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AN Historical Discourse ON THE Civil and Religious Affairs of the COLONY of RHODE-ISLAND AND Providence Plantations IN NEW-ENGLAND in America. From the first Settlement 1638, to the End of first CENTURY.

By JOHN CALLENDER, A.M.

Joshua xxii. 22.

The LORD God of Gods, the LORD God of Gods, he knoweth, and Israel shall know, if it be in Rebellion, or if in Transgression against the Lord.

Psal. cxlv. 4.

One Generation shall praise thy Name to another, and shall declare thy mighty Acts.

BOSTON: Printed and Sold by S. KNEELAND and T. GREEN in Queen-Street, MDCCXXXIX.

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To the Honourable William Coddington, Esq

SIR,

IT is not barely to give you a publick Testimony of my Gratitude for ma­ny personal Favours, nor yet of that Esteem and Re­spect which all Men bear you, for your singular Equi­ty and Benevolence, not on­ly [Page 2]in private Life, but in all the various Offices, in which you have served and adorned your Country; that I prefix your Name to these Papers: But because an Attempt to re­cover some Account of this happy Island, and to make a re­ligious Improvement of the merciful Providences of God towards it, is justly due to the lineal Representative of that worthy Gentleman, who was the great Instrument of it's original Settlement.

Your honoured Grandfa­ther William Coddington, Esq was chosen in England to be [Page 3]an Assistant of the Colony of the Massachusetts-Bay, A. D. 1629, and in 1630 came o­ver to New-England with the Governour and the Charter, &c. after which he was seve­ral Times rechosen to that honourable and important Office. He was for some Time Treasurer of the Colo­ny. He was with the Chief­est in all publick Charges, 'and a principal Merchant in Boston', where he built the first Brick House.

In the Year 1637, when the Contentions ran so high in the Country, he was grieved [Page 4]at the Proceedings of the Court, against Mr. Wheel­wright and Others. And when he found that his Op­positions to those Measures was ineffectual, he entred his Protest, 'that his Dissent might appear to succeeding Times'; and though he was in the fairest Way to be Great, in the Massachusetts as to outward Things, yet he voluntarily quitted his Ad­vantageous Situation at Boston, his large Propriety and Im­provements at Braintree, for Peace sake, and that he might befriend, protect, and assist the pious People, who were [Page 5]meditating a Removal from that Colony, on account of their religious Differences.

Here when the People first incorporated them­selves a Body politick on this Island, they chose him to be their Judge or chief Ruler, and continued to elect him annually to be their Gover­nour for seven Years toge­ther, 'till the Patent took Place, and the Island was in­corporated with Providence-Plantations.

In the Year 1647, he as­sisted in forming the Body [Page 6]of Laws, which has been the Basis of our Constitution and Government ever since; and the next Year being chosen Governour of the Colony, declined the Of­fice.

In 1651, he had a Com­mission from the supream Authority then in England, to be Governour of the Is­land, pursuant to a Power reserved in the Patent: But the People being jealous 'the Commission might af­fect their Lands and Liber­ties as seemed to them by the Patent', he readily laid [Page 7]it down on the first Notice from England that he might do so; & for their further Sa­tisfaction and Contentment, he, by a Writing under his Hand, obliged himself to make a formal Surrender of all Right and Title to any of the Lands, more than his Pro­portion in common with the other Inhabitants, whenever it should be demanded.

After that he seems to have retired much from publick Business, till toward the latter End of his Days, when he was again divers Times prevailed with to take the Government upon him; as he did particu­larly [Page 8]1678, when he died Nov. 1. in the 78th Year of his Age, a good Man full of Days. Thus after he had the Honour to be the first Judge and Governour of this Island, 'after he had spent much of his Estate and the Prime of his Life in propa­gating Plantations', he died Governour of the Colony— in promoting the Welfare and the Prosperity of the lit­tle Common-Wealth, which he had in a manner founded.

If there was any Opposition at any Time to any of his Mea­sures, or if he met with any in grateful Returns from any he had served, it was no more [Page 9]than what several of the other first excellent Governours of the other New-English Co­lonies met with, from a People made froward by the Circum­stances of a Wilderness, and over jealous of their Privi­ledges. A free People will always be jealous of their Priviledges, and History a­bounds with Examples of the Mistakes and Ingratitude oc­casioned by that Jealousy.

If the following Discourse has done any Justice to the Memory and Character of the pious People who first setled this Colony, or if it has any Tendency to promote [Page 10]the true original Ends of this Plantation, I am sure of your Patronage. And as to what relates to some Articles, dif­ferent from your Judgment and Practice in religious Mat­ters, the Generosity and Can­dour you inherit from your great Ancestors, will easily bear with me, endeavouring to vindicate my own Opini­ons on such an Occasion.

I hope there are few or no Errors in the Matters of Fact related, or the Dates that are assigned; to prevent any Mistakes, I have carefully re­viewed the publick Records, and my other Materials; this [Page 11]Review has bro't to my Know­ledge or Remembrance many Things, that were not menti­oned in the Pulpit, which however it seemed ought not to be omitted.

I designed to have put all the Additions and Enlarge­ments, in the Form of Notes for my own Ease, but have been perswaded to weave as many of them as were pro­per into the Body of the Discourse, as what is general­ly most pleasing to the Rea­der. I am very sensible, se­veral Things will be tho't too minute or personal by Stran­gers, but the Descendents of [Page 12]the Persons concerned, and the Inhabitants of the Colony, will readily pardon me. And some other Things which are familiarly known among our selves, will be necessary to Others.

It is much to be lamented that many valuable Manu­scripts of some of the first Set­lers here, are so soon embez­led and lost. And it is much to be wished, that some Gen­tlemen of Ingenuity and Lei­sure, would take Pains to col­lect as many of these old Papers as can be found dispersed a­bout. I am apt to think, that these, with the publick [Page 13]Records, would furnish Ma­terials for a just History of the Colony.

What is here presented to your View, will by no Means supersede such a Design; I rather hope it will stimulate Gentlemen in every Part of the Colony, to make a Search after such Papers, and more especially now, while the New-England Chronology is in Hand, composing by a Gentleman, above all Exceptions univer­sally acknowledged the best versed in the History of the Country, and the most ca­pable to give the World a just and clear Idea of all our [Page 14]civil and religous Affairs, and who is already so well fur­nished with Materials from every other Part of the Coun­try.

That the most High would be pleased to bless you with all the Blessings of Grace and Providence, to­gether with your pious Lady and numerous Offspring, is the Prayer of

Your Honour's most obliged humble Servant, John Callender.
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An Historical Discourse, &c.

PSAL. LXXVII. 10, 11, 12.

I will remember the Years of the right Hand of the most High. I will remember the Work of the LORD, surely I will remember thy Wonders of old, I will meditate also of all thy Work, and talk of thy Doings.

AS it is now more than a Cen­tury, since the Lands within the present Patent, or Char­ter of this Colony, began to be setled by English Men, and inhabited by Christians our Ancestors; and as this Day is just an Hundred Years since the Indian Sachems* Miantonomy and the ancient Canonicus [Page 2]his Uncle and Guardian, signed the Grant of this Island, to Mr. Coddington and his Friends united with him; and as Mr. John Clark the Foun­der under GOD, and the first Elder of this Church, and it's liberal Benefactor, was a principal Instru­ment, in negotiating the Purchase, and Settle­ment of the Island, as he was likewise afterward, in obtaining and maintaining the old Patent, and procuring the present Charter; I tho't it would be but proper, to defer our Lecture, which in Course fell out on Yesterday, to this Time; and now, I propose to lay before you, such an Ac­count as I have been able to collect, of the Oc­casion and the Manner of our first Settlement, to­gether with a short View, of the civil and religious History, and the present State of the Colony. And then to entertain you, with such Reflections, as the Subject will suggest, and such Remarks, as may serve to dispose, and assist us, to a religious Improvement of those memorable Occurrences.

I confess the Account I have been able to col­lect, is very lame and imperfect, and for that Reason, I should have laid aside the Design, if I had not thought it, in Reality a Duty, to re­collect and review so much as we can, of the merciful Providence of GOD, in the settling and preserving this Colony; and that we ought to re­member the Years of the Right Hand of the most [Page 3]High, the Works of the Lord, and the Wonders of old, to meditate of his Work, and talk of his Doings.

And here in order to lay before you some Account of the Occasion and Manner of our first Settlement, and the Conduct of divine Providence towards us ever since; it may be proper, previ­ously to mention, a few Things relating to the Settlement of NEW-ENGLAND in general.

And that we may take Things from the Be­ginning, be pleased to observe that October 12. 1492,* this Part of the World since called A­merica, before that wholly unknown to the rest, was first discovered by Christopher Columbus, a Genoese, in the Service of the King of Spain. The Pope soon after, generously bestowed the new World, on the Spaniards, they made many suc­cessful Voyages, and many great Conquests and Settlements in the southern Parts of the new found World. Their Success, and the immense Riches, [Page 4]they carried home to Europe, did in Process of Time, excite other Nations, to put in for a Share with them. Among the rest the English (who had narrowly mist the Advantages of the first Discovery) besides their Enterprizes on the Spa­niards, made many successsive Attempts, to dis­cover and settle in North-America.

In 1578 or 1579, there was a Patent granted by Queen Elizabeth for six Years to Sir H. Gil­bert, to plant, and inhabit some northern Parts of America, unpossess'd by any Prince, with whom she had any Alliance.

March 25. 1584, Queen Elizabeth granted to Sir W. Raleigh a Patent for foreign Parts not possessed by any Christian Prince. And the same Year, he took Possession of the Country, to the westward of Roanoke, and called it Virginia, in Honour of his Mistress. He sent three several Colonies, to settle in those Parts, who all failed. As did Capt. Gosnold in a like Attempt, to set­tle, in what, is since called New-England, which he first discovered in 1602. And several other Attempts met with the like ill Success.

April 10 1606, King James divided Virginia into two Colonies, which were called South and North, the first between 34 and 41 Degrees North, and the last between 38 and 45, and they were [Page 5]not to settle, within an hundred Miles of one another. By 1611 the southern or London Com­pany, had made an effectual Settlement; while the northern or Plymouth Company were almost discouraged at their repeated Disappointments. However Judge Popham, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, and others, continued their Attempts, and their Designs, till divine Providence began a Settlement, within their Jurisdiction, without their Know­ledge or Contrivance.

It is acknowledged on all Hands, the first Set­tlements of New-England, were a Consequence of the Disputes, which attended the Reformation in England; and therefore we must observe, that during this Time, viz. 1517, Learning ha­ving revived all over Europe, the Reformation was begun by Luther, and others in Germany, and carried on in several Parts of Christendom, particularly in England, where, after a long Struggle, it was finally established, by Act of Parliament, under Queen Elizabeth, who began to reign November 17. 1558.

As the whole Christian Religion, had been cor­rupted, and disfigured by the Inventions and Im­positions of Popery, in a long Course of Time, it is so far from being to be wondered at, that it could not, but be expected, that many, who were justly and equally offended, at the horrid [Page 6]Corruptions of Popery, should yet be unable, entirely to agree in their Sentiments, of what Things were to be reformed, or how far, they should carry the Reformation at the first. And yet this, was every where, a great and unhappy Remora to that glorious Work, and gave their Enemies, a very considerable Advantage, which they well knew how, and failed not to im­prove to the utmost.

The Effects of these Divisions, and the Ani­mosities with which they were maintained, were felt in England, not only, in the Beginning of the Reformation, but after it was established, and even ever since to this Day. Among the Re­formers in Queen Elizabeth's Reign (many of whom had been Exiles in Queen Mary's Perse­cution, and so had more Opportunity, to see and converse with the foreign Protestants) there were many, who sought to carry the Reformati­on, farther in some Points, than had been done in King Edward's Time. They sought to take away every Thing, they imagined, had the Co­lour of Superstition, and to make the Bible their real Rule in Worship, and Discipline, as well as in Faith. These were presently called Puritans, as pretending to seek a purer Church State, and a farther Reformation, than the other Party, tho't was necessary or expedient.

[Page 7] Those, had not the same Exceptions, to many Things the Puritans scrupled; and beside, tho't it was but good Policy, to make as few, and as little Changes and Alterations, as possible, especi­ally in the Ceremonies, which most powerfully affect the Vulgar, in order to draw in the Bulk of the Clergy, and the Nation, to favour the o­ther Alterations, which all of them esteemed to be, of the most Importance. And the Queen zealously espousing this Party, turned the Bal­lance in their Favour, and accordingly for some Years, the whole Nation, in Effect, came to Church, tho' the Times were far from being setled.

The Puritans, it seems, had few or no Ob­jections, to the Articles of Faith, but they chief­ly, objected against the Liturgy, the Ceremonies, and the Constitution and Discipline. But however, they were not perfectly agreed among them­selves; while the much larger Part of them, Fa­thers of those since called Presbyterians, generally strove to keep their Places in the Church, without conforming to some of the most offensive Ceremo­nies, and by voluntary Agreement among them­selves, sought to remedy, and supply what they tho't, was amiss or wanting, in the parliamentary Establishment; others of them, Fathers of those since called Independents and Congregationalists, separated wholly from the publick Worship, in [Page 8]the Parish Churches, and sought a thorough Al­teration, in the whole Form and Constitution of the Church, and to lay aside the Liturgy, and all the Ceremonies together.

Queen Elizabeth kept a watchful and jealous Eye over them all, as fearing, and being deter­mined against all farther Alterations in religious Matters. And Subscription and Conformity, being at Times pressed harder, as the Friends to the Puritans were out of Power, some of them, especially of those called Seperatists, had been driven out of England, and at Length there was a Church of the Independent Scheme, formed at Amsterdam in Holland. In the Reign of King James (whom the Puritans expected, to be a Patron to them, as he had been educated in Scotland, and had openly censured the Church of England) those Things which offended them, were carried with an higher Hand. In the Years 1608 and 1609, several more of them in the North of England, removed to Holland, and a Number of them settled at Leyden under the pastoral Care of Mr. John Robinson (afterwards the Father of Plymouth Colony) in hopes, to enjoy that Liber­ty of their Consciences, in a strange Land, they were denied at Home.

Here they continued eleven or twelve Years, 'till, for many Reasons, they began to meditate [Page 9]a Removal, and chose to seek an Asylum, some­where in North-America near Hudson's River. They had a long and tedious Treaty, with the Sou­thern or Virginia Company, who might reasonably expect, greater Sobriety, Patience, and Industry, from a People of such a Character, and in such Cir­cumstances, and who had such Views and Designs of their own, than they had found, in such other People, as they could prevail on, to transport them­selves into a Wilderness. However the Factions and Disturbances in the Company, and other Causes, delay'd the Affairs for some Time, 'till 1619, in the Fall, they obtain'd a Patent for the Land, but they could not obtain a legal Assu­rance of the Liberty of their Consciences. How­ever they determin'd at length to remove, de­pending on some general Promises of Connivance, if they behaved themselves peaceably, and hoping that the Distance, and remoteness of the Place, as well as the publick Service, they should do the King and Kingdom, would prevent their being disturbed.

After encountring many Difficulties, and Dis­couragements, from the Nature and Circumstan­ces of their Voyage, and from the Treachery of some of the Undertakers, they arrived at Cape Cod on the 9th of November 1620. Here they found their Patent useless, this Place being within [Page 10]the Bounds of the New-England or Plymouth Com­pany; and yet Necessity obliged them to set down thereabout. They did therefore two Days after incorporate themselves a Body politick, and having made such a Search of the adjacent Country, as their Circumstances would allow, at that Time of the Year, they began their Settle­ment, about Christmass, at a Place, called by the Indians, Patuxet, by them named New-Ply­mouth. Infinite almost were the Hardships, and Distresses of the ensuing Winter, in which near half the Company died, for want of Necessaries. However through the merciful Providence of GOD they maintained their Ground, and through many Difficulties, which they overcame by Patience and the divine Blessing, they encreased to three hundred Souls in nine Years after, when they ob­tained a Patent, from the New-England Company the 13th of January, 1629, 30.

