Mass.) First Presbyterian Church (Newburyport.

Origin and annals of The Old south, First Presbyterian church and parish, in Newburyport, Mass., 1746-1896 online

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Online LibraryMass.) First Presbyterian Church (NewburyportOrigin and annals of The Old south, First Presbyterian church and parish, in Newburyport, Mass., 1746-1896 → online text (page 6 of 13)
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more, much more, about man)' things; they have
come into view from out the past, as birds appear
out of the sky or the fog and drop upon the meadows.
But this is the closing evening, and your pastors
history has, by right, the chief historical place. To
my successors I have not referred, because my
knowledge of them has been slight. Of Dr. Rich-
ardson, who came after me, I know that he was a
scholar and admired as a man and a preacher of strik-
ing gifts. The names of the rest are upon yonder
tablet. All but two of them have made up their
record on earth and gone to their reward. Bye and
bye, some one will resume the story where we now
leave it, and they will be remembered and the
later history written. I have but one thing to add,
since it connects itself with that new and elegant
tablet, and connects the past with the present.
During my first sermon in this pulpit, there sat in the
side aisle, facing Whitefield's monument, a young-
man some few years younger than myself. The ser-
mon impressed him, and not long after he united



with the church. That was in our youth, forty-six
years ago. Today again I am in the pulpit, he
in the pew. He is the donor of that me-
morial tablet. It is a long interval. I have known
him through it all — in trials that have tested his man-
hood and his piety; as I also knew the one who was
with him through all, so active and beloved in this
church, his latest and greatest loss, the ever present
memory of whom, really suggested the tablet. But
in looking forward — the young preacher and hearer,
then for the first time brought into touch — how little
could we have surmised the future up till today;
what it would be to us or for us — what it would
enable us to be or to do? How little they that start
out in the morning for a day's sail, know what may
come down upon them before it is ended — the chill
of the wind, the enveloping fog, or even worse! In
185 i (I think) I was out sailing with a merry party,
when a dense fog settled down upon us. We lost
our way entirely, till one went aloft and looked over
the fog. Speaking of such things in life, my Elder
Pritchard — a man of excellent mind and thought —
once said in our prayer meeting: "We must go aloft
and look over the fog;" a simile out of his own pro-
fession as a rigger of ships — and it all came vividly
back. I had seen it done; and have used it since as

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Program, Addresses and Correspondence.

Previous to the time fixed for the celebration of
our one hundred and fiftieth anniversary, an invita-
tion was publicly given to every congregation in the
city, as well as to every man, woman and child in
our own parish, to attend all the exercises. A more
formal invitation was sent to the ministers, the city
officials, absent members of our church, and individ-
uals known to have a claim on us for this mark of
respect on account of their having descended from
former pastors, or from families noted for services
done in our society. The invitation was as follows:



"^he <SDlb -South."


Greeting in tt)c Name of tl)e Corb.

The Firft Prefbyterian Church, in Newburyport, Maffa-
chufetts, completed its organization, April 7th, 1746; and this
Church and Society will celebrate, April 7 and 8, 1S96, the One
Hundred and Fiftieth Anniverfary of that event.

You are heartily invited to be prelent on that occafion ; or,
if unable to attend, to fend fome meffage of congratulation.

There will be hiftorical addreffes, a collation, and other
attractive features, of which more definite notice will be given

All who love the " Old South Church " will be heartily

Yours faithfully,


Chairman of General Committee.

Chairman of Committee on Invitation.

WILLIAM BINLEY, Clerk of the Church.
ALVAH W. LEAVITT, Clerk of the Parifh.
PRENTISS H. REED, Clerk of General Committee.

Newburyport, Mai's., March 12, 1896.



In response to this invitation, and at the ringing of
the old bell cast by Paul Revere, the meeting house
was crowded at every service with members of the
congregation, friends from other churches, and stran-
gers who took a passing interest in proceedings of
such an unusual nature. Those who crossed the
vestibule and entered the open doors of the main
audience room, saw, first of all, the decorated pulpit,
with its floral display; on either side aloft were
shields in blue and gold bearing the dates, 1746 and
1896; and swinging gracefully from shield to shield
was an elegant gilded chain of exactly one hundred
and fifty links, each link being designed to be ulti-
mately the frame of an interior view of the historic
scene. The idea of a golden chain emblematic of
the stretch of years between the two dates originated
with Mrs. John W. Winder. It was made by Mr.
and Mrs. Winder and Messrs. John M. Bailey and
Lucius H. Greely. Various plans were discussed
and given up as impracticable, and it was finally
decided to make it of wood and gild it. Each of
the one hundred and fifty links is in two pieces and
the whole length is ninety-four feet. At the right
of the pulpit, between it and the cenotaph, was

