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[327] mentioned in the vote, still exists as a way to another house in which Mr. Johnson now resides. This spot, consecrated by the prayers and worship of our ancestors, is about twenty rods east-north-east from the crotch of the two roads,--one leading to Woburn, the other to West Cambridge.

The meeting-houses of this period were generally square, or nearly so. Some had spires, and were of two stories, with galleries. The one in Medford was nearly square, of one story, and without spire or galleries, but its windows secured with outside shutters. The roof was very steep, and its humble appearance (twenty-seven by twenty-four) can be readily imagined; and, if it had been made with walls unplastered, its cost probably would not have exceeded sixty pounds. Twelve shillings were annually paid “for keeping the meeting-house.”

Instead of pulpits, many houses had tables, from which the sermon was preached, and around which certain privileged persons, besides the deacons, were permitted, by a vote of the town, to sit.

The order of services was much like that flow prevalent in congregational churches, except that the Scriptures were not read, and there was no choir. The congregation sung; and the deacon's pitch-pipe was the only instrumental music allowed.

Baptisms were always administered in the meeting-house; and, if a child had been born on Sunday morning, it was thought a fit offering of piety to have it baptized in that afternoon.

As pews were not tolerated at first, the town chose a committee “to seat the congregation.” Although this committee was composed of the most judicious and popular men, their decisions were not always satisfactory. The rules laid down for seating the people were passed Nov. 30, 1713, and are as follows: “The rule to be observed by said committee, in seating of persons in said meeting-house, is the quality of persons; they who paid most for building the house, they who pay most for the minister's support, and the charges they have been at and now do pay to the public.” In 1703, there was so much heartburning at the placing of the people, that, in the true spirit of republican congregationalism, they rebelled, and chose a new committee to do the work over again.

The origin of pews seems to have been in a petition of Major Wade for liberty to build one.

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