Mr. Hancock's Century Sermon, September 16th. 1739.


A Memorial of GOD's Goodness. Being the Substance OF TWO SERMONS, Preach'd in the first Church of CHRIST in Braintree, Sept. 16 th. 1739. On compleating the first Century since the Gathering of it.

By John Hancock, M. A. their present Pastor.

Printed at the earnest Desire of the Hearers; in Remembrance of GOD's Mercy. Together with some Marginal Illustrations.

Hos. xi 1 When Israel was a Child, then I loved him, and called my Son out of Aegypt.
1 Chron iv. 22 And these are ancient Things.
Ezra iii 12. But many of the Priests, and chief of the Fathers, who were ancient Men that had seen the first House, when the Foundation of this House was laid before their Eyes, wept with a loud Voice
Rev. ii. 5. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do thy first Works—.

BOSTON: Printed and Sold by SKNEELAND & T. GREEN, over against the Prison in Queenstreet. 1739.


TO The Flock of CHRIST under my Pastoral Care.

Dearly Beloved,

YOUR Importunity, and the Reasons on which it is founded, have prevail'd upon me to publish these Discourses, when no­thing else could have overcome my Aver­sion to the Publication of them. I must confess that such a publick Record of the Wonders of GOD's Power & Mercy in your Settlement & Increase to this Time, is but a proper Testimony of Gratitude to your great Preserver; and may be of Use to perpetuate the Memory thereof in your Families, and throughout your Generations, that the Me­morial of them may not perish from your Seed; but that the Generation to come might know them, even the Children which should be born, who should arise and declare them to their Children. With this moving Argument you have obtained my Consent, and so you will clear me of the Odium of withholding more than is meet.

Having therefore this Testimony in your Hands, you may frequently review it, to see the Dealings of GOD with you and your Fathers, and your Calling to exalt him, and trust in Him. Let it▪ be a Remembrancer to fix in your Minds the Sense of God's ancient loving Kindnesses, and your strong Obligations to an­swer the pious Design of your Transplantation into this Wilder­ness. May those Words of Grace to the People of Israel be remembred and verified unto us,* Thus saith the Lord, I remem­ber thee, the Kindness of thy Youth, the Love of thine Espousals, when thou wentest after me in the Wilderness, in a Land that was not sown: Israel was Holiness unto the Lord, and the first Fruits of his Increase; all that devour him shall offend: Evil shall come upon them, saith the Lord

The uncommon Sufferings and Hardships our Fathers endur­ed in their wearisome Pilgrimage in this Wilderness to seek a godly Seed, should endear their Memory to us, alleviate the Pressure of our own Troubles, and obviate all our Complaints. Alas! our Sufferings are not worthy to be compared with theirs, in the Days of their Pilgrimage; who were in Perils by Robbers, in Perils by their own Country Men, in Perils by the Heathen, in Perils in the Wilderness, in Perils in the Sea, in [Page ii] Perils among false Brethren, in Weariness and Painfulness, in Watching often, in Hunger and Thirst, in Fastings often, in Cold and Nakedness: Why should we then complain and murmur that the former Days were better than these? It is true, GOD may justly complain of us, that as we have been in­creased, so we have sinned against him, and that from the Days of our Fathers we are gone away from his Ordinances and have not kept them. But yet he has not changed our Glory into Shame, nor taken his Kingdom from us. Our temporal Prosperity and In­crease is an encouraging Argument that we are still beloved for the Father's Sake, and for the Sake of the many Thousands in this Land that fear God and think upon his Name.

I am sensible of the Darkness and Difficulty with which some of the Affairs of Government are perplexed at this Time; the Province is in great Affliction, but yet we are not in Despair, so long as our wise Men that are among us are our Pilots, and rule with GOD.

And the revival of Religion among all Orders and Ages of Persons, and particularly of a public charitable Spirit (which we should all earnestly covet) would greatly contribute to ex­tricate us from all our Difficulties and Dangers: for the Re­ligion of Jesus consults the Prosperity of the State as well as of the Church; and the Practice of Godliness will serve the great Interest of both. For the Throne is established by Righteousness, and Righteousness exalteth a Nation, but Sin is the Reproach and will be the Ruin of any People. Thus speaketh the Lord of Hosts, saying, execute true Judgment, and shew Mercy and Compassion every Man to his Brother, and oppress not the Widow, nor the Fa­therless, the Stranger, nor the Poor Zech. 7. 9, 10.

Holy Brethren, Partakers of the heavenly Calling, let my Coun­sel be acceptable to you, to approve your selves good and use­ful Members of the State, and shining Examples of Piety in the Church, praying always, with all Prayer and Supplication in the Spirit, for the Peace of Jerusalem, and seeking its Good, because of the House of the Lord▪ Now the Lord of Peace himself give you Peace always by all Means. The Lord be with you all. You are the Seed of the blessed of the Lord and your Offspring with you▪ I write unto your Fathers, Young Men, and little Children, and ho­nestly design the Glory of GOD and our mutual Edification in the Composure and Publication of the following Discourses; humbly beseeching the God of our Fathers, and the God of all Grace to accompany the same with his Blessing, to make me a faithful Pastor to your Souls, and bless all my Administrations to serve the Interest of our common Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I trust you will cordially accept this Token of unfeigned Love to you, and Desire of your eternal Felicity.

From your affectionate Pastor, JOHN HANCOCK.


ISAIAH LXIII. 7.I will mention the Loving-kindnesses of the LORD, and the Praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us: And the great Goodness towards the House of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his Mercies, and according to the Multitude of his Loving-kindnesses.

THIS Day compleats a Century since the Foundation of this first and ancient Church was laid. Memorable have been the interchangeable Providen­ces of God towards it in this Period, as we may well suppose in the pre­sent mutable State of Things: But it hath survived the various Changes of Time, according to God's Mercies, and according to the Multitude of his Loving kindnesses. Having therefore [Page 2] obtained Help of God, we continue unto this Day, a Mo­nument of his sparing Mercy under the visible Decays of Piety among us; and have this happy Opportu­nity* to commemorate and mention the Loving-kind­nesses and Praises of the Lord, according to all he hath bestowed on us in particular, and his great Good­ness towards his People in general, in the Dispensati­ons both of Grace and Providence.