In that Period, there had been many success­less Attempts, to make Settlements in New-Eng­land, for the sake of Trade and Husbandry only, as if divine Providence had reserved the Place for those who soon after took Possession of it. The Success of the Plymouth Planters began to excite the Puritans, all over England, to medi­tate a Removal, to those Parts of the World, in order to enjoy the Liberty of worshipping GOD according to their Consciences. There was no [Page 11]Ground at all left them to hope for any Conde­scention or Indulgence to their Scruples, but Uni­formity was pressed with harder Measures than e­ver. A great Part of the Nation was alarmed, with the Apprehensions of Arminianism, and that even Popery itself was approaching; yea, the civil Affairs, and the Peace of the Nation, began to be embroiled and interrupted by the false Poli­ticks, and bad Councels of the unhappy Prince on the Throne; so that New-England began to be looked on by them, as a Place of Refuge; and it is said, that some who proved principal Actors in the Changes and Events that followed, had even determined to transport themselves here, had they not been unaccountably restrain­ed by Authority. This is certain, the same Principles in some Persons, which had rendred their Stay, uneasy at Home, and which refused them a legal Toleration, in the Wilds of America, made their leaving the Kingdom, as difficult as possible. Whereas could good Policy have pre­vailed over Bigotry, it would have appeared a good Expedient for them, thus to clear the King­dom of the Disaffected and Nonconformists, and with them make such an effectual Plantation, as promised a great Addition to the Trade and Riches, and Power of the Kingdom, and greatly enlarged its Territory.

[Page 12] Mr. White of Dorchester, the Father of the Mas­sachusetts Colony, encouraged Mr. R. C [...]nant, who had on Disgust, removed from Plymouth to Nan­tasket, to continue in the Country, with the Promise of Men, and all Things necessary for a­nother Plantation. Whereupon this Gentleman, 1625, removed to Cape-Ann, and the next Year to Naumkeak, since called Salem. March 19, 1627, 8, the Council for New-England signed the Massachusetts Patent, and March 4, 1628, 9, the King confirms it by a Charter. The Nonconformists so called, are busily employed about their inten­ded Expedition. In 1628, they send Mr. Endi­cot, with some People, to begin and prepare the Way for them, and the next Year they send Mr. Higginson and many more, and 1630, Governour Winthorp, deputy Governour Dudley, with the Assistants, the Charter, and 1500 People, and all Necessaries, came over and made effectual Set­tlements at Charlestown, Watertown, Dorchester, Boston, &c. and more of their Friends coming over to them, in the following Years, the new Settlements encreased, and prospered, notwith­standing the many Difficulties, and Hardships which must necessarily attend, the planting such a remote Wilderness.

As the Country was more fully discovered, the Lands on Connecticut River, grew so famous for [Page 13]their Fruitfulness, and Convenience to keep Cat­tle, that great Numbers from New-Town, Dor­chester, &c. removed there, under the Conduct of Mr. Hains, Mr. Hopkins, Mr. Ludlow, and Mr. Hooker, &c. and thro' inexpressible Hard­ships, thro' Famine, and Weariness, and Perils of the Enemy, they at length settled at Hartford 1635 and 1636, which was the Beginning of Connecticut C [...]lony, and in 1637 New-Haven Co­lony, was begun by a People directly from Eng­land, under the Leading of Mr. Eaton, and Mr. Davenport, &c. Thus the four grand Colonies of New-England, were begun in a few Years, and some faint Attempts likewise made to settle, in the Eastward Parts, in the Province of Main, &c. for the sake of Trade and Fishery, and by some of the People who afterwards came here. Which brings me to the more immediate Occasion of the Settlement of this Colony, and the Manner in which it was brought about, and accomplished: It is allow­ed by all Sides, the religious Differences among the first Settlers of the Massachusetts Colony, gave Rise to this Colony, and the settling of this Island.

Almost all the first Settlers of New-England, were Puritans. The People at Plymouth were ge­nerally of that Sort called Seperatists, and those of Boston generally had lived in the Communion of the Church of England, tho' they scrupled confor­ming to some of the Ceremonies. But these being [Page 14]come to so great a Distance from the Bishops Pow­er, could well enough agree in the same Forms of Worship, and Method of Discipline with the Church at Plymouth, and a mixt Form of Church Government was generally set up. Tho' they had seemed well enough united, by the common Zeal against the Ceremonies, yet now they were removed from the ecclesiastical Courts, with a Patent which gave them Liberty of Conscience, a Variety of Opinions, as to several Points, be­fore not so much regarded, and perhaps not tho't of, now began to be visible, and operate with considerable Effects. It is no Wonder such Differences in Opinion, arose among them, as had been the Case before among the Protestants in ge­neral. It was the avowed Opinion of some among them of chiefest Note & Authority, (Mr. Hooker.) ‘That there were two great Reserves for En­quiry in that Age of the World, First, where­in the spiritual Rule of our Lord's Kingdom doth consist, and after what Manner it is re­vealed, managed, and maintained in the Souls of his People. The Second, After what Or­der the Government of our Lord's Kingdom is to be externally managed and maintained in his Church.’ Magnalia B. 3. p. 66.

Notwithstanding which, the chief Leaders, and the major Part of the People, soon discove­red themselves, as fond of Uniformity, and as [Page 15]loth to allow Liberty of Conscience to such as dif­fered from themselves, as those, from whose Power they had fled. Notwithstanding all their Sufferings and Complaints in England, they seem­ed incapable of mutual Forbearance, perhaps they were afraid of provoking the higher Powers at Home, if they countenanced other Sects; and perhaps those who differed from them, took the more Freedom, in venting and pressing their peculiar Opinions, from the Safety, and Protecti­on they expected, under a Charter, that had granted Liberty of Conscience.

In Reality the true Grounds of Liberty of Con­science, were not then known, or embraced by a­ny Sect or Party of Christians; all Parties seem­ed to think, that as they only were in the Possessi­on of the Truth, so they alone had a Right to restrain, and crush all other Opinions, which they respectively called Error, and Heresy, where they were the most numerous, and powerful; and in other Places they pleaded a Title, to Liberty and Freedom of their Consciences. And yet at the same Time, all would disclaim Persecution for Conscience sake, which has something in it so unjust, and absurd, so cruel and impious, that all Men are ashamed of the least Imputation of it. A Pretence of the publick Peace, the Preservation of the Church of Christ from Infection, and the Obsti­nacy of the Hereticks, are always made use of, to [Page 16]excuse, and justify that, which strip'd of all Dis­guises, and called by it's true Name, the Light of Nature, and the Laws of Christ Jesus condemn and forbid in the most plain and solemn Man­ner. Mr. R. Williams, and Mr J. Clark, two Fathers of this Colony, appear among the first, who publickly avowed, that Jesus Christ is King in his own Kingdom, and that no Others, had Au­thority over his Subjects, in the Affairs of Con­science, and eternal Salvation. So that it was not singular, or peculiar in those People at the Massachusetts, to think themselves bound in Con­science, to use the Sword of the civil Magistrate, to open the Understandings of Hereticks, or cut them off from the State, that they might not in­fect the Church, or injure the publick Peace. These were not the only People, who tho't they were doing GOD good Service, when smiting their Brethren and Fellow-Servants; all other Christian Sects acted generally, as if they tho't this was the very best Service they could do to GOD, and the most effectual Way, to promote the Gospel of Peace, and prove themselves the true and genuine Disciples of Jesus Christ — of Jesus Christ, who hath declared, his Kingdom was not of this World, who had commanded his Dis­ciples to call no Man Master on Earth, who had forbidden them, to exercise Lordship over each other's Consciences, who had required them, to let the Tares grow with the Wheat till the Harvest, and [Page 17]who had in fine, given mutual Love, Peace, Long-Suffering, and Kindness, as the Badge and Mark of his Religion.

Mr. Roger Williams, a Minister, who came o­ver to Salem 1630, had on a Disgust, removed to Plymouth, where he was an Assistant to their Minister Mr. Smith for two Years. And being disgusted likewise at Plymouth, returned back to Salem, where he was chosen by the People, to succeed Mr. Skelton in 1634, the Magistrates op­posed his Settlement there, as they had done be­fore. They made great Objections to his Prin­ciples, and it is said some worldly Things, helped to encrease the Animosities, that soon prevailed against him; tho' Mr. Williams appears, by the whole Course and Tenour of his Life, and Conduct here to have been one of the most disinterested Men that ever lived, a most pious & heavenly minded Soul. He was charged with holding it ‘unlawful for an unregenerate Man to pray, or a regenerate Man to pray with him.’ ‘That it was un­lawful for the Magistrate, to meddle with the Breaches of the first Table,’ and that he in­sisted on an unlimited Toleration, or Liberty of Conscience; from whence they inferred him, an Advocate for Licentiousness, which the good Man's Soul abborred, "and ever disclaimed." However, on these Accounts, and for teaching the Patent was sinful, (in what Sense and how truly [Page 18]is very obvious) for opposing the Oath of Fidelity (not out of Disloyalty to the King, but on account of the Nature of an Oath, which he tho't as a sa­cred Thing, ought not to be forced on all Men promiscuously, whether in a State of Grace, or Nature) ‘and for seperating from, and re­nouncing Communion with, all the Churches in the Land, and even with his own, for not joining with him therein.’ For these Things he was at length banished the Colony, as a Dis­turber of the Peace of the Church and Common-Wealth; and as he says, ‘a Bull of Excom­munication, was sent after him in his Absence.’

He came away to Secunke, since called Rehoboth, where he procured a Grant of Lands, from Ou­samequin, or Massasoiet, the chief Sachem of Po­kanokik. But being desired to remove from thence, which was within the Jurisdiction of New-Plymouth, ‘he had several Treaties with Myantonomy, and Canonicus, the Nantygansick, or Narraganset Sachems, in the Years 1634 and 1635; who assured him he should not want for Land, for a Settlement;’ divine Provi­dence giving him wonderfully, great Favour in the Eyes of the Sachems. And in the Spring of the Year 1634, 5, he came over the River, to a Place called by the Indians Mo [...]shausick, and by him named Providence, in a Sense of GOD's [Page 19]merciful Providence to him in his Distress. And several of his Friends following him, they planted there. The Authority and Power of Miantonomy, awed all the Indians round, to assist and succour these few feeble and helpless English Men, thus cast out by their Brethren, in a strange Land. However, we must (to be im­partial) own, that their being English-Men, was a real Security and Protection to them; unless the Indians had designed a general War. The English at Massachusetts, employ'd Mr. Williams, to make a League offensive and defensive with the Narraganset Indians, in the Pequot War, which followed in 1637. And the Indian Sa­chems, in one of their Confirmations of the Grants of Lands to him,* express their Gratitude, ‘for the many Kindnesses, and Services he had continually done for them, both with their Friends at Massachusetts, as also at Qunniticut, and Apaum or Plymouth. Mr. Williams also maintained a loving Correspondence, with many of his old Friends to the East, and was esteemed and valued by many of them; tho' he ever opposed, and that in Print, once and again, what he called the bloody Tenent, i. e. every Kind and Degree of Persecution for Conscience sake. The Hardships [Page 20]and Distresses of these poor Exiles, are hardly to be conceived by the present Generation, who thro' the divine Goodness, have never seen any Thing like what they chearfully endured. But divine Providence, in which they trusted, suppor­ted them, and provided for them in their greatest Straits, and wonderfully blessed their honest In­dustry, so that in a few Years, they had Plenty of all Things necessary to their Subsistence and Comfort.

The Banishment of Mr. Williams, and the vo­luntary Exile of many of his Adherents, did not put an End to the unhappy Divisions, and Con­tentions in the Massachusetts. Mr. Hains the Governour, in 1635, did with great Difficulty, still and quiet the Storm for the present, in the Beginning of his Administration; but Mr. after­wards Sir Henry Vane, jun. arriving at Boston that Summer, and zealously falling in with the Opinions of one Party, he was by them per­swaded, to tarry there, (tho' designed for Con­necticut River) and was the next Year, 1636, chosen Governour, and then the Animosities and Contentions, were carried to a very great Heigth. One Side reproaching the other, as Legalists and under a Covenant of Works, &c. and the others calling them Familists, Antinomians, &c.. The next Year, Mr. Winthrop being rechosen Gover­nour, with a great Struggle, he strenuously exerted [Page 21]himself, to crush and exterminate the Opinions, he disapproved. A Synod was called for that End at New-Town (since named Cambridge) on the 30th of August, where Eighty erroneous Opini­ons, were presented, debated, and condemned; and a Court held on the 2d of October following, at the same Place, banished a few of the chief Persons, among those who were aspersed with those Errors; and censured several that had been the most active, not, it seems, for their holding those Opinions, but for their pretended seditious Carriage and Behaviour; and the Church at Boston, likewise excommunicated at least one of her Members, not for those Opinions, but for denying they ever held them, and the Behaviour, which these Heats occasioned; and some of these, with their Friends and Followers, came to this Island.

Notwithstanding such a formidable Number of Errors, produced at the Synod, that which these People differed in from the others, was chiefly this, as Mr. John Clark has briefly represented it, viz. Touching the Covenants and in Point of evidencing a Man's good Estate. Some (says he) press'd hard for the Covenant of Works, and for Sancti­fication to be the first and chief Evidence; others (he means himself, and those who came here) press'd as hard for the Covenant of Grace, that was established on better Promises, and for the Evidence of the Spirit, as that which is a more [Page 22]sure, constant, and satisfactory Witness. (Clark's Narrative Introd.) This Account is agreable to what there is in those Books wrote on the other Side, I have had the Opportunity to consult; on­ly they must be allowed, to express their own Way, their own Sentiments of the Opinions of the other Side, and they add such Shades as dar­ken and disfigure the Opinions of the opposite Party, and set off their own to the best Advan­tage.

Dr. Mather, thus describes the five Questions, debated between the Synod and Mr. Cotton, (which were the same Points about which all the Divisions first began,) they were ‘about the Order of Things in our Union to our Lord Jesus Christ, about the Influence of our Faith in the Application of his Righteousness, about the Use of our Sanctification, in evidencing our Justifi­cation, and about the Consideration of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Men, yet under a Covenant of Works, briefly they were the Points whereon depend, the Grounds of our Assurance for Blessed­ness in another and better World. Mag. B. 7. p. 17.

Mr. Neal says, ‘The Common-Wealth was almost torn in Pieces, by intestine Divisions, occasioned by the spreading familistical & an­tinomian Errors, among the People.’ And [Page 23]from the Writers before him, he gives the Ori­ginal of the Controversy, to this Purpose, ‘The Members of the Church at Boston, used to meet once a Week, to repeat the Sermons they heard on the Lord's-Day, and to debate on the Doctrines contained in them; those Meetings being peculiar to the Men, some of the zealous Women, tho't it might be useful to them. One Mrs. Hutchinson, a Gentlewoman of a bold and masculine Spirit, and a great Admirer of Mr. Cotton, set up one at her House. The Novelty of the Thing, and the Fame of the Woman, quickly gained her a numerous Audience, and from these Meetings arose all the Errors, that soon after overspread the Country.’ He says she taught that Believers in Christ are personally united to the Spirit of GOD; that Commands to work out our Salvation with Fear and Trembling, belong to none, but such as are under the Covenant of Works; that Sanctification is not a good Evidence of a good Estate. She likewise set up immediate Revela­tion about future Events, to be believed as equal­ly infallible with the Scriptures; and a great many other Chimeras and Fancies, which (says he) under a Pretence of exalting the free Grace of GOD, destroy'd the practical Part of Religion, ‘and open'd a Door to all sorts of Licentious­ness.’ Neal's Hist. C. 5. p. 166.

[Page 24] I shall not enter into the Merits of the Cause, there is neither Time, nor Occasion for it, only, I must observe, how each Side ascribed to the others, Consequences, they imagined followed from their Opinions, which they did not see or own. And particularly the People who came here, have Things laid to their Charge, which they utterly denied, and detested equally with their Antagonists. So harshly did their Adver­saries judge of them, as even to involve in their Opinions, or the Consequences of them, a Deni­al of the Resurection of the Dead, and the Life everlasting; which totally subverts and destroys Christianity, and all Religion at once, which ne­cessarily implies a future State; when yet the whole Debate supposed the Truth of Christia­nity, and the Certainty of a future State; and the main Question, was about the Method in which they might best obtain an Assurance of their Interest in, and their Title to, the Inheri­tance of the Saints in Light. The very first of the eighty Errors, to be tryed in the Synod, doth (as I remember) charge the Denial of the Im­mortality of the Soul, as a Consequence of the Opinion, that the Faculties of the Soul are passive or quiescent in the Work of Conversion and Re­generation; when yet the Synod themselves, unanimously believed particular Election, and irresistable Grace.

[Page 25] ‘The Question was, By what Evidence, must a Man proceed, in taking to himself the Comforts of his Justification? The bigger Part of the Country laid the first and main Stress of our comfortable Evidence, on our Sanctifi­cation; but the Opinionists (says Dr. Mather) were for another sort of Evidence, as their Chief, namely the Spirit of GOD, by a power­ful Application of a Promise, begetting in us, and revealing to us, a powerful Assurance of our being justified.’ Mag. B. 7. p. 14.

