A CANDID EXAMINATION OF Dr. MAYHEW'S Observations ON THE CHARTER AND CONDUCT OF THE SOCIETY for the propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts.

Interspers'd with a few brief reflections upon some other of the DOCTOR'S Writings.

To which is added, A LETTER to a FRIEND, Containing a short Vindication of the said SOCIETY against the Mistakes and Misrepresentations of the Doctor in his Observations on the Conduct of that Society. By one of its Members.

Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

James iii. 16.10.

BOSTON, NEW-ENGLAND: Printed and Sold by THOMAS and JOHN FLEET, in Cornhill; and GREEN & RUSSELL, and EDES & GILL, in Queen-street, 1763.



  • THE reason why Dr. Mayhew's Observations were not fully answered before. page 1.
  • The author's charitable design in the present publication. page 2.
  • The method he proposes in this examination. ibid.
  • Does not purpose to confine himself to the observations. ibid.
  • The Dr's description of controversial writers apply'd to himself. ibid.
  • Instances of a candid temper in the Dr. page 3.
  • Requests the candor of his readers. ibid.
  • How far this is allowed. page 4.
  • The Dr's. design. ibid.
  • Attempts to prove the Society have counteracted the design of their institution. page 5.
  • That they are guilty of a wilful abuse of their trust. ibid.
  • Denies it again. 6. Prov'd upon him. page 6.
  • Charges the missionaries with abusing the Society. ibid.
  • This pretence refuted. page 7.
  • Will not allow the Society to understand the state of religion in the plantations. ibid.
  • This point examined and refuted. page 10.
  • The Society prov'd to understand the state of religion, &c. and also their charter. page 16.
  • The Dr. beholden to Mr. Hobart for most of his observations, page 19.
  • Yet takes no notice of Mr. Beach's reply to Mr. Hobart. page 20.
  • The Dr's interpretation of the Society's charter examined and shewn to be inconsistent. ibid.
  • His argument from King William refuted. page 23.
  • His other testimonies in favour of his interpretation nothing to his purpose. e. g.
  • The name and title of the Society considered. page 39.
  • Their common seal. 41. Their sermons. page 42.
  • True design of the charter, to which the foregoing testimonies are conformable. page 22.
  • And [...] the Society's conduct. page 43.
  • The word orthodox not properly apply'd to dissenters. page 25.
  • In common use denotes the establishment. ibid.
  • Establishments examined. page 26.
  • New-England churches not established. page 27.
  • Proved from their own confession. ibid.
  • From a letter of the Lords Justices to Lt. Govr Dummer. page 28.
  • From the Dr's own method of arguing. page 32.
  • The church of England established in the colonies. page 33.
  • This proved by several acts of parliament and particularly by the act of union. page 34.
  • An objection answered. page 38.
  • From the King's granting the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the plantations to the Bishop of London. page 30.
  • [Page] Some farther reflections on the extent of the charter and conduct of the Society. page 40.
  • Why few missionaries were early sent into New-England. ibid.
  • Objections against the Society for neglecting the Indians and the other colonies answered. page 44.
  • Much hindered by a party spirit. ibid.
  • Two or three instances mentioned. page 45.
  • In many of the colonies religion supported by the civil government. page 46.
  • Account of the first adventurers to N. E. with their character. ibid.
  • The Dr. no right to plead their merit, who has departed from their principles. page 47.
  • Early adventurers of two sorts. page 51.
  • Massachusetts-Bay settled by church of England men. page 49.
  • Proved from their own letter dated on board the Arabella at their leaving England. page 50.
  • Rev. Mr. Prince's testimony to the same purpose. page 51.
  • Did not leave England on account of persecution. page 52.
  • The Dr. accuses the Ch. of England as a persecuting church. page 53.
  • This examined and reply'd to. page 54.
  • Recriminations would be easy. ibid.
  • Two or three instances hinted at. page 55.
  • The Dr's writings have a tendency to beget a persecuting spirit. page 57.
  • Labours to prejudice people against Bishops by speaking rudely and contemptibly of that Order. page 59.
  • The indecency of this as they are an order of men established from the beginning of Christianity, and received or vene­rated by foreign protestants at this day. page 60.
  • Calvin's testimony in favor of that order. 60. and Beza's. page 61.
  • The Dr's. ridicule of the liturgy of the Ch. of England shewn to be indecent by the opinion of foreign churches. page 62.
  • Summary representation of the controversy. page 64.
  • The Dr's. no proper method to rectify mistakes, if the Society have committed any. page 66.
  • The publishing an open account of the success of the other Society more proper to effect this. page 67.
  • Rev. Mr. Wheelock's Indian charity school recommended. page 68.
  • The Dr. has no right to complain of any severe expression used by the author. page 69.
  • This shewn from a specimen of his own language, taken from his observations and sermons. page 70.
  • A serious address to the rev. Gentlemen of the ministry at Boston. page 77.
  • The Dr. drolls upon the Song of Solomon. page 79.
  • Gives countenance to the doctrine of annihilation. ibid.
  • Ill consequence of his writings to civil government. ibid.
  • This not the general temper of people in the colonies. page 80.
  • Conclusion. ibid.
[Page 1]

A Candid Examination of Dr. MAYHEW'S Observations on the Charter and Conduct of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, &c.

IT is a long time since Dr. MAYHEW published his modest observations, on the charter and con­duct of the Society for the propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts; and as no person hitherto has thought it worth his while to enter into a spe­cial examination of his principal argument, he pro­bably concluded that his performance would not have met with a full reply. And in truth if he had drawn this conclusion from the nature and manner of his writing, as being too intemperately manag'd to deserve the notice of either a Gentleman or a Scholar, he had thought as other men do; for this, it has been said is the true reason, why he has been suffer'd to triumph thus long in his performance, and to boast of it as unanswerable. Every gentle­man who has had a liberal and polite education, thinks it beneath his character to enter the lists with one who observes no measures of decency or good manners, nay who does not scruple to sacrifice the meek and gentle spirit of the Gospel to the gratifi­cation of a licentious and ungovernd temper. Nor does the author of the present remarks pretend to rival him in this unbecoming talent; herein he is al­low'd [Page 2]to reign without a competitor. But since he is liable to "think more highly of himself than he ought to think," and is already unhappily "wiser in his own conceit," than in any ones else; it may be esteem'd an act of charity to give him juster notions both of himself, and of his writings in general, but especially of his late performance, than he seems to have entertain'd.

THE method which will be used in discharging this charitable office, will be to represent the Doctor sometimes in the meek and benevolent light in which he affects to be considered; at other times, and by way of contrast to this, he will be produced in the light in which he has really exhibited himself: For altho' these are toto coelo different, yet without a just and impartial representation of him in both these respects, it will be impossible to give him a true knowledge of himself, which is a point the author is very solicitous of; and is not without reasonable hopes of accomplishing.

TO this purpose the author proposes to consult the Doctor's writings in general, which, as they are sufficiently voluminous, will afford abundant matter for such a representation, and being all of them corrected with his own hand, and sent abroad by his own appointment, may fairly be conceived to be a genuine picture of the man.

IT will be proper to begin with his last and high­ly boasted piece, entitled Observations on the charter and conduct of the Society, &c. The Introduction to which begins with these remarkable words, ‘There are some men who write—controversy merely from a wrangling disposition, without any regard to truth, right, or the importance of the matters contested.’ Now one may defy any [Page 3]man who shall read this passage, and especially if he has read two or three volumes of sermons published in Boston since the year 1754, and some occasional thanksgiving discourses, in almost every one of which matters of controversy have been dragg'd in, tho' for the most part as it were by head and shoulders; I say, I defy any such man, not to think of one who stiles himself pastor of the west church in Boston. And no doubt every one will be ready to join with the Dr. in the words immediately following, "that this is a turn of mind unbecoming a christian." And had he not been too unhappily inattentive to his own maxim as before cited, doubtless he would here have dropp'd his pen. ‘But some of his friends’ too "partial" indeed "in his favor" inju­diciously prevented him from profiting by his own admonition, having it seems "expressed a desire that" notwithstanding "his" great aversion to controversy —he would—communicate some of his thoughts to the public, on the point in question.

IN the 8th page of his observations, the Doctor affects to be very candid and ingenuous. ‘He is sensible" he says, "that the Society are a very re­spectable Body, and to be treated with all the regard that is consistent with truth and justice— he declares it is by no means his intention to charge that venerable Body with any wilful known misconduct, or improper application of monies.’ This is very commendable, if he had but kept it in mind through the whole of his polite inquiry; but as though he was sensible he should very soon break through the aforesaid equitable rule, ‘he requests the candor of his readers, that no advantage may be taken of any incautious expression that may escape him in the pursuit of his argument, even [Page 4]tho' it should at first view, have the appearance of such an accusation. This however is a reason­able postulatum, and therefore it is not proposed, nay, the author hereby promises the gentleman that he will not take advantage of one or even of two incautious expressions, that appear undesignedly to have escaped him, if at first view only they have the bare appearance of such an accusation; but then he cannot extend the same indulgence to very many expressions importing a charge of wilful known mis­conduct, and improper application of monies; especially, if not only at the first view, but on a second and third view, they do not appear to have merely escaped him, but were manifestly intended to support such an accusation. Much less will he be intitled to this indulgence, if it shall appear that the Society are directly charged by him with misap­plication of the monies committed to their trust, in numerous passages of his book, but moreover, that the general design of it was, an attempt to prove this very point.

THE Dr.'s book is entitled ‘Observations on the charter and conduct of the Society, &c. designed to shew their non-conformity to each other.’ In support of this title, after sometimes contracting, then stretching and wire-drawing the sense of the charter, seal, &c. of the Society, he concludes that the sole design of their institution was to propagate the gospel among the heathen, or in those colonies whose religious state was, and according to him, now is, little better than heathenism. But this which he asserts to be the laudable and only design of their institution, they have, he says, grossly perverted and abused.

[Page 5] THUS in page 55, he says ‘the Society have ma­nifested a sufficient forwardness to encourage and increase small disaffected parties in our towns, upon an application to them.’ And in the 57th page he represents the Society as hoping that these small parties will by their influence gradually bring on a general submission to an episcopal sovereign; and ‘affirms that this has long been the formal design of the Society, and is the true plan and grand mystery of their operations in New-England.’

IN his 106th page he tells us that the ‘affair of Bishops in America, has been a favourite object with the Society," and in the next page, that the Society spare neither endeavours, applications, nor expence, in order to effect their grand design of episcopizing all New-England,’ and a few lines further, ‘The Society have long had a formal design to dissolve and root out all our New-England churches.—This (he says) fully and clearly ac­counts for their being so ready to encourage small episcopal parties all over New-England, by send­ing them missionaries.’ In page 110 he affirms that ‘the Society have been expending large sums every year in New-England, quite beyond the design of their institution, to support and increase the epis­copal party as such.’ In the same page he charges the Society with robbing the heathen to ease and gratify the episcopalians here, and forms this conclu­sion upon his foregoing representations, that ‘the Society are guilty of a flagrant abuse of a noble institution.’ And in the 112th page, that they have ‘alienated their revenues from a truly noble to a comparatively mean, narrow, party design.’ After these several direct and plain accusations of the Society as abusing their trust, and misapplying the [Page 6]money put into their hands, he wipes his mouth again, and absurdly enough assures his reader, that ‘he would by no means be understood as charging so respectable a Body with any wilful criminal abuse of power, or misapplication of monies.’ i. e. he would not have the reader believe him; for that is the sense of his words, as they stand connected with what went before, if indeed they have any sense at all in them.

WILL he now have the firmness to assert, that all the expressions and passages which have been here quoted (and five times as many more might have been added) are only incautions expressions, that inadvertently escaped him, that they are not de­signed as matter of accusation, and that if possibly they have such an appearance, it is only at first view? If he should assert this. I am persuaded his friends at least must blush for him. Is the supporting small parties in New-England, in order to facilitate the affair of episcopizing the colonies, the formal design of the Society, to which they give their chief atten­tion, and to which the largest part of their fund is applied? Can he assert all this, and yet say that he does not charge that venerable Body ‘with any wilful known misconduct, or improper application of monies?’

PERHAPS this consistent reasoner will chuse to say that the Society are misled, and form their plan upon the misrepresentations of their wicked missio­naries. Something like this is asserted in a note upon a thansgiving sermon on the reduction of Canada, preached and published by him in the year 1760. ‘It is probable that they [the Society] have been grossly imposed upon by false representations of the state of religion in these parts, which has [Page 7]been the occasion of their employing so much of their charitable care about those who so little need­ed it, to the neglect of those who were perishing for want of it: For which impositions, abuses and misapplications, their deceivers are answerable; if not to them, yet certainly to an HIGHER AU­THORITY.’ But surely whatever representations these missionaries have made, the Society must judge whether the complying with such representa­tions was, or was not consistent with their charter; so that notwithstanding his striving to palliate his accusation of the Society, by casting the odium of a pretended misapplication of their charity on the missionaries, the slander will still remain where he at first placed it, on the Society themselves. Besides, the members of the Society are not all of them utterly unacquainted with the plantations; some of them have heretofore, and others do even now reside in most of the governments upon the continent, (New-England not excepted) many of them not inconsi­derable for their station, wisdom and integrity. These gentlemen must therefore be also in a combi­nation with the missionaries to abuse the world, and misapply the monies entrusted with them. This seems to be the consequence of his general accusation.

IF the Dr. would say any thing further to soften the odium of this accusation which he has cast upon the Society, it must be by asserting that they did not understand their own charter; this, if true, may serve in some measure to take off the charge of wilful abuse and misapplication; and that he supposes it true is clear from hence, that he has spent many pages and employed his great learning and penetration in explaining this intricate charter, that the Society may no longer misapply their cha­rity [Page 8]for want of understanding the real design of their institution. It may be questioned however, whether his refin'd criticism and curious explanation will merit the thanks of the venerable board. That untoward word orthodox, which so much raises his indignation wherever he meets with it, will not per­haps after all his learned pains, sairly comprehend the dissenters from a national establishment. How­ever that be, there is certainly no method of recon­ciling his candid professions of justice, decency and respect towards the Society, or his solemn declara­tion that it is not his intention to charge that venerable Body with wilful known misconduct: I say, it is impossible to reconcile these things, with the numerous abuses, accusations and indecencies which have been already produced, and with which he has treated that respectable Body directly or im­plicitly, in almost every page of his book.

IN short, the Society either have, or have not acted contrary to the meaning and design of their charter; that they have not, is at least highly pro­bable from the character of wisdom, honor and piety, which the world will generally allow to those of them at least, who are chiefly active and interest­ed in managing their affairs. If they have acted contrary to the design of it, as the Dr. affirms (and pretends to think he has prov'd) they have either done so wilfully, or thro' ignorance. That they have not done it wilfully, the Dr. himself allows; it remains then, according to him, that their mis­conduct is owing to ignorance: Either they have misunderstood the true and real design of their charter, or have not a competent knowledge of the state of religion in the plantations, or how their affairs are conducted there, being imposed on by the [Page 9]representation of their missionaries, or that both these things concur to mislead them, into an abuse of their institution. The latter seems to be his sense of the thing, viz. that they are ignorant both of the true meaning of their charter, and also of the state of religion in the plantations; for he says in the close of his introduction, that ‘the profess'd de­sign of his observations is to shew, that they (the Society) have in some respects counteracted and defeated the truly noble ends of their INSTITU­TION, however contrary to their intention. Whe­ther they have done so or not, will fall under exa­mination hereafter. In the mean time I shall take leave of his introduction with this single remark, that from the passages already quoted, as well as from many others that might have been produced from this curious book of observations, it appears that the professions of candor and ingenuity which the Dr. set out with, and his declaration of respect for so venerable a body as the Society, are mere affectation and grimace, and tend only to prove that he "knows not what manner of spirit he is of."

