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ployed in making preparations for a new edifice. SEC. XII.
25 June, 1712, was founded the fabrick of the Old Brick ; and, on 3 May, of the succeeding year, it was appropriated to religious use.f There appears to have been no particular solemnity observed, on entering the church, except on the Lord's day ; but the records of First Church contain a particular account of a day, religiously set apart to the dedication of the Fifth Church, (New North,) which was first entered, as a house of worship, 5 April, 1714.
On 26 September, 1715, Rev. Thomas Bridge, 1715 senior pastor of the church, died. He was in the fifty-ninth year of his age, and the eleventh of his ministry in this church, He was born at Hackney, England; was regularly educated ; became first a merchant, and afterwards a pious and useful minister of religion.[ He travelled first into the Mediterranean ; thence to America ; laboriously preached at several of the West India islands; whence he came to Boston, and was invited to this church. He is represented, as re. markable for his sincerity, meekness, and humility. He was not easily excited ; yet his patriotism was warm; and he omitted no opportunity to manifest his love for the civil and religious liber.
+ The only durable relick of the Old Brick is deposited in First Church Vestry. It is a thick piece of slate stone, about two feet long, which was taken from under a window, in the second story, on the south side of the church. It contains in two lines the follow. ing record.
BURND TO ASHES OCTOBr 3. 1711.
| Eliot's Biog
SEC. XII. ties of the country. In the unsuccessful expedic 1715. tion, which, in 1707, was made against Portroy
al, he was invited to accompany the commissioners. 5 June, the church voted its consent to his compliance. He sailed from Boston, 5. July, and returned, on the 1st of September following.
Mr. Bridge was upright in his dealings, of kind affections, devout in his habits, and irreproachable in his morals. * Prayer was his gift, and the bible his library ; and so sincere and strong were his expressions of humility, that he frequently kindled a blush on the cheek of the forward young man, and shamed the ambitious out of their love of distinction. He received the degree of master of arts, in 1712, from Harvard college ; and his name is affixed to the class, which was graduated, in 1675. Like his predecessors, Norton, Davenport, and Oxenbridge, he made a sudden exit from the scene of his labours, leaving behind him a name, which is better than precious ointment, and four publications, evincing his concern for the cause of righteousness and the welfare of mankind. 1.“ The mind at ease.” 2. “ What faith can do.” 3. “ Jethro's counsel.” 4. “A sermon before the artillery company.” Mr. Bridge's funeral sermon was preached by Dr. Colman ; his remains were treated with particular respect ; and his surviving family, for a long time, receive
* Allen's Biography.
ed the sympathies and support of a generous SEC. XII. congregation.t
1715. In the five years, ending with 1715, one hundred and forty-six persons were admitted to communion, ninety-six of whom were females. During the same time, eighty-six boys and ninety-six girls were publickly baptized.
† “ The Rev. Mr. Thomas Bridge, a pastor of the Old Church in Boston, died on Sep. 26, 1715, and was buried in Mr. Cotton's tomb, Sept. 29, 1715."
“ Memorandum. The church, having voted to defray the charge of the Rev. Mr. Bridge's funeral, chose to endeavour it by a publick contribution, on the Lord's day. This was notified, on Oct. 2, that the contribution aforesaid would be expected, on the next sabbath. Accordingly, on the next sabbath, viz. Oct. 9, the contribution was, as one of the deacons told me, one hundred and ten pounds, five shillings and a penny. The funeral charges came to about 1041."
-“ Memorandum. The committee aforesaid ordered Mrs. Bridge, our pastor's relict, forty shillings per week out of the contribution box, for the present, till they should give further order." First Church records, p. 106.
From the death of Mr. Bridge, 26 September, 1715, to the settle
ment of Mr. Chauncy, 25 October, 1727.
SEC. XII. Early in the year 1717, Mr. Thomas Foxcroft 1717. of Cambridge was invited to preach to the socie
ty ; and the universal approbation, he obtained,
* “ Cambridge, March 23, 1717. “ To the Old or First Church in Boston. “ Reverend, honourable, and beloved, “ It hath pleased the great Head of the church (who turneth the hearts of his people, as the rivers of waters, and doth wondrous things, which none can search out the reasons of,) to incline you to make choice of so unfit a person, as myself, to settle in the office of a pastor to this flock. I am deeply sensible, how unworthy I am of the dignity, how every way unequal to the duties of this holy cal. ling, which is of God excellent and difficult. As indeed who are sufficient of these things of themselves ? But our sufficiency is of God. Humbly therefore depending upon the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, without whom we can do nothing, as having good hope in that sweet promise, Matt. xxviii. 20. “Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world.” I do now with gratitude and humility accept your call, as the voice of God ; and do sol. emnly promise and resolve, if the Lord permit, and account me worthy, putting me into the ministry, to make it the grand study and employment of my life to preach the unsearchable riches of
As is customary, after the settling of a new SEC. XIII. pastor, the church had a meeting, in December, 1717. elected some new officers, and passed some votes respecting their fiscal concerns.t · The independence of congregational churches in Boston has been maintained from the beginning ; and perhaps their freedom will best be
Christ unto you, according to the commandment of the everlasting gospel, for the obedience of faith, for the perfecting of the saints, for the edifying of the body of Christ, so long as it shall please God to continue me among you ; that ye might know the love, which I have more abundantly to you all.
And now, under a just view of the importance, weight, and difficulty of the awful work of watching for souls, and feeding the flock of Christ, I beseech you, brethren, that ye strive together with me, in your prayers to God for me, that those gifts and graces 'may be multiplied upon me, in the diligent exercise whereof I may approve myself a ready scribe, well instructed for the kingdom of God, and furnished to every good work ; that I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed ; that I may find mercy to be faithful to the interest of God's glory, and be wise to win souls ; that my service may be accepted of the saints, and that I may be unto God a sweet savour in Christ, that so I may give up my account with joy to the chief shepherd at his appearing ; and the Lord grant unto us all, that we may find mercy of the Lord in that day.
I am your affectionate
THOMAS FOXCROFT.”, † “ At a church meeting, at the meeting-house,
“ Voted, that the deacons, for the time being, be desired exactly to record, in a book or books, procured at the charge of the church, what they receive, from time to time, in their weekly and monthly contributions ; and also what they shall receive, at any time, as legacies or donations to the church ; and that they shall also as plainly record in said books, how much and to whom they disburse or pay, from time to time ; and also how much and to whom of the poor of the church they shall give, as there is occasion, out of the monthly contribution ; that so, whenever the church shall see meet to acquaint themselves with these accounts, the state of their temporal affairs may the more clearly and easily appear unto them.” First Church records, p. 108.