [...]y. Their Request being granted, they read seve­ [...] Papers to the Ministers and Messengers, and, [...]ke to them as is affirmed in said Pamphlet; [Page 13]Upon this the Reverend Moderator desired the Pa­pers might be delivered and lodged with him as was usual in such Cases, and after some short de­bate were deliver'd, and (as I understood) accor­ding to the Moderator's desire, without any Pro­mise from him in the least that they should ever be returned. And before our Brethren went out of the Room, they desired of the Ministers and Mes­sengers present, that their Papers might be further considered by them and they themselves called for again, adding (as they say) that they had Wit­nesses from Weymouth to attest to the Things rela­ting to Mr. Thacher. To this the Reverend Mi­nisters (if I remember aright) replyed, the one and the other of them to this effect, That they should Consider what had been offered unto them, and act according to the best of their Judgment upon it: And farther made this Conditional Promise to our Brethren, viz. If they found upon Consideration any Occasion for them to speak further to, or explain what they had offered, they would send for them And I suppose there is at least 3 Persons that ar [...] ready (if there should be occasion for it) to Attes [...] to the Truth of what is thus far related. An [...] now as to what more immediately concerns m [...] [...]self, The Case is this; When the Reverend Gerntlemen aforesaid had made the abovementione [...] Conditional Promise to my Brethren, I being bette [...] acquainted in the Neighbourhood than any in th [...] Council were, I enquired of my Brethren whe [...] they would be, that I might send my Lad for the in case the Council should see any necessity for [...] and desire me so to do. The answer return'd [...] me was, We shall be at Mr. Lee's house. And make no question but the 3 Persons I referred to a [...] are able to testify to the Truth of this also. Up [...] [Page 14]this o [...] Brethren took their leave of us, and [...] went to the door with them, and as they were [...] ing away Mr. Lee desired me to send my Boy f [...] them; agreeable (as I apprehended) to what [...] had said before unto them in the House, i. e. i [...] case the Reverend Elders and Messengers should desire me so to do. And with this Apprehension I re­turned the Answer, Yes, unto him: and so we parted.

This, to the best of my Remembrance, is a true Account of all that passed with relation to the Ministers, and my Promise to the aggrieved Brethren, which we have so often been charged with the breach of. And as the Charge in the printed Pamphlet seems more especially to be levelled against me, I have this further to offer in my own vindication, viz. Th [...] very Nature of the thing, is the clearest and strongest Testimony in my Favour, were there no other Evidence, (as I make no doubt there is plenti­ful) in the Case; for I was no more of the Coun­cil, nor had any more to do than my aggrieved Brethren themselves had, to send for any Persons [...]o come to them, unless the Council desired it of me, and there is no doubt to be made, but that [...]he Reverend Ministers belonging unto it, have such an entire Regard to Truth, that if they had apprehended themselves in the least measure under [...]y obligation by Promise to send for our aggrieved Breth­ren after they had once dismissed them, they would have fulfilled the engagement, and have desired me to send for them. And I solemnly declare, if I had had the least hint from the Reverend Ministers so to do, or the least appre­hension that the said Brethren absolutely expected I should have sent unto them, with or without any direction from [...]e Council, I should certainly have done so.

JOHN WEBB.
FINIS.

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