It was observed before, that according to the Dr's representation the Society are ignorant of the true sense and meaning of their charter, and also of the state of religion in the plantations; for the asserts that they have greatly perverted the design of their institution, and yet will not allow their misconduct to be wilful; it remains therefore that their misap­plication of the trust they have undertaken, is owing to ignorance.

It will be proper therefore to inquire first, Whether the Society must not be supposed to have a competent knowledge of the state of religion in the plantati­ons, so far at least as relates to the design of their in­corporation. And,

[Page 10] 2. Whether they may not also reasonably be sup­posed to understand the true sense, meaning and de­sign of their charter; for it these two things can be proved to the satisfaction of disinterested and unprejudiced people, it will follow, either that the Society are not chargeable with misconduct and mis­application of their charity, or if they are so, that such misconduct is known, wilful and intended, which the Dr. does not allow.

The first thing to be examined is, Whether the Society have not a competent knowledge of the state of religion in the plantations. Dr. Humphries in his history of the Society page 22d, acquaints us, that ‘upon their first engaging in this work the Society presently perceived it consisted of three great branches, the care and instruction of our own people, settled in the colonies; the conver­sion of the Indian Savages, and the conversion of the Negroes. The English planters had a title to their first care" &c.— "The Society began therefore with the English, and soon found there was more to be done among them, than they had as yet any views of effecting.’ He then proceeds to give ‘a small sketch of the state and condition of each colony, formed from accounts, the Go­vernors, and persons of the best note, sent over to the corporation.’ I shall omit what is said of the southern heathenish colonies as Dr. Mayhew modestly calls them, because these he allows to be proper objects of the Society's charity, and proceed to the state of religion in New-England as represent­ed in the history before mentioned. After speaking of the first settlement of the country, and the state of religion in the early days of it, Dr. Humphries proceeds to say,— ‘Since that time great numbers [Page 11]of people, members of the church of England, have at different times settled there, who thought themselves surely entituled, by the very New-England charter to a liberty of conscience in the worshipping of God after their own way. Yet the Independents (it seems) were not of this sen­timent, but acted as an establishment." "The members of the church of England in Boston met with so much obstruction in attempting to set up that form of worship, that they were obliged to petition the King for protection. Their peti­tion was granted, and a Church thereupon erect­ed, which occasioned the members of the church of England in many other towns in New-England to declare their desire of the like advantage, and accordingly wrote very zealous letters to bishop Compton, for ministers; and now it appeared they were a very considerable body of people. * From these several passages, it appears that the Society did not proceed hastily and without due caution and information of the state of religion in the colonies which they proposed to assist. Dr. Humphries goes on and sums up the religious state of the colonies in a brief representation of it, from the memorials of Governor Dudley, Col. Morris, and Col. Heath­cote. I shall pass over the southern colonies for the reason before mentioned, and come to New-England.—‘In Connecticut colony in New-England there are about 30000 souls, of which when they have a minister among them. about 150 frequent the church; and there are 35 commu­nicants. In Rhode-Island and Narraganset, which is one government, there are about 10000 souls, of which about 150 frequent the church, and there are 30 communicants. In Boston and Pis­cataway [Page 12]governments, there are about 80000 souls, of which about 600 frequent the church, and 120 the sacrament.’

After such particular information from the me­morials of these honorable persons, perhaps no man except Dr. Mayhew and his voucher, will suppose the Society could be ignorant of the state of religion in this part of the world, nor consequently where it was most proper to employ their charity. Agree­ably Dr. Humphreys acquaints us that ‘the Gover­nors of several colonies, and other Gentlemen of character abroad, and merchants here in London, having given such a particular description of the religious state of the plantations; the Society found it was high time to enter upon the good work"* especially as "great numbers of the in­habitants of various humors, and different tenets in religion, began to contend with great zeal, which should be first supplied with ministers of the church of England, and wrote very earnest letters to the Society—They (the Society) thought any further delay now would be inexcusable, after the people had pressed so earnestly for their as­sistance.’ Yet as if all this care was insufficient, and that the Society might leave no method unat­tempted, for gaining a more perfect knowlege of the state of religion in the colonies, ‘before they proceeded to appoint missionaries to particular places, (they) resolved to send a travelling missio­nary, who should travel over, and preach in the several Governments, on the continent of the British America.’ Accordingly they did send the Rev. Mr. Keith, who landed at Boston on the 11th of June 1702. and in the course of two years travel'd [Page 13]over and preached in all the Governments betwixt Piscataway river and North-Carolina inclusively, when having finished his mission he returned to England, and published a full account of his labours. One thing in his narrative I shall just mention, viz. That ‘in divers parts of New-England, he found not only many people well affected to the Church, who had no church of England ministers, but also several New-England ministers desirous of episcopal ordination, and ready to embrace the church worship, some of whom both hospi­tably entertained Mr. Keith and Mr. Talbot (who had joined Mr. Keith as an assistant) in their houses, and requested them to preach in their congregations, which they did, and received great thanks, both from the ministers and from the people. *

‘Mr. Keith in the conclusion of his narrative re­presented to the Society, the want of a great num­ber of ministers for a people dispersed over such large countries,’ and among others makes mention of Narraganset, Swansey, Little Compton & Rhode-Island in New-England, which Places had engaged him to present their humble requests to the Socie­ty, to send ministers among them.

Yet notwithstanding this particular information, supported by many carnest petitions from the plan­tations for ministers of the church of England, ‘the Society thro' the whole management of the trust, have been so far from obtruding the church of England worship upon any sort of people abroad—that they have not been able to give any assistance to great numbers of people, who have in very moving terms, with a true christian spirit [Page 14]requested it; and whom they knew to stand very much in want of it. There remain upon their books numerous petitions of this sort.’— I shall omit those from the southern colonies, for the reasons before mentioned, and proceed to that of New-England, which as Dr. Humphreys acquaints us (page 61) ‘tho' before provided with an inde­pendent and presbyterian ministry, yet had great numbers of inhabitants, who could not follow that persuasion, but were exceeding desirous of worshipping God, after the manner of the church of England. I shall give the reader (says he) a few petitions which shew plainly the Society did not concern themselves here, till they were loudly called upon; and that the inhabitants in many places, did not only fend petitions for ministers, but also built churches before they had any mi­nisters, which is an uncontroulable evidence— that the people themselves desired to have the church of England worship, with a hearty zeal and true sincerity.’ The Dr. then proceeds to specify as petitioners several inhabitants of Rhode-Island, Narraganset, Newbury, Marblehead, New-Hampshire, Little Compton and Tiverton, Braintree near Boston, and Stratford in Connecticut.* ‘The case of these two last towns he tells us was also further recom­mended to the Society's care, by gentlemen of considerable figure and interest. Colonel Morris pressed very earnestly for a minister for Braintree, and Colonel Heathcote, for another, for the peo­ple of Connecticut colony; great numbers of whom were very earnest to have a minister of the church of England. Robert Hunter, Esq Go­vernor of New-York, in the year 1711, writes [Page 15]thus to the Society, concerning the people at Stratford: When I was at Connecticut, those of our communion at the church at Stratford, came to me in a body; and then, as they have since by letter, begged my intercession with the vene­rable Society, and the right reverend the Lord bishop of London, for a missionary; they ap­peared very much in earnest, and are the best set of men I met with in that country.’

How these several testimonies which have been produc'd will operate upon Dr. Mayhew, it is not easy to say; but to the sober, judicious and unpreju­diced, the following conclusions may perhaps be thought fairly drawn, viz. That the Society have omitted no proper means of information concern­ing the state of religion in the colonies—That their religious state must therefore be competently known to that venerable board—And that if they have been guilty of any notorious misconduct or misap­plication of their charity, it could not be owing to ignorance of the true condition of things abroad, but must be attributed to some other cause: For allowing what the Dr. has most uncharitably inti­mated, that the missionaries have misrepresented the condition of things among us, and by that means endeavoured to mislead the Society to an improper application of the monies lodged in their hands; yet can any modest person suppose that Governors of colonies, merchants, and other gentlemen of character, have all along combined with the said wicked missionaries, to abuse and mislead the Society into a wrong disposition of their charity? Or is it probable that their own members, several of whom do reside in the colonies, should conspire with the worthy persons before mentioned to carry on the [Page 16]deceit? It is hoped the Dr. himself is not so far in­volved in a party spirit as to affirm the probability of this, if he is, without doubt he is alone in such an uncharitable censure. And therefore this point may be left without any further remarks, to the public opinion.

The second Inquiry is; Whether the Society may not reasonably be supposed to understand the true sense, meaning and design of their Charter.

To those who examine the list of members of which the Society is composed, as it is exhibited in the yearly abstract of their proceedings, the present inquiry will appear very extraordinary. That a Sett of Gentlemen, many of them highly distinguish'd in the world for their great parts, and extensive know­lege, should mistake, or be at a loss about the true meaning of a charter, which has nothing at all in it that is intricate or obscure, is what no reasonable person will admit. And notwithstanding the Dr's refined criticism, some may perhaps imagine that it must ar­gue no small measure of self-sufficiency in any per­son to oppose his single sentiment, to that of so learn­ed and respectable a body. Few besides the Dr. himself, will really believe that they needed his assist­ance for acquiring a right understanding of their charter. If we should suppose, that those very learn­ed divines, who from the beginning have composed a considerable part of that body, should be less ac­quainted with the phrase and purport of an instru­ment in some measure foreign to their profession; yet doubtless the Lord Chancellor, the chief Justices of the King's Bench and common pleas, whose pe­culiar profession it is, may be supposed to understand the nature of instruments of this kind. And as the Society are obliged to exhibit an annual account of [Page 17]their proceedings to these very learned and worthy persons, it is surprizing that they should suffer them to proceed above 60 years, without once acquaint­ing them that their conduct was not agreeable to the Letter and Spirit of their charter. That the Society should at last be obliged to a profound critic in New-England for an ellucidation of this kind, after hav­ing so many years stood the test of an annual exa­mination, by those whom the royal wisdom thought proper to appoint as their supervisors—Believe it they that can—

Some friend of the Dr's may possibly here cry our, what would this remarker be at? The Dr. has plainly prov'd that the Society have been guilty of great misconduct, have acted quite inconsistent with the intent and design of their charter, and from a principle of charity is willing to impute it to misinformation, or ignorance; while this writer who affects to be the friend of the Society is la­bouring to defeat the Dr's benevolent purpose, and seems as tho' he designed to prove their misconduct to be wilful.

After thanking the candid Dr. for his good in­tention, the author confesses it is his opinion, and he thinks it has in some measure been prov'd; either that the Society have not acted inconsistent with their charter, or if they have done so, that it was knowingly, wilfully and designedly done. The au­thor thinks, as all reasonable men must think, that the Society do very well understand the design and meaning of their charter—And also that they have a competent knowledge of the state of religion in the plantations.

If these two things are allowed, the conclusion will unavoidably be what was mentioned before, viz. [Page 18]either that the Society have wilfully misconducted, of else, that there has been no misconduct in the case—That they have wilfally misconducted the Dr. difallows, therefore, there has been no miseconduct at all.—Here then the argument and imputation which the Dr. has cast upon the Society, drop of course.

However, tho' the Dr. has been candid enough to clear the Society from any intentional abuse of their charter, possibly others may not be so ingenu­ous. Besides it may be esteemed unfair to take this advantage of the Dr's concession, to the neglect of those many curious arguments he has brought to prove what he had before given up; for notwith­standing the inconsistency of it, he has throughout his book laboured to prove (that which he gave up in the beginning;) that the Society have really been guilty of wilful and designed abuse of their trust. And therefore the author hopes the Dr. will forgive it, if upon a general view of the observations, he is led to question the sincerity of that declaration be­fore mentioned, viz. ‘That it is not his intention to charge that venerable body (the Society) with any wilful known misconduct or improper appli­cation of monies.’

Mr. Noah Hobart (whom by the way the Dr. has dubb'd a bishop, for his heroic exploits in this con­troversy) has plainly spoke out, and directly charg­ed the Society with a designed abuse and perversion of their trust, at least since the first ten years after their incorporation, though indeed like the Dr. he afterwards seems disposed in some measure to retract the charge, and chuses rather to impute it to their ignorance of the state of religion in New-England, [Page 19]and to the imposition and misrepresentation of their wicked missionaries.* But the author conceives it has already been proved that their conduct cannot be imputed to a want of knowledge, and whatever the disposition of Mr. Hobart or his copier may be, it is presumed that an accusation of the Society as wilfully betraying their trust, will be received by the impartial world, with the resentment it deserves. It is not the Society alone, who are thus unjustly ar­raigned by these licentious pens, but the integrity and honor of their inspectors also, the Lord chan­cellor and the chief justices of the King's bench, who yearly examine and approve their transactions, do of consequence suffer impeachment by their ca­lumny; nay the extensive abuse reaches to every benefactor to that Society, who, as an annual ac­count of their proceedings is published and put into their hands, must be supposed to approve them, since otherwise it is more than probable they would have withdrawn their assistance.

As for the learned and ingenious Dr. Mayhew, he certainly descended very low, when he vouchsafed to become the transcriber of Mr. Hobart's address, for (excepting some personal reflections upon his antagonist) there appears little else throughout his observations, besides a servile copying of that curious peice of defamation. The method indeed he may claim to himself, and sometimes the phrase and man­ner of expression. The Dr. owns "the book has been of service to him," and promised to "make proper acknowledgments wherever he should make use of it" yet has not perhaps always been so good as his word; nor will the empty honor of a bishop which he arbitrarily confers on him, be allow'd a [Page 20]sufficient compensation for the liberties of this kind which he has taken. He asserts that "Mr. Hobart wrote so solidly, and judiciously upon the subject, that it was hardly needful for him to say any thing," this is granted, unless he could have advanced some­thing new, which the other had not offer'd before; especially as Mr. Hobart's peice received as solid and judicious an answer, which the Dr. thought proper wholly to neglect. In truth, had the Dr. but care­fully read the Rev. Mr. Beach's dispassionate but masterly reply to Mr. Hobart's second address, he might have seen a full and compleat answer to all he has written (except what is merely personal) without breaking in upon that peaceable disposition which gives him such "an aversion to controversy."

