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[368] towns. The two bodies acted together in conven-
Chap. IX.}
tion; but the assistants claimed and exercised the further right of a separate negative vote on all joint proceedings. The popular branch resisted; yet the authority of the patricians was long maintained sometimes by wise delay, sometimes by ‘a judicious sermon;’ till, at last, a compromise divided the court into two branches,
1644. Mar
and gave to each a negative on the other.

The controversy had required the arbitrament of the elders; for the rock on which the state rested was religion; a common faith had gathered, and still bound the people together. They were exclusive, for they had come to the outside of the world for the privilege of living by themselves. Fugitives from persecution, they shrank from contradiction as from the approach of peril. And why should they open their asylum to their oppressors? Religious union was made the bulwark of the exiles against expected attacks from the hierarchy of England. The wide continent of America invited colonization; they claimed their own narrow domains for ‘the brethren.’ Their religion was then life; they welcomed none but its adherents; they could not tolerate the scoffer, the infidel, or the dissenter; and the whole people met together in their congregations. Such was the system, cherished as the strong-hold of their freedom and their happiness. ‘The order of the churches and the commonwealth,’ wrote Cotton to friends in Holland, ‘is now so settled in New England by common consent, that it brings to mind the new heaven and new earth wherein dwells righteousness.’

While the state was thus connecting by the closes: bonds the energy of its faith with its form of govern

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