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SEC. XIV. common, and to choose a committee, every few 1737. years, to seat the meeting-house. This, I be
lieve, is still the practice in most of the religious societies on Connecticut river.*
Pulpit services were not formerly so frequently exchanged among ministers in the Newengland churches, as at the present day, nor so frequently practised by the united presbyters of this church, as by those, who had no colleagues in the pastoral care. As they advanced in years however, they gladly admitted the occasional labours of other clergymen, not only in the desk, but in the administration of ordinances; yet, it seems, the measure was so novel, that it was thought expedient to sanction its propriety by a vote of the church.t
* “ 1691. Nov. 24. Voted, that our brother Parsons, and Sampson Stoddard, and brother Brown do exercise church power in seating persons in the meeting-house.”
“ April 2, 1713. At a meeting of the church, Voted, that Dr. Cook, colonel Hutchinson, Mr. Addington, Mr. Eliakim Hutchin. son, colonel Townsend, Mr. Welsteed, Mr. Jeremiah Allen, Mr. Gouch, be seaters of the new meeting-house, now built, and that it be left to their prudence and discretion to dispose of seats and pews, as, they may think, will be most for the good and welfare of the church and congregation.” First Chh. R. p. 104.
† “ May 2, 1762. After the administration of the ordinance of the supper, this day, I proposed it to the church, in consideration of the Rev. Mr. Foxcroft's being taken off from his publick labours, for the present, and in order to prevent inconveniences, in case of my being in disposed, or occasionally from home, on the Lord's day, that any of our ordained ministers, in regular standing, might, without offence, be desired, agreeably to the platform and the usage of other churches of the congregational denomination in this province, as there was need of it, tu administer either of the sacraments, when the church is assembled for publick worship ; Voted, without any difficulty or objection, that this proposal be complied with, and that other pastors, in regular standling, may, as there is need of it, administer the Lord's supper to this church, or baptism to their children. CHARLES CHAUNCY.” F.C. Rec.
On 18 June, 1769, died Rev. Thomas Fox- SEC. XIV: croft, senior pastor of the church. He had lived, almost seventy-three years, fifty-two of which he had spent in the ministry. He was critically skilled in the greek language, a theologian of some excellence, and the author of many sermons in print. The following is the most correct list of his publications, I have been able to obtain.
1. A sermon at his own ordination, 1718. 2. A sermon on kindness, 1720. 3. A sermon on the death of his mother, 1721. 4. A sermon on the death of Mr. John Corey, 1722. 5. A sermon on the death of dame Bridget Usher, 1723. 6. A sermon on the death of George I. 1727. 7. A sermon on the death of Hon. Penn Townsend. 8. A sermon on the death of Rev. William Waldron: 9. A sermon on the death of Rev. John Williams, 1729. 10. A sermon on the death of Thomas Blowers. 11. A sermon on the death of Benjamin Wadsworth, 1737. 12. Essay on the state of the dead, 1722. 13. The day of a godly man's death better, &c. 1722. 14. Duty of the godly to be intercessors, &c. 15. Two sermons showing how to begin the year, &c. 16. God's face set against an incorrigible people, 1724. 17. Sermon at the ordination of Rev. John Lowell, 1726. 18. Discourse preparatory to the choice of a minister, 1727. 19. A discourse on death. 20. A discourse on the earthquake. ' 21. A discourse at the ordination of Rev.John Taylor, 1728. 22. Answer to Mr. T. Barclay's Persuasive, &c. 1729. 23. Century sermon containing history, observations, &c.
1730. 24. Pleas of gospel impenitents refuted. 25. Divine right of deacons, 1731. 26. Sermon to a young woman,under sentence of death, 1733. 27. A sermon occasioned by the labours and visits of
Mr. Whitfield, 1740.
SEC. XIV, 28. A sermon at a private family meeting, 1742.
- 29. An apology for Mr. Whitfield, 1745. 1769. 30. Saints' united confession in despair of their own
righteousness, 1750.. 31. Like precious faith obtained by all, &c. 1756. 32. Thanksgiving sermon for the conquest of Canada,
In the early part of life, Mr. Foxcroft was a captivating preacher ; but, in the year 1736, he received a paralytick shock, which obscured the lustre of those talents, which, until then, had procured him great and merited applause. He sustained the character of an eminent christian, and religiously performed the duties of the various stations, which he filled.
During these forty-two years, one hundred and eighty-one persons had been admitted members of the church, fifty-three of whom were males,and one hundred and twenty-eight females. In the same time, one thousand and forty-nine children were baptized, five hundred and forty-four of whom were males, and five hundred and five were females.
Other transactions of the church in this period might here be penned ; but it is needless to multiply records, which have no peculiar nor striking characteristicks. I therefore drop the chain of ecclesiastical notices, relating to the time of Foxcroft and Chauncy, and enter on a review of the writings, life, and character of the latter,
From the death of Rev. Thomas Foxcroft, 18 June, 1769, to the
settlement of Rev. John Clarke, 8 July, 1778.*
WHERE facts are merely to be recorded, or a ser concatenation of events related, the plodding pen of industry may execute the task. But fully to develop the powers of a great man, to trace the manner of their edification, and to note at once, sufficiently and impartially, their beneficial influ. ences on the community is an arduous and difficult employment. It is therefore with a trembling hand, that I undertake to sketch the eminent and various merits of the late reverend and learned doctor Chauncy. That this article of biography should not have been finished, as it was begun, by the colleague, whom he elected and loved, my immediate predecessor, I have ever considered a misfortune to the cause of letters and of rational christianity. It is vain however to deplore irremediable evils. I shall now use the best means, I can command, to supply this deficiency, and trust to the good will of my friends, and the superiour diligence of my successours, to correct my mistakes.
The subject of this memoir was born at Boston, 1 January, 1705. He was son of Mr. Charles
* This section, as will be seen, the author did not live to com. plete. Ed.
SEC. YY Chauncy, a merchant from England, who was
the youngest child of Rev. Isaac Chauncy, pastor of a church in London, who was the eldest of six sons of the venerable and reverend Charles Chauncy, formerly president of Harvard college. At the age of seven years, Mr. Chauncy lost his father. Into whose care he then fell, and by whom he was prepared for the university, I have never been able to learn. He entered college, at twelve, and became master of arts, at nineteen years old. But where he resided, and under whose direction he studied, during the time of his leaving college, until he became a preacher, is also unknown.
The time and manner of his induction to the pastoral office have already been noted. Until some time after his ordination, nothing occurred of an extraordinary nature. His early efforts, as a preacher, seem to have excited nothing like rapture in the breasts of his friends, or extreme aversion in the minds of his dissentients.
The first publication of Mr. Chauncy was made, in the fourth year after his settlement. It is on the death of Mrs. Sarah Byefield, which happened, 21 December, 1730. It is prefaced, after the custom of those days, by a dedication of the author to the honourable and bereaved con- . sort, and is founded on that passage in James iv. 14. “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth, for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” After a short and easy introduc- • tion, the author proposes to consider, first, the representation, that is here given us of man's life ;