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A Letter to the Author of the ANSWER to the Hampshire Narrative.

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A LETTER TO THE AUTHOR OF THE PAMPHLET Called AN ANSWEER to the Hampshire Narrative.

Prov. XXX. xxxii. If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thy self, if thou hast thought evil, lay thine Hand upon thy Mouth.

BOSTON: Printed in the Year 1737.

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THE PREFACE

THE Publication of a Pamphlet call'd An Answer to the Hampshire Narrative, having been the Means to keep up the Clamour that has been raised against us who disapproved of Mr. Breck's Settlement at Springfield, we have for some Months been silent, promising our selves this Advantage thereby, That those whose Spirits have been heated, being by this Time cooled, and Preju­dices on all sides much abated, every body will be more ready to consider the Matter with coolness and sedateness, and be under Advantage to look on the Case as it really is, and allow arguments their proper Force. The Author of the Pamphlet which we endeavour to answer, having let us know by several Passages in the Book, viz. in Page 53, 54, 55, 56, &c. That he is a Minister, was one of the Council, and one that came from Boston, we have thought best, by directing a Letter to him, to address ourselves to all the Gentlemen who were concerned in the Council with him.

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A LETTER, &c.

Reverend Sir,

WE your Brethren, in the calling of Jesus Christ; and Ministry of his Gospel, of the County of Hampshire, who from the Be­ginning of your acting in the Spring­field Affair, have been looked upon, and treated by you, as especially, and above all others obnoxious. And in all your Proceedings, from first to last, have been the Butt of your Resentment and Ob­loquy, and especially in your Book called An Answer to the Hampshire Narrative, have been treated with Indig­nity and Contempt, and represented with a great Mani­festation of Disdain and Insult as a Set of wicked, con­temptible Men, looking upon it that you have gone out of the Way of your Duty, and acted much against the Honour of Christ, and the Interest of Christianity, and to the Prejudice of the ministerial Character, do think ourselves obliged, as we are your fellow Christians and Brethren in the Ministry, not only to vindicate ourselves, but to labour to lead you to a Sense of your Error, which [Page 2] tho' we have reason to fear, from the Temper and Pre­judice you have discovered in your Answer, is not very likely to be successful; yet leaving the Event with GOD, we think ourselves bound to endeavour. And would observe in general, That you have almost wholly over­looked the Merits of the Cause in Dispute between us, and instead of that, have been pleased to divert your Readers with such ludicrous and unfriendly Reflections on our Narrative and Conduct, as you have tho't fit, for Reasons best known to yourself. And therefore, for our own Vindication and your Conviction, we have tho't it necessary to remark and reply to some of the exceptio­nal Passages in it.

In Page 1 and 2, where you distinguish those who disapproved of Mr. Breck's Settlement at Springfield, and sent their Protest against it, from those that were called to judge in the Affair, speaking of the Letter, you say, of which Number were the eldest Ministers in their own County, whereby 'tis insinuated, that the eldest Ministers in the County acted, when you know that the true State of the Case was thus, That the eldest Minister of all in the County, and the eldest in the Province but one, was one that disapproved and protested; the two next acted: the four next disapproved; and the next acted: Which three were all in the County that acted. Now, Sir, the Case being thus, was not this that you gave an unfair Re­presentation: We appeal to all your Readers that had their Information only from your Book, whether they han't been led by it, to apprehend the Case quite different from what we have now represented. In the same Place you blame us that we did not leave those eldest Ministers that acted with others, to act according to their own Light. And why, Reverend Sir, could not you, the Mi­nisters that come from Boston, leave them to act according to their own Light, without taking such abundant Pains in urging them to act against what they of themselves were inclined to, as you know you did the Reverend Mr. Chauncey, the eldest that acted, who has often de­clared, in the hearing of some of us, that had he not been exceedingly importuned, he would not have acted, [Page 3] and that he long resisted and opposed, but that you over­came him, at both times of the Council's meeting. And the Reverend Mr. Devotion, before the Council came up, did sufficiently declare in our hearing, his Disinclination to act in the Case: And there are many other concur­ring Evidences, that he would not have acted had not you sent to him, urging him to it.

In Page 2, you boldly charge us with running this Controversy into the publick Prints. Certainly you ought not thus to have declared this to the World before you knew it; and yet afterwards, before you get to the Bot­tom of the Page, you implicitly confess, that you don't know it; for you speak of the two Letters in the Boston Journal, as published by us, or somebody that undertook our Vindication: If it was only somebody that undertook our Vindication, how does it thence follow, as you say, that we not being content that the Matter should remain the Subject of Conversation only, run it into the publick Prints: And yet afterwards again, in the Margin, you charge the publishing these Letters at such a Time, on us, as an Instance of our unfair Way of managing. In­deed, we none of us had any hand in publishing either of those Letters, and knew not that any such Letters were published, or like to be published, or were in Be­ing, 'till we saw them in the publick Prints: And if they had been published by us, it would have been ve­ry injuriously said, that it was before any thing was pub­lished on the other side: Whereas you very well know, the Complaint of Springfield Church to the General Assembly, was published in the Boston Gazette, and the Letters refer'd to in your Answer, we suppose, were oc­casioned by that Publication, and a stolen Letter that was written on this Affair, was before this exposed in the publick Prints, with ludicrous Reflections, to render the Author, and the Cause he appeared in, ridiculous in the Eyes of the World.

Thus, Sir, instead of our running our own Writings first into Print, those of your Party stole 'em, and expos'd 'em, and ridicul'd 'em in the publick Prints. And then you write again▪ crying down both the Mi­nisters [Page 4] and Magistrates of the County, before ever we publish'd any thing at all: And this after you had, in a great Measure filled the Country with Reproaches of us, and raised a general Cry against us, as a set of ambitious, arbitrary, and unjust Usurpers, in the principal Part of the Country, where we, by [...]ason of our Distance, have no other Way to speak for ourselves but by the Press: And then after all cry out of us for running the Matter into the publick Prints.

As to the Things insisted on, Page 3, 4, and 5. we shall have Occasion to speak afterwards. In Page 5,&6, after you had for two or three Pages been ridiculing our Association, and its Acts and Pretentions, you say, ‘And when they (i. e. Associations) come ex-officio, to ad­minister Oaths, it seems also to intrench upon the Au­thority of the civil Magistrate;’ and then in the Mar­gin you say to the World, ‘The Form of an Oath, or Declaration taken by a particular Minister, by Order of an Association, may be seen in the Narrative Page 49, the first, we suppose, of the Kind that has been given to the Publick, and therefore worthy of special Notice.’ The Thing referred to in the Narrative,. is, that a par­ticular Minister in Connecticut took the Evidence of cer­tain Persons, in order to be sent to Springfield, at the Time of the sitting of the Council there; and they in giving their Evidence declared before GOD the Searcher of all Hearts, that their Evidence was the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but, the Truth.

Now, Reverend Sir, suppose this were indeed a pro­per Oath, and this Minister had been appointed to take it by the Association to which he belonged, What is that to us that an Association in Connecticut remote from us did so? As it is beside our Intention to say any thing on Defence of the Association of the County of Windham, so we are well assured, that those▪ Gentlemen are well able to defend themselves, when it shall be needful for them to free themselves from Apprehensions of the civil Magistrate in their own Colony, who have often heard of such kind of Oaths or Declarations, without any Sus­picion of the Ministers intrenching upon their Office. [Page 5] And we are very sorry that the Reverend Council have never heard of nor seen any such kind of Oath or De­claration in all the Discipline of the Church of England, and of Scotland or other reformed Churches abroad, which, if they had, it seems strange that they should think there was so much Occasion to put the Civil Magistrate upon drawing his Sword upon Associations for presuming to do it.

In Page 9, after mentioning some Things in the Nar­rative that you say are low and trifling, you say. ‘Ano­ther pretty Tale we are entertained with, in Page 63, there they tell us, that Mr. Breck, preaching from those Words, Many are the Afflictions of the Righteous, com­pared himself to David, Mordicai, and other good Men, and those who oppos'd him to Haman, &c..’ Mayn't your Reader have just Ground to suspect that this is but a Specimen of your Way of judging and estimating Things relating to Mr. Bk, in calling it a pretty Tale, and putting of it into the Catalogue of Things that you call low and trifling, when it is related, That he that was so young, and not yet ordained, should in the Pulpit, not only compare himself to David and Mordicai, and the neighbouring Ministers, that had been long settled and accepted in that Work, and are old eno' to be his Fathers, to Haman? And may we not take it as a Specimen of your Impartiality? We would pray you, Sir, to consider what you would think or say of any of us that are not so much younger than you, if we should in our Pulpits, compare ourselves to Mordicai and you to Haman his cruel Persecutor; would it be a pretty Tale then? Would it not be horrid Prophaness, and many other Things as bad? And we would pray you also to consider how vehemently you have inveighed against us in your Book for saying Things of you that are far less than this. And tho' it be a low and trifling Thing, not worthy to be mentioned for Mr. Breck to say this of his Fathers in the Pulpit, yet if they do but relate a Testimony publickly given by others, wherein there is something against Mr. Breck, How far is this from being a trifling Matter? Instead of which they are ranked by you among [Page 6] those whose tender Mercies are Cruelty; and you cry out, What can be more cruel, barbarous, more contrary to Hu­manity as well as Christianity? What a Spirit does this discover? You say, in Page 10, This is not true, And he did not make such a Declaration as we speak of, and call GOD to witness that he was innocent of the Thing; laid to his Charge; but tho' you positively deny it, yet Col. Dwight of Brookfield, and several others that were pre­sent and heard him, have taken their Oath to [...] before the Justices of the County.

In Page 13, you say, That what we have written dis­covers an evil and bitter, an uncharitable and unchristian Temper and Spirit. What Occasion for this heaping of hard Words? Was it from a christian & charitable Frame of Spirit in you? Don't it favour of what you charge us with Page 8, viz a Disposition to lay on all the Load that you could. The first Thing you mention as an Evidence of our showing of such a Spirit is, That we relate Things that don't enter into the Merits of the Cause; and that therefore the whole Design of them must be only to fix, as far as we could do it a Mark of Dishonour and Disgrace where we would have it worn. Will you allow that, if this holds good, and is just arguing in our Case, so it also is in your own in a like Case? That if you insist on many Things to our Reproach, that don't in the least enter into the Merits of the Cause, that then we may justly argue, That it must be only to fix, as far as you could do it, a Mark of Dishonour and Disgrace where you would have it worn? And that therefore it discovers in you an evil and bitter, an uncha­ritable and unchristian Temper and Spirit? And pray Sir, consider how much it touch'd the Merits of the Cause, for you so much to insist upon the Bulk of our Book, with so much Scoff and Jeer; repeating it over and ever so often, and declaring how it contain'd seven Sheets (tho' yours contain'd no less) and that it was mounted to Four Shillings and Six Pence Price (tho' your's was no less costly than ours) And how much did it concern the Merits of the Cause, for you, repeatedly and in a derisory Manner, to mention it that we say on the Title Page of our Book WRITTEN BY THEMSELVES? And how much [Page 7] does it concern the Merits of the Cause, to insist, with so much Ridicule, on our mean Method of writing? That we have thrust into the World a remarkable Piece, and that we don't appear to keep any Order or Method through­out our whole Book, that Things are oddly mixed and scat­tered, that to trace our Footsteps, by following us from Page to Page, would be little better than a Goose Chase, and that our Book is a large Bundle of Confusion, and that, we repeat Things in a Manner that is perfectly troublesome and nauseous; which Observation you very often repeat, tho' we think there is no Repetition that you mention but what may be vindicated from being impertinent, and that we also could shew that there is no less of Re­petition in your Book than in our's, were it worth the while to enter upon so trifling and childish a Controversy.

Supposing it be so indeed, that we can't write so correctly and methodically as you can, or supposing you could make it manifest, that we did not know how to write well eno' to appear in Print, yet how does that alter the State of the Argument, with Regard to the Merits of the Cause? And what other End could you have in insisting on it, than to fix that Mark of Dishonour and Disgrace upon us, that we have written in a weak and ridiculous manner?

You sarcastically say, Page 8, That our Repetitions are not vain, but serve mighty well to answer the very christian De­sign of our Performance: We would pray you to consider what very christian Design you could have in these Things. Is there any thing in the Manner of our saying these Things, that you say don't enter into the Merits of the Cause, that shews that the whole Design of them must be to fix a Mark of Dishonour and Disgrace, and are from an evil and bitter Spirit, &c? And pray Sir, let your own Conscience speak, whether we said any of those Things, in such a contemptuous Manner, and in such bit­ter and opprobious Language, as you have said those Things of us. And certainly, seeing you saw such a hatefulness and Vileness in our doing as you say we did, and manifest such an Abomination of it when you speak of it, you ought to have been so much further from it yourself.

[Page 8] In Page 14, after mentioning our Pretences of tender­ness to Mr. Breck, you say ‘Yet it seems they so far for­got their own Cautions, that as soon as Mr. Bk left Springfield the first time, they let the Papers from Connecticut go about the Parish, when he was not there to make any Answer for himself.’ In which you deal unjustly by us. Those Papers from Connecticut were lodged in Mr. Hopkins's Hands, and when the Parish had chosen a Committee to ask the Advice of the Ministers of the County, whether they should again make Appli­cation to Mr. Bk, that Committee went to Mr. Hop­kins, and desired that they might have those Papers to carry them to the Ministers in the upper Part of the County (whose Advice they intended first to ask) giving this as a Reason for it, viz. That those Gentle­men had heard the Papers but once, and might be the better able to give Advice, if they had a second View of them, Mr. Hopkins therefore (after cautioning them not to make any ill Use of them) gave them the Papers, and they being Mr. Breck's Friends, he had no Suspicion that they would use them to his Damage, nor have we any Reason to think they did: It is true they kept them much longer in their Hands than was expected, and where they went we know not, but if they went about the Parish to Mr. Breck's Damage, Mr. Breck's Friends are to blame for it, and not the Ministers of the County: And we assure you that they never went about the Parish any time, except while they were in the keeping of his Friends of that Parish.

And then you proceed, in Page 14, 15, 16 and 17. to raise an exceeding Outcry against us, as cruel, barbarous, unchristian and inhumane, and those whose tender Mercies are Cruelty, for publishing Mr. Clap's Testimony, in which he declared wherein he supposed Mr. Breck had been wanting to the Truth, in denying his stealing Books in College, because herein is contain'd a Mention of that Crime, that he was then guilty of when he was so young, &c. Tho' herein you represent us as a most vile Parcel of Men, and worthy of the utmost Detestation, yet we pray you with a little Seriousness to consider whether [Page 9] or no your Treatment of us, with Respect to that Mat­ter, be right in the Sight of GOD, and whether it han't been, on the contrary, exceeding unjust: What is it that we did, that we should be thus set forth as so ex­ceeding black and vile? Our professed Design in writing our Book was to give the World a Narrative or History of our Proceedings in Mr. Breck's Affair; being, as we thought, obliged thereto by the Clamour that the Coun­try was filled with against us, as having been intolerably injurious in that Affair: And in order to this, we gave an Account of and recite at large, that Information or Testimony that we received from the Reverend Mr. Clap that was the Occasion and main Foundation of those our Proceedings: And how was it possible for us to give the World a Narrative of our Proceedings, and not give an Account of that? For all our Proceedings were upon those Testimonies that were sent: How can any Judica­ture, or any that act publickly in a Cause, when they are complain'd of for Male-Administration or Injustice, vindi­cate themselves without giving an Account of those In­formations or Testimonies on which they proceeded; and when they do so in their own necessary Vindication, is it just to cry out of them as the most monstrous and barbarous Wretches for so doing?

The Association, while the Affair was in their Hands, never had proceeded any further than only to insist on a particular Hearing of the Case, Mr. Breck and the Wit­nesses being Face to Face, in order to our concurring in his Settlement at Springfield: And this you know is what we were especially cryed out against for, that we would not accept of his Vindication, or account of himself in an Examination without this. We judged that the Informa­tion we had had against his Principles and Morals rendred such a particular Enquiry necessary, and this we were concern'd to show to the World for our Vindication, and how could we possibly do it without letting the World know what these Informations or Testimonies were? It was necessary that we shou'd relate those Testimonies as they were, if we had publish'd only a Part and conceal'd a Part, should we not have given a handle to those who [Page 10] stand ready to reproach us? Could we have expected any other from your self, who are so ready to take all Advantages against us, than that you would cry out that our Testimonies, on which we proceeded, were such as we durst not let the World see? And it was especially necessary that that Part of the Information that respec­ted his Veracity should be declared, for it was particu­larly on the Account of this that we think ourselves to be vindicated, for not accepting what he should say of himself without hearing him and the Witnesses Face to Face, which was the Thing we were especially con­demned for: And we were brought to this Necessity of giving this Narrative very much by Mr. Breck's own Reproaches and Revilings of us, of which his comparing us to Haman in the Pulpit, which you call a pretty Tale, is a Specimen: This we think would have justified us in publishing that Testimony, tho' this Matter, which one Thing testified has a Reference to, had been of that Nature as would have greatly wronged his Reputation; but you yourself seem to speak as tho' it had very little of that Tendency.—That we must by no Means be al­lowed to speak of Mr. Breck's former Faults, or so much as give an Account of Testimonies that contain a Refe­rence to them, tho' laid under never so great Necessity by him himself, by his Reproaches of us, and tho' our Names never so much suffered in the Country by them, and tho' these Faults being published tend very little to his Discredit, (as by your own arguing they do) comes to this, that we ought to be vastly more tender of Mr. Breck's Credit than our own, even to that Degree that we are oblig'd to yield up our Reputation a Sacrifice to his Revilings, and to be at his Mercy rather than vindi­cate ourselves in the least to the wrong of his Reputation. What we do is barely to recite Mr. Clap's Testimony, wherein Mr. Breck's stealing Books is refer'd to, without one Reflection on that Particular, or any Hint as though we made any Use of that Crime, or any thing said about it throughout the whole Book, nor was that thing ever insisted upon by us, among ourselves, or even mention'd by us, as any Article against him, in this Controversy; and [Page 11] the only Reason why it appear'd in our Book, was be­cause Mr. Clap's Information, which contain'd a Reference to it, could not be publish'd without it: And yet you charge us, ourselves, with fastening this Charge upon him: Is our giving an historical Account of Another's Testi­mony, wherein he had occasional Reference to a Fault committed, without saying a Word before or after about it, our fastening a Charge of that Fault upon him? Yea, you charge us with being the Contrivers of it, and tell the World for what End we contrived it, in saying that for fear the Truth of the Story should be questioned, we take Care to direct all that desire to be confirm'd to enquire of such and such Persons. Please, Sir, to suffer your own Conscience to make its own Reflections upon this.

