Copyright
William L. (William Ladd) Chaffin.

History of the town of Easton, Massachusetts (Volume 3) online

. (page 72 of 78)
Online LibraryWilliam L. (William Ladd) ChaffinHistory of the town of Easton, Massachusetts (Volume 3) → online text (page 72 of 78)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


hath chastened me sore, as in the Text. And in Psalm xviii. 5, The Sor-
rows of Hell Compassed me about. And in the verse immediately fol-
lowing : /// my Distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my GOD :

50



786 HISTORY OF EASTON.

he heard my voice out of his Temple, and iny cry came before him, even
into his ears.

Now this may be improved, i. TO excite the Childreji ^GOD to a
chearful, patient bearing of Afflictio7i ; Seeing they came from so kind
and loving a Hand, and are sent also with a gracious Design of great
good to them, for the purging away their Sins, and for the further
fitting them for the serving GOD here and for the Enjoyment of him
forever.

2. THIS should excite the Childreji of God to use their best Endeavour
to improve Afflictions aright, atid to profit under them, as Means appointed
by G OD for their good and sent to thetn for that End, and to be fruitful
under Afflictions. Surely this may be justly expected from them.

3. THIS may serve for the just Reproof of those that censure and
condemn Persons as wicked, because they are greatly afflicted. Job's
three Friends were not clear in this Matter, and therefore we find
them reproved for it. Job xlii. 7, 8.

DOCT. HI. WHEN it pleaseth GOD sorely to chastise his own
children, and bring thetn nigh unto Death, his tvonderful Potver, Mercy,
and Goodness doth sometimes appear ifi sparing them, and not givifig them
overtinto Death. Thus in Psalm ix. 13 : Thou that liftest me up from the
Gates of Death. Psalm Ixviii. 20 : Unto GOD the Lord belong the Issues
from Death. Indeed, GOD sometimes spares the ungodly when they
are brought nigh unto Death, and recovers them from Sickness ; so
that it is not peculiar to the godly to be spared when brought very
low. Nevertheless, there are peculiar Favours shown to the godly
herein which are not shown to the wicked. When GOD thus spares
the godly, he does it out of fatherly Pity, Kindness, and Compassion
towards them ; or for the sake of others which they stand in some
relation to ; or because GOD hath further work for them to do in the
World. The wicked may be spared that they may have further Time
of Trial, and that GOD may magnify the Riches of his forbearing
Goodness and Patience towards Sinners, that they may have a further
space for Repentance ; that they may either repent, or fill up the meas-
ure of their Sins, and fit themselves for an amazing and dreadful
Damnation ; whereas the Children of GOD, by sickness and by other
Afflictions, are more fitted for the Enjoyment of eternal Happiness.

BUT I need not further insist on the Proof of the Doctrine : it is a
truth which needs not so much to be proved as to be improved, and it
may concern myself as much or more than any one in the Assembly to
mprove it. And I desire your fervent Prayers for me, that GOD will
help me to improve it aright. The holy, righteous, sovereign GOD
has of late (as you well know) been pleased, in his wise and holy



