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SECT. 11. Winthrop, in 1631, strikingly displayed the sa piety and gentleness of both. The governour had
raised in Mr. Dudley a belief, that Cambridge would be the seat of government, and, on the foot of that expectation, he there planted himself and family. Boston however became the capital ; and Dudley demanded satisfaction of Winthrop for the disappointment and expense, he had sustained. The matter was referred to the ministers, who decreed that the governour should procure them a minister at Cambridge, and contribute to his subsistence ; or, failing in this measure, should give the deputy 2012 towards defraying the cost of his building. The alternative was chosen ; but, on paying the stipulated sum, the deputy generously refused its acceptance; and the affair was terminated with mutual professions of esteem and confidence.
Ecclesiastical concerns were not now the subject of much conversation ; for the state was busily employed in protecting herself against her en
emies. 1655. In the year 1655, according to the historians of
that day, Mrs. Anne Hibbins was tried and condemned for a witch, and