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the veiled tablet whose uncovering was to be an im-
portant feature of the day. The window space at
the left was filled with a mass of evero-reens. Be-
neath the gallery and near the cenotaph was the
laurel crowned oil painting of the Rev. George
Whitefield, the founder of this church, which had
been kindly loaned for the occasion by the American
Congregational Association of Boston, through its
librarian, Rev. W. H. Cobb,D. D. On an ample plat-
form at the left of the pulpit were the portraits of
the former pastors of the Old South Church, each on
its own easel, and all grouped amid a forest of palms
and Easter lilies. Over the main door from the cor-
ridor was a beautiful scroll bearing the motto, " Blest
Be the Tie that Binds, " lettered on a white back-
ground with a yellow border. Festoons of ever-
greens ran along the front of the galleries, the win-
dows were draped by Hags, and other decorations
helped to give the whole sanctuary a most charming
appearance. This work was done under the direction
of Mr. John M. Bailey, the chairman of the commit-
tee on decoration, with the efficient aid of Lucius II.
Greely, Charles W. Jacoby, Mrs. J. W. Winder, Mrs.
W. A. Johnson, Mrs. W. E. Chase, Mrs. E. M. Rund-
lett and others. The ushering was done under the
direction of the Christian Endeavor Society, who had


their hands full in seating so many guests. To each
person was given a copy of the program which was
as follows:

First Presbyterian Church, of Newburyport, Mass.


One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary.

APRIL 7 AND 8, 1896.

Program for Tuesday, April 7, 1896.
a <*> a

Miss Elizabeth C Adams, Soprano. Miss May Davol, Contralto.

Dr. George E. L. Noyes, Tenor. Mr. William E. Chase, Bass.

Mrs. Isadora Flanders, Organist.


_ _ , j . c, . Gounod

Organ Prelude in b ,


Lord's Prayer.

Te Deum, Hymn 203, "O God, we Praise Thee and

J „ . Patrick


Psalm 9 6, . • R ead b >' Rev - Samuel ShaW -

'" Rev. W. C. Richardson, of St. Paul's Church.

Anthem, » This is the Day," • • A. R. Gaul

Address of welcome,

John T. Brown, Esq., Chairman of General Committee.

Response, • • ' * ,

Rev. Daniel T. Fiske, D. D., of the Belleville Church.

I ox


Memorial Tablet (gift of John T. Brown, Esq.)

Presented by George F. Stone, Esq., of Chicago.
Acceptance of the Memorial Tablet, for the Society

by the Pastor.
Anthem, " Come to Our Hearts and Abide," J. C. Macy
Greetings from "Mother Churches:"

First Church of Newbury, by Rev. F. W. Sanborn.
First Religious Society of Newburyport, by Rev.

S. C. Beane, D. D.
Old Church of Londonderry, N. H., by Rev. S. F. French.
Messages from the absent, Read by Mr. Wm. E. Chase.
Poem by Mrs. Elizabeth K. Haskell,

Read by Mrs. David Foss.
Hymn, 964, "O God, Our Help in Ages Past,"

Isaac Watts
Organ Postlude, "Alia Marcia," . . Guilmant

Organ Prelude, Grand Orlertoire in G, . Loretz

Anthem, " Praise Ye the Father," . . Gounod

Psalm 84, . . Read by Rev. A. W. Hitchcock.

Singing, " Over the Mountain Wave," Hon. George Lunt
Prayer, By Rev. John R. Thurston, of Whitinsville.

Solo, " Our Risen King," . . A. F. Loud

Miss Adams.
Historical Address, "The Glory of the Fathers,"

By Rev. Horace C. Hovey, D. D., Pastor.

Hymn, 1060, "O God, beneath Thy guiding hand,"

Leonard Bacon

Benediction, . Rev. A. G. Vermilye, D. D.

Organ Postlude, " Festival March." . Leybach

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Program for Wednesday, April 8, 1896.

