|Whitmore house, Medford, 1680 to 1840.|
The church being together, some of them manifested an uneasiness, that in time past I had not, at the admission of members, read publicly something of what I had received from them in private; and desired that, for time to come, I should make it my practice so to do. In compliance with which desire, I promised to ask it of all such as should offer themselves to us; but could not see any rule to impose it as a necessary term of communion, so as to keep out such as are qualified according to the gospel, merely because they cannot comply with this practice. It being no institution of our Saviour, all that his churches can do is only to desire it as an expedient, but have no power to command it, or, for want of it, to deny the communion to any that are qualified and regularly seek for it. At the same time, I proposed to the church that an handy-vote should not be demanded or expected at the admission of members; but that (liberty of objecting being first given) their silence should be taken for consent; with which the church concurred.Here is a slight indication of that Christian jealousy existing in the New England churches in reference to purity of doctrine and discipline. This watchfulness and almost suspicion of new comers and of each other was an American, and not a European, trait; and it arose from the fact that our fathers came here to establish a pure church, and therefore judged this spiritual espionage to be their solemn duty and sure defence.