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Churches, which was hailed by many of the Clergy, as a special ioterposition in behalf of a benighted land. Various means were adopted to keep alive the new light that was shed upon this part of the Christian world. Many of the Boston clergy engaged most earnestly in this interesting work; among others, the faithful annalist, the Rev. Mr. Prince, of the old South Church, in Boston, who has left upon record many important documents respecting these events.* The learned Doctors Sewall, Colman, W. Cooper, and others, lent their aid. The excitement was greatly increased by the arrival of the famous Whitfield, Tennant, and others, from England, distioguished in their day as burning and shining lights. As might be expected, the work met with a vigorous opposition from others. At the head of this class were Drs. Chauncey, S. Mather, Byles, Messrs. Welsted, Gray, Hooper, and others.

The question whether this work was ipduced by the supernatural agency of the Holy Spirit of God, or whether it was the effect of enthusiasm, was deeply agitated by the learned Theologians of tbe day. Parties were thus introduced into the New England Churches, which, assuming various forms, have ever since continued to agitate the community. How far the inbabitants of this County engaged in the work, does not fully appear. Doctor Hall, of Sutton, and Mr. Seecomb, of Harvard, two distinguished Clergymen of their time, have furnished very animated accounts of the progress of the revivals in those places, but they have added but little relating to the neighboring Churches. The Clergy from all parts of New England were earnestly called upon to give their attestation, that the work was something more than could be produced by ordinary means. They assembled at Boston the day following the Commencement, in 1743. The names of but six or seven of the ministers of this County appear, and three of those subscribe with some limitations. Tradition informs us, that from the scattered situation of the settlers of these new plantations, it was apprehended that the Churches would be broken up, and the towns divided, by af. fording too much encouragement to itinerant preachers of various denominations. These fears were unhappily realised in many pla. ces. While some hailed these events as the prelude to the universal triumph of the Church over all opposition ; others of a less ardent temperament predicted that after the unnatural excitement had passed away, it would be succeeded by a period of indifference and coldness in the great concerns of religion. Before the middle of that century, we find many Pastors deeply lamenting the withdrawing of the good influences, and complaining that many relapses had taken place.

* See Christian History for 1743 and 1744, a periodical work, printed weekly for this special purpose. The numbers were afterwards collected in two octavo volumes.

In a few years, the great controversy that has so long shaken the Church, between the Arminians and Calvinists, succeeded. The laity had been exclusively educated in the Schools of the Genevan reformer, but many of the Clergy, having been led to examine more deeply into this metaphysical disputation, embraced the opposite doctrines with the Professor of Leyden.

Most of the Churches in this vicinity, were at that time supplied by Clergymen, distinguished among their brethreo, for strength of intellect, depth of research, and energy of character. Such were Mr. Harrington of Lancaster, Mr. Adams of Lunenburg, Mr. Rogers of Leominster, Mr. Goss of Bolton, Mr. Fuller of Princeton, Mr. Morse of Boylston, and particularly Mr. Mellen of Sterling, who, in his time, probably stood at the head of the Clergy of the county. The two first of these fathers, by uniting the wisdom of the serpent with the innocence of the dove, had so permanently won the affections of their people, that they alone were enabled to maintain their offices. The other five were compelled to sacrifice their livings to the spirit of the times.

We learn from tradition that these ministers in a greater or less degree had sensibly departed from the standard of faith, that had been generally received in the New England Churches, and had extended their speculations in such manner, as to give great offence to some, who had not pursued the same course of reasoning. Many of their hearers at first became alarmed at these deviations from the principles of their fathers. As early as 1757, troubles began at Leominster with Rev. John Rogers, a man of learning and of great intrepidity of character, qualified by many circumstances, as well as by his name, to be the first suffering confessor. He was charged with preaching doctrines not contained in the Westminster confession of faith, doctrines that were subversive of the ancient faith professed by that Church, and which many of his hearers could not adopt. In a council of fifteen churches, including, it is said, most of his associates above named, he was arraigned and condemned. Three months were allowed him to retract his errors, which, refusing to do, he was deposed from his office. This dismission introduced a spirit of inquiry that

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Churches, which was hailed by many of the Clergy, as a special interposition in behalf of a benighted land. Various means were adopted to keep alive the new light that was shed upon this part of the Christian world. Many of the Boston clergy engaged most earnestly in this interesting work; among others, the faithful annalist, the Rev. Mr. Prince, of the old South Church, in Boston, who has left upon record many important documents respecting these events.* The learned Doctors Sewall, Colman, W. Cooper, and others, lent their aid. The excitement was greatly increased by the arrival of the famous Whitfield, Tennant, and others, from England, distinguished in their day as burning and shining lights. As might be expected, the work met with a vigorous opposition from others. At the head of this class were Drs. Chauncey, S. Mather, Byles, Messrs. Welsted, Gray, Hooper, and others.

The question whether this work was induced by the supernatural agency of the Holy Spirit of God, or whether it was the effect of enthusiasm, was deeply agitated by the learned Theologians of the day. Parties were thus introduced into the New England Churches, which, assuming various forms, have ever since continued to agitate the community. How far the inbabitants of this County engaged in the work, does not fully appear. Doctor Hall, of Sutton, and Mr. Seecomb, of Harvard, two distinguished Clergymen of their time, have furnished very animated accounts of the progress of the revivals in those places, but they have added but little relating to the neighboring Churches. The Clergy from all parts of New England were earnestly called upon to give their attestation, that the work was something more than could be produced by ordinary means. They assembled at Boston the day following the Commencement, in 1743. The names of but six or seven of the ministers of this County appear, and three of those subscribe with some limitations. Tradition informs us, that from the scattered situation of the settlers of these new plantations, it was apprehended that the Churches would be broken up, and the towns divided, by affording too much encouragement to itinerant preachers of various denominations. These fears were unhappily realised in many pla. ces. While some hailed these events as the prelude to the universal triumph of the Church over all opposition ; others of a less ardent temperament predicted that after the uonatural excitement had passed away, it would be succeeded by a period of indifference and coldness in the great concerns of religion. Before the middle of that century, we find many Pastors deeply lamenting the withdrawing of the good influences, and complaining that many relapses had taken place.

