Samuel M. (Samuel Melancthon) Worcester.

Sermons / by Samuel M. Worcester online

. (page 9 of 11)
Online LibrarySamuel M. (Samuel Melancthon) WorcesterSermons / by Samuel M. Worcester → online text (page 9 of 11)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

" In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are vnder- written, the
loyall Subiects of our dread soveraigne Lord King Iames, by the grace
of God of Great Britaine, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the
Faith, &c.

"Having vnder-taken for the glory of God, and advancement of the
Christian Faith, and honour of our King and Countrey, a Voyage to plant
the first Colony in the Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents
solemnly & mutually in the presence of God and one of another, covenant,
and combine our selues together into a civill body politike, for our better
ordering and preservation, and furtherance of the ends aforesaid ; and by
vertue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such iust and equall Lawes,
Ordinances, acts, constitutions, offices from time to time, as shall be
thought most meet and convenient for the generall good of the Colony ;
vnto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witnesse
whereof we haue here-vnder subscribed our names. Cape Cod, 11th of
Nove7nber, in the yeare of the raigne of our sovraigne Lord King Iames, of
England, France, and Ireland, i 8. and of Scotland 54. Aiino Domino 1620."

" The elder President Adams," says Dr. Pierce in his recent Election
Sermon, " was in the habit of referring to this compact, as the germ of our
republican institutions."

It does not appear, that the Pilgrims had any very definite idea of the
manner in which they should attempt to manage civil affairs, until they
were on the very point of disembarking.

" This day before we came to harbour, obseruing some not well affected
to vnitie and concord, but gaue some appearance of faction, it was thought
good there should be an association and agreement, that we should combine
together in one body, and to submit to such government and governours,
as we should by common consent agree to make and choose, and set our
hands to this that folio wes word for word."

But in their ecclesiastical action, as church-members upon the basis of
equality and fraternity, and in their " Town-Meetings," we cannot fail to


recognize what Mr. Bancroft lias called. " the semmal prmciples of republi-
can freedom and national independence." If, however, they had found
the river Hudson, for which they had searched, they would have been so
near the limits of the Virginia Company, that they might not have formed
the Compact, " which," as Dr. Cheever justly remarks in his recent
work, — " whatever may have been their original intention or foresight,
constituted them a self-governing republic, although named 'loyal subjects
of our dread sovereign lord, King James.' "

Yet it is to be remembered, that the real purpose of the founders of our
civil and political institutions was reliffious, in the strictest sense of the
term. This is indicated by the first words of the above Compact. Else-
where the witness is most explicit. The reasons for leaving Holland are
"recited," says Morton's Memorial, " as received from themselves."

" First, Because themselves were of a different Language from the Dittch,
where they Lived, and were settled in their way, insomuch that in ten
years time, whilst their Church sojourned amongst them, they could not
bring them to reform the neglect of Observation of the Lord's Day as a Sab-
bath, or any other thing amiss amongst them.

" Secondly, Because their Countr;j'Tnen, who came over to joyn Vv'ith
them, by reason of the hardness of the Country, soon spent their Estates,
and were then forced either to return back to ILngland, or to live very

" Thirdly, That many of their Children, through the extream necessity
that was upon them, altho' of the best dispositions, and graciously inclined,
and willing to bear part of their Parents burthens, were oftentimes so oppres-
sed with their heavy labours, that although their Spirits were free and wil-
ling, yet their Bodies bowed under the weight of the same, and became de-
crepid in their early youth, and the vigour of Nature consumed in the very
bud. And that which Avas very lamentable, and of all sorrows most heavy
to be born, was, that many by these occasions, and the great licentiousness
of Youth in that Country, and the manifold temptations of the place, w^ere
di'awn away by evil examples into extravagant and dangerous courses,
getting the reins on their necks, and departing from their Parents : Some
became Souldiers, others took upon them far Voyages by Sea, and other-
some worse courses tending to dissoluteness, and the destruction of their
Souls, to the great grief of their Parents, and the dishonour of God, ; and
that the place being of great licentiousness and liberty to Children, they
could not educate them, nor could they give them due correction without
reproof or reproach from their Neighbours.