The Dr. affirms p. 18. That ‘nothing is to be supposed the object, or any part of the object of this charitable and royal institution, but what plainly appears to be really so, from the very words of the charter"— and a little after "the words of the charter itself must determine and limit the sense of the royal Grantor, and conse­quently the legal power conferred on the — Grantees.’ We shall see presently how far the Dr. adheres to his own invariable rule of interpre­tation. He confesses ‘that the British plantations or the King's subjects were really the primary, more immediate object of this institution.’ And pray why not the sole and entire object of it? There is certainly no other object "particularly ex­pressed" in the charter, besides that of the King's subjects. Has he forgot what he had asserted but a few lines before, that ‘nothing is to be supposed any part of the object of this institution, but what plainly appears to be so from the very words of [Page 21]the charter.’ Why then are the King's subjects said to be the primary, more immediate, and not the sole object of their institution? since they are the only object expresly mentioned in the very words of the charter. It was a strange oversight in this great critic, to depart so suddenly from his invariable rule; or perhaps there was a design to be served in interpreting the charter by way of implication, tho' expresly contrary to his own rule of a literal inter­pretation; and that was to perswade the world, that this society was erected chiefly for propagating the Gospel among the Indians. To this purpose he has conveniently contrived two objects of this institu­tion, the one ‘primary and immediate (the Kings subjects) the other the grand ultimate object which is the Indians bordering on the colonies.’ But because the express words of the charter, which he had represented as the sole rule of their conduct, unluckily make no mention of "this grand ulti­mate design", therefore he found himself under a necessity of departing from the rule himself had contrived, in order to adapt one of greater latitude. Indeed the Dr. assures us that this phrase "the pro­pagation of the gospel in those parts," necessarily "includes the grand ultimate design" before men­tioned "of christianizing the Indians." But pray Dr. why so? Is not the design of that phrase the propagation of the gospel fully answer'd, by preach­ing it to those of the King's subjects who seem to be abandon'd to atheism and infidelity, and to those other "inferior subjects the slaves"? many of whom even in New-England are yet in a state of Heathe­nism. Does not the royal Grantor say expresly, "we think it our duty to promote the glory of God, by the instruction of our people in the christian [Page 22]religion?" Is there a single word about the heathen bordering on our colonies? Why will he then force upon us a design which the charter does not mention?

What is here said is not intended to prove that the Society have not a power by their charter to propagate the Gospel among the heathen, for they really have such a power, and have accordingly made use of it, whenever opportunity has offer'd to do it with success; and will continue to do so notwith­standing his endeavours to misrepresent, and lessen the merit of their pious labours. But the author's intention is to show the Dr. the sophistry of his argument, and that the rule he lays down for inter­preting the charter, would, if admitted, exclude the Society from this good work, and consequently that his argument by proving too much, proves nothing at all.

The truth is, the Society have by their charter, not only a legal power of propagating the Gospel among such of the King's subjects as are in danger of losing their christianity thro' atheism or infidelity, and among the heathen who have not so much as heard of the name of Christ: But (as ministring greatly to these purposes) of supporting the means of religion among those who have already, or who incline to receive it according to the legal establish­ment and provision of the church of England. In short whatever legal means are found necessary or conducive to secure or propagate the profession of christian religion as it is established in England, and all other his Majesty's dominions (Scotland excepted) and made a part of the constitution of the English nation; the Society have a right by their charter to make use of, understood in that generous view, ori­ginally designed and intended by the Grantor.

[Page 23] But to this the Dr. further objects, that the Grantor ‘King William himself was bred up in the calvinistic principles and discipline, quite oppo­site in some respects to the episcopal, and is gene­rally suppos'd to have retain'd a regard for the principles of his education all along; tho' as King of England and head of that church, there was a necessity of his externally conforming to its rites and discipline’—The reader is desired to stop here for a moment, and indulge his astonishment. Was this glorious deliverer then a finish'd hypocrite? Was he under a necessity of acting contrary to his conscience? of conforming externally to the church of England while his heart was not in all this? What blacker picture could he have drawn of those whom he calls "the infamous race of the Stewarts"* than he has here given of this excellent prince? A Prince for whom he pretends a respect, at least as much respect as he is capable of paying to any crowned head: For he assures us in a very solemn manner, that ‘the greatest part of mankind now are, and almost always have been oppressed by wicked tyrants, called civil rulers, Kings and Emperors So this perhaps is to pass for a light censure upon the memory of our glorious de­liverer. And this suppositious reflection upon King William was introduced it seems to prove that he could not look upon the ministry in the church of England as orthodox, in opposition to those who dissent from the establishment. But he might have sound a better argument to prove that he could and did look upon it in that light; for certainly better evidence could not be given of his regard for the church of England, and his desire to see it take [Page 24]place and flourish in New-England, than his giving a hundred pounds sterling per annum out of the privy purse for supporting a minister of the church of England in Boston, and his bestowing a valuable library of books on King's chapel in that town; to which (tho' not immediately relative to N. Eng­land) gratitude will oblige all true sons of the church of England in America to add, his royal foundation of a college at Williamsburg in Virginia for the same noble purpose. If the King himself could so liberally part with his own money to sup­port what the Dr. calls the peculiarities of episcopacy; it can hardly be doubted but that he would readily encourage the charity of others in doing the like. So that it is not quite so "unnatural" as the Dr. ima­gines ‘to suppose that that noble spirited Prince had such an intention.’ Indeed it would be unnatural to suppose the contrary, viz. that in making a grant in favor of a corporation of the church of England, he should make use of a word in some peculiar sense of his own, and different form that in which he knew they had been accustom'd to understand it. It may therefore very reasonably be admitted that by ortho­dox ministers in this charter, the Grantor did ‘intend those of the English church, not in distinction from all other churches in the world,’ but in distinction from all those churches in the English dominions, (Scotland excepted) who dissent from the legal con­stitutional establishment of England.

As pertinent to what has been here said, the fol­lowing passage is inserted, with which Dr. Humphries worthily concludes his history of the Society. ‘In gratitude to the memory of the founder of this Society King William the third, it may not be improper to conclude this treatise with remarking [Page 25]to the reader, the erecting of this corporation, was among the last public actions of his heroic life. After having rescued the protestant religion in Europe, and saved the church of England here, he did by this last act, as it were bequeath it to his American subjects, as the most valuable legacy, and greatest blessing.’ But the Dr. adds— ‘to say that the Grantees understood the term orthodox in this narrow exclusive sense, is to reflect upon their understandings.’ As to their understandings, it would become him to speak with reverence of them, as what he is not qualified to take the measure of: Nor is it any reflection upon them, that they should understand the term orthodox in such a limited sense. For as the words orthodox and heterodox do in their literal signification import, the one a right, and the other a wrong or different opinion, in mat­ters relative to religion, so, they who adhere to the legal established provision, are usually termed orthodox, or persons who hold a right opinion, and they who dissent from such establishment are said to be heterodox, that is, persons who hold a wrong or different opinion, whether their dissent arises from doctrinal points, or ritual injuctions. Nor had the Dr. any occasion to wonder that his antagonist should understand the word orthodox as well capable of the sense he had put upon it, since it is used in the same sense in the historical account of the So­ciety as quoted by himself. With as little reason does he charge that gentleman with not distinguish­ing between heresy and schism, for he was not talk­ing of heresy, but of heterodoxy, between which it seems this learned critic knows no difference.

[Page 26] AND this seems to be a proper place to take notice of another mistake that both the Dr. and his voucher have gone into, relative to establishments. The Dr. does not indeed seem quite so clear as his voucher, that congregationalism or independency are establish­ed in New-England; yet he has said enough to shew his inclination that the reader should believe it. Thus in his 16th page he calls the ministers and churches of New-England, the "established ministers and churches;" and a notable proof of their establishment he gives us at the 42d page, where he says, that the government of the Massachusetts-Bay made a law for the support of a learned and orthodox ministry, and this the Dr. calls a "civil establishment of reli­gion." I suppose the government will scarcely thank Him for this interpretation of that law, which really is charging them with invading the King's pre­rogative and establishing themselves: No says the Dr. in the next page, for the ‘acts which relate to the settlement and support of the gospel ministry here, received the royal sanction, and therefore our churches seem to have a proper legal establishment.’ I believe if the Dr. held an estate upon a title so pre­carious, as that of its being merely overlook'd, he would be solicitous of obtaining a better confirma­tion of it. Indeed he is so modest as only to assert that "they seem to have a legal establishment;" but since he knew that this was no establishment at all; it was perhaps not quite ingenuous to tell his rea­ders that it seemed to be one.

IN his 72d page he asserts, that the Church of England "is not established here," which appears to be introduced as another reason why the New-Eng­land churches are established. But now if it should appear, that the church of England really is esta­blished [Page 27]here, and has been so from the first settlement of the country; and that the churches (as he affects to call them) of New England subsist here as the dissent­ing congregations do in England, upon no other foot than that of a toleration: I suppose the world will not look upon it very modest in him to speak of the church of England in these colonies, as a party, a faction, little episcopal parties, small disaffected and discontent­ed parties. — It will be proper therefore to shew,

  • 1. THAT what the Dr. calls the churches of New England are not established in the colonies. And
  • 2. THAT the Church of England is, and all a­long has been established here.

THAT the New-England churches had no estab­lishment till the act of toleration took place, is evi­dent from their own confession; for such I take to be their sending an address of thanks to King James the 2d. for a toleration of religion. Thus the affair is related by Dr. Douglass. ‘Anno 1687. The ministers of Massachusetts-Bay colony, jointly sent an address of thanks to K. James 2d. for his in­dulgence, or general toleration of religious opinions and congregations; this was sent over and pre­sented to K. James by Mr. Increase Mather, he and his constituents, were not politicians, sufficient to penetrate into the wicked and pernicious con­trivance of that toleration.’ The Dr. adds in a note that ‘by this general indulgence popery was craftily to be introduced; the colony of Plymouth unadvisedly sent an address of the same nature. If previous to this they had apprehended themselves to be an establishment, we can hardly suppose they would have sent a person a thousand leagues to com­pliment that prince upon his granting the blessing of a toleration.

[Page 28] A second reason to prove that the New-England churches are not established here, shall be taken from a letter of their Excellencies the Lords Justices to the Hon. William Dummer, Esq which is handed down to us by the historian above mentioned,* and is as follows.


THE Lords Justices being informed from such good hands, as make the truth of this advice not to be doubted, that at a general convention of mini­sters, from several parts of his Majesty's province of the Massachusetts-Bay, at Boston, on the 27th of May last, a memorial and address was framed, di­rected to you as Lieut. Governor and commander in chief, and to the council and house of represen­tatives then setting, desiring that the general assem­bly would call the several churches in this province to meet by their pastors, and messengers, in a synod, which memorial and address, being accordingly presented by some of the said ministers, in the name, and at the desire of the said convention, was con­sidered in council, the 3d of June following; and there approved, but the house of representatives put off the consideration of it to the next session, in which the council afterwards concurred.

Their Excellencies were extremely surprized, that no account of so extraordinary and important transaction should have been transmitted by you, pursuant to an article in your instructions, by which you are directed upon all occasions, to send unto his Majesty, and to the commissioners for trade and plantations, a particular account of all your pro­ceedings, and the condition of affairs within your [Page 29]government. As this matter doth highly concern his Majesty's royal prerogative, their Excellencies referr'd the consideration of it, to Mr. Attorney and Solicitor General, who after mature delibera­tion, and making all proper enquiries, reported, That from the charter and laws of your colony, they cannot collect that there is any regular estab­lishment of a NATIONAL or provincial church there, so as to warrant the holding of convocations or synods of the clergy, but if such synods might be holden, yet they take it to be clear in point of law, that his Majesty's supremacy in ecclesiastical affairs, being a branch of his prerogative, does take place in the plantations, and that synods cannot be held, nor is it lawful for the clergy to assemble as in synods, without authority from his Majesty." They conceive the above mentioned application of the said Ministers, not to you alone, as represent­ing the King's person, but to you, and the council and the house of representatives, to be a contempt of his Majesty's prerogative, as it is a public acknow­ledgment, that the power of granting what they desire, resides in the legislative body of the province, which by law is vested only in his Majesty. And the Lieut. Governor, council and assembly inter­meddling therein, was an invasion of his Majesty's royal authority, which it was your duty as Lieut. Governor, to have withstood and rejected, and that the consent of the Lieut. Governor, the council and house of representatives, will not be sufficient au­thority for the holding of such a synod.

Their Excellencies, upon consideration of this opinion, of the attorney and solicitor general, which they have been pleased to approve, have commanded me to acquaint you with, and to ex­press [Page 30]to you their surprize, that no account of so remarkable a transaction, which so nearly concerns the King's prerogative, and the welfare of his Ma­jesty's province under your government, has been received from you, and to signify to you their di­rections, that you do put an effectual stop to any such proceedings, but if the consent desired by the ministers above mentioned, for the holding of the synod, should have been obtained, and this pre­tended synod should be actually sitting, when you receive these their Excellencies directions, they do in that case, require and direct you, to cause such their meeting to cease, acquainting them that their assembly is against law, and a contempt of his Ma­jesty's prerogative, and that they are forbid to meet any more; but if notwithstanding such signification, they shall continue to hold such an assembly, you are then to take care that the principal actors there­in be prosecuted for a misdemeanour. But you are to avoid doing any formal act to dissolve them, lest it be construed to imply that they had a right to assemble. This Sir, is what I have in command from their Excellencies to signify to you.

And I must observe to you, that the precedent quoted in the above mentioned memorial of such a synod being held 45 years ago, falls in with the year 1680, and that the former charter, upon which the government of your province depended, was repealed by scire facias in the year 1684, and the new charter was granted in the year 1691, from whence it appears, that if such synod was holden as is alledged, it happened a short time before the repealing of the old charter, but none has been since the granting the new one.

I am Sir your most humble servant. CHARLES DELAFAYE.

[Page 31] LET us now compare Dr. Mayhew's opinion with that of the attorney and solicitor general as given us in the foregoing letter; and to make the matter more plain to the reader, I will place them opposite to each other (as they are truly in them­selves) in seperate columns thus,

Dr. Mayhew's assertion that the New-England churches are estab­lished here.

  • 1. The government of the Mas­sachusetts-Bay, in the 4th of Wil­liam and Mary, made a law for the support of a learned and orthodox ministry; it is needless therefore to look any farther back, for a civil establishment of religion here. Obsv. p. 42.
  • 2. The acts which relate to the settlement and support of the gos­pel ministry here, received the coyal sanction, and therefore our churches seem to have a proper legal establishment. P. 43.

The Attorney and Solicitor General's opinion, and the deter­mination of the Lords Justices thereupon.

  • 1. From the charter and laws of your colony (viz. Massachusetts Bay) they cannot collect, that there is any regular establishment of a national or provincial church there.
  • 2. The acknowledgment of such a power in the legislative body of the province is a contempt of his Majesty's prerogative.

IT is really surprizing, that after such a letter as this (of which it is supposed the Dr. could not be ignorant) he should notwithstanding assert that the New-England churches are established. What be­comes of his argument for a civil or legal establish­ment, founded on certain acts of assembly, not formally set aside, and therefore supposed to be confirmed by royal sanction, when the foregoing let­ter declares that the attributing such a power to the legislative body here is a direct invasion of his Ma­jesty's prerogative. Whether the Dr. will incline to dispute this point with the Lords Justices, and prove that the Attorney and Solicitor General did not un­derstand the colony charter, as he has attempted to prove that the Society do not understand theirs, I am not able to say. I shall leave him to determine that matter with himself, as he shall think best.

[Page 32] BUT perhaps the Dr. may be better satisfied by an argument in his own way.—He lays it down as a rule for interpreting the charter of the Society, that ‘nothing can be supposed the object or any part of the object of that institution, but what plainly appears to be so, from the very words of the charter, even tho' it were certain that those per­sons to whom it was granted, had at the very time, some farther views and ends in obtaining it, be­sides those which are expressed, or plainly implied; yet the words of the charter itself must determine and limit the sense of the royal Grantor, and conse­quently the legal power conferred—It was only for those purposes that are particularly expressed, not any private or secret ones, which they might possi­bly have had in their own minds, that they were incorporated.’ Let us now apply this rule to the charter granted to the Massachusetts Bay. Nothing can be supposed the object or any part of the object of this constitution, but what plainly appears to be so from the very words of their charter, which very words must determine and limit the sense of the Grantor. It was only for those purposes that are particularly ex­pressed —Let the Dr. now read and examine the present colony charter, bearing date 1691, and point out to us the passage or passages where in express words a power is granted of instituting an ecclesi­astical establishment, or to use his own words, a civil establishment of religion; but if nothing of this kind is to be found in it; if such a power be neither the object, nor any part of the object of the colony charter, it is more than probable that there is no such establishment as the Dr. contends for existing.