APPENDIX. -gy



/o/



Providence, to visit me with a sore sickness.i whereby I was brought
nigh unto Death ; but GOD in his wonderful Goodness spared me, and
did not give me over unto Death, for which I would now humbly and
heartily praise his holy Name. I acknowledge the new Obligations
that are hereby laid upon me to honour GOD, and serve him in the
best Manner that possibly I can, even to the Day of my Death. I
freely acknowledge the Justice and Hohness of GOD in bringing that
sore chastisement upon me. I acknowledge my Sins deserved it. I
acknowledge the unerring Wisdom of GOD in sending it seasonably.
I plainly see that I needed it, and therefore I hope I heartily thank
GOD for it, in that he has dealt with me herein as he deals with his
own dear Children, of which Number I own myself one of the mean-
est and most unworthy, if I may lay claim to that high and glorious
Privilege. And as GOD hath been graciously pleased to spare me
from Death, and to give me as it were a new Life, So I would gladly be
serving the Interest of your Souls with new and fresh Strength, Vigour,
and Activity, as knowing that the very best and utmost that I can do
for you is your just due, and what you may justly expect from me.
My Time is in some respects yours ; my Talents, such as they are,
yours, and should be improved in the best Manner and to the utmost
in the Service of your Souls ; and I would chuse to spend the most of
my time for you in my Studies, Visits, Catechisings, &c., unless by a
very pressing Necessity I should at any time be called off from my
Studies to get my Bread, & even then I should be serving of you
while I am laboring to support my Life to spend for you. I hope I
can truly say that I am willing to spend and be spent for you. And
besides the great Obligations lying upon me from the Relation I stand
in to you, I am laid under a new Obligation to you by the endearing
Kindness which GOD helped you to show to me in the Time of my
late distressing Sickness. May the Kindness shown to me by you be
rewarded into your Bosoms with the blessed influences of the Spirit
and Grace of GOD in this Life, & with an unfading Crown of Glory in
the Next ! I hope I have with some sincerity laboured for the good of
your Souls, ever since my coming among you, though in much Weak-
ness and Infirmity, and under great Discouragements. And that
which I now desire is, that my Love for your Souls, and my Concern
and Labours for you, may be increased and strengthened ; and I hope
you will be willing to encourage my Endeavours this Way. But al-
tho' you should fail ever so much in your duty towards me, yet I
shall endeavour, I hope, thro' the gracious Help of GOD, to serve the
Interests of your precious Souls in the best Manner I possibly can.
1 Of about two months' Continuance, from July 15, 1728.



788 HISTORY OF EASTON.

And in Case I should grow apparently Negligent in my Duty toward
you, Do you, O my dear People, put me in mind of it, observing the
Rule in i Tim. v. i. And let us all unite in our Endeavours to pro-
mote the Honour of GOD and the good of each other's Souls. Let us
endeavour to be religious to Purpose, that we may not decieve our own
Souls. Let us consider the loud Calls of GOD to us to turn to him,
and to seek and serve him with our whole Hearts. And let us atten-
tively and obediently hearken to the Voice of the glorious GOD by his
holy Providence in the late Sickness and Deaths among us. GOD hath
taken away several from among us of late by Death, emptying a House
hard by us, and sweeping it clean, as it were, by Death, and taking
away the principal Person ;•* in another, whose Death we have great
Reason to lament, who was, I trust, a Person of excelling Piety and un-
common Prudence, — one of a very strict and religious Conversation,
a great Lover of GOD'S House, one of a charitable Spirit, and knew
how to communicate to others, and when there was real Occasion for it
would do it chearfully. O that these eminent Virtues that were appar-
ent in her may be imitated and practised by us ! And I would ac-
knowledge, to the Honour and Glory of GOD, the Righteousness and
Equity of his dealings with myself, in the Breach he has made in my
Family of late, in taking away one of my Children by Death. O, may
we all from hence see the Uncertainty of our worldly Enjoyments, and
be excited the more firmly to trust in, and the more diligently and
faithfully to serve, the everliving JEHOVAH, who is the everlasting
Portion and Happiness of his People !

And let us by the repeated Warnings that are given us be excited
to prepare for our own Death. Let us labour to avoid every thing
which is displeasing to GOD, and that would make a Death-Bed un-
easy to us. And let us be careful to observe and do the Things which
he has commanded us. Let us have a tender and sincere Regard to
the holy Sabbath, and take special Care to observe and sanctify it.
And let us diligently instruct our Children m the Ways of GOD, and
lead them therein by our own Examples. And let the Truth and
Reality of our Love appear towards GOD, and to his House, Worship,
and Ordinances ; that so, after our joining together in worshipping and
praising GOD here on Earth, we may, with the general Assembly and
Church of the first born, which are written in Heaven, unite in praising
GOD to all Eternity.

DOCT. IV. THAT to wait upon GOD in his Honse, Worship, and
Ordinances is very amiable and desirable to the Children of GOD, and

1 Mrs. Elizabeth Pratt.



APPENDIX.