These Words are a devout Meditation and Expression of God's great and unwearied Goodness to his Church, and the Praises due unto him for it. They were spo­ken either by the Church, or by the Prophet in their Name, and are written for our Learning, and if I mis­take not, will afford us some pious Instructions and Reflections sutable to the Business of this Day.

Here I shall observe this important Truth as com­prehending the Sense of the Text, viz. That it has been the exemplary and pious Care of the Church of God to mention his Loving-kindnesses, and Praises, accord­ing to all that the Lord hath bestowed on them in the Riches of his Mercy; to make a solemn Mention & Me­morial of the Riches of the divine Goodness, as indeed the Church of Christ on Earth, the Church Militant is full of his Riches. The Words of the Text are very empha­tical and full to this Purpose; they abundantly express the Memory of his great Goodness, they express the greatest Sense and Acknowlegement of the Church of Israel, for the great Goodness which God had bestow­ed on them and on their Fathers, according to his Mercies, and according to the Multitude of his Loving-kindnesses.

In discoursing on this Subject I shall endeavour to shew, 1. That it is the Duty and hath been the pious Practice of God's People to preserve and express the Memory of his great Goodness to them. 2. It is also their Duty, and hath been their pious Care to express the Praises of the Lord in Remembrance thereof.

[Page 3] I. I am to shew, that it is the Duty and hath been the pious Practice of God's People to preserve and ex­press the Memory of his great Goodness to them. This is the pious Resolution of the Church of God, I will mention the Loving-kindnesses of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and his great Goodness towards the House of Israel. This supposes a due Commemoration and Sense thereof, and that the Heart is warmed with deep Meditation thereon: For out of the Abundance of the Heart, the Mouth utter­eth the Memory of God's great Goodness, as the de­vout Psalmist declares, My Heart was hot within me, while I was musing the Fire burned, then spake I with my Tongue. Again, I will remember the Works of the Lord; surely I will remember thy Wonders of old; I will meditate also of all thy Work, and talk of thy Doings. Whereas Forgetfulness of God, & his wonderful Works, robs him of the Glory of an honourable Mention of them; therefore the People of God should take great Care to keep in their Minds the Remembrance of his wonderful Works both to themselves & to the Church, lest they bury any of them in ungrateful Oblivion, and restrain their grateful Acknowlegements of them: So they should refresh & strengthen their Memory by fre­quent Recollection & Meditation of them; that they may be always ready to mention them to the Praise of God. Particularly,

1. It well becomes the People of God to make so­lemn Mention of his Loving kindnesses to themselves. I will mention the Loving-kindnesses of the Lord, accord­ing to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us. Every one that is godly will take particular Notice of God's Loving kindness to himself, and be ready to speak of it to the Glory of God. Come and hear all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my Soul. So should every particular Church and Society of Christians consider and declare what great Things the Lord hath done for them; as the Church of Israel celebrates the Memory of God's wonderful Works to [Page 4] them,* The Lord hath done great Things for us, where­of we are glad; as in their Plantation-Growth, Preser­vation, and remarkable Deliverances from manifold Dangers. But how great is the Sum of them! That Declaration of the Psalmist should be often in our Lips, Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful Works, which thou hast done, and thy Thoughts which are to us-ward, they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee. If I would declare and speak of them, they are more then can be num­bred. But the more remarkable Instances of God's Loving kindness should be sutably noticed & celebrated by us as we are a Body of People, or a Communion of visible Saints, a Church of Christ.

The planting and settling of Churches is the Work of the Lord that he may be glorified. God sends his Gospel into one Place of his Dominion, and not into a­nother, affords to one Nation the Means of Salvation, and not to another, one Piece is rained upon, and made fruitful with the Doctrines of Grace and Salvation, and the Piece whereupon it raineth not, withers and is nigh unto Cursing▪ This is a mysterious Dispensation of the infinitely wise, good and holy God: He giveth no Account of this Matter, but Righteous art thou, O Lord, when we plead with thee; righteous in all thy Ways, and holy in all thy Works. Shall not the Judge of all the Earth do right? It must be resolved into the divine Sovereignty; Even so Father, for so it seem­ed good in thy Sight.

Thus it pleased the sovereign and only wise God to set up his Candlesticks and cause the Light of the glo­rious Gospel to shine in these dark Places of the Earth which were full of the Habitations of Cruelty, not a Century and half ago▪ This is the Doing of the Lord, and it should be marvellous in our Eyes.

These Churches have abundant Cause to sing of the Mercy, the distinguishing Mercy of the Lord, in plant­ing, watering, increasing and defending them to this Time: If it had not been the Lord who was on our Side, may these New-English Churches say, if it had not been the Lord who was on our Side, when Men rose up against [Page 5] us, then they had swallowed us up quick, when their Wrath was kindled against us. Our Help is in the Name of the Lord, who made Heaven and Earth.

We should with the Church of Israel of old set up our Ebenezer, our Stone of Help and say, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.

This Church of Christ in particular should do it this Day, Set up a Memorial of the divine Goodness, and mention the Loving-kindnesses of the Lord, according to all that he hath bestowed on us. This, this is the Day of the Gladness of our Heart, for God's manifold Mercies to us and to our Fathers, and if it be the Day of our Espousals to Christ we shall have Cause enough to rejoyce in the Lord always with Joy unspeakable; The Lord grant it may be so in his good Pleasure

This is a very proper Time to recollect, consider and rehearse what great Things God hath done for us, as a Church and People, and for every one of us in particular, that we may be sutably prepared, disposed and quickened to praise the Lord for them: Let us not neglect and miss the happy Opportunity, but diligent­ly improve it to the Glory of God, and to our Fur­therance in Christian Knowlege, and practical God­liness.