In Page 16, and 17, you cast some Reflections upon Mr. Clap, upon this Account; and say, ‘Perhaps it may be said Mr. Clap made the Enquiry with a charita­ble Hope the Story was not true, and a kind De­sign to contradict it, when he heard it mention'd.’ And then you add, ‘Whether it was just or not, there is some Reason to doubt, when he could write to a Minister in Boston, to desire him to make Enquiry into Mr. Breck's Conduct, &c.’

The Reason of Mr. Clap's informing Mr. Breck of that Story, was because he was often enquired of by the Peo­ple of Windham, and he knowing nothing about it tho't it proper to give Mr. Breck an Opportunity to vindicate himself. And when he had absolutely denied the Truth of the Story, many suspected his Veracity; and others, who pretended to be his peculiar Friends, supposed that the Story was absolutely false and scandalous, and therefore earnestly sollicited Mr. Clap to write a Letter to some Gentleman, who was acquainted with him, to know the Truth of the Story; that so if he were innocent he might be vindicated, or if otherwise he might be made sensible of his Fault in denying of it. And accordingly Mr. Clap was prevailed upon to write a Letter for that End. And, Sir, what Colour is there for any Reflection upon Mr. Clap on this Account? Will you say it was an unchris­tian or impertinent Thing in Mr. Clap, to act such a [Page 12] christian Part, as to inform a Gentleman of an ill Report which there was about him, that so he might have Op­portunity to vindicate himself, and that he might be in a better Capacity of vindicating of him, and to comply with the Importunity of his Friends to write a Letter for that End? Or if Mr Clap began afterwards to suspect that the Story was true, and so that Mr. Breck was not a Man of Truth in denying of it, must it then be a Fault in Mr. Clap, to desire to be satisfied in that Point, when there was some Pro­bability that he might be settled over Part of his Church.

In Page 18, you charge Mr. Williams of Long-Meadow with being the Means that the Contents of the Reverend Dr. Colman's Letter, was spread about Springfield before it reach'd where it was directed. How did you know that it was before it had reach'd where it was directed? Have you not ventur'd positively to assert this before the World on meer Conjecture? For what is asserted is contrary to Fact, for the Letter was sent from Brookfield to the Rev. Mr. Williams of Hatfield, to whom it was directed, by his Daughter, and reach'd to him the same Day that Mr. Williams of Long-Meadow got Home him­self.

Again, 'Tis there represented as tho' the Author of that Letter had written to Mr. Williams, manifesting his Dislike of letting the Contents of that Letter be known; which is quite wrong. The Words of the Doctor's Letter are these, ‘Mr. Cooper tells me of my Letter's being put into the Hands of a mean Person, I think a Shoe maker, who carried it from House to House.’ The Reverend Doctor never blam'd Mr. Williams for letting the Contents of the Letter be known, nor did Mr. Williams go about to excuse himself for so doing; but to let the Doctor know that the Report was not true which the Rev. Mr. Cooper had told him, of his doing so ungentlemanly a Thing, as to put a Letter of his, that was committed to his Care, into the Hands of a Shoe-maker, to be carried from House to House.

At the Bottom of the same Page, you tell the World, That our Book abounds with Misrepresentations and Un­truths; and elsewhere are often charging us with vile [Page 13] and wilful Misrepresentations; yea, you represent us as Persons so guilty in this Matter, that our Word is of no Significancy, or is not to be taken; your Words are, Page 58, And how should such Men be credited in their Repre­sentations of other Matters.

Mr. Cooper, in his Letter to Mr. Hopkins, which he wrote to him after our Book had been published so long that we may well conclude he had seen it, expresses Charity for us all with Respect to our Varacity: His Words are these, ‘I thank GOD, my Charity is not so shock'd, with respect to Brother Hopkins, or any of the Ministers of Hampshire, as to suspect them, after all the Stories I have heard, to be guilty of wilful De­parture from Truth and Fact.’ Mr. Cooper knows whether he had any Hand in writing this Book; if he had, and believed in his Heart, as he says to Mr. Hop­kins, certainly it was very injurious in him, so abundant­ly to represent to the World, as if we so abounded in Ly­ing, as that there was no Trust to be put in our Words, so publickly to wound our Reputation, contrary to what he thought in his own Heart, or at the same Time, that he believed that we were Men of Truth, so as not so much as to suspect that we were otherwise, and to thank GOD that he had so much Charity for us.

The first Instance you mention of a Misrepresentation, wherein you say, our Haste and Warmth probably carried us beyond our Evidence, is in saying that the Ministers that came from Boston had joyned in giving Mr. Breck a Cer­tificate of his Orthodoxy, when but one of them had signed it: And tho' you find this Mistake corrected in the End of the Book, yet you say it was done by a Gen­tleman in Boston, that look'd over that Half Sheet: You repeat this Matter again, Page 36, you say if you mistake not it was so; but why, Rev. Sir, will you thus treat your Brethren in the Ministry, to publish such a Thing to disparage us, and render us vile in the Sight of the World on a meer Conjecture; when indeed your Guess is entirely wrong, for the Error was corrected by the same Person that made it, & 'tis mention'd as an Erratum in the End of the Book, in his own Words, as he sent them [Page 14] down in a Letter to the Printer; and if you don't believe it we desire you would enquire of the Printer.

Certainly, Sir, when you was blaming us for going be­yond our Evidence, it did not become you in the very same Instance you produce to prove it, to do the same Thing! We leave it with you to consider what Decen­cy or Ingenuity there is in thus insisting on a Thing that comes corrected, repeating it in different Parts of your Book, only on a groundless Guess, that not we, but somebody else corrected it: Don't this again show that you endeavour'd to lay on all the Load you possibly could, and that you was greedy of Instances of Untruth and Misrepresentation in us; otherwise why would not such a Multitude of other Instances, that you pretend you have found, that ben't mention'd as Errata, suffice you?

In Answer to our first Argument to prove that those that sat at Springfield, and took upon them to sit there as Judges of that Case, were not regularly called there­to, viz Because the prevailing Part of them were not of neighbouring Churches, but fetched from remote Parts of the Country, in neglect of the Churches of the Neighbour­hood, and in Opposition to the Body of neighbouring Ministers, you say, first, that it was because one of the Churches of the Neighbourhood that was sent for would not come, that it was so that the prevailing Part was of remote Churches: And if you had told the whole Truth, would you not have said too that but one of the Churches of the County would have come, if you that came from Boston had let them alone? You speak of the Rev. Mr. Williams of Hatfield, his refusing to come, as a Thing that strengthened your Warrant to act; but it seems to us, that considering his Age, and that he was the prin­cipal Person of all that Springfield applied to, his refu­sing to come, as discountenancing the Method of pro­ceeding, should' have rather made you more slow in Act­ing, especially when he not only refused to come, but entred his solemn Protest against your Proceedings.

Then you proceed to reply to what we produce from the Platform: And in the first Place, you declare to the World, that we said that which we never did say▪ Your [Page 15] Words are, ‘Are Churches in the Calling of Councils limited to the Vicinity, so that it is an Irregularity and Offence to them if they don't take the next neighbouring Churches, and no other? This is what those Gentlemen assert; and they deliver it not only as their own Opi­nion, but say it was evidently the Mind of the Compo­sers of the Platform.’ Our Words are, ‘It appears e­vidently reasonable in itself, that Churches that are by Providence planted together, and must dwell together, so as necessarily, above all others, to be concerned in each other's Affairs, and will be continually and una­voidably in the Way of mutual Intercourse, and mutu­ally Interested in each other's Welfare, should be joint­ly concerned in their religious Affairs, and not be neglec­ted or set aside one by another, wherein other Churches are to have Influence in their Affairs, but should prin­cipally be regarded; so this was evidently the Mind of the Composers of the Platform.’ Why, Sir, would you so abuse us, and strain the Matter so much higher than we had done, and express a Thing that is so diverse from our Words, and opposite to the plain Import of them, and then say that this is what we assert? And again, lower down the same Page, you cite our Words wrong, and represent us as saying what we never said, that you may have Opportunity to ridicule us: Your Words are, 'If they had, they never would have asserted that (and then the following Words are in another Character, as being cited from us) as often as it directs to a particular Church to apply to other Churches▪ it specifies neigh­bour Churches.' Our Words are, ‘They, when they di­rect to, or mention any Application to be made by a particular Church to other Churches, from Time to Time specify neighbour Churches.’ Perhaps you will say this is the same Sense, tho' not the same Words; but if it be the very same Sense, Why did you not mention the same Words, seeing you plainly mention them as a Citation? But we apprehend there is indeed a great Difference in the Sense: Can't the Platform from Time to Time specify neighbour Churches, when they mention any Application to be made to other Churches, and yet not do it every Time?

[Page 16] Our Words, as we conceive, imply thus much, and no more, viz That when the Platform directs a Church to apply to other Churches, it does from Time to Time specify what Churches should be applied to, and that wherever it does so, it specifies neighbour Churches, and that it never specifies any other; of which the World have good Evi­dence from this, that you can find no other specified in it, who have doubtless thereby searched the Platform to this End.

And to what Purpose is that Passage that you cite from the Platform, wherein it says, That all Churches ought to preserve Communion one with another? We can conceive of nothing that you can intend by it, un­less it be this, viz. That because the Platform says, That all Churches ought to hold Communion, that therefore they ought to exercise that Communion in every Thing that is an Act of Communion; but if this be what you mean, then it will follow, That all the Churches in the World ought to be consociated; for the Synod in 1662 mentions Consociation of Churches as one Way of exer­cising the Communion of Churches; however, they have expresly limited that Exercise of Communion to Churches in a convenient Vicinity: Or else you must mean, That be­cause the Platform says all Churches should hold Communi­on, & one Way of Communion there mention'd is to con­sult other Churches, that therefore a particular Church ought to consult all other Churches.—But 'tis ridicu­lous to infer any other from what the Platform says, than this, viz. That every Church ought to be ready to ex­ercise Communion with all other Churches in all those Ways, as the Disposals of Providence, in the Circum­stances and Occasions of Churches shall open a Door for it and call to it. And to what Purpose are those other Passages that you cite, where the Platform says a parti­cular Church ought to consult OTHER CHURCHES? Which you seem to think should be taken so much Notice of, and observe that it is said other Churches at large; does it thence follow, That the Platform neither does, nor can Design that Churches should be especially limited to neighbour Churches? What sort of arguing is [Page 17] this. The Platform says, Churches should consult other Churches, therefore it no where especially limits them to neighbour Churches! Can't the Platform tell us that we must consult other Churches, and then afterwards tell us what other Churches? Can't a Parent advise a Child un­der Difficulties to consult others, and then in the same Discourse tell him who? And after he has told him, must the Child, because his Father first said others, still look upon himself on more directed by his Father to one than another? The Platform does indeed sometimes say other Churches, but then in other Places, from Time to Time, both before and after, tells what Churches, viz. neighbour Churches; it specifies them without any Con­junction; and therefore for any to suppose that the Com­posers of the Platform did not by this intend to direct Churches where to go when they consulted other Churches, is to reflect upon them as tho' they were ignorant of the Nature of Language, and did not understand what they said.—But then you add further, that ‘We can't suppose that the Compilers of the Platform always meant by neighbour Churches those that were scituated next to one another, but Churches in Communion one with another, by professing the same Faith and Order of the Gospel, so scituated that they could and would afford Assistance to one another, as the same should be needed and desired.’ This we conceive is a Signification of the Expression of neighbour Churches of your own finding out: If we should speak of a Family and neigh­bouring Families, or an House and neighbouring Houses, would it be agreeable to the common Use of such Phra­ses, to mean a House in the Middle of Boston and a Par­cel of Houses in Cambridge? And what English would it be, if we should speak of a certain Town and the neighbouring Towns thereof, to mean Springfield and the Towns in the County of Suffolk? The Legislators of the Province have often Occasion to speak of neighbouring Towns, and did they understand themselves, or does any Body else under­stand them, in such a Kind of Sense as this? They speak sometimes of the Advice of neighbouring Ministers, as in Case of improving a School Master, and other Cases. [Page 18] And did ever any Lawyer plead that they were to be un­derstood in such a Sense as this? We read in our Trans­lation of the Bible, that GOD overthrew Sodom and the neighbour Cities thereof; the Translators certainly should have used some other Word, if this don't determine but that Sodom was at one End of the Land of Canaan and the other Cities intended at the other; for this is doubtless quite diverse from the Mind of the Original.

You suppose that what we plead for is directly con­trary to congregational Principles, in that it renders the Government of our Churches not Congregational but Classical; but we think that it is no more Classical or contrary to the congregational Scheme, than the Consoci­ation of Churches is, which the Synod speaks of as what the Word of GOD commands: You cite their Words, as supposing that they will justify what you have done; they say, ‘Tho' in this there should be special Refe­rence to those Churches that are planted in a conveni­ent Vicinity, yet there should be Liberty without Of­fence, to make Use of others, as the Nature of the Case and the Advantage of Opportunity may lead thereto.’ But, Sir, we apprehend that you per­vert those Words to a Purpose that is quite beside the Design of them: There is nothing in the Words that in the least imports that the neighbour Churches should ever be set aside, in order to the making Use of others; but that there should ever be a special Reference to them; tho' sometimes there should be Liberty as the Nature of the Case and Advantage of Opportunity should lead thereto, to joyn others with them: But it seems plain to us that the Synod had no Thought of setting aside neigh­bour Churches, as being unfit to be concern'd, but that there should still be a special Reference to them, and the Management of such Affairs should especially be left in their Hands, tho' there might be Liberty without Offence, to join some others upon particular Occasions: This seems evident, because 1st. The Synod, by their Manner of expressing themselves, seem to direct to have a special Reference to neighbour Churches, in the same Affair, and at the same time that they make Use of other Churches; the latter therefore is plainly mention'd not as that which sets the former aside, but what may consist with it.

[Page 19] We the Ministers of this Neighbourhood never refu­sed to consent that two or three others should be joined with our Association, in this Affair of Mr. Breck: This is what we proposed once and again to Mr. Breck, another Time to the Church of Springfield, another Time to Mr. Cooper; but were always refused, as we shall fully shew afterwards.

There is no Doubt to be made but that the Synod in 1662, would have utterly condemned doing as Spring­field Church have done, setting aside all the Churches but one, in that lower Part of the County (a putting the Affair mainly into the Hands of others, is inconsistent with having a special Reference to them, which the Synod directed to, at the same Time that others are made Use of) and doing as you have done, in Opposition to the Body of neighbouring Ministers, as supposing them prejudiced and unfit Persons. The Churches of this County have, from their Beginning till now, gone on in a Practice that is agreeable to the Advice of this Synod:—We are much seperated from other Parts of the Province, having comparitively but little Intercourse with them: Divine Providence, by our Situation, has as it were made us one Society, so as that we are very much united, and una­voidably in a great Degree mutually influenced in our religious Affairs.

We have from the Beginning till now, always managed our ecclesiastical Affairs within our selves; 'tis the Way which the County from its Infancy has gone on in, by the practical Agreement of all, and the Way in which our Peace has ever been maintained; so that we suppose we have been the freest by far of any Part of the Land from unhappy Contentions in our ecclesiastical and religious Concerns, 'till you have overthrown our Peace, and put us into the utmost Confusion, by coming from abroad, and intermeddling in our Affairs: Yea this Way of ma­naging our ecclesiastical Affairs, has not only been e­stablish'd by long continued practical Agreement, but also by the explicit and publickly declared Consent of many of the Churches: In the Year 1714 the Rev. Mr. Brewer of Springfield, with others, did at a Meeting of [Page 20] Ministers at Northampton, agree to this, That they judged it to be their Duty to be subject to a Council of the Churches of the County, until there should be some superiour Council set up in the Province to which they might appeal; and agreed to make the Proposals to their respective Chur­ches: To which Judgment and Determination they set their Hands, as 'tis found on the Church Records of Northampton: None can remember that ever they heard of Springfield Churches refusing; indeed Mr. Brewer kept no Church Record, and none can be found there that by their Memory can determine one way or other; which seems to be an Argument that it was consented to; for if it had been propos'd, and oppos'd, and rejected, they would be much more likely to remember that, than if it was only propos'd and readily agreed to, without ado: And besides, Mr. Williams soon after settling at Long Meadow, Mr. Brewer furnished him with a Copy of those Votes, in order to their being passed by his new gather'd Church.

This that we plead for is also most evidently agreable to the famous Thirty Cases. Case 15, touching the Power of chusing a Pastor, 'tis said, ‘Ministers and Messengers of neighbouring Churches have Power to except against any Election of a Pastor, who by Errors or Scandals may be rendred unfit for the common Service of the Gospel.’ By Power here no Body will be so ridiculous as to understand, meerly that they have natural Ability to except against it, so that they can if they try; but that they have Right. Again, Ibid. ‘Churches may suffer their Elections to be directed, yea, and be diverted by Considerations which they owe to others in the Vici­nity, without surrendring their Liberties to be smo­thered by any that would unjustly impose thereon.’ Which is contrary to what you suppose Page 26, 27. That there should be stated Associations of Ministers, that should chuse a Moderator, that should be address'd to, and advis'd withal, by bereaved Churches in their Vi­cinity, for their Direction, in order to the Supply of the Vacancy made, and otherwise to be subservient to eccle­siastical Discipline in their Churches, is what seems to be [Page 21] much approv'd by the Rev. Dr. Cotton Mather, in his Ratio Discipline, Page 179, 180, 181, 183, 184: and particularly the Method of Associations in Connecticut, Page 184. The same Reverend Author mentions it as a Saying of the Great Hocker, about a Week before he fell sick of his last Sickness, Page 58, of his Vth Book of Church History, ‘We must agree upon constant Meetings of Ministers, and settle the Consociation of Churches, or else we are utterly undone.