Now, as the Doctor adds (even on this Way of stating the Question, or expressing the Sentiments of those called Opinionists, which they would be far from acquiescing in, as expressing their full and true Opinion) "The Truth might easily have united both these Opinions." But as he goes on, ‘They carried the Matter on to a very perrilous Door, opened to many Errors and Evils, yea to threaten a Subversion of the peaceable Or­der in Government. But they deny and dis­claim the Consequences sixed on them, and jus­tify their own Opinion and Conduct, and charge the other Party with as fatal and mischievous Consequences, and a Conduct arbitrary and op­pressive.

[Page 26] Besides the Differences about those Points, for which these People were charged with Antino­mianism, what was called Familism, was perhaps not a little offensive. Nay their Differences in Opinion were worked up to almost a State Quar­rel at the last, as Arminianism had been in Hol­land, and Episcopacy was in England afterwards, and as the Reformation still is all over Europe. The publick Affairs of Town and Colony were affected by these Contentions, and the Gover­nour and Assistants put in and out, as the one or the other Side prevailed. The whole People un­happily run into Factions and Parties, in such a M [...]ner, as if Contention and every evil Work, had not been Evidences incontestable, that the Wisdom from which they proceeded could not be from Above. But so it is, where Men differ about Religion, their Contentions are usually the most sharp, and carried on with the most irreli­gious Heat and Animosity: Even tho' they differ about the smallest Matters, or when, as was the Case here, they differ from each other but in a very little.

A great Part of the Body of the People, and I am apt to think, at the first, the Majority of the Town of Boston, were of the same Side the Question with those People who afterwards came here. 'Tis certain the Synod and the Court were both held at New-Town, because of the Disaf­fection [Page 27]of the People of Boston. The Deputies of the Town, at least some of them, openly espou­sed that Party. The Town, at least many of them, petitioned in their Favour. And Mr. Cot­ton, the chief Oracle then of both Town and Country, was confidently believed by them, to be of the Opinion they contended for. To which I might add the Number of the People in that Town, that were censured at the Court.

Those who came away were most of them long esteemed as Brethren of the Church, and never censured by the Church at all; nay that Church did long retain some Particularities, as to the Brethren's Power in Church Affairs, and their Liberty to exercise their Gifts in private or fa­mily Meetings, and as to the Subjects of Infant Baptism. It is certain Mr. Wheelwright, Minis­ter to a Branch of that Church, at a Place since called Braintree (where the Town had some Lands) was eager and zealous against the Cove­nant of Works; and was banished by the Court for what was then called Sedition, by the same Rule which will make every Dissent from, or Op­position to a Majority in any religious Affairs, to be Sedition, and an Iniquity to be punished by the Judge. The minor Part must always be se­ditious, if it be Sedition to defend their own re­ligious Opinions, and endeavour to confute the contrary. This Maxim once allowed must chain [Page 28]Men down under Errors and Falshoods wherever they prevail, and even rivet their Chains. On this Foot, what will become of the glorious Mar­tyrs for the Gospel in the first Ages of it, and the holy Apostles, who turned the World upside down, who turned Men from Darkness to Light, from the God's of the Nations, whom they called Va­nities, to the living and true GOD. Nay, what shall we say of our blessed Saviour himself, who says he came to send Division on Earth. How shall we excuse the Protestants, nay how shall we justify the Puritans themselves, if it be seditious to oppose any religious Opinions we think are false or erro­neous, when the major Part of the Society hap­pen to think otherwise. I must farther add, that however Mr. Cotton, at the Synod, after long Labour with him, disowned many of the Opini­ons charged on these People, yet he would not condemn all the said Errors in the Gross, as the rest did, and there is some Reason to believe that he differed from the other Ministers to the last, at least in the Manner of explaining these most abstruse and difficult Points; if he did not con­tinue to hold, that Union to Christ was before Faith in him, and that the Habit of Faith pro­ceeded or followed from our Justification, which 'tis said, he once seemed to hold in the Synod; and which was in Reality the Root or Fountain of all the Opinions so much faulted in this People. And [Page 29]however Mr. Cotton has in Print disowned them, and they are by others charged with Falshood and Calumny, in shrouding themselves under the Authority of his great Name; yet they who should be owned to know their own Opinions, and understand their own Expressions and De­signs best, always persisted in it, that ‘Mr. Cot­ton was with them,’ or that they meant no more than they understood him to mean.

But to return—,

The Affair was agitated in Court for three Days, and some changing Sides in the Court, the Ma­jority was on the Side of the Synod, and took Measures effectually to support their own Opini­ons. Whereupon, many of the other Side determined to remove, for Peace sake, and to enjoy the Freedom of their Consciences. And Mr. John Clark, ‘who made the Proposal, was requested with some others, to seek out a Place, and thereupon by Reason of the suffocating Heat of the Summer before, he went North, to be somewhat cooler, but the Winter fol­lowing proving as cold, they were forced in the Spring to make towards the South: So ha­ving sought the Lord for Direction, they a­greed, that while their Vessel was passing about a large and dangerous Cape, (Cape Cod) they would cross over by Land, having Long-Island [Page 30]and Delaware-Bay in their Eye, for the Place of their Residence. At Providence, Mr. R. Wil­liams lovingly entertained them, and being consulted about their Design, readily presen­ted two Places before them in the Narraganset-Bay, the one on the Main called Sow-wames, (the south-easterly Part of the Neck since cal­led Phebe's Neck, in Barrington *) and Aqued­neck, now Rhode-Island. And inasmuch as they were determined to go out of every other Jurisdiction, Mr. Williams and Mr. Clark, atten­ded with two other Persons, went to Plymouth to enquire how the Case stood; they were lovingly received, and answered, that Sowames was the Garden of their Patent. But they were advised to settle at Aquetneck, and promised to be looked on as free, & to be treated & assisted as loving Neigh­bours. (Mr. J. Clark's Nar.) On their Return, the 7th of March 1637, 8, the People to the Num­ber of Eighteen, incorporated themselve a Body [Page 31]politick, and chose Mr. Coddington their Leader, to be the Judge or chief Magistrate. After the same Manner Plymouth and Connecticut Colonies were forced to enter into a voluntary Agreement or Covenant at the first, as having no legal Au­thority amongst them; the People here however immediately sought a Patent, and in a few Years obtained one.

Mr. R. Williams was very instrumental in pro­curing the Island of the Indian Sachems, and has left this Account in pe [...]pe [...]uam rei memoriam ‘It was not Price or Money that could have purcha­sed Rhode-Island, but 'twas obtained by Love, that Love and Favour which that honoured Gentleman, Sir Henry Vane and my self, had with the great Sachem Myantonomo, about the League which I procured, between the Massa­chusetts English and the Narragansets in the Pequot War. This I mention, that as the truly noble Sir Henry Vane, hath been so great an Instrument, in the Hand of GOD, for procuring this Island of the Barbarians, as also for the procuring and confirming the Char­ter, it may be with all thankful Acknowledg­ments recorded, and remembred by us, and ours who reap the sweet Fruits of so great Be­nefits, and such unheard of Liberties among us’ Mss. of R. W. And in ano­ther Manuscript he tells us, the Indians were very [Page 32] shy and jealous of selling the Lands to any, and chose rather to make a Grant of them to such as they affected, but at the same Time, expected such Gratuities and Rewards as made an Indian Gift often times a very dear Bargain. And the Colony 70 Years agon 1666 avered, that tho' the Favour Mr. Williams had with Myantonomy was the great Means of procuring the Grants of the Land, yet the Purchase had been dearer than of any Lands in New-England; the Reason of which might be, partly, the English inhabited between two powerful Nations, the Wamponoags to the North and East, who had formerly possessed some Part of their Grants, before they had surrendred it to the Narragansets, and tho' they freely own'd the Submission, yet it was tho't best by Mr. Williams to make them easy by Gratuities, to the Sachem his Counsellors and Followers. On the other Side the Narragansetts were very numerous, and the Natives inhabiting any Spot the English sat down upon, or improved, were all to be bought off to their Content, and often times were to be paid over and over again.

On the 24th of March 1637, 8, this Day an Hundred Years, the Indian Sachems signed the Deed or Grant of the Island Aquetneck, &c and the En­glish not only honestly paid the mentioned Gra­tuities, to the Sachems, but many more to the Inhabitants to remove off, as appears by the Re­ceipts [Page 33]still extant. And afterwards, at a conside­rable Expence, they purchased Quit-Claims, of the Heirs and Successors of the Sachems; besides they were forced to buy over again, several Parts of the first Grant. So that they came very justly by the Soil. And thus they describe themselves twenty Years after, in an Address to the supream Authority in England 1659; ‘This poor Colony (say they) mostly consists, of a Birth, and Breeding of the most High. We being an outcast People, formerly from our Mother-Nation, in the Bishops Days, and since from the rest of the New-English over zealous Co­lonies. Our whole Frame, being much like the present Frame, and Constitution of our dearest Mother England; bearing with the several Judgments, and Consciences of each other, in all the Towns of the Colony; which our neighbour Colonies do not; and which is the only Cause, of their great Offence, a­gainst us.’

The Settlement began immediat [...], at the East­ward or Northward End of the Island, (then called Pocasset,)* round the Cove, and the Town was laid [Page 34]out at the Spring. And many of their Friends following them that Summer, their Number was so considerably increased, that the next Spring, some of the Heads with others, came to the s [...]uthern or western End of the Island. The Island was divided into two Townships, the eastern Part called Portsmouth, and the other Newport; and 1644, they named the Island the Isle of Rhodes or Rhode-Island. Thus began the Settlement of this Island and Colony, and thro' the good Hand of our GOD upon us, we have continued to this Day. GOD has blessed and prospered the People, in their Labours, and preserved to them their Pri­viledges, for the sake of which they followed him into the Wilderness.

And now having seen something of the Occa­sion, and Manner of our first Settlement, let us take a short View of the History, and present State of the Colony.

[Page 35] And here in the first Place, as to the inhabiting the other Lands, and erecting the other Towns n [...]w within our Bounds.—At the same Time the Island was inhabited, a Number of the Providence Peo­ple, Mr. Arnold, &c. sat down at Patuxet, a Place adjoining, and within their Grant. They were encouraged by the Meadows, on the River, which were every where an Inducement, to People to settle themselves, as they immediately furnished Food for their Cattle in the Winter.

In 1642, 3, on the 12th of January, Shawomet, or Mishawomet, since called Warwick, was pur­chased of Myantonomo; Pomham the petty Sachem consenting to the Sale or Grant, tho' he after­wards denied it. The Grant was made to Ran­dal Holden, John Wickes, Samuel Gorton, John Greene, Francis Weston, Richard Waterman, John Warner, Richard Carder, Samson Shotten, Robert Potter, William Woodeal.

Here it may be proper, to take some Notice of the religious Opinions of Mr. Gorton, whose Fol­lowers were called Gortonists, or Gortonians, hol­ding some Things peculiar to themselves, and different from all the other People in New-Eng­land.

He came to Rhode-Island in June 1638, where he tarried 'till 1639, 40, that he was on some Contentions banished the Island. Thence he [Page 36]went to Providence, where many of the People growing uneasy at his planting and building at Patuxet, and complaining to the Massachusetts-Government in 1642, he was summoned to appear before their Court, which he despised. But how­ever he purchased this Tract of the Indians, and removed there with his Friends. But new Com­plaints soon went to Boston from some of the Eng­lish, and Pomham and Socononoko petty Sachems of the Indians, who it seems, were willing to take Advantage of the Protection of the Massachusetts-English, to revolt from their Subjection to Myan­tonomy, as Massasoit had done before, by Means of the Plymouth-English. Hereupon Mr. Gorton and his Friends being summoned to Court, he re­fused to obey, as out of the Jurisdiction, both of Boston and Plymouth, who both sought to stretch their Bounds, to have taken him in. The Go­vernment at length, sent up a Company of ar­med Men, who after a fruitless Treaty, made him and his Friends Prisoners, except a few who escaped by Flight. They were carried to Boston, and after a Tryal in their Court, condemned, to be confined in a severe, and even a scandalous Manner, in several Towns, for the Winter, and in the Spring banished the Colony. They came to Rhode-Island, and fearing to be again troubled, the Massachusetts seeking a Patent of some of the Narraganset Country, they procured an actual and solemn Submission of the Sachems to [Page 37]King Charles, on the 19th of August 1644, and Messi. Gorton, Greene, and Holden, went to England, and obtained an Order, to be suffered peaceably to possess their Purchase. And the Lands fore­mentioned, being incorporated in the* Province of Providence Plantations; They returned & carried on their Improvements, naming their Purchase Warwick, in Honour to the Earl of Warwick, who gave them his friendly Protection.

What Mr. Gorton's religious Opinions really were, is now as hard to tell, as 'tis to understand his most mysterious Dialect, for there are sufficient Reasons, why we ought not and cannot believe, he held all that are confidently fathered upon him. For 'tis certain that whatever impious Opinions, his Adversaries imputed to him, and whatever horrid Consequences they drew, from the Opinions he owned; he ascribed as bad to them, and fixed as dreadful Consequences on their Tenets; and at the same Time, in the mos [...] solemn Manner, denies and disavows many Things they charge him with; above all, when he is charged with denying a future State, and the Judgment to come, both in Theory and in Practice; he pe­remptorily, and vehemently denies the Charge, and solemnly appeals to GOD, and all that knew [Page 38]him, of the Integrity of his Heart, and the Purity of his Hands; and avers, that he always joins Eternity with Religion, as most essential. And that the Doctrine of the general Salvationists, was the Thing which his Soul hated.) Mss. Let­ter in Ans. to Mr. Morton's Memorial.)

In an Address to King Charles II. 1679, he disowns the Puritans, and most unaccountably says, he sucked in his peculiar Tenets, "from the Breasts of his Mother, the Church of England." He strenuously opposed the Doctrines of the People called Quakers. I am informed that he and his Followers, maintained a religious Meeting, on the first Day of the Week, for above sixty Years, and that their Worship consisted of Prayers to GOD, of Preaching, or expounding the Scrip­tures, and singing of Psalms. He lived to a great Age. He was of a good Family in England, and says he made use of the learned Languages in expounding the Scriptures to his Hearers.

About 1642, 3, there were two trading Houses, set up in the Narraganset Country; one by Mr. Wilcox, and Mr. R. Williams, the other by Mr. Richard Smith, and some few Plantations made near them, on particular Grants or Purchases of the Indians, but not very many 'till 1657: When several Gentlemen on the Island, and [...]sewhere, made a considerable Purchase, called [Page 39]the Petaquams [...]ut Purchase. And the same Year there was a Purchase of the Island of Canonicut, as the smaller Islands had been purchased before.

In 1665, Misquamicut was purchased of the Indians, and it was granted a Township by the Name of Westerly, 1669. In 1672 Manisses cal­led Block-Island, was made a Township, by the Name of New-Shoreham. In 1674 the Inhabi­tants at Petequamscut and Parts adjacent, had their Lands incorporated, a Township by the Name of Kingston. And in 1677 the Town of East-Greenwich was incorporated, and 1678 Ca­nonicut Island, or rather Quononoquot, was in­corporated a Township by the Name of James-Town. In 1722, the Lands properly called Nar­raganset, were divided into the two Townships of North and South-Kingston. In 1729 the whole Colony was divided into three Counties, for the Ease of the Inhabitants. And 1730 the Town of Providence was divided into the four Towns of Providence, Smithfield, Glocester, and Scituate. The whole Land being filled with Inhabitants, partly by the coming in of some few from other Places, but chiefly by the natural Increase of the first Setlers.* In the foresaid Year 1730, there [Page 40]was by the King's Order, an exact Account taken of the Number of Souls in the Colony, and they were found to be no less, than Seven­teen Thousand Nine Hundred and Thirty Five, of which no more than Nine Hundred and Eighty Five, were Indians, and One Thousand Six Hun­dred and Forty Eight, Negroes. So that the En­glish in all were Fifteen Thousand Three Hundred and two.

Some of the principal Persons, who came at first to this Island, removed again in a little Time, some to Long Island for larger Accommodations, some to Massachusets again, where three* of those Families, have made a very considerable Figure, ever since to this Day. A considerable Number likewise, removed to the other Towns in this Colony, and many setled in the Parts ad­jacent, [Page 41]that are within the Colony of Plymouth. Nevertheless in 1730 the Inhabitants of the whole Island were Five Thousand four Hundred and Fifty Eight, and of this Town Four Thousand six Hun­dred and Forty, who are no doubt by this Time increased to Five Thousand Souls. The Trade and Business of the Town at the first, was but very little, and inconsiderable, consisting only of a lit­tle Corn and Pork and Tobacco, sent to Boston, for a [...]ew European and other Goods, they could not subsist without, and all at the Mercy of the Tra­ders there too.* At present there are above one Hundred Sail of Vessels belonging to this Town, besides what belong to the rest of the Colony. GOD grant, that as we increase in Numbers and Riches, we may not increase in Sin and Wicked­ness; but that we may rather be lead, by the divine Goodness, to reform whatever may have been amiss or wanting among us.

