public worship in many. And you appeared to decline also, in your worldly substance and welfare. Debts were accumulating,1 and nothing seemed to prosper in the work of your hands; and total subversion of the true interests of religion and of society here was seriously apprehended. You were reduced to a situation exceedingly unfriendly both to your spiritual and temporal welfare; and very discouraging to the settlement of a minister. Your situation now is just the reverse of all this. You enjoy the regular and stated means of religion in a preached gospel, and the administration of the ordinances of Christ. The church is built up and enlarged, and additions are made, we trust, of such as shall be saved. You are free from strife and contention about the different modes and persuasions of religion, for the support of the gospel. And if all are not perfectly joined in the same mind, and in the same judgment; yet a disposition prevails, to permit every one freely to enjoy the right of religious opinion and practice, provided he does no violence to the rights of others. You now experience “how good and pleasant it is to dwell together in unity.” And keeping the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, your state is friendly to the interests of religion, to the success of the gospel, and to the practice of godliness; and you are enabled to increase and prosper in the labor and work of your hands. Instead of being embarrassed in your circumstances, or burdened with debts, you have become independent and easy in your worldly and temporal affairs, and have made progress in wealth. You are without fear that the creditor will come: you sit under your own vines and fig-trees without molestation; and there are evident marks and signatures of a kind providence that has blessed you, and caused you to prosper. From a parish connected with, and in some measure dependent on another, you have become an incorporated town, and transact all your public concerns, with convenience and advantage to yourselves.2 A small and inconvenient house of worship is now exchanged for this spacious, elegant, and commodious temple, whose tower is adorned and enriched with an excellent and beautiful clock.3
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1 An arrearage of salary to a considerable amount was then due to the heirs of the former minister, which had been accumulating for more than six years. This, together with the constant expense necessarily arising from hiring candidates to supply the pulpit, had thrown a heavy burden on the parish.
2 The parish was incorporated into a town, by its present name, Feb. 27, 1807.
3 The first-meeting house was built in 1734, and opened and consecrated on the first day of Feb. 1735. The area of the building was 60 by 40 feet, and stood just seventy years. The present house of worship was built during the ear 1804, on the ground where the former house stood, and was dedicated arch 20, 1805. The building is 70 feet long and 66 feet wide, with a tower projecting in front, and extending above, is terminated by a handsome vane 100 feet from the foundation. The house cost $12,175. It contains 106 pews; 92 on the floor, and 14 in the galleries. The sale of the pews, sold, amounted to 14,167 dollars. The first pew sold for 264 dollars. On the tower is a handsome and first rate clock, with three dials, constructed and erected by Mr. G. Parker of Westborough, in Aug. 1808, which cost $796.80. This expense was defrayed by donations from individuals, to the amount of $161, and by an appropriation of money raised on sale of the pews.
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