You say our Scheme is such as will destroy the Con­gregational Scheme, because the Platform says, the Go­vernment of the Church, since the Coming of CHRIST, is not National, Provincial, nor Classical, but Congrega­tional only: But, Sir, won't it hence follow, on the o­ther Hand, that your Principles are subversive of the con­gregational Scheme, by insisting that we are under a provincial ecclesiastical Constitution, as you seem to do? In Page 5, you say, in a Word, we don't look upon them (i. e. Associations) to be any Part of the Constitution of these Churches: Page 35, you speak of Mr. Breck's chusing a Method more agreeable to our Constitution; and Page 95, you say your Proceedings are to be justi­fied on the Principles of Liberty, and the Constitution: Now, Sir, How do these Things consist together, that the Government of our Churches should be only Con­gregational, but the Constitution of Government that they are subject to Provincial? If the Constitution of Government establish'd by Churches be extended be­yond the Limits of particular Churches, in that very Thing the ecclesiastical Government they are subject to is extended beyond those Limits; for certainly the ma­king a Constitution of Government for particular Churches to be subject to, is itself an Act of Government if any Thing is. It seems to us that a Number of Churches, limited by the Bounds of a Province, united in and sub­ject to an ecclesiastical Constitution, that is Provincial, is ipso facto a provincial Church; unless the Word Consti­tution has one Signification in New England and a quite different in other Parts of the World: The Notion of a Constitution is not meer Advice that is left with every [Page 22] ones Arbitrament and Pleasure, whether he will follow or not, but something of the Nature of a Rule establish'd by Authority. There can be but these two Ways where­by any Method or Form of Church Discipline, can take Place in a Country or Province, either by a constituting Authority, or voluntary Agreement; if it be only by vo­luntary Agreement, then it in no wise reaches any more than them that do voluntarily agree, and can't, without a great Abuse of Language, be call'd a Constitution: A Constitution of ecclesiastical Government can extend no farther than constituting Authority extends; but by the Platform itself, that you call the Constitution, Church Authority don't extend beyond the Limits of a particular Congregation, Chap XVI. Sect. IV. ‘It belongeth to Sy­nods and Councils, not to exercise Church Censures in Way of Discipline, NOR ANY OTHER ACT OF CHURCH AUTHORITY or Jurisdiction.’

The famous Mr. Norton, in a Passage cited in the Ap­pendix to the Platform, reprinted for the first Church in Boston, mentions the Platform of Church Discipline as only given in Way of Counsel: And if it be only in Way of Counsel or Advice, we would pray you, Sir, to remem­ber your own Words, concerning the Nature of Advice, Page 33, ‘We think there is a gross Absurdity in cal­ling of it Advice, and yet making it binding and ob­ligatory, and that the very Notion of asking Advice supposes a Capacity and Right in them that ask it, to judge at last for themselves; if it must be followed, however unsuitable in the Judgment of those to whom it is given, call it not Advice, but by its proper Name, Law, or Command.’ (or Constitution, as you do the Ad­vice of the Synod in 1649.) Whence does this arise, that you that are so zealous for congregational Princi­ples, do overturn the very lowest Foundation of the congregational Scheme? Here, Sir, again remember your own Words, Page 4, ‘We are perfectly at a Loss by what Law or Rule they make the Churches to fol­low the civil Districts; the Towns in the Province we know are by legislative Power laid out into Counties, but we did not know that the Churches were.’ So [Page 23] we say, we know that the Country was laid out into Pro­vinces, but we did not know that the Churches were; and [...]e are perfectly at a Loss by what Law or Rule you mike the Churches to follow the civil Districts.

If the major Part of the Churches in the County have voted to come into a certain Method of Government, why mayn't it, by your own Ways of arguing, be a Con­stitution for the County, as well as the Vote of the ma­jor Part of the Churches of the Province be a Constitution for the Province. Give us leave, on this Occasion, to recite to you the Words of one of the Elders of your own Council at Springfield, (and one of you that came from far, and was very active in Mr. Breck's Favour) which he has publish'd in a small Pamphlet of his concerning Ru­ling Elders, Page 10, 11. ‘Upon the prophetick Spirit that our Author, all on a sudden seems to be inspired with, when he tells us that the Non-conformist's Cause in this Country depends entirely, under GOD, upon our Adherence to the Platform or the congregational Principles; which is just like the other popular Cries we have heard of late, These, O Churches of the Massa­chusetts are your great and distinguishing Privileges, &c.—the dying Testimony of some of the worthy Fa­thers in some of their last Lecture Sermons to our Plat­form; and the like: All calculated for no other De­sign than to hurry the unthinking Part of the World, into Bigotry and blind Zeal, the Result of which will be to throw all into Confusion; and it is well if some that are active in it have not this secret Design.’ And much is there to the same Purpose

In Page 26, in Reply to what we object concerning the Council, that they were called in this Business in Opposition to the Body of neighbouring Ministers; you mention there being but a small Majority of this Body, and say that at best Things lay at sixes and sevens among us: But if what was acted can't be look'd upon, as the Act of the Body of neighbouring Ministers, because there was but a small Majority; w [...]y then is what was voted in the House of Representatives called by you the Vote of the representative Body of the Country, as it is in [Page 24] Page 20, and made much of as such, in which there was a far less Majority, in Proportion to the whole Number than in our Association?

In Page 26, 27, you cry out against what we plead for, as intolerably arbitrary, and say, ‘And a fine Scheme it is, to setter and enslave the Churches, and have Things carried according to the Will, Humour, Preju­dice and arbitrary Disposition of a particular Set of Mi­nisters.’ And you represent it as insufferably tyranni­cal, especially on that Account, that it admits of no Ap­peal. Here in the first Place, we observe, That we are injuriously represented in this Supposition of yours; we are far from thinking that there ought not to be Appeals from Churches of a particular Neighbourhood, to a big­ger and superiour Council; as a particular Member ought to be subject to the Body; and that because, though we think the ecclesiastical Concerns of a particular Neigh­bourhood, or Member of the Body, belongs to them, rather than to any other particular Neighbourhood, be­cause they do much more nearly concern that Member, than any other co-ordinate Member; yet the whole Body must be looked upon as having a greater Concern in the Interest of all the Members, than any such parti­cular Member: And when we speak of such Affairs, be­longing to such a Neighbourhood, and not to others, we intended no other, and think, could fairly be under­stood no otherwise, than that they did not belong to other Neighbourhoods, and other Churches co-ordinate with them: When it is said that such an Office or Work belongs to such a Member and not to others, it must be understood of other particular Members and not the whole Body, of which both that and others are a Part. But, Sir, will you allow your own arguing to be good, in which you take Occasion reproachfully to represent us as a Set of Ministers of an arbitrary Disposition, that endeavour to setter and enslave the Churches, and carry all Things according to our own Will, Humour and Preju­dice, and arbitrary Disposition? Will you allow this Ar­gument of your's conclusive, that our Scheme is arbitrary because it don't admit of Appeals? Then, Sir, What [Page 25] will follow concerning your own Scheme, by which a Person can demand no Appeal from the Judgment of a particular Congregation? What Appeal are the poor aggrieved Brethren at Springfield allowed, in that Cause that has been agitated between them and their Brethren, that so nearly concerned the eternal Welfare of their own Souls, and the Souls of their Children? They would gladly appeal to some other Judicature if it might be allowed.

In answer to our second Reason, to shew that this Affair was not in a regular Manner put into your Hands, viz. That it was in a disorderly Manner taken out of the Hands of the Association of the Ministers of the County, after it had been referred to them by the first Church in Spring­field themselves, and by Mr. Breck, you say that we took the Matter into our Hands before we were desir'd; and then follows a Detail of Particulars to prove it, and in­sist on it with an Air of Triumph, as if this were suffici­ent for our utter and shameful Confusion; and therefore have it over in various Parts of your Book, as Page 3, 4, and p. 28, 29, 30, 31, and also p. 77: Concerning which, we would, First, enquire, What this is to the Argument in Hand? Supposing it was so, that we first took the Matter into our own Hands before Mr. Breck and the Church of Springfield refer'd it, does it thence follow that they never did refer it to us? Or if it evidently appears by our Actions, that we thought we had the Affair in our Hands before we had, because before Mr. Breck and Springfield Church had put it into our Hands, does it thence follow that we had it not in our Hands, after they had indeed put it into our Hands? Does it follow, that we were mistaken still, in thinking we had it in our Hands because we were mistaken before? And, Secondly, As to those Particulars that you mention, to prove that we took this Matter into our own Hands, and our saying, in the Narrative, that we were obliged, both by our Situation and Office, to act in the Affair; which you relate as a Thing whereby Tyranny and U­surpation are proved upon us, out of our own Mouths, and which is one Thing on which you build your great [Page 26] Triumph, Page 82; we would intreat you, tho' you have treated us with so much Reproach and Insult, with respect to this Matter, yet now at length to look over those Particulars that you have mention'd, of our acting in this Affair, before it was referred to us, and ask your­self, in real Soberness, whether any of these Things were more than we ought to have done as Ministers of Christ, and christian Friends and Neighbours, to the Brethren of Springfield Church.

The first Thing you mention is, That Mr. Willi­ams of Springfield received a Letter from his Brother of Mansfield, informing that there were material Objections against Mr. Breck's Principles and Morals, that the Mi­nisters of that Neighbourhood could inform of. Was this going too far, that Mr. Williams should receive, and read a Letter from his Brother? Was this taking the Matter into his own Hands? The next Particular is, That Mr. Williams, at Westfield Lecture, shewed this Letter to the other Ministers that were there: And was this an Instance of Usurpation, when the Contents of the Letter shew plainly the Author design'd it should be communi­cated to them? The next Particular you mention is, That they advis'd that Mr. Breck should see the Letter: And was this a taking the Matter into our Hands, and an Instance of our Injuriousness, that we let Mr. Breck know what was suggested against him? The next Particular was, That the Ministers of Windham County were desired to let us know what it was that they had to object against Mr. Breck; and nextly, That when those Objections were sent to us, we read them: Now, What was there in this more than what would have been prudent for Ministers, of either presbyterian or congregational Principles, to have done? As we were the neighbouring Ministers, so might we not well think it probable, That at least some of us should be called to act in Mr. Breck's Settlement? Was it not therefore Prudence for us, when it had been signified to us by Persons so considerable, that there were material Objections of such a Nature, for us to desire to be informed what they were, in order to know how to con­duct ourselves? Yea, was it not both our Prudence and our Duty, on another Account also, viz. That in case the [Page 27] Objections appeared to be material, we might inform the People of Springfield of it, that they might not act blindfold, in a Matter that did so greatly concern their own and their Children's eternal Good? If any one has been informed that that which his Neighbour is lay­ing up for his Food or Drink, is deadly Poison, and is sen­sible that his Neighbour is wholly ignorant of it, and upon this, out of Concern for the Life of his Neighbour, makes some Enquiry, and upon finding of it to be so in­deed, as a Neighbour and christian Brother, gives him Notice of it, is he therefore chargeable with Tyranny and Usurpation, in invading his Brother's Right, that he has to judge & chuse for himself, with respect to his own Meat and Drink, and taking it into his own Hands, to judge for him, before he referred it to him? Does not the Situation of Christians that dwell near one to another, whereby they have Opportunity to discern the Danger of each Other's Circumstances, and to inform one another, oblige 'em to such Acts of Kindness as these? And whether we, by our Office, have any proper Authority out of the Limits of our own Congregations or no, yet we suppose, no Christians, of any Mode of Discipline will deny, but that by Vertue of our being Officers in Christ's visible King­dom, and set apart and devoted to be Ministers of his ho­ly Religion, we are under peculiar Obligations to seek the Advancement of his Honour and Glory, and to prevent whatever tends to overthrow it every where, as we have Opportunity in those Ways that imply no Exer­cise of Authority.

Suppose, Rev. Sir, that you that are the Ministers of Boston, or of that Neighbourhood, had it credibly signi­fied to you, by the Ministers of some distant Place, that there was a Design of introducing Popery into some one of your Congregations, by a popish Priest, that lately went from them in the Disguise of a Protestant Minister, (for it concerns not the present Argument whether Po­pery ben't worse than what Mr. Breck was charged with) and you were sensible that this Congregation were led on in the blind, and knew nothing of it, and one of you that had received this Information in a Letter, should [Page 28] shew it to the rest of the Ministers, would this be Usur­pation and Tyranny? And would you not look on your selves obliged, as christian Neighbours, and espe­cially as neighbouring Ministers, to act in this Affair, so far as to make a particular Enquiry, to see whether it were so or not, and if you found it to be so indeed, to in­form that Congregation, to prevent their undoing, and to prevent the bringing in such an Infection into the Neighbourhood? Would you do any more than your Prudence and Duty in this Matter? And would you deserve at all to be reproached, derided, and insulted, as insufferable Tyrants and Usurpers on this Account?

You intimate to the World that tho' Springfield Peo­ple did ask our Advice, yet that they never put the Mat­ter into our Hands as Judges, and therefore deride us for our notable arguing upon such a Supposition; But how­ever, 'tis evident that they refer'd it to the Association, under no other Notion than of their being Judges in it, and issuing of it, as appears by Mr. Breck's own Words, in his Letter to Mr Clap, which we will repeat again, ‘If you have any Thing further to object, I suppose, if you please, you may be heard at Springfield, on the 8th Day of April next, when and where the Matter will be issued.’

In Page 32, you say, That our Argument is so pleasant that you will give it the Reader in our own Words, by transcribing the whole 'Paragraph that contains it, which when you have done, you cry out, What can be finer! And so go on, in the next Page, with Banter and Derision: But, Sir, Ridicule is cheaper than solid Argument, tho' much less worthy of a gospel Minister; it is easier to laugh at Arguments than to answer them: The Sum of what you pretend as an Answer is, that the Notion of asking Advice, is to ask other's Judgment to be directed no otherwise than to be assisted in making a Judgment for them­selves: And what then? If it be so, does it thence fol­low, that it is not as we say, ‘That it is impossible, and self contradictory, that any one should ask Judgment to be directed, (even in this Sense that you speak of) that is already fully determined, that let the Judgment [Page 29] be which way it will, he will go no other Way than this.’ Is it not self contradictory, to ask Judgment to be directed in making a Judgment for himself, that has already so made his Judgment, that he is resolved he will act no other Way than according to that Judgment, let the Advice be what it will? Is not this Children's Play? And is it a decent and orderly Way of treating the Body of neighbouring Ministers? And did not the Conduct of Springfield People plainly carry this in it, in that after they had had a Society-meeting, and by the Vote thereof, had refer'd the Matter to us, and had chosen a Commit­tee on purpose, who came with Mr. Breck, to seek the Judgment of the Ministers, and then after they had put the Ministers to the Trouble of a Consideration of the Matter, took it out of their Hands again, before ever they had Opportunity to make any Judgment, and in treating them with the greatest Contempt, because that they ad­vis'd that Mr. Breck and the Witnesses should be heard Face to Face, that they might be capable of judging? Is there any need of looking into the Platform, in order to know whether such a Behaviour ben't irregular & absurd, and that all those that have been the Encouragers of that People in such a Method of proceeding, may be just­ly looked upon as the Abertors of Disorder and Confu­sion? Such a Conduct is not only what common Sense knows to be absurd and disorderly, but is so by the known Principles, both of Congregationalists and Pres­byterians; for Springfield Church and Mr. Breck, in the Method they began with, viz in referring the Matter to the Judgment and Advice of neighbouring Ministers, did but act in pursuance of those Principles in which both congregational and presbyterian Churches agree, (how­ever you suggest as if it were not agreeable to our Con­stitution) and this is evident by the Heads of Agreement assented to by the united Ministers, formerly called Pres­byterian and Congregational, Chap. II. of the Ministry, Sect. IV. ‘That in so great and weighty a Matter as the calling and chusing a Pastor, we judge it ordinarily requisite, that every such Church consult and advise with the Pastors of neighbouring Congregations.’ This [Page 30] supposes that the neighbouring Pastors ought to enquire and use all proper Means, to enable them to pass a Judgment and to give Advice.

But you think that the Church of Springfield had suf­ficient Reason for doing thus, because Mr Breck objec­ted against one of the Committee as a Person prejudiced, and the Association would not take him off; and the Reason we give for it is, That Mr. Breck did not pre­tend to offer any Reason why he thought Mr. Williams prejudiced, and we knew nothing of ourselves that should incline us to think Mr. Williams an unfit Person; and we did not think it fit, without some weighty Rea­son, to exclude the Ministers of the Town, who were next Neighbours, and were above all others nearly con­cern'd to have an orthodox Minister settled there. But you say that was Reason enough, it was sufficient for him to say he look'd upon him prejudiced, upon this Mr. Williams ought immediately to have excused himself, and all other Judicatures would have taken him of [...]. But we conceive that you are mistaken in this Matter, and that no other Judicature would have allowed it as sufficient without some Pretence of Reason why he thought so; and we think your own Council to be an Instance of a Judicature that would not allow such a Reason to be sufficient; for when you sat in Judgment on Mr Breck's Affair, that Part of the Church that were Complainants objected against you as partial and preju­diced, and not only so but backed it with several Rea­sons why they feared it; and therefore insisted on it as most reasonable, that they should be allowed to have their Case heard by Judges mutually chosen, but could not be heard by you; you did not shew so much Regard to their Objections as to try 'em with any further Pro­posals, as we did Mr. Breck, who when he shew'd his Dis­like of the Committee, offered him that his Case might be heard before the whole Association, and when this was refus'd, it was offered him, by his own Desire, that he might join two or three others with the Association, but these Proposals were rejected by him: You say, ‘if the Moderator did consent to this, others did not, and [Page 31] therefore there is a Fallacy in what we say that tends to impose on the World, because that when the same Propo­sal was made by others in Mr. Breck's Name, and at his Desire, you know several of those Gentlemen manifested their Dislike of it, and would not give their Consent’. But tho' you say you know it, yet that there was no such Thing, that never any such Proposal was made to us af­terwards by others in Mr. Breck's Name, nor any such Proposal rejected by us, is what we shall make abun­dently evident hereafter, when we come to speak con­cerning the Rev. Mr. Cooper's Letter to the Rev. Mr. Wil­liams of Hatfield, wherein you say this Proposal was made. And how could a Person be treated with greater fairness? And how unreasonable is it after all to charge the Asso­ciation once and again, as you do, with unreasonable Stiffness in this Matter?

With respect to our third Reason, viz. That those three Elders that belong to this County, that sat in Coun­cil as Judges of this Case, they each of them had once before, openly in Association given their Judgment, and upon a formal Consideration, and where the Matter was particularly discuss'd and debated, declared it to be their Judgment that Mr. Breck stood already sufficiently clear, with regard to those Things that had been alled­ged against him; and that all the neighbouring Ministers that had suspended their Judgment, were set aside as pre­judiced, and those only that had actually given their Judgment already were employed because free from Prejudice. This is the certain plain Truth, of which the World have this very good Evidence, that you don't pre­tend to deny it, nor can it be denied; nor do you pre­tend to show how it is agreeable to common Sense, that such should sit as Judges again in the same Case, which is also impossible for you to do; but only pretend with huge Triumph that you have caught us in a Self contra­diction, because we said but the Page before, that the Matter was taken out of our Hands before ever we had Opportunity to give our Judgments, because it was be­fore we had Opportunity to hear Mr. Breck and the Wit­nesses Face to Face: But you make a Contradiction [Page 32] where there is none; for what was the Matter that was expresly signify was particularly discussed and debated, but this, viz. Whether or no Mr. Breck stood already sufficiently clear with regard to those Things that had been alledged against him, whether what had been offered already, viz. Mr. Breck's Vindication, &c was sufficient for us to clear him? The one Part de­termined that it was, and the other judged it was not, because they thought it insufficient to give any Judg­ment upon, but that it was necessary that we should hear the Witnesses and him Face to Face, before we could give any Judgment one Way or the other, or that it was necessary that Judgment should be suspended till that Time: And this every one that was there present knows to be the Truth. And pray Sir, judge your self, which acted the most like Friends of Justice and Truth, and the least like prejudiced Persons,

We desire that what you say of us, Page 36, may be compared with our Words,

You say,We say, p.83.
The Ministers of their own County being thus dis­qualified, they go on to tell of something that as much disqualified those that came from Boston.—And so had at least much more to prejudice them than the neighbouring Ministers, that were set aside as pre­judiced and unfit Persons.

