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Accordingly the ministers and dele- serious consideration. A general sygates of the several churches in Mas-nod of the churches in that colony was sachusetts, Connecticut and New Ha-| accordingly convened in 1679, and an ven assembled at Cambridge in 1648, elaborate and most excellent result on and, with great unanimity, adopted the the two following questions, proposed Confession of Faith recently compos- | by the General Court for their consideed by the venerable assembly of di- ration. First, What are the evils which vines at Westminster, and a form of have provoked the Lord to bring his church government, which they re-judgments on New-England? Second, commended to the legislature and to What is to be done that so these evils the churches. These were approved may be reformed? Their result was proand adopted, and were for many years, ductive of much good. This synod, the constitution of the New-England at their second meeting in 1680, after churches. This order of church gov- I approving of the acts of the synod of ernment is generally known by the 1648, with regard to the Confession of appellation of Cambridge Platform. Faith and form of church government
As the first planters and fathers of adopted the Savoy Confession, with the churches became generally remov- some small variations, which is very ed by death, the strictness of practice little different from that of Westminat first established became a subject of ster. The Savoy Confession was discussion. Some wished for a great-composed by an assembly of the coner latitude in the enjoyment of church|gregational churches in England, about privileges, while others inclined to ad- the year 1660, held in a public buildhere to the pure principles of the fa- |ing in London called the Savoy. thers. These differences of sentiment About the year 1703, proposals produced debates and altercation, were made in Connecticut for a meetwhich considerably agitated the colo-ing of a general synod of the churches, nies. At the desire and appointment for the formation of an ecclesiastical of the general court of Massachusetts constitution. The subject having oband Connecticut, a general council oftained the general concurrence of pubministers from the respective colonies lic opinion, the General Court, perceiv. convened at Boston in 1657, and after ing the necessity of the measure directan elaborate discussion, gave theired the Associations of the several opinion on the subjects which general- || counties to appoint a certain number ly engaged the attention of the church- of delegates, to be attended by meses. Their decision and advice were sengers from their respective churches, approved by the colonial governments. to convene at Saybrook, for the per: In 1662, the General Court of Massa- | formance of this important service. chusetts convened a general synod of The convention met at Saybrook, their churches, whose result was con- September 1708, consisting of twelve formable to the decision of the coun- ministers and four messengers from cil of 1657. The council and Synod the churches. This venerable ecclesi: approved of the consociation of church- astical Assembly adopted the Confeses, and recommended the practice forsion of Faith owned by the synod of general adoption.
Boston in 1680. They adopted also After the conclusion of King Phil- the Heads of Agreement, which were ip's war, in 1676, a visible decay of formed and made the basis of a union morals, and a decline of the power of of the Presbyterian and Congregationvital religion were generally observed, al churches in England, in 1693. The and, by the pious people, greatly la- convention proceeded, further, to the mented. An occasional convention formation of certain articles for the corof a number of ministers in Massachu- rection and reglution of the churches aetts desired the General Court to con-||of the colony. Having completed their
de a synod to take these things into work, it was presented to the Assembly
in October following,and received their age, to every four hundred and sixty public and cordial approbation. This persons, or to about ninety families." production, which is now the basis of
[To be continued.] the churches of this state, has been pronounced, by competent judges, one on the imperfect state of holy affections of the best ecclesiastical constititutions which human wisdom has formed.