As to the Form of Government we have passed under, it must be observed, the Government has [Page 42]been always more or less democratical. At the first Incorporation on the Island, the People chose a Judge to do Justice and Judgment and preserve the publick Peace; and towards the latter End of the Year, on the second Day of the eleventh Month, they added three Gentlemen as Assistants to him in his Office. And soon after appointed all, to take the Oath of Allegiance to the King, ac­cording to the Statute. In 1640 they voted, the chief Magistrate should be called Governour, the next Deputy Governour, and four Gentlemen chosen out of the two Towns, Assistants Their Names were W. Coddington Governour, W. Bren­ton Deputy Governour, N. Easton, J. Coggeshall, W. Hutchinson, J. Porter, Assistants. The next Year R. Harding, was in Mr. Easton's Place, and Mr. W. Baulston in the Room of Mr. Hutchinson, (who perhaps removed) and the next Year Mr. Easton was chosen Assistant again, and those six * Gentlemen, held their Offices, 'till the Patent of Incorp [...]ration.

At Providence, all new Comers promised ‘to submit themselves in active or passive Obe­dience, to all such Orders, and Agreements, [Page 43]as shall be made for publick Good of the Body, in an orderly way, by major Consent of the Inhabitants,’ b [...] this being insufficient, 27th Day 5th Mo. 1640, they did to the Number of near 40 Persons, Combine in a Form of civil Go­vernment, according to a Model drawn up by some of themselves, as most suitable to promote Peace and Order in their present Circumstances; which however left them in a very feeble Con­dition.

But all the Inhabitants in the Narraganset-Bay, being without a Patent, and any legal Authority, 1643 Mr. R. Williams, went to England as Agent, and by the Help and Assistance of Sir Henry Vane, jun. obtained of the Earl of Warwick (appointed by Parliament Governour & Admiral of all the Plantations) and his Council, ‘a free and absolute Charter of civil Incorporation, by the Name of the Incorporation of Providence Plantations in the Narraganset-Bay in New-England; impowring them ‘to rule themselves, and such [Page 44]as should inhabit within their Bounds, by such a Form of civil Government, as by the volun­tary Agreement of all, or the greater Part, shall be found most serviceable, in their Estate and Condition; and to make suitable Laws, agreeable to the Laws of England, so far as the Nature and Constitution of the Place will admit, &c.’— It was dated 17th of March, 19th Charles, i. e. 1643, 4. but it don't appear how long it was, before Mr. Williams brought it over. It is not to be wondred at, if it took them some Time to agree in a Method.

In 1647 May 19th, a General Assembly of the Province (as then called) established a Body of very good and wholesome Laws, agreeable to the English Statute Book; and erected a Form of civil Government for the Administration of the Laws, and the making such other, as should be found necessary. The supreme Power was left in the Body of the People, assembled in an orderly way; a Court of Commissioners, consisting of six Persons, chosen by each of the four Towns of Providence, Portsmouth, Newport, & Warwick, had a Legislative Authority, at least, their Acts were to be in Force, unless repealed within a limited Time, by the Vote of the major Part of the Free­men of the Province, to be collected at their respective Town Meetings appointed for that End.

[Page 45] A President & four Assistants were chosen year­ly, to be Conservators of the Peace, with all civil Power, and by a special Commission, they were Judges of the Court of Tryals, assisted by the two Wardens or Justices of the particular Town, in which the Court sat from Time to Time.

Every Town chose a Council of six Persons, to manage their Town Affairs, and their Town Court, had the Tryal of small Cases, but with an Appeal to the Court of the President & Associates.

This Form of Government subsisted till 1651, when there were some Obstructions to it, by a Commission granted from the Council of State, to the principal Inhabitant of the Island, to govern the Island, with a Council chosen by the People, and approved by himself. But the People thinking it, "a Violation or Incroach­ment on their Liberties, and Purchases, as grant­ed and secured by Charter"; immediately dis­patched Mr. R. Williams and Mr. J. Clark to England, as their Agents, and they easily procured an Order from the Council of State, to vacate or suspend the Commission. This Order is dated 2d of October 1652, but by Reason of some Mis­understandings between the four Towns, it was a Year or two before they returned to their old Plan, which then lasted to the present Charter.

[Page 46] In 1663 July 8. Charles 2d. granted an ample Charter, whereby the Province was made ‘a Body Corporate and Politick, in Fact & Name, by the Name of the Governour and Company of the English Colony of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations in New-England in America. This CHARTER we enjoy to this Day, thro' the mer­ciful Providence of GOD. And as every one knows, the Form of Government established in it, I need say but little about it. The Governour, the Deputy Governour, and ten Assistants chosen yearly by the Freemen, on the first Wednesday in May, have the Administration of the Government in their Hands; and together with thirty six De­puties, chosen half yearly by the several Towns, make up the General Assembly; which is the high­est Court in the Colony, and our Legislature: im­powred to make Laws as to them shall seem meet, for the Good and Welfare of the said Company— ‘so as such Laws be not contrary and repugnant unto, but as near as may be, agreable to the Laws of England, considering the Nature & Constitution of the Place and People there.

This Assembly meets twice a Year by Charter, on Election Day, and the last Wednesday of October. [Page 47]The first, by Law is held at Newport, and the last at Providence & South-Kingston alternately. The Governour has no negative Voice, and the major Vote of the whole Assembly in one House, de­termines in the Choice of civil or military Officers, but in the passing Laws the Assembly sits in two Houses.

It would be too tedious, to give a particular Account of all the repeated Attempts, and Stra­tagems made use of, to wrest the Jurisdiction and Propriety of a considerable Part of the Lands within our Patent from the Colony.

Therefore I proceed to say,

When Col. Dudley was appointed President of the Massachusetts, the Narraganset Country, called then King's Province, was included in his Com­mission. In 1685 October 6 a Writ of Quo War­ranto, was issued out against the Colony, which was brought here June 26. 1686, by Ed. Ran­dolph, Esq whereupon the Free Inhabitants, es­pecially of the chief Towns, met at Newport on the 29th, and gave in their Opinion to the Gene­ral Assembly, and left "the further Proceeding to the judicious Determination of the Assembly." The Assembly upon serious Consideration, pub­lished and declared, that they determined, not to ‘stand Suit with His Majesty, but to proceed, by [Page 48]humble Address to His Majesty to continue their Priviledges & Liberties according to the Charter; and they accordingly sent home an Address to the King, who by his Answer promised them Protection, and Favour. However the Colony was put under the Government of Sir Ed. Andross, and "suffered with others, several Hardships, and severe Impositions."

The Reasons why the Assembly chose not to stand Suit with the King, were partly their Po­verty, and Inability to bear the Expence of such a Law-Suit in England, and partly the Example of the many Corporations in England, which had in the like Case surrendered their Charters,’ and perhaps the secret Hope they should find more Favour with the King, by this way of Proceed­ing, was the principal Motive.

January 12. 1686, 7. Sir Edmund Andross's Commission to be Governour of this Colony, with the rest of New England, was published here, and the Colony made one County, and governed by civil Officers under him.

After the Revolution in England, there was a General Assembly of the Freemen of the Colony at Newport, May 1. 1689, who agreed ‘that since Sir Ed. Andross was seized and con­fined with others of his Council (at Boston) and [Page 49]his Authority silenced and deposed, it was their Duty, to lay hold of their former Charter Pri­viledges; and avowedly professing all Allegiance to the Crown of England, they replaced all the general Officers that had been displaced three Years before. But some of the Gentlemen after­wards declining to act by this Authority, a gene­ral Assembly called February 20 following, elected others in their Room. And there having been no Judgment against the Charter, the Government allowed of the resuming it, and thro' the divine Goodness, and the Clemency, Justice, and Pru­dence of our Princes, it has been continued ever since. GOD grant, we may never forfeit nor lose our precious and invaluable Liberties and Priviledges; and that we may ever use them with Prudence and Discretion, with Gratitude to GOD, the Governour of the World; and with Loyalty to the Crown!

It is now more than Time for me to lay before you, some Account of our religious Affairs.

It is a Pitty we cannot intirely confute all the oppr [...]brious Things, which some have written of some of the Inhabitants. I am satisfied a great many of them were wholly groundless, many others very much aggravated, and misrepresen­ted, and some Things made to be Reproaches, which in Reality were Praise-worthy.

[Page 50] I take it to have been no Dishonour to the Co­lony, that Christians, of every Denomination, were suffered to lead quiet and peaceable Lives, without any Fines, or Punishments for their spe­culative Opinions, or for using those external Forms of Worship, they believed GOD had ap­pointed, and would accept. Bigots may call this Confusion, and Disorder, and it may be so, according to their poor worldly Notions of Re­ligion, and the Kingdom of Christ. But the pre­tended Order of humane Authority, assuming the Place and Prerogatives of Jesus Christ, and tram­pling on the Consciences of his Subjects, is, as Mr. R. Williams most justly calls it, ‘monstrous Disorder.’

Tho' it be very certain, that a publick Worship of GOD, is very necessary even to civilize Mankind, who would be likely to loose all Sense of Religi­on without it; yet it will not follow, that the ci­vil Magistrate, as such, has Authority to appoint the Rites of Worship, and constrain all his Sub­jects to use them, much less to punish them for using any other. What has been forever the Consequences, of his pretending to such Authori­ty, and using his Power to support it? What Glory doth it bring to GOD, and what Good can it do to Men, to force them to attend a Wor­ship they disapprove? It can only make them Hypocrites, and GOD abhors such Worshippers.

[Page 51] Notwithstanding our Constitution left every one to his own Liberty, and his Conscience; and notwithstanding the Variety of Opinions that were entertained, and notwithstanding some may have contracted, too great an Indifference to a­ny social Worship, yet I am well assured, there scarce ever was a Time, the hundred Years past, in which there was not a weekly publick Wor­ship of GOD, attended by Christians, on this Island, and in the other first Towns of the Colo­ny.

It is no ways unlikely, some odd, and whimsi­cal Opinions may have been broached, the Li­berty enjoyed here, would tempt Persons distres­sed for their Opinions in the neighbouring Go­vernments, to retire to this Colony as an Asylum. It is no ways unlikely, that some Persons of a very different Genius, and Spirit from the first Setlers, might intrude themselves, and use this Liberty as an Occasion to the Flesh; but the first Set of Men who came here, were a pious Gene­ration, Men of Vertue and Godliness, notwith­standing their Tincture of Enthusiasm, which was not peculiar to them; and notwithstanding their peculiar Opinions of Justification, and the Nature, and Rights, of the Christian Church. They had not so many great and wise Men among them, perhaps, as were in some of the other Co­lonies; but their whole Number was very small, [Page 52]in Comparison with the other Colonies: Never­theless they had some very considerable Men, and of superiour Merit. It is true likewise, their Form of Government was too feeble, their first Patent left them without sufficient Authority in their civil Officers, to check any popular Hu­mours; but yet, they did, and that as early as the Massachusetts Colony, form a Body of good Laws, by which all Vice, and every Immorality, was discouraged or punished. And throughout the whole History of the Island and Colony, there is ma [...]estly, an Aim and Endeavour, to prevent or suppress all Disorders and Immoralities, and to promote universal Peace, Vertue, Godliness, and Charity.

I do not pretend to defend all the Opinions, that were entertained by any of them; much less all the extravagant Notions, that were un­justly ascribed to some of them; nor yet to jus­tify every Word, or Action, that might be the Effect of heated Zeal, or raised Indignation and Resentment. That Man, who will go about to justify, or condemn a Party, in the Gross, and without Distinction, shall never be approved or imitated by me, much less can it be expected, I should defend all the Opinions of so many dif­ferent religious Parties, as were here united in civil Peace. However, I dare say it after Mr. J. Clark, that ‘notwithstanding the different [Page 53]Consciences and Understandings among them, they agreed to maintain civil Justice and Judg­ments, neither were there such Outrages com­mitted among them, as in other Parts of the Country were frequently seen.’ (Clark's Nar. Introd.) And I bear them Witness, they had a Zeal for GOD: If it were not according to Know­ledge in every Article, yet they lay open to In­struction, desirous to find out and discover the whole Mind and Will of GOD; which cannot so truly be said of all Places, where yet Men are not more infallible. If there were any of them, who made Shipwrack of Faith and a good Con­science, perhaps it would be as easy, as it would be invidious, to find Parallels enough in other Places, to shew there are other dangerous Rocks, besides Liberty of Conscience. It is an unac­countable Humour, that has prevailed among too many christian Sects, to make Religion, and the Gospel consist, in their own peculiar and dis­tinguishing Tenets, which would almost tempt an impartial Man, to think it ought rather to consist, in those Things, wherein they are most generally agreed, and conclude in the Words of the excellent Dr. Cotton Mather, ‘The Period hastens for a new Reformation, wherein 'tis likely none of our very best Parties, will be in all Things, the Standard of what shall prevail in the World, but our holy Lord will form a new People, of those good Men that shall u­nite [Page 54]in the Aticles of their Goodness, and sweetly bear with one another in their lesser Differences.’ (Good Men united. p. 26, 7.)

It must be a mean contracted Way of thinking, to confine the Favour of GOD, and the Power of Godliness, to one Set of speculative Opinions, or any particular external Forms of Worship. How hard must it be, to imagine, all other Chris­tians, but our selves, must be formal, and hypo­critical, and destitute of the Grace of GOD, be­cause their Education or Capacity differs from ours, or that GOD has given them more or less Light than to us, tho' we can't deny, they give the proper Evidence, of their fearing GOD, by their working Righteousness; and shew their Love to him, by keeping what they understand, he has commanded; and tho' their Faith in Christ Jesus, purifies their Hearts, and works by Love, and overcomes the World. It would be hard to shew, why Liberty of Conscience, mutual For­bearance, and Good Will, why brotherly Kind­ness and Charity, is not as good a Center of Uni­ty, as a constrain'd Uniformity in external Ce­remonies, or a forced Subscription to ambiguous Articles. Experience has dearly convinced the World, that Unanimity in Judgment and Affec­tion, can't be secured by penal Laws. Who can tell, why the Unity of the Spirit in the Bonds of Peace, is not enough for Christians to aim at? [Page 55]And who can assign a Reason, why they may not love one another, tho' abounding in their own several Senses? And why, if they live in Peace, the GOD of Love and Peace, may not be with them?

Indulgence to tender Consciences, might be a Reproach to the Colony, an hundred Years agon, but a better Way of thinking prevails in the Pro­testant Part of the christian Church at present. It is now a Glory to the Colony, to have avowed such Sentiments so long ago, while Blindness in this Article, happened in other Places, and to have led the Way as an Example to others, and to have first put the Theory into Practice.

Liberty of Conscience, is more fully establish­ed and enjoyed now, in the other New-English Colonies; and our Mother-Kingdom, grants a le­gal Toleration, to all peaceable and conscientious Dissenters from the parliamentary Establishment. Greater Light breaking into the World, and the Church, and especially, all Parties by Turns, ex­periencing, and complaining aloud of the Hard­ships of Constraint, they are come to allow as reasonable to all others, what they want and challenge for themselves. And there is no other Bottom but this to rest upon, to leave others the Liberty we should desire ourselves, the Liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free. This is [Page 56]doing as we would be done by, the grand Rule of Justice and Equity; this is leaving the Govern­ment of the Church to Jesus Christ, the King and Head over all Things, and suffering his Subjects to obey and serve him.

But to take Things in their Order, Mr. R. Wil­liams is said, in a few Years after his setling at Providence, to have embraced the Opinions of the People called (by Way of Reproach) Ana­baptists, in Respect to the Subject and Mode of Bap­tism; and to have formed a Church there, in that Way, with the Help of one Mr. Ezekiel Holliman, * and that after a while he renounced these Opini­ons likewise, and turned Seeker, (i.e.) to wait for new Apostles, to restore Christianity. He believed the Christian Religion, to have been so corrupted and disfigured in what he called the "Apostacy, as that there was no Ministry of an ordinary Vocation left in the Church, but Pro­phecy," [Page 57]and that there was need of a special Commission, to restore the Modes of positive Worship, according to the original Institution. It don't appear to me, that he had any Doubt of the true Mode, and proper Subjects of Bap­tism, but, that no Man had any Authority, to revive the Practice, of the sacred Ordinances, without a new and immediate Commission. It is also said (Neale.) ‘That his Church hereupon crumbled to Peices, every one following his own Fancy, and the Worship of GOD came to be generally neglected.’ But I believe this to be a Mistake in Fact, for it certainly appears, there was a flourishing Church of the Baptists there, a few Years after the Time of the supposed breaking to Pieces; and 'tis known by the Names of the Members, as well as by Tradition, they were some of the first Setlers at Providence; how­ever, 'tis possible some of his Followers, might embrace his new Opinions. Mr. Williams used to uphold a publick Worship, sometimes, tho' not weekly, as many now alive remember, and he used to go once a Month, for many Years, to Mr. Smith's in the Narraganset, for the same End.