But of this Matter we shall speak more particularly afterwards.

With respect to our fourth Reason, viz. That all the Council were chosen by those that were a Party in the Case: The Sum of your Answer is, that it is a new Thing that so great a Majority of a Church are called a Party, on which you make a great Harrangue. Here we would observe, the whole Argument that you pretend to an­swer is entirely slip'd over, and not in the least touch'd, and only a vain Dispute rais'd that don't concern the Ar­gument at all, about the proper Application of the Word Party: When we say they had made themselves a Party with Mr. Breck in the Case; the plain and ob­vious Meaning of it is, that they had so sided and united [Page 33] themselves to Mr. Breck, that they were become one with him in this Cause, or that his Cause was become their Cause; so that they became one Side concerned in the Cause that was to be judged, or one of those two Sides or Parts that you undertook to judge between: The minor Part of the Church had Articles of Charge to exhibit against the major Part, as they declared to you in their Letter, Page 45 of the Narrative. Com­monly when there is a Cause to be judged between two, either Persons or Companies, we say they are the two Parties concerned▪ and when it is so, and the Judica­ture is elective, we still say it is contrary to the Light of Nature, that one Party or Side should chuse all the Judges: And it is perfectly wide from the Business, whether you allow the Word Party to be proper or no, if they being one of those two Sides between whom Judgment is to be made, if they chuse all the Judges, the other Side, equally concern'd with themselves, tho' they are smaller and weaker, are oppressed and depri­ved of their Right; and if any Scheme of Discipline gives them Power to chuse all the Judges, we still say, and every one must say, that 'tis built on the Ruins of the common Rights of Mankind.

You appeared there in a two fold Capacity; you did not appear only as Ordainers, but as Judges of a parti­cular Cause depending between the major Part of the Church and the Minor: You yourself declare, Page 47, that this was the Business you came upon, to hear and judge of what might be objected: And how much soever the Part you suppose that called you was the major Part, and how much Power soever you suppose the major Part to have over the Minor, it don't alter the Force of the Argument.

At the Bottom of Page 38, you say,—‘But if this be the Right of one or two dissenting Brethren in a a Church.’ In the foregoing Page you observed there were but four that dissented: What need is there now of bringing the Number down to one or two?

With respect to our fifth Reason, viz That the major Part of the Council was chosen by Mr. Breck himself: [Page 34] and that 'tis contrary to the Light and Sense of all Mankind, that a Man should chuse his own Judges, be­cause this is in effect to give him Liberty to chuse his own Judgment In answer to this you say, 'tis true the Church gave Mr. Breck Liberty to nominate some of [...]he Churches, and say that Dr. Cotton Mather in his Ratio Disciplinae, mentions it as the Custom of the Churches to agree with the Candidate what Churches to send to in Ordination. He has there no Manner of Respect to the judging a Complaint exhibited against a Minister or Candidate; (as has been already observed you ap­peared there not only as Ordainers but Judges of such a Complaint, and you was chosen by the Defendant;) and if he had, it would not make for you, but against you; for the Church of Springfield never agreed with Mr. Breck what Churches should be sent for: Mr. Breck never so much as nominated the Churches till after the Church-meeting was over, and his Nomination was never brought to the Church to see whether they would agree to it or not.

You next proceed to consider our sixth Reason, viz. That the major Part of the Council were not regularly called, even according to your own Principles, and that because the Churches you belonged to were never ap­plied to by Springfield Church. Here you allow the Consequence to be good, and say, If this was so we might well say you intermeddled in an Affair that did not belong to you, and pronounce all your Acts to be null and void; and acknowledge your very Being as a Council, and, conse­quently the Validity of your Proceedings, depends upon the Call of the first Church in Springfield: But you deny the Premises, and say, that to let the World see that you did not run before you were called, you will give a Copy of one of the Letters missive: And there we have a Copy signed with five Men's Names, and said to be in the Name of the rest; and then in the next Page, you give a Copy of these Votes of the Church, which are all the Votes of the Church that there ever was respecting this Matter, and there being in them only four Churches mention'd, viz. Those in this County, and not any Mention of one [Page 35] of your Churches, that came from far, and no Vote re­specting you but only this, ‘Mr. John Burt chosen to go to Boston, as a Messenger to the Elders that Mr. Breck should chuse to ordain him.’ You excuse their Vote's not being more methodical & expressive with that, that the Church had not a Pastor at their Head to guide them, (as if it were usual for Churches to have Pastors to guide them in such Cases:) But you say, the Church chose four of the Elders, and the naming of the other four was left with Mr. Breck, and chose a Committee to ma­nage the Affairs respecting the Ordination, and that one necessary Affair for which they were chosen was to sign Letters to the several Churches. But what does all this signify, as long as it is as plain as 'tis possible any Thing should be, by publick Records, that not one of your Churches were ever so much as mention'd in any Vote of the Church, either before Mr. Breck's Nomination or in Consequence of it, neither expresly nor implicitly, nei­ther in Method nor out of Method, neither in any Di­rection given to the Committee chosen to manage the Af­fairs of the Ordination nor to the Messenger that was to go to them, nor any other Way? If there was any such Vote, Why is it not produced? Or was there ever any Pretence that there was any Vote that, thro' Carlessness, was not recorded, or that there was ever any other Church meeting, wherein there was any such Vote, or in­deed wherein this Affair was ever agitated, or that there ever was so much as any open Mention, in any Church meeting, of your particular Churches,; being design'd to be sent for? If there was any of these Things, why are we not told of them? Or can you find out any Way in which you might truly be applied to and called by Springfield Church without any, either express or impli­cit Mention of you, in any Vote of the Church, and without the Churches knowing, when together, or in the Time of any publick Church Act, what Churches were to be applied to? And is the Form of the Letter missive barely considered, sufficient Proof that you was chosen by the Church, against the most authentick Accounts of Facts, publick Records of Votes of the Church, confirmed by every [Page 36] one's Memory, and all other collateral Evidences? But you say, The Church chose a Committee to manage the Affairs respecting the Ordination, and that one necessary Affair for which they were chosen was to sign Letters to the seve­ral Churches, of which those Elders were the Pastors. Of which, First, we would enquire, how you know that this is one Affair for which they were chosen? There is no Account or Hint of any such thing in their Votes. Secondly, If the Church did chuse them to sign Letters, they chose 'em to sign Letters without any Direction who to sign them to; for the Churches were not chosen by the Church meeting: And if you say that the Church meant to give this Committee Power to chuse for 'em; for the present we will suppose they did mean to give 'em this Power. This, we humbly conceive, by congre­gational Principles, is what they could not do: A Church indeed may chuse a Committee to consider Things, and make Report; but their Determinations are not Acts of the Church till reported to the Church and made their own by themselves: A Church may also chuse a Committee to execute their Acts, as to sign Letters in the Name of the Church; but then it must first be the Act of the Church, before they can execute it: The Business of a Committee is not to make Acts them­selves, and when they have done execute their own Acts, that never have been passed by the Church. The Church by congregational Principles, we conceive, can­not so give up their Power of Election in any one In­stance, into the Hands of particular Persons, therein con­stituting them their Officers, to exercise for 'em a Power that is originally in themselves; and that because [...] Part of their Power of Priviledge, which by congre­gational Principles they ought to stand fast in and in no Instance to give up to others: The Power of Priviledge and the Power of Office, both, by congregational Prin­ciples, are originally in the Brotherhood, but with this Difference, that Christ has given them the Power of Of­fice, not to be exercised by themselves, but to be exerci­sed by some particular Member, to whom they shall commit their Power, so constituting him their Officer, [Page 37] to exercise this Power for them: But the Power of Pri­viledge is so given them by Christ to be in them formally and immediately so as it may be exercis'd by themselves, as is evident by the Platform, Chap. V. Sect. II. But when once they have given it away, tho' it be but in one Instance, it ceases to be in them, in that Instance formally and immediately, 'tis in them no otherwise than the Power of Office, and can't be exercised immediately by themselves. This Power of Priviledge therefore can ne­ver, in any Part of it, be given up to particular Persons, but ever remains with the Brotherhood; which further appears by the Platform, Chap. X. Sect. XI. ‘From the Premises, viz That the ordinary Power of Government belonging only to the Elders, Power of Priviledge REMAINETH with the Brotherhood, as the Power of Judgment in Matters of Censure, and Powers of Liberty in Matters of Liberty.’ And then this is against the Power of Priviledges, for a Church thus to give up their Power of Election in any Instance to particular Persons another Way; for 'tis a Power of Priviledge that is vest­ed in every Brother to have a Hand in the Election, and one Way wherein they have a Right to have a Hand in it is, to have Liberty of offering their Objections to the rest of their Brethren, against those that are nominated before they are chosen: But if the Church don't chuse at all, but give away their Power to particular Persons, they will have no Opportunity for this: As in this Case there was no Mention made in the Church-meeting, who were to be chosen; and those who would have objected had no Opportunity for it. But then, Thirdly, Nothing can be more plain and manifest, than that it never was what the Church meant, to give that Com­mittee Power to chuse for them; 'tis utterly inconsistent with their own Votes; because 'tis most plainly implied in those Votes, that they give that Power to some Body else that did not yet belong to their Church, viz to Mr. Breck: for tho' there is nothing in their Votes mention'd about the Committee's chusing Churches, yet there is this Vote relating to Mr. Breck, that we will repeat again Mr. John Burt chosen to go to Boston as a Messenger to [Page 38] the Elders that Mr. Breck shall chuse to ordain him.

Now, Sir, we would ask you whether or no this does not fully and plainly imply, that the Church left it with Mr. Breck to chuse the Elders out of the County that were to ordain him? And whether therefore this Vote did not limit the Committee to Mr. Breck's Choice? And whether their being limited to the Choice of another, is not inconsistent with its being left to their Choice? And whether it being so that the Church never chose you themselves, nor ever gave the Committee Power to chuse you in their Names, that it will not follow that the Church never chose you in any Sense whatsoever? The Matter is so plain that it seems to be meer Waste of Words to dispute about it, & would be so indeed, were the Obstacles, in the Way of Conviction, but ordinary. If there be any other Way of a Churches chusing, besides doing it by themselves, it must be chusing by a Com­mittee that they have impowered to chuse for them, and in their Names; but neither of these, we have now shown, ever was in this Case, unless Mr. Breck was their Committee, which you strenuously deny, Page 41, and bring Arguments to prove that he was not, which you suppose in Opposition to us, just as if we, when we said they made Mr. Breck their Committee, intended that the Church had formally passed a Vote, wherein they had used the Expression, and had in Terms voted that he should be their Committee. We don't deny but that Mr. Breck's nominating your Churches, might have been consistent with your being chosen by the Church, if he had only nominated to the Church, and the Church had then voted according to his Nominations; but instead of this he was left to nominate and chuse too; his Nomi­nation (if you will so call it) was after the Church-meeting was broke up, and was never brought to any Church-meeting at all, to see whether the Church would vote it or not: So that you was not chosen by the Church before you came, and therefore run before you was called; and you strenuously deny, yourself, Page 43, that you was accepted as a Council, by any Vote of the Church after you came. You make a Spposition, Page 44, that [Page 39] Springfield Church had only desired the Assistance of cer­tain Elders, and these Elders had, with the Consent of their Churches, come to them; and think this would have been sufficient; but as to you the Elders that came from out of this County, the Church of Springfield never sent either to your Churches, or to you their Elders.

To what Purpose is it to tell of Springfield Churches failing in the methodicalness of Expression; whether their Votes were more or less methodical it signifies nothing, as long as 'tis as plain as the Sun in the midst of a clear Firmament, that you was never chosen at all by Spring­field Church by any Expression or Act at all, either me­thodical or immethodical. You say the true Intent and Meaning of their Vote is very plain, to any one that has a Mind to understand them, and no Design to pervert them: So it is indeed as plain as Words can make them; 'tis plain that they had a Meaning, utterly inconsistent with congregational Principles, viz. not to chuse the Churches that were to be applied to, out of the County, themselves, but to leave that Matter wholly with Mr. Breck; and so it is plain, that according to their Meaning, you were not chosen by the Church themselves, but only by Mr. Breck: And you must stretch the Meaning of their Votes very far, not only to make them have Re­spect to, but not positively exclude Mr. Cook of Sudbury: The Messenger was directed in the Vote to go to Boston to the Elders that Mr. Breck should chuse to ordain him; not a Word of Sudbury: 'Tis not easy, but hard to un­derstand their Meaning, if by Boston they meant Boston and all the Towns twenty Miles round: But whether it was in Boston or out, 'tis certain that Mr. Bk's Choice was all the Warrant you had to come; and so, by your own Confession, Page 40, we might well say you intermeddled with an Affair that did not belong to you, and pronounce all your Acts to be null and void To use your own Words, Page 37, to whom did it belong to chuse what Churches should be applied to but the Church itself? So that by your own Principles you were evi­dently a Company of Busy-bodies; (tho' you make it an intolerable Crime in us, to say that which implied it in [Page 40] our Protestation;) and if it be so, will it not follow that you have been the blameable Causes of all the Mischief, and Confusion, and Wounds to Religion, that have at­tended this Case. You often, with an Air of Triumph, mention it as an Instance of our doing what was none of our Business, that we took the Case into our own Hands before it was referred to us by Springfield Church: We have already shown the Groundlessness and Injustice of such a Charge; but your Injuriousness in it does more abundantly appear by this, that what you charge us with is so manifestly and certainly, the very Thing you did yourself, and not only so, but came an hundred Miles twice, in order to it, and once in the very Depth of Winter.

With respect to our saying that the Church never vo­ted, to desire the Assistance of any Church at all, but only certain Presbyters by Name; you say they ‘chose four of the Elders, that with the Churches, they desi­red to assist, thinking the Churches were sufficiently distinguished by naming their Elders.’ What we ar­gue from is what was publickly acted, voted, and re­corded; but what you argue from is what they thought in the secret Closet of their Hearts: If that be according to congregational Principles, to make a Churches unde­clared Thoughts the Foundation of other Churches Acts, we confess it is as you say, Page 44, 45, That we have no thorough Acquaintance with congregational Principles: What is most probable is, that the Church, being igno­rant of congregational Principles, thought nothing about applying to any Churches, and did not know that there was any Need of it: And tho' you say it shews our Ig­norance of those Principles, if we suppose, that in case Springfield Church had only desired the Assistance of certain Elders by Name, and those Elders with the Con­sent of their Churches, had come to ordain, it would not have been agreeable to those Principles: but in this Matter, Rev. Sir, we humbly think we understand con­gregational Principles better than you, or are more willing fairly to represent them: By those Principles an Elder can act nothing in another Church but by Vertue of a [Page 41] Mission from his Church, but his Church has no Power to concern themselves in the Affairs of another Church, or to give any one a Mission to act in them, till applied to by that Church: All the Acts of other Churches, as well as Persons, as concerning themselves in the Affairs of that Church, are, by the Tenour of your own Words null and void, if not applied to, and called by that Church: An Application to a particular Person don't give a Church Authority to act; the Delegate goes as the Churches Representative, & all that he acts is in the Name of his Church, and not by any Power of his Office as an Elder, which extends not beyond the Limits of his own Congregation; in his coming the Church comes, and there­fore, however he has been called personally, yet if the Church han't been applied to, the Church comes uncalled: It 'don't at all follow that it is not so, because the Platform says they may improve Elders of other Churches, as you mention; there the Platform meddles not with the Way of their being called; the Platform supposes that to be determined elsewhere. So that we still say there was not one Soul of that Council called according to congrega­tional Principles: But yet there is vastly the most noto­rious Defect with respect to the Manner of your being called that came from far.

You say, Page 45, concerning a certain Minister in this County, that ‘only certain Elders by Name were ap­pointed to carry on his Ordination, and these never so much as chosen by the Church he was ordained to, if you are rightly informed. But why will you venture to publish Things to prejudice the Country against the County of Hampshire, and the Memory of the late ve­nerable Mr. Stoddard, only on uncertain Information, which is indeed contrary to Fact; for the Elders were chosen by publick Vote of the Church.

With regard to that Objection that we make against the Method taken by Springfield Church, and their Coun­cil, viz That it makes void all Endeavours any Minis­ters can use to hinder the settling of heterdox Ministers, and to prevent the Growth of Error in the Country; and that it opens a Door for the letting in of Error into [Page 42] the Country, because if there be any Objection against a Candidate, or like to be any Difficulty on any such Account, he can go where he will for his Judges: In answer to it you say, you ‘are perswaded that the Care of Councils, respecting this Matter, is like to be as thorough and effectual as that of Associations.’ Just as if you supposed, that the Thing in Dispute was, which was most likely to take thorough Care, Councils or Associations; whereas we don't so much as mention it, nor has this the least Relation to the Objection we make, which is exceeding fully and plainly declared to be this, that the giving a Man this Liberty of going where he will for his Judges, opens a Door for the letting in of Error, which is so plain that it needs no arguing upon to prove it; you and every Body must know it to be so at first Sight: And what is it to the Purpose to say, in answer to this Objection, as you do once and again, Page 46, and Page 96, that you have taken thorough Care, and if other Councils will take as much Care as you have done, there will be no such Door opened? Does it fol­low, that because, in a particular Instance, a Council chosen agreeable to such a Custom, have been faithful, that therefore the Custom it self opens no Door to Error: If it were the Custom to allow Persons accused of Theft to chuse their own Judges, would it follow, that this Custom don't open a Door for the Increase of Theft and Robbery, because it has once so happend that Judges Chosen by a Person accused of such a Crime, but was indeed innocent (as you suppose in this Case) have been faithful and upright in their Judgment.