in young converts. For many years after the settlement
We find in the Bible many passages of New-England, there were very few which speak of the kingdom of God, professing Christians in the colonies, representing it as being exceedingly who differed from the prevailing de- small in its origin, but increasing gradnomination. Of Massachusetts, Mr. ually, till it finally absorbs all others in Hutchinson observes, “ During the fif-itself. In one place it is compared to ty years the charter continued, there a stone cut out of the mountain withwere very few instances of any society out hands, which afterwards became a of Christians differing, professedly, in great mountain and filled the whole doctrine, discipline, or form of wor-earth : In another, to a grain of mustship, from the established churches. ard seed, which, it is said, is the smallThe number of Baptists was small. Jest of all seeds, but when it is sown, The Quakers came over in sınall par- and sprung up, it becomes a great tree, ties, yet they were never numerous in the branches of which the fowls of enough to form a society of any con- the air may lodge. Although these repsequence, except upon the borders of resentations primarily respect the kingRhode-Island. Nor was there any dom of our Redeemer in the world, yet Episcopal church in any part of the we may doubtless with propriety concolony until the charter was vacated." sider them, as being equally applicaAccording to Dr. Trumbull, the fol-ble to the kingdom of grace in the lowing account was publicly given of|heart of each individual member; and the religious state of the Connecticut as suggesting this general idea, that the colony, in 1680. “ Our people in this kingdom of grace or real holiness is at colony, are, some of them, strict con- first exceedingly small in the hearts of gregational men, others, more large Christians, though by a gradual increase congregational men, and some moder-it finally fills the whole heart, and subate presbyterians. The congregation-dues every thing to itself.-The truth al men of both sorts are the greatest of this idea, however, that holiness is part of the people in the colony. at first so exceedingly small, does not There are four or five seventh-day rest entirely on such a dubious applimen, and about so many more Qua- cation of scripture, but is fully evident kers.-Great care is taken for the in- || from several other considerations :-as struction of the people in the Christian 1. Christians may continue to grow religion, by ministers catechising of in grace many years, and yet be far them and preaching to them twice ev- from a state of perfection. That Chrisery sabbath-day,and,sometimes,on lec- tians ordinarily grow in grace is plain ture days; and by masters of families from many passages in scripture : instructing and catechising their chil- |“ The path of the just” we read “shindren and servants, wbich they are re-eth more and more until the perfect quired to do by law. In our corpora-day”—and," the water, that I shall give tion are twenty-six towns, and twenty him," says our Saviour,“ shall be in one churches. There is in every town him, a well of water springing up into in the colony a settled minister, ex-everlasting life.” It is equally plain, cept in two towns newly begun.” Our || also, that after a long life of growth in venerable historian observes, “ There grace Christians are very imperfect:was about one minister, upon an aver-Many years after his conversion, th
apostle Paul could say,“O wretch
man that I am, who shall deliver meter, than when they have the greatest from the body of this death ?” And sense of their own sinfulness. How exthis perfectly agrees with Christian ex-'ceedingly small, then, must it have perience: After the longest life spent been at first? How fitly is it compared in the service of God, under the great-to à grain of mustard seed ? est advantages, and with the most ún. But how, it is asked, does this agree wearied application, Christians invaria-| with the appearance of young conbly find, that their holy affections are verts ? Are not their thoughts and afstill in a very imperfect state. And how fections fixed most on spiritual things could this be, unless these holy affec- at first? le not their zeal and engagedtions were at first exceedingly small. ness in religion, then, the greatest? - 2. As Christians grow in grace they And how is this consistent with the usually grow in a sense of their own idea, that their holy affections are so sinfulness. Our Savior taught,“ if any exceedingly small ?-In answer to this man should put his hand to the plough enquiry the following things may be and look back, he would not be fit for observed: the kingdom of God; thereby teaching 1. The peculiar situation of young us to be prepared for unexpected tri-converts puts a remarkable check upals, as well probably from within our- on their sinful inclinations. This is selves as from without. And the most evidently the case under conviction : striking expressions of a sense of sin-The course of their conduct is then tofulness, which are recorded in the bible, tally altered. Much of their time is came from persons, who had made now spent in reading the word of God, considerable progress in a holy life.- in calling upon him in prayer, in atJob, after his trials had proved the re-tending religious meetings, and in conality and holy nature of his religion, versing or refiecting upon the concerns says,