2. It becomes the People of God to mention his great Goodness towards the Church in general. I will mention the great Goodness towards the House of Is­rael, which he hath bestowed on them. This indeed is a very copious Theme, and who is sufficient to give the sacred History? Who can utter the mighty Acts of the Lord? Who can shew forth all his Praise? But it is our Duty, and it should be a sacred Pleasure to re­volve in our Minds, and declare with our Mouths the wonderful Works of God to his Church in all Ages; tho' we are not able to set them all in order.

The Prophet, or the Church, whoever it is that speaks here, doth not confine the Consideration of the divine Goodness to themselves of that Generation, but gene­rously extends the Review of it to distant Ages of the Church that were past; and mentions his great Goodness [Page 6] to the Church in general: And indeed there is such a summary of Church History in the holy Bible from the Beginning of Time as may furnish rich Mat­ter for our delightful Exercise in the Duties of Religion, both for Meditation, Praise and Discourse. O how great is his Goodness which he hath bestowed on the Church from Age to Age.

As the Church of Israel were formed and preserved by a Series of remarkable Providences, so God took Care to preserve the Remembrance thereof in several Ways to the latest Posterity. Particularly,

Of their very remarkable Deliverance from the Aegyp­tian Bondage, and miraculous Preservation in the Wil­derness forty Years, till their Introduction and Settle­ment in the Land of Cannan. These Things are so full of the Wonders of God's Power & Mercy that they well deserved to be commemorated and acknowleged in all their Generations, and indeed in all Ages of the Church.

Accordingly, God commanded his People Israel to transmit the Knowlege of them down to all their Ge­nerations: That one Generation might praise his Works to another . That the Generation to come might know them even the Children which should be born, who should arise and declare them to their Children, that they might set their Hope in God, and not forget the Works of God, but keep his Commandments We have heard with our Ears, O God, our Fathers have told us what Work thou didst in their Days, in the Times of old.

This was one wise and effectual Method God took to preserve the Knowlege of his Will and Works in the Church of Israel, viz. PARENTAL INSTRUCTION.

Moreover, God instituted several Memorials or Mo­numents of his wonderful Works of Mercy to them. So the Passover was instituted in Remembrance of his Mercy in bringing them out of Aegypt, when he slew all the First-born in Aegypt, a Night to be much ob­served to the Lord in their Generations. It shall come to pass, when your Children shall say unto you, What mean you by this Service? That ye shall say, It is [Page 7] the Sacrifice of the Lord's Passover, who passed over the Houses of the Children of Israel in Aegypt, when he smote the Aegyptians, and delivered our Houses. Yea, so great was the Deliverance, that God hath preserved the Me­mory of it in the Preface to the Decalogue or Moral Law, which is in these Words, * I am the Lord thy God which have brought thee out of the Land of Aegypt, out of the House of Bondage. You may observe also, that in the Repetition of the Law of the Sabbath, the Observation of it is enforced upon the Israelites, from the Consideration of that Deliverance, And remember that thou wast a Servant in the Land of Aegypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty Hand, and by a stretched-out Arm, therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath­Day: Though originally instituted in Memory of the Creation.

The Song of Moses recorded in Exodus 15. is a stand­ing Memorial of the great Deliverance God gave them by the Destruction of the Host of the Aegypti­ans in the Red-sea.

Their miraculous Preservation in the Wilderness forty Years, where God fed them with Manna, and gave them of the Corn of Heaven, and they did eat Angels Food, was commemorated by the Golden Pot that had Manna, and was put in the Ark within the Vail

In like manner, God was pleased to preserve the Remembrance of his miraculous Work in dividing the Waters of Jordan for the Armies of Israel to pass safely through, as on dry Land, by causing twelve Stones to be taken out of the midst thereof, and set up in Gilgal for a Memorial forever Thus God made his wonderful Works to be remembred, his wonderful Works to the House of Israel, in that remarkable Period from their memorable Deli­verance out of Aegypt, to their Introduction to Ca­naan, which prepared their Way for their future Esta­blishment and Prosperity.

As God hath had a Church in the World from the Beginning, so he hath taken special Care of its Pre­servation [Page 8] and Support: It is built upon Christ the Rock of Ages, so the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. The Burning Bush is not consumed. Many a Time, may the Church say, have they afflicted me from my Youth, yet they have not prevail'd against me. The World, the Flesh and the Devil act in Confederacy against it, yet it stands secure against all the Assaults that have been made upon it, from Earth and Hell. The Lord is in the midst of it, its Glory and Defence, For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a Wall of Fire round about, and the Glory in the midst of her

Sometimes the Glory of the Church has been made thin, and the true Worshippers of God have been few in Number, yea very few.

In the Time of great Declension in the Church of of Israel, in the Days of the Prophet Elijah, he veri­ly thought in himself that he only was left, and of the People there was none with him, that feared God, and thought upon his Name, no not one. But yet at that Time there was a Remnant left * "God always pre­serves a Remnant in the heaviest Judgments which he brings upon his People" A Remnant shall be saved in Times of the greatest Defection & Apostacy from the Faith.

So in the Times of antichristian Superstition and Ty­ranny for several Centuries together, before the dawn­ing of the Reformation the christian Church seem'd to be buried in the Rubbish; Darkness covered the Church, and gross Darkness the People: And there was but little Hope of its Recovery and emerging out of that sinking and ruinous State, but then it was Time for God to work, with whom all Things are possible; by whom else should Jacob arise when he is small and without Strength, to his former Strength, Beauty and Glory? And indeed God raised up some Confessors of Christ and his sacred Truths in the most declining and corrupt State of the Church, some of whom sealed the Truth with their Blood; 'till at length above two [Page 9] hundred Years ago, God raised up and inspired a Luther, one of the Wonders of the Church, with Zeal and Courage to preach against the Pope's unchristian Man­dates, and begin a Reformation of Religion And he lived to see this glorious Work go on prosperously in several Parts of Germany, Switzerland, &c. In England also he saw several Attempts made towards a Refor­mation by Means of Archbishop Granmer who hap­pily laid the Foundations of it* After Luther's [Page 10] Death God formed many useful Instruments to carry on the Reformation from Popery, till whole Nations and Kingdoms became Protestant. And especially in the English Nation which has been very much the Glory and Bulwark of the Reformation to this Time, and God grant it may be so even to the Consum­mation of all Things. Thus the State of the Church has been chequer'd with Light and Darkness, but the Glory of God hath shined through the thick 'Darkness, and has been a Light unto it, and we trust in God that he will still appear in his Glory and build up Zion in all Generations.