With respect to what is related in the Narrative, Page 33, 34, of what the Rev. Mr. Allis said, you think you have Authority to contradict us before the World, as having given an Account that is not true, because Mr. Allis don't remember it; but if you have, 'tis because his negative Testimony alone, against the positive Testimo­nies of three that heard him, gives you Authority so to do.

In Page 48, you take Notice of our charging some of the Council with laying out themselves to be the Persons that must be the Judges in this Case before-hand; and [Page 43] particularly the Reverend Moderator of the Council, which we say is evident by a Letter he sent to the Rev. Mr. Williams of Hatfield, to get us willing that he should come upon that Business, pretending to be unwilling to come without our Consent; but when he fail'd of ob­taining that, he appeared resolved to come nevertheless. Herein you say we have doubly abused Mr. Cooper, and basely misrepresented his Letter; and that because, you say, the Design of that was not to ask the Consent of any of us to his coming up upon a Council, but to be present when Mr. Breck's Matters were fully heard before the As­sociation. But not withstanding this bitter Charge, we will shew that it was impossible for us to understand Mr. Cooper otherwise than we represented him, and that it is most clearly evident that we understood him right and represented him right, viz that the Design of his Letter was to ask our Consent to come up upon a Coun­cil, and as sent by his Church. Mr. Williams of Long-Meadow, upon his being shown that Letter by Mr. Wil­liams of Hatfield, wrote a large Letter to Mr. Cooper (which Mr. Cooper, in his Answer to it says▪ seem'd design'd as an Answer to his, to the Rev. Mr. Williams of Hatfield, re­ferring to Mr. Breck's Case) in which Mr. Williams en­deavoured to represent to Mr. Cooper the melancholy Circumstances of the first Parish in Springfield, and the Confusion they were like to be brought into by the Measures Mr. Breck and his Adherents were taking, de­siring his Help in so difficult an Affair, and manifested it as his Desire and Intreaty, that he would come up, not (in the Way which seem'd to be propos'd, viz.) as sent by his Church; but that he, with some others, would come and join with the Association in hearing Mr. Breck's Case, and as Peace-makers: As particularly in these Pas­sages of his Letter, ‘If the Charges against Mr Breck were fairly heard before our whole Association to whom they were sent; yea if you your self, and one more Gentleman of a cool Temper were added to them, and he were acquitted by them, I believe things would be like to be easy: I believe the Association would wil­lingly hear any Reason Mr. Breck can have against my [Page 44] sitting with them, or any Reason any Person should offer against any other Members sitting with them: for my Part, I should [...]ingly withdraw upon any Intimation from the Association; 'tis nothing but Order, Justice, Truth and Peace, I have desired. And again, I will venture still to propose to yourself, since you manifest a Desire to visit us, in this Part of the Province, that you, with some other prudent Minister, would be so good as to come up among us, not as sent by your Churches, and endeavour to be Peace-makers among us; that you may be intitled to that Blessing in Matth. 5. 9.’ This Letter was dated August 8 1735▪ when it was known certainly that there was no Design, or Thought of the Matter's being further heard in the Association, as you pretend and express, Page 48: The Church-meet­ing to choose Elders was August 4. 1735. See Narrative Page 33; and the Letter to the fourth Church in Boston is dated August 5th. Page 40 of your Answer; and the Rev. Mr. Williams of Hatfield now knew by currant Re­port that went about, that it was resolved at Springfield that the Ordination Council should be the Determiners of this Case, and not the Association or any other Coun­cil or Ministers; yea his Answer was dated the same Day that Springfield Church chose Elders to ordain. And besides the Rev. Mr. Cooper must see Mr. Williams of Springfield's Letter (that he says himself he took to be design'd as an Answer to his Letter) that he understood his Proposal of his coming up as sent by his Church: In his Answer he don't say that by Mr. Williams mistook his Meaning, but plainly manifests that it was not what he had propos'd to come without being sent by his Church: for when Mr. Williams, in his Reply to his Proposal, intreates that he would so come, he is far from falling in with it, as being the Thing he meant, but rejects it: His Words are, ‘You express a Desire that I, and some others may come up, but not as sent by our Churches, and endeavour to be Peace makers; why we mayn't do that, and yet be sent by our Churches, I don't see.’ And this Letter was written not a great while after Mr. Cooper's to Mr. Williams of Hatfield, his being dated [Page 45] July, 1735, and this August [...]th, and was sent before Mr. Williams of Hatfield's Answer, and how could we think that Mr Bk intended to have his Matters further heard in the Association, when we knew other Measures were then determined upon at Springfield. These Things being so▪ we must of Necessity understand that Expres­sion in Mr. Cooper's Letter Page 50. ‘It is therefore his present Intention (as I understand from himself) to ask them so far to favour him as to give him Liberty to invite two or three other Ministers, when his Affairs are further proceeded in.’ that he meant he would ask the People, who are mention'd in the foregoing Sen­tence, so to favour him; Mr. Breck was got past asking any Favour of the Association long before that; and both he and the People had fully determined upon o­ther Things; yea and Mr. Cooper himself too, as appears by what has been already said. Nothing can be more plain than that neither Mr Bk, nor Springfield Church, nor Mr. Cooper, had a Thought of putting the Affair on the Foot of any such Proposal, as joining some others to the Association; for as to Springfield Church, and Mr. Breck, other Things were plainly resolved before Mr. Cooper's Proposal was made; nor did they in the least suspend the Matter to see whether any Proposal of join­ing others to the Association, would be complied with; for as has been already observed, tho' Mr. Williams of Hatfield, his Answer was not delay'd but written with convenient Speed, yet the Church met to chuse Ordai­ners that same Day that he wrote his Answer; and Mr. Cooper himself as soon as ever he receives that which he himself took for an Answer to his Proposal, wherein that very Thing of joining others to us, was earnestly desired of him, he immediately rejects it as not being the Thing that was agreeable to his Mind: So that the whole Face of the Affair, as it then stood on all Sides, rendred it impossible that that Proposal of Mr. Cooper's should be understood otherwise than as we understood it. Hence it appears that we never rejected any Pro­posal of joining two or three more with the Association, as you say you know we did: Indeed we ever insisted on [Page 46] a Proposal that it might be so, and made the Proposal once and again, after we saw that Mr. Breck would not sub­mit his Case to us alone. Hence also it is evident, tho' you do so load us with Reproach about this Matter, charging us, Page 35, with Fallacy that tends to impose on the World, and with a double Abuse and Misrepresen­tation, Page 48, and with setting this Matter in a wrong Light on purpose, and therein treating Mr. Cooper in a very disingenious and injurious Manner; that yet our Charge is just, and our Witness demonstratively true in this Matter, and that Mr. Cooper did indeed, before he was sent to, lay out himself to be a Judge in this Case; and that you yourself have mistaken Mr. Cooper's Propo­sal, and if you understood it in the Time of it, must needs have forgotten and be strangely lost and confounded in your: Thoughts about it since. Hence also 'tis evident that the Rev. Mr. Williams of Hatfield, in his Answer to Mr. Cooper's Letter, nor his Amanuensis, did not mistake his Proposal.

And what, Rev. Sir, can be your Design in suggesting that Mr. Wms of Hatfield ignorantly signed to a Let­ter drawn up by some Body else, and so that the Mistake that it went upon was none of his, tho' he signed it; but the Mistake of his Amanuensis; and telling that the Body of the Letter is written by another Hand, and only signed with his own, and superscribed by Mr. Williams of Long-Meadow, unless it be to insinuate that the Letter was none of his, and that other People that got about him dealt with him as a Child, and drew up a Letter, out of their own Heads, and perswaded him to subscribe it, that it might be honoured with his Name, without his know­ing what it was? And is this your rising up before the hoary Head, as you profess to do in your Letter to the same reverend and aged Gentleman, Page 56? Mr. Williams of Hatfield wrote that Letter with his own Hand, before ever Mr. Williams of Long-Meadow saw Mr. Cooper's Letter to him, and got it transcribed, it be­ing very difficult to r [...]d his Writing; the Letter lay by him waiting for an Opportunity to be sent; Mr. Williams of Long-Meadow informed him that there would [Page 47] be an Opportunity to send from Springfield in a few Days; he sealed it and delivered it to him to superscribe, and send it along.

In our Defence, Page 79, we signify that we think that we have Reason to complain, that in an Affair wherein our Interest is so much concerned, and yours so little, you would resolutely proceed, without giving any Heed to our earnest Remonstrances, and stand aloof from us when you come into the County, and never so much as friendly enquire of us, or give us any fair Opportuni­ty to speak for our selves; and Page 90, 91, we say you did in this contrary to what you gave Reason to expect, who assured the Rev. Dr. Colman, that when you came you would, before you proceeded, visit us, and not act without us, much less against us: We say that indeed you proposed that the Association should be called toge­ther at Springfield, when you came up, to give you their Reasons, &c. but that it would in our Judgment have made an odd Appearance for the Association to be called together to appear before you, to give an Account of ourselves, submitting our own Conduct as well as Mr. Breck's Case to your Judgment. ‘This (you say.) con­tains a complicated Charge, in which there is a Com­plication of vile Misrepresentations, and that you call them so because they must needs be wilful ones. With re­spect to your visiting us before you proceeded agreeable to your Promise to the Rev. Dr. Colman, you say▪ Page 57, ‘Could they imagine that we should go from one Part of the County to another, to meet with them singly, when they live so remote one from another.’ We answer, that considering your Promise, which you don't deny, we might well imagine, that you would go to more than one of our Houses, which you did not; we might well imagine, that seeing all the Ministers in the County that joined with you were visited, and much Time spent with them, and even Mr. Rand, tho' about thirty Miles from Springfield, that you would have visi­ted some of us who were nearer than any of them; we might well imagine that you would have visited the Rev. Mr. Williams of Hatfield at least, seeing one of you twice [Page 48] came within a Mile and an half of his House, in your Visit to the Rev. Mr. Chauncey, and went seven Miles beyond it in your Visit to the Rev Mr Rand; we might well imagine you would have visited Mr Hopkins, seeing you was in Springfield from Wednesday Night to the Tuesday following, before the Council sat, and his House was but two Miles from your Lodgings: we might well imagine, that when you came to our Door, you would not refuse to go in, as some of you did when you was at Mr. Hopkins's Door; and might we not well imagine, and say, considering these Things, that you stood aloof from us, without vile and wilful Misrepresentation. The Reason you give why you did not visit the Rev. Mr. Williams of Hatfield, is, that he seemed to think himself ill treated in your Letter, that you say was drawn up in as respectful Terms as you could do it; and therefore you dispair'd of his thinking himself well treated by you in a Visit. That is plainly, that you found Mr. Williams so touchy and waspish that there was no coming nigh him, or having any Thing to do with him: But with respect to that Clause of Mr. Williams's Letter, he declares that he had no respect at all to your Manner of writing in your Letter to him, and that there were more Terms of Respect in it than he desired; but that what he had Reference to, was your shewing so little Regard to his repeated Instances and Representations in this Matter, and that you do in that Letter so groundlesly suggest, that what we in this Affair were contending for, was the Rights of Associations in Opposition to the Liberty of particular Churches, in calling and ordaining their Pastors.

But then you say, the Truth of the Case is, we stood a­loof from you: And what if we did, does that prove that you did not do as we assert, viz. stand aloof from us; or did we ever pass our Word, and assure any Body that we would not stand aloof from you? But in this you charge us very wrong: You say, Page 53, that we would not give you that Opportunity to confer and consult with you that you earnestly desired and requested of us: But, Sir, with your Leave, we will put you in mind of what you know (as to the Substance of it) we did do; and we would [Page 49] pray you, with some Impartiality to compare it with this that you publickly assert of us: Tho' the Rev. Mr. Wil­liams of Hatfield was not there, yet all the rest of u [...], excepting Mr. Edwards, who was not then in New Eng­land, came to Springfield the first Day of the Council's sitting, seeking an Opportunity to confer with the Coun­cil, and first drew up the Grounds of our Dissatisfaction in Writing, and sent them in to the Council, concluding (as well we might) that the Council would take some Notice of it, and send to us again, and so that it would lead the Way to a Conference; and when no Word came from the Council, after we had waited a While, we went all together to the House where the Council was sitting, to seek an Opportunity of conferring with them, and spake to the Rev. Mr. Mather, and Mr. Halsey, and expressed this our Desire to them; but were told that the Council were busy; and there we waited about an Hour and an Half; but the Council not vouchsafing to take any Notice of us, we withdrew, and some of us went to our own Homes: In this Manner were we re­fused an Opportunity of speaking with the Council when we came to 'em, and waited upon them on the Spot: They would not so much as speak to us to tell us why we could not be admitted, or how long it would be before they should be at Leisure, nor when would be a more convenient Time, but only that they were busy; nor ever did they make a Word of Reply to the Paper we sent them: And yet how are we cryed out of, that we would not condescend to give you the Opportunity to con­fer and consult with us, which you so earnestly requested and desired, and when you came with Hearts so full of Respect to us; And for vile and wilful Misrepresentation, in saying that you stood aloof from us! We beg Leave of you Rev. Sir, for your own sake, as well as for our's, se­riously to consider how you have treated us in this Mat­ter. And as to your saying, Page 57, that we met for se­veral Days successively with the dissatisfied, there is no other Foundation for it than only this, that some of the dissatisfied did sometimes come to the Tavern where we were entertain'd, and were seen there with us.

[Page 50] In Page 58, you charge us with treating you in a most unjust and injurious Manner, in those Words in our Defence, ‘Indeed they proposed that the Association should be called together at Springfield. when they came up, to give them their Reasons, &c. And then saying this upon it, ‘But this, in our Judgment, would have made an odd Appearance, for our Association to be called together from all Parts of the County to ap­pear before them, to give an Account of ourselves to them, submitting our own Conduct as well as Mr Breck's Case to their Judgment.’ All the Representation that we here make of what you did is in these Words, Indeed they propos'd that the Association should be called together when they came up to give them their Reasons, &c And what follows is plainly expressed, not as what you said, but as of our Sense what our complying with your Proposal would be in effect; and we think still that our Sense of the Matter was right, not withstanding your Letter's be­ing writ in respectful Terms, which we don't deny. We say nothing of your writing in an assuming Way as you express, nor do we in any wise represent you as so wri­ting, unless giving an Account of our Sense (not of the Way of proposing) but of the Thing proposed, be to represent you as writing in an assuming Way: The Thing proposed might be assuming, tho' not the Way of proposing; you might have said you would rise up before the hoary Head, and used many other respectful Terms, if you had writ to Mr. Williams of Hatfield to come down to Springfield to do the meanest Office for you: But we think our Sense of your Proposal was right; if we had answered your Desire we must have come to you not as being Judges ourselves, but to appear before them that were so; you did not propose that we should have any Hand in the Judgment; and therefore what could we have to do, who had ourselves been before concerned in the Case, and had had it referred to us, and had acted and taken some Steps as Judges in it, but only to give an Account of Things relating to the Case before you as the final Judges? And this, whatever soft Terms you may put it in, would have been in effect to appear before [Page 51] you, submitting our own Conduct to your Judgment: How is it possible it should be otherwise? How can it be but that Judges that have been concerned and have acted in a Cause, and then have the Caus [...] taken from them, under a Notion of their being unjust Judges, and refer­red to other Judges, if they appear before these superi­our Judges to give an Account of the Cause to them, but that it must be in effect to have their own Conduct wherein they acted as Judges, tried and judged? And that this was what you designed in your Proposal, seems to appear by your treating us with such Neglect and Contempt, when we sought an Opportunity of confer­ring with you, not coming in the Way you had proposed, in the Form of an Association with our Moderator at our Head.

In Page 58, &c. you endeavour to excuse yourself from the Charge of Violence and Driving in your Proceedings, which we say shew'd your Prejudice, by relating parti­cularly how long it was after the sending forth the Let­ters missive, before you went on the Business to Spring­field; and having then met with an unusual Interposition that hindred your proceeding at the Time appointed, it was more than three Months longer before you actually ordain'd Mr. Breck. But what does it signify how many Months it was after the Letters missive were sent forth, before you actually came, as long as it was immediately determined by you upon your Receit of the Letters mis­sive, that you would come? When once you was sent to, the Matter was not suspended at all; and it appear'd by all your Letters and Replys, that you was immovable in your Resolutions to come, tho' you were so much, and often desired to suspend such a Resolution, by ear­nest Remonstrances from the Rev. Mr. Wms of Hat­field, the senior Minister in the County, and from another of us that formerly had been treated as a particular Friend of the Rev. Mr. Cooper, and also from the Rev. Dr. Colman, the senior Minister among you: It evidently ap­peared that nothing would prevail with you to recon­sider the Matter; nothing would stop or alter you. It was earnestly desired of you▪ as we signify in our Words [Page 52] that are cited by you, Page 58, that there might be fur­ther Time of Consideration, and that you would wait for Things to get into a better Posture, before you finally resolved; and how your immediately resolving, without any further Consideration, or at all waiting to see if Things would get into a better Posture, and your delaying two Months on purpose that there might be Opportunity for Consideration, and Things got into a better Posture (as you say you did, Page 59.) do consist together, we don't know: How could it be expected that Things should get into a better Posture, when the contending Parties see that the Matter was already determined and resolved, past Hopes of Alteration, by the Judges that one of the Parties only had chosen, that they would come and be the sole Judges of the Case? And tho' you came to Springfield some Days before the Day appointed for Or­dination, yet your Driving and Violence, and not your Moderation appeared in the Manner of your improving that Time; for tho' you say, Page 59, ‘We went to Springfield a Week before the Time for the Session of the Council, and let the Gentlemen there know that we should do so that so we might have Opportunity to confer and consult with them. How that consists with the Facts already related, we leave you to judge. And to what Purpose is it to tell the World, as a further In­stance of your Moderation and waiting, that you delayed three Months after the first Time of your coming to Springfield, before you ordained Mr. Breck? When tho' you did not actually ordain him, yet you came to a Re­sult, which was drawn up and read in Publick, wherein Mr. B—was justified, and his Party advised to stick by him: 'Tis your Driving and Violence as Judges of this Cause, that we speak of in our Defence.

As to what you say, Page 61, That ‘while Mr. Clap was reading his Papers, there came a Messenger on Horse-back to speak with him, who having finished his private Message to Mr. Clap, rode away with conve­nient speed, it is not unlikely, to inform those that sent him, how to time the next Messenger or Message.’

[Page 53] In this and the preceeding Page you refer six or seven Times to Mr. Clap's reading sundry large Papers, and several remarkable Incidents thereupon: Whereas four of us then present well remember, that Mr. Clap did not read one of those Papers, but they were all read by the Scribe of the Council, as they were severally given in by the Witnesses; and therefore it is impossible any Message should be done to him while he was reading those Papers. And we suppose that the Message that was done to him, was before the Scribe began to read them: But let the Time of the Message be when it will, the Suggestion that you add upon it, viz. That the Messenger came to know when would be the best Time to apprehend Mr. Breck, is wholly false and groundless; for the Messenger said nothing of such a Design, but his Message was of another Nature.

