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[267] live together in peace. All of them are faithful in laboring for the same great and holy end,--the salvation of souls; and from my inmost heart I wish them all prosperity.

Second Congregational Society.

Early in June, 1823, after the death of Rev. David Osgood, and soon after the settlement of Rev. Andrew Bigelow as pastor of the first church, it appeared that the members of the church entertained different views of Christian doctrines; whereupon several members applied respectfully for letters of dismission, and began to meet by themselves for the worship of God. In their letters addressed to the church, they disclaim personal unfriendliness, and base their action solely on the ground of different views of the gospel; particularly, as they say, “respecting the doctrines of the Trinity, the native character of man, the divinity and atonement of Christ, regeneration, and others allied to these.”

The following is the closing extract from their request:--

Under these impressions, dear brethren, we, conscientiously and in the fear of God, ask from the church letters of dismission, for the purpose of forming ourselves, in a regular manner, into a new and separate church; and while we deeply lament the necessity, which we think exists, for such a measure, we wish to adopt it from the sole desire of enjoying religious instruction which accords with our views of the system of truth laid down in the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The following is the closing extract of the reply of the church, after some reasoning and remonstrance:--

We shall then feel ourselves compelled in conscience, on the principles we have avowed (viz., privilege to determine our own religious convictions), to allow the liberty you ask. In such case, painful as the severance is, it will still meet with our sanction; and, should your purpose remain unchanged, we formally consent by this our letter.

In conclusion, permit us to assure you, that, whether in union with or separated from us, we shall ever cherish a lively and affectionate solicitude for your spiritual and immortal welfare. We wish you grace, mercy, and peace from our common Lord. It is our hearts' desire, that, whatever new relations you may mutually form, you may be edified therein, and may be built up in the most holy faith; and we implore of the Lord, that both we and you, and all his people, may glorify him with that holiness which becomes his house for ever.

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