Mass. Congregational church Sturbridge.

Manual for the use of the members of the Congregational church, in Sturbridge, January, 1843 online

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MANUAL



^SE OF THE MEMBERS



CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH,



IN STURBRIDGE



IJanuars, 1843.



WEST BROOKFIELD :

MERRIAM & COOKE, PRINTERS

1843.









ABt. SOO.



25 il '90*



BRIEF



HISTORICAL NOTICES



Public worship was commenced in Sturbridge
soon after the settlement of the town, in 1730.

The Congregational Church was organized on the
29th of Sept. 1736; consisting of fourteen male
members. The town was incorporated in June 1738.

The first meeting-house was dedicated to the wor-
ship of God on the 19th of Sept. 1733; about five
years before the town was incorporated.

The present house of worship was dedicated in
Dec. 1787; and the interior was entirely remodeled
in 1835.

Rev. Caleb Rice, the first Pastor, was ordamed
Sept. 27th, 1736. He was released from his charge
by death Sept. 2nd 1759; having been Pastor of the
Church 23 years.

Rev. Joshua Paine was ordained Pastor of the



Church June I7th, 1761. He deceased Dec. 28th,
1799; in the 65th year of his age; having been Pas-
tor of the Church 38 years.

Rev. Otis Lane was ordained Pastor of the Church
Dec. 10th, 1800. He was disfnissed, at his own re-
quest, Feb. 24th, 1819; having been Pastor of the
Church 18 years. He deceased May 6th, 1842,
aged 72. — His remains rest with those of his prede-
cessors in the burying ground in Sturbridge.

Rev. Alvan Bond v/as ordained Pastor of the
Church Nov. 30th, 1819. — He was dismissed, at his
own request, Oct. 3rd, 1831; having been Pastor of
the Church 12 years.

Rev. Joseph S. Clark was ordained Pastor of the
Church, Dec. 21st, 1831; and was dismissed, at his
own request, Dec. 20th, 1838; having been Pastor
of the Church 7 years.

Rev. David R. Austin was installed Pastor of the
Church May 1st, 1839:—

The following are the names of those who have
sustained the office of Deacon since the organization
of the Church.

The date indicates the year when they were elect-
ed. A chasm of 30 years in the Records of Mr.
Paine's ministry, renders it impossible to assign a



date to those who were appointed to office during
that interval.



1736. DANIEL FISKE.

" EBENEZER STEARNS.
1741. ISAAC NEWELL.
1747. JOSEPH BAKER.
1749. EDWARD FOSTER.
1764. MOSES WELD.

JOSHUA HARDING.

JOB HAMANT.



ROLAND CLARK.
ELEAZAR HEBARD.

1807. JOEL PLIMPTON.

1808. DANIEL PLIMPTON.
1826. ZEN AS DUNTON.

" GEORGE DAVIS.

1832. EPHRAIM LYON.

" JAxMES CHAPIN.



ADMISSIONS.

The whole number received to the Church, since
its organization, is 855; of which 291 were males,
and 564 females. The present number of members
is 350; of which 110 are males, and 240 females.

It should be observed, that the preceding account
does not contain the names of tho^e admitted to the
Church for many years; as the entire records of Mr.
Paine's ministry are lost. It is said that his house
was broken open, and among other things, the Church
records were stolen. This lo^s is greatly to be re-
gretted, as the history of the Church, during a very
interesting period, that of the Revolutionary war, can
never be recovered.

1*



FORM



OF ADMISSION TO THE CHURCH.



Preliminary Mdress of the Pastor to the Candi-
dates.

By a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ, you
do not create new^ but simply recognize and acknow-
ledge previously existing responsibilities.

Your present act does not lay you under obliga-
tions which never existed before, to consecrate every
active power of your being to the Lord. You ought
to have felt this obligation, and to have been influ-
enced by it, ever since you were capable of moral
action. It is your sin, that you have refused to do it
so long. You are now before God and his people,
both to acknowledge this sin, and to declare your ab-
horrence of all sin, your love of holiness, your com-
fort of hope, and joy of faith; — to declare your fixed
and unalterable purpose, to bring every power of
your being into subjection to the obedience of Christ
— and to identify yourself and all your interests, for
time and eternity, with the church of the living God.

