enjoyment of gospel ordinances.”
They agreed to meet immediately after the religious exercises of the fast, and to ask each man to bring, on a piece of paper, the name of the gentleman he should prefer as his minister, and, out of the three who had the highest number, to select one as the pastor.
It proved that Mr. Amos Cheever
, Mr. John Tufts
, and Mr. Aaron Porter
, were the candidates.
The lot finally fell on the last-named gentleman.
How long he preached as a candidate, we do not know.
The time must have been short; for, on the 19th of May, 1712, the town voted, with most hopeful unanimity, to invite Mr. Aaron Porter
to become their minister.
His salary was to be fifty-five pounds, and to be increased two pounds annually until it reached seventy pounds. To this was added the strangers' money; twenty cords of wood, or seven pounds. It was further provided, that if a part of Charlestown
that lies next to Medford
be annexed, then Mr. Porter
's salary be raised ten pounds. It was further provided, that “the rates for Mr. Aaron Porter
's salary be levied on polls and ratable estate, according to the rate of raising and levying the county tax.”
accepted this invitation, but demanded “one hundred pounds as a settlement.”
The gift of such a sum to a new pastor was customary, and the Medford church
Not being rich, the town voted to ask the aid of sister churches in paying this sum, which we trust was cheerfully granted.
At the same meeting, they passed the following vote:--
That the Representative draw and prefer a petition to the General Court for some help as to maintenance and support of the ministry amongst us.
“Voted to clear with Mr. Porter
once in six months;” that is, to pay up in full.
The questions concerning congregationalism
had elicited long discussion, and kindled some fire.
Whether it meant a right in every church to elect and ordain its own officers, manage its own affairs, and maintain a pure worship; or whether it meant that the State
was the proper head of the church, and therefore should regulate faith and punish heresy,--our fathers took the first view, and declared for a free “independency,” and acted accordingly
The ordination was voted to take place on the 11th of