* See Christian History for 1743 and 1744, a periodical work, printed weekly for this special purpose. The numbers were afterwards collected in two octavo volumes.

In a few years, the great controversy that has so long shaken the Church, between the Arminians and Calvinists, succeeded. The laity had been exclusively educated in the Schools of the Genevan reformer, but many of the Clergy, having been led to examine more deeply into this metaphysical disputation, embraced the opposite doctrines with the Professor of Leyden.

Most of the Churches in this vicinity, were at that time supplied by Clergymen, distinguished among their brethren, for strength of intellect, depth of research, and energy of character. Such were Mr. Harrington of Lancaster, Mr. Adams of Lunenburg, Mr. Rogers of Leominster, Mr. Goss of Bolton, Mr. Fuller of Princeton, Mr. Morse of Boylston, and particularly Mr. Mellen of Sterling, wbo, in his time, probably stood at the head of the Clergy of the county. The two first of these fathers, by uniting the wisdom of the serpent with the innocence of the dove, had so permanently won the affections of their people, that they alone were enabled to maintain their offices. The other five were compelled to sacrifice their livings to the spirit of the times.

We learn from tradition that these ministers in a greater or less degree had sensibly 'departed from the standard of faith, that had been generally received in the New England Churches, and had extended their speculations in such manner, as to give great offence to some, who had not pursued the same course of reasoning. Many of their hearers at first became alarmed at these deviations from the principles of their fathers. As early as 1757, troubles began at Leominster with Rev. John Rogers, a man of learning and of great intrepidity of character, qualified by many circumstances, as well as by his name, to be the first suffering confessor. He was charged with preaching doctrines pot contained in the Westminster confession of faith, doctrines that were subversive of the ancient faith professed by that Church, and which many of his hearers could not adopt. In a council of fifteen churches, including, it is said, most of his associates above named, he was arraigned and condemned. Three months were allowed him to retract his errors, which, refusing to do, he was deposed from his office. This dismission introduced a spirit of inquiry that VOL. II.

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led to interesting consequences. The brethren of Mr. R. were strictly watched, and every unguarded expression in their sermons was carefully noted against them. Mr. Mellen delivered an eloquent series of discourses in the year 1756, addressed to Parents, children, and youth, which contained sentiments highly obnoxious to many of his brethren in the ministry. These were published, and were extremely well received by his people. After the condemnation of Mr. Rogers, these sentiments were never urged in public but with much caution and a greater regard to the spirit of the age. In the unguarded hours of social conversation, Mr. M. was less reserved, and it was well understood by his parish that be rejected many of the articles of popular faith. Nor were his people disaffected with him on this account, but rather for publicly cooperating in the censure of those doctrines, which it was supposed he embraced as the truth of the Gospel.* It was now understood by some

* These facts are well authenticated by indisputable tradition, as well as from the occasional publications of the day. The few survivors of those mem. orable years, have related to us many interesting anecdotes illustrative of the temper of the times, as well as of the characters of the principal actors. We forbear a narration of them, lest it should awaken animosities that ought long since to be buried in oblivion.

Our principal informant of the transactions of this olden time, was the Widow Elizabeth Kendall, recently deceased, a venerable natron of intelligence, of virtue, and of exalted piety. She died April 30, 1825, at the advanced age of 86 years. Our respect for the memory of this interesting woman, would not permit us to close the history of this town, without a brief notice of one, in whose sympathies, in sorrow and in joy, we have so often participated.

She was born in Lexington, in the year 1740, of a respectable family, by the name of Mason. Being eminently qualified as an instructress of youth, she came to this place in early life to teach a school. Here she remained the residue of her days, having been united in marriage at the age of twenty five to Maj. James Kendall, a respectable citizen of Sterling, whom she survived sixteen years.

Possessing by nature a vigorous mind, highly improved by extensive reading, and an accurate knowledge of character, her judgment was correct and her perceptions were rapid and discriminating. Her imagination was lively, but it was held in control by prudence and reason. She was a communicant of the Church of Christ for nearly 70 years, and the principles of christianity directed her actions and regulated her powerful sensibilities. Amid the trials of varying life, she bore prosperity with moderation, and ad. versity without repiving. She was cheerful without levity, pious without bigotry, and grave without repulsive austerity. Her conversation was peculiarly interesting and instructive to the young, and even the aged bowed to her with reverential deference and respect. She was a safe counsellor, a prudent guide, and a valued friend. Exemplary in all her moral and social relations, her n'ighbors venerate her memory and her children call her blessed. In her last illness she was patient and resigned to the will of her Creator. Supported by that faith, she had so long professed, in the full exercise of her mental powers, her exit was tranquil and full of hope. Her posterity are not nunjerous. She left two sons, one is a physician at Sterling, and the other is the eminent theologian who presides over the ancient Church at Plymouth. Of her two daughters, the eldest married Capt. John Porter of Stering, and the other, Rev. Mr. Mason of Northfield, who died in early life.

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