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[212] February, 1713; and the town provided a “place for entertaining the reverend elders, messengers, ministers, and scholars who should be present on the occasion.” The whole cost of the ordination was about sixteen pounds.

The law authorizing taxes on ratable inhabitants for the support of public worship bears date 1677. The early Independent or Congregational churches distinguished between pastor and teacher. The Cambridge platform of 1648 confines the pastor to exhortation, and the teacher to doctrine. Mr. Wilson, who owned land in Mistick, was pastor of the first church in Boston, while Mr. Cotton was its teacher. “Ruling elder” was an officer different from a pastor or teacher or deacon. His duty was “to attend to the admission of members, to ordain officers chosen by the church, to excommunicate obstinate offenders renounced by the church, and to restore penitents forgiven by the church,” &c. The deacon's duty was “limited to the care of the temporal things of the church, the contribution of the saints,” &c. In Medford, the useless distinction between pastor and teacher was laid aside, as was also the office of ruling elder. The earliest churches ordained the deacons; and church-membership was an indispensable qualification for the freedom of the colony and the right of franchise. In the choice of a minister, the church nominated; and then the society, without respect to church-membership, elected him on the republican principle of a majority-vote.

Rev. Aaron Porter.

This gentleman was born, July 19, 1689, in Hadley, Massachusetts. His great-grandfather was John Porter, of Windsor, Connecticut. His grandfather, son of John, was Samuel Porter, who was one of the first settlers of Hadley, in 1659, and died in 1689, leaving seven children. His father was Samuel Porter, Esq., eldest son of the above-named Samuel. He was born in 1660; married Joanna, daughter of Aaron Cook, Esq., of Hadley; was a gentleman of wealth and influence, extensively engaged in trade, and at one time High-Sheriff of the County. He died in the summer of 1722, aged sixty-two, leaving three sons and four daughters, all of whom are mentioned in his will. At the time he executed his will, Jan. 30, 1722, he knew not of the

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