789



particularly to those who have for some time beeti debarred from them. I
might speak to this doctrine in two propositions.

PROP. I. THE Childre7i of GOD are sometimes visited with the
Affliction of being for some time debarred from the House and Ordinances
of GOD. Thus David, and thus many of the Saints of GOD, have
been exercised with the sore trouble of being kept from the House of
GOD. Many instances might be given hereof ; but I proceed to the
second Proposition.

PROP. II. THAT to wait upon GOD in his House and Ordinances
is very desirable atid amiable to the Children of GOD, and particularly
to those who have so77ietime been debarred there-from.

Thus the holy royal Psalmist expressed his Love to the House of
GOD. Psalm xxvi. 8 : Lord, I have loved the Habitation of thy House,
and the Place where thine Honor dwelleth. And in Psalm Ixxxiv. 1,2:
Hoiu amiable are thy Tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts I My Soul longeth,
yea, even fainteth for the Courts of the Lord : my Heart and my Flesh
crieth out for the liinng God. But here we may inquire, Whence is
it that the House, Worship, and Ordinances of GOD are so amiable
and desirable to the Children of GOD, or for what Reasons ? For
Answer, —

I. And principally, BECAUSE GOD does graciously manifest him-
self there, affording his Special Presence, as in that forementioned
Psalm xxvi. 8. The Gracious Presence of GOD in and with his Ordi-
nances is that which renders them exceedingly sweet, amiable, and
desirable to the Children of GOD. They love to meet with GOD, to
enjoy his gracious Presence & sweet Communion with him in his
House. Therefore, they love GOD'S House, and highly prize the
Ways of his Appointment.

3. The House, Worship, and Ordinances of GOD are very amiable
and desirable to the Godly, because there they expect and hope to have their
Souls cojnforted. For there the Word of GOD, the Rule of Righteous-
ness, is dispensed, and the precious Doctrines and Truths of the Gos-
pel delivered. There the godly expect to receive Light and Direction
in the Ways of GOD. There they hope to have their doubts solved,
their Darkness dispelled, and their Fears removed and their burdened
Souls eased. There it is that they hope to have their Graces in-
creased, as their Faith, Hope, Love, &c., whereby they become more

ripe for Heaven.

3. THERE is the Fellowship and Cojntnunion of Saints, in their pub-
lick asse?nbling, worshipping, and praising GOD together. This is an
Emblem and Representation of the Saints uniting and joining ni the
Praises of GOD in Heaven, and therefore must needs bo amiable to



790 HISTORY OF EASTON.

the Saints and Children of GOD, who shall be united in the Praises of
GOD unto all Eternity.

4. THE House and Worship of GOD is very amiable and desirable
to the Saints, and should be so to all, because there the Means are afforded
and enjoyed for the fitting Persons for the greatest Good and Happiness.
For there ordinarily it is that Persons are thorowly awakened, effect-
ually convinced, and savingly converted. And this, we would think,
were enough to endear the publick Worship and Appointments of
GOD to every one that desires to be saved. Is it not desireable to be
at the Place where the greatest Good is to be enjoyed, that we are
capable of enjoying while in this Frail and Mortal State ? Is it not
desireable to be at the Place where GOD doth ordinarily bestow the
rich Blessing of Converting Grace and a new Heart; and where GOD
does vouchsafe to visit and refresh the Souls of his People with his
special Grace, with the sweet Fruits of his Love and Favour, and the
joyful foretastes of Heaven ? But to improve this, —

1. WE may from hence infer the sad and doleful State of those that
have no true Love to the House, Worship, and Ordinances of GOD.
For if the Doctrine be true, it hence necessarily follows that such are
not the true children of GOD ; and if not, there is but one Denomina-
tion that can belong unto them, and that a very dreadful one !