IF any thing further should be thought necessary to confute the pretence of the New-England [Page 33]churches being established in the colonies, I shall refer the reader to a letter sent from her Majesty and the Privy Council to the colony of Connecticut, Oct, 11th, 1705. See Doug. Sum. Vol. 2. p. 339.

IT has been now sufficiently proved that the New-England churches are not established here. We will therefore inquire whether the church of England be not established in the colonies.—This was before affirm'd.—I shall now attempt to prove it. One would imagine indeed that there should be no occasion to enter upon the proof of a thing so plain and evident as this is; since whatever difficulty there might be in determining this matter before, yet certainly there can be none at all since the union of the two kingdoms, ‘because, says Dr. Douglas, by the act of union of Scotland and England, it is provided that the church of England govern­ment in all the English colonies was for ever established. The same author observes in ano­ther place, that ‘by the articles of union of the two nations of Great-Britain, May 1707, the church of England is established in perpetuity, in all the territories at that time to England belonging. I am a loss how the Dr. should overlook so plain a case as this, so as to deny the establishment of the church of England in these colonites, and to affirm that of the New-England churches. Possibly the Dr. never examined the point himself, but took it upon trust from his voucher.

BUT tho' it is undeniably manifest that the church of England is established in all the English colonies by the act of union before-mentioned; yet it may not be so clear, that this establishment actually took place before that time; and altho' it is sufficient to [Page 34]the present argument, that the church of England has been established here from the time of the union aforesaid; yet for the sake of such as have not had opportunity of examining this matter, I shall lay the case before the reader, as I find it already done to my hands by a learned and judicious writer, in a letter to the Rev. Mr. Thomas Foxcroft, printed in the year 1745.

‘THE christian religion (says this ingenious author) as by its evidence and intrinsic excellency it recommended itself to the English government, so it became by law the religion of the English nation; and the church of England likewise be­came by law their national church; and when any part of the English nation spread abroad into colonies, as they continued part of the nation, the law obliged them equally to the Church of England and to the christian religion. And the statutes for the establishment of the service ordi­nation and articles of this church, made and con­firm'd before and at the union of the two king­doms, settle and establish it alike in the dominions of England, and in the realm it self.’

IN the reign of Edward VI. certain bishops and learned men by the appointment of the King, com­pos'd an order and rite of common prayer, and ad­ministration of the sacraments, in a book entitled, the book of common prayer, and administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies, after the use of the church of England. In the 3d year of his reign, an act of parliament was made (2d and 3d of Edward VI. c. 1.) entitled the penalty for not using uniformity of service and administration of sacraments, whereby it was enact­ed—That all ministers in any parish church, or [Page 35]other place withing the King's dominions, should be bound to say and use the celebration of the Lord's Supper, and all their common and open prayer, in such order and form as is mentioned in this book, and none other, or otherwise.

IN the sixth year of his reign, this book of com­mon prayer, was by order of parliament (5th and 6th of Edward VI. c. 1.) explained and perfected, and a form of making and consecrating, Arch­bishops, Bishops, Priests and Deacons was added to it; and by an act of parliament (entitled, uni­formity of prayer, and administration of sacraments shall be used in the church) it was enacted, that the former act should stand in full force and strength, for establishing this book of common prayer, &c. as it was for the former book, and that if any manner of person inhabiting within his Majesty's dominions, should willingly and witting­ly hear and be present at any other manner or form of common prayer, &c. he should suffer imprisonment, &c.

IN the first year of the reign of Queen Eliza­beth a few alterations and additions were made in this book of common prayer, and by an act of parliament (1 Eliz. c. 2.) entitled there shall be uniformity of prayer and administation of sacra­ments, it was enacted, that all ministers in any parish church, or other place within the Queen's dominions, should be bound to say and use the cele­bration of the Lord's Supper, and administration of each of the sacraments, and all the common and open prayer, in such order and form, as is men­tioned in the 5th and 6th of Edward the sixth, with these alterations and additions, &c. and that every person inhabiting within the Queen's Majes­ty's [Page 36]dominions, should diligently and faithfully en­deavour to resort to the parish church, or some usual place, where common prayer and such ser­vice of God should be used upon every sunday, &c.

IN the 13th year of Elizabeth, by an act of par­liament, entitled reformation of disorders in the ministers of the church: The preamble of which is, that the churches of the Queen's Majesty's do­minions, may be served with pastors of sound re­ligion, it was enacted that no person be admitted to any benefice with cure, except he shall first have subscribed the 39 article.

IN the 14th year of Charles the IId the book of common prayer, &c. was by the appointment of the King reviewed, and in convocation altered and added to, and presented to his Majesty, and being approved and recommended by him to the parliament, was substituted in the place of that ap­pointed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and the parliament by an act (entitled an act for the uni­formity of public prayer, &c.) reciting that where­as the 36th of the 39 articles, is in these words, viz. That the book of consecration of Archbishops and Bishops, and ordaining of priests and deacons, lately set forth in the time of King Edward the sixth, and confirm'd at the same time by authority of parliament, doth contain all things necessary to such consecration and ordaining, &c. and there­fore whosoever are consecrated, or ordered accord­ing to the rites of that book, since the 2d year of the aforenamed King Edward unto this time, or hereafter shall be consecrated, or ordered accord­ing to the same rites, we decree all such to be right­ly, orderly and lawfully consecrated and ordered, enacted that all subscriptions hereafter to be made [Page 37]unto the said articles—shall be construed and taken to extend, and shall be apply'd for and touching the said 36th article, and unto the book containing the form and manner of making, or­daining, &c. in such fort and manner as the same did heretofore extend unto the book set forth in the time of King Edward the sixth, mention'd in the said 36th article. And by another paragraph in said act, it is enacted, that the before-mentioned statutes, for the uniformity of prayer and admini­stration of sacraments, should stand in full force and strength to all intents and purposqdes whatso­ever, for the establishing and confirming this book.

IN the 5th year of the reign of Queen Anne, by an act of parliament (5. A. c. 5.) intitled, an act for securing the church of England as by law established, it was enacted that all acts of parliament then in force, for the establishment and preservation of the church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline and government thereof, should remain and be in full force for ever; and that every King and Queen succeeding to the royal government of the kingdom of Great Britain, at his or her coronation should take and subscribe an oath to maintain, and preserve inviola­bly, the said settlement of the church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline and govern­ment thereof, as by law established within the kingdoms of England and Ireland, the dominion of Wales, and town of Berwick upon Tweed, and the territories thereunto belonging. And by the act of union of England and Scotland (5. A. c. 8.) this act was made an essential and fundamental part of the union.

[Page 38] ‘I have now cited seven statutes for the estab­lishment of the Church of England in the domi­nions.—These statutes are all now in force, and do equally establish and confirm the Church of England, her worship, articles and ordination, in the plantations and in England it self.’ The force of the argument which has been drawn from them will doubtless prove satisfactory and convincing to every one who observes, that every subsequent statute that has been cited refers to and confirms those that preceeded, and by that means throw their united strength upon the point here affirm'd; so that if plain direct positive acts of parliament have any force in framing and confirming an establishment, the Church of England is beyond controversy estab­lished in all his Majesty's colonies and plantations, and therefore in the Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut.

THE author does not recollect any thing that can reasonably be alledged against this conclusion, unless the passage which was quoted before from the Lords Justices letter, viz. ‘that from the charter and laws of this colony it does not appear that there is any regular establishment of a national or provincial church here,’ should be thought an objection. If this passage should seem to any one, to exclude the plantations from any establishment at all, whether of the church or congregational denomination: It may be answered; It is not the intention of the said let­ter to assert that there is no establishment of religion at all in the plantations; but that such an establish­ment is not to be collected from any powers granted in the Massachusetts charter, nor consequently in the laws founded upon that charter. And since no spe­cial power or privilege of this kind was conferr'd by the charter, it is evident that the state of religion [Page 39]in respect to establishments must and does in fact rest upon those acts of parliament which relate to this subject, and especially as they directly include all his Majesty's dominions; it being moreover an al­low'd maxim not only that all laws made in the plantations contrary to the laws of England are ipso facto void, but also that where a case occurs for which the laws of any colony have made no provi­sion, such case shall be determin'd by the laws at home. It appears then from all the acts of parlia­ment that ever were made relative to establishments, that there is an establishment of the Church of Eng­land in the plantations, and that authority allow'd and ratify'd by the reigning prince, was the proper authority to make an establishment. ‘The King (under God) is the supreme head of the church of England, and if he had not appointed an ordinary over New-England, it would have re­mained under his own immediate ecclesiastical jurisdiction as supreme head. But it is well known that his late Majesty, in the first year of his reign, did impower the Bishop of London, under the great seal, to exercise jurisdiction over the clergy in the plantations, which were not in any Diocess, but remained under the immediate jurisdiction of the King.

WE may now quit the subject of establishments, and proceed to consider the Dr.'s fourth section, which contains sundry "other things tending" (as he imagines) ‘to explain and confirm the sense of the charter.’ The first is, ‘the name by which this corporation is distinguished,’ viz. The Society for the propagation of the Gospel. This has been spo­ken to before; it will only be necessary to add here, [Page 40]that the Society have in their conduct acted agree­ble to the import of this title, by sending mission­aries into those colonies which the Dr. allows to be proper objects of their institution, by sending others to the Indian natives, and by appointing catechists to the Negroes. In short, they have so far comply'd with the import of this name or title, and with the design of their institution, that the Dr. himself is forced to confess, however unwillingly, ‘that the Society have chiefly sent their missionaries into those British plantations where they were much needed, according to the true design of their institution, and that they have thereby served the interest of religion. But then he says, ‘they have deviated from the plan of their charter in some other respects,’ that is to say, they have sometimes endeavoured to preserve men from falling into infidelity by providing for them the means of religion,—forgive them this wrong—Doubtless eve­ry candid person will allow that their institution admits of the preservation as well as the extension of the gospel, and whether the one or the other be done, it must be done agreeable to the particular profession and sentiments of those who are the un­dertakers of this work. The Dr. adds, ‘for several years, he thinks about eight or nine, after the Society was founded, they sent no missionary into New-England, which may naturally be looked on (he says) as one argument that it was not origi­nally considered among those plantations which were supposed to stand in need of their charity.’ But it is imagined that a better reason may be given why few or no missionaries were early sent into New-England, and that is, that few or no societies [Page 41]or congregations, appeared at that time to ask their charitable assistance. But afterwards frequent accessi­ons of people of that communion from abroad, toge­ther with the effect of reading and enquiry at home, joined with the enthusiasm which at times prevailed, especially after Mr. Whitefields appearing among us, and which drove many of the more serious and con­siderate people into the bosom of the church; these things occasioned such an increase of the church of England, that the Society found it necessary, to al­low a greater proportion of their assistance, as it was now earnestly called for, and more apparently needed.

2. The next thing which the Dr. advances as li­miting the design of the charter, is the common seal of the Society, which besides a sun in the up­per part of the circle, has a ship within the circle under full sail; on the prow of which stands a clergyman with a bible in his hand which he ex­tends to a company of naked savages on the shore, thronging to receive the blessing, just over whom is a scroll implying these words come over and help us. It is not easy to imagine what this proof was alledged for, since it either proves too much, or else nothing at all to his purpose. If it was design­ed to prove that the sole business of the Society ac­cording to their charter, was to carry the gospel to the savages, this would directly contradict the char­ter, which declares the primary object of their insti­tution to be the King's subjects, but if it was brought to prove that the conversion of the natives was one part of the design of their institution, this is no more than what we allow, and is agreeable to the conduct of the Society as well as their charter. Taking therefore the design of the charter in that sense, in which the society have all along understood it, and [Page 42]agreeable to which they have practised, applying themselves both to the King's subjects and the natives, and it very well agrees with the seal under conside­ration, but if applyed wholly to the natives which is the use the Dr. seems to have bro't it for, insread of agreeing, as he says it very well does, with the char­ter, it really is a flat contradiction to it.

3. The next thing alledg'd by the Dr. in sixing the sense of the charter, is certain anniversary ser­mons preached before the venerable Society, some passages of which he has quoted, in support of his opinion; but this like the former instance produc'd by him, either justifies the Society, or else is nothing at all to the purpose. For does not the Dr. him­self represent the design of their institution to be that of preserving and propagating christianity among the King's subjects, and extending it also to the Hea­then? And has not this been the very practice of the Society from the beginning? And what do the anniversary sermons imply but certain exhortations to pursue the several objects of their institution; those which the Dr. has quoted insist chiefly upon one topic, while other sermons preached upon the same occasion enlarge on some other branch of the general design? As to the particular passages cited by the Dr, he himself allows, that they do ‘rather coin­cide, with the ultimate, than the more immediate design of the institution, and so harmonize rather more perhaps with the seal and name of the So­ciety, than with the charter.’ What now are we to learn from hence, but that the seal and name of the society, which a little before he had produced to explain and support his sense of the charter, do re­ally not harmonize with it at all, but only with the sermons he has quoted. So all he had been offering [Page 43]before by way of proof, from the name and seal of the Society is now given up again, as being (what indeed it was) nothing to the purpose. This gentle­man has a very strange method of proving and dis­proving, of asserting and giving up again. Sure he could never expect to arrive at any solid conclusion, by this wanton method of arguing. The truth is, those worthy gentlemen, who have preached the anniversary sermons before the Society, have not all of them consined themselves to the same topics, but as the institution of the Society comprehended seve­ral objects, some have enlarged more particularly upon one object, and some upon another, as they severally thought proper, but all within the general intendment and design of their charter; and if the Dr. had intended to have drawn an argument from these annual sermons, in proof of the original design of their institution, he should have formed an ab­stract from them all, so far at least as they have en­larged upon different topics, and have given us the collective sense of the whole. But this indeed would not have served his turn; for he himself says ‘he is not insensible, that some of these sermons, es­pecially within the last twenty years, have ex­pressions in them of a much less catholic strain;’ that is to say, they do not so well suit his purpose; and in truth he has taken the liberty to treat them accordingly, that is with great indecency, as will appear to any one who consults his 13th, 14th and 15th sections, as well as many other passages of his book.

The author has now gone thro' the Dr's repre­sentation of the Society's charter, together with the several arguments he has advanced, to support the sense he hath put upon it, and has endeavoured to [Page 44]prove that they are altogether inconclusive; whether he has succeeded or not, must be left to the judgment of the candid unprejudiced reader. In the mean time if the account which has now been given of the char­ter and institution of the Society be just; all the Dr's accusations of that venerable body, his charges of misconduct, misapplication of monies, and perversion of the trust which they have taken on themselves, fall to the ground; and he has only to consider what reparation he ought in conscience to make, or endeavour to make, for the indecent liberties, and various abuse he has been guilty of towards them.

Here therefore the present examination seems to to conclude; but as there are yet many things in the Dr's book, which the author conceives to be ex­tremely exceptionable, he thinks it proper to take notice of at least some of them.