To the confession of faith, and solemn covenant
which you are now about to make, God, and angels,
and men, are witnesses. The consequences of this
transaction will run parallel with eternal ages, and



will live in delightful, or mournful remembrance amid
the songs of glory, or the wailings of despair.

Overwhelming as is the solemn nature of the step
you are now taking, be not dismayed. God is might-
ier than both your fears, and your foes. — The Lord
Jesus has said, '' All that the Father giveth to me
shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will
in no wise cast out.^^ With your whole soul fixed on
Him, come, and in holy, tender confidence in your
risen Savior, adopt the confession and covenant which
we now propound to you.



CONFESSION OF FAITH



ARTICLE I.

You believe that there is but one God, the Crea-
tor, Preserver and moral governor of the universe; a
being of infinite power, knowledge, wisdom, justice,
goodness and truth; the self-existent, independent
and immutable fountain of good.

Now unto the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise
God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. I Tim. i. 17.
He that built all things is God. Heb. iii. 4. — Great and marvellous
are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways,
thou king of saints ? who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify
ihy name ? For thou only art holy: Rev. xv. 3, 4.

ARTICLE II.

You believe that ihe Scriptures of the Old and New
Testament were given by inspiration of God; that
they are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, and for
instruction in righteousness; and that they are our
only rule of doctrinal behef and religious practice.

God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time
past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken
unto us by his Son. Heb. i. 1, 2.— All Scripture is given by inspi-
ration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correc-
tion, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Tim. iii. 16. — We have
also a more sure word of prophesy, whereunto ye do well that ye
take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day
dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts 2 Pel. i. 19.



ARTICLE III.

You believe that the mode of divine existence is
such as lays a foundation for a three fold distinction
in the Godhead, — the Father, the Son, and the
Holy Ghost, and that these three are one in essence,
and equal in power and glory.

Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Matt.
xxviii. 19. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God.
and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all. Amen 2
Cor. xiii. 14.

ARTICLE IV.

You believe that God has made all things for him-
self; that known unto him are all his works from the
beginning; and that he governs all things according
to the counsel of his own will.

The Lord hath made all things for himself. Prov. xvi. 4. —
Known unto God are all his works from the beginninj^ of the world.
Acts, XV. 18. — In whom (Christ) also we have obtained an inheri-
tance being predestinated according to the purpose of him, who
workelh all things after the counsel of his own will. Eph. i. 11.

ARTICLE V.

You believe that the divine law and the principles
and administration of the divine government are per-
fectly holy, jusl; and good; and that all rational beings
are bound to approve them.

Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, jast
and good. Rom- vii. 12. — The Lord is righteous in ail his ways and
holy in all his works. Ps, cxlv. 17. — The Lord reigneth; let the
earth rejoice, let the multitudes of isles be glad thereof Ps. xcvii. 1.



10
ARTICLE VI.

You believe that God, at first, created man in his
own image, in a state of rectitude and holiness; and
that he fellTrom that state by transgressing the divine
command in eating the forbidden fruit.

So God created man in his own imnge, in the image of God cre-
ated he him. Gen. i. 27. — God mdde rn in upright: but they have
sought out many inventions. Ecci. vii. 29. — But of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it : for in the day
that thou eatest thereof, ihou shalt surely die. Gen. ii. 17. — And
when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it
was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one
wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto
her husband with her, and he did eat. Gen. iii. 6.

ARTICLE VII.

You believe that in consequence of the apostacy,
the heart of man, in his natural state, is destitute of
holiness and in a state of positive disaffection with
the law, character and government of God, and that
all men previous to regeneration are dead in trespas-
ses and sins.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death
by sin; and so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned.
Rom. V. 12. — We have before proved btith Jews and Gentiles that
they are all under sin. Rom. iii 9. — The carnal mind is enmity
against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed
can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. Rom.
vili. 7, 8.