2. THIS may be improved to excite our Endeavours to obtain such a
sincere undessembled Love to the publick Worship and holy Appointments
of GOD, as may be a good and cotnfortable Evidence that we are the Chil-
dren of GOD. Merly to attend the publick Worship, though in a
constant Course, is not such an Evidence. Oh, let us labour for some-
thing further than a Meer Attendance on publick and private Duties
of Religion ! and let us see to it, that our Love be not in Word and
Tongue only, but in Deed and in Truth, that so we may not miss at
last of entering into GOD'S House and Kingdom above.

DOCT. V. THAT signal and eminent Mercies and Deliverances
should be followed with publick and hearty Praises to GOD. Psalm cvii.,
throughout, particularly Ver. 31, 32: Oh that men would praise the
Lord for his Goodness, and for his wonderful Works to the Children of
Men f Let them exalt him also in the Congregation of the People, and
praise him in the Assembly of the Elders. It would be a great Stupidity,
or at least a great Neglect of Duty, not to render hearty and publick
Praises to GOD for signal and eminent Mercies received from him.
And here vve may consider, —

I. THAT GOD is infinitely worthy to have the Honour of being pub-
lickly acknoivledged and praised for signal and eminent Mercies. Praise
is justly due to GOD, even for the least Mercy. Surely, then, for great



APPENDIX. ,-QT

_^ / 7 *■

and signal Mercies and Deliverances we should express our hearty
Gratitude to him as he requires. We are utterly unworthy in our-
selves to receive the least Mercy. How thankful, then, should we be
when very signal and remarkable Mercies are freely and graciously
granted to us ! And how ready should we be to render publick and
hearty praises to GOD, as he hath required !

2. BY rendering publick and hearty Praises to GOD he is glorified.
Psalm 1. 23 : Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me. Surely it becomes
us in this Way to give Glory to GOD. But here we may consider
some of the signal and eminent Mercies for which publick and hearty
Praises are due to GOD.

1. THE happy Deliverance of elect afid believing Souls from eternal
Death hy JESUS CHRIST is a signal and eminent Mercy for which
publick and hearty Praises are due to God. If this eminent and unpar-
allel'd Mercy had not been granted to us, we must have been Fellow-
Commoners and Fellow-Prisoners with Devils forever. Oh, what great
Reason have we, heartily and publickly and perpetually, to praise GOD
for the unparallel'd Mercy, and with Hearts full of Gratitude to say,
with the blessed Apostle, 2 Cor. ix. 15 : Thanks be unto GOD for his
unspeakable Gift I But then —

2. TO enjoy the Gospel and the holy Ordinances of GOD in their
Purity and Order, with a free Liberty of attending them, is a Mercy for
which publick aiid hearty Praises are due to GOD. Something of the
worth of this Mercy was sometimes seen by the want of it in our
Nation, when this precious Liberty was prohibited unto many hun-
dreds of christian Assemblies. Oh that NEW ENGLAND may
prize their precious GOSPEL-Privileges, and beware that they do
not provoke GOD to deprive them of their most valuable Liberties !
Let us prize and improve such rich Mercies and Privileges while we
enjoy them.

3. THE restoring Persons to the sweet afid desirable Enjoyments of
GOD'S Worship and Ordinances in his House, that have been so/ne-
time detained therefrom, is a Mercy that is worthy to be heartily and pub-
lickly acknowledged, and celebrated to the Honour and Praise of GOD.
And for this Mercy I would now renew my Thanksgivings to GOD.

4. WHEN Persons are recovered from a very sore and dangerous
Sickness, or experience sotne great Deliverance from great and imminent
Danger. Such a Mercy and Deliverance should be sincerely and pub-
lickly acknowledged, to the Praise of GOD.