Moreover, as it becomes the People of God to utter the mighty Acts of the Lord to his Church in general, and speak of his Glory in the Defence and Preservation [Page 11] of it to this Day, so it becomes them to mention his great Goodness to it in all the Revelations of his Word and Spirit, from the first and ancient Promise of the Messiah, in Gen 3. 15. to the compleating of the sa­cred Canon in the Fulness of Time: By which the People of God in all Ages of the Church have had the Knowlege of his Will, and the Way of Salvation by Jesus Christ revealed to them, more darkly indeed under the mosaick Dispensation, and distant Ages of it, but now clearly and universally by the Gospel, and the Promulgation of it among the Gentiles.

For many Ages the Church was very much confin'd to the Jews within the Limits of Canaan, to them per­tained the Adoption, the Glory, and the Covenants, and the giving of the Law, and the Service of God, and the Promises, and of whom as concerning the Flesh, Christ came who is over all God blessed for ever Thus he shewed his Word, Statutes, and Judgments to Israel, he had not dealt so with any Nation.

But when Christ the Glory of his People Israel, was manifested to them, in the Fulness of Time, he spread the Knowlege of God and his Grace, preaching Peace to them that were afar off, and to them that were nigh, both to Jews and Gentiles: And gave it in Commissi­on to his Apostles to christianize the whole World of Mankind, and preach the Gospel to every Creature: So the Scripture was fulfilled. The People which sat in Darkness, saw great Light, and to them which sat in the Region and Shadow of Death, Light is sprung up. And thus Christ is a Light to lighten the Gentiles, as well as the Glory of his People Israel. The Gentiles came to his Light, and Kings to the Brightness of his Rising: So the Church of Christ has commenc'd Christi­an and Catholic.

The Goodness of God in revealing Christ and the saving Doctrines of the Gospel to the Church is very great; Surely God is good to Israel

The Church is the Repository of the Revelations of God, and is intrusted with the Care of them: They should be kept pure and uncorrupt, and [Page 12] so transmitted down to the latest Generation. The Father to the Children shall make known thy Truth.

And now, my Brethren, but our Hearts be warmed with a lively Sense of the Living kindnesses of the Lord to our selves, and his great Goodness to his Church, and in his Temple let every one of us speak of his Glory, and shew forth his Praise.

The Foundation of our present happy Establishment, and Liberty, was laid by our pious Fathers when they embodied in Church State here this Day an hundred Years ago, by a solemn Covenant Blessed be the Lord God of our Fathers who inclined their Hearts to lay such an early and good Foundation for themselves and for their Children against the Time to come, when they were but few in Number, but eight Persons: And blessed be his glorious Name that he has built us up and not pluck'd us down. We trust that we are built upon the Foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief Corner Stone, in whom all the Building fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy Temple in the Lord. According to the Grace of God which was given to our Fathers, as wise Master-Builders, they laid the Foundation, and others builded thereon; but let every Man take heed how he build­eth thereupon, not Wood, Hay and Stubble, such Things as will soon perish, and not bear the fiery Trial; but let us build upon it, Gold, Silver and precious Stones which shall abide the Trial for the Fire shall try every Man's work of what Sort it is if any Man's work a­bide, he shall receive a Reward, if any Man's work shall be burnt, he shall suffer Loss.

Let us be careful to follow the Piety and Zeal of our Fathers who first settled this Country and this Church. Let us not be slothful, but followers of them who thro' Faith and Patience inherit the Promises.

We that are joined together in Church-Fellowship profess to have laid the Foundation of Repentance from dead works, and of Faith towards God. Therefore leaving the Principles of the Doctrine of Christ let us [Page 13] go on unto Perfection And, O that the Spirit of God and of Glory may rest upon us, and assist us in the so­lemn Acts we are about to perform, in renewing the Dedication of our selves to God, in renewing the Covenant that the pious Fathers of this Church entred in­to at the gathering of it, and in the Celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, that all may be done heartily as to the Lord, and not to Men, to the Glory of God, and our mutual Edification and Comfort; that so the solemn Transactions of this Day may be accept­ed of God, and turn to our Salvation, thro' our Pray­er, and the Supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, to whom be Glory in the Church throughout all Ages World without End. Amen.

The Second SERMON.

HAving in the Morning opened the first general Head, which is to shew, That it is the Duty and hath been the pious Practice of God's People to pre­serve and express the Memory of his great Goodness to them, I shall now apply my self, by divine Assist­ance, to shew in the second Place, That it is also their Duty, and hath been their pious Care, to express the Praises of the Lord in Remembrance thereof; I will mention the Praises of the Lord &c.

The blessed God is worthy to be praised: The Ful­ness and Glory of his own Perfections shining forth in his Word and Works, challenge the Adoration and Praises of the whole World, All his Work: shall praise him, and his Saints shall bless him O give Thanks un­to the Lord, for he is good, for his Mercy endureth for ever. Worthy is the Lord to receive Blessing & Praise, for all the Displays of his Glory in the Works of Crea­tion, Providence and Redemption. Oh that Men would [Page 14] praise the Lord for his Goodness, and for his wonderful works to the Children of Men! All the Hosts of Hea­ven and Earth should join in this divine Service, Let every Thing that hath Breath praise the Lord. Thus we see the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised, and his Greatness is unsearchable; Who can shew forth all his Praise? The Book of Psalms is full of the high Praises of God, and to mention them in order would be to repeat a great Part of it: Praise ye the Lord,—for Praise is comely for the Upright.

