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[219] before him by members of his church, who probably wished him to require from candidates a narrative of their Christian experiences as a condition of their admission. He objected to it, and would “not impose it as a necessary term of communion.” Such narratives, he maintained, were “no institution of our Saviour,” and therefore could not be imposed as conditions of acceptance; and he converted his church to this truth. His ministry was short, but fruitful. He found the church disturbed, and left it quiet. “Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.”

These records prove, moreover, that our fathers adopted the great republican principle of the right of a majority in the forms of congregational government and discipline. They were followers of the apostolic Robinson, who was the founder of the Independents, or Congregationalists; and therefore they held to choosing their own minister, and then asking an ecclesiastical council to ordain him. They were thus opposed to the Brownists, who held that the laity might ordain their own pastors.

We further learn, from these extracts, that the services of ordination were somewhat different from those in our day. The council demanded not the testimonies from the candidates so generally required now. No examination was instituted, no confession of faith was read, and no charge was given him how or what to preach.

The extracts furthermore record the gathering of the First Church in Medford. Fifteen members, who had joined the churches in neighboring towns, signed the covenant which had been drawn for that purpose. Eleven of these brethren were connected with the church in Cambridge, one with that in Braintree, one in Watertown, one in Woburn, and one in Malden. Why the sisters did not sign, we are not told; and it would be hard to give a Scriptural reason for their exclusion. The “covenant,” while it states the three relations,--first to God, second to the Redeemer, and third to each other,--leaves unnoticed those specific doctrines, the belief in which has since been made a term of communion. The “old-fashioned Arminianism,” so called, seemed to be the form of Christian faith extensively embraced by our ancestors. The church included nearly all the congregation, so far as heads of families were concerned.

We, conclude these inferences with a few words concening the earliest pastors in New England.

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