But to improve this, —

I. FOR the Just Reproof of our great Ingratitude toward GOD, for
the signal and eminent Mercies bestowed upon us. How little afifected



792 HISTORY OF EASTON.

are the Hearts of the Generality of Men with the greatest of Mercies !
How few are there that prize a precious CHRIST, and the Wonderful
Offers of Life and Salvation through him ! How many are guilty of
crucifying him afresh by their shameful and horrible Continuance in
Sin ! and how few are there, comparatively, that prize a precious Gospel
and the Ordinances of it ! And what a great Occasion for the renewal of
that awful Complaint, Isaiah liii. i : Who hath believed our Report] and
to tt'hom is the Arm of the Lord revealed "^ Alas ! How many persist in
their Impenitency and Unbelief under the Gospel, notwithstanding the
repeated Calls, Warnings, and Reproofs that are given them ! how ill
do we requite the Lord for his distinguished Kindness to us in favour-
ing us with the blessed Gospel, when this Blessing is denied to vast
Empires and Nations in the World ! O that we might be humbled
for our great Ingratitude to GOD, and that we might be more thankful
to him for his Mercies ! Those that live in known Sins under the
Gospel are highly ungrateful towards GOD. They are not truly thank-
ful to GOD for GOSPEL-Mercies, and therefore are worthy to be
reproved for their great ingratitude to GOD.

2. THIS may be improved to lead and excite us to a holy Conte77ipla-
tion and just Admiration of the glorious Perfect ioJis of GOD. The
great and wonderful Mercies & Deliverances which GOD sometimes
grants to his People do plainly show forth his Glory and Greatness,
his infinite Power and Goodness, which should be admired and cele-
brated by us.

3. THIS should excite us to fear GOD. Surely we should be afraid
to sin against a GOD of infinite Power and Goodness, agreeable to that
Expression, Hosea iii. 5 : And shall fear the Lord and his Goodness.

THE next Use is of Exhortation : Let us be exhorted heartily to
praise GOD for his Mercies, especially for great and eminent Mercies.
And for motives, consider —

1. THAT it is most just that we should acknowledge GOD in the
Mercies we receive from him, and heartily praise hi77i for the77i. It is
that which GOD expressly requires in his written Word, and it is
that which the Light of Nature teacheth, even to be thankful to our
Benefactors.

2. IT is a very delightful, pleasant, and comely Thing to praise the
Lord. Psalm cxxxv. 3 : Praise ye the Lord ; for the Lord is good : Si7ig
Praises unto his Na77ie ; for it is pleasa7it. And Psalm cxlvii. i : Praise
ye the Lord : for it is good to sing praises to our G OD ; for it is pleasa7it ;
a7id P?-aise is co77tely.

3. PRAISING GOD is our heavenly E77iploy77ie7it : it is that which
the Saints are e77iployed i7i for ever in Heave7i ; a7id a right praisi7ig



APPENDIX. ^^^
/ Vo

GOD on Earth is one of the Means to prepare us for Heaven. Let us,
therefore, be much in the holy and heavenly exercise of praising GOD.
Let us be heartily thankful for the Common Mercies we receive from
GOD, and praise him for them. Especially let us praise GOD for
special and eminent Mercies. Let us praise GOD, who spared not his
own Son, but delivered him up for us, that we might be delivered from
the Pams of Hell, and enjoy those Pleasures which are at GOD'S
right hand for ever more. Let us praise GOD for Gospel-Mercies, and
labour to evidence our Thankfulness by a Life of Obedience, doing
the Things which GOD hath Commanded, and avoiding those thingt
which he has forbidden, that so GOD'S favour may be towards us,
and the sweet Light of his Countenance shining upon us in Christ,
that we may be saved. Amen.



II.

THE EASTON CHURCH COVENANT OF 1747.

The following covenant and the preliminary statement are from the
oldest church records in Easton : —

The First Pastor in Easton, Rev. Mr. Mathew Short. Died ap. 16,
1 731, aged 43.

The Second Pastor, Rev. Mr. Joseph Belcher, Dissmiss'd from his
pastoral office A Dom : 1744.

After which the chh, perceiving that there was no Covenant to be
found that ever this Chh had Subjected too, they thot itt Expedient to
procure a Covenant agreeable to the Scripture, and Sighn and Subject
themselves unto which accordingly they did, which is as follows : —

Easton Chh Covenant.