1. It has been the pious Practice of the standing Church of God to praise him for his Loving kindnesses to themselves I will mention the Praises of the Lord, according to all that he hath bestowed on us. The de­vout Psalmist very frequently calls upon his own Soul, and upon the Church of God to praise the Name of the Lord, for his great Mercies to himself and them. Bless the Lord, O my Soul. * Blessed be the Lord, for he hath shewed me his marvellous Loving kindness.—So he invites the Church of Israel to celebrate his Praises, Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem, praise thy God, O Zion, for he hath done great Things for them, both upon temporal and spiritual Accounts as the Psalmist proceeds to testify in the following Verses.

It well becomes every Soul apart, every Family apart, and every particular Church and Congregation apart to celebrate the Praises of the Lord with joyful Lips, and with sincere Hearts, that is, in the most chris­tian and gracious Manner, for whose thus offereth Praise, gloriforth God.

Every particular Church of Christ and Communion of Saints, have Reason, more or less, to mention the Praises of the Lord, for his marvellous Loving-kindness to them: and they should be ready to this delightful and heavenly Employments and frequently exercise themselves in it: every Member separately, and all the Members conjointly; especially on some solemn Occasions of Recollection and Rejoycing in the Good­ness of the Lord, such as is this Day, wherein we are celebrating the Memorial of Christ's Resurrection, and [Page 15] by a wonderful Concurrence of Circumstances, we are also commemorating the Favour of Christ in the Plan­tation, Preservation, and Increase of this Church for a Century past. Let us then say among the Heathen, the Lord hath done great Things for us, whereof we are glad, we will rejoyce and be glad in his Salvation, for under his Shadow we shall live among the Heathen. Let us sing unto the Lord for he hath triumphed glori­ously, the Lord is our Strength and Song, and he is be­come our Salvation; He is our God, and we will pre­pare him an Habitation, our Fathers God, and we will exalt him.

If we exercise our selves in the serious Considerati­on and Meditation of God's wonderful Works to us we shall find Matter enough for devout and affectio­nate Thanksgiving to his glorious Name. Who can refrain himself upon this solemn Occasion? Who can but prophesy? Who is so stupid and senseless as to re­strain the Praises of the Lord? The Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up Children; He is our Father that hath bought us, he hath made us and esta­blished us. Let it never be said, Tell it not in Gath, that we have rebelled against him. Such was the shame­ful Charge God, fastned upon his People Israel, after all his Kindness to them, in 9. & 10 Verses of the Context, In all their Affliction he was afflicted, and the Angel of his Presence saved them▪ In his Love and in his Pity he redeemed them, and he bare them, and carried them all the Days of old, but they rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit. Let us take heed lest we fall after the same Example of Disobedience.

2 It has also been the pious Practice of the People of God to celebrate his Praises for his great Goodness to the Church in general. I will mention the Praises of the Lord, according to the great Goodness towards the House of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them, according to his Mercies, and according to the Multitude of his Loving kindnesses. Here is an uncommon Fulness and Fluency of Speech, proceeding out of the Abundance of the Heart of the Speaker, to express the extraordi­nary Kindnesses of God to his Church.

As God has taken Care to preserve the Memory of his Goodness to Israel, in several significant Institutions, [Page 16] so they have in Obedience to the divine Authority ce­lebrated the Memorials thereof.

Particularly, the Institution of the jewish Passover in Remembrance of God's delivering them out of the Aegyptian Bondage, which they observed to the Lord in their Generations, to the Period of the Mosaick oeco­nomy: When Christ the true Passover was sacrificed for us, and instituted the Ordinance of the Supper as a sacramental Representation of his Death to be obser­ved in the Christian Church, to the End of the World, For as often as ye eat this Bread, and drink this Cup, ye do shew the Lord's Death till he come,

So the Change of the Sabbath was made in Com­memoration of the Resurrection of Christ, as it was first instituted to be a Memorial of the Creation of the World. For he that is entred into his Rest, he also hath ceased from his own works as God did from his .

The jewish Church had many publick Records and Memorials of God's Wonders to them of old, as the Song of Moses, in Memory of their Deliverance at the Red-sea The Song of Deborah and Barak, rehear­sing the righteous Acts of the Lord, and expressing his Praises for delivering them from the Hand of Si­sera What a publick and grateful Testimony did King Solomon give of God's Covenant Faithfulness with the Israelitish Church at the Dedication of the Temple *? Blessed be the Lord that hath given Rest unto his People, Israel, according to all that he promised, there hath not failed one Word of all his good Promise, which he promised by the Hand of Moses his Ser­vant. And what is the 136th Psalm but a Song of Praise and standing Memorial of God's great Goodness to them, beginning and ending with a solemn Exhorta­tion of Praise to God? For he is good, for his Mercy endureth forever: Which Clause is repeated in every Verse of the Psalm, viz. twenty-six Times▪ We read also of the Song of the Church in the New-Testament, They sung a new Song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the Book, and to open the Seals thereof, for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy Blood, out of [Page 17] every Kindred, and Tongue, and People, and Nation. So we have the Song of the Angels, and of the Church, say­ing with a loud Voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive Power, and Riches, and Wisdom, and Strength, and Honour, and Glory, and Blessing

Thus the Church gives unto God the Glory due unto his Name, and shews forth his Praise from Age to Age: One Generation shall praise thy Works unto ano­ther, and shall declare thy mighty Acts: They shall a­bundantly utter the Memory of thy great Goodness, and shall sing of thy Righteousness

Moreover, considering that all the Instances of God's Loving kindnesses both to our selves and others, are free and unmerited, we must acknowlege our selves to be under all possible Obligations of Love and Gra­titude to the gracious Donor of them. By Grace we are saved: By the Grace of God, we are what we are: Every good Gift, and every perfect Gift is from above. Thus it is said in the Text, which he hath bestowed on them, according to his Mercies, and according to the Mul­titude of his Loving-kindnesses: This is the true Scource and Fountain of all our Blessings, and we hold all of his free Mercy. Glory be to God in the highest. Let us praise God according as we have thought of his Loving kindness, in the midst of his Temple: And such as fear the Lord, will speak often one to another.