" Fourthly, That their Posterity would in few generations become Dutch
and so lose their interest in the English Nation ; they being desirous rather
to enlarge His Majesties Dominions, and to live under their Natural

" Fifthly and lastly, and which v/as not the least, a great hope and in-
ward Zeal they had of laying some good Foundation, or at least to make
some way thereunto, for the propagating and advancement of the Gospel of
the Kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the World, yea, altho' they
should be but as stepping stones unto others for the performance of so
great a Work."

In the Preamble of the Articles of Confederation, in 1643, it is said :
" Whereas we all came into these parts of America with one and the same
end and aim, namely, to advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and to enjoy the liberties of the Gospel in purity with peace," &c. (Win-
throp's Journal.)

[p. 11.]
For illustrations of these statements, see Baird's *' Religion in America,"
"Synopsis of Missions," Morse and Parish's History of New England,
Thomas Robbins's " New England Fathers," &c. &c. But the subject de-
mands more attention, than it has ever received.

[p. 12. See Note, p. 31.]


[p. 14.]

The Kecords of the Fu'st Church, previous to 1660, are supposed to be
lost. In the Records of the Tabernacle Church, there is a Transcript of a
Pamphlet entitled, " A Copy of the Church Covenants which have been
used in the Church of Salem, formerly, and in their late revieM'ing of the
Covenant on the day of the Public Fast, April 15th, 1680. * * *
Boston, printed at the desire and for the use of many in Salem, for them-
selves and children, by J. F., 1680." It begins as follows : — "There was
a Church Covenant agreed upon and consented to by the Chiu'ch of Salem
at their first beginning in the year 1629, Aug. 6th."

" The following Covenant was propounded by the Pastor, was agreed
upon and consented to by the brethren of the Church, in the year 1636.

" We whose names are here underwritten, members of the present
Church of Christ in Salem, having found by sad experience how dangerous
it is to sit loose from the covenant we make with our God, and how apt we
are to wander into by-paths, even unto the loosing (losing ?) of our first
aims in entering into church fellowship ; do therefore solemnly in the
presence of the eternal God, both for our own comforts, and those who
shall or may be joined unto us, renew the Church Covenant we find this
Church bound unto at their first begimiing, viz : ' That we covenant with the
Lord, and one with another, and do bind ourselves in the presence of God,
to walk together in all his ways, according as he is pleased to reveal him-
self unto us in his blessed word of truth ; ' and do more explicitly, in the
name and fear of God, profess and protest to walk as folloiceth, t\\xoM^ the
power and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

" 1. We avouch the Lord to be our God, and ourselves to be his people,
in the truth and simplicity of our spirits.

"2. We give ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the word of his
grace, for the teaching, ruling, and sanctifying of us in matters of worship
and conversation, resolving to cleave unto him alone for life and glory,
and to reject all contrary ways, canons, and institutions of men in his

The other articles are the same, as commonly published in w^hat has
erroneously been said, so many times, to be " doubtless the first Church
Covenant ever drawn in America."

In a printed Tract, without date, but undoubtedly issued in the year
1680, we have the "Confession of Faith" with a form of "Covenant,"
"for substance," as adopted 6th of August, 1629. The expression "/or
siibstance" implies, of course, that the original Avas neither less in quantity,
nor different in quality. The Tract may be found in the Boston Athenae-
um, B. 76, Sermons. It is entitled,

" A Dhection for a public profession in the Church Assembly, after pri-
vate examiiration by the elders. Which direction is taken out of the
Scripture, and points unto that faith and covenant contained in the Scrip-
ture. Being the same for substance which was propounded to and agreed
upon by the Church of Salem, at their begining, the sixth of the sixth
month 1629 "


" I do believe with my heart and confess with my mouth.

" Concerning God. — That there is but one only true God in three persons,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, each of them God, and all of
them one and the same Infinite, Eternal God, most Holy, Just, Merciful
and Blessed forever.

" Concerning the works of God. — That this God is the Maker, Preserver
and Governor of all things according to the counsel of his own will, and
that God made man in his own Image, in Knowledge, Holiness and Right-

" Concerning the fall of Man. — That Adam by transgressing the command
of God, fell from God and brought himself and his posterity into a state of
sin and death, under the wrath and curse of God, which I do believe to be
my own condition by nature as well as any other.