It is a frequent subject of complaint with him, that the Society have not done enough towards the conversion of the Indians, tho' by their public ac­counts it appears that they have omitted nothing in their power to promote that good work; nor have they been entirely without success. He is likewise much displeased, that more missionaries have not been sent to those colonies, whose religious state he thinks to be but little removed from heathenism. What colonies he here refers to, we can be at no loss about, since he excepts none but those of Con­necticut and the Massachusetts-Bay. He allows for instance that the Society might have supported mis­sions in the colony of Rhode-Island with propriety enough; and indeed they have done so, and possi­bly might have done more than they have, if they had not met with too much opposition from a party spirit. For instance, The Society upon a representation of the [Page 45]great necessity of a missionary in the Narraganset, parti­cularly in South and North Kingston, at a time when there was no settled minister of any denomination; sent thither Mr. Guy, Mr. Bridge, and afterwards Dr. Macsparran to officiate among them. To give a check to these gentlemens success, and lest the in­habitants should receive religion, as it is taught in the church of England; one Mr. Torrey was dis­patched thither, who had so little pretensions, and so few adherents, that he could not find five persons to give him a call (which I think the platform requires) and yet is officiously continued there to this day, tho' his congregation, as I am informed by those who live in the neighbourhood, usually consists of scarce twenty people.

Again, The Society open'd a mission at Provi­dence about the year 1722 or 1723, where at that time there was no settled minister of the congre­gational persuasion. But for fear those people should receive the benefit of religion agreeable to the church of England, a congregational minister was soon sent thither, and as it is said, even forc'd upon the people, who refused to pay any thing towards his support.

Once more at Charlestown in the Narraganset, an attempt was made by several church families in that town, to establish a mission for the benefit of themselves, and the tribe of Indians in that neigh­bourhood (at that time about 400) to which attempt the Indians were so well disposed, by the labours of Dr. Macsparran a neighbouring missionary, that the Sachem gave a piece of ground to erect a church upon, and a considerable quantity of land besides, as a glebe for a missionary. Accordingly a church was set up, and the laudable design in a promising way, when one Mr. Parks was sent thither, to give [Page 46]a check to the attempt, who by drawing off a party, and kindling a spirit of enthusiasm among both En­glish & Indians in that town, totally disappointed and frustrated the above design.* Let the Dr. now reflect whose fault it is, that this colony has been no better provided with missionaries, and lay his hand upon his mouth, when it appears how indefatigable some peo­ple have shewn themselves to frustate the Society's attempts, even in those places where he allows they might laudably have employ'd their charity. Let it farther be observed in answer to the Dr's principal objection, viz. ‘that the Society do not allow a due proportion of their charity to the southern heathenish governments, nor to the Indian missions.’ As to the former, several of those governments, hea­then as they are, to their great honor be it spoken, have made a handsome provision among themselves for the public worship of God, and therefore do no longer need the Society's help. And as to the lat­ter, he is certainly a very improper judge what ob­structions and discouragements they have met with in their attempts to convert the Indians; he there­fore speaks at random, and with great want of cha­rity when he says they have neglected that part of their institution in order to propagate the church in N. England.

The Dr's fifth section contains his account of the state of religion in N. England, before and since the the incorporation of the Society. But this account in many things, can by no means be approved.

It is not the author's intention to call in question the religious character of the first adventure s to N. [Page 47]England, he doubts not in the least but that they were serious well meaning people, and altho' labour­ing under some mistakes and prejudices, yet many of them persons of great wisdom and understanding as well as piety. Nor will it be disputed that they made "early provision for the public worship of God":* But how far their coming hither was occasioned by their sufferings and persecutions at home, as also what their sentiments were as to religious matters may deserve farther inquiry.

In the mean time it may not be improper to take some notice of the great veneration the Dr. profes­ses for the memory of these our pious fore-fathers, who first came into this country, for the sake of en­joying (as he says) purity of faith and worship. Could the Dr. have mentioned these good fathers without blushing, if he had reflected how widely he has departed from the faith which these good men professed, and that as to the most essential doctrines of christianity? Or must we take his appeals and harrangues of this kind to be mere grimace, or ra­ther a design calculated ad captum vulgi, to raise a ferment in the minds of the people, who cannot help retaining, and that very justly, a value for the memory of their progenitors? Whatever their noti­ons of liberty, or purity of religion amounted to, they certainly had no great opinion of the learned Socinus; they entertained those orthodox opinions, at least concerning the divinity of the Son of God, which the Dr. has treated in so bold, as well as lu­dicrous a manner; and had he lived in their days, [Page 48]he must either have enlarged his creed, or selt the effects of their honest resentment. But tho' he has no right to take shelter under the merit of those good men who are supposed to have first come hither for the sake of enjoying a pure religion according to their consciences, since he is departed from that purity of saith, whatever it was, which they pro­fessed, as far as darkness is from light. Yet because this stale pretence concerning the design of the first adventurers as to religious matters is artfully and in­dustriously propagated among the common people who have not sufficient opportunities of examining this matter, it will be necessary to give it a more particular consideration.

Dr. Douglass acquaints us that ‘Robert Brown, a hot-headed young enthusiastical clergyman, began anno 1580, to preach against the ceremonies and discipline of the church of England; he was per­seacuted or baited and teazed by the bishops courts, he with some disciples left England, and formed a church at Middleborough of Zealand in the Dutch low countries; after some time this effer­vescence or cbulition of youth subsided, he re­turned to England, recanted, and had a church of England cure bestowed upon him, and died in that communion, anno 1630.’

‘A congregation of these Brownists was form­in Yarmouth 1602, being harrass'd by the esta­blished church of England, with their pastor they transported themselves to Leyden in Holland; here they became more moderate under the di­rection of their pastor Mr. Robinson; and from Brownists changed their denomination to that of Independents: Being of unsteady temper, they resolved to remove from amongst strangers after [Page 49]ten years residence, to some remote country in some wilderness, where without molestation they might worship God in their own devotional way. Dr. Douglass adds, that they ‘obtained an instru­ment from K. James I. for the free exercise of their religion in any part of America’; but in this article he is contradicted by Mr. Prince in his chronology; who says the utmost they could obtain was ‘that the King would connive at them, and not molest them, provided they carry peaceably: but to tolerate them by his public authority, un­der his seal would not be granted.

Thus the first effectual settlement in N. England was clearly made upon a religious account: But as to the first settlers of the colony of the Massachusetts Bay, understood as posterior to, and distinct from that of Plymouth, they plainly acted as other men usually do upon like occasions, from hopes of in­creasing their estates, and providing an ample inhe­ritance for their children. Having for these pur­poses negotiated a settlement for some time, by a Governor and Company residing in England, they at length thought it most for the interest of the pro­priety, that the seat of government should be re­moved to the country they were settling. Accord­ingly Mr. Winthrop was chosen Governor, and he with his associates embark'd on board sundry ships, of which the Arabella was admiral, with a design to proceed to America.

As it was now pretty generally known, that the Plymouth adventurers had set up a way of worship different from the public establishment of the nation, it began to be suspected and reported, that this new [Page 50]company had a purpose of the same nature, as soon as they should arrive in America. This came to the cars of Governor Winthrop and his associates, while they lay wind-bound at Yarmouth, and it gave them great uneasiness, as well it might, to lie under the odium of this slander, and occasioned their writing the following letter for their own exculpation be­fore they put to sea, viz.

Extract of a letter directed to the Bishops and Clergy and people of the Church of England, from on board the Arabella, April 7, 1630.

For obtaining their prayers, and the removal of suspicions and misconstruction of their intentions.*

WE beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of the Lord Jesus, to consider us as your brethren, standing in very great need of your help, and earnestly imploring it. And how­ever your charity may have met with some occasion of discouragement through the misreport of our in­tions, or through the disaffection, or indiscretion of some of us, or rather among us; (for we are not of those that dream of perfection in this world) yet we desire you would be pleased to take notice of the principals and body of our company, as those who esteem it our honour to call the church of England, from whence we rise, our dear mother; and we cannot part from our native country, where she spe­cially resideth without much sadness of heart and many tears in our eyes; ever acknowledging, that such hope and part as we have obtained in the com­mon salvation, we have received in her bosom, and sucked from her breasts. We leave her not there­fore as loathing that milk, wherewith we were [Page 51]nourished there, but blessing God for the parentage and education, as members of the same body, shall always rejoice in her good, and unfeignedly grieve for any sorrow that may ever betide her, and while we have breath-sincerely desire and endeavour the con­tinuance, and abundance of her welfare, with the enlargement of her bounds, in the kingdom of Christ Jesus.—Be pleased therefore rev'd fathers and brethren to help forward this work now in hand—&c.

Signed by,
  • THOMAS DUDLEY, Dep. Gov.
Prince's Chron. p. 205.

Previous to any application of the foregoing let­ter it may be proper to observe, that Mr. Prince in his chronology gives testimony that these pious peo­ple were professed members of the church of England. ‘For the information (says he) of the present age as well as posterity, they (this colony of pious people) were of a denomination somewhat diffe­rent in those early times from them of Plymouth—they were 'till now,’ (that is, after their arrival in N. England) ‘professed members of the church of England. *

From the foregoing letter and testimony it is evi­dent, that whatever the case was at other places, and with regard to other adventurers, the first settlers of the Massachusetts-Bay at least, those pious good men, who left ‘the fair cities, villages, and delightful fields of Britain, for the then inhospitable shores, [Page 52]and desarts of America’ did not do it from any disgust they had taken at the established religion of their country; but from quite other motives.—They positively declare their veneration for the estab­lished church, that they esteem it their honour to call her their dear mother, that they cannot part from the place of her special residence without much sadness of heart, and many tears in their eyes, they acknowledge that the hope they have obtained in the common salva­tion, they received in her bosom, and suck'd from her breasts. They declare they do not loath the milk with which they have been thus nourished, but bless God for this their parentage and education, that their in­tentions have been misreported; that while they have breath, they will SINCERELY endeavour the conti­nuance and abundance of her welfare, with THE ENLARGEMENT OF HER BOUNDS, in the kingdom of Christ Jesus.

After such an explicit declaration as this, written and signed with their own hands, how can the Dr. pretend that these men were aggrieved at home, that they ‘came hither chiefly on account of their suf­ferings for non-conformity,’ that ‘they fled hi­hither as to an assylum from episcopal persecuti­on *?’ Is the foregoing the language of the per­seacuted, of men suffering for conscience sake? In an honest and serious view, what foundation had he for calling upon people to ‘reflect on what their fore-fathers suffered from the mitred lordly suc­cessors of the fishermen of Galilee?’ What truth in saying that this ‘occasioned their flight into this western world"? Did our pious fore-fathers throw themselves into the arms of Savages and Barbarians, to be delivered from the unholy zeal [Page 53]and oppressions of these lordly men, countenanc'd by scepter'd tyrants?* And would they at the same time earnestly ask the assistance and prayers of these lordly oppressors, and openly acknowledge the spiritual benefits they had received from them? Read my dear countrymen, read the words of our pious fore-fathers, in the above letter, and compare them, with this author's licentious harangue, and pretended vindication of them, and see with your own eyes whether the spirit of the one and the other have the least similitude. In short either these pious good men, were honestly attach'd to the church of Eng­land, and serious members of her communion, or they were not; the Dr. affirms they were dissen­ters, they themselves declare, that they were faithful sons and children of the church, educated in her bo­som, nourish'd at her breasts, blessing God for this their education, promising to seek her welfare, with the enlargement of her bounds: From hence then one of these two things must unavoidably follow; either that they were dreadful prevaricators with God and man, or else that they are sadly abused and slan­dered, when contrary to their own express declara­tion they are said to have been dissenters, driven hi­ther by the oppressions and persecution of the church of England. If the former was the case, let us no more boast of them as pious good men; If the lat­ter, let the Dr. consider, what recompence he can make to the memory of these men, for abusing them with the opprobious charge of sectarism and hypo­crisy.

And this seems to be a proper place to take no­tice of a reflection which the Dr. very liberally be­stows upon the established church of England, which [Page 54]he calls "a cruel persecuting church"* and says ‘the first settlers of the country were perseacuted out of England by the established church. § And again, ‘is it not enough (says he) that they perseacuted us out of the old world? will they pur­sue us into the new? And a few lines after he speaks of the danger of being ‘consumed by the flames, or deluged in a flood of episcopacy.’ A stranger would perhaps be led by this manner of expression to conceive, that not only fire and faggot were plentifully employed in England for extirpating dissenters, but also that the Dutch method of knuting was used towards them for the same purposes. These that have been mentioned are but a few, out of ma­ny, very many bitter terms he has thought proper to bestow upon a protestant church, universally ve­nerated abroad, and generally esteemed the bulwark and glory of the reformation; a church remarkable for its tenderness, and kind reception of foreign pro­testants, when these have been obliged to fly from their native countries on account of real persecution.

I am sorry the Dr. has made it necessary to enter upon a subject so invidious as this, and which lies so open to abundant recrimination. The author is unwilling to renew the memory of those severities, that were too commonly practiced by all parties in the last century, and which seem rather owing to the temper of the age, and the mistaken maxims of policy then prevailing, than to have been the con­sequence of religious principles. The church of England, considered as such, has nothing in its con­stitution, that either necessicates or warrants a per­secuting temper; and if any improper severities have at any time been used by the government, in sup­porting [Page 55]the established religion of the nation; they certainly were as foreign to the principles of that church, as they are to christianity in general. Will this gentleman allow that the persecutions and op­pressions exercised by the Presbyterians, Indepen­dents, or by what name soever he chuses to have them distinguished, at a time when they had the govern­ment in their hands, were the natural and proper effect of the religions principles of those denomina­tions? And yet a great number of the most cele­brated preachers of those times, warmly inveighed against allowing even a toleration to such as pro­fessed the church of England, expostulating with the civil government upon that account, representing such an indulgence as a great sin, a betraying the cause of Christ, and frequently using, or rather per­verting that expression in the Gospel, compel them to come in. Nay did not the violation of liberty and the rights of conscience rise to that height, as to prohibit by an ordinance under the penalty of five pounds sterling, the use of the common prayer, even in the most private manner, in a person's own house? For a second offence ten pounds, for the third one years imprisonment.* Should the severities [Page 56]exercised towards the Quakers in the Massachusetts-Bay, (whom by the way the Dr. by an awkward peice of slattery endeavours to complement with his good opinion) when by fines, imprisonment and death of some, the rest were obliged to take refuge in a neighbouring government; should these severities be attributed, not to particular indiscrete men, but charged as a consequence of congregatio­nal principles, would this be thought a fair or ge­nerous conclusion? yet these and a thousand in­stances besides, the effects of an indiscrete and wrong [Page 57]pointed zeal, might be mentioned by way of recri­mination. Will the Dr. allow that if any of the denominations, Presbyterian, Independent, or Con­gregational, had now the power of government in their hands, they would put on the same oppressive temper?—surely he will not.—Nor does he find the church of England at this day practising any of those severities wherewith he labours to affright and prejudice people against her. No establishment in the christian world, is more gentle, or allows greater liberties to those who dissent from it, than the church of England. Even the Dutch, who are thought to afford as great liberty to conscience as any christian state, are never known to admit any persons into civil offices, who do not conform to the legal worship, which, altho' it be a reasonable caution, is yet more than the English government are nice in exacting.

WHATEVER may be the temper of particular men, it is pretty certain that at this time of day, all parties disclaim those severities which have formerly been too much indulged; the people of New-Eng­land in particular, have special reason to be careful how they countenance those who would promote such a disposition (to which some may think the Dr's manner of writing upon this occasion has no small tendency) lest the same effect should result from it, which has once been the consequence of such a conduct in the province of the Massachusetts Bay; persecution of their fellow christians having been one principal article which occasioned the va­cating their former charter. It was observed, that this Gentleman's writings have a tendency to stir up misaffection and a party spirit (which are the [Page 58]natural fore-runners of persecution, where there is power to execute it) this was not spoken at random, as will appear from the following passages— ‘When we consider—what might probably be the sad consequence, if this growing party’ (the church of England) ‘should once get the upper hand here, and a major vote in our houses of assembly: (in which case the church of England might become the established religion here; tests be ordained as in England, to exclude all but conformists from posts of honor and emolument; and all of us be taxed for the support of bishops and their underlings)

Now not to mention that the Church of England is already established here, and tests already ordained and in many cases required, as they are in England; without any of those frightful consequences with which he labors to terrify the vulgar; let it only be observed that the plain import of this whole passage is to persuade people to unite in excluding those of the Church of England, not only from all posts of honour and emolument, but even from the common rights and privileges of natural born subjects; a scheme so notoriously factious and unjust, so evi­dently tending to divide and alienate the minds of his Majesty's good subjects from each other, that all wise and good men must look upon it with indigna­tion and contempt.

Dr. Douglass tells us in his Summary, that ‘by an ancient law of the Massachusetts province, none were allowed to be freemen but those who were church members, that is (says he) of the indepen­dent or congregational religious mode; and that only freemen were capable of voting in civil as­semblies.’ Upon which he remarks. ‘This was [Page 59]too narrow and consin'd, perhaps more severe than ever was practised by the Church of England in its most bigotted and faulty periods. To be sure a greater infringement upon English liberty was never attempted; such a law might well therefore be re­pealed, as it soon was upon the King's letter in 1662. And yet this is the very thing which the Dr. in the foregoing passages seems desirous of establishing, not by a law indeed, the legislature are too wise and just to hearken to insinuations so fatal to liberty, but by raising such a violent spirit of opposition in the peo­ple as may answer the same end. Let any man read the virulent passage now under consideration from page 155 to 157, and having weighed the temper and spirit of it, let him turn to page 175, and observe the same man declaring, that ‘he is far from de­siring to inflame the passions of any one sect or party against another:’ and when he has done this let him wonder. It is not expected he should reconcile them, the author would not put the Dr. himself upon so impossible a task as this.

SHOULD the Church of England prevail in New England he is afraid we should ‘all be taxed for the support of Bishops and their underlings. This was certainly too weak an insinuation for one who writes himself D. D. and rather discovers the writer's passion than his judgment. Even the lowest of the people, are too much of phylosophers and divines, to be taken in at this time of day, by such mean artifice as this; but it was designed to beget a prejudice in the minds of the people against episcopacy, at which he takes all occasions to express his dislike; and in­deed his best friends must wish that he had done no [Page 60]more; but when he suffers himself to treat that whole venerable order, with an indecency of expression, which would be quite unbecoming if it were offer­ed to the lowest of mankind, let the impartial reader judge from what temper it must proceed.

THE Dr. could not be ignorant that episcopal go­vernment generally obtained thro' all ages of the christian church; that it takes place at this day in al­most all the christian world; that the protestant churches abroad, who are not so happy as to live un­der this form of church government, do yet express the highest reverence and esteem of it; it would therefore doubtless have been more becoming to have express'd his dislike in terms of greater modesty than he has usually done in this and many other of his writings, of an order so generally held in vene­ration. Even the admired Calvin and Beza have highly applauded the episcopal hierarchy of England, as appears by their letter to Queen Elizabeth, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and others. They pray heartily to God for the continuance and preservation of it, bewail their own unhappiness in the want of it, and mention it as their unavoidable misfortune to be without it. As to Calvin, altho' he justly ob­jects to that universal supremacy claimed by the see of Rome, as usurping the prerogative of Christ, he would not believe that any man could oppose the episcopal hierarchy; but (says he, speaking of the Romish church) ‘If they would shew us such an hierarchy, in which the Bishops might so preside, as not to refuse subjection to Christ, but depend upon him as their only head, and refer themselves to him, then truly I will confess that they de­serve to be anathematized, if any such men shall be, who refuse to reverence it, and submit to it [Page 61]with the utmost obedience. To the same pur­pose also does Beza express himself. ‘But if any there be (which truly you will scarce persuade me to believe) who reject the whole order of Bishops; God forbid that any man in his right mind should assent to their madness. And particularly de­clares that it was never his intention to oppose the hierarchy of the Church of England which ‘singu­lar blessing of God he desires she may enjoy, and wishes it may be perpetual. § If foreigners could speak with so much respect and reverence of this vene­rable order; how great a want of decency does it imply in a subject of this nation, who owes his liber­ty and every privilege he enjoys to the indulgence of that very constitution which appoints them, how indecent is it, I say, to speak of them in such oppro­bious terms as he has done in these observations, and in many other of his writings, of which the reader will hereafter find a specimen?

NOR is it the venerable order of Bishops only, which this writer has treated with such unbecoming freedom. Every part of the established ecclesiastical constitution seems to provoke his displeasure; but nothing raises his anger more, than that the Society should encourage the use of the liturgy in New Eng­land; his contemptuous ridicule of which, makes the greatest part of his 14th section.

[Page 62] THIS, so far as it is an argument has been urged by him, oftentimes before, and implies that he thinks the Society, have no right by their charter to sup­port a public religion in New-England, especially to the neglect of the Indians and the southern heathenish governments; for if they have a right to support re­ligion in New-England at all, he allows it is natural to expect they should do it in their own way, and according to their own sentiments. To this it has already been replied, that New-England containing a great many negro slaves that are still heathen, a great many freethinkers and other misbelievers, be­sides a great number of people from Europe educated in, and seriously attach'd to the Church of England, is directly in the most literal sense, one object of the Society's charity agreeable to their charter. And that they have also given their attention to the bor­dering heathen, and to those other governments which he esteems little better than heathen, in such proportion as they (whom he allows to be proper judges in this case) have found encouragement to hope for success.

As to the liturgy considered in another light, and as the object of his particular aversion, without en­tring into any direct vindication of it; it may be no improper rebuke to his licentious freedom upon this subject, to remark, that the whole christian church from the beginning has made use of liturgies in the public worship of God, as appears from the several forms of this kind which are still extant: And the foreign reformed churches at this day, have not only each of them a public liturgy, but have given ample testimony to the excellency of that in [Page 63]use in the church of England; which considera­tions ought at least to have check'd his unseasonable ridicule, and have taught him to mention with an air of greater seriousness, a subject which the christian world have agreed to venerate.

[Page 64] THE author has now gone thro' every thing in the Dr's book which he looks upon to be material, i. e. which relates to the professed design, or prin­cipal argument of it. If any thing has inadvertently escaped him, which the Dr. thinks to be of conse­quence to his main argument, upon proper notice of it, he will readily wait upon him agin. There are indeed sundry incidental reflections to be met with, but as they are foreign to the general argu­ment, and especially as they have been honour'd with some proper remarks in a pamphlet lately pub­lished at Portsmouth in New-Hampshire, the author does not at present think it worth his while to take notice of them.

To sum up the argument on both sides—The Dr's book is entitled ‘Observations on the charter and conduct of the Society, &c. designed to shew their nonconformity to each other.’ In prosecut­ing this design the Dr. has given us his, or rather Mr. Hobart's sense of the charter; this sense he has endeavoured to support, by adducing the title and seal, and sundry sermons of the Society in consima­tion of it. After which, comparing the conduct of the Society with the design of their institution, as he has plann'd it, he sinds them to be inconsistent, or to disagree with with each other. This is a short (and it is supposed) a just representation of the Dr's management of the present argument, which if he had pursued in a modest manner, without scurrility or abuse, no body would have blamed him? he would have been intitled to a modest and genteel reply. Whether he has observed this method, let the unprejudiced reader judge.

THE present reply is intended to shew that the conduct of the Society is not inconsistent with their charter, nor yet with the title or seal, or the anni­versary [Page 65]sermons preached before them. To prove this the author has endeavoured to shew, First, That the Society have always had such means of infor­mation, both in respect to the true meaning of their charter, and also in regard to the state of religion in the plantations, that it is morally certain they could not have been deceived in regard to these points. 2dly. The members of which that Society is composed, are in general persons of so respectable a character, that it is utterly improbable they would act contrary to their institution with design; and further that if they were inclined to do so, it would have been impossible to have succeeded in so iniqui­tous a purpose, because their charter obliges them annually to submit their whole transactions, to the examination of the Lord chancellor and chief justices of the King's bench and common pleas, who are purposely appointed by the Crown to see that the true intent and meaning of the grant be complied with. 3dly, The author has examined the charter itself, and compared the same with the actual con­duct of the Society, and finds that they have pur­sued the several objects therein recommended, agree­able to their title and seal, and to the general purport of their annual sermons.

In examining the charter he thinks it appears, that the Dr's interpretation of it cannot be just, inas­much as it renders it inconsistent with itself; so also his explanation of the seal and title of the Society militates with his interpretation of the charter, and serves to prove his mistakes as to both. His quo­tations from the anniversary sermons of the Society, as they relate to one object only of their institution, must be look'd upon as a partial representation, how­ever they do not at all interfere with what is allow­ed [Page 66]to be the sense of the charter, or with their ge­neral conduct, and consequently are nothing at all to the purpose for which they were introduced.

Besides this, the author has made a few casual strictures upon some of the Dr's incidental reflecti­ons, as they happened to fall in the way of the principal argument; and he was the rather inclined to do this, because the Dr's quarrel with the So­ciety, seems really to take its rise, not so much from any thing he saw amiss in their conduct, as from his inveterate hatred, and unreasonable displeasure towards the church of England, which he slatters himself could not subsist long in the country with­out the Society's countenance and support. And yet in this perhaps he is mistaken, since the pro­vidence of God has more ways than one of sup­porting his own cause; so that if the Society should think fit to withdraw their assistance (which they will hardly do the sooner for such observations as his) it is not doubted but that God would raise up other helps, or some way direct to sufficient means for the preservation of his church. It was the ad­vice of a wiser man than perhaps cither of us, to the jewish council, when they were consulting how they should put a stop to the preaching of the apostles, and the early propagation of the gospel; ‘Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this council, or this work be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye can­not overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.’

If the Society, either through misrepresentation, or by any other means, have been led into any mistake in the management of any part of their trust, no man will think that the Dr's indecent and [Page 67]abusive treatment of them is the way to incline them to amend it. Had it not been better to have improved upon the hint which he has quoted from bishop Burnet, and by this means have excited their emulation? or as the bishop expresses it "have pro­voked them to jealously"? Mr. Hobart referring to the same passage mentions some great things that have been done in regard to the conversion of the Indians by the Society in Scotland for propagating christian knowledge, (it is supposed by the care and management of their commissioners at Boston) with a small expence.* Supposing the truth of this, (which the author has no inclination to call in question) every good christian will sincerely rejoice at it, and pray God that they may still meet with more abundant success. But then would it not have been infinitely more useful, and have discovered more of a christian spirit, if the Dr. instead of abu­sing the Society for the propagation of the gospel, had employed himself in giving a particular account of that other Society which has been thus remarka­bly successful, e. g. What has been their certain fund, what their casual benefactions, from whom they receive their money, and how it is expended, what missionaries they employ, at what places they are fixt, and what are their respective salaries, and lastly, what accounts have been received from them as to the fruit of their labours: Had he done this, in some such plain open and honest method as the Society for propa­gating the gospel have done, it might possibly not only have provoked them to emulation, but have opened to them some new or more effectual methods for rendring their pious designs successful. Certain it is, that no Society, whether incorporated or merely [Page 68]voluntary, whose single aim and intention it is to promote the glory of God, in enlarging the king­dom of the Redeemer, have any reason to be asham­ed of publishing their transactions to the world: On the contrary it seems to be a duty to do so, not only to prevent suspicion of ill and improper designs, but also that their light shining out with a clear unsullied brightness before men, others may be induced either to join with them and strengthen their hands, or be led to set on foot some other pious and charitable work of a similar kind to the further advancement of God's glory.

As to Indian conversions the author's opinion is, that the Rev. and worthy Mr. Wheelock's judicious scheme of educating such of the younger Natives, as may be obtained, among the English at a distance from their own homes, and then sending them back to their friends and countrymen, whether as missi­onaries or otherwise; if it may be done in any considerable numbers, would have the best influence in civilizing the savage temper of those people, and preparing them for the reception of the gospel; This good design therefore, as it deserves all encour­agement, so it is pity but it should be universally known. Mr. Wheelock has indeed published an open and undisguised, as well as a modest account of his plan, and of the progress he has hitherto made in it, but since it has not yet circulated so far as it might be wished, this little intimation is designed to promote its being more generally known.*

But to return from this short digression.—If the Dr. should complain, or rather (since he has no [Page 69]right to complain) if his friends should complain in his behalf, that in the foregoing remarks, the author has sometimes used too great a severity of expression, let them consider the provocation; let them reflect on the indecent language, and various abuse, that the Dr. has poured out, not on single persons only, but upon public bodies, upon the most respectable characters, upon the established religion of the na­tion, upon those who come over to, or embrace it in N. England in general as men void of all piety and geodness,* upon the most sacred doc­trines of our holy religion—let them I say reflect upon these things, and then say whether there was not an occasion for some kind of rebuke. The author is very far from being fond of harsh and severe epithets, he had infinitely rather examine sub­jects of controversy with that meekness and fear which is preseribed by the apostle; but even the meek and gentle spirit of the gospel not only allows, but also requires in regard to such licentious free­doms, as the Dr. has thought proper to use, that they should be rebuked sharply.

If any one shall still think that the Dr's foible is represented in too strong a light, that he has not been guilty of all that indecent abuse in his writings with which he seems here to have been charged; let such person examine the following specimen taken from his own writings, most of them solemoly de­livered from the pulpit. It is hoped that it will serve to satisfy the most incredulous, and besides it may serve to shew the Dr. to himself, and let him see how far he is departed, I will not say from the dignity of the sacred office only, but from the spirit of the gospel.

[Page 70] And first observe the modesty of his expressions in regard to Kings whom he calls Scepter'd Tyrants. Obs. p. 155. and says that

The greatest part of mankind now are and al­most always have been op­pressed by wicked tyrants, called civil rulers, Kings and Emperors. Vol. Ser. printed 1755. p. 426.

2ndly. Expressions in regard to the established church of England, its constitution, Bishops and clergy

An enormous hierarchy ascending by various gra­dations from the dirt to the skies. Obs. p. 155.

An hierarchy resem­bling that of the romish church, where one great prelate presides over the whole, with all the infe­rior religious orders, the lowest of which are as it were trodden in the dirt. Obs. p. 79.

He says that one of our Kings was wheedled and duped to his destruction by the [Page 71]furious episcopal zealots of that day. Obs. p. 157.

And mentions the bi­shops before the revolu­tion

The persecuting anti­christian spirit of many prelates before the revo­lution. Do. 157.

And in the foregoing page speaks contemptu­ously of Bishops and their under­lings. p. 156. In the page before they are stiled

The mitred lordly suc­cessors of the fishermen of Galilee. Obs. p. 155. In the 39th page he says that before the revolution

Episcopal persecution was seconded by royal power; which condes­cended to be subservient to the views of domineer­ing prelates. Obs. p. 39.

In another passage he says that Their unholy zeal and oppressions, were counte­nanced by sceptred ty­rants, p. 155.

In which latter expressi­on as well as many others [Page 72]of like kind he has reason he says to think that

He speaks the sense of the far greater, wiser and better part of the people in N. England. p. 154.

As to this I have bet­ter reason to think that he is widely mistaken, and that the greater, wiser and better part of N. England do entirely disapprove his censorious indecent and uncharitable temper.

Having thus treated the bishops, the church itself could not expect bet­ter quarter, and accord­ingly he has characteriz'd the church of England, the established church of the nation, of which the King himself is, under God, the head, which he loves and has sworn to defend, to be,

A cruel persecuting church,—Obs. p. 40. to which that he might pre­serve himself from the censure of civil authority he subjoins,

As that was before the revolution.

[Page 73] We may now pass to some expressions deliver'd by him from the pulpit, as contained in a sermon on the anniversary of King Charles's martyrdom. In the preface to which he speaks of Bishops and the clergy in general under the title of

Imperious Bishops and reverend Jockies.

And in the sermon it­self they are stiled

Reverend and right reverend drones; who preach but once a year, and then, not the gospel of Jesus Christ, but— some favourite point of church tyranny and anti­christian usurpation.

p. 21.22.

Speaking of the King, he says that

He supported that more than fiend archbishop Laud and the clergy of his stamp, in all their church tyranny andhellish cruel­ties. p. 42.

[Page 74] There seems to have been an impious bargain struck up betwixt the scep­tre and the surplice for en­slaving both the bodies and souls of men. The King appeared to be wil­ling that the clergy should do what they would— set up a monstrous hierar­chy like that of Rome— a monstrous inquisition like that of Spain or Por­tugal —or any thing else which their own pride, and the devils malice could prompt them to. p. 52.

Take a further sample of this Gentleman's meek spirit and temper.

Some contend and foam and curse their brethren for the sake of the atha­nasian trinity till 'tis evi­dent they do not love and fear the one living and true God. Others you will see raging about their peculiar notions of origi­nal sin, so as to prove themselves guilty of actual [Page 75]transgression. About elec­tion till they prove them­selves reprobates. About particular redemption till they shew that they them­selves are not redeemed from a vain conversation. You will hear others quar­relling about imputed righteousness with such fury and bitterness, as to shew that they are desti­tute of personal. About special grace, so as to show that they have not even common. About faith while they make ship­wreck of a good con­science.

Serm. XI. Vol. I. p. 403.

It will doubtless be dis­agreeable to the reader to be any longer entertained with expressions and ob­servations so utterly un­becoming a minister of Jesus Christ, or in truth any other disciple of that divine master. The author will here therefore put an end to the specimen with the mention of a trifling inconsistency which this otherwise accurate Gen­tleman has fallen into in the heat of his argument.

[Page 76] Mr. Apthorp had ob­served that the religious state of the country is ma­nifestly improved as to its speculative doctrines, not­withstanding the immo­ralities we lament and wish to reform. After spending several pages (viz. from 83 to 92.) to confute this position, the Dr. concludes as in the opposite column—

[Page 70] It is not improper to observe that the Dr. is sometimes in a better tem­per than what is imply'd in the opposite column particularly when he de­clares that he would not willingly and unnecessarily give offence to any persons of that persuasion (the church of England) Obs. p. 175.

That the main end he had in view (in writing his Observations) was—that of serving the cause of truth and rightcousness— in distinction from all pri­vate party opinions what­soever. Obs. p. 174.

He declares that he is far from desiring to in­flame the passions of any one sect or party against [Page 71]another: so far from it that he would sincerely rejoice to be in the least degree instrumental of uniting them in the bonds of Christian charity, on the true plan of the Gos­pel. Obs. p. 175.

Has a great aversion to controversy. Obs. p. 7.

When once providence shall have put it in our power to live thus (peace­ably that is in respect to our enemies) — we are wholly inexcuseable—if we should turn aside to vain jangling amongst our [Page 72]selves, doting about ques­tions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil-sur­misings, and perverse dis­putings, instead of study­ing the things that make for peace, and the things whereby we may edify one another.

If we should heneforth live as becomes fellow-subjects and fellow-chri­stians, in the fear of God, and brotherly love, &c. Serm. on the reduction of Quebec, p. 59, 60.

[Page 73] The opposite expres­sions are the language of one who says he would not bring a railing accu­sation even against the devil, tho' he were con­tending with him, much less would he bring such an accusation against his brethren.

Vol. I. Ser. X. p. 354.

I am far from intend­ing (says the Dr.) to de­base preaching by scold­ing, or bringing a railing accusation, even against wicked and ungodly men. Nor will I forget the apos­tle's admonition to Timo­thy, Rebuke not an elder [or aged person] but in­treat him as a father: as I hope I have not forgot­ten what he immediately [Page 74]subjoins, and the younger men as brethren. Prac. Disc. on the earthquake, Serm. IX. p. 263, 264.

The opposite are strange expressions, to say no worse, for one who calls himself a minister of Jesus Christ.

Would not any serious person imagine that the opposite passage would have been full as descrip­tive (I know it would not have been quite so rheto­rical) if the words foam­ing, raging, quarrelling, fury and bitterness had been omitted, or at least if some softer terms had [Page 75]been substituted to ex­press his displeasure at those who hold the doc­trines he there mentions.

[Page 76] It has been too com­mon for people in New-England to express them­selves in a manner justly exceptionable upon these points (i. e. the principles he supposes the Gentle­man had referr'd to) Obs. p. 92. and in Serm. I. Vol. I. p. 16. He says it is one of the chief honors of the present age, that the prin­ciples of religion, particu­larly of religious liberty, are better understood and more generally espoused, than they have perhaps been since the days of the apostles; it were to be wished that practical chris­tianity, had made progress in the same proportion.

THIS little contrast is left to speak for it self; but as to the forgoing specimen the author presumes the Dr's. best friends, must seriously wish that he had expressed himself, not only with more decency and respect, but more agreeable to the temper of the gospel: Others perhaps who have less tenderness for him, will also have less charity, and be liable to sus­pect that he deceives himself, when he professes a regard for that divine religion which disclaims all evil speaking, railing and reviling, and whose princi­pal characteristic is love or benevolence, a principle which they may think he notoriously violates— Be that as it may, the author is of opinion that the [Page 77]Dr. has no room to complain of harsh or severe treatment, no not altho' it should be more disagree­able than any he has yet met with; unless he will be pleased for the future at least to treat mankind with more respect than he has usually done, not only in his book of observations but even in many of his sermons.

THE author cannot persuade himself to conclude these reflections without expressing his astonishment, that any gentlemen, tho' of congregational princi­ples, and much more that the reverend gentlemen who are the spiritual guides of that denomination, overlooking the Dr's attempts to undermine the fundamental principles of their faith, should express their approbation of this his performance, which in the conduct of it discovers so little of the meekness and gentleness of the gospel. Can you, gentlemen, be so far blinded by prejudice or a party spirit, as tamely to give up those essential doctrines for which you have hitherto laudably contended, and which once you esteemed your glory? Can you, I say, cherish and flatter the man, who has been labouring from pulpit and press to demolish the doctrines which your fore-fathers have handed down to you? (while yet he pretends to venerate them) those doctrines, which by way of eminence, you have been wont to stile the doctrines of grace? Are these things of less consequence than an opposition to the church of England? How is it then that you have com­plimented the Dr. with your thanks (for so I hear many of you at Boston have done) for his book of observations, who by his other writings, has been destroying the fundamentals of your faith? Has he not been undermining the dignity and divinity of [Page 78]the son of God? Does he not deny and ridicule the doctrine of justification by faith? calling it confusion and an unintelligible rant, nonsense, gibberish, mere jargon,§ a means of beguiling unstable souls to their destruction,‡‡ an irrational unscriptural doctrine, of pernicious tendency with regard to the lives and manners of men.†† Does he not discard the notion of original sin, and brand the doctrine of imputed righteousness with the re­proach of nonsense? And have you not, gentlemen, implicitly countenanced these, and the numerous other errors in doctrine which are scatter'd up and down his writings, by your unseasonable compli­ments for his late observations upon that venerabic Body of men the Society for the propagation of the gospel, &c. Will not strangers, will not every one who shall read the errors which this gentleman has published, naturally conclude, that you, gentlemen, do abet and approve them, who have thus given your sanction to this his last, but not least injurious performance?—I speak it with grief and concern, are you so carried away with a party spirit as to countenance such abuse and misrepresentation of the church of England, while you have not the courage to rise up in defence of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the truth of his gospel?—Remember who has said, ‘he that is ashamed of me and of my words, &c. of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’

[Page 79] BUT to return from this digression, if it may be called one.—Besides the errors in doctrine hinted at in the foregoing remarks, the Dr's reflection upon the Song of Solomon is sufficient to show how easy it is for him to discard even the sacred canon of scripture itself: Or perhaps it was introduced mere­ly for the sake of the witticism. It would discover however both more wisdom and seriousness to re­serve his drollery for some less important subject. But no witticism, nor any thing else, will justify the pernicious tendency of the doctrine of annihi­lation, to which he has given too much countenance in the following passage. Speaking of such as die in their sins; ‘The utmost they can hope for (says he) is to be annihilated after suffering unutterable torments: Tho' I do not assert, that they can, ac­cording to the scripture account, hope for so great a favor as even this would be, viz. to be utterly blotted out of being! However it must be con­sessed that some expressions of scripture seem, at first view, to countenance this supposition. This will too greedily be catched at by those who have lived in such a manner, as to have no better hope in their death. It might not be amiss for the Dr. to take a review of his works, and expunge this and many other passages which certainly have a threat­ning aspect upon the religion of Jesus Christ.

BUT beside the ill consequences to religion, and especially among the rising generation, which may not improbably follow from the principles he is labour­ing to propagate: If the government enjoy any pri­vileges by virtue of their charter, which they are fond of retaining; one may be confident that the spirit and temper of the Dr's writings, so far as it can be [Page 80]supposed they are publickly countenanced, will be attended with no favourable impressions, where it is the interest of the province to stand in a favourable light. It were to be wish'd that this were more thought of by some well dispos'd people, who do not appear to be aware of the consequences, which such improper liberties may produce in regard to the civil interests and privileges of that province.

As the author firmly believes that this is not the general temper of people in the colonies, so it is hoped it will be received at home as the effect of this Gentleman's particular disposition only, and that of two or three of his abettors.

To conclude, the author apprehends he has now shewn the Dr. to himself (to use his own phrase) and he hopes has also shewn him to other people. The first with a charitable view to his amendment, the latter with a design to caution others against being misled. To these good purposes, it will not be im­proper to pray, tho' in the words of the liturgy, ‘that God would grant unto us all, that we may both perceive and know what things we ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the same.’

[Page 81]

A short Vindication of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. &c. against the Objections, Mistakes and Misrepresen­tations of Dr. MAYHEW, in his Observa­tions, on the Conduct of that Society. By one of its Members. In a LETTER to a FRIEND.

Dear SIR,

THE great difficulty I labour under in writing, must be my apology for writing very briefly, and attending only to the most material things.

It is too evident from the general current of Dr. Mayhew's performance, That, it is his aim to beget a pre­judice, and an odium in his readers, against his antagenist, and against the church of England, and the Society, from considerations and reflections, either meerly personal, or lu­dicrous, and often trifling, and few of them, relating to the real merits of the cause; which is a practice quite unbe­coming a just writer, either in the critical, or moral sense of that character.

There is one grand imposition upon his readers, which runs through the whole, and is, as it were, the burthen of his song, in which, there is not the least truth, and for which, there never was the least ground, or foundation, as ever I could learn, viz. That the chief view and endeavour of the Society has been to convert presbyterians and congregationa­lists to the church, to the neglect of Negroes and Indians, and the heathenish colonies, as he calls them.

[Page 82] If they, or their missionaries had done this, they would have had infinitely more reason, and right in what they did, than the dissenters from the beginning had, in using all possible endeavours, to promote factions, and disaffect people, to the established church of England, in all quarters, and make all the proselytes they could, from her commanion, to their confused parties and sects, issuing in downright rebellion: So that this, is alledged with a very ill grace, by one, derived from, and who is a violent abettor of that party.

It is true, every good churchman must rejoice, when any of our wandering brethren, who have been drawn away, from the bosom and communion of the church, or educated in prejudice against it, are reclaimed, and return to the unity of the church, and be glad to be instrumental, as God in his providence gives them opportunity, in recon­ciling any of them: But, as the Society was not incorpo­rated for that purpose, nor was it ever their principal aim. I believe very few instances, if any, can be produced, of any missionaries beginning with any dissenter, with a view at reclaiming him to the church. I have been long know­ing to the affairs of the Society, and know of no such instances.

We have indeed been treated bith great obloquy by dis­sentors representing us, as little better than roman catholics, &c. On these occasions we have defended ourselves, as well as we could: and can any body blame us for it? And can any reasonable person wonder if this should sometimes prove the occasion of the conversion of some sensible honest peo­ple? Or if the meer curiosity of others attending occasio­nally on our beautiful and instructive service, should be the means of their being reconciled, when they see, that it does not consist of extempore human invention, but is a wise and judicious collection from the holy scriptures? so that, their very love to the scriptures, has sometimes led them to love the service of the church.

But it is said, That Dr. Bray, the father of the Society, reported, that in the Massachusetts and Connecticut, there was no occasion for the Society to do any thing, as they were provided for, in the dissenting way:—I answer, I knew Dr. Bray very well, he was doubtless a very good man, and I [Page 83]agree to his report at that time, and should have made the same report myself: There was then (except at Boston,) but here and there a member of the church of England, scatrered about in these provinces; and according to the constitution of the Society, while there was no congregation of the church in those parts, the Society had no occasion to send any missionaries thither: But does it at all follow, that when there came to be such numbers of conscientious members of the church of England, as to make competent congregations for worship, being not well able to provide for a minister themselves, that the Society had by their charter, no right and business, to assist in providing for them, meerly because the dissenters in those provinces were already pro­vided for? Can any reason be given, why a conscientious body of church people in these provinces, should not be provided for, as well as in any other province?—You will say, let them go to meeting, I answer, many of them were so candid, as to go to the meetings, rather than no where, tho' it was very tedious and disagreeable to them, till they grew in numbers, so as to make competent congregations.

Yea, but it is represented, That the origin of the church, in these provinces, has been generally owing to faction, discontent with ministers, and about rates, pews, and the like, and tho' the church is the established religion of our mother country, and in the act of union, is, (as Dr. Doug­lass, his favourite author allows) established in all the plan­cations; he is pleas'd in his great good manners, to speak of her in these governments, under no better terms, than those of party and faction.

How much truth there may be in Dr. Colman's ac­count of the origin of the church, at Newbury and Brain-tree, I am not able to say, and that some individuals have had little better motives in conforming, than those men­tioned, I will not deny, and perhaps some of the missio­naries have not always acted prudently, and possibly some may have been in a few instances too forward; such things are common to frail human nature; however, this I know, that the general rule and practice where I am acquainted, have been, to send male-contents, and persons liable to censure, back, to make peace at home, before they came [Page 84]over to us. But, suppose some things a little wrong, is it fit, that so respectable a body, as the Society or the church, should be reproached, with the forwardness, or misconduct, of a few individuals?

Let me, however, give what I know to be generally a true account, of the origin of the church in these provinces.

The true causes, and occasions, of the being and growth of so many congregations of the church of England, in these provinces, are these.

1st. As the country continued to increase, and there were many accessions from Great-Britain and Ireland, there were among others, many of the established church, who came over to settle in these colonies, as well as others, so that there was 50 years ago, scarce a town of considerable standing, but what had some scattering among them, and in some there were several families: In Straiford, for instance, the first in Connecticut that applied to the Society; there were at the beginning of this century about fifteen families, and five or six more in the nearest towns, that joined with them; and in 1722, when the first mission was established, there were about thirty or forty; now, on supposition that the first who settled in these provinces were dissenters generally, yet I know no reason why these lands should be thought so sacred to them, as to exclude the church, nor, why church people should not be at liberty, to settle them­selves in these colonies, as well as in any others? And if they do, who can deny, that they have as good a right to enjoy their way of worship as their neighbours? And if they need, and obtain any charitable assistance, can any thing but envy and malevolence, make such a clamour against it? But,

2. So the case has been, ever since church people set­tled in these countries, many dissenters have treated them with much clamour and contempt, and frequent disputings have arisen, which occasioned many to procure books, wherewith to defend themselves, such as arch bishop King's inventions of men in the worship of God, the London cases, Hoadley against Calamy, arch bishop Potter on church government, and some Hooker's ecclesiastical polity, and such like. And their thus defending themselves, occasioned [Page 85]many inquisitive candid dissenters to read those books, which reconciled them to the church; so that the dissenters them­selves by thus censuring, and disputing, have occasioned the increase of the church, and I hope it may be truly said, in a judgment of charity, many both of the original church people, and of the proselyted dissenters have been sincerely conscientious.—Dr. Mayhew indeed, and some other dissen­ters, however differing in some things, as much, (if not more) among themselves, as either of them from the church, seem so bigotted to their dissenting principles, in one shape or other, and so full of themselves, that they scarce know how to imagine, that church people, or any who differ from them, can be conscientious; but surely, any candid and indifferent persons, that know any thing of such great and good men, as Hooker and Chillingworth, must allow, that it is possible, for a church man, upon the foot of Hooker's ecclesiastical polity, and Chillingworth's demonstration of episcopacy, (to say nothing of arch bishop Potter and arch bishop Sharp, and the many others) to be at least as con­scientious, as any dissenters in their way upon the foot of any of their various principles.

3dly. Another thing and what has of late chiefly occasioned the accession of multitudes to the church, was, the wild en­thusiasm that long obtained among themselves, on which oc­casion, their own managements were in many instances, so extravagant and ridiculous, as tended vastly more, to drive their people into the church, than any thing we ever did to draw them over to it.— Particularly, that monstrous enthu­siasm that was at first mightily encouraged by themselves fifteen or twenty years ago, in consequence of Mr. White-field's rambling over the country, once and again, who was followed by a great many strolling teachers, who propagated so many wild and horrid notions of God and the gospel, that a multitude of people, were so bewilder'd that they could find no rest to the sole of their foot, till they took refuge in the church, as their only ark of safety. And many of these wild notions (to say nothing now of the opposite extreams of arianism, socinianism, and independent-whiggism) continue among great numbers to this day, and have occasioned much hot contention among them in settling ministers, and often [Page 86]the prostitution of discipline upon the meanest trifles, which have occasioned many people to conclude, that if they must separate from their former brethren, who are in endless con­tentions and confusion, their best way must be to retire into the church, which is in peace.—Now, these are all known facts: Is not Dr. Mayhew then very disingenuous to con­ceal them, and ascribe the being and increase of the church, only to petts and quarrels about pews, rates, and such tri­fling things, and to a meer spirit of faction?

But, it is pretended, great mischeifs have befallen the country by means of the church, (of which however, he gives no proof); to this I answer, certain it is, that great advantages have derived from it, even to the dissenters them­selves: it has occasioned a great increase of knowledge, by their reading many of our excellent writers, from whom they have gained their best notion's, and much greater correctness, than they had, both in writing and speaking; it has provoked them to emulation, and it is certain, that many of them have much better notions of God and the gospel now, than they had before, and have much improved in the knowledge of the scriptures and the evidences of christitanity.—Certain it is, that they are now, much be­yond what they were, fifty years ago, and as certain that they are greatly beholden to the church, for every thing of this kind, wherein they excel themselves.

And besides this, in proportion as they have become more acquainted with the church, they have much dropp'd their great prejudices against us, and malevolence, and unchari­tableness towards us, and charity, and good neighbourhood have greatly obtained between us; so that, if it was not for now and then, such abusive and uncharitable scribblings of a few zealots, full of very injurious misrepresentations, we should soon coalesce, and come into a friendly, bene­volent and christian temper, of mutual forbearance towards one another, and be united in our common weal—I might add, that in truth the church has been so far from med­ling in the various contentions in which they have been al­most continually engaged among themselves, owing to the weakness of their constitution, and their republican sepa­rating and levelling principles, that, to my certain know­ledge, [Page 87]it hath in many instances been a great check upon them, and much rather tended to heal and quiet, than ex­asperate them—And as to immoralities, I am sure, the church hath born as faithful a testimony against them, in every kind, as any of the dissenters have done; so that, if immoralities have increased, it is not owing to the in­crease of the church, but to the increase of mankind here, in proportion to which, from the nature of man, immorali­ties will abound; I believe however, it may be said with truth, that in proportion to her numbers, the church can shew, at least as many sober, conscientious christians, as the meetings: I know it to be so, in many places where I am acquainted.

Now, whether it was to give a specimen of the Dr's sine talent at ridicule and declamation, or, from a studied design to fright his readers, with an hideous spectre, that he might create in them all the odium and antipathy he could against the church of England, or, whether it was a little fit of the old distraction, or, whether after all, the true and principal cause of his bitterness against that found branch of the christian church may not still be art­fully concealed, I will not take upon me to say; but in page 155 you have a most hideous outcry, about persecution, hierarchy, tyranny and the like terrible monsters, that made sad work, it seems, an hundred, or an hundred and fifty years ago, from which, however he allows at last, we have now nothing to fear since the revolution, from our present mild princes, and moderate prelates.—Pray, good sir, what then was the matter with you, when you made this tragical out­cry? Did you design to set a mob upon us? or what?

You know very well, that the constitution of the church is just the same now as it was then, and yet she abhors per­secution, and tyranny now, (at least) as much as you do: Why should she then be charged with the doings of tyran­nous courts, or some persecuting individuals, so long ago? or how can she be answerable for those things, which for almost these hundred years have had no existence, nor are ever like to exist again? or, what sense or honesty can there be, in raising these old spectres, long since vanished and gone, never to revive, meerly to blacken the church, [Page 88]and render her odious to the present age while in truth the church is no more concerned in them, than your party, who you must needs know, have perseacuted and tyranniz'd in their turn, as much, at least, as ever the government who then professed the church did: You know that persecution and toleration are merely political things, in which the church, as such, (being a spiritual society, a kingdom not of this world,) is in no wife concern'd: The church is the same; it is the policy of the state only, that hath altered, and I readily agree with you, that in putting an end to per­secution, it hath altered much for the better.

But the good Dr. is still terribly distressed, about the hierar­chy, least that should obtain here, ascending (as he says, in his fine florid way, a-la-mode de independent whig.) ascending by various gradations from the dirt to the skies! But pray Dr, be sober a little—We have no pope! There are with us but three orders, bishops, presbyters and deacons, accord­ing to the model of the pure primitive church, long be­fore the least step was made towards popery. And we know that we have stronger evidence from the facts both of scripture and antiquity, for the most wise, apostolical, and consequently divine establishment of these three orders, than you have for infant baptism, and the first day sabbath, of which you are with us so justly tenacious.—Your rea­soning upon these points, and ours for episcopacy, from the original facts, is exactly the same, only we have vastly the advantage of you.—If our reasoning for episcopacy must fall, your's on those points must much more fall with it; as might be abundantly and incontestably shewn, if it was now before us.—And we do averr, we are certainly as conscientious in our attachment to our episcopal form of church government, as you can be to your presbyterial, or whatever you call it.—In God's name, then, what reason can be given, why we should not be allowed to enjoy our way, as well as you, your's? We do not envy you, why should you envy and malign us?—

Pray tell me sir, why we should not be allowed in this country, to be as perfect in our kind, as you, in your's? We do not want in the least to molest or oppose you, in your way, why then should you so vehemently oppose [Page 89]our being provided for in our's? You would think it a terrible thing indeed, (doubtless a degree of persecution,) to be obliged to go a thousand leagues for ordination, if it was your case: can you then have no feeling for us whose unhappy case it is? In truth sir, we do not aim at any thing but to live with you in quiet and charitable neighbourhood: We have not the least desire of an episcopate that should have any thing to do with you, or at all interfere with any of your proceedings, or, make any alterations among you, in church or state: We only want bishops, to ordain, and govern our own clergy, to visit our churches, and to instruct and confirm our laity: And I desire to know, what harm, such an episcopate could do you? Nay; we do not insist upon a bishop's residing in either of your favourite govern­ments: Let him live in one of your heathenish provinces: We should be content to wait upon him for orders, two or three hundred miles distant from you, rather than fail; Why then should you have such terrible apprehensions?

But the Dr. is moreover in a dismal pannic, lest the church's obtaining in this country, should be of ill conse­quence to it's political affairs.—But why should he? Pray sir be calm—Is not this our country, and the native country of most of us, as well as your's? Can it then be, that it should not be as dear to us, as it is to you? Have we not all one common interest, as to our country's weal, being embark'd in the same bottom? It is not possible for us, each one judging for himself, to abound in his own sense, as to matters of religion, and yet live in love, and be unit­ed heart and hand, in promoting the publick weal, and our common interests, wherein we are all agreed, and equally concern'd? I can see no manner of reason to the contrary, or any more danger, lest we should differ about these pub­lick affairs, than if we were all of the same sentiments in re­ligion: and have we not been as forward in our country's cause in the late trying times as any of you? Disputes will sometimes arise; But I cannot see, why they should more in one case, than in the other? You need not be in the least apprehensive of the churches being any other wise establish­ed, than it is already, or that any tests will obtain in such a [Page 90]country as this.—Pray sir be easy. We mean you no harm— If you would be only as charitable and peaceable toward us, and among yourselves, as we are heartily disposed to be to­wards you, we might live very quietly and happily together, and there would be no occasion for another Columbus, (as you cry out) to explore any other country for you. We are neither French, nor Indians, nor Serpents, nor Dragons: Why so dreadfully afraid of being consumed by the flames, or deluged in a flood of episcopacy? I realy pity you, that you should suffer your terrors and passions so miserably to run away with you! I tell you again, dear sir, we mean you no harm; we would only provide for our selves—Pray do not be so terribly frighted!—But O my country, dear New-England, suffer me to assure you, that you have in­finitely more reason to be afraid of such as are no friends to a co-essential trinity, and the divinity and satisfaction of Christ, (besides other misbeliever's, and unbelievers, of which there are many.) than of those who without censur­ing or aiming to interfere with dissenters, are only desirous for themselves to enjoy the church of England, in its pri­mitive purity!—

But the Dr. insists that Massachusetts and Connecticut come not within the Society's limits by the charter: I answer, this cannot be maintained, since they are not ex­cepted by the charter, unless it can be proved that the con­gregations of the church for which the Society provides in those colonies, would not in the sense & words of the charter, want, or be destitute of the administration of God's word and sacraments, if the Society did not assist them: But this he does not, nor can he prove. Surely he cannot pre­tend that King William, who introduced the toleration of dissenters, would leave his loving subjects of the church un­tolerated, and under the necessity of receiving God's word and sacraments contrary to their consciences, or of having none.—It must therefore be his meaning to provide, that his loving subjects of the church might enjoy God's word and sacraments in these colonies, when such there are in competent numbers, for congregations, as well as in other [Page 91]colonies; and so the Society (who must be supposed to be at least as good judges of the meaning of their charter, as Dr. Mayhew) have ever understood it, and when opportu­nity offered, have practised accordingly, not for the purpose of converting dissenters to the church, but of providing for conscientious people of the church, and who without this provision would have been in danger of as great errors and absurdities, as those of popery,,* and not without danger even of infidelity itself, into which I fear many of the dissenters have been tempted by the absurd notions of christianity which have been disseminated amongst us.

Now lastly, the great objection is, that the Society neg­lects the southern colonies, Negroes and Indians.

I answer, As to the southern colonies, First, The Dr. must know, that in Virginia. Maryland and South Carolina, the church is well provided for by law, so that they are out of the question—In South-Carolina they are withdraw­ing their missions, as they become vacant.—

Secondly, As to Georgia, and the Babama Islands, pro­vision is made and making for them as fast as may be, and as their occasion and application call for. And,

Thirdly, As to North Carolina (over which he drops a pious tear) as far as I can find, ever since their application to the Society, they have been providing for them as often as they have been applied to, and as fast as they could find gentlemen to undertake missions, in those tedious and un­healthy climates; and it appears from the abstract of 1761, that a great progress there is made, and making, and the Society is very much engaged to provide for them, so that I imagine those must have been dissenters for whom he is so compassionate. And,

Fourthly, As to Pensylvania. New-Jersies and New-York, I believe no instance can be produced, where appli­cation [Page 92]has been made to the Society, that has ever been neglected. Indeed, I am sorry to say, there are some few places, where no provision is made for religion, of any sort, that have contracted such an indifference to any at all, (two of which I myself have often urged and engaged my endeavours for them) that they could never be prevail'd upon to embody themselves, to build a church, or take any step towards applying to the Society for their assistance, who would undoubtedly do for them, even to the neglect of New-England. Now to such I could wish the Society to send missionaries without being applied to, as they would to ab origine heathen, and I trust they will do so, before long, if those people do not apply.

And now, as to Negroes, what could the Society do more than it does, and not without some considerable success, as ap­pears by the Abstracts—Their missionaries every where in­struct as many as their masters will send, and do instruct and baptize many, and have some communicants—They have several catechists, and Dr. Bray's associates, several schools (besides that at Barbadoes) who constantly instruct their chil­dren with good success; and they have sent one worthy missi­onary to Cape Coast Castle, who laboured there, 'till his health and constitution were very near ruined.—And,

Lastly, As to the Indians—Many missionaries have to my knowledge endeavoured to convert them, as they have had opportunity; and one in particular placed near a considerable clan of them, endeavoured to reconcile them to christianity, 'till some dissenters so prejudiced them against him, that he could do them no Good—And it is well known, that the So­ciety, (always ready to take every opportunity) has sent seve­ral missionaries to the Mohawks, one after another, from the beginning, and that the Rev. and worthy Dr. Barclay was very laborious, with good success for ten years, instructed and baptized many, and had a considerable number of communi­cants. It is true, he laboured at first under some difficulty, for want of an interpreter; but it was not long before he ac­quired so good skill in their language, as to preach and per­form the service to their perfect understanding, and was go­ing [Page 93]on with very good success, till the last war, about 1745. threw them into such confusion, and the influence of popish missionaries, and the wicked insinuations of a certain great man in those parts, created such a disaffection in them, that his very life was in much danger; so that he was obliged to desist.*—However, the Society has still a number there not to be despised, and much more will soon be done; one thing they intend in order to it, is, to maintain a number of lads to­gether at King's College in New-York, to be qualified for missionaries among them.

Upon the whole, It may be truly said, what could the So­ciety do more, that it has not done, and all intirely agreeable to the true intention and meaning of their charter. I cannot therefore, imagine but that the candid and serious, even among the dissenters themselves, must be sensible that Dr. Mayhew has most unjustly charged the Society, and that his own friends can scarcely be able to withold a blush for him, at his indecent, as well as injurious treatment of that venerable body, and of the church, which is a part of the national constitution; and also, at his mean and unworthy personal invectives against the modest and very deserving gentleman, who has been the innocent occasion of provoking his riotous pen.—But I must have done.—I would only add, that the worthy Dr. Wigglesworth's letter in the 165th page of Dr. Mayhew's book, much deserves the attention of the government both here and in England.—

I am, Sir, with much Esteem, Your very hearty Friend and humble Servant,

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