I have now finished the doctrinal Part of my Text, and shall now proceed to make some APPLICATION of what has been said: First, With Respect to this Church and Congregation in particular. Secondly, With Respect to the Churches in this Land in general, ac­cording to the Direction of the Text.

1. This Doctrine invites us to mention to the Praise of God the Multitude of his Mercies to this Church and Congregation in particular. Let us be constrained to it; let the Multitude of his Loving-kindnesses con­strain us, and let us not forget any of his Benefits. Let us this Day remember the Works of the Lord, and his Wonders of old: And I desire to be your Remembrancer [Page 18] of these Things before the Lord, to speak of his Glory in his holy Temple, that God may be glorified, and we our selves instructed and comforted.

Now then, Let us look back to the original Planta­tion and Settlement of this Town and Church, and observe the several Steps of divine Providence in our Rise, Growth and Establishment as it is this Day, ac­cording to God's Mercies, and according to the Multitude of his Loving-kindnesses.

I have been [...] to collect as succinct and just an Account of these ancient Things, as may be profi­table to your religious Improvement.

One of the first Settlements and Plantations in the Massachusetts-Bay * was begun here, Anno 1625 by Capt. Wollaston and others, but they continued not long together in that Place.

[Page 19] These Lands were afterward granted to Boston by the General Assembly of the Massachusetts viz. Anno 1634.

The Settlement was soon carried on by sundry In­habitants who came chiefly from Boston, and had Grants of Land from that Town for their Encouragement. They were erected into a Township Anno 1640* by the Name of Braintree.

The Rev. Mr. Wheelwright preached some Time to this Part of the Church and Town of Boston, and ac­quired large Possessions here.

[Page 20] After Mr. Wheelwright's removal from Braintree, the Rev. Mr. William Thompson and Rev. Mr. Henry Flynt soon succeeded in the sacred Ministry: And embodi­ed in Church Fellowship with fix others, by that Co­venant which this Church have solemnly renewed this Day at the Lord's Table.

Shortly after Mr. Thompson and Mr. Flynt were or­dained, the former to the Office of Pastor, and the lat­ter to the Office of Teacher to the Church, as the Custom of these Churches then was*.

[Page 21] Soon after this the Church proceeded to the Choice and Ordination of two Deacons And some Years after made Choice of a Ruling Elder

[Page 22] After the Decease both of the Pastor and Teacher* the Church fell into unhappy Divisions, one being for Paul, and another for Apollos (as is too often the Case in destitute Churches) and were without a settled Mi­nistry above four Years, viz. from April 27. 1668, to Sept. 11. 1672, when the Rev. Mr. Moses Fiske was peaceably ordained the Pastor of this Church. After [Page 23] his Death, you were happily resettled in about nine Months by the unanimous Call and Ordination of the late Rev. Mr. Joseph Marsh, to the pastoral Office over you, viz May 18. 1708, who continued his faithful Labours among you till his Translation, whose Me­mory is still precious with you.

[Page 24] Your present unworthy Pastor was quietly settled here Nov. 2. 1726, in about eight Months after the Decease of your late Rev. Pastor, and hath been with you in Weakness, and in Fear, and in much Trembling, almost thirteen Years in the pastoral Relation God hath so increased and multiplied you, that two distinct Parishes have swarmed from you: So that there are now in the Town three worshipping Assem­blies [Page 25] of our own Denomination, beside one of the Church of England

This is the third House in which we are now worshiping, that we and our Fathers have built for the publick Worship of God: May the Lord have Respect unto us, and unto our Offerings, & fill this House with his glorious Presence, making the Glory of the latter House greater than of the former.

Great is the Liberty where with Christ made our Fa­thers free, and in the Defence whereof they endured Hardness as good Soldiers of Jesus Christ; and spent much Blood and Treasure; and so have left this good Land and many invaluable Privileges for an Inheri­tance unto their Children. Your Fathers, Where are they? * And the Prophets, Do they live for ever.

[Page 26] But thro' the kind Indulgence of Heaven and the tender Mercies of our God, the Children of his Servants do continue, and their Seed is established before him; so that instead of the Fathers are the Children.

Now it should be our great Care to stand fast in the Liberty of our Fathers, and remember their great Er­rand into this Wilderness, which was the Advancement of the Glory of God, and their own spiritual Interest in the Enjoyment of the pure Ordinances and Worship [Page 27] of God: Let us pursue this glorious Design and build on their Foundation. Why should any envy us the Enjoyment of our civil and religious Interests and seek our Hurt?

Let us cheerfully cast in our Mite this Day for the Defence of (what is apprehended) a common Cause God grant that all who love and seek the Prosperity of these Churches may prosper.

Oh that God would pour out his Spirit upon his Ser­vants, and his Blessing upon our Offspring, and by his Spirit and Power turn the Hearts both of Parents and Children unto the Lord God of our Fathers; and the dis­obedient to the Wisdom of the Just, to make ready a Peo­ple prepared for the Lord.

I would address the Children of this Church in the solemn Language of David, in his dying Charge to his Son. And thou Solomon my Son, Know thou the God of thy Father, and serve him with a perfect. Heart, and with a willing Mind,—if thou seek him he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him he will cast thee off for ever. *

Have we not great Reason to humble our selves un­der the Decay of vital Piety, and the Tokens of God's Displeasure? How is the Gold become dim, and the most fine Gold changed? Where is the primitive Faith, Zeal and Purity of our Fathers? Is this our Kindness to our Friend? to our Father that hath bought us?