ARTICLE VIII.

You believe that Christ the Son of God has made
atonement for sin; that he is the only Redeemer of



11

sinners; and that all who are saved will be altogether
indebted to the grace of God, for their salvation.

Walk in love, .as Christ hath also loved us, and hath given him-
self for MB an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelline
savor. Eph. x. 2.— Neither is there salvation in any other: for there
unone other name under heaven given among men, whereby we
must be saved. Acts, iv. 12.— For by grace are ye saved through
imth; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Eph. ii. 3.

ARTICLE IX.

You believe that although the invitations of the
gospel are such, that whosoever will may come and
take of the waters of life freely, yet the depravity of
the human heart is such, that no man will come to
Christ, except the Father by the special and effica-
cious inj9uences of his spirit draw him.

And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. John, v.
40.— No man can come to me, except the Father who hath sent
me, draw him. John, vi. 44.

ARTICLE X.

You believe that those who embrace the gospel,
were '' chosen in Christ before the foundation of the
world," that they should be holy and without blame
before him in love; and that they are justified and
saved, not by works of righteousness, which they
have done, but according to the distinguishing mercy
of God, through sanctificaiion of the Spirit, and be-
lief of the truth.

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of
the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in
love : having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by



in

Jesus Christ to himself according to the good pleasure of his wilL
Eph. 1. 4, 5. — Not by works of righteoasness, which we have
done, but according to his mercy he saved us by the washing c4
regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost: — that being justified
by his grace, we should be made heirs, according to the hope ©f
eternal life. Tit. iii, 5. 7.

ARTICLE ^XL

You believe that those, who cordially embrace
Christ, although they may be left to fall into sin, will
nevertheless be brought to repentance, and will be
kept by the power of God through faith unto salva-
tion.

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish,
neither shali any man pluck them out of my hand. John, x. 28. —
V. ho are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
1 Pet. 15.

ARTICLE XIL

You believe that watchfulness over the life, holy
meditation, a conscientious attention upon public,
family and secret worship, together with the steady
practice of righteousness, truth, sincerity and charity,
and of sobriety, chastity and temperance are the in-
dispensible duties of every christian.

For the grace of God that bringelh salvation hath appeared to all
men, tenching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts we
should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world.
Tit. ii. 11, 12. — Be ye therefore sober and watch unto prayer.
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves. 1 Pet.
iv. 7, 8. — Praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the
spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplica-
tion for all saints. Eph vi. 18. — Examine yourselves whether ye be
in the faith; prove your own selves. 2 Cor. xiii. 5. — But thou, when
thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy
door, pray to thy Father in secret. Matt. vi. 6. — But as for me and
my house, we will serve the Lord. Josh. xxiv. 15.



13

ARTICLE XIII.

You believe that there will be a general resurrec-
tion of the bodies both of the just and of the unjust.

The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall
hear his voice, and shall come forth ; they that have done good unto
the resurrection of life; and they that hive done evil unto the resur-
rection of danination. And many of them that sleep in the dust of
the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame
and everlasting contempt. Dan. xii. 2.

ARTICLE XIV.

You believe that all mankind must one day stand
before the judgment seat of Christ, to receive a jusl
and final sentence of retribution, according to the
deeds done in the body; and that at the day of judg-
ment the state of all will be tinalterably fixed; and
that the punishment of the wicked, and the happiness
of the righteous will be endless.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that
every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that
he hath done whether it be good or bad. 2 Cor. v. 10. — For God
shall bring every work into judgment with every secret thing, whe-
ther it be good, or whether it be evil. Eccl. xii. 14. — And these
shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the lighteous into
life eternal. Matt. xxv. 46.

ARTICLE XV.

You believe that Christ has a visible church in the
world, into which none but real believers in the sight
of God, and none but visible believers in the sight of
man, have right of admission.

