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SECTION XII.

From the death of Mr. Allen, 22 September, 1710, to that of Mr.

Bridge, 26 September, 1715.

1711.

S

SC I The year 1711 was rendered memorable to the

church by the burning of its house of worship. 3 Oct. The fire was occasioned by the intemperance and

carelessness of a strange woman. Until 1760, it was called the great fire. It consumed the townhouse, all Cornbill, and the greater part of State-street. The loss sustained, through this disastrous circumstance, by the congregation, was greatly alleviated by the kindness of the two neighbouring societies. The members of the Third Church, (Old South,) unanimously voted an offer of their church, for the mutual benefit of both congregations ; and generously stipulated a weekly provision for the pastors of the afflicted society. The votes relating to this measure were sent to Messrs. Bridge and Wadsworth, accompanied by the following letter, which enbalms in the memory of First Church the piety, good sense, and sympathy of a Pemberton.

“ Boston, October 12, 1711." " Reverend gentlemen,"

" The church of Christ, which I stand related to, having considered the present dispersion of

your flock, through the holy hand of God, in the SEC. XII. late desolation of their meeting-house, thought it 1711. a proper and necessary expression of their christian love and regards, to yourselves and flock, to pass the votes, a copy of which I now send you, according to their desire, which you may com-, municate to your church, if you think proper. The votes were passed with the greatest unanimity and readiness. It will be to the last degree pleasing to us to have the advantage of your gifts and graces in every article desired. The last vote, which invites you to administer the special ordinances with us, in your turns, we hope, will be agreeable to your church; for sure we are, it is a point of fellowship justifiable by the first and strictest principles of these churches."

" The allwise God has holy ends, which he is carrying on by the present dark dispensation your people are under; and, if it may but be serviceable to advance the spirit of unity among these churches of Christ in this town, whereby we shall be better qualified for the society of the assembly of the first born above, we shall all have reason to bless and adore the holy providence of heaven.”

“May our gracious God speedily and peaceably repair your desolations, building up and beautifying your church with greater measures of his holy spirit ; may all under your charge be your crown and joy in the day of Christ. This, reverend brethren, shall always be the prayer of your affectionate brother,

EBENEZER PEMBERTON.”

1711.

SEC. XII. “At a meeting of the church in the south part

of Boston, October 7th, it was voted, that the Rev. Mr. Bridge and Mr. Wadsworth, pastors of the First Church in Boston, be desired, during the present dispersion of their flock, to carry on alternately one half of the work of preaching in this congregation."

"That the deacons of this church make the same weekly allowance to them for this service, that they do to our own pastor.”

“ That the Rev. Mr. Bridge and Mr. Wadsworth be desired also to take their turns in the administration of baptism and the Lord's supper with us.

EBENEZER PEMBERTON."*

The following letter, of the same date and pur. port, from the Fourth Church, (Brattle street,) was communicated, at the same time.

“ Boston, October 12, 1711.” " Reverend sirs,"

" I think it meet to acquaint you, that, having stayed our church, the last evening, after the pub. lick exercises of worship, there past unanimously the following votes.”

" That yourselves be desired, under the present awful Providence, and till it shall please God, that your meeting-house be rebuilt, statedly and alternately to be and assist with us in the carry. ing on the worship of God among us.”

“ That, out of the contribution weekly collected, three pounds be paid you, every week.”

* First Church records, p. 102.

“ That you be desired, if it may be, for the SEC. XU. time you continue with us, to join with us in an 1711. equal administration of all ordinances, in particular baptism and the Lord's supper.” . .

“ Sirs, these our desires we accompany with our thankful acknowledgements of that good spirit of brotherly affection, wherein you have come among us, and wherewith you have so kindly accepted our bounden christian respects. We ask a further interest in your love and prayers, and hope, it will please God to make your presence and labours with us, from time to time, abundantly serviceable to his own glory, and our spiritual good.”

“Reverend sirs, your unworthy brother in the ministry of Christ,

BENJAMIN COLMAN." “ Reverend Mr. Thomas Bridge,

and Benjamin Wadsworth,pastors of the First Church in Boston."

Due notice was taken of these expressions of christian sympathy;* but whether in the Third or Fourth Church the congregation mostly worshipped is unknown. Mr. Wadsworth preached, the sunday after the conflagration, in the Third Church ; and the sermon delivered, together with the one last preached in the church consumed, and the first preached in the Old Brick, were published in a small volume, a copy of which is in the Theological Library.

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* “ Whereupon the First Church of Christ in Boston, Oct. 12, 1711, voted, that our reverend elders be desired, in the name of his church, to render thanks to the Rev. Mr Pemberton and Mr. Colman and to their churches for their kind respects to us in their several letters of this date.” First Church records, p. 103.

W

SEC. YIL: During their scattered condition, the church

were not inattentive to the rules of ecclesiastical 1712.

order, and the means of improvement. The liberal christian will read with pleasure the subsequent extracts, and will probably discover in them the seeds of a liberality, which, in regard to the admission of church members, has ever since been spreading and maturing in the churches of Massachusetts.

« At a church meeting, 29 Feb. 1711-12, the following proposals were voted at the school-house,

“ First Church in Boston proposed to the rev. erend elders,

“That, when persons desire admission into the church, they be examined of the nature of a church, of the institution of ordinances and offi. cers, of the authority and rule given by Christ to the elders, of the duty and privilege of the brotherhood.

“ This is to be summarily communicated to the church, together with the relation and belief of the party desiring admission.

“ That no objection be made to the receiving of any person professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance of sin, and having a measure of scriptural knowledge of the order and government appointed by Christ in his church ; although he have not the persuasion, which others possibly may profess, about some particulars, that are matter of dispute among learned, pious, and holy men.”

From the moment, in which the old meetinghouse was burned, the church was diligently em

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