There was no Reason, to lay aside the Use of the sacred Institutions of Jesus Christ, because they had been perverted, for surely the Disciples of Jesus Christ, must of Necessity have an inhe­rent Right, to revive, or rectify, any of his Or­dinances [Page 58]that have been misused. The Protes­tants in general have done so, by both Sacraments, which they have all of them rescued from some or other of the Corruptions of Popery. And why they may not be as well rescued from every Cor­ruption, as from some, and why Christians may not revive the true Form of administring Bap­tism, as well as the Supper, is hard to tell, unless we make a Charm of the Institution. So long as we have the New-Testament, wherein the origi­nal Commission and Instructions are contained, we can want no immediate Warrant, to obey the ge­neral Laws of Christ, any more than a new Re­velation, and new Miracles, to justify our belie­ving the old Facts and Doctrines of the Gospel. The Bible contains the Religion of Christians, and the Word of GOD is a sufficient Rule of Faith and Worship. Had Mr. Williams adhered to this Maxim, the Maxim of the Protestants, and more especially of the Puritans, he might have continued an Anabaptist all his Days, as 'tis said he was more inclinable to them, in his latter Time.

Bishop Sanderson says, (Veneer on the thirty nine Articles, p. 655.) That ‘the Rev. Arch-Bishop Whitgift, and the learned Hooker, Men of great Judgment, and famous in their Times, did long since foresee, and declare their Fear, that if ever Puritanism should prevail among us, it [Page 59]would soon draw in Anabaptism after it,— This Cartwright and the Disciplinarians denied, and were offended at.— But these good Men judged right, they considered only as prudent Men, that Anabaptism had it's Rise, from the same Principles the Puritans held, and it's Growth from the same Course, they took; to­gether with the natural Tendency, of their Principles and Practices toward it; especially that ONE PRINCIPLE, as it was then by them misunderstood, that the Scripture was a­dequata agendorum regula, so as nothing might be lawfully done, without express Warrant, either from some Command or Example therein contained; which Clue, if followed as far as it would go, would certainly in Time carry them as far as the Anabaptists had then gone.’

This I beg Leave to look on as a most glorious Concession, of the most able Adversaries. One Party contend, that the Scripture is the adequate Rule of Worship, and for the necessity of some Command or Example there; the other Party, say this leads to Anabaptism. It seems very re­markable, that the Puritans, at least some of the Puritans, put the Baptism of Infants, and the ad­ministring Baptism by Sprinkling, on a different Foot from many of the other Party. It was one grand Reason of the Plymouth People's Discon­tent in Holland that the Dutch would not reform [Page 60]the Custom of baptising indifferently, the Chil­dren of all Persons that had been themselves bap­tised in Infancy. And it was once a great Com­plaint, against New England, that the Children only of visible Church Members, were admitted to Baptism. Nor did the general Way of bapti­sing the Grand-Children of the Covenant, or the Infants of such as do, what is called (owning the Covenant) (a Phrase and Way peculiar perhaps to New England;) take Place, without a very great and long Struggle: perhaps it don't yet univer­sally prevail. When the first Principles, & Practice of New England are inquired into, and compared together, and with those that prevailed forty Years after; it will be found no great wonder, if a Person (and there have been such Persons) who heard the unanswerable Argument, with which some Paedo-baptists prove the Infants of those who are not Members of some visible Church, are not to be baptised; and the like powerful Arguments, with which others, prove that other Infants have an equal Right and Claim with the Infants of Church Members; I say, it would be no won­der, if such a Person should believe them both, and conclude in the Words of the late excellent Dr. C. Mather on a like Occasion, "that REGE­NERATION is the Thing, without which, a Title unto Sacraments, is not to be pretended. That real Regeneration, is that which before GOD, renders Men capable of claiming Sacraments; and visi­ble [Page 61]or expressed Regeneration, is that which be­fore Men, enables them to make such a Claim". (Comp. for Comm. p. 31.)

But to return, about the Year 1653 or 54, there was a Division in the Baptist Church, at Providence, about the Rite of laying on of Hands, which some pleaded for as essentially necessary to Church-Communion, and the others would leave indiffe­rent. Hereupon they walked in two Churches, one under Mr. C. Browne, Mr. Wickenden, &c. the other under Mr. Thomas Olney; * but laying on of Hands at length generally obtained.

It is remarkable, that the Principles of a too rigid Separation, planted by Mr. Williams, have taken a deep Root, while some other of his dar­ling Opinions are almost withered away. That Church which was distinguish'd by holding laying on of Hands, necessary to all baptized Persons, came in Time, generally to hold universal Re­demption.

This Church shot out into divers Branches, as the Members increased, and the Distance of their Habitations made it inconvenient to attend the publick Worship in the Town; several Meetings [Page 62]were thereupon fixed at different Places, for their Ease and Accommodation; and about this Time the large Township of Providence became divided into four Towns: their Chapels of Ease, began to be considered as distinct Churches, tho' all are yet in a Union of Councils and Interests: And there is a strict Association, of all the Baptist Churches in New England, that hold the Doctrine of laying on of Hands, in that Sense, maintained, by yearly Meetings of the Elders and Brethren, at several Places, from time to time, where the Affairs of all the Churches are considered.

The People who came to Rhode-Island, who were Puritans of the highest Form, had desired and depended on the Assistance of Mr. Wheelwright, a famous Congregational Minister aforementioned. But he chose to go to Long-Island, where he continued some Years. In the mean Time Mr. John Clark, who was a Man of Letters, carried on a publick Worship (as Mr. Brewster did at Plymouth) at the first coming, till they procured Mr. Lenthal of Weymouth, who was admitted a Freeman here August 6. 1640. And August 20, Mr. Lenthal, was by Vote called to keep a publick School for the learning of Youth, and for his En­couragement there was granted to him and his Heirs one hundred Acres of Land, and four more for an House-Lot; it was also voted, ‘that one hundred Acres should be laid forth, and appro­priated [Page 63]for a School, for encouragement of the poorer Sort, to train up their Youth in Learn­ing, and Mr. Robert Lenthal while he continues to teach School, is to have the Benefit thereof.’ But this Gentleman did not tarry here very long: I find him gone to England the next Year but one; but there is no Reason to think that Persons of their Zeal, should immediately fall into a to­tal neglect of a social Worship. One of their first Cares both at Portsmouth and at Newport was to build a Meeting House, which I suppose was de­signed for publick Worship.

It is said, that in 1644, Mr. John Clark, and some others, formed a Church, on the Scheme and Principles of the Baptists. It is certain that in 1648 there were fifteen Members in full Commu­nion. And it is this Church, of which we are by divine Providence, the Successors, tho' with some little Variation in the Points, which their Adversaries had objected to them, in the other Colony. And thus all the Churches of Christ in New England have meliorated their Opinions, and ways of speaking of some Points, since that Age of Dispute, Contention and Temptation. However, I have good Reason to think, the first Founders [Page 64]of this Church would have heartily joined in that Explanation, which was accepted from Mr. Cot­ton, by the Synod, and which is said "to make an happy Conclusion of the whole Matter," and I suppose every one of the present Members, would readily subscribe it, viz. ‘That we are not married to the Lord Jesus Christ, without Faith, giving an actual Consent of the Soul to it. That effectual Calling, and the Soul's ap­prehending by Faith, is in the order of Na­ture, before God's Act of Justification on the Soul; and that in the Testimony of the Holy Spirit, which is the Evidence of our good Estate before God, the Qualifications of inherent Graces, and the Fruits thereof, proving the sincerity of our Faith, must ever be co-existent, concurrent, and co-apparent, or else the con­ceived Testimony of the Spirit, is either a De­lusion or Doubtful?’ (Magnal. B. 7. P. 17.) In this Church there were several Persons, able to speak to the Edification of the rest; and I have been informed by Tradition, that the great­est Part of the Inhabitants, used to attend this Worship, tho' the Members in Church Fellowship were always but few.

In 1652 (during Mr. Clark's Absence in Eng­land) some of the Brethren, embraced the Opi­nion of Laying on of Hands, as necessary to all baptised Persons, and in the Year 1654 or 1656, [Page 65]the Opinion it was necessary to Church Commu­nion and Fellowship, together with their Opinions of the Doctrines of Grace and Free-Will, occa­sioned some of them to seperate, and form a Church by themselves, under the Leading of Mr. Wm. Vaban; this Church continues to this Day, and is numerous; at present under the pastoral Care of Messi. D. Wightman and N. Eyres.

In 1656 or 1657, some of the People called Quakers, came to this Colony and Island; and be­ing persecuted and abused in the other Colonies, that, together with the Opinions and Circumstan­ces of the People here, gave them a very large Harvest; many, and some of the Baptist Church, embraced their Doctrines and particular Opinions, to which many of their Posterity, and others, still adhere.

About 1665, a Number of the Members of the Church under Mr. J. Clark, removed to the new Plantation at Westerly, among whom Mr. John Cran­dal was a Preacher and Elder. They afterwards did generally embrace the Seventh-Day Sabbath, and their Successors are now a very large and flou­rishing Church, under the pastoral Care of Messi. T. and G. Mexon, and Mr. William Hisc [...]x.

In 1671, some of the Members of Mr. Clark's Church, who had been in the Observation of the [Page 66]Seventh-Day Sabbath, for some Years, tho't it proper and necessary to draw off by themselves; and they erected a Church, under the Leading of Mr. William Hiscox. 'Tis under the Roof of their Successors we are now assembled.* Mr. J. Crandal, Elder of this Church, died the 12th of Sept. 1737.

In 1695, several Ministers of the Massachusetts-Colony, came and preached here to some who had desired it. The next Year there was a Meeting-House erected, in which the publick Worship of GOD, was maintained by the Rev. Mr. Nathanael Clap. In 1720 there was a Church in the congre­gational Scheme gathered, and he was ordained the Pastor, and is still alive, labouring in the Word and Doctrine. In 1728 there was ano­ther Church, formed out of this; the present Pastor the Rev. Mr. James Searing.

About 1706, the Worship of GOD, according to the Rites of the Church of England, was began to be set up here, by the Society for propagating the Gospel in foreign Parts. Mr. Lockyer was the first Missionary, succeeded by the Rev. Mr. James Honyman, at present the most ancient Missio­nary of the Church of England in all America.

[Page 67] So that there are at this Time, seven worship­ping Assemblies, Churches or Societies, in this Town, besides a large one of the People called Quakers, at Portsmouth, the other Part of the Island.

I am not able, to assign the exact Date, when every Church, or Meeting began, or every Meet­ing House was built, in all the several Towns of the Colony. But there are now in the other eleven Towns no less than twenty five distinct So­cieties or worshipping Assemblies of Christians; besides several Places where there are occasional Meetings, in some Part of the Year, or at certain Seasons, as is the Custom in the other Colonies, among the new or scattered Settlements.

There are in the nine Towns on the main Land eight Churches of the People called Baptists, one in every Town, except Greenwich, where there is however a Meeting House in which there is a Meeting once a Month.*

Of the People called Quakers there are seven Meeting Houses on the main Land, and one at [Page 68] James-Town on Conanicut Island; and a constant Meeting at Westerly, tho' no Meeting House yet erected.

There are four epis [...]opal Churches on the Main, one at Providence, to which the Rev. Mr. John Checkley is appointed, and one at North-Kingston, of which the Rev. James Mc'Sparran, D. D. is the present Rector; besides one at Westerly, and one on the Edge of Warwick, adjoining to East-Greenwich, which are occasionally supply'd by the Missionaries at other Towns.

There are three Presbyterian or Congregational Churches, at Providence, South-Kingston, & Westerly; each of them supplied at present with a Pastor, viz. the Rev. Mr. Josiah Cotton, at Providence; the Rev. Mr. Joseph Torrey, at South-Kingston; and the Rev. Mr.Joseph Park, at Westerly. And at New-Shoreham or Block-Island, there is a Meeting-House, which is at present supplied with a Prea­cher.

Thus, notwithstanding all the Liberty, and Indulgence here allowed, and notwithstanding the Inhabitants have been represented, as living without a publick Worship, and as ungospelized Plantations; we see there is some Form of Godli­ness every where maintained. GOD grant the Power may always accompany the Form, and that all that Name the Name of Christ may de­part [Page 69]from Iniquity; may Christ Jesus walk in the midst of his golden Candlesticks, and hold the Stars in his right Hand; and may he heal all Divisions among his Disciples, may he unite the Hearts of all that love Him, to love one another; may he grant them to be all like minded, and may pure Religion, and undefiled, before GOD, and the Father, thrive and flourish among us!

It remains now that I say a few Words rela­ting to the State of the INDIANS, within the Bounds of this Colony, and the Circumstances of the English in Regard to them.

In general, all the New-English Colonies, were at the first but one Interest, in Relation to the Indians, and tho' the other four, called them­selves the united Colonies, there was a Commission from this Colony to Mr. Williams and Mr. Clark, to enter into a League offensive and defensive with them.

A few Years, three or four, before the English came to Plymouth, the Indians had been dread­fully wasted away by devouring Sickness, from Narraganset to Pen [...]bscut. So that the Living sufficed not to bury the Dead, and the Ground was covered with their Bones in many Places. This wonderfully made Room for the English at Plymouth and Massachusetts, and those Colonies protected the rest.

[Page 70] In the Year 1637, the English with united Forces subdued the Pequots, who had attacked their Brethren in Connecticut; the Narragansetts, who bordered on the Pequot's Land, consented and assisted in their Destruction, thro' a Desire of Revenge, which is remarkable in all the Sa­vages, tho' their old Sachems desired to have preserved Peace.

The Nantyggansiks, or Narragansets, inhabited the Lands, or governed over all the Indians within the Bounds of this Colony. They were a nume­rous, a rich, and powerful People: and though they are by some said, to have been less fierce, and warlike than the Pequots, yet it appears they had lately before the English came, not only in­creased their Numbers, by receiving many who had fled to them, from the devouring Sickness, or Plague in the other Parts of the Land; but they had enlarged their Territories, and that both on the Eastern & Western Boundaries. They were reckoned five Thousand fighting Men. (Mss. of Mr. R. W. in Evidence.) And Mr. Williams says, they were so populous, that a Traveller would meet with a dozen Indian Towns in twenty Miles.

In the midst of this mighty, and haughty Peo­ple, the little handful of helpless English, ventur'd to sit down; tho' not without taking all possible Precautions; on the one Hand, to give them no [Page 71]just Offence, and on the other Hand, to keep themselves in the best Posture of Defence their Circumstances would admit of. But the Conquest and utter Destruction of the Pequots, had for the present endeared English-Men to the Narragan­sets. And the Conduct and Valour they had shewn, and the wonderful Success of their Ex­pedition, had made them a Terror to all the Indian Nations round about.

Mr. Williams at first "made a League of pea­ceable Neighbourhood, with all the Sachems and Natives round about"; in this Rhode-Island was included. And on the 7th of July 1640, Mr. Coddington, with the rest of his Assistants, had a particular Treaty of Peace and Amity with My­antonomy and the rest of the Sachems. Neverthe­less, the next Year, there was a Misunderstand­ing, and some Hostilities, occasioned, I think, by some of the Indians, (if not Myantonomy himself) kindling Fire in Mr. Easton's Land, Lord's Day April 4. 1641. whereby an House of his was burnt. But whether it was designedly, or only through carelessness, don't plainly appear in the Records. However it alarmed the People, and among other Measures, they fitted out an armed Boat, to ply round the Island, to keep off the Indians from Landing; and it seems in some Scuffle on that Account, two English Men were wounded, and one Indian slain; tho' the Orders to the Soldiers were [Page 72]as mild and prudent as could be given. They likewise appointed Garrison Houses, to which the People were to repair on an Alarm. Among which I find one was Mr. Lenthal's the Minister. But the Rupture lasted not long, before Peace was restored.