<& <rs *rs

Organ Prelude, " Andantino," . . Barnby

Anthem, " The Lord is my Shepherd," . H. Smart

Ephesians, First Chapter, Read by Rev. C. E. Lord, D.D.
Prayer, By Rev. Louis A. Pope, of the Baptist Church.
Greetings from " Daughter Churches:"

Second Presbyterian, by Rev. T. James Macfaddin.

Fourth Congregational, by Rev. Myron O. Patton.

Whitefield Congregational, by Rev. John H. Reid.
Anthem, " The Heavenly Mansions," . J. C. Macy

Poem by Rev. W. R. Cochrane, D. D., of Antrim, N. H.
Messages from the Absent, read by Mr. William Binley.
Greeting from the Y. M. C. A., By Sec. W. B. Porter.

Greeting from the Y. P. S. C. E., By Rev. C. P. Mills.
Hymn, 51S, " Onward Christian Soldiers," S. Baring- Gould

Organ Postlude in C, . . . Merkel

Banquet in the Chapel, 5 o'clock.
Rev. Peter M. MacDonald, D. D., of Boston, presiding.
Divine blessing invoked by Rev. Luther H. Angier, D. D.,

of Boston.
Impromptu speeches by guests.


Organ Prelude, " Elevation in F," . . Roeckel

Miss Ella M. Johnson.

Anthem, " Blessing, Honor, Glory and Power,"

Arr. front Lambilottc



Salutation from the Old Church of Hempstead, L. I.,

(252 years old.)
Prayer, . . By Rev. John W. Dodge.

Solo, " My Hope is in the Everlasting," . J. Stainer

Miss Adams.
" Pastoral Reminiscences," ....

By Rev. Ashbel G. Vermilye, D. D., of Englewood, N. J.
Hymn, S24, " Blest be the Tie that Binds," J. Fawcett

Benediction . . . By the Pastor.

Organ Postlude, " March de Procession," . Batiste

This program was carried out, to the letter, with
the exception that the venerable Dr. Angier, of Bos-
ton, was detained from coming by reason of illness,
and that Dr. Vermilye offered the prayer on Tuesday
evening, instead of Rev. John R. Thurston, who
reciprocated by supplementing the "'pastoral remi-
niscences'' on Wednesday evening with some of his
own recollections of Oldtown, together with an
eloquent off-hand eulogy on the career of the Old
South Church.

The address of welcome by John T. Brown,
Esquire, the chairman of the General Committee,
was heartfelt and appropriate, and was as follows:


It is my privilege by action of this congregation, (I fully
appreciate the courtesy, and couple it with a very pleasant duty),
to welcome all to the old meeting house today. Those from a

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distance, I welcome to the city, to our homes, to our hearts, ex-
tending a hearty welcome home. To those who from varied
causes have found other church homes, to the pastors and con-
gregations of this city and its neighborhood, with whom our re-
lations are so happy, 1 speak the joy and gratitude of this old
church for your presence. Welcome all, to the place where our
fathers worshipped, to the seats they occupied, and may the
memories awakened by the occasion be those of much enjoy-
ment While saddened thoughts come to us of the loved
ones missing from these scenes, who have entered into rest, may
we see the brightness of the silver tinge to the clouds enveloping
their memories. In behalf of this people, I wish for them, and
myself, to express to you all, sincere and earnest thanks for your
presence with us today, thus indicating your interest in all these
former things. When at the close of these anniversary exer-
cises, we return to our homes, may this renewal of our own
and our ancestral ties, and the thought that we have considered
these days of old, the years of former times, be a memory of
happiness until we hear the voices of the angels, bidding us
welcome to the house of many mansions.

Rev. Daniel T. Fiske, D. D., senior pastor of the
Belleville Church, responded for the sister churches
and the congregation, speaking as follows:


Mr. Chairman and Dear Friends of the Old South Church :

It gives me great pleasure to be with you on this interesting

anniversary, and I am happy to feel that I am included in that

cordial and graceful welcome extended by your representative,

i 07


my friend, Mr. Brown. And in the name of all these churches
of our city, I heartily reciprocate, Sir, the kindly sentiments you
have expressed, and I salute this ancient church on this, her
one hundred and fiftieth birthday anniversary. Long may she
live, blessing and being blessed.