And I say unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock will
I build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it
2



14



Maft. xvi. 18. — And the Lord ndded fo the church daily such as
should be saved. Acts, ii. 47. — Unto the church of God, which is
at Coiinth, to them that are siinciified in Christ Jesus, called to be
saints, wiih all that in every place cull upon the name of Jesus
Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. 1 Cor. i. 2. — They shall ask
the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come and let
us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not
be forgotten. Jer. 1. 5.

ARTICLE XVI.

You believe that the sacraments of the New Tes-
tament are baptism and the Lord's supper; that be-
lievers in regular church standing only can consistent-
ly partake of the Lord's supper, and that visible be-
lievers and their households only, can consistently be
admitted to the ordinance of baptism.

Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Mat.
x.wiii. 19. — For the promise is unto you, and to your children*, and
to all that are afir off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call
Acts, ii. 39. — What doth hinder me to be baptized ? And Philip
said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou niayest. Acts, viii.
36^ 37. — And was baptized, he and all his, slr;iightvvay. Acts, xvi.
83. — For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered
unto you. That the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was be-
trayed took bread, &c. But let a man examine hiu^self and so let
him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 1 Cor. 23, 28.

Do you now, before God and his people, adopt,
and profess your belief in the foregoing summary of
gospel doctrine and duty.-*

Tiie Church will now vote upon the question of
the reception of the candidates to their fellowship and
communion.

The ordinance of baptism, if required, will now
be administered.



15

After which the covenant will be proposed t-o the
candidates for their assent.



COVENANT.

You do now in the presence of God and man.
avouch the Lord Jehovah, Father, Son and Holy
Ghost, to be your GOD, the supreme object of your
affection, and your chosen portion forever. You
cordially acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ in all
his mediatorial offices. Prophet, Priest and King, as
your only Savior and final Judge; and the Holy
Spirit as your Sanctifier, Comforter and Guide.
You humbly and cheerfully devote yourself to God,
in the everlasting covenant of grace. You consecrate
all your powers and faculties to his service and glory;
and you promise to take the Scriptures as the rule of
your life and conversation; and that through the as-
sistance of his spirit and grace, you will cleave to
him as your chief good; that you will give diligent
attention to his word and ordinances, to family and
secret prayer, and to the observance of his Sab-
bath; that you will seek the honor of his name and
the interest of his kingdom; and that henceforth de-
nying all ungodliness and every worldly lust, you will
live soberly, righteously and godly in the world.

You do now cordially join yourself to this as a
church of Christ, engaging to submit to its discipline,
so far as conformable to the rules of the gospel, and



16

solemnly covenanting to strive, as much as in you
lies, for its gospel peace, edification and purity; and
to walk with its members in christian love, faithful-
ness, circumspection, meekness and sobriety; and
abandoning the sinful pleasures and amusements of
the world, to prove what is thattgood and acceptable
and perfect will of God. — Thus you covenant, pro-
mise and engage.

We do now receive you into our communion, and
promise to watch over you with christian affection
and tenderness, ever treating you in love as a member
of the body of Christ, who is head over all things to
the church. — This we do, imploring of the great
Shepherd of Israel, our Lord and Redeemer, that
both you and we may have wisdom and grace to be
faithful in his covenant, and to glorify him with the
holiness which becomes his house I'orever. Amen.

FINAL ADDRESS.

You have witnessed, beloved in the Lord, a good
confession, in the sight of God, of angels, and of
men.

You have come under solemn obligations, from
which you can never be absolved. — Wherever you
go, these holy and reasonable vows will be upon you.
You can never again be as you have been. You
can never withdraw from the watch and communion
of the saints without contracting the guilt of covenant"



17

breaking, and fearfully exposing yourself lo the
righteous displeasure of Heaven. — You cannot be
justified in absenting yourself from the ordinances of
Christ's house, except duty, clearly expressed, re-
quires it. You are the Lord's by a most solemn
act of self-commitment, and we trust that you do
sincerely desire, and will constantly aim to live, only
for Hin), to whom you have now consecrated all the
powers of your being.