Shall not God's Soul depart from us for these Things? Is not the Glory departing from the House of the Lord, and the solemn Administrations of it? Oh let us la­ment for it, saying. Ah Lord, and ah his Glory! Where is the Lord God of Elijah? Inquire ye, Return, come. As it follows in our Context. Then he remembred the Days of old, Moses and his People, saying, where is he that brought them up our of the Sea, with the Shep­herd of his Flock? Where is he that put his Holy Spirit [Page 28] within him? To make him an everlasting Name. Look down from Heaven, and behold from the Habitation of thy Holiness & of thy Glory: Where is thy Zeal, thy Strength, and the sounding of thy Bowels & of thy Mercies? Are they restrained? Doubtless thou art our Father, tho' Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowlege us not: Thou, O Lord, art our Father, our Redeemer, thy Name is from Everlasting.

Let us remember from whence we are fallen, & return to the Lord, and he will return to us. Let us seriously consider wherein we ought to return That should be our very serious Inquiry in Mal. 3 7 Wherein shall we return? We have the Answer of God to his People Israel in the five following Verses, which you may read and digest at your Leisure

Blessed be God that we enjoy so much Peace and Quietness in this Place under our different Apprehen­sions and Modes of Worship: And if I have somewhat boasted of you for your Peaceableness, Prudence and Charity, I hope you will not make my glorying void *

[Page 29] N. B. It is pertinently observed by the forementioned in­genious Author of the Answer to the printed Letter &c. re­lating to the Narraganset Affair. ‘That tho' by Virtue of Communion of Churches congregational Churches admit to occasional Fellowship the pious Members of the Church of England, as well as of all other Protestant Churches, without obliging them to own our Covenant, or submit to our Government; yet it is the most known and avowed Principle of congregational Churches from their Original, that as the Matter of Christian Churches is vi­sible Saints; so the Form of particular Churches which distinguishes them from others, is only the mutual Cove­nant between their Members, whereby they are especi­ally bound and join'd to each other in one Society Till therefore the Members of other Churches are receiv'd by Covenant, we do not account them Members of those Churches they hold occasional Fellowship with, nor enter them into our Record of Members; but account them Mem­bers of those other Churches, tho' they live ever so long, and have Fellowship with us.’

Upon Mr. Miller's coming, this Parish reimbursed (ac­cording to their own previous Vote) to the declared Mem­bers of the Church of England, their Proportion of the Charge of my Settlement, and generously excused them from any further Payments towards my Support. And this was done before ever any Act of this Nature pass'd in the Government. The Vote above referred to, is in these Words, viz.

JOhn Vesey, Benjamin Vesey, Henry Turner, Samuel Payne and Samuel Hayden personally appearing at this Meeting, and desiring that the Case of their being late­lately taxed to the Settlement and Support of Mr. John Hancock, might be considered by the Precinct, and that they might be relieved in the Premises

The Question was put by the Moderator, Whether the Precinct will reimburse John Vesey, Benjamin Vesey, Henry Turner, Samuel Payne and Samuel Hayden the Sum or Sums they are or shall be assessed, & that shall or may be collected of them, for the Ordination Charge, and Settlement of our Rev. Pastor, Mr. John Hancock, when they shall have a Minister of the Church of England settled and supported among them? It pass'd in the Affirmative.

A true Copy from Braintree North Precinct Records,
John Adams Precinct Clerk.

[Page 30] Wherefore let us all study to be quiet, follow after the Things which make for 'Peace, and Things wherewith one may edify another. If it be possible as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all Men: Above all Things put on Charity which is the Bond of Perfectness. This is the Bond of Union, the Cement of Societies, with­out which they will soon disband and be dissolved Let brotherly Love continue.

Let us begin our second Century with new and bet­ter Frames, Tempers and Resolutions than we have e­ver had; and make it our constant and zealous Endeavour to express a grateful Sense of the divine Fa­vours in the Virtues and Praises of a Life devoted O God: As a chosen Generation a peculiar People, shew­ing forth the Praises of him who hath called us out of Darkness into this marvellous Light and Liberty, and commanding our Children and Housholds to keep the Way of the Lord—that the Lord may abundantly bless us in all our Generations. I will make thy Name to be re­membred in all Generations, therefore shall the People praise thee for ever and ever

2. Let us all be exhorted to mention to the Praise of God, the great Goodness which he hath bestowed on his Churches and People in this Land.

[Page 31] It is certain God did great Things and marvellous for our Fathers, in their first Plantation & Settlement in this Country, when it was a Land not sown, and pos­sess'd by brutish Salvages. Our Fathers saw the Hand and Work of God and were glad; and they frequent­ly met together for religious Conference, to mention the Loving kindnesses of the Lord, and the Praises of the Lord, according to all that he had bestowed on them. They spake often one to another of these Things to the Praise of God, and their mutual Edification and Comfort.

And it becomes us also the Posterity of those great and good Men, who bare the Heat and Burden of the Day to speak of them with Pleasure and Gratitude.

The Preparation and Room God made before our Fathers should be marvellous in our Eyes, and is worthy of a very particular Remembrance; as for In­stance, in a great ‘Plague that befel the Natives in New-England, which wasted them exceedingly two or three Years before the coming of the English; by which so many of them died, that the living were [Page 32] not able to bury them, and their Skulls and Bones re­mained above Ground at the Places of their Ha­bitations for several Years after.’

God hereby testifying that the Iniquity of the Amo­rites was full & that he was making Room for a better People.

So remarkable also was the Providence of God in conducting our Fathers to the Place where they at first sat down, for it was beside their Design to settle on this northern Shore; being bound to some unknown Country further southward about Hudsons River: But by their being guided hither they then unknowingly escaped the greatest Dan­ger of falling among the Multitude of Salvages at that Time filling the Countries about Hudson's River, and were landed in a Place of greater Safety, where God prepared the Way for this feeble Company by thinning the Natives.

And as evident an Interposition of Providence was the extraordinary Restraints laid upon those that surviv'd that were disposed to do hurt to God's lit­tle Flock in this Wilderness. The whole Number that arrived at Cape-Cod Harbour consisting but of 101 Souls*

Thus God was pleased in a wonderful and extraor­dinary manner, to introduce and settle this handful of People on this strange and distant Shore; and to pre­serve them alive, and establish them thro' a Series of kind and powerful Providences, in the midst of an in­finite Variety of distressing Difficulties and Dangers.

