Ring out alarm for the lurid flame,The poem was followed by several exercises, recitative and musical, including an original poem by the pastor, Rev. W. S. Ralph, who, by the way, was something of a poet himself. Many will remember one of his poems, entitled ‘Whistling in Heaven,’ which was widely copied throughout the country, and received with popular favor. His effort on this occasion was entitled ‘The Bell,’ and minutely and beautifully described the casting, hanging, and ringing. The occasion overflowed with success. During the pastorate of Mr. Ralph, the parish could hardly be said to have grown numerically. In April, 1879, it is recorded that twenty-eight names were dropped from the membership upon a single occasion. In July, 1879, the Winter-Hill Society was organized. Only five or six belonging to this parish were instrumental in establishing this society, and the recognition of it by the convention in July was a surprise to the First Parish. Later quite a number of our people living within easy distance of the new society united with it; this at a time when we could ill afford any depletion of our ranks, and the loss of these families was seriously felt at the time. Another season of unrest while candidates were being heard occurred from the summer of 1880 to March, 1881, when the society extended a call to the late Rev. Charles H. Eaton to become its pastor. Mr. Eaton was then settled in Palmer, Mass. He, however, declined the invitation; possibly he had at this time a similar proposition
Ring aid its rage to stay,
And add your peal to the clash and clang
That ushers in Freedom's day.
Ring clear and sweet and strong, O bell!
Give the gospel tidings Voice,
Speak ‘Peace on earth and good will to men,’
Glad news to all, rejoice!
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