of July, a fast was held at Charlestown
, and after
prayers and preaching, Winthrop
, Isaac Johnson
, united themselves by covenant into one ‘congregation,’ as a part of the visible church militant.
On the next Lord
's day others were received; and the members of this body could alone partake of the Lord
's Supper, or present their children for baptism.
They were all brothers and equals; they revered, each in himself, the dignity of God's image, and nursed a generous reverence for one another; bound to a healing superintendence over each other's lives, they exercised no discipline to remove evil out of the inmost soul, except the censure of the assembly of the faithful whom it would have been held grievous to offend.
This church, the seminal centre of the ecclesiastical system of Massachusetts
, was gathered while Higginson
was yet alive; on the sixth of August he gave up the ghost with joy, for the future greatness of New England
, and the coming glories of its many churches floated in cheerful visions before his eyes.
When on the twenty-third of August the first court of assistants on this side the water was held at Charlestown
, how the ministers should be maintained took precedence of all other business; and it was ordered that houses should be built for them, and support provided at the common charge.
Four days later the men ‘of the congregation’ kept a fast, and after their own free choice of John Wilson
for their pastor, they themselves set him apart to his office by the imposition of hands, yet without his renouncing his ministry received in England
In like manner the ruling elder and deacons were chosen and installed.
Thus was constituted the body, which, crossing the Charles River
, became known as the first church of Boston