“ I abhor myself and repent as in of cternity; and this change is not the dust and ashes!" Isaiah, after being effect of any real holiness of heart, but favored with some remarkable discov. merely of those views, which they row eries of the majesty of God, cries out, have of themselves, and their situation. “woe is me, for I am a man of unclean These views give a present check to lips :" And Paul, after many years di- | all their sinful inclinations, and make ligent profiting in the school of Christ, them appear almost totally different exclaims, “O wretched man that I am, I persons, from what they were before. who shall deliver me from the body of And may it not be that the influence this death ?" And with this agrees the of this check continues for a conexperiences of Christians in all ages:siderable time, after the kingdom They are at first ready to think, that|of grace has been set up in their the victory is accomplished; but they hearts? May not, therefore, a considesoon learn, that they have but just en-rable portion of their attention to things tered the contest. Now if this be true. I of a religious nature be considered as must it not be, that they at first esti- the effect of this check, rather than the mated their comparative sinfulness ve- fruit of real holiness? ry erroneously? That their sinfulness 2. The recent and remarkable dewas much greater than they supposed, liverance, which they have experienco and, on the contrary, the kingdom of ed, is such as must have a peculiar ingrace much sinaller? This argument fluence upon their natural feelings, and receives additional force from this con-produce, in this way, much of the apsideration, that, during all this time, in pearance of true religion. If we have which this sinfulness had been appa- been in any great temporal danger, rently increasing in their own view, and experienced a remarkable deliverthey had been, perhaps,in fact, growing ance, it always has a great effect upon in grace; so that the kingdom of grace our feelings and conduct. We rejoice in their hearts was, perhaps, never grea-sexceedingly in our deliverance, are
exceedingly thankful to our deliverer, they almost invariably disappoint and are very ready to make him some both themselves and others. grateful return : And, why should not 2. It is exceedingly difficult to disa deliverance from eternal danger, by tinguish real religion, from the workthe power of God, have a similar ef ing of natural affection. If the greater fect? Christians are sanctified but in part of that; which appears in young part, much selfishness still remains in minds; is to be thrown away, by what them, and, therefore, may we not well marks shall we distinguish that which suppose that a considerable part of is to be retained and cultivated? Well their apparent love for God, and en. may Christianis be directed to work gagedness in his service, is the fruit of out their salvation with fear and trembselfishness, rather than of true benevo-ling. tence ?
3. Young converts should be hum3. The first zeal and engagedness of ble. What do they find in themselves, young converts invariably subsides, af- beside the workings of natural affecter a certain time, and gives place to ations, under which the small seed of calm, steady and rational observance grace or holiness, is almost entirely of the divine commands. From this hidden. we must suppose, either that Chris- 4. They should be charitable toward tians, instead of growing, do invariably, old professors. If old professors are after a little time decay; or that there not as zealous and engaged in religion is much more of the appearance of true as the young convert appears to be, religion in young converts at first, than they are often censured and condemnof the reality And is not the lattered, as being in a colu, formal, lifeless much the most scriptual supposition ? state and their performances greatly And is not this supposition further despised. But which possesses the countenanced by this, that whenever greatest share of true religion? Let persons after conviction attain a false the young convert learn to be humble, hope, they invariably have the same and to esteen others better than himappearance as the real converts ? The self? same attention to spiritual things, the 5. True religion does not consist so game zeal for God, the same engaged much in appearances of zealand er ness in promoting his cause ? But not-gagedness in the worship of God, as in withstanding all this, it is not supposed a calm, steady and affectionate obserthat they have in their breasts a single vance of every duty enjoined in both spark of divine grace to light up this the first and second tables of the diappearance, and therefore, when the vine law.
EUBULUS. ferment of their natural feelings has
Con. E. Magazine subsided, all is gone. May it not be, then, that during the first engaged and PROOF OF DEPRAVITY. zealous period of the real convert,
[AN EXTRACT.] true grace or real holiness in his heart, NOTWITHSTANDING the great boast is like a mustard seed, exceedingly of the goodness of human nature, pone small, and, at the same time, so great-will trust it-All are ready to arm aa ly obscured by the rubbish of natural gainst it. Every bolt, lock and key affections, as scarcely to be perceived. is in point. The excessive care ta
The view which we have taken of ken in all writings and proceedings at this subject, suggests a few important iaw, to tie up the hands of parties, and reflections.
prevent unfair advantages from being 1. Young converts have much less taken, show how suspicious men are of true religion, than what they are of one another; and nobody but a generally thought to have, or cven than fool will say their suspicions are ill what they themselves think that they grounded, or their caution needless. possess. Hence, in their future lives Horace, Jurenal, Persius, Pope, l'ours
G VOL. II.