Lucius R. (Lucius Robinson) Paige.

History of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register online

. (page 22 of 73)
Online LibraryLucius R. (Lucius Robinson) PaigeHistory of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register → online text (page 22 of 73)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

sult in his permanent settlement, it did produce a profound im-
pression on the church and congregation. It does not appear at
what precise date he commenced or ended his labor here ; ^ but
he was actively engaged May 13, 1782, and was tlien desired to
continue ; and the records show that during the eight months
from December 30, 1781 to August 25, 1782, ninety-one persons
were admitted to the church by profession, — a larger number
than had been thus admitted during the preceding twenty years. ^
Rev. David White, son of Deacon John and Mrs. Hannah
(Wells) White, was born at Hatfield, July 1, 1710 (see Gene-
alogies). He grad. Y. C. 1730, was ordained pastor of the first
church in Hardwick on the day of its organization, November
17, 1736, and after a faithful ministry of more than forty-eight
years died in office, January 6, 1781. His salarj'^ was small, and
probably viras never so much as three hundred dollars per annum,
in silver money, though nominally more in paper currency. Yet
on this sum, together with presents, and the fruits of his own
industry, he managed to support his family, and to give both his
sons a public education. His talents were respectable, but by
no means brilliant. His success in giving satisfaction to his
people depended not so much on the energy of his mind, as on
the meekness, simplicity, and purity of his heart. He lived in a
troublesome period, both political and ecclesiastical. Near the

1 Rev. Josiah Spalding was born in of Worcester Co., -p. \27 ; Hist, of Western

Connecticut, grad. Y. C. 1778, was or- Mass., \i. 325.

dained at Uxbridge, September 11, 1783 ; ^ y^ ^^g jjere June 15, 1782, when he
dismissed October 23, 1787 ; installed at preached "A Sermon on the Nature and
Worthingtou, August 21, 1788; dis- Criminality of IMan's Inability to serve
missed in 1794; installed at Buckland, the Lord," which was printed, and which
October 15, 1794; and died in office, forcibly exhibits the author's "peculiar-
May 8, 1823, aged 72. Of him and his ity " of opinion, and his power as a
predecessor at Uxbridge, Mr. Whitney revival preacher.

says : they " were dismissed more on 3 During the pastorate of ^Ir. White

account of the peculiarity of their re- there were added to the original twelve

ligious sentiments than anything beside." founders of the church, two hundred and

I suppose this" peculiarity " was what was eighty-six members by profession, and

denominated liopkinsianism, or Ho]jkin- one hundred and thirteen by letter, in

tonianism, about a hundred years ago. all, three hundred and ninety-nine, being

"He was one of the best men and one of an average of a fraction more than eight

the best ministers in the county." Hist, per annum. The baptisms were 1,275, in-
cluding adults.


close of his life the Revolution occurred ; and he shared the
trials and distresses of his people. But he lived to witness the
conclusion of hostilities, and the independence of his country.
At a much earlier period, the elements of the ecclesiastical world
were violently agitated. About the year 1740 a " new light,"
as it was called, was discovered. Parties were formed in various
churches, who bitterly contended with each other, freely bandy-
ing the epithets of fanaticism, on the one hand, and formality, or
legal righteousness, on the other. Some churches were rent
asunder. And this church did not entirely escape the ravages
of the storm which swept through the land. A portion of its
members withdrew, and wei*e styled " New Lights," or more
generally " Separates." They erected a meeting-house, and es-
tablished a regular meeting. Mr. White and his church mani-
fested much forbearance, laboring with their dissatisfied, separat-
ing brethren, but never using the rod of excommunication. The
effect of such measures was favorable. The separate party, as
such, became extinct ; some of its members removed from the
town, and others were reconciled to the church ; their meeting-
house was demolished, and Mr. White had the happiness to behold
again a state of harmony and peace in his parish. Thus, though
he encountered storms during the journey of life, the evening of his
days was calm and serene, and his sun went down in a clear sky.
His wife (who was a niece of Thomas Wells, Esq., of Deerfield),
had closed her pilgrimage about six months previously, July 17,
1783.^ Their virtues are commemorated on their head-stone in
the old burying-place, which was erected agreeably to a vote of
the town, March 1, 1784, " to be at the cost of setting up grave-
stones at Mr. White's grave, and also at Mrs. White's." A
committee reported. May 8, 1786, that the grave-stones had
been procured, at an expense of <£7. 18. 0. ; the bill of " Mr.
Sikes," the stone-cutter, being ,£4. 10. 0., and bills for incidental
expenses, paid to Captain Warner, David Allen, Benjamin
Convers, Widow Doolittle, and Joseph Perry, amounting to
^3. 8. 0.

