The town also concluded to have a contribution each Sunday, and thus pay the minister at the end of the day; and voted that each person should previously write down, on a rate-bill, what he will contribute each Sunday.
The persons who gathered these contributions were appointed from among the most trustworthy of the congregation.
The great watchfulness of our fathers in these money-matters is seen in a vote passed at this period (1709). It is as follows:--
Voted to call Mr. John Whitmore to an account by what order he held out the contribution-box, and how he disposed of the money that was put therein.
March 6, 1710: Voted to apply to Mr. John Whiting
, Fellow of Harvard College, to preach for three months. This gentleman refused; and Mr. John Tufts
was engaged for six months. At the end of this time, July 17, 1710, he engaged to supply the pulpit six months longer.
The town now proposed a “free contribution,” in connection with a “subscription,” for the support of public worship.
There is a bewildering queerness in the following vote, passed by the town April 19, 1710 :--
Put to vote, whether the town will allow Francis Whitmore six shillings for dining the minister four days. Voted in the negative.
Our fathers had a new source of alarm in the attempt to introduce English Episcopacy.
They had not forgotten the persecutions of Archbishop Laud
; and they feared every thing from a church that was “a tool of the king.”
Excited, suspicious, unforgiving, and intolerant in this matter, they called the Episcopalian clergymen “Baal's priests;” the unvarying service, “travelling round life-long in the same deep ruts;” and the set prayers, “leeks, garlick, and trash.”
In the Medford church
, though there were differing opinions concerning particular preachers and concerning worldly prudentials, there was a true and steady purpose in all hearts to have a settled pastor and teacher; and they all united piously to hold a town-fast on the last Wednesday
of April, 1712.
The record speaks of the day as one “to be solemnized as a day of fasting and prayer, to humble ourselves before God for those divisions and contentions that hath been so long prevailing among us, and obstructed the peaceable ”