We, the Subscribers, Members of the Chh of Christ in Easton, Mett
together the Sixth day of April, A Domini 1747- Apprehending itt
our duty, under our present Circumstances, Solemnly & Explicidy to
renew our Covenant with God, Do therefore personally pressent our-
selves this day in the holy prescence of God to transact with him this
important affair of his Kingdom & Glory, And humbling ourselves
before the Lord for all our Sins and the Sins of Ours ; Earnestly pray-
ing for pardoning Mercy & Reconcilliation with God thro the Blood of



794 HISTORY OF EASTON.

our Lord Jesus, And for the gracious prescence and assistance of his
holy Spirit, Under a deep Sense of Our Own Weakness & Unworthy-
ness, and with an Humble Confidence of his faviourable Acceptation ;
Each of us for ourselves, and all of us jointly together, do Renewedly
Enter into Covenant with God and One with Another in the terms
following ; that is to say : —

First of all, we do Solemnly avouch the Lord of Jehova Father, Son,
& Holy Ghost for our portion & cheife good, and give up ourselves,
Body & Soul, to him to be his Servants ; promissing (by his aid &
assistance) to love him & fear him, trust in him, & yeild obedience to
him in all things, all y*" days of our Lives.

2ly. Wher'as the Son of God in our nature is Exalted as a prince
& a Saviour, the only Mediator of y*" New Covenant and Means of
Coming unto God, We do therefore, thro Grace, accept of him accord-
ing to the Tennor of y" Gospel offer, — that is to say, as the Prophet,
Preist, & King of our Immortal Souls, — purpossing & promissing to
attend his teaching by his Word & Spirit, to Lean upon his Merritt
and Intersesscion with the Father as the only way for y*" obtainment of
y^ pardon of our Sins, the faviour of God, & Continuance therein ;
And, finally, the Subduing all our Enemies, and working all his works
in us and for us.

3ly. Wher'as there are different apprehensions among those that
profess Christianity with respect to y" Doctrines of Religion, We do
declare our Consent & Adhere to the West Minster Assembly's
Shorter Chatechism, Apprehending in our judgment & Conscience that
itt is agreeable to the Word of God.

4ly. Wher'as God has promiss'! to be a God unto his People and
their Children after them, We do therefore Dedicate our Children to
the Service of God in Jesus Christ, Promissing that we wil Season-
ably bring those of them that are Unbaptized to Jesus Christ in the
Ordinance of Baptism ; and as they grow into years of Understanding,
Instruct them in y" Nature, use, and End of that Ordinance, and Into
the Principles of y" Christian Religion (So far as need is). That we
will Sett good Examples of Righteousness, Piety, and Sobriety before
them ; Restrain them, as we are able, from being carry'! away with ye
Temptations of their age and time ; Endeavouring that they may be
preparl for the Enjoyment of Christ in all his Ordinances ; And,
finally, be much in Prayer to God for their Conversion and Salvation.

5ly. We promiss that we will (by the help of God) avoid all y*"
Superstitions & Inventions of men in the Worship of God, as Deroga-
tory from the Sovereighnty and Wisdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the
Supreme head of his Chh ; that we will not Scandalously absent our-



APPENDIX.



795



selves from any part of Instituted Worship ; Do what in us lies to
prepare ourselves for, uphold, & Improve all the Ordinances of Christ,
to the Scriptural benefitt & advantage of our Souls, Leaning upon the
promiss that God will meet those that Rejoyce and work Rightiousness
and Remember him in his ways.

61y. We promiss (by the help of God) that we will, with as much
frequency as may be, Read, or Cause y" Word of God to be Re'd, in
our houses or families, that so the Word of God may dwell Richly
in us ; Seasonably and Constantly upholding the Worship of God
there, & attending the same with Sincerity and affection.

7ly. Wher'as we have given up ourselves to y' Lord & to One



Online LibraryWilliam L. (William Ladd) ChaffinHistory of the town of Easton, Massachusetts (Volume 3) → online text (page 72 of 78)