In 1643 Myantonomy the great Sachem of the Narragansets, was taken Prisoner by Uncas Sa­chem of the Moheags, and some time after Slain, and as some of the English say, after Quarter and Promise of Life given. This excited his Subjects to revenge his Death, but the Terror of the English at the Messachusetts kept them quiet. And so 'tis said, that seven Years after, there were some Commotions stilled, by the same Terror likewise in 1653, &c. &c

In 1652 when the Council of State confirmed their Patent, the People were put on some En­terprises against the Dutch at New-York, or New-Netherlands, and the next Year the Island sent some Men to the Assistance of their Country-Men, settled at Long-Island, which gave great Offence to the Towns on the Main, and in the two Dutch Wars, in King Charles 2d's Time, the Colony & Island were put to considerable Expence and Trouble, to put and keep themselves in a Posture of Defence.

[Page 73] In 1675 Philip, King of the Wampaneags, began a War against Plymouth Colony in June, which soon spread almost throughout all New-England. Tradition says, "He was forced on by the Fury of his young Men, sore against his own Judgment and Inclination; and that tho' he foresaw, and foretold the English would in Time by their In­dustry, root out all the Indians, yet he was a­gainst making War with them, as what he tho't would only hurry on, and increase the Destruction of his People:" and the Event proved he judged right. The Powaws had foretold Philip, no Eng­lish Man should ever kill him, which accordingly proved true; he was shot dead by an Indian. *

[Page 74] When Philip could no longer resist the Impor­tunity of his Warriours, he, like a wise Man, took the most proper Measures, to make their Enterprize effectual, especially by an early En­deavour, to perswade the other Indian Nations into the War, that with united Forces, they might fall on the English every where at once; and particularly he endeavoured to perswade the Narragansets, who had several Pretensions to quarrel with the English, and who were then re­puted [Page 75] four Thousand fighting Men. But whe­ther the War began too soon for them, or the first Beginnings discouraged them, or that they did not intend to make War at all; they renew­ed their League of Peace and War with the uni­ted [Page 76]Colonies, in July, a Month after Philip had began Hostilities at Swanzey.

However when he was driven out of his Coun­try, they were charged to have received, and en­tertained his People. Whereupon the united Colo­nies sent an Army of a thousand Men, under Jos. Wins [...]w, Esq He arrived with the Massachusetts and Plymouth Forces, the 12th of December, at Major Smith's in North-Kingston; on the 18th the Connecticut Men being arrived, the Army marched the next Day near 18 Miles to a Sort of a Fort, (19th of Hubb.) which the Indians had raised on a Island of Upland, in the midst of a most hideous Swamp. Their Indian Guide lead them to the only Place where it could be attack­ed, the English fell on with too much Courage and Eagerness, which proved fatal to some of their valiant Captains. However their Victory was compleat; the Fort was taken, and 'tis said seven Hundred fighting Men, and twenty chief Captains of the Enemy were slain that Day, besides Women and Children, and three Hundred more died of their Wounds afterwards, besides the vast Numbers who perished thro' Cold and Hunger. The Loss to the English was of about eighty Men; six Cap­tains slain, and one Hundred and Fifty Men woun­ded, many of them by their own Friends. To­wards Night, they set Fire to the Fort, and re­treated [Page 77]to their Head Quarters, thro' the Cold and Snow. Some tho't, if they had kept Pos­session of the Fort, where was the Indian Provi­sions, they might have saved many of their own wounded Men, and that the Indians must all have perished, thro' Cold and Hunger, or sur­rendred at Discretion the next Morning. Others tho't it a merciful Providence, they retreated so soon, notwithstanding the Fatigue of such a Re­treat. But however that be, which can't so well be judged of now, the wounded and starving [Page 78] Indians, in their Retreat, returned, put out their Fires, and sheltred themselves, and found some Refreshment among the Ashes of the best and strongest Fortification the Indians were ever Mas­ters of in this Country. This was the greatest Action ever performed by the New-English Colo­nies, against the Indians; if we regard either the Numbers of Men on each side, or the Consequences of the Action. Beside that the Indians had now the Use of Guns, as well as they; and were as ex­pert in the Use of them, as any Men in the World. The Indians were soon pursued with Famine and Sickness, so that after they submitted the next Year, they were never formidable again. These Narragansets, do now in a Manner cease to be a People, the few, if any, remaining in the Colony, being either scattered about where the English will employ them, or sheltred under the Successors of Ninegret, a Sachem that refused to join in the War, and so has preserved his Lands to his Pos­terity; and there are a few Indians now living round him, on his Lands, or belonging to his Tribe.

As to the Part this Colony had in that War, it must be observed, that tho' the Colony was not as they [...]ght to have been consulted, yet they not only afforded Shelter and Protection to the flying English, who deserted in many of the neighbouring Plantations, in Plymouth Colony, [Page 79]and were received kindly by the Inhabitants, and relieved, and allowed to plant the next Year on their Commons, for their Support; but they likewise furnished some of the Forces with Provi­sions and Transports: and some of their principal Gentlemen, as Major Sanford, and Capt. Goul­ding, were in the Action at Mount Hope, as Vo­luntiers in Capt. Church's Company, when King Philip was slain. The Indians never landed on the Island, in the War Time, armed Boats being kept plying round, to break their Canoes, and prevent their making any Attempts. But our Settlements on the Main suffered very much, both at Petequamscut, and at Warwick, and at Provi­dence; where the Indians burnt all the ungarrison'd and deserted Houses. And the Inhabitants made heavy Complaints, that when the Army of the united Colonies returned home, they did not leave a sufficient Number of Forces to protect our Plantations, which were now, in a very peculiar [Page 80]Manner, exposed to an exasperated and desperat [...] Enemy.*

[Page 81] As King Philip had no fortified Places, and no Magazines, when the foreign Succour and Assis­tance, which he depended upon, failed him, when the Narragansets were in his own Condition, and the Mohawks refused to assist him, his People lost all Hope, and Courage, and Conduct; being beaten off from their Planting and Fishing, and pursued by Famine and Sickness, and divers Parties of the English, who had their Courage raised in Proportion, as the other Side were dis­couraged, they were forced to surrender almost at Discretion, and beg Peace on any Terms. Philip himself being slain, and most of the chief Captains, the War wholly ceased, in this Part of the Country, and with those Nations who first began the War.

Ever since that Peace, this Colony has had little or nothing to do with the other Indian Wars, but only to assist the other Colonies, when properly consulted and applied to. The Colony bore it's Part chearfully in the several Expeditions against the French a Port-R [...]yal, and Canada. And di­vine Providence remarkably succeeded and smiled on the Defence and Protection of our Sea-Coasts, which were very much exposed all the two long French Wars.

The necessary Defence of the Inhabitants, was never neglected in the Time of War, and since [Page 82]the Peace, the Colony, tho' so small as it is, hath rebuilt an handsome Fort on an Island that com­mands the Harbour of Newport, and 1733 fur­nished it with a Number of fine Guns, at their own Expence. Besides, the Colony always keeps a certain Number of smaller Carriage Guns and small Arms, with all Necessaries and Appurtenances in good Order, ready to put on Board one or more Vessels, as Occasion may require, on the very first Notice of any Enemy on the Coasts. And tho' a large Proportion of the Inhabitants, are not free in their Consciences to learn War, yet the Military Exercises, are kept up as in o­ther Places, and the Success, which formerly attended the Enterprises of our Forces, will, while the Memory thereof remains, keep up a military Spirit, in the Body of the People.

The Narragansets, as I observed, were the most populous Nation among the Indians, but all At­tempts to Civilize or Christianize them were utter­ly ineffectual. Their Sachems would not suffer the Gospel to be preached to their Subjects, and their Subjects obstinately adhered to the Traditions and Customs of their Fore-Fathers. It seems hard that New England should be complain'd of and reproached as particularly negligent of the Con­version of the Indians, and harder still we should be reproached for neglecting the Methods used by the French to make Proselytes of their Indians, [Page 83]and most unhappy that such Complaints, are made by Writers that seem otherwise well acquainted with Plantation Affairs, and are deservedly of great Note and Character. It is happy however these Reproa­ches are not well grounded. NEW ENGLAND, nay the Massachusetts and Ply [...]uth Colonies alone, have had more REAL SUCCESS, in the Conversion of the In­dians, not only than all the larger English Colonies, to the Southward; but than ALL THE OTHER CHRISTIAN NATIONS that have settled throughout the whole Continent of America. The Societies of New Eng-England, could never be contented with such sort of Converts as the Roman Catholick Missionaries boasted of in many Places; they had no Satis­faction in the Religion of the nominal Christians in Europe, and tho't it would be no Advantage, to make such Christians among the Indians, as knew no more of the Gospel, than to make the Sign of the Cross, or who desired Baptism only, for the sake of the new Shirt, with which their Conversion was to be rewarded. And there was very great Opposition, to the making them real Christians. Their Sachems or Princes generally, their Powaws or Priests always, opposed all their Power and all their Arts to prevent the Growth of the Gospel, as what they imagined would put an End to their Authority, especially that of their Priests; and the Customs of the People, their way of Life, and their national Vices, made it a most difficult Task to gospellize such People, as [Page 84]must be first civilized or humanized. The New-English wonder to hear themselves reproached, for not intermarrying with such Barbarians, of a Com­plection so different; they never had the Temp­tations to the unnatural Mixture, as some foreign Plantations had, nor do they know other English Plantations used to do so.

As to this Colony in Particular; at first, the Nar­ragansets made it a publick Interest, to oppose the Propagation of the Christian Religion. And tho' Mr. Williams made some laudable Attempts, to instruct them, yet he was much discouraged, not only by want of a lawful Warrant, or an imme­diate Commission to be an Apostle to them, but especially by (as he tho't) the insuperable Diffi­culty of preaching Christianity to them, in their own Language with any Propriety, without Inspiration. After the War, they were soon reduced to the Condition of the labouring Poor, without Property, Hewers of Wood, and Drawers of Water; and there is no more Reason to expect Religion, shou'd by human Means, thrive among such People, than among the lazy and abandoned Poor in London. The few that have lived much together, on Nini­grets Lands, have had several Offers of the Gos­pel, as the Narragansets had before; and at pre­sent the Congregational Minister at Westerly is a Missionary to them, and encouraged by an Ex­hibition from the Scotch Society for propagating [Page 85]Christian Knowledge, by means of an Estate, mor­tified to them for this End, by the late Dr. Daniel Williams of London. However, it must be own­ed we have been too soon discouraged, and too negligent in this Affair. Perhaps it is one of the worst Effects of the variety of religious Opinions, among the English, that it has been some hindrance to this good Work, and even furnished the Indians some times, with an Excuse or Pretence to wave any Offers to instruct them. If the Manners of any, have likewise prejudiced any Indians, it is most lamentable. The Vices of Christians have been an insurmountable Obstacle to the progress of Christianity, in all the other Parts of the World, as there are too many Evidences. May these Reflections, however, stir us up to adorn our holy Religion, and to be careful that we give none Offence to any, that are without: And may it dispose all Persons to contribute all in their Power, to farther the Conversion of these People to the Christian Religion. They demand our Compassion, and our Prayers to the Throne of Grace, that God would remove the Vail from their Eyes, and all Prejudices from their Hearts; that he would convert and save them.

Mr. R. Williams at first, gave a promising Character, of the Morals of these People; but on longer Acquaintance, and more Experience, he seems to have altered his Opinion of them; [Page 86]as appears by some Expressions in a Manuscript of his yet remaining. ‘The Distinction of drunken, and sober honest SACHEMS, is (says he) both lamentable, and ridiculous; lamen­table, that all Pagans are given to Drunken­ness; and ridiculous, that those (of whom he was speaking) are excepted. It is (says he) notoriously known, what Consciences all Pa­gans make of Lying, Stealing, Whoring, Mur­dering. &c. 25th 6th m. 1658.

After this Account of their Morals, I should think it hardly worth while to inquire, what was their Faith and Worship that had so little Effect on their Conversation; if we had not just heard what a scandal to Christianity, the Lives of too many Christian are. However the Faith of this People and their idolatrous Worship, was much like the other Indian Nations. They believed in one Great and Good God, who lived somewhere at a great Distance in the South West, and that the Spirits of Good Men do after Death reside with him. But, the Government of the World, they seem'd to think, left in the Hands of an Evil God, the Devil, to whom, with many inferior & sub­ordinate Deities, they paid their chief Worship, at their Nicemmors, or devilish Feasts, as Mr. Wil­liams calls them.

[Page 87] The Indians in this Part of America, appear to have been some of the least improved, of the humane Species, without any Learning, or Know­ledge in any of the politer Arts of Life, even without Iron and the Improvements which depend on that. The strange Destruction of this People, now since the Wars ceased, and within Memory, is very remarkable. Their insuperable Aversion to the English industry, and Way of Life, the Alteration from the Indian Method of living, their Laziness, and their universal Love of Strong Drink, have swept them away, in a wonderful Manner. So that there are now above twenty English to one Indian in the Colony. Their few miserable Remainders are left, as Monuments of the Anger of a righteous God, and for our Warning & Instruction. While the Cont [...]ntions, and mutual Animosities of the Indians in gene­ral, and their cursed Thirst of Revenge, made them a Prey to the Weak, and small Number of English, we should learn not to bite & devour one another, lest we be devoured one of another, or of the Judgments of God. While we have seen their Iniquities prove their Ruin, we should learn to break off from our Sins by Righteousness, and especially abstain from, and watch against the Sins, which have been so evidently both, the procuring Causes, and the Means, of their De­struction. When God was conducting the Israe­lites to the Land of Canaan, and driving out the [Page 88]Inhabitants, to make room for them, he was pleased to warn and require them, not to defile themselves with the Abominations of those Na­tions, lest as the Land then spued out its Inha­bitants, so it should spue out them likewise, when they in like manner defiled it. Tho' it wou'd be ridiculous to compare our selves, to the Israelites, and the Indians to the Canaanites, in many Instan­ces, yet in this Respect, it may be proper to ar­gue, that if we Indianize in our Manners and Vi­ces, they will in Time draw down the like, or as heavy Judgments of God, upon us, as those with which he hath destroyed our Predecessors. God grant that the People, who have been over­thrown in the Wilderness may be Ensamples to us, to prevent our lusting after any Evils, lest we be destroyed likewise of the Destroyer!—

And this brings me now at last, to the RE­MARKS I promised at the Beginning. And

1. The first is, The wonderful and unsearchable Providence of GOD, in the whole Affair, of driving out the Natives, and planting Colonies of Europeans, and Churches of Christians, in the Place of Heathe­nism and Barbarity.

I pretend not to have known the Mind of the LORD, or to have been his Counseller, or to be able to comprehend, the Ways of divine Provi­dence. GOD's Judgments are a great Deep; [Page 89]but we must be wilfully blind, if we cannot see, that the Hand of the Lord hath wrought this.

The Discovery, and the Conquest of AMERICA, with the amazing Desolations wrought therein, appear a more remarkable Event, than a [...] other in all prophane History, since the universal De­luge. A new World, as it was justly called, dis­covered to the other, or rather to Europe, and all its Riches and Glory overturned, and given away to an other People; and the Aboriginal Natives, by Famine, Sword and Pestilence, de­stroyed, and wasted away by Millions throughout all America! Who can tell how, or how long it had been inhabited; and by what a Series of Iniquity, it was ripe for such a fea [...]ful Desolation, such an utter Destruction! If we believe a Pro­vidence (and 'tis impossible we can believe none) we must needs think it concerned, in the Preser­vation, and the Punishment of Kingdoms, and Nations; and that these Parts of the World, tho' seperated, hid, and unknown to the rest, are yet as near the Omnipresence of GOD, and as much under his Government, as any other. And there­fore we should take Notice of the wonderful Provi­dence of GOD, in this great Affair. How should we learn to submit our little personal Affairs, to the divine Providence, when we see that Nations, before Him, are but as the small Dust of the Ballance? And how justly may we say, Great and marvellous [Page 90]are thy Works, O Lord GOD Almighty; true & faithful are thy Ways, and righteous are thy Judgments, thou King of Saints; who shall not fear thee, and glorify thy Name, for thou only art holy: Let all Nations come and worship before thee, for thy Judgments are made manifest. The most High ruleth in the Kingdoms of Men, and giveth them to whomsoever he pleaseth.

Again, the Settlement of New England in parti­cular, was evidently providential, in many Respects. I have mentioned often the prevailing Mo­tive with the People, who came first to plant and inhabit in this Wilderness; but the Difficulties and Discouragements in their Way, were really many and very great; so that who­ever reflects the least upon them, ‘must wonder so many were carried out from a flourishing State, to a Wilderness so far distant; for (as One of them, Mr. Shepherd of Cambridge; his Life in the Magnalia; says) "they were not all of them rash and weak spirited Persons, incon­siderate of what they left behind, and were going to. It was not Gain, or Riches they aimed at. When we look back (says he) and consider, what a strange Poise of Spirit, God had laid on many of our Hearts, we cannot but wonder at our selves, that so many, and some so weak and tender, with such Chearfulness, and constant Resolution, against so many Per­swasions of Friends, & Discouragements from [Page 91]the ill Reports of the Country, and the Straits and Wants, and Trials of God's People in it, yet should leave our Accommodations & Com­forts, forsake our dearest Relations, overlook all the Dangers and Difficulties of the vast Sea, and all this to go into a Wilderness, where we could forecast nothing but Care and Temptati­ons, only in hopes to enjoy CHRIST in his Ordinances, and the Fellowship of his People.’