You misrepresent and very much diminish the Matter of your insisting on hearing and trying this Cause of such publick Concern in private: You say, the Weather was too cold to allow the Door to stand open, but it was not kept shut to keep out any that we desired might be present: But this you know to be true, that You allowed none but Wit­nesses to be present: 'Tis true you allowed some Thing that was desired, viz. That the Ministers of the Coun­ty that were Witnesses might be present, which was de­sired, after it was seen that nothing else could be obtain'd; but was far from being all that was desir'd. The Door was kept fast shut and lock'd (instead of just shut and latch'd, as it is through the Error of the Press in the Narrative:) The Hearing was as private as possible, for none were allowed to be present but the Witnesses that were to be heard: So private were you, that when one of the Ministers of the County, viz. the Rev. Mr. Allis, came and stood in the Chamber, it was carefully enquired by the Scribe of the Council, whether he was a Witness, and when it was answer'd that he was not, he was desired to withdraw. This is not only contrary to Reason, and the Custom of all Nations, for Judicatures to try Causes, and especially Causes of so publick a Concern, in such a strict Privacy, but 'tis also contrary to congregatio­nal [Page 54] Principles, as appears by the Rev. Dr. Cotton Mather, in his Ratio Disciplinae, that you your self cite as an authentick Witness in such Affairs, Page 160, ‘The Council coming on the Spot, first chuse their Modera­tor, and use all other necessary Preliminaries, where­upon they proceed into as publick a Hearing as they can have, (viz. in the Meeting-house) of the Things that are to come under Examination.’ And Page 165, "When the Council arrives, they first more privately form themselves into Order, by chusing a Moderator, and speaking with all Persons concerned, so far as they count it needful, by Way of Preparation for their Business, then they pass into the Meeting-house, where being first conveniently seated, all Persons that will may see and hear all that is done." Here the Dr. is speaking of this very Case, of the Tryal of an offending Pastor. And what Shadow of Reason is there in that Excuse you offer for this Privacy, viz That the only Reason why you did not go into a publick Hearing was, because the Dissatisfied de­clared they would not submit their Matters to you as a Council, as long as you would, and did, not with standing take the Matter into your Hands as a Council, to try the Cause, finally to determine and issue it, and act and exe­cute according to your own Judgment, whether they would or no? And therefore how does this alter the Case as to the Reason why it should be publick? If a Criminal should be arraigned before a Court of civil Judicature, and should plead against the Jurisdiction of the Court, and refuses, as far as in him lies, to submit his Cause to them, but his Plea is altogether disallowed, and they, not with standing, resolutely go on, and hear Witnesses, and judge him, and pass Sentence upon him, and execute him, would that be a sufficient Reason why the Trial must be in strict Privacy, and he and others must be shut out from hearing of it? Would not the World cry out of such an Appearance of Injustice, that he must be executed on a Judgment found against him, he, and the World must not know how?

As to your appearing Mr. Breck's Advocates in the Court, before you came to a Result, we ever thought it to [Page 55] be very improper for those that are called to be Judges in a Cause, to appear to be Advocates for the Person that is to be tried any where at all; and that for this plain Reason, because acting as a Man's Advocate, and being engaged in pleading his Cause, naturally tends to give a Biass to his Mind in his Favour.

With Respect to our saying that the reading Decla­rations on Horse back in the Street, in the midst of a Multitude of People, to represent Mr. Kirtland and Mr. Clap to be Liars, we presume was of the Council's ordering, because done so publickly under their Window: You sar­castically say, Here our Reason is admirably strong! Cer­tainly as strong as your's is, Page 79, where only from our being entertain'd at the Tavern where the Justices kept, and knowing of their Design, you don't only say you presume, but venture boldly to assert, not only that we approved of it, but called in their Help, and GOT 'em to interpose; and much stronger, for the People that especially did this, under your Window, were and had been at the House, as waiting on you, in an Affair, wherein it is notorious, they were wholly under your Direction▪ But however,

In Page 67, 68, you most strenuously assert, that this was without your Ordering or Knowledge; We will there­fore let you know what Reason we have to think that what we have supposed of you in this Matter is the Truth▪ and first, we have the following Testimony of a Person that is of neither of the Parties concern'd, for he don't belong to the Precinct.

These may certify, that I the Subscriber, on the ninth Day of October 1735, being at the House of Mr. John Worthengton in Springfield, in Company with En­sign Ebenezer Warriner and others, I well remember there came in a Person of that Precinct, and desire [...] the People to go [...]p to Madam Brewer's: I asked the Person, who desired them to go up there? The Person replyed, the Gentlemen of the Council. I further ask­ed him whether the People universally, or only of that Precinct were desired? The Person replied, any [Page 56] Body and every Body that would: But I remember I thought the Person was mistaken▪ and told my Com­pany I would not go; but I told Ensign Warriner he might, for he belong'd to the Precinct, to which I thought the Invitation was confin'd: He replied he had no Business there, and would not go up: But I observed many People, upon the Invitation did leave the House in order to go there: Soon after which I went down Street, when I came in sight of Madam Brewer's House, I saw a Concourse of People before the Door. This is the Truth, according to the best of my Remembrance.

Jonathan Stebbins.

I the Subscriber being at the House of Mr. John Worthenton, in Company with the above Subscriber, Jonathan Stebbins, well remember the Things as above related.

Ebenezer Warriner.

And besides, one of your own Party, or on Mr. Breck's Side, being one of the Persons t [...]t came up from Wind­ham, to testify for Mr. B—, and one of them whose Testimonies were at that Time so publickly read, and was therefore admitted amongst you to know your pri­vate Consultations and Conclusions, declares as follows.

When I was at Springfield in October 1735, the ordi­nation Council then being there; the Evening after Mr. Breck was apprehended, I, and the other Wit­nesses, who went to testify in Mr. Breck's Favour, were desired by the Council to write our Evidences that Night; and produce them before the Council the next Morning, which we did, and carried them to the Council; the Rev. Messi▪ Kirtland and Clap, and the other Witnesses, having that Morning taken away the Papers they delivered to the Council the Day before; the Rev Moderator Mr Cooper, told us that he tho't it not proper that our Evidences should be given into the Coun­cil; but thought it best they should be read before the Church; not where the Council were sitting, but in some other Room. Before we were gone out of the [Page 57] Chamber, some Body said to the Moderator, I believe there are others who would be glad to hear them; would it not be best to stay till Notice may be given them? The Moderator answered, very well; I believe it would be best; it is no Matter how many hear them. The Man went away immediately, I suppose to give Notice, and while they waited for the coming of the People, some Body said in the Council Chamber, there will not be Room in the other Chamber for the People that will come, would it not be best to read them first in the other Chamber to the Church; and to read them abroad to the People when they are gathered toge­ther? Mr. Cooper answered, very well, I believe it will be best to do so. Accordingly they were read in the other Chamber to the Church, and after the People came they were read before the Door, as the Hampshire Narrative sets it forth.

Ezra Kingsley.

Whether you ordered that Circumstance of the read­ing those Testimonies, viz. its being done on Horse-back or no, yet by this, the reading of them in so publick a Manner, as that it should be done before both the Church and others, was by your Advice. But you say you can assure us, if we will give Credit to you, that let it be done where it would, it was not only without the Council's Order but without their Knowledge. Here you assert, that not only the Place of the Thing, but the very Thing itself, let the Place be where it would, was without your Ordering, or your Knowledge. Here we leave it with your­self to make Reflections; We don't desire that any Body should put a worse Construction on this, than the best that the Case will allow: You probably had some­thing when you wrote this, with which you might solve the Matter with your own Conscience; it may be, that in giving this Advice you did not formally act as a Council, and so could assert that it was not the of Council's Ordering or Knowledge: What your subterfuge is, we know not, but leave it with you to consider, whether if the Case was as this Friend of your's represents, there could be any▪ that could be honourable or warrantable?

[Page 58] And we would also intreat you to consider the Na­ture of the Thing itself, viz. your advising to the pub­lick reading of those Testimonies, in order to represent those Gentlemen to be Liars; 'tis true the Manner of its being done, viz. on Horse-back was odd, but its being done so publickly, without any Opportunity given to the Gentlemen to be present to speak for themselves, is all that is of Consequence in the Affair, whether on Horse-back or on Foot.

And besides, in Page 82, you your self allow two of those Gentlemen to be Ministers of the Gospel, of an esta­blish'd Character & Reputation, and say you gave Credit to their Testimonies as such, and yet advise to the publick rea­ding of Declarations of some Persons, to represent them to be Liars: What End could you have in this? Is it becom­ing of Ministers of Jesus Christ, gathered together in his Name, to promote the Peace and Holiness of his Kingdom, openly to represent to the Multitude concern­ing Ministers of the Gospel, that they are Liars, and yet at the same Time own 'em to be Men of Ho­nour and Fidelity, and that their Testimonies are good, and declare that you allowed them to be so! By your own Account, your End could not be to weaken or in­validate their Testimonies in this Affair (and indeed you expresly say it, Page 83,) or in any wise to help Mr. Breck's Cause; for you say you allowed their Testimonies to be good in that Cause, and did lay all the Weight upon 'em that was due to such Testimonies.

You say, Page 69, that it makes it look still worse in us, that we should mention this young Gentleman's reading those Testimonies, to represent Mr. Kirtland and Mr. Clap to be Liars, that these Gentlemen notwith­standing, a Week or two after, assisted in his Ordina­tion. 'Tis true, those reverend Ministers, tho' so abused by this young Gentleman, did exercise an admirable Spirit of Meekness in this Affair; for some of the Peo­ple that he was settling amongst were exceedingly dis­gusted at it. And had Mr. Clap been disposed to recant he could have hurt his Interest there; but on the con­trary he laboured very much to quiet the People's Minds, [Page 59] and to pacify them towards him. And when he was dis­coursed with about it he did not justify what he had done; and those Gentlemen assisted in his Ordination. And we can't see that their Moderation and good Temper in so easily passing over the Injury, can reflect any Blame upon us, for reciting a Fact so publickly transacted.

Whereas we speak of it, in our Defence, as a Thing that shews the Prejudice and Violence of the Gentlemen of that Party, that they intercepted, broke open, and published in the Gazette, a private Letter of a Person of Distinction to his Friend (meaning a Letter of the Rev. Rector of Yale College to Mr. Wms of Long Meadow) you say that this needs want, as many of our Stories un­happily do, the needful Circumstances of Truth because none of you of the Council ever intercepted it, or broke it open; but if it be so, is that an Evidence that none of the Party did it.

We used the Word Party here, and not Council, for that very End that it might take in, both the Intercepter and the Publisher. You say you had not the least Thought of its being intercepted or broken open, till the Narrative told you of it: If it be so, 'tis very strange; you were long before that told of it in the Boston Gazette of Decemb. I. wherein the Injuriousness of exposing a Letter so stolen, was insisted on. But if it was so, and was as you solemnly declare, that not one of you knew from whom nor by whom it came, certainly then you ought not to have exposed it as the Rector's, to his Reproach; for if the Case was so, you knew not but that it was a meer Forgery. Why would you suffer your Hands to touch Goods that were brought to you after such a Manner, that you knew were none of your own, but saw that they came with another Man's Mark upon them, as the original Owner, and knew not how they were gotten from him? Was it wor­thy of a Minister of the Gospel, under such Circumstances, before ever he knew, or had made any Enquiry, to take them into his House, and into his own Possession, and improve them to his own Purposes, and to the Prejudice of the original Owner? Is this, Rev. Sir, becoming of your Office and Character? But you say that you never [Page 60] published it, & then, to prove it, you insert an Extract of that Part of the Boston Gazette that was referred to, whereby it appears that only some Parts of the Letter were published, with Interspers'd Reflections, publickly to ridicule it: But is not this a miserable Foundation to cry out of Un­truth upon? 'Tis true you did not till now publish the whole Letter, but han't you expos'd the Letter, and a­bused the Author in Publick in a greater Degree, than if you had meerly done that? You have picked out some particular Parts of the Letter, that you supposed most for your Purpose of rendring the Author ridiculous in the Eye of the World, and have not only published, but in a fleering insulting Manner, derided and discanted on those Passages: The Fact that you have been guilty of, is the same in Kind and Denomination with what we have charged you with; those of that Party han't only intercepted and broke open, but also published in the Gazette. If a Company or Set of Men, made up of some that had stolen a Parcel of Goods, & others that were Par­takers with them, should be discovered in selling of them, and some Body should say the Company were guilty, not only of stealing but selling the stolen Goods, would it not be thought ridiculous in them, to cry out of Slander and a Breach of the ninth Command­ment, on no better Pretence than only that they had not yet sold 'em all? You seem to desire that it should be much taken Notice of by your Readers, that we say that therein the Gentlemen of the Party have done that in the Face of the World as glorying in it, which common Knaves and Russians, when they do, do privately, and keep secret, as being ashamed of it: As we said then, so we say now, and appeal to all Gentlemen and all Chris­tians, whether or no it be any Thing more than a just Reflection? Or, whether the Expressions are at all harsh for such an Act? You yourself acknowledge such an Act deserves to be had in Detestation and Abhorrence: And tho' we did not charge it on any of the Council then, yet while you are declaming against us for charging you with it, you immediately shew us and the World, that you are not afraid nor ashamed to have it true of you; [Page 61] but do it in the Face of the World, and glory in it now, when you do fully know it to be a stolen Letter. You seem to pretend that you publish it in your own Vindi­cation, to show the World that all of it was not contain'd in the Gazette, wherein we say it was publish'd; and may perhaps be ready to justify yourself with that, viz. That we, by abusively representing that you had pub­lished the Letter, made it needful for you to publish it, to show that you had not: But supposing we have herein abused you, does that give you Warrant so greatly to abuse another Man, that was not concerned in that Abuse? Supposing the Author of that Letter himself, had by some injurious Reproaches cast on you, rendred it need­ful that the Letter should be published in your Vindi­cation, tho' to his Disgrace; yet, will your taking this Advantage agree with your severe and bitter Charges of us for publishing Mr. Clap's Testimony, that was not stolen, but our own (wherein was something to Mr. Bk's Discredit) which was done upon a like Rea­son?

But the Misrepresentation and Abuse you pretend, that you publish the Letter to vindicate yourself from, is ours and not his, which renders the Thing much more aggra­vated: You own that the intercepting and opening a private Letter is a detestable Thing; but certainly the publishing such a Letter to the World, when you know it to be such a one, is more detestable: Wherein consists the Dishonesty of a Person's breaking such a Letter open, but that thereby he makes it known to one that had no Right to know it, and that the Author did not design should know it? But he that publishes it, don't only make it known to one that had no Right to know it, but to Hundreds, he exposes it to the World.

And besides, you say, Page 70, That every Man of you do solemnly declare, to all that will give you the Credit of Men of common Honesty and Truth, that a Copy of a certain Letter was brought to Boston, but not one of you knows from whom, or by whom it came: So that you knew not who took the Copy, whether he was a faithful Per­son or no, and how often it was transcribed, nor how [Page 62] much it was altered and corrupted, nor how much the Author is abused in the Copy; and yet you venture to publish it as his, on purpose to render him contemptible, introducing it with such a Flear as this, as they say it came from a Person of Distinction, so we judge it to be a Letter of Distinction: And indeed the Author is exceedingly abused in the Copy, it being false in no less than thirteen Places; and there are some very great Errors in it: If you exercised Reason, you could not but be sensible that it was not a true Copy; for tho' you often Laugh at our calling the Author a Person of Distinction, yet you must think that he knows how to write better English than that Copy, which in some Part of it is gross Nonsense.

Thus, Rev. Sir, you are pleased to vaunt yourself, and glory before the World, in such an Abuse of your fel­low Creatures and Brethren, and Violation of all Ho­nour and Justice, that you may have the Glory of striking the hardest Blows.

