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‘[p. 97] manner that never failed to rivet the attention of his audience. In his style of composition he was regarded as quite a model; and he is said to have contributed more than any other clergyman of that day to elevate the literary character of the New England pulpit.’ The name of Mr. Colman deserves honorable mention as one of the earliest who led a movement against the oppressive ecclesiastical domination of the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay. A widespread delusion exists that liberty of conscience in the worship of God was the purpose for which our fathers left the Old World and braved the hardships of the New. In Plymouth Colony there was such liberty; but in that of Massachusetts Bay it did not exist, and the clergy at least were determined it should not exist. The persecution of Quakers and Baptists was wholly in accord with their purpose that there should be but one form of religion here—that which they held. To keep this pure it was required that every candidate for the ministry should pass a rigid theological examination by a council of the elders, and that every layman who would become a church member should make a confession of faith before the assembled church, prove his soundness in the essentials of Calvinism, and further, that he should relate his ‘experiences.’ But against these things there had arisen a small party of protest, among whom was the distinguished name of President Leverett of Harvard College. In furtherance of this it was proposed to form a new church in Boston, and in 1698 Thos. Brattle gave a piece of land in Brattle square for this purpose. From the outset there was no doubt who should be the minister. Rev. Benj. Colman sympathized with the liberal sentiment of the founders; indeed he had gone to England because he was unwilling to take up the ministry at the time he was preaching in the Medford church on such hard and fast terms as were then required. A call was extended to him while in Bath, England, to become pastor of the newly formed Brattle-square Church, and it being doubtful
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