One hundred and fifty years seems a long or a short period,
according to the kind of measuring rod applied to it. When I
reflect that my own life, young as I am, covers more than half
of that period, and when I further reflect, that my pastorate in
this city covers nearly one-third of it, I conclude that this church
is after all, not so very old. My relations with it have been
somewhat intimate, and of the pleasantest kind. They date
from the day of my ordination when your beloved and
honored pastor, Rev. Dr. Jonathan F. Stearns, gave me, in be-
half of the ordaining council, the right hand of fellowship,
which he did so graeefully, so cordially, in words so choice and
so kind, with a spirit so christian and winsome that my heart
went out to him at once, and then and there began a friendship
which grew apace and was strengthened by his many subsequent
acts of kindness, by my frequent visits to his home and by de-
lightful christian intercourse with himself and his cultured wife,
with their bright little children about them, one of whom became
the distinguished, and now lamented, professor of theology in
Bangor Theological Seminary. Dr. Stearns so endeared him-
self to me that I verily believe I mourned his departure from our
city two years later, as much as did his own people.

You have had seven pastors since Dr. Stearns, and I have
known them all very well, and my pulpit exchanges with them
have been frequent and pleasant, and further you have been
pleased to honor me with an invitation to take part in the in-



stallation services of every one of them or nearly every one of
them I have also been privileged to number among my per-
sonal friends not a few of the lay-members of this church; too
many of whom, alas, are missing today.

This church has had an interesting history, which it does not
belong to me to rehearse. I wish simply, with your leave, to
s P eak & of one feature of the church, viz: its denominational
catholicity. It is called a Presbyterian Church, and such it is;
but its founder, that prince of preachers, George Whitefield,
was an Episcopalian, who, early in life, by association with the
Wesleys, became surcharged with the spirit of Methodism, so
that in his own person he seemed to link this church to those
two great denominations. Then, the material of the church, at
the outset, was drawn from two Congregational churches, and
was good Congregational stuff. And, indeed, for about three
years after its organization this church was virtually a Congre-
gational church, and would doubtless have always remained
such, but for the unjust territorial parish laws then in force.
Moreover, its first pastor came to it from a Congregational
church, and some of his successors were by birth and training
Congregationahsts. And thus some of the different ingredients
of these three sects, a little of the stateliness of Episcopacy, a
little of the fervor of Methodism, and a little of the liberty of
Congregationalism, seem to have been shaken up together, and
lo, the result ! an orderly, earnest, liberal type of Presbytenanism.
And in this church and its history we have an illustration of
the comparatively small importance of mere church polity.
Who ever thinks of the Old South, first and chiefly, as a Pres-
byterian church. Enough that it is a true christian church;
whatever else it is, matters little. It is and always has been, in

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living sympathy with the other christian churches of this city
and vicinity, one with them in faith, love and devotion to a
common Lord and Master. And this is what is wanted here and
everywhere, more interdenominational sympathy, courtesy,
fellowship and co-operation.

We have of late heard much ahout "organic church union,"
and the abolition of all sects and the "re-union of Christendom"
in one vast centralized ecclesiastical organization. This seems
to me but a pleasant dream. I do not believe its realization
either possible or desirable. What we do want is "unitv of the
spirit in the bonds of peace." This, and only this, I believe
was what our Saviour had in mind when he prayed for those
who were, and were to be his disciples, "That they all may be
one, as thou Father art in me and I in thee, that they also may
be one in us."

Certainly I shall be content when that prayer is so fully an-
swered, that christians of every name, while retaining if they
wish, their denominational peculiarities, shall be one in spirit,
one in charity, one in zeal, moving forward together as one
army of the Lord under the one uplifted banner of the cross to
the conquest of the world for Christ.

In conclusion allow me to congratulate this church upon a
history that for a century and a half has been illumined with so
many tokens of the divine favor, and to express the hope that
for another century and a half it ma)' stand here a solid bulwark
against every incoming tide of error and wickedness, a mighty
power that makes for righteousness, yea, a living embodiment
of that gospel which is the power of God unto Salvation to every
one that believeth. While conserving all the good of the past
may it with outstretched and eager hands be ready to seize hold

I i o


of the greater good of the future, and be more than ever a
leader in all aggressive movements, for the moral and religious
welfare of our city, of our country, of the whole world.

Hon. George F. Stone, of Chicago, a great-great
grandson of Rev. Jonathan Parsons, in a brilliant
and exceedingly interesting manner addressed the
pastor and people of the First Presbyterian church
and society, presenting to them, as the gift of John T.
Brown, Esquire, the elaborate and costly memorial
tablet bearing the names of all the pastors. He
spoke as follows:


Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen:

A community unmindful of its benefactors is ignoble. A
patriotic and christian people make glad, public and grateful
recognition of those who in an important sense have contributed
to the public welfare. Newburyport has always taken a just
pride in an illustrious ancestry, and has honored her sons and
her daughters, who in varied departments have reflected honor
upon her fair name. Throughout the civilized world memorials
may be seen on every hand of those who have conferred signal

benefits upon society .

We are gathered here today to present a tablet upon which are
inscribed/not the names of soldiers, or statesmen, or jurists;
nor of those who have founded great libraries or endowed insti-
tutions of learning; nor of those who have built railroads,

i i i


eminently worthy as these all are of high public regard, but of
those who have built up individual and national character during
one hundred and fifty eventful years ; who have cheered, com-
forted and sustained human hearts in the trying vicissitudes of
life's experiences; of those who in this consecrated place have
preached the everlasting gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ and who have faithfully and eloquently proclaimed " that
kingdom which is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy
Ghost ;" whose prayers, labors and example through successive
generations, have become incorporated into our national life ; who
exalted piety and fostered education ; whose lofty ideals of
Christian living permeated and inspired the pregnant years in
which they lived ; who unfalteringly held up the banner of the
cross and enjoined the highest duties of citizenship; whose
presence was as the "All's Well!"' breaking upon the midnight
air and as the dawning of the morning to hearts weary and sick
and sad who thought the night would never end ; whose graces
of manner and of spirit were wrought into human lives and
transmitted unto generation after generation ; whose patriotism
was a part of their piety and whose piety was a part of their

"Noble were thej and true,
Of cultured thought, with ceremony sweet, refinement pure,
A type which through all hazards must endure
And into various circumstance be wrought."

Standing in this historic city, bathed in the memories of
colonial and revolutionary times, and within this sacred edifice
whose walls have echoed to the learning and eloquence of White-

Louisa Parsons Hopkins.


field, Parsons, Murray and Dana; of Williams, Proudfit and
Stearns; of Vermilye, Richardson and Durfee ; of Newell,
Wallace, Sinclair and Hovey, the touch of the vanished hand I
can almost feel. I seem to hear their voices still breaking m
sweetness upon the air. Thank God, of that goodly and
scholarly company Drs. Vermilye and Hovey are with us to-
day Surely they must experience that comfort described by
Cicero, in a letter to his friend Atticus, » that the recollects of
past good actions yields an unspeakable comfort to the soul."

TcTform any adequate idea of the value of their lives, of then-
nobility and fidelity, we must consider, though briefly, the great
epochs in the history of our country embraced in this one hun-
dred and fifty years. First: The colonial period, when the
foundations of the Republic, under God, were being hud deep
in eternal and unchangeable principles, in God's sovereignty and
man's accountability. It was a crude period, trying, tumult-
uous, prayerful, momentous; yet it was a glorious period out ot
which was born a great and liberty-loving nation, whose his-
tory is that of the development of the best civilization and the
highest type of citizenship. Then came the revolutionary period
when throughout the corridors of that heroic time sounded in
clarion notes the patriotic, lofty, defiant and inspiring words of
\dams, Hancock and Otis ; of Putnam and of Warren; when
the light of Paul Revere's lantern flashed from the church belfry
throughout the great Commonwealth; when Lexington and
Concord and Bunker Hill thrilled the nations of the earth with
the sublime declaration that "all men are created equal ; that
they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable
rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of
happiness." Following, was the great anti-slavery agitation, when

i 13


Phillips, Sumner and your own Garrison undauntedly flung their
impassioned appeals for emancipation into the ears of their
countrymen; when Whittier, Lowell and Longfellow sung;
when the profound learning and graces of speech of Webster,
Everett and your gifted dishing gave to New England a
classic renown ; when under the magnetic leadership of Horace
Mann and of Agassiz, knowle ge became fascinating and ed-
ucation received a new impulse. Now were ushered in the
bloody years of that wickedest rebellion that ever stained the
annals of history — wickedest because against the most benef-
icent government ever instituted ; now was handed down to
posterity amid the carnage of contending hosts the unimpaired

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Online LibraryMass.) First Presbyterian Church (NewburyportOrigin and annals of The Old south, First Presbyterian church and parish, in Newburyport, Mass., 1746-1896 → online text (page 6 of 13)