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All, however, who became residents here, till 1714, (when they obtained liberty to build a house of worship,) considered themselves as belonging to the religious society of Hingham. With that town they acted in all civil and religious matters. Thither, bad and long as the roads were, they repaired to worship on the Lord's day, and there they buried their dead. But in the year last mentioned, their numbers and substance had increased to such a degree, that they felt themselves able to support a minister, and provide instruction for their children. Accordingly, in the year 1714, they petitioned the town of Hingham to remit to them their ministerial and school taxes. But their petition for this object, however just and reasonable, was twice rejected; nor could they obtain the privileges of a parish, till the next year, when for this purpose they made a successful petition to the general court.
Having a house of worship, they probably had preaching in it before they invited the candidate whom they settled as their first pastor. Mr. Nehemiah Hobart came to preach to them in July 13, 1721; and as the custom was, before the forming of a church, he "preached a fast," and continued with them, till December 13, of the same year, when the church was organized, and the pastoral charge of it, by solemn ordination, was committed to him.' p. 5,6.
On that occasion the Rev. Ebenezer Gay of Hingham, made the introductory prayer. This eminent man lived to be 91 years old; and it may not be out of the way to remark, that if his successor, who is now living, had continued in the ministry in that town, there would have been but two pastors in the church for a period of more than a century.
Our readers may be pleased to see a description of a meeting house in those days.
According to their ability their first house of worship was small and without expensive ornaments. It was, I have been told, about 35 feet long and 25 wide, with pulpit, pews, and seats of planed boards, of simple construction. To them, however, it was probably quite as expensive as was the temple of Solomon, to those who built that magnificent edifice. p. 6.
We copy the original form of church covenant, that it may be seen, by the collection of as many examples as possible, whether our fathers encouraged the practice of long creeds.
"We do, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the presence of God, and the holy angels, explicitly and expressly coveBant and bind ourselves in manner and form following, viz. We do give up ourselves to God, whose name alone is Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. To God the Father, as our chief and only good and unto our Lord Jesus Christ, as our prophet, priest, and king, and only Mediator of the covenant of grace; and unto the Spirit of God, as our only
sanctifier and comforter. And we do give up ourselves one unto another in the Lord, convenanting and promising to walk together as a church of Christ, in all ways of his own institution, according to the prescriptions of his holy word, promising that with all tenderness and brotherly love, we will with all faithfulness, watch over each other's souls, and that we will freely yield up ourselves to the discipline and power of Christ in his church, and attend whatever ordinances Christ hath appointed and declared in his word; and wherein we fail, and come short of duty, to wait upon him for pardon and remission, beseeching him to make our spirits steadfast in his covenant, and to own us as his church and covenant people forever. Amen." p. 6, 7.
Mr. Hobart died in 1740, and the second minister, Mr. John Fowle, was ordained Dec. 31, 1741, and left the ministry in less than five years, on account of nervous infirmities. He was succeeded in 1747, the same year that a new meeting house was built, by Mr. John Brown; of whom we have the following excellent anecdote.
"It is said there was one opposer only, whom Mr. Brown reconciled by a stroke of good humour. Calling to see the opposer, be enquired the cause of opposition. I like your person and manners, said the opposer, but your preaching, sir, I disapprove. Then, said Mr. Brown, we are agreed. My preaching I do not like very well myself; but how great the folly for you and I to set up our opinion against that of the whole parish. The opposer felt, or thought he felt, the folly-and was no longer opposed.' p. 12.
Mr. Brown died at the age of 67, but in what year we are not informed. He was succeeded by Mr. Josiah C. Shaw, the fourth pastor, in 1792; but he abruptly left the ministry in 1796. The present minister was ordained Jan. 10, 1798.
We think there is great good sense in the following note. 'There is no account of any church meeting for censure of any of its members, during the ministry of either Mr. Hobart or Mr. Fowle. In Mr. Brown's ministry there were three only holden for the purpose of hearing aggrieved brethren, against others who had offended. At each meeting, charity and harmony were restored, by professions of repentance in the offending, and forgiveness in the aggrieved. There never was, I believe, a member excommunicated from the church in Cohasset. Since my connexion with it there has been no meeting for censure. There may have been, and still may be, members, guilty of conduct which demands repentance and reformation; but from observing the injurious effects of ecclesiastical censures, especially excommunications; from the destructive heat, which has hereby been communicated to the passions, set on fire, not of heaven; I have long thought it the part of wisdom, to let the tares, when we cannot divest them of their bad
properties in a private way, grow with the wheat till the harvest.. Our Lord, though he reproved his disciples for their faults, never expelled one from his religious school. If we have enemies in the church, let us follow the Apostle's directions, to heap coals of fire on their heads. It may, indeed, burn them, but it will be salutary.' p. 15.
The discourses close with some serious and pertinent reflections, adapted to impress the mind with the solemn feelings which the occasion should excite, and to lead to a profitable religious use of it. They are highly creditable to the writer, and must have been impressive and affecting to the hearers.
A few pages are appended to the pamphlet, comprizing a 'geographical sketch of Cohasset,' from which we cannot refuse ourselves the pleasure of copying two passages: one containing a most interesting account of an act of heroic benevolence, gratefully rewarded; the other, a description of some aboriginal curiosities.