In Page 75, 76, you say, with Respect to this Rev. Gentleman that you have so abused, if neither his being there (at Springfield) nor his Conduct there, needs an Ex­cuse, why do these Gentlemen go about to make one for him? Wherein lies your Argument here? Is it not this, viz. That if the Rector's being there, nor his Conduct there, was indeed not blameable, why do we, when we heard he was blamed, go to show that he was not blameable? But then in the following Lines of the 76th Page, you undertake to show wherein it was blameable; and in or­der to that you say, in Line 5, 6, and 7, ‘He might, and no Doubt did, make a Visit to his Rev. Father at Hat­field, but we know great Part of his Time was spent at Northampton and Springfield. Here it is insinuated, that he spent considerable Time at Northampton with the Justices: We suppose you ventured upon this on meer Conjecture; for in truth he rarely has spent so little Time among his Relations at Northampton when he came into this Part of the Country, and saw but one of the Justices, viz his Uncle Stoddard, with whom he spent but about half an Hour. In Line 7, and 8, you say, ‘Especially at the latter Place, where he was more than [Page 63] once.’ And why is this put in among the rest of your Arguments to prove the Rector to be blameable, unless it be to insinuate to your Readers that are ignorant of the Situation of the Towns here (which are far the grea­ter Part of your Readers) that he came to Springfield more than once to concern himself in this Business, whereas a Person can't come from New-Haven to Hat­field, in the common Road, and return again, without being more than once at Springfield, the Road being through Springfield. You say, Line 10, 11, 12, ‘We can hardly think he came as other Gentlemen do to an Ordination, when the Week before, he could confi­dently give out at Springfield, there would be no Or­dination, or there should be none.’ This we suppose is said on meer hearsay, and without any Manner of Foundation in fact; the Person that you thus charge de­clares, that he only rode through the Town, and called at no House, and spake with no Person from Mr. Willliams's of Long-Meadow, till he got to the Tavern at Chikopee, six Miles above the Town, where he called to Oat his Horse, and spoke with no Person there but a little Girl that was in the House: and declares furthermore, that he not only gave out no such Thing as you charge him with, viz. That there would be no Ordination, but did not so much as think so; but on the contrary, that he supposed no other, but that you would ordain Mr. B—as you intended. Line 12, 13, 14, you say, ‘Some others of Connecticut that were with him there, could give out the same.’ Whereas there was no Body with him at that Time, but only his Son that came to wait upon him. In Line 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, you say, ‘And whe­ther he did not urge the serving the Warrant upon that Part of the Council that did not belong to the County, let the Gentleman who refused to consent to it's being served, be enquired of.’ Here again we suppose no­thing but Conjecture is your Foundation; the Rev. Rector declares that there was no such Thing in Fact, and the Gentleman you direct to enquire of declares himself abused, and that he has given no Foundation for you to insinuate as if there was. In Line 23, &c. you [Page 64] proceed, ‘When Mr. Breck was taken from the Coun­cil into the publick Town-House, and treated after the Manner he was, did not Mr. Rector Wms sit there with a singular Air of Pleasure in his Countenance.’ When Persons are publickly reproached for the Air of their Countenance, the Charge is of such a Nature, that let it be never so groundless, no Man living is under Capacity to vindicate himself from it; it depending on the Eye and Judgment (and oftentimes the Disposition) of Spectators, what an Air a Man appears with: But o­thers that saw the Rector, observed no Manner of Ground for such a Reproach to be cast upon him. Line 28, &c. you say, ‘And did he not faithfully attend at Springfield till the Business was so far over, that the Warrant was signed to send him to Connecticut, then he rode away a little before, no doubt to prepare him a suitable Re­ception in that Colony, and to do, as that Person of Distinction did, who wrote the Letter from NH—to Lg Mdw. Here 'tis implied that the Rector went to Connecticut before Mr. B—, and what a dark Hint is here, as tho' you know of something that he did going before Mr. Bk to Connecticut, to prepare him a Reception in that Government, that you forbear to tell the World! When indeed you have ventured upon all this Reproach of this Gentleman, whom you by Way of Mockery call a Person of Distinction, wholly upon a meer Guess of your own, that he did go to Con­necticut before Mr. B—, and that he might probably do something there that he might be ashamed of; when indeed he did not go to Connecticut before Mr. Breck, he never went out of Town that Night, but lodged at Mr. Williams's of Long-Meadow: so many Things have you asserted and insinuated that are contrary to Fact, in this one Page! On this Occasion we would again pray you to reflect on what you said of us Page 13, 14, where charging us with an evil and bitter, an uncharitable and unchristian Temper and Spirit, you say, ‘Such a Spirit sufficiently discovers itself in many Passages of their Book, and in divers of the Stories they tell—of par­ticular Persons,—which, if they had more of Truth in [Page 65] them, yet don't enter into the Merits of the Cause, and the whole Design of them must be only to fix, as far as they could do it, a Mark of Dishonour and Dis­grace where they would have it worn.’ How do these Stories, which you with so much Triumphing and Insult tell about the Rector, enter into the Merits of the Cause in Dispute between us, when you own at the Bottom of the Page, we ben' [...] concerned in them, and say, Page 75, That you never blamed us for his being there, nor so much as heard us blamed? You have conjectur'd that the Rec­tor urged the serving a Warrant upon you, and we would desire you to consider whether you have not allowed and manifested in your Book, a great Spirit of Revenge towards him for it.

Having, for a little while, done with the Rector, you in the next Place fall upon us, and blame us again for refusing to give you a friendly meeting, and standing aloof from you when you came into the County, tho' so contrary to Fact, as we have already shown; and then you under­take to show how we have set up a Jurisdiction over the first Church in Springfield, and have invaded the Rights of a congregational Church, and are chargeable with no small Degree of Injuriousness, Usurpation, and Tyranny. And here in the first Place, as a Proof of this, you charge us again with taking the Affair of Springfield into our own Hands, without it's being referred to us by that Church; which we have particularly answered already: And nextly you say, we endeavoured to keep the Case in the Hands of the Association, and bring the Church at Springfield under a Necessity to submit to our Judgment: To prove this you rehearse Part of a Letter, sent from one of us to the Rev. Mr. Cooper: And we beg of you, Sir, with some Seriousness, to consider how you have abused the Association and the Author, in your Citation of that Letter: That you may so do we will now set before your Eyes, your Citation and the Origi­nal together, where the Words you have suppressed in the Original are distinguish'd by an Italian Character.

[Page 66]

Your Citation.The Original.
It is an odd Thing that the Case of a Candidate, brought before an ASSOCI­ATION, should be wrested out of their Hands, (nam sub Judice lis erat) un­der a Notion of the Privilege that the Churches have, to chuse their own Officers, or of the Liberty to chuse whom they will to ordain.If the Charges against Mr. Breck were fairly heard before our whole Association, to whom they were sent, (yea, if you yourself, & one more Gen­tleman of a cool Temper, were added to them,) and he were acquitted by them, I believe Things would be like to be easy. I can't but think it an odd Thing that the Case of a Candidate brought before an Associ­ation, should be wrested out of their Hands (nam sub Judice lis erat) under the Notion of the Priviledge the Churches have to chuse their own Officers, (which no Minister in this County I believe ever thought of infringing them of,) or of their Liberty to chuse whom they will to ordain.
If the Charges against Mr. Breck were heard by our whole ASSOCIATI­ON, and he was cleared by them, Things would be like to be easy.—I will venture still to propose to your self, (since you manifest a De­sire to visit us in this Part of the Pro­vince) that you, with some other pru­dent Minister would be so good as to come up among us (not as sent by your Churches) and endeavour to be Peace-makers among us, that you may be en­titled to that Blessing in Matth. 5. 9.

Now is one of these Columns a fair Representation of the other? Is there as much of an Appearance of the Thing that you brought it as a Proof of, (viz. That we endeavoured to keep the Case in the Hands of the Associ­ation, and bring the Church of Springfield under a Ne­cessity to submit to our Judgment) in the one as in the other? Does the Spirit of Tyranny and Usurpation ap­pear on the right Hand as it does on the left? You han't only suppressed whole Sentences that were against your Purpose, but some Parts of Sentences are left out that [Page 67] you knew, if you had put in, would have defeated the Design of your Citation, and to conceal the Fraud, there is not so much as a Mark or Stroke with your Pen, to signify that any thing is wanting, and the following Words are joined with nothing but a Comma between to make your Readers believe tha [...] the Words are contained as in the Original. In such a Way as this do you lay the Foun­dation for your great Triumph in Page 82.: If you had put in these Words that you have left out, you could not say with so good a Grace as you do, Risum teneatis amici: Is this, Rev. Sir, doing to others as you would that they should do to you?

The next Proof of our Usurpation and Tyranny that you bring is, that we say in our Protestation, ‘As to your selves interposing in the Affair, it seems to be a Breach of that Rule I Pet. 4. 15. and properly Allotrio Episcopein, which according to the Translation in our Bibles, is to be Busy-bodies in other Men's Matters. To which we say, That we don't think it any Evidence of Tyranny and Usurpation in us, to say that of you that is so manifestly and certainly true of you, as we have al­ready shown this to be: Was it not the Part of Busy-bodies for you to lay your selves out to be the Persons that must be the Judges in this Case, before ever there was any Meeting of the Church to apply to any Body, and when others were possessed of it, by being submitted voluntarily to 'em, by all Parties concerned? Was it not the Part of Busy bodies, even by your own Principles and frequent Assertions, for you to thrust your selves in­to an Affair, in a Part of the Country an hundred Miles off from you, without ever being applied to at all by Springfield Church, under a Notion of your being fit Per­sons, and our being unfit? Was it not the Part of a Busy-body in one of you, to come fourscore Miles to be a Judge in this Affair, that was not only never chosen by the Church, but actually shut out by their Votes? And is it any Usurpation and Tyranny to tell such Busy-bodies that they are so?

But the last Proof of our Usurpation▪ which you most insist upon and glory in is, that we called in the Help of [Page 68] some Justices to interpose in this Matter: To which we answer, First, If it were so indeed, that we called in the Help of the Justices and got 'em to interpose, as you say this would show nothing of Usurpation, if it be as we think we have proved, that even by congregational Principles, you had no Business there; for if so, their re­straining you was not in Opposition to congregational Principles, but in Defence of them, and also in Defence of the publick Peace, that (it will inevitably follow) you were the Disturbers of; and therefore the Rev. Mr. Williams of Hatfield speaking long after with Approba­tion of it, in that Passage of a Letter of his to Mr. Cooper, which you cite Page 81, proves no Spirit of Usurpation in him. Secondly, If some particular Ministers of the County had called in the Help of the Justices, and it were an Act of Usurpation in them so to do, how does that answer our Challenge, which was to show wherein the Association had manifested Usurpation in any of their Acts? for we in the same Place distinguish between what was done in Association and what was done out of Association, by particular Persons? Thirdly, If all those Facts that you mention of us were true, how do they prove that we called in the Help of the Justices? You say you know that we came to Springfield: 'Tis true we did come: And have you not abundantly insisted on it in your Book, how much you desired us to come to have a Conference with you: We came according to your De­sire, and came to the House where you were sitting, and much sought for an Opportunity of conferring with you; but could have no other Answer from you but that you was busy; and yet this is now brought as an Evidence of our Tyranny! And supposing it were as you add, that we came to Town when the Justices did, and that we were in Conversation with them from Day to Day, and that it be manifest by Mr Williams's Letter, that he knew of the Design of the Justices, and that these Things were indeed said, that you say were said by one and a­nother of us, Page 81, what do all these Things prove if true, but that when we knew of the Design of the Justi­ces, we manifested an Approbation of it? which is all [Page 69] you your self pretend to prove by them, when you come to draw your Consequence: But is this the same Thing with getting some in civil Authority to interpose, as you positively charge us, Page 82. Fourthly, Those Facts you mention are not true: You say we came to Springfield when the Justices did. This is a Mistake, for we did not come there the same Day: You add further, that we were in Conversation, if not in Consuls with them, and the dissatisfied Party from Day to Day. And all the Foun­dation there is for this is, that while we were in Town, both we and the Justices kept together at the publick Tavern, where Strangers used to keep that had not Friends in Town to entertain them.

You say, Page 81, that one of us said the Evening be­fore, ‘Tomorrow is Wednesday, and mark my Words, the Town of Springfield will be in the greatest Con­vulsion it was ever in since it was a Town.’ This we are all of us ignorant of: Indeed there was something said that we are ready to suppose the Story might arise from; but if so, 'tis exceedingly altered and added to. In the following Sentence you say, ‘The same Gentle­man, when the coming up of the Council the second Time was mention'd in Conversation, said, if they do, the Jail is the fittest Place for them, if you are not mis­informed.’ This it seems you have charged on meer Hearsay, and the Report is without any Manner of Foun­dation in Fact that any of us know of And another Thing in the following Sentence you say you know, that another of us, soon after the taking of Mr Breck, could go where a Number that had been engaged in the Affair were together, and say▪ Well Gentlemen, we have had a fine Ordination to Day! But how, Sir, did you know it: There has been such a Report amongst th [...]se of your Party of Mr. Wms of Long-Meadow; but he declares he knows nothing of it, and is as well satisfied that he never said any such Thing, or any Thing of such a Na­ture or Look, as he can be of a Negative: The Rev. Mr. Reynolds, that was with him at the Time when it is re­ported he said this, says also that he is confident there was no such Thing said, for he knows Mr. Wms at [Page 70] that Time, in all he said and did, appeared exceeding re­mote from any such Thing; and besides, particular En­quiry has been made of the Gentlemen that were pre­sent, and none of them can remember any Thing of that Nature. But how injurious is it in you. Sir, to labour to render our Names a Reproach▪ by publishing such Things to the World, on no other Foundation than meer Hear­say? Han't you liv'd long enough in the World to know that common Fame and flying Report is a most un­certain Thing? And would not you look upon that Mi­nister very much to blame, that did not reprove the spreading abroad in a Neighbourhood, ill Reports that he hears of a Neighbour, only on such a Foundation? And surely then, Ministers of the Gospel themselves should not print and publish ill Reports, and that of Ministers of the Gospel, to render 'em ridiculous, on no other Ground! The injuriousness of it further appears by this, that a Man has no Way to defend himself from Hearsay and flying Report, let him be never so innocent, it is like the Wind, he knows not where to find the Source of it, and 'tis in vain to fight against it. And how do you exclaim against us, Page 19, for publishing Things without sufficient Evidence? And say our Haste and Warmth carried us beyond it. Such a Course do you take to answer our Challenge, to show wherein our Association has usurped, and manifest that you think you do it so effectually, as to be enough to set your Readers into an incontinent Laughter!

Fifthly, You have not only not proved that we got the Justices to interpose, but in Fact we did not; we never put any such Thing into their Heads; it was no Proposal, or Invention, or Thought of ours, nor of any one of us, nor was any Thing acted by them as being moved or put forward by any of us: Yea several of us disliked it, and particularly Mr Williams of Long-Mea­dow, that you do more abundantly load with Charges of the contrary, and say you know he said as in Page 81, We have had a fine Ordination to Day! He was known to dislike such a Method, insomuch that the Party that opposed Mr.Breck were shy of acquainting him with their Designs in this Matter.

[Page 71] Besides the Arguments of the Usurpation of our Asso­ciation here, there is another Thing you mention Page 4, as an Argument of it you say, ‘We find frequent men­tion in their Narrative, of their Association, its Meetings, breaking up, Committee, Votes, and Doings.’ What can you mean by this? Is it an Argument of Usurpation in us, that we call our selves an Association? As if congrega­tional Divines were Strangers to such a Term, when Dr. Cotton Mather, whom you cite as such an one, often uses the Term in his Ratio Disciplinae, and approves the Thing as here practised, as has been already shown; and you your selves in Boston call your selves so, as you have given an Account, Page 87. And is it any Argument of Usurpation that we meet, and when we have met break up again? Or that we have Doings, and don't do nothing when we meet? Or that we signify our Minds by Votes? Or that we have in some Cases chosen a Committee? As if any voluntary Society may not chuse a Committee to serve the rest and act for their Benefit!

In Page 82, 83, you say, ‘That Mr. Lasel declares that when Mr. Clap came to him to get his Testimony, he would have had it run in such Terms as he could not in Conscience subscribe to; and when he told him how his Evidence must run, if he gave one at all, then his Evidence was no longer desir'd.’ We have enquir'd of Mr. Clap about this Matter, and he informs us that he never went to Mr. Lasel to get him to give in any Evidence at all, and that the only Paper he desired him to subscribe, was a Paper containing his Discourse with Mr. Manning and others, when the said Lasel was present, of which there is some Account in our Narrative Page 60, 65.

You nextly proceed to declare the Grounds on which you proceeded to the Ordination of Mr. B—; and to that End, in Page 85, 86, you publish the Result of your Council at its first setting, in which you say of Mr. Bk,‘Nor are we sensible of any Thing re­specting his Morals, which disqualifies him for the Gos­pel Ministry; inasmuch as those Persons who have thought themselves aspersed by him, have had an Op­portunity to bring in their Complaints to this Council [Page 72] and yet have not done it; and to one of them particu­larly, he has given what we think a sufficient Satisfac­tion, according to the Rules of the Gospel’ Wherein you refer to that Confession that Mr. B—sent to Mr. C—, Page 19, 20, of the Narrative, and particularly these Words of it (as you explain your self, Page 94, 95.) And so far as I have in any of these Things, or in my Dis­course with you upon the Account of them, been faulty, or have failed in shewing that Respect which was due to you, or of that Meekness that becomes a Christian, I ask chris­tian Forgiveness. This shows how ignorant the Council was of the State of Facts relating to the Case that they judged upon, for the Defect in Mr. Breck's Morals, con­sisting in the Aspersion that he cost on those Gentlemen which you refer to, as is evident by Page 94, 95, was his representing them abroad to be Liars, which this Passage in his Letter to Mr. Clap has no Manner of Re­ferrence to, but to another Matter, viz. Mr. Breck's in­decent Talk to Mr Clap's Face, as is evident by the Words themselves,—‘And so far as I have in my Discourse with you, been faulty, or have fail'd of showing that Respect.’ When Mr. Breck had been down to Mr. Clap's on the Affair in which Messi. Wil­liams and Eliot of Lebanon were concerned, which is mention'd a little before in that Letter of Mr. Breck's, he told Mr. Clap he would sue him at the common Law, and treated him with other indecent Language: This Mr. Williams of Hatfield, who drew that Confession for Mr. Breck, had been informed of by Mr. Williams of Lebanon, in a Letter, and therefore he inserted those Words in that Confession; but Mr. Williams of Hatfield never heard of Mr. Breck's charging Mr. Clap with Lying, till afterwards, as appears by Mr. Williams's own Words, in the following Page of the Narrative; he gives his not then knowing of it, as a Reason why (when he under­stood it) he judged the Confession which he himself drew to be insufficient. And besides Mr.Breck persisted in those Things after his Confession; yet you declare this as one Ground of the Result you came to. Ought you not, before you came to a Result on such a Ground, [Page 73] more fully to have enquired, and known what your Ground was?

You moreover mention the Judgment given in favour of Mr. B—, with Respect to his Orthodoxy, by some Ministers in Boston, of which the Rev. Mr. Cooper was one, before he was come as a Judge in this Case, as one Ground of your Result. Before this, you speak in Page 36, as tho' it were very strange that any should think that the Judgment then given should disqualify the Persons that gave it from sitting as Judges in this Case, represent­ing as tho' that Judgment no Way concerned the pre­sent Case; but now it so much concerns the present Case, as justly to be made one Ground of a Judgment in the Case; which was the very Thing on the Account of which we objected against it, viz That Judges that have given their Judgment before, in an Affair that so nearly concern the Case, won't be likely to be impartial, but to be influenced by their former Judgment, and now it proves so in Fact by your own Confession; in so much that you publickly declare that that very Judgment was one Thing that you even founded your Judgment upon sitting in Council in this Case, and as such insert it in your very Result, and insist upon it afterwards as a very good Ground too.