Hereafter the eyes of the world will be upon you;
and as you demean yourself, so religion will be honor-
ed or disgraced. If you walk worthy of your pro-
fession, you will be an honor and a coujfort to us; but
if otherwise, it will be an occasion of grief and re-
proach. But, beloved, we are persuaded better
things of you, and things that accompany salvation,
though we thus speak.

May the Lord guide and preserve you till death,
and at last receive you and us to that blessed world
where our love and joy shall be forever perfect. Amen.



PRAYER.



18



PRINCIPLES OF DISCIPLINE
AND PRACTICE.

Voted, That the rules adopted by the church, in
relation to discipline and practice, be read annually
to the churchj at the Preparatory Lecture in Sep-
tember.

I. We acknowledge the Pastor as the standing
Moderator and clerk of the church; and as having a
right to vote in all cases. He has power to call
church meetings at his own election, and shall be
obliged to call a church meeting, whenever requested
by any member; sucli member presenting his request
in writing, and stating therein the matter to be acted
upon; provided such request be not contrary to any
of the prescribed rules of the church. -

II. In general, the customs and usages of the Or-
thodox Congregational Churches of Massachusetts,
shall govern our Ecclesiastical proceedings.

U difficulties cannot be satisfactorily settled by the
church, a mutual council shall be called on the sub-
ject, if requested by any aggrieved member; and the
result of such council shall be considered final, un-
less the parties shall be mutually agreed to appeal foe
further trial.

III. Persons desiring to unite with this church, shall
give satisfactory evidence of a competent knowledge
of the doctrines and duties of the gospel; and of ex-
perimental piety: — All candidates shall be propound-



19

ed to the church at least two weeks previous to ad-
mission.

IV. Members of the church who shall for the space
of one year together absent themselves from the or-
dinance of the Lord's supper, shall be excluded all
church privileges; unless they shall exhibit satisfactory
reasons for such neglect.

V. The ends of Discipline are the removal of of-
fences: the peace, order, purity and growth of the
church: — the benefit of offenders; — and the honor of
Christ.

Offenders are to be brought before the church
agreeably to the rule of Christ, in the 18th chap-
ter of Matthew; and any member having cause of
complaint against another, should immediately seek to
have it removed according to that rule.

In case of open and notorious sins, the transgres-
sor is debarred church privileges, when the first step
is taken with him without obtaining satisfaction; in all
other instances, when the complaint is received by
the church for trial.

In case of public offence, the same steps shall be
taken, as in personal or private offence, when circum-
stances will admit; otherwise, the church shall ap-
point a committee, to deal with the offender privately,
in order to reclaim him. If this means fail, then the
church shall proceed to exercise stjch discipline, as
the nature and circumstances of the offence require.

No complaint or information on the subject of a
private offence, shall be admitted by the church, un-



20

less ihe means of reconciliation, or of privately re-
claiming the offender, have been used, which are re-
quired by Christ in Matt, xviii. 15, 16.

Confessions shall be made before the church only,
or before the whole congregation, as the church shall
direct. t

VI. Whereas family worship is a very plain and im-
portant christian duty; if any member of the church,
who is the head of a family, shall live in the habitual
neglect of family prater, such member shall be liable
to be called to an account and admonished by the
church for such neglect.

VII. Persons coming from other churches, and tak-
ing residence among us, shall remove their relation
within one year after they come among us; unless they
can give satisfactory reasons why they do not; or be
excluded from communing with the church.

VIII. In case of suspension from church privileges,
after the expiration of one year, the individual shall be
excommunicated; unless evidence of reformation is
exhibited, or the church determine to labor longer
with the offender.

IX. It shall be the duty of the members to attend
such stated meetings as the church shall appoint; es
pecially the lecture preparatory to the communion;
unless providentially detained.

X. Two individuals shall be chosen annually, at
the preparatory lecture in Sept., to act wiih the Pas-
tor and Deacons, as a committee to watch over the
spiritual interests of the Church.



21

XI. No person shall be admitted to church com-
munion, who is unwilling to adopt the Temperance
pledge.

The annual report of the Treasurer may now be
presented for acceptance.

The Lord's Supper is celebrated on the first Sabbath


1 3

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