[Page 33] We have heard with our Ears, O God, our Fathers have told us, what Work thou didst for them in their Days, in the Times of old: How thou didst drive out the Heathen with thy Hand, and plantedst them, how thou didst afflict the People, and cast them out: For they got not the Land in Possession by their own Sword, neither did their own Arm save them; but thy Right Hand and thine Arm, and the Light of thy Countenance, because thou hadst a Favour unto them.

Thus God brought a Vine into this Land from a far Country, and cast out the Heathen and planted it, he pre­pared Room before it and did cause it to take deep Root, and it is filling the Land. She sent out her Boughs in­to the Sea, and her Branches unto the River. Return we beseech thee, O God of Hosts, look down from Heaven, and behold and visit this Vine, and the Vineyard which thy Right Hand hath planted, and the Branch that thou madest strong for thy self: So will not we go back from thee,: Quicken us, and we will call upon thy Name. Turn us again, O Lord God of Hosts, cause thy Face to shine, and we shall be saved.

God enabled our Fathers to do Wonders in their In­fant-State, both in the Wars of the Lord against a bar­barous Enemy, and in Works of Piety.

But one of the most memorable Instances of a pub­lick heroick Spirit in our Ancestors, is the founding the College * This is enough to raise our Esteem and Veneration for them, that they took such early Care (agreeable to the christian Design of their Transplan­tation into this Wilderness) to transmit Religion and Learning to their Posterity. This makes us to differ from the Rest of the British Colonies in America. In this Respect: this Province may well be stiled Princess [Page 34] among the Provinces The Praise of it is in all the Churches of our Lord Jesus Christ in this Land, and Churches in distant Provinces also have been richly furnished with able and faithful Ministers from this flourishing Seminary. Scarce any one Town in this Province hath reaped greater Advantage from it than this; there having been graduated in it if I mistake not 49 of the Children of this People, and 42 of them out of this Parish; many of whom have done worthily and been famous both in Church and State*.

[Page 35] To this pious Foundation we owe in great Measure the Preservation and Security of our religious Interests, and even the Form of Religion among us. May it e­ver flourish under the Smiles of Heaven, the Liberality and tender Care of the Government, and the Bene­factions of other pious Friends*. Hence what a plea­sant Thing is it to see the Gospel carried into the Wil­derness with all our new Settlements! There being a rich Supply of good Ministers for them all, and for several Assemblies of christianized Indians in diverse Parts of the Province. May all the Churches of our Lord Jesus Christ stand and flourish under the tender Care of the great Shepherd of the Sheep.

And now seeing God has done so many & wonderful Works for us, may we not receive them as so many Earnests of his Goodness for the Time to come? Let [Page 36] us humbly plead God's former Loving-kindnesses, in our Intercessions for all the farther Displays of Mercy we need. How excellent is thy Loving kindness, O God? Therefore the Children of Men put their Trust under the Shadow of thy Wings.

Let us humbly beseech the glorious God to appear in his Glory and build up Zion, to revive his Work in the midst of the Years, and pour out his Spirit on all Flesh, and remove the Iniquity of this Land, and of this Church in one Day. That he may be with us as he hath been with our Fathers, and never leave nor forsake us. O that our Prayers and Praises, with our Alms may come up for a Memorial before God this Day. Now therefore in the Sight of all Israel, the Con­gregation of the Lord, and in the Audience of our God, keep and seek for all the Commandments of the Lord your God, that ye may possess this good Land, and leave it for an Inheritance for your Children after you for ever Now blessed be the Lord God of Israel, from everlast­ing and to everlasting, Amen and Amen.

APPENDIX. A Copy of the original Covenant at the Gather­ing of the Church of CHRIST in Braintree, Sept. 16. 1639.

WE poor unworthy Creatures who have some Time lived without Christ and without God in the World; and so have deserved rather Fellowship with the Devil and his Angels, than with God & his Saints: Being called of God out of this World to the Fellow­ship of Christ by the Ministry of the Gospel; and our Hearts stirred up by his gracious Spirit, and made wil­ling to join together in Church Fellowship; do by the [Page 37] Help and Strength of Christ renounce the Devil, the wicked World, and the sinful Flesh, with all the Rem­nants of antichristian Pollution, wherein sometimes we have walked, and all our former evil Ways, and do give up our selves first to God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and offer up our professed Subjection to our Lord Jesus Christ as the only Priest, Prophet and King of his Church, beseeching him in his rich Grace and free Mercy to accept us for his People in the Blood of his Covenant: And we give up our selves also one to another by the Will of God, promising in the Name and Power of Jesus Christ, who worketh in us both to will and to do according to his good Pleasure, to wor­ship the Lord in Spirit and Truth, and to walk in bro­therly Love, and the Duties thereof, according to the Rule of the Gospel, to the common Edification of the Body, and of each Member therein; and to be guided in all Things according to God's revealed Will, seek­ing to advance the Glory of Jesus Christ our Head, both in Church and brotherly Communion; thro' the Assistance of his Holy Spirit, which he hath promised to his Church: And we do manifest our joint Consent herein this Day, in the Presence of the Lord, and this Assembly, by this our present publick Profession, and by giving to one another the Right Hand of Fellow­ship.

  • William Thompson, (Pastor)
  • Henry Flynt, (Teacher)
  • George Rose,
  • Stephen Kinsley, (Elder)
  • John Dassett,
  • William Potter,
  • Martin Saunders,
  • Gregory Belcher.


PAge 2. Line 27. for greatest read grateful. P. 9. l. 17. [...]. S [...]utre. P. 10 l. 22 r. Martyrdom P 14 l. 35 r. Employ­ment. P. 18. l. 22 r. 1624. l. 23 r. Nanta [...]ket. P. 23. l. 4. r. 1709.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.