But then as a further & a more abundantly satisfactory Ground of your Proceedings, you produce his Confession of Faith, and then when you have done, cry out of us, ‘It is very strange those disapproving Gentlemen should say in their Defence, that the Council declare in their Result, there was nothing in the Way of his Ordination, without his ever openly making any Recantation, or any Reflection on himself, for the Errors he had vented.’ How he should make open Reflections on himself for Errors he has vented, without ever openly owning that he had ever held any Errors, is what we can't under­stand; this he never did at Springfield, nor in his Letter to Mr. Clap, nor any other Way that ever appeared: He indeed says, in his Letter to Mr. Clap, that tho' he had preached Errors, yet says at the same Time he did not believe them; and yet makes no Reflections on him­self, [Page 74] for delivering in the Name of GOD, what he did not believe. But you speak as if his Confession of Faith abundantly answer'd all Ends, and call it a publick Re­cantation, and wonder that we should go to say he made no publick Recantation: But according to what Lan­guage meerly an orthodox Confession of Faith is a Re­cantation of Errors formerly maintain'd and preached, we don't know: A Recantation of Errors, as we (and suppose all the World except your self) understand it, ever implies these two things, First. An Acknowledg­ment that such Errors were formerly held; and, Secondly, That now there is an Alteration, that they are no longer held but renounced. We are well satisfied the Rev. Mr. Cooper, would think himself greatly injured if such a Construction were out upon the Confession of Faith which he made at his own Ordination And we think that more than meerly a Confession of Faith was necessary in this Case, upon two Accounts, 1st. Because all the Hin­drance or Block that was in the Way of Mr. Breck's Im­provement in the Ministry, was not an Incapacity in him to be a Teacher of Truth, by Reason of his not receiving the Truth, but maintaining Error; but also there was publick and open Dishonour to Christ and his ho­ly Doctrines, that was to be removed: GOD is openly sinn'd against, and thereby a great Wound given to Re­ligion, that is to be healed. You yourself allow, Page 84, that the Things objected against Mr. Breck are of no small and trifling Nature, but on the contrary that you think them of very great Importance, and suppose you lay as much Stress upon them as we do: And it a­bundantly appears by the Testimonies that you yourself allow to be good, that he did, after he was a Commu­nicant and a Preacher of the Gospel, and a little before he came to Springfield, very frequently and openly treat some of the most fundamental Doctrines of Christianity with great Contempt, in a haughty and proud Manner, asserting the contrary Errors, preaching them from Time to Time, and in various Pulpits, and that he persisted in it, with abundant Obstinacy, after many gentle Means and Endeavours to reclaim him, or perswade him to de­sist, [Page 75] and thereby greatly stumbled many People: And is there nothing of the Nature of Scandal in all this? Is not here a Wound to Religion, that does properly call for some open self Reflections, in order to its be­ing healed? Supposing it had been some open Immo­rality by which Mr. B—, or any Body else, had wound­ed Religion, and laid a stumbling Block before others, would it be sufficient to remove it and heal the Wound, meerly for him to draw up a Catalogue of moral Duties, and say he owns these to be Duties, and intends to prac­tice 'em, without so much as owning that he had ever vi­olated one of them? If a Man only treat his Neighbour with publick and open Reviling and Contempt, he is guilty of that, which by gospel Rules debars him from Communion in Christian Ordinances, 1 Cor. 5. 11 and 6. 10, And will it be sufficient to remove this Offence, and open his Way again to Communion, for him only to acknowledge his Duty, and profess a Purpose of per­forming it in the several Branches of it, and those of Love and Honour to his Neighbours among others, without making any Reflections on himself for his Sin, and Wrong to his Neighbour among others, without making any Reflections on himself for his Sin and Wrong to his Neighbour in this Particular, or so much as owning it? If you say tho' Mr. B—did cast open Con­tempt on the Holy Doctrines of Christ; yet it was not as such, because he did not then suppose 'em to be such: However should not a Man in such a Case, when he comes to see that they were indeed holy Doctrines of Christ, be greatly humbled to think that he has so vilified them, and be ready to show his Abhorrence of himself for it to all the World? Did it not become those Jews that vilified Christ, thinking him an Impostor, greatly to reflect on themselves before all for so doing, after they came to be convinced who the Person was that they had thus treated? This is not only highly agreeable to Reason▪ but we think agreeable to the Practice of all or­thodox Churches, who ever were wont to require more than an orthodox Confession of Faith in such Cases; and agreeable to the Practice of the Church of England itself, [Page 76] before it was over run with Arminianism; of which we have an Instance in Mr. Barret, who having preach'd Doctrines far less corrupt than Mr. Breck's, at St. Maries in Cambridge. Anno 1595, was obliged by the Gover­nors of that University, particularly to recite over every Error, and acknowledge that he had ve [...]ted these Errors, and then renounce them, and expresly declare his Sor­row and Humiliation; as we have the Account in Prynne's Anti-Arminianism.

2dly. Another Reason why we think that more than meerly a Confession of Faith was necessary, and that he also should make some open Reflections on himself, is that this was necessary as an Evidence of his Sincerity in his orthodox Confession: Having done as before re­lated, we think that if he was sincere, and was now really convinced of his great Error and Folly in so doing, that he would now readily and joyfully do it. For a Man in such a Case, instead of reflecting on himself, to blacken the Witnesses, that are Men and Ministers of an establish'd Character, (as you own) and to represent them as common Liars, don't seem to us to be any good Sign of Sincerity. But that we might well desire and insist on some further Evidence of his Sincerity, than meerly his now saying other Things than he did before, we think, comparing Mr. Bk's own Words in his Vindication offered to the Association, with the Testi­monies, might convince you, particularly those that follow.

His Vindication before the Association, Nar. p. 24.

‘Now Gentlemen, I never had a Thought that the Heathen doing what they could would intitle them to Salvation, far be it from me to imagine any such Thing! Page 25,—But this I can truly say, That I never did believe that Faith was not necessary to Salvation.’

Let these Words of Mr. B—in his own Vindication be compared with the following Testimonies.

Mr. Nathaniel Huntington's Testimony, Narrative Page 54. ‘I well remember that I asked Mr. B—whether he really believed [...]at those that were bo [...]n and brought up in a Country where they never heard of the Gos­pel, [Page 77] and know nothing of Christ, and had no Faith in him, could be saved; and he said he did not doubt but they would, if they lived up to the Light of Nature, and did all that was in their Power to do. And I se­veral Times discoursed with Mr. B—about these Things, & he oftentimes said that the Heathen that lived up to the Light of Nature, should be saved without Faith in Christ, or any knowledge of him. In the Dis­course, I said to him, I thought he held that all Men might be saved if they will; and he said yes, to be sure! All Men may be saved if they will; and it is very harsh, (and I think he said) unjust in GOD, to punish any Man for not doing what was not in his Power to do.

The Rev. Mr. Kirtland's and Mr. Isaac Lawrence's Testimony together, Page 62, 63, ‘Then Mr. Kirtland asked him to Instance, if he could, in any Articles of Faith that were not contained in the Scriptures: His Answer was in these Words, The Salvation of the Hea­then that live up to the Light of Nature, is an Article of my Faith or my Belief, call it which you will; and that it would be ridiculous in GOD, to require Men to do what was not in their Power, for nothing could be our Duty but what was in our Power.’

Mr. Timothy Allin's Testimony, Page 45, ‘When Mr. Robert B—preached at Scotland, he delivered, in his Sermon, these Words, as near as I can remember;—For my Part I look upon it to be a hard and harsh Doctrine, to suppose that the Heathen that lived up to the Light of Nature shall be damned, meerly for not believing in Christ, whom they never had Oppor­tunity to know.’

Mr. Peter Robinson testifies to the same Words in his preaching, Page 51, of the Narrative. The Rev Mr. Clap testifies to the same Words that he read in his Notes Page 58.

Mr. Peter Robinson's Testimony, Page 51, 52, ‘And Mr. B—said that none should perish for Want of the Knowledge of the Gospel, and that every Man that lived up to the Light of Nature, or to the best Light [Page 78] he had should be saved; and said he, to what Purpose is it to believe that Christ came into the World & died for Sin­ners, and the like, for a Man may be saved without know­ing or believing any of these Things; and several Times said to this effect, that Faith in Christ was not necessa­ry in order to Salvation; and more to the same Purpose.’

The Rev. Mr. Clap's Testimony, Page 55, 56, ‘About the 20th of January, I happen'd to be in Company with Mr. Breck, and he said to me these Words, viz. I made some of the People angry at what I preached t'other Day: I reply'd what was that? He said, I prea­ched that the Heathen that lived up to the Light of Nature should be saved without Faith in Christ: And on Mr. Clap's Objecting against his preaching so, Mr. Clap testifies, that he said, why would you not have me preach up the Truth. Mr. Breck said he would preach People out of those false and stingy Notions which they have been taught in; that the common People out of Pride and Self-conceit, confin'd Salvation only to themselves: but I will have them to know that the Heathen may be saved as well as they can; and more to the same Purpose. Page 58, Mr. B—said, Faith in Christ was not in its own Nature necessary to Salva­tion; and that all that was necessary in order to that End, was that Men should forsake Sin and lead moral Lives; and this Men might do meerly out of Love to Vertue itself; and if Men did but attain the End, it was no Matter what Motive they acted upon; and said he, Master Chubb brings a very ingenious Comparison to illustrate it; and he took down the Book and turned the Place to me, and I read the Comparison, which was after this Manner; Suppose there were a Company of Men in a House, and some Person should come in and tell them that this House would fall in two Hours, and that they should be all killed if they did not go out of it; now it may be some might believe what this Man said; and yet for some Reasons might stay in the House: Others might not believe what the Man said; and yet for some Reasons might go out of the House: And suppose that the House should fall at the [Page 79] two Hours End, it would not be their believing what this Man said that would save their Lives, but their going out of the House, and if they went out of the House their Lives would be saved, whether they believed what this Man said or no, so (Chubb said) it was not Men's be­lieving any Thing Christ or his Apostles said that would save them, but their living moral Lives; for if they did so the whole End and Design of Christ's com­ing into the World would be answered; and they should be saved whether ever they heard or believed any Thing about Christ or not.’

Messi Nathaniel Wales, Jonathan Bingham, Ralph Wheelock, Jabez Huntington, and John Bachus, jun. all jointly testified, Page 48, ‘That they heard Mr. B—in depreciating Faith in Christ, and saying that GOD was not pleased nor displeased with any Man for be­lieving or disbelieving, deliver the same Comparison in Mr. Clap's Pulpit, which he shew'd to Mr Clap in Chubb, which he mention'd there as what he took out of an ingenious Author.’

We don't mention these Passages of these Gentlemen's Testimonies, as containing the whole Errors that were testified against Mr. Breck, but that they might be compared with the above mentioned Words of Mr. B—. You allow the Testimonies to be good, and say you improved them as such: But if so, and their Testi­monies, even as to the Main, ben't false, what shall we make of Mr. Breck's asserting that he can truly say that be never did believe that Faith was not necessary to Sal­vation, and that he never had a Thought that the Heathen doing what they could would entitle 'em to Salvation; far be it from me to imagine any such Thing! Shall we cha­ritably think that Mr. Breck has forgot all this? Certainly this at least might well make us cautious inproceeding, and desire to have some thorough Evidence of an Alte­ration in him!

You say, Page 92, if it be said there should be a Time of Probation; this there was in his Case: For he had been preaching at Springfield, after he lest Connecticut, more than a Year and an Half, and approved himself orthodox, [Page 80] by the Tenour of his Conversation and Preaching there. In this you are mistaken, for he still persisted in some of the sam-erroneous Opinions; and particularly that, that the Heathen might he saved without Faith in Christ, Nar. Page 7, 8. He told Mr. Clap that he dissented from the Westminster Confession of Faith, tho' in so little a while after, when he thought it needful to serve his Turn, he on a very strict Examination (as you say it was) consents to that same Confession of Faith, as you have declared, Page 86, 87. And he told one of us, viz Mr. Hopkins, that he did not depart from any thing that ever he had preached at Windham; as is related Page 15 of the Nar­rative: And this he held till he see it would not do to hold it any longer, and then at last pretends that he has received better Light than he had at Windham.

In Page 94, you misrepresent what he said before the Association, about his charging Mr Clap with lying, viz. That he said he was very sorry he express'd himself in so hasty and indecent a Manner; but he must insist upon it that in what Mr Clap said of him he was wronged. You was not there as we were: What he indeed said there was this, viz. That he might have used other Terms, but the Thing that he asserted was true.

In the Conclusion of your Book, you put up a very solemn Prayer to GOD, wherein you make use of the Words of Christ just before his Crucifixion, that we may be all united in Love and Peace: With respect to which we would pray you to consider how that Prayer suits with your Treatment of your Brethren in the Ministry, and others, and particularly in that Book. Certainly it is not very decent for a Man while he is trampling on his Neighbour, with flearing Taunts and Derision, at the same Time to put up a Prayer to GOD, in the most so­lemn Expressions, that he and that Man may be united in Love and christian Charity. We would pray you to take a little Notice of the following Specimen of your Treatment of us, and your Prayer for Union with us, together;

[Page 81]

‘And because vis unita fortior, it is said in the Title Page to be writ­ten by themselves. We can't help expressing ourselves something sur­prized to see a Combination of so many able Heads and Pens, to con­vey so trivial Matters to the World, who would have believed it if they had not told us they were WRIT­TEN BY THEMSELVES? To track their Footsteps from Page to Page, would be little better than a Goose Chase. And indeed make the An­swer as large a Bundle of Confusion as their Narrative and Defence. They are not vain Repetitions, but serve mighty well to answer the very christian Design of their Per­formance. Another pretty Tale we are entertain'd with. The Argu­ment here is so pleasant we will give it the Reader in their own Words, by transcribing the whole Paragraph that contains it. What can be finer.’ Your mocking us so often in calling the Rector a Person of Distinction ‘Our Thought was, that the Person to whom it was sent thinking it must have great Influ­ence in coming from a Person of such Distinction. They say it came from a Person of Distinction, so we think it to be a Letter of Distinction To do as that Person of Distinction did Mr. Bull and Mr. Ashly and a Person of Distinction from Connecticut. Risum Teneatis Amici.'We would take the Liberty to close this Vindica­tion, as the Ser­mon at the Ordi­nation concluded with a humble Prayer.—That the GOD of Love would unite his Ministers & Chur­ches in Love to Christ & one ano­ther, till we shall all come to that blessed World where no Offence shall arise, where there shall be no Jarr, no Contenti­on, but perfect Love, and Peace, and Charity shall reign for ever and ever; where that Prayer of our Savi­our for his Church and People, will have its full and everlasting Ac­complishment, That they may be all one, as thou Fa­ther art in me, and I in thee, that they may be one in us. AMEN.

And what do you think, Rev. Sir, do these two Co­lumns together make a decent and honourable Appea­rance [Page 82] for a Man of GOD? And do you think that this Prayer was acceptable to GOD, as it came out of your Hands, tack'd to such fleering Language, and made just as you took off your Pen from such Scoffs and Taunts, and sent them forth into the World to do their Work, the rendring ridiculous in the Eyes of Mankind your Brethren in the Ministry, that you pray for such holy Union with?

Thus, Rev. Sir, we have endeavoured to vindicate our­selves from your Reproaches, and to lay Matter of Con­viction before you, that you have exceedingly gone out of the Way, and how greatly you have abused us, both in what you have done and written: We can't tell what Entertainment it will meet with from you, or with what Frame you will receive it: We earnestly entreat that you would not suffer Resentment to pre­vail so far, but that there may at least be some serious Consideration. You say some serious considerate Chris­tians have been a little surprized at our confident appeal­ing to GOD as our Judge in this Case; which was not, as you injuriously represent, that we have been sinless and perfect in all that we have done in it; but with regard to the goodness of our Cause. and (as we in Words express it) with respect to our uprightness in this Affair: And let who will be surprized at it we confidently do it still: We pray GOD to judge between us and you. Tho' now possibly your Heat of Spirit, and Contempt of us, may forbid any Self-reflections; yet will it always be a Comfort to you, to think that you have obtained the Victory and got your Will in this Case, and have been the Instrument of rendring the religious State of this County, that before always flourished in an undisturbed and happy Union, our religious Affairs being, with Peace and Love, & general Consent, managed within ourselves? Will you always be glad that you have broke up that Order that has hither to been maintain'd amongst the Ministers of the County, for the Preservation of the Pu­rity of Doctrine among us, and have laid us under an Incapacity for defending ourselves any more from in­croaching Error, by opening a Door that Candidates for [Page 83] the Ministry amongst us may go where they will for their Judges & Approvers? Our only Hope is that GOD himself, who has lately so wonderfully poured out his Spirit, and wrought in this County, will again appear for the uphold­ing his own Interest among us, and that he has suffered our Hands to be thus weakened, to prepare the Way for the greater Glory to his Power, by carrying on his Work in our Weakness, by his own immediate Hand. If you think it not your Duty to repair the Injuries you have done us, we desire you for your own sake, that you would not go on to injure us by vilifying and misrepresenting us more. If you write again we have these Requests to make to you, with respect to the Manner of wri­ting, First, If you suppose that Reason and found Ar­gument will support your Cause, that you would look upon Banter and Ridicule and sarcastical Reflection to be as needless, and not so becoming a Minister, and so let it alone. Don't let us, Rev. Sir, try who can conquer at Scoff and Jeer, but let our Arguments fight it out; not that we glory in the Strength of our own Reason, but we glory in the Goodness of our Cause, which, we hum­bly conceive affords good Argument, and therefore such as are not liable to a just Answer. Secondly, If you think you have Arguments from the Nature of the Case, sufficient of themselves to support your Cause, we would pray you not to insist on the Vote of the House of Re­presentatives, or the Judgment of any Persons or Num­ber of Persons whatsoever: We hope we don't fail of any due Honour to the honourable House of Represen­tatives; but might have many Things to say concerning that Vote, if it were to the Purpose for us to enter into Debate about it. Thirdly, If you pretend to give an Answer to the Arguments we in this Letter have insisted on, we would pray you not to slide over and pass by that which we evidently intend as the main Force and Spirit of the Argument; but meet the Argument in its proper Course, and encounter it there where we evi­dently lay the greatest Stress. Fourthly, That you would not publish Things to the World to do same us, and ren­der us odious and contemptible, on no other Foundation [Page 84] than Hearsay and flying Report. Fifthly, If you don't see Cause to answer these foregoing Requests, that you would at least shew wherein they are not reasonable, or what we may justly make and expect your Com­pliance with.

We leave it with you, Rev. Sir, to judge whether these Requests are reasonable or not; and are willing to leave the whole Affair to your own Conscience, if you will let it speak its own Words: and leaving what we have now written for you to consider of, and beg­ging of GOD that he would assist both you and us to what is our Duty to do.

We remain, Rev. Sir, your Brethren in the same great and sacred Work, that we are called to by the same Lord Jesus, the Lamb of GOD.

FINIS.

ERRATA.

PAge 2 line 12. for exceptional Passages, r exceptionable P [...]ssa [...], p. 16. 1. 8. for thereby, r. thoroughly. p. 18. 1. 37. [...] p. 37. about the middle for Power of Privileges, r. Power of Privi­lege. p. 44 1. 25. r. see by. 1. 29. dele by. p. 48. 1. 8. for our Door, r. our Doors p 58.1.38. for recant, r. [...]sent it. p. 59.1.13. dele needs, and for want, r. wants. p. 67 for contained, r. continued. p 69 1. [...]. for is confident, r. thinks. p [...]5. 1. 21, 22, 23. dele the following Words, among others, without any Reflections on himself for his Sin, and wrong to his Neighbour. p. 79.1.22. for whole Errors, r. worst Errors p 82. 1. 31. for rendring, r. rending. p. 83. 1. 22. for good Argument, r. good Arguments.

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