'The people of this town have had frequent calls for their compassionate exertions, in behalf of suffering seamen. That they have been prompt to answer these calls, is manifest from the number of medals and other rewards of merit, which they have received, not only from the society whose name designates its heavenly purposes, but from gratitude expressed in distant countries. Among the many instances of distress by shipwreck, in which the kindest assistance and relief have been given, one only will be here noticed, the circumstances of which do equal credit perhaps to those who gave, and to those who received relief. On February 12, 1793, the ship Gertrude-Maria, of 400 tons, bound from Copenhagen to Boston, with a cargo, estimated at $40,000, and commanded by Hans Peter Clien, was wrecked on a small island, among Cohasset rocks, called Brush Island. Having entered the Bay, the commander knew not the danger of his situation. Clouds obscured the light of the sun by day, of the moon and stars by night, and no small tempest with frost and snow lay upon them. In the awful war of elements, the ship was at the mercy of the fierce winds and mountainous billows. These threw her first upon a small ledge, where she suffered but partial injury; then on the island, just named, whose sides are covered with pointed ledges. On these, the angry surges raised and depressed her with violence, till they broke her asunder. Death now staring every man in the face, trial was made by two men with a boat, to reach the shore. The boat was dashed to pieces. One was drowned, the other left to recover the wreck. At length, by extending a spar from the stern of the wreck, the survivors all got upon the Island, where the waves could not reach them. Here they tarried, in the tempest, chilled with wet and frost, without fire or house to shelter them, till discovered early the next morning by the inhabitants of the town.
Means for granting relief, were immediately adopted. A boat was quickly brought to the beach, a mile over land. She was manned without delay, and plunged into the agitated surf, at the imminent hazard of the lives of the adventurers. She reached the Island, and brought off three of the sufferers. Another attempt was immediately made, but the storm and the tumult of the sea, increasing, it was frustrated by the destruction of the boat against the rocks. Two other boats were soon brought from a distance, and the dauntless exertions of the boatmen were renewed, till the sufferers, twenty one in number, were all safely landed on the shore. Thence they were conveyed to the houses of Elisha Doane, esq. and other gentlemen, where they were carefully warmed, clothed, and fed, as their frozen and perishing condition required. these houses they remained, imbibing the wine and the oil, ministered by the hand of compassion, till their wounds were healed, and health restored. In the mean time, due attention was paid to their property now the sport of the waters. An account of articles of the smallest, as well as of greater value, was given to the master of the ship; insomuch, that when all was collected, that could be saved, and sold at auction, its amount was 12,000 dollars. When the Capt. and his men, (all it is said of the royal navy of his country,) were provided with another vessel, and ready to leave the town, their hearts were swollen with grateful emotions toward those, who, under God, had delivered and cherished them in their perils and distress. The Captain, a man of much respectability, unable to utter his feelings, told his benefactors they should hear from him again. He sailed from Boston, and touching at St. Croix, published there an affecting account of the compassion and hospitality he had experienced from the people of Cohasset. When arrived in Denmark, he gave to the king such a representation of the people here, as induced his majesty to order the College of Commerce to send in his majesty's name, four large medals of gold, and ten of silver, with the likeness of himself impressed on one side, and with Danish words on the other, importing Reward of Merit-Noble Deeds.
'With the medals of gold came directions-One for Rev. Josiah C. Shaw-One for Elisha Doane, Esq.-One for Capt. John Lewis -and one for Capt. Levi Tower. The silver medals were designed for other citizens, who had been most active in giving relief to the sufferers. Honourable notice was likewise taken by the Humane Society, of the commendable humanity, here manifested to strangers in distress, and a pecuniary donation was granted to the deserving agents. The Governor of the Island of St. Croix manifested also, the high sense he entertained of the benevolence of the people here, by his extraordinary kindness, on that account to a gentleman from Boston. Mr. Daniel Hubbard, a respectable merchant of that town, was taken dangerously sick, on his passage home, from abroad, and put into the harbour of St. Croix, with a
view to obtain medical aid and other assistance, which his perilous condition required. At first he was refused admission, prohibited by the laws of the place, lest he should communicate his sickness. But as soon as it was made known to the governor, that he was from Boston, he was removed on shore, and the best medical aid, and every assistance and courtesy granted him, till he was recovered; for which, all compensation was refused--the governor alledging, that he was warranted in his conduct, by the humanity and great kindness Capt. Clien and his crew had experienced, when shipwrecked at Cohasset, near Boston.' p. 26.
The other passage is as follows.
'Near the base of a large mass of solid rock, on Cooper's Island, so called, is a curious excavation, which has the name of the Indian Pot. Its cavity is as round, smooth, and regular as a well formed seething pot; and will hold about 12 pails full. On the same mass of rock, is another excavation, called the Indian Well. The inside of the well, from the bottom about four feet upward, is a circle; the rest of it, about six feet more, is semi-circular, opening to the east. The pot and well were nearly in their present state, when the town was first settled. The former, it is conjectured, was made by the Indians for the two fold purpose of pounding their parched corn, and boiling their food. Heat was probably, communicated to water in it, by heated stones, after the manner of the Islanders in the Pacific Ocean. The latter might serve as a reservoir of fresh water, received from the clouds; as there is no stream very near. In the ground near the well have been found axes and other tools, made and used by the natives, which prove the place to have been once the residence of many of that people.' p. 27.
Address of the Trustees of the Massachusetts General Hospi tal, to the subscribers and to the public. 8vo. pp. 34. THE Hospitals which have been within a few years past established in this metropolis and its vicinity, have a strong claim upon the liberality of the benevolent public, and we are desirous of doing every thing in our power to direct attention to them, and to place in the proper point of view the advantages and benefits which they promise to the community, if generously endowed, and put into operation unshackled by the restraints of embarrassed funds and a narrow income.
Like every other form of charity, the establishment of hospitals has only taken place in Christian countries; and not only New Series-vol. IV.