« PoprzedniaDalej »
Hutchlnsonian Controversy. 269"
held at Cambridge, As soon as the legislature was formed, which was about one o'clock, the governor would have read a petition from the Boston people, praying that the sentence against Wheelwright might be revoked. Knowing tho; irritability of the members, his objeft was. to introduce the subjeft; continue the debate through the day, put by the election beyondithe constitutional hour for the purpose, then of course he must be governor another year* Such was the craft of this great liberty man ;: demagogues are the same in every age. The veil .was- transparent; Winthrop, the lieutenant governor, objected; others supported.him.. The governor refused to proceed to the election; the debate was long; there was a, call for the election; the-deputy governor, with all. the dignity of conscious re£litude, required the people to divide; a majority appeared for the eleSion. The governor and his party still kept their seats, and would not proceed to the election. The deputy goyernor told them,, that he and the rest should proceed without them. This brought them to terms; Vane and his party were dropt, Winthroptwas.ele6led governor, and Dudley deputy governor; but the officers, who had attended Vane-, as hisescort,. laid down "their arms, which was an open insult j Wiathrop ordered his scr^ vants to supply their place. . Pamphlets were now published respecting the
subjea; the magistrates, wrote in justification of y 2
270 Another Synod, and its Result
their condufl; "the adverse party also" wrote. Wheelwright published a treatise in defence of his sermon; to this, the ministers published an answer, and Mr. Cotton replied.. Wheelwright appeared before the court to hear his sentence, but they gave him a respite till the next session, in August, that he might have time for cool reflection. But he appeared, as fanatics always do„ confident and bold; to the court, he said, that if he had been guilty of sedition, he ought to die, that he should retra£t nothing, that he should appeal to the king's court. Vane and Coddington were so offended, at being left out of office, that they left their seat, which was with the governor* and sat with the deacons, and when the fast came, they left the town, and went to Quincy, where Wheelwright preached. So hot were the contentions, that in July* when governor Winthrop invited Vane tc dine with him,, in company with Lord Say, who had just arrived from England, he refused, alleging, in a letter, that his conscience withheld him.
About this time, Mr. Hooker, Mr. Stone, and others, arrived from Connefticut, to attend the synod; they proposed that a day of fasting and prayer should be observed, which was attended the 24th of August. The synod, on account of these difficulties, met at Cambridge, August 30, when eighty or eighty two errors were presented for consideration. This delicate business was Synod of 1646, and 1647. 271
managed with great prudence and address. - No person was named as holding such errors; no person was inquired after,, as the author of such opinions. Each error was recited, with only this short remark, this is contrary to such and such texts, which were subjoined. The result of the synod was unanimous, and even Mr. Cotton freely declared, "that he disrelished all those opinions and expressions, as being some of them heretical, some of them blasphemous, some of them erroneous, and all of them incongruous." The victory was as complete, as the nature of the case admitted ;■■ the main body of the enemy was crushed, and though flying parties kept up their hostile attacks, they ceased to be formidable; the popularity of their cause was lost; Mr. Cotton, " who was not the least part of the country," had forsaken it.*
The churches having enjoyed tranquillity a number of years, it was thought a proper time to make a declaration of their church order, that it might be conveyed to succeeding generations. Accordingly, a request was presented to the legislature of Massachusetts, in 1646, that they would call a synod to establish " a platform of church discipline." Qbjefilions were made ; it -was feared that by the same authority that they called synods, and established uniformity in the church government, they might ereSt.scaffolds and stakes 272 Result of the Synod.
* Dr. Mather,
to burn and destroy. It was replied, that duty called magistrates to promote truth and peace, and' that they would be at liberty to rejedtor approve what.the synod should offer them. They, however, did not consent to issue an order, but a motion, approving the measure, was voted. This was very offensive to some persons just arrived, and; the church of-Boston were so jealous, they refused to send delegates; but Mr. Norton, of Ipswich r preaching the next Thursday leQure,." on Moses: and Aaron kissing each other in the mount of God," they were convinced, and the next sabbath voted to send three messengers with their elders,
The time for the meeting of the synod being* so near winter, .but few ministers from the other colonies attended ; yet they formed at Cambridge, and sat fourteen days, and adjourned to the 8th of June, 1647, having first appointed three persons9 viz. Mr. Cotton, Mr. Richard Mather, and Mr. Patridge, each of them to draw up a platform of church government, that from these the synod \ might form one. Ih June, they met, but the summer being sickly, they adjourned again for a --.year,. at which time they established the Cambridge. Platform, as it has: been since called, .and presented it to the general court, in October, 1648,
When the platform was before the general courts several persons of different churches, gave in ob-jedUons against a number of passages in it, which, was the occasion of its being referred,, by order of. Mr. Cotter?s Plan of Church Government. 273
court, to "the chief, and most of the ministers of the colony." Mr. Richard Mather was appointed to answer the objections, which he did in such a manner as to give more general satisfaction.
Until this synod, the churches were very much regulated hy Mr. Cotton's book, entitled "The Keys*" He supposes, that elders and brethren, are the only active members of the church, or sacred corporation. The elders, he finds the first subjects entrusted with government, the brethren endowed with privilege. The elders rule the church, without them there can be no elections, admissions, nor excommunications. They have a negative on the fraternity. Yet the brethren have such a liberty, that without their consent, nothing can be imposed on them. He asserts the necessity of synods, to decide disputes where there may be maladministration in churches; yet leaves to the churches the formal a&s, which are to be done in pursuance of advice from councils.*
The synod voted, that "the matter of the visible church are saints, and the children of such as are holy." It is there, also said, " that the office of pastor and teacher are distinct." "The special work of the pastor, is to attend to exhorta*' tion, the teacher to doftrine, either of them may administer the seals. The office of ruling elder, is distinct from pastor and teacher, but does not exclude them from ruling. The work of the rak