" Concerning Jesus Christ. — That God sent his Son into the world, who


for our sakes became man, that he might redeem us and save us by his
obedience unto death, and that he arose from the dead, ascended into
heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God, from whence he shall come to
judge the v/orld.

" Cojicerning the Hohj GJwst.—TYiot God the Holy Ghost hath fully re-
vealed the doctrine of Christ and the will of God in the Scriptures of the
Old and New Testament, which are the word of God, the perfect, perpet-
ual, and only rule of our Faith and obedience.

'* Concerning the benefits toe have bij Christ.— Ti\?it the same Spirit by
working faith in God's Elect, applyeth unto them Christ with all his bene-
fits of justification and sanctification unto salvation, in the use of those or-
dinances which God hath appointed in his A^Titten word, which therefore
ought to be observed by us unto the coming of Christ.

" Concerning the Church of Christ.— ThsX all true believers being commit-
ted unto Christ as the head, make up one Mistical Church, which is the
body of Christ, the members whereof, having fellowship with the Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost by faith, and one with another in love, do receive
here upoaa earth forgiveness of sins, with the life of grace, and at the resur-
rection of the body they shall receive everlasting life.


" I do heartily take and avouch this one God who is made known to us in
the Scripture, by the name of God the Father, and God the Son even Je-
sus Christ, and God the Holy Ghost, to be my God, according to the tenour
of the Covenant of Grace ; wherein he hath promised to be a God to the
faithful and their seed after them in their generations, and taketh thern^ to
be his people, and therefore unfeignedly repenting of all my sins, I do give
up myself wholly to this God, to believe in, to love, serve, and obey him
sincerely and faithfu.lly, according to his written word, against all the temp-
tations of the devil, the world, and my own flesh, and this unto the death.

" I do also consent to be a member of this particular Church, promising
to continue steadfastly in fellowship with it, in the public worship of God,
to submit to the Order, Discipline, and Goverment of Christ in it, and to
the ministerial teaching, guidance and oversight of the Elders of it, and to
the brotherly watch of the Fellow-Members ; and aU this according to
God's word and by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, enabling me there-
unto. Amen."

[p. 26.]
Robeit Cushman, in his " Epistle Dedicatory" of his Sermon preached
at Plymouth, in 1621, gives some geographical account of New England.
He speaks of it as ' being Champion ground, but no high mountains, &c. ;
fuU of Rivers and Sweet Springs, as Engkmd is. But principally, so far as
we can yet find, it is an island, and near about the quantity of England,
being cut out from the main Land in America, as England is from the main
of Europe, hj a great arm of the Sea, which entereth in forty Degrees, and
runneth up North West and by West, and goeth out either into the South-
Sea, or else into the Bay of Canada. The certainty whereof, and secrets of
which, we have not yet so found as that as eye-witnesses v/e can make
narration thereof, but if God give time and means, we shall, ere long,
discover both the extent of that River, together with the secrets thereof ;
and so try what Territories, Habitation, or Commodities, may be found,
either in it, or about it.'

[p. 31.]
As it regards the difficulties with Roger Williams, and his true charac-
ter, the reader is referred to several very able articles in the " Christian
Observatory." The Editor has investigated the whole subject, in the most
thorough manner. See also Dr. Cheever's " Journal of the Pilgrims," &c.
Chap. XVin. " Our fathers," says Mr. McClure, " turned Mr. Williams
out of doors, because he was tearing their house to pieces. For perform-


ing tbis necessary act of self-preservation, Ave leave them to be vindicated
hj John Quincy Adams, that foe of bigotry, and firm friend of civil^ and
religious liberty. In a discourse published by him some six years since,
after a candid statement of the facts, he asks : ' Can Ave blame the found-
ers of the JNIassachusetts Colony for banishing him from within their juris-
diction ? In the annals of religious persecution, is there to be found a
martp' more gently dealt with by those against whom he began the war
of intolerance ? v/hose authority he persisted, even after professions of pen-
itence and submission, in defying, tiU deserted even by the wife of his
bosom ? and whose utmost severity of punishment upon him was only an
order for his removal as a nuisance from among them r ' " * * " Williams's
colony was obliged to procure the help of j\Iassachusetts in banishing the
fanatical Gorton and his outlaws ; obtaining an illegal extension, over their
OAA-n territory, of the very laws by wliich Williams was then excluded from
Massachusetts. This hard necessity of theirs, may amply excuse the like
necessity on the part of * the people of the Bay.' "