Moreover, as these People came not here, for Plunder, which drew over the Spaniards to the Southward, neither did they settle themselves by Force or by their own Might; but GOD was pleased to make ready a Place prepared as an Asylum for them: And since he has wonderfully driven out and consumed the Natives by his de­vouring Judgments, their Sins have proved their Punishment; and their detestable Vices, have drawn on those mortal Sicknesses, which have wasted away all within the English Pale, but a few embraced Christianity, or who by submitting to the English Power, remains the Memorials of these wonderful Events. It is true, the Indian Jealousy and Revenge prevented a Union among their several Clans at first, and made them in­strumental in the Destruction of one another, and the English had great Advantages in their Arms; but still the Indians vastly out-numbred them; were more able to endure Fatigue, & Hardships, Hunger, & Travel; and were perfectly acquaint­ed [Page 92]with their own Country. However a remar­kable Interposition of Providence, was visible in some of the earliest, and other the most important En­terprises against them; and it would be unjust not to give to GOD the Glory due to his Name: The LORD is King for ever, and the Heathen are perished out of the Land! As therefore GOD hath planted this People, and not their own Skill, or Power, so neither let them imagine it was for their Merits and Deserts: We know not the secret and future Designs of Providence. Only let us remember, that He who chastiseth the Heathen, will also correct those, who are called by his Name, if they turn to Folly.

Again, 'tis remarkable how divine Providence was pleased to supply their Wants in a Wilder­ness, among a People that never took care for the Morrow; and to support them under the Distresses they were tried with. At Plymouth and Boston, many died at first, for want of Necessaries and Conveniencies, but afterwards, it was many Years, before any Sickness prevailed amongst the Planters. And tho' they have often since been visited with sore Calamities, and wasting Sick­nesses, yet their Numbers have continually increased to a very great Degree; while the Na­tives have been wasted away, by the same Diseases, and some other infectious Distempers, from which the English have been providentially [Page 93]delivered. I can't help observing here, the very great Age, to which many of the first Settlers of this Colony lived. Many of them thro' all the Difficulties and Hardships of a new Plantatio [...], lived here near and some above forty Years, and some above sixty. * Remarkable was the Care [Page 94]of divine Providence in preserving them from Famine in a new Country, where 'twas some Time before they could be enabled, to provide for their comfortable Subsistence. God was pleased to bless their Provision, and satisfy his Poor with Food.

[Page 95] II. We must remark (however it will sound in the Ears of many) that this Colony was a Settle­ment, and Plantation for Religion and Conscience sake. The first Comers, came on this Account; their Bre­thren may have said many hard Things of them, in their Haste; but 'tis certain the first Planters of this Colony, and Island, fled not from Religion, Order, or good Government; but to have Li­berty to Worship GOD, and enjoy their own re­ligious Opinions and Belief. They left England for the same Reasons, and with the same Views, as the rest; and they left the Massachusetts, as they tho't, on the like Account, and came here to pursue, and effect the Ends of their first re­moval into America.

I know well what Account, the New English Historians give of that Set of Men; but we must remember, they were Parties, and wrote by way of Apology, or to vindicate themselves from the Charge of Persecution, or Error and Heresy, both alike odious. Now if it be considered what Ac­count contending Parties, usually give of each other, and in what a Light, and with what Co­lours they usually represent their Adversaries; no one will charge me, with any Design to re­flect [Page 96]on those Gentlemen, whose Memory is so highly regarded in the other New-English-Colo­nies, if I beg leave to question and suspect the ill Character, they have fastned on those poor People, some of whom have expressed a deep Resentment of the Injury, and Wrong that was done them, by the Historians of the other Party. Whoever considers the Character, those Writers give of all other Sects, and Parties of Christians; and the Character some other Parties give of them, will be apt to think that both Sides are to be read with Allowance for their respective Prejudices, I say, whoever considers the Character the con­tending Parties of Christians, almost for ever give, not only of each others Tenets, or Opinions, but of their Conduct, especially in so far as relates to the Support or Spreading their Opinions; not only the Papists of the Protestants, but the Pro­testants of one another, particularly the Lutherans of the Calvinists: (Hornbeck; Summ.) Who­ever considers how common 'tis for personal Re­flections, to mix with solemn Debates, on the highest and most awful Doctrines, as well as the least and most indifferent; I say, whoever con­siders these Things, will readily acknowledge we are not to take the Character of any Sect or Person, barely from the Description of known Adversaries; especially when the Description doth it self imply many Circumstances, which carry the strongest Grounds of Suspicion with them.

[Page 97] If there be any thing in that Observation, ‘that the Nature, and Import of the Questions, about which the Difference began, and the Zeal wherewith they were handled, intimate some­thing of the holy Temper, prevailing among the Body of the People;’ (Magnalia.) I desire it may be considered, that those Persons, were in repute with the very best, for Holiness and Zeal, before this unhappy Contention. Moreover, it must be remembred, that the Points about which they were charged with Error, are of such a Na­ture as that a Person's Sentiments may be easily mistaken, and misrepresented. It was long before the Church at Boston could have any Evidence of their holding those Opinions, which that Church condemned, the Witnesses at the last were Parties and transported with Zeal. 'Tis not doubted there was some Difference in their Opinions, at least in their Expressions; but there is much Ground to doubt, whether any of them held all the Opinions condemned in the Synod, and that few of them held many of those harsh Consequences, which their Adversaries, drew from their Tenets. Be­sides much the greater Number were never cen­sured at all; but (as I observed before) consider­ed as Brethren; long after their coming here.

We cannot reasonably suppose that they di­rectly forgot or neglected the sole End of their Removal, but as they followed that Church Order, [Page 98]they judged most agreable to the Will of GOD, and professed those Opinions, and Articles of Be­lief they tho't GOD had revealed, so we must charitably judge, the Life of Religion, and the Love and Fear of GOD, did not go out, and vanish away, on their leaving all, for his Name sake and the Gospel, i. e. the Liberty to worship Him ac­cording to their Consciences. And yet all the other Colonies will be obliged to own, that the Trials and Temptations of a Wilderness, had some unhappy Effects, on many who had shewn great Zeal about Religion.

However, while we are contemplating the Oc­casion of our Settlement, and the Ends & Views of our pious Ancestors, when we find that Religion and Conscience began the Colony, 'tis natural, 'tis neces­sary to reflect & consider how these Ends are ans­wered by their Posterity at present. Our Fathers bore the Heat & Burden of the Day, and tho' Provi­dence gave them a pleasant and fruitful Land,* [Page 99]the Garden of New England, yet the subduing and cultivating a Wilderness, was a tedious, and a laborious Business, and necessarily attended with many Hardships, Straits, and Difficulties. Their Posterity possess the Fruit of their Labour, and should think themselves obliged to fulfil the pious Ends of our Plantation. GOD justly ex­pects that we fear the Lord our God, and Love Him, and walk in his Ways, and serve him with all our Heart. It seems, that pure Religion, and true Godliness, is what we in a most peculiar [Page 100]manner, owe to GOD, as the very Quit-Rents of our Lands, & an Acknowlegement of the merci­ful Providences in our first Settlement; as well as for the constant Favours of GOD to us ever since.

The Posterity of a People, who were guided by the Providence of GOD, to this happy Island, as a safe Retreat from the stormy Winds; as a Place of freedom to practice every Branch of Religion in, must be inexcusable, if they degenerate and forget the God of their Fathers. The very Instru­ment of our original Incorporation, obliges us to "serve GOD & JESUS CHRIST, & obey all his holy Laws." Irreligion then, and Prophanness, and Immorality must be a peculiar Reproach to such a People. Our Fathers will rise up in Judg­ment against, and condemn their degenerate Off­spring, and the GOD of our Fathers will cast us off for ever, if we do not practice that Sobriety, Righteousness, and Godliness, which his Gospel requires, and we are under so many peculiar Obligations to observe. Nay, it will be more tolerable for the Pequots, the Wampaneags, the Narragansets in the Day of Judgment, than for such of us as obey not the Gospel of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. It is true, the Indian Nations did obstinately refuse the Gospel, but they knew not what they did; they did it ignorantly, and in Unbelief; while we have known our Master's Will; and to whom much is given, of them much [Page 101]will be required. As we have been as it were lifted up to Heaven with Privileges, our Fall will be so much the greater, in the bottomless Pit, un­less we lay hold on eternal Life.

If our Neighbours observe the Manners of the Inhabitants are reformed in any Instances, for­merly grievous to them; let us endeavour to re­form whatever is still really amiss among us, and put away the Evil of our Doings, that the Lord GOD may dwell among us. May we be noted only, and ever, for the general Discharge of all publick and private Vertues; for the impartial Administration of Justice; and the steddy Exe­cution of good and wholesome Laws; and for leading quiet and peaceable Lives, in all Godliness and Honesty.

It is an old and common Observation, that the Stature, and Complection* of humane Creatures, as well as of Plants and Animals; yea, and the Genius and Dispositions of a People, are very much influenced by the Soil, and Climate; by the [Page 102]Situation, the Nature, and Circumstances of the Place they inhabit. Thus, the Inhabitants of the several Parts of Italy, of Germany &c. are cha­racterized from their respective Countrys; and thus it was observed of the Carthaginians. The peculiar Genius, and Dispositions of a People, must arise from hence; or the Form of Govern­ment, and Laws they live under; or the Genius of the present chief Commanders. The Narragansets, who inhabited this Tract of Lands, before us, were not remarkable among the Indians, for many Vices peculiar to them, only that in proportion to their greater populousness, they exceeded in the Vices, common to all the Indian Nations. Idleness and Intemperance are every where branded, as Indian Vices; and they were complained of, as shamefully negligent in the Education of their Children, and that they had in a Manner, no Family Government at all. Tho' the Face of the Country is greatly changed by English Industry, and an almost Immense Labour and Expence, yet a plentiful Country will always afford its Inhabitants Inducements and Tempta­tions to abuse the divine Goodness, and to turn the Grace of GOD into Wantonness. If instead of having been able, to teach the Indians, Christian [Page 103]Vertues, we should learn, and imitate the Indian Vices, how unhappy, how reproachful, how la­mentable would it be? Surely, we must think GOD expects more from us, with all our Ad­vantages of Knowlege, with the Gospel, the Word of GOD; which is able to make us wise to Salvation, thro' Faith that is in Christ Jesus. We have not only the Light of Reason, brightned and improved, but Revelation, to be as a Guide to us: Let us make the Scriptures then as a Light to our Feet, and a Lamp to our Path.

And in fine, let every Sect, and Party of Christians among us, be followers of GOD as dear Children: Let us be careful to build only Gold, Silver, precious Stones, on the Rock of Ages, the true Foundation of our Faith, and Hope: Let us walk worthy of GOD to all well pleasing, and a­dorn the Christian Religion in general, in the Sight of the Heathen; and recommend our distinguishing Opinions to one another, by a more exemplary Behaviour; and so induce others to glorify GOD our Heavenly Father.

III. Liberty of Conscience was the Basis of this Colony. Our Fathers tho't it just and necessary to allow each other mutually to worship GOD, as their Consciences were respectively perswaded: They tho't no Man had Power over the Spirit of GOD; and that the Duty of the Magistrate was [Page 104]to leave every one to follow the Light of his Conscience. They were willing to exhibit to the World, an Instance that Liberty of Consci­ence was consistent with the publick Peace, and the flourishing of a civil Common Wealth, as well as that Christianity could subsist without Com­pulsion, and that bearing each others Burdens, was the way to fulfil the Law of Christ.

I do not know there was ever before, since the World came into the Church, such an Instance, as the Settlement of this Colony and Island. In other States the civil Magistrate had for ever, a publick Driving in the particular Schemes of Faith, and Modes of Worship; at least, by nega­tive Discouragements, by annexing the Rewards of Honour and Profit to his own Opinions; and generally, the Subject was bound by penal Laws, to believe that Set of Doctrines, and to worship GOD in that Manner, the Magistrate pleased to prescribe. Christian Magistrates would unaccoun­tably assume to themselves, the same Authority in religious Affairs, which any of the Kings of Judah, or Israel, exercised, either by Usurpation, or by the immediate Will, and Inspiration of GOD; and a great deal more too. As if the becoming Christian, gave the Magistrate any new Right, or Authority over his Subjects, or over the Church of Christ; and as if that because they submitted personally to the Authority, and [Page 105]Government of Christ in his Word, that there­fore they might cloath themselves with his Au­thority; or rather, take his Scepter out of his Hand, and lord it over GOD's Heritage. It is lamentable that Pagans and Infidels allow more Liberty to Christians, than they were won't to allow to one another. 'Tis evident, the civil Magistrate as such, can have no Authority to decree Articles of Faith, and to determine Modes of Worship, and to interpret the Laws of Christ for his Subjects, but what must belong to all Ma­gistrates; but no Magistrates can have more Au­thority over Conscience, than what is necessary to preserve the publick Peace; and that can be only to prevent one Sect, from oppressing ano­ther, and to keep the Peace between them. No­thing can be more evidently proved, than "the Right of private Judgment for every Man, in the Affairs of his own Salvation," and that both from the plainest Principles of Reason, and the plain­est Declarations of the Scripture. This is the Foun­dation of the Reformation, of the Christian Re­ligion, of all Religion, which necessarily implies Choice and Judgment. But I need not labour a Point, that has been so often demonstrated, so many Ways. Indeed as every Man believes his own Opinions the best, because the truest, and ought charitably to wish all others of the same Opinion, it must seem reasonable, the Magistrate should have a publick Leading, in religious Affairs, [Page 106]but as he almost for ever exceeds the due Bounds, and as Error prevails ten Times more than Truth in the World, the Interest of Truth, and the Right of private Judgment seem better secured, by a universal Toleration, that shall suppress all Prophaness, and Immorality, and preserve every Party, in the free and undisturbed Liberty of their Consciences, while they continue quiet & dutiful Subjects to the State.

Our Fathers established a mutual Liberty of Conscience, when they first Incorporated themselves: this they confirmed under their first Patent, and and at the Restoration, they petitioned King Charles 2d. (Charter) ‘That they might be permitted, to hold forth a lively Experiment, that a most flourishing civil State, may stand, and best be maintained, and that among Eng­lish Subjects, with a full Liberty in religious Concernments, and that true Piety rightly grounded on Gospel Principles, will give the best and the greatest Security to Sovereignty; and will lay in the Hearts of Men, the strong­est Obligations to true Loyalty.’ And the King was pleased to make them a Grant, by which every Person may ever freely and fully have & en­joy his own Judgment or Conscience in Matters of religious Concernment, behaving himself peacea­bly and quietly, and not using this Liberty, for Licentiousness, and Prophaness, nor to the civil [Page 107]Injury, or outward Disturbance of others. This happy Priviledge we enjoy to this Day, thro' the divine Goodness; and the Experiment has fully answered, and even beyond what might have been expected, from the first Attempt. The civil State has flourished, as well as if secured by ever so many penal Laws, and an Inquisition to put them in Execution. Our civil Officers have been chosen, out of every religious Society, and the publick Peace has been as well preserved, and the publick Councils as well conducted, as we could have expected, had we been assisted by ever so many religious Tests.

All Prophaness, and Immorality, are punished by the Laws made to suppress them; and while these Laws are well executed, speculative Opi­nions, or Modes of Worship, can never disturb or injure the Peace of a State, that allows all its Subjects an equal Liberty of Conscience. In­deed it is not variety of Opinions, or seperation in [Page 108]Worship, that makes Disorders, and Confusions in Government: It is the unjust, unnatural, and ab­surd Attempt to force all to be of one Opinion, or to feign and dissemble that they are; or the cruel and impious punishing those, who can't change their Opinions without Light, or Reason; and will not dissemble against all Reason, and Conscience. It is the wicked Attempt to force Men to worship GOD in a Way, they believe He hath neither commanded, nor will accept; and the restraining them from worshipping Him in a Me­thod, they think He has instituted, and made necessary for them; and in which alone, they can be sincere Worshippers, and accepted of GOD; in which alone, they can find Comfort, & Peace of Conscience, and approve themselves before GOD; in which alone, they can be honest Men, and good Christians. Persecution will ever oc­casion Confusion & Disorder, or if every Tongue is forced to confess, and every Knee to bow to the Power of the Sword: this it self is the great­est of all Disorders, and the worst of Confusions in the Kingdom of Christ Jesus.