The church met January 9, 1784, three days after the decease
of Mr. White, " and made choice of Deac. Joseph Allen as their
Moderator while destitute of a minister. Also voted to give the
ministers who were bearers at the Rev. Mr. White's funeral,

1 In the early part of this century, the able not only for her lady-like and Chris-
uniform testimony of those who remem- tian deportment, but also for her intellect-
bered Mrs. White was, that she was one ual power, in which she was far superior
of the excellent of the earth, and remark- to her husband.


each of them gloves." Prompt measures were taken to fill the
vacancy occasioned by the death of Mr. White, but for a long
time they were unsuccessful. The church appointed a meeting
January 22, 1784, " in order to give Mr. Jedson ^ a call to settle
in the work of the gospel ministry with us." The town con-
curred, Februarj'- 10, 1784, by a vqte of " 45 for it, and 19
against it, the majority 26." At an adjourned meeting, Febru-
ary 16, 1784, it was proposed to reconsider this vote, "and there
appeared 30 for it and 30 against it." The church then voted,
June 3, 1784, " to give Mr. Medad Rogers a call to settle with
us as a gospel minister in this place, by a number of fifty-three
members present." The town concurred June 4, 1784 (12 aff.
1 neg.), and agreed to give Mr. Rogers ,£200 settlement, and
X80 per annum while able to perform pastoral duty, and £40
per annum afterwards; or £100 per annum, and no settlement.
At a church meeting, September 2, 1784, " then voted and ap-
pointed Wednesday the thirteenth day of October next to ordain
]\Ir. Medad Rogers, Pastor over this church and congregation,"
and selected the members of the ordaining council. In this
action of the church, the town also concurred on the next day,
September 3, 1784. But for some reason, not stated in tlie
record, the ordination was not accomplished. During these
negotiations, the church met July 1, 1784, " to consult whether
the practice of baptizing the children of those that own the
covenant, as it is called, is warranted in scriptiu'e or not ; after
debating the matter calmly it was proposed to adjourn the meet-
ing for further consideration. Then voted and adjourned said
meeting to the 22*^ day of July instant, having first voted that
Mr. Rogers be desired to preach a sermon on said subject before
the congregation. According to adjournment, the church met,
and being opened by prayer, proceeded on the affair above
named, and after further debating the matter, it was proposed
to adjourn the meeting to Thursday the twelfth of August next,

1 Rev. Adoniram Judson, born at tion, Jan. 23,1787." He was dismissed
Woodbury, Conn., June 25, 1751, grad. Y. in 1791 ; was installed at Wenham De-
C. 1775, was first settled in the ministry cember 26, 1792; dismissed October 22,
at Maiden. " On the third of July, 1786, 1799; installed at Plymouth May 12,
their call devolved on Kev. Adoniram 1802; became a Baptist, and was dis-
Judson, on which occasion, Capt. John missed in August, 1817. He died No-
Dexter entered his protest upon the vember 25, 1826. See Bicentennial Book
church records against 'settling a minis- o/il/f/Wcn, p. 166. The Hardwick church
ter of the Bade Ilopkintonian Princii)els.' in 1784 was decidedly Hopkintonian in
After calling four councils he was or- sentiment,
dained at last, amid a tempest of opposi-


at three of clock afternoon : also voted, that those persons that
have been heretofore admitted as half-way members,^ as called,
are desired to meet with the chiu'ch at the same time, to hear
their debates on the subject in hand. August twelfth : Ac-
cording to adjoui-nment the church met, and opened by prayer ;
and after debating the case above named a suitable time it then
was put to vote that the church would not admit any more to
own the covenant, in order to baptize their children for the
future." Thus, while destitute of a pastor, but with due de-
liberation, and probably under the lead of Deacon Allen, the
church discontinued a custom which had existed in the New
England churches for more than a century, and which had often
been the cause of contention and heart-burnings. It continued
in use, for the next half century, in some other churches, but has
at last, it is supposed, been entirely abandoned.

At a church meeting, October, 1784, it was " put to vote to
see if the church thinks it expedient to give Mr. Medad Rogers a
call, a second time, to settle with us in the work of the gospel
ministry in this place, and it passed in the affirmative by a num-
ber of voters, in favor 40, dissenters 7." The town concurred
January 11, 1785, by a vote of 68 affirmative, 40 negative. This
effort was fruitless, and the church voted, May 19, 1785, to give
Mr. Judson a second call to become its pastor ; the vote " passed
in the affirmative by upwards of forty members." The town
concurred, June 2, 1785, by a vote of 57 affirmative, 19 negative.
This effort also failed, and a majority of the church, ]March 9,
1786, voted " to give Mr. Thomas Crafts a call to settle with us
as a gospel minister ; " but another meeting was held, March
23, 1786, " to reconsider the call given by this church, 9*'^ in-

1 " It was felt that the children of bap- children are members of the same church
tized persons should have a different with their parents, and when grown up
position from Indians and other pagans are under the care of that church. But
who might hear the word of God. It was this does not of itself admit them to full
held by many, that if baptized parents, communion. Yet when they understand
even if not regenerate, were willing to and publicly profess the faith, and are
renew the baptismal covenant, and be- upright in life, and own the covenant,
come subject to church discipline, their and submit themselves to the government
children could properly be baptized, of the churcii, their children are to be
This feeling and practice were growing baptized. . . . This decision in regard to
up in the churches, when a synod of the baptism is known as the Half-way Cove-
elders and messengers of the churches nant, inasmuch as it granted baptism to
was called. This was held in Boston in the children of certain persons who were
the spring of 1662. ... In regard to the not qualified for admission to the Lord's
matter of baptism, the result was sub- Table." McKenzie's Ilislori) of the First
Btantially that the members of the visible Church of Cambridge, pp. 110, 111.
church are subjects of baptism, and that


stant, to Mr. Thomas Crafts, to settle in this place as a gospel
minister ; then put to vote to recall as above, and it passed in the
affirmative." ^ At a town-meeting, May 7, 1787, on the question
of giving a call to Mr. Elijah Kellogg, probably in concurrence
with the church, there were *' one hundred in favor of it and
none against it."

It would seem, from Mr. Holt's letter of acceptance and Dr.
Trumbull's sermon at his ordination, that there was great dis-
agreement and contention in both town and church, so that for
almost two years they could not agree upon a candidate for the
pastorship. The clouds, however, at last dispei'sed, and the town,
April 6, 1789, unanimously concurred with the church in extend-
ing an invitation to Mr. Thomas Holt, of Wallingford, Conn., to
become their pastor ; which invitation he accepted in a letter so
characteristic of his habit of amplification, that it is here inserted,
as entered on the records of both the church and the town : —

" To the Church of Christ and other Inhabitants of the Town
of Hardwick. — Friends and Brethren : The affection and re-
spect which you have manifested towards me are highly worthy
of my attention, gratitude, and warmest acknowledgments. The
idea of a church destitute of a pastor, and a numerous people
without a teacher, — the spirited altercations and unhappy di-
visions ^ which have appeared imminently to threaten the cause
of religion and very existence of Christianity in this place, the
present perfect unanimity and affection of this church and people,
— and the unhappy consequences which would probably follow,
should I manifest an excusing disposition, — are considerations
very solemn and important. Your present respect and entire
union among yourselves exhibits an event which by no means
corresponds with my previous expectations, especially your choice
of me for your Pastor and Teacher ; this, doubtless, is the Lord's
doing, and ought to be marvellous in our eyes. But ' who is
sufficient for these things ? ' sufficient to stem the torrent of vice,
mixed with delusion, which at the present day appears greatly to
threaten the cause of religion. Who among men or angels is

1 Probably, to reconsider, or to recall Zion hath been covered with a cloud, and

the invitation previously given. The con- experienced unhappy years of controversy

tinuation of the Church Records, after and division, he hath visited you in

this date, until the settlement of Rev. mercy, healed your divisions, and given

Thomas Holt, more than three years you uncommon unanimity and peace."

later, are not known to exist ; they dis- Ordinntion Sermon, at Uardwick, June

appeared more tlian forty years ago. 25, 1789, by Benjamin Trumbull, A. M.,

^ " We have occasion of abundant joy of North Haven, pp. 34, 35.
and thanksgiving to God, that after this


sufficient against temptations, internal and external, against the
infernal stratagems of the grand apostate, to watch for souls as
one who must give an account ? The office of a Bishop is a good,
though a painful, trjnng, and laborious work. Since I received
an invitation to assume the office and work of a Gospel Bishop
or Minister in this place, I have attempted to consider your situa-
tion with mature deliberation. A reply to your unanimous in-
vitation is considered as solemnly important to the church and
people in this place and to mj'self. My Fathers and Brethren in
the ministry have been consulted, as from experience they know
the cares, the trials, and labors of a minister. A consciousness of
my self-deficiency, and apparently inadequate ability, excites
emotions not the most pleasing ; and might I not depend upon
divine support and assistance, self-diffidence, discouragement, and
despondency, would appear formidable obstacles.

" But let us come to the important decision. My friends and
brethren ; the manifestations of your benevolence and affection
towards me, in treating my character and youth with esteem, re-
spect and tenderness, while I have labored among you in word
and doctrine, must necessarily excite sensations of peculiar en-
dearment towards you, and presage future exhibitions of the
same if not increasing and reciprocal affection. I hope and trust
that with humility, dependence, and prayerfulness, I have looked
to the great Head of the Church, for his guidance and direction.
Your respect, esteem, and affection, manifested as I have already
observed, your unexpected, happy and perfect unanimity, in giv-
ing me an invitation to take the charge of this church and people,
under Jesus Christ the Captain of our salvation, — the pleasing
prospect arising from your union and affection of answering the
great end of preaching the gospel, of being a happy instrument
of building up the kingdom of the Great Redeemer in this
place, and in promoting, if not the temporal, yet the highest, the
immortal interests of this church and people, — these considera-
tions are powerful arguments and inducements to excite and
support a belief that yours is a Call from God ; that it is the
design of the Great Head of the church that he whom you have
unanimously chosen should be constituted Pastor of the church
and Minister among the people in Hardwick. Trusting not by
constraint, but of a ready mind, this public declaration is made,
that I comply with your unanimous invitation. I consent, if
it should be the divine pleasure, to spend my life and strength
in this place, for the cause of Christ, and the interest and im-


mortal happiness of this church and people. Since an inspired
apostle hath said, ' If any provide not for his own, and espe-
cially for those of bis own house, he hath denied the faith and is
worse than an infidel,' it would doubtless be improper and sinful
for any one to deny the faith or gospel, which he is to preach,
by neglecting a decent support. Again he saith, ' No man that
warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he
may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier ; ' and ' even
so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the gospel
should live of the gospel.' While I may dispense to you the
mysteries of the kingdom of God, and preach the unsearchable
riches of Christ, — while I spend the remainder of my days, and
wear out my life and strength in the cause of the Redeemer, for
the purpose of promoting your highest interest, your everlasting
peace, — while I sow unto you spiritual things, — is it a great
thing if I should reap some of your carnal things ? As it would
doubtless contribute greatly to your advantage, and my own
peace, happiness, and usefulness among you, could I give myself
wholly to these things, or the work of the gospel ministry, with
full confidence, under the disposal of a wise and beneficent
Providence, I must rely upon your generosity and affection, to
afford that comfortable and honorable support which I trust
comports with your present intention.

" Permit me to acknowledge with thankfulness the peculiar af-
fection, kindness, and generosity, of numbers, manifested by sub-
scription, for the purpose of furnishing a great domestic conven-
ience and defence against the uncomfortable effects of inclement

" Men, Brethren, and Fathers, I request an interest in your
prayers, that I may be furnished abundantly to the great and im-
portant work of the evangelical ministry ; that I may be made a
faithful, zealous, and successful minister of the gospel ; that I
may be made an eminent and lasting blessing to this church and
people ; that I may be a son of consolation to the humble broken-
hearted penitent, and a son of thunder to the careless impenitent
sinner ; that my ministration may become a savour of life unto
life to immortal souls, and not a savour of death unto death ; and
that many souls may be given to me for my crown of rejoicing
in the day of Jesus Christ. ' Let brotherly love continue. Let
us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and
things wherewith one may edify another.' Let peace, harmony,
unanimity, and affection, abound among you. 'Finally, breth-


ren, be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace,
and the God of love and peace shall be with you.' I am, friends
and brethren, yours in the Gospel of Christ. Thomas Holt,
Hardwick, May 2^\ 1789."

Rev. Mr. Holt was ordained ^ Jtine 25, 1789, and for several
years the church had peace. Up to this time the records of the
church had been kept on loose sheets of paper, so folded that
each sheet would make sixteen pages, the larger part of which,
though never bound, remain until the present time, but some-
what mutilated. Immediately after Mr. White's decease, the
church met, January 15, 1784, and "chose a committee to search
the Church Records, viz., Joseph Allen, William Paige, and
Nathaniel Paige ; also voted, to purchase a church bound book
containing two quire of paper." The book was bought but not
used until Mr. Holt became pastor of the church. From the old
loose records he transferred into the new volume what related to
the gathering of the church and the ordination of Mr. White,
and entered at full length his own letter of acceptance of his call
to the pastorship. Then he inserted, in his remarkably distinct
and legible chirography, " The Church's Confession of Faith " and
" Covenant." Whether these had been in use from the time
when the church was organized, or whether they had been
adopted at a more recent period, I am unable to determine ; but
as they exhibit the form of doctrine professed by the church in
1789, I insert them in full : —

"THE church's confession OF FAITH.

" We believe that there is one true and living God, who is over
all blessed forever, who is the Creator, Preserver, and Governor
of the Universe. We believe that in the unity of the Godhead
there are three distinct Persons, the Father, the Son, and the
Holy Ghost, each possessed of all divine perfections. We believe
that God made Adam, the first man, in his own holy image, con-
sisting in knowledge and true holiness, giving him a law for a
rule of his obedience, and entering into a covenant with him,

1 The sei"vices at Mr. Holt's ordination Mass. ; concluding prayer, Rev. Joseph

were as follows : Introductory prayer^ Appleton, Brookfield, Mass.

Rev. Charles 'Backus, Somers, Conn. ; Rev. Daniel Tomlinson, Oakham,

sermon, Rev. Benjamin Trumbull, North Mass., Rev. John "Willard, Jr., Meriden,

Haven, Conn. ; consecrating prayer. Rev. Conn., and Rev. Joseph Blodgett, Green-

Josiah Dana, Barre, Mass.; charge, Rev. wich, Mass., were also members of the

Nathan Fiske, Brookfield, Mass. ; fellow- ordaining council. Rev. Mr. Fiske was

ship. Rev. Daniel Foster, New Braintree, moderator, and Rev. Mr. Foster, scribe.


promising life to him and all his posterity in case of perfect obe-
dience, but threatening death in case of disobedience ; that Adam
broke covenant with God by eating the forbidden fruit, and sub-
jected himself and all his posterity to the wrath and curse of
God ; so that every man comes into the world in a state of entire
alienation from God. We believe that from all eternity God
designed to glorify the riches of his grace in the salvation of an
elect number of the fallen children of Adam, through the media-
tion of Jesus Christ. To effect this purpose, we believe that the
Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, and offered
himself a sacrifice on the cross, to reconcile the Elect to God ; and as
he was delivered for their offences, so he was raised for their justi-
fication, and ascended into heaven to make intercession for them.
We believe that it is the peculiar office of the Holy Spirit to ap-
ply the benefits of Christ's Redemption to the souls of men, and
that he does this by working faith in them, and thereby uniting
them to Christ in their effectual calling. We believe that fallen
man has lost all power to do that which is spiritually good, and
is not able to convert and turn himself to God ; and therefore
that effectual calling is the special and almighty work of the
Spirit of God in and upon the hearts of sinners, whereby, if un-
willing, they are made willing in the day of his power to go to
Christ for life. We believe that those who are effectually called
are justified through the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ,
imputed to them, and received by faith alone. We believe that
those who are justified are also sanctified; and that the work of
sanctification will be carried on, and they will be enabled to per-
severe in grace and holiness to the end of their lives. We believe
that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are a Revela-
tion from God, that they are a plain, perfect, and unerring rule
of life, and that we ought to believe all their doctrines and obey
all their precepts. We believe that God has appointed his ordi-
nances for the spiritual good of his people, for the improvement
of grace and holiness in them. We believe that at death the

Online LibraryLucius R. (Lucius Robinson) PaigeHistory of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register → online text (page 22 of 73)