If any one will read Morton's account of the dismission of Eoger Wil-
liams from the Church of Plymouth, and of the subsequent proceedings at
Salem and Boston, it will be seen, that the same view was taken of him in
both colonies. The Church " consented " to his dismission, " through the
prudent counsel of Mr. Brewster, (the Ruling Elder there,) fearing that
his continuance amongst them might cause divisions, and there being many
able men in the Bay, they ivoidd better deal toith him than themselves could,
and foreseeing (what he feared concerning Mr. Williams, which afterwards
came to pass) that he would run the same course of rigid separation and
Anabaptistry, which Mr. John Smith, the Sebaptist at Amstei^dam had
done," &c.

Roger WiUiams was not banished for being a Baptist. He never was a
Baptist in Massachusetts, and but ''for three months " in Rhode Island.

In respect to the "intolerance" attributed to " the fathers," Dr. Cheev-
er's remarks concerning the " BroAvnes " at Salem, are much to the pur-
pose. Take, for example, a single paragraph.

** ' I will be tolerant of every thing else,' said Mr. Coleridge, ' but every
other man's intolerance.' Now here it w^as plainly the intolerance of
others, not their religion, of which Governor Endicott would not be tole-
rant. And in this thing he and the colonists Avere evidently guided by
Infinite Wisdom. Eor, if the churclimen had been permitted to go on,
there would have been an end to this sanctuary of freedom in the wilder-
ness. There would have been no Ncav England in existence, in the history
of which there should be scope for a sneer at the piety, or the freedom, or
the superstition of its founders. Their not being sufi"ered to ^o on,_is the
reason Avhy they, and all other sects, even Bunyan's Giant Grim, Avith his
nails pared, are "here in quiet noAV. God, in his gracious divine providence,
Avoulcl not sufi'er any others than the persecuted Puritanic Dissenters to
get footing here, until both in the Old World and the Ncav, the great
lesson of religious liberty had been more fully taught and understood.
He had much light yet for Cromwell and the Independents of England to
pour upon this question. The sneers at the course of our Pilgrim Fathers
are sneers against the providence of God and the freedom of man."

It was " in the Bay," that the innovating spirits were disposed to sejttle.
The attractions to emigrants were very few at Plymouth. In ten years the
Colony had but three hundred souls. And although it has sometimes been
intimated, that the Church there was much more tolerant than the Churches
" in the Bay," there really is no valid proof, as yet furnished, that there
Avas any difference in p'^inciple, or prevailing opinions. And if there be
any appearance in favor of Plymouth, it is at once explained by a differ-
ence of the circumstances ; or the operation of such causes as make some
men more " prudent" than others, and not unwilling to evade personal re-
sponsibility, instead of acting with decision and firmness.








i ^



"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh ; (for the weapons of our
wai'fare are not carnal, but mighty thi-ough God to the pulling down of strongholds;) casting down
imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing
into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." — 2 Cor. x. 3-5.

In the "lively oracles," both earlier and later, "the knowledge
of God" denotes or implies true religion. As used by the apostles,
it is but another expression for the Gospel, or " the truth as in Jesus."
Evidence of this w^e have in the text, and in many other passages
of the New Testament.

" The knowledge of God," important as it is to the welfare of
man, both in this life and the future, has never had free course.
" The carnal mind," because of its " enmity against God," has des-
perately resisted " the grace that bringeth salvation, teaching us,
that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly,
righteously, and godly, in this present world." — With a very obvious,
if not also a peculiarly impressive significance, in the times of Paul,
the self-denying and perilous exertions and exposures of himself and
other followers of Christ were represented as a " warfare," — them-
selves, as " soldiers," — their means of operation and defence, as
" swords" and " helmets," — and even the " Prince of Peace," —
their Leader and Lord — as the " Captain of Salvation."