Liberty of Conscience was never more fully enjoyed in any Place, than here; and this Colony, with some since formed on the same Model, have prov'd that the terrible Fears, that Barbarity would break in, where no particular Forms of Worship or Discipline are established by the civil [Page 109]Power, are really vain and groundless;* and that Christianity can subsist without a National Church, or visible Head; and without being in­corporated into the State. It subsisted so for the first three hundred Years; yea, in Opposition and Defiance to all the Powers of Hell and Earth. And 'tis amazing to hear those who plead for penal Laws, and the Magistrates Right, & Duty to govern the Church of CHRIST, to hear such Persons, call the early Times, the golden Age of Christianity.

However, as the best Things, the wisest Insti­tutions are subject to some Inconveniencies, while some Good may accidentally follow the very worst Things in the World, it may be worth our while to consider, whether some Inconveniencies do not naturally, or have not in Fact, followed or attended our Constitution. The popish Inqui­sition it self, which is such an open Tyranny o­ver Conscience, and such an absolute Destruction of the Essentials of Christianity, and all true Religion, yet keeps up the Face and Shew of the greatest Decorum, Order, and Harmony imagi­nable. It ought not to be wondred at, if an unli­mited [Page 110]Toleration of every Doctrine, or Form of Christian Worship, tho' never so just in it self, and so useful and beneficial in many Respects, yet in some other Respects, may be attended with, or productive of some Inconveniencies. We know some followed on the Gospel itself. It can't be wondred at, if some should make an ill Use of this Liberty; yea, if this Liberty it self, should be unhappily a Snare to some Men. Have, never any in no Parts of the Colony, appeared lost, and bewildred in a variety of Opinions round them? At least, is it not likely, there should be some Persons so weak and unstable? Have never any pretended, to think it needless, or endless, to search after Truth, among so many Pretenders to it? And have not some, in the Heat and Hurry of Dispute about the Circumstantials of Christia­nity, the Circumstances of Order, Time, & Place, grown cold or negligent, about the Vitals & Essen­tials of the Gospel Covenant? Hath not too much Zeal about outward Things, too often occasioned Censoriousness, and Uncharitableness, and starved the Life of Religion? Is there no Foundation for that Character that has been given of too many among us, that ‘they have a thorough Indifference for all that is sacred, being equally careless of outward Worship, and of inward Principles, whether of Faith or Practice." And "that they have worn off a serious Sense of all Re­ligion.’ It would be no wonder if some or all [Page 111]these evil Consequences, should have followed, in some Degree; they have often done so in other Places, even where there was not the like fair Occasion. The Tempter always suits his Tempta­tions, to the Circumstances of those he assaults. But these Things will be no good Objection against Liberty of Conscience, because infinitely greater Evils, necessarily follow on Persecution for Cons­cience sake.

Nevertheless our own Experience, on the Ob­servations, and Reproaches of others, will dis­pose us to be peculiarly careful, against all these Evils, and some others, that our Constitution may be peculiarly liable and exposed to. Here in a particular Manner, let us be exhorted,

1. To prevent our religious Differences, from be­ing ever carried into our civil Affairs—Let them never make Factions in Government.—

2. Let us study for Peace, and to promote mutual Love among Christians of every Denomination. We should love all of CHRIST, we see in them, and as far as possible speak the same Things. On the one Hand, we should take heed that Charity and mutual Forbearance don't sink into Lukewarmness and Indifference to the Truth of the divine Insti­tutions; and on the other Hand, we should main­tain our own Opinions, and manage the Defence of them, when Need requires it, with a Christian [Page 112]Spirit of Candour, and Moderation. Especially, let us be warned by our own History, to take heed of imputing to others, the Consequences we think follow from their Opinions; if on the Account of the Consequences, we can't embrace their O­pinions, yet let us remember, every Man's Opi­nion must be taken from his own Understanding, and Judgment, and not from the Understanding, and Judgment of other Men.

It is no Pleasure to any real Christian, to see his Brethren, the Disciples of JESUS CHRIST, so divided as they are thro' the World, in their Opinions of various Articles, of his Religion; and much less, to see them so divided in their Affections. Indeed, considering the finite Capacity, and the Corruption of humane Nature, we ought to expect a variety of Opinions in Religion, as well as in every Thing else. But as the Enemies to the Cross of Christ, make this, tho' unjustly, a Reproach to Christianity; and as many weak Persons, are car­ried away with the Errors of the Wicked, every sincere Christian can't help wishing, that every stumbling Block, and Rock of Offence, was re­moved out of the Way, and that all Christians walked in the Truth, with one Consent of Heart and Voice. It is a Grief to a Christian, as 'tis a Scandal to the whole World, to see Christians, (so called) full of Envy, and Malice, hating, and reviling one another, and smiting with the Fist of [Page 113]Wickedness. This, when all is said and done, is a more full and just Argument, that such have no Part in Christ, than any supposed orthodoxy of Opinion, can be of their Interest in Him. For by this (says he) shall all Men know that ye are my Disciples, if ye have Love one to ano­ther. It is a glorious Sight, to see the Disciples of JESUS, live in Love & Peace, and "sweetly bear with one another in their lesser Differences:" To see every one, keeping the Ordinances, as he thinks CHRIST has commanded him, and at the same Time, carefully abstaining from all Evil, and the Appearances of Evil; and practising whatso­ever Things are true, honest, just, and pure; whatsoever Things are lovely, and of good Report.

When we have Freedom to search the Scripture, and Liberty to believe, and profess what we find there revealed, how unhappy would it be, if any should neglect their Priviledge, and be Fools and slow of Heart to improve the Opportunity they enjoy? How unhappy would it be, if any should neglect the Worship of GOD, and the Institutions of CHRIST JESUS, because they are not enforced by humane penal Laws? Let us be all able ever to give an Answer to every one, that asks us a Reason of the Hope that is in us, with Meekness, and Fear; and let us lay aside all Wrath, Anger, Malice, Bigotry, and Censoriousness; and en­deavour to pay a universal and constant Regard [Page 114]to the Will of GOD, revealed in his Word. Let us be united to Christ Jesus by a true & living Faith; and let every Man take heed how he build­eth: Other F [...]undation can no Man lay, than that which is laid, viz the Prophets & Apostles, Jesus Christ himself being the great corner Stone. Now if any Man build on this Foundation, Gold, Silver, precious Stones, Wood, Hay, Stubble; every Man's Work shall be made manifest. For the Day shall declare it, be­cause it shall be revealed by Fire; and the Fire shall try every Man's Work, of what sort it is. If any Man's Work shall be burnt, he shall suffer Loss; but he himself shall be saved; yet so, as by Fire.

3. Above all Things, let us unite in the practice of Piety and Holiness. Let us do justly, and love Mercy, and walk humbly with GOD; let us deny all Ungodliness, and every worldly Lust, & live soberly, righteously, and godly, and perfect Ho­liness in the fear of GOD. These Things we may do without any Offence to any Party of Christians. If we be followers of that which is Good, who are they that will harm us, or be offended at us on that Account. Each Party requires all Men, to be re­deemed from a vain Conversation; every Party owns the Necessity, if they differ in the Nature of the Obligation of these Duties: Let us then unite in the Practice of them, and have our Conversation, as becometh the Gospel, which we in common pro­fess. How unhappy, how inexcusable, would it [Page 115]be, if Liberty of Conscience should degenerate into Licenciousness, and open a Door for a Flood of Im­moralities? If while we plead a Right to think, and judge for our selves, and reject all meer hu­man Authority, in Matters of Faith & Worship; we should neglect the sacred Laws of GOD, and the una [...]erable, and eternal Duties of Morality? It is certainly a Reproach to Christians, that they can be so zealously affected, about the Things, which are peculiar & distinguishing to each Sect respectively, and yet be so cold, and negligent of those, wherein they all agree. It is reasonable to suppose those Doctrines & Duties, which all agree in, are the most important, and essential. Let us then be truly concerned to glorify, & serve GOD, by a true & spiritual Worship, and the Vertu [...]s of a good Life; and to imitate the Example, which the great Author and finisher of our Faith hath set us. Let us hold fast the Form of sound Words we have received, and not make Shipwrack of Faith, and a good Conscience.

IV. I hope I shall be excused, if on this Occasion, I exhort the Member of this Church in particular, to review the merciful Providences of GOD, which have hitherto preserved this Vine, which we trust, his own Right Hand hath planted. We may sing of Judgment and of Mercy; in many sore Losses and Bereavements; in some uncomfortable Con­tentions; and in a total failure of Elders, for [Page 116]many Years together. Nevertheless, the burning Bush has not been consumed; the Church has still subsisted, and been resettled again in Peace and Comfort. Various are the Storms in which this Church has been tossed; but thro' them all, GOD has preserved us. May we, and our Successors, be as a Name, and a Praise to Him, throughout all Generations! Let us pray the Father of Lights, and the Lord of the Harvest, to revive and prosper his Work in the midst of these Years. May He unite our Hearts to Love Him more, and Serve Him better; and to Love one another, and strive together to promote his Glory, and our mu­tual Edification, and Growth in Grace. May he that ministreth Seed to the Sower, both minister Bread for y [...]ur Food, and multiply the Seed sown, and in­crease the Fruits of your Righteousness.

As this was the first Society, settled in Church order on this Island, as 'tis the eldest, (tho' nearly the least) let us strive to go before all others, in the primitive Simplicity, Love, Integrity, and publick Spiritedness.

Let us consider, whether we make good the Ground of those pious & excellent Christians, who first formed this Church; & whether the Successors of Men, so holy, and so zealous, are not obliged in a singular Manner, to imitate them, wherein they followed CHRIST. We have professed a Sub­jection to the Gospel of CHRIST; let ou [...] Lights [Page 117]shine before Men; let us adorn the Doctrine of God our SAVIOUR in all Things; and let us hold the Beginning of our Confidence, stedfast to the End; and let us consider one another, to provoke unto Love, and to good Works: In fine, let us con [...]end earnestly for the Faith, and Order of the Gospel, once delivered to the Saints; and at the same Time, maintain the unity of the Spirit in the Bonds of Peace. Him that is weak in the Faith receive, but not to doubtful Disputations. And the GOD of Patience & Consolation grant us to be like minded one towards another, according to CHRIST JESUS.

V. Is it not proper to remark, the very great Alteration which the merciful Providence of GOD has made, in the outward Circumstances, and Accommoda­tions of the Inhabitants of the Island and Colony, since their first Settlement here.

We have reason to think, the very first Setlers, did not come here empty handed; * but as their Stock, on which they lived, was by Degrees consumed, the produce of wild Lands was able to go but a little way, in purchasing a new Supply of many Comforts of Life; and they were obliged to make an hard Shift with such Things, as the present Gene­ration perhaps may too much despise. I don't well know, how to describe the Difference in some Arti­cles, in suitable & grave Expressions: the mention [Page 118]of some Instances, would perhaps surprize many. Let us then be thankful to GOD, who has blessed the Labours of our Hands; and let us not wax Fat and kick against GOD, now we have eaten, and are full of the Mercies of the Lord.

Nay, would it be unuseful, or improper, to think of the outward Accommodations which the pre­sent English Inhabitants enjoy, above the Aboriginal Natives, and their miserable Remainders among us? Doubtless, it would excite our Gratitude to GOD, who has made us to differ, and to say with David, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel, our Father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD, is the Greatness, and the Power, & the Victory, & the Majesty, for all that is in the Heaven, or in the Earth, is thine. Thine is the Kingdom, O LORD, and th [...]u art exalted as Head above all. Both Riches, & H [...]nour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; & in thine Hand is Power, and Might, and in thine Hand it is to make Great, and to give Strength unto all. Now therefore our GOD, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious Name!

VI. Lastly. As the pious People, who first plant­ed this Island and Colony, were so concerned, about the best way of evidencing a Man's good Estate, me­thinks, there is no more proper Remark, for us to finish with, than the Duty, the Wisdom, and the Ne­cessity of every one, to get into a good Estate as to GOD, and the future World; and to se [...]k after suffi­cient and satisfactory Evidence there [...]f.

[Page 119] I mean not to revive the old Dispute; I am well satisfied, the Difference may be compromised, with great Ease & Justice; but to perswade each of us to think of this Article, with seriousness, & suitable Concern. What will it signify, which of those Ways is the most satisfactory, if we our selves have no Grounds for Satisfaction, in either of them? And what can excuse us neglecting to work out our Salvation, and make our Calling & Election sure, when GOD is working in us to will, and to do, of his good Pleasure? Alas! how very com­mon is it for Persons, who live under the Gospel, to be very careless & unconcerned in this Matter? for many who call themselves Christians, to pre­sume they are something, when indeed they are nothing? and cry Peace, Peace to themselves, when they are in the Gall of Bitterness, and the Bonds of Iniquity; and have no Lot or Part in the Christian Salvation?

A Man's good Estate consists in his being recon­ciled to God through Jesus Christ, who was delivered for our Offences, & raised again for our Justification. Let us aim to have both the Testimony of our own Consciences, and the Spirit of God witnessing together with our Spirit, that we are the Children of GOD, and Heirs with CHRIST, to the Inheritance of the Saints in Light. And may He that is able, keep us from falling, and present us faultless, be­fore his Presence with exceeding Joy.

[Page 120] To Conclude, Should not this Solemnity put us in Mind of our mortal transitory Condition, and so stir us up the more, to give Diligence to make our Calling and Election sure. The Generations of Men are passing away continually. Not one Per­son, that we know of, is now alive, of all those who began this Settlement; and but few remain of the second Generation. Death is daily preying upon us. Should we not then be the more quickned in the securing our eternal Welfare? Should we not do with our Might, what our Hands find to do, before the Night of Death overtakes us?

Let us remember we are Strangers and Pilgrims here, as were all our Fathers; and let us seek after a City which is to come, which hath Foundations, whose Builder & Maker is GOD. And let us be followers of those, who through Faith & Patience, inherit the Promises.

Let this Occasion, an Occasion we can never ex­pect again, excite us to number our Days aright; so as to apply our Hearts to true Wisdom. May we so prepare for Death and Judgment, and the eternal World, as that an Entrance may be at last administred to us into the Everlasting Kingdom of our Lord & Saviour JESUS CHRIST: Which GOD of His infinite Mercy grant thro' Him: To whom with the FATHER and the HOLY SPIRIT, be all Honour, Glory & Power, both now & ever. AMEN.

FINIS.
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Title Page, read the first Century.

Dedication p 4 l. 5. r. Opposition. l. 15. r. and his. p. 6. l. 6. f. seemed, r. secured.

Sermon p 1. l. 2. in the Note of Miantonimok r. Miantonimoh. p. 11. l. 18. after and which, insert at first. p. 12. l. 11. after Charter, insert, which included Liberty of Conscience. p. 19. l. 22. f. East r. last. In the Note l. 1. f. Nantiggansick r. Nan­hygansick, p. 22. l. 5 r. express in their own Way. p. 28. l. 7. r. Gods. p. 30. l. 7. dele the south easterly Part of. Note. l. 4. dele first. p. 32. l. 12. r. Wampanoags. p. 34. Note l, 8. r. become. p. 41. l. 20. r. Forms. p. 45 .l. 10. f. Associates r. Assistants. p. 46. l. 17. f. to r. at. p. 53. l. 2. r Judgment. p. 56. Note l. 9. r. Williams. p. 60 l. 17. r. Arguments. p. 62. l. 2. f. this r. the. l. 4. f. their r. these. p 65. l. 25. r. J. & J. Maxon. p. 66. l. 19. r. 1700. p. 70. l. 7. r. Sachem. l. 9. r. Nan­hygansicks p. 72 l. 16. after Terror, insert, and so. p. 73. l. 1. r. Wampanoags. p. 76. l. 12. r. 19th December. p. 78. l. 1. for in, r. on. l. 2. from the bottom, f. in, r. from. p. 79. Notes l. 7. for Awashonks, r Weetamore. p. 83. l. 11. f. Societies, r. Sectaries p 86. l. last but one, r. Nicommors p 91. l. 21. r. a few who. l. 22. r. remain p. 92 l. 19. for Boston, r. Charlestown. p. 94 l. 23 in the Notes, for part of those of them who, r. Proportion, l. 27. r. Recovery. p. 100. l. 23. r. Wampanoags. p. 109 l 4 in the Note r. Groundlessness l. 10. f. the r. those p. 111. l. 10. f. on r. or. p. 112. l. 5. f. the r. those.

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