What the apostle intended by " strongholds" is partially inti-
mated by what he says of "imaginations and every high thing that
exalteth itself against the knowledge of God." There can be no
doubt, that he comprehends in this description all the vain specu-
lations, conceits, devices, and pretences of self-righteousness, self-
sufficiency, and self-delusion; in short, everything which can be
arrayed in opposition to " the truth of God and the faith of Jesus."

And how did he and his associates prosecute their " warfare"
against "spiritual wickedness ?" Although "in the flesh," and there-
fore subject to many and great infirmities and temptations, they did
not strive to obtain their " incorruptible crown," or to accomplish

* Preached before the Massachusetts Pastoral Association, at Boston, May 28tli, 1350.
AUG. 8


. ■ < ^. ■ *

any of their purposes, by means or instrumentalities, which are con-
genial to selfishness and ungodliness. " For," as he affirms, " the
weapons of our warfare are not carnal." It is evident, that he
means as if he had said, — we attempt no coercion or violence. No
fraud, no self-aggrandizement, no corruption of the word of God,
can be laid to our charge. We may indeed invoke miraculous judg-
ments in vindication of our despoiled authority. But we much
prefer to " beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ,"
and to speak with far less of assurance, than would become us, of
the " authority which the Lord hath given for edification, and not
for destruction."

Laying aside the metaphors of the text, I propose to specify and
illustrate the principal means, by which the great apostle so suc-
cessfully labored to promote the Gospel of the grace of God ; and
by which he became so pre-eminently a model for the *' ministry of
reconciliation" among all people and throughout all ages, — until the
last message of redeeming love shall be delivered in the name of

1. The apostle labored to promote the Gospel, hy publishing it
as a definite and distinctive system of faith and practice.

As in the material, so in the moral world, when " God said, Let
there be light, there was light, and God divided the hght from the
darkness." " The light of the knowledge of the glory of God in
the face of Jesus Christ" shone into the heart of Saul of Tarsus.
The doctrine of Christ and him crucified, like Christ himself, was
to him no longer "without form or comeliness." He saw in clear-
ness and resplendence the amazing " mystery, which was kept
secret since the world began," — the way of salvation by a sincere,
penitential faith in the blood of the cross. It was not an airy, misty,
shadowy, undefined, and undefinable something or somewhat ; but
it was " the word of life," which could be " seen," be " looked upon,"
and be "handled."

When, therefore, Paul went out to preach to his fellow-men, he
carried with him a form of doctrine, which he could publish and
"deliver," as such, to all who became the disciples of his Master.
It was a " form of sound words," which the faithful could " hold
fast" unto death. It was " truth," and the truth, in a reality and
with a blessedness, of which he had sure and most ennobling ex-
perience. In all things he thus had an incalculable advantage, in
encountering the philosophy of the schools, and vulgar superstition,
whether associated with the bewildering traditions of the Jew, or
the debasing mythologies of the Gentile. He could edify, or build
up, as well as demolish and destroy.

His faith did not consist in " not believing." His creed was
neither a summary of negatives, nor of disclaimers. He could an-
nounce to all men everywhere, as " a faithful saying and worthy
of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save
sinners ;" for the living God, who made heaven and earth, " gave


his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life." In few words he could answer
the question, " What must I do to be saved ?" Or he could discuss
the great doctrines of justification by faith, and of atonement, in
elaborate treatises, as in the Epistles to the Romans and the Hebrews.
In either case he had something positive, substantial, real, visible,
and tangible. He was neither a pantheist, nor a mystic, a tran-
scendentalist nor an enthusiast.

2. It may next be remarked, that Paul labored to promote the
Gospel, hy publishing it as indispensable to salvation, and as free-
ly offered to all.

It made no difference, whether he was addressing Jews or Greeks,
barbarian, Scythian, bond or free. He " preached Christ" to all,
as the only Saviour from " the wrath to come." No one, however,
could better have known the first impressions of the story of the

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 11

Online LibrarySamuel M. (Samuel Melancthon) WorcesterSermons / by Samuel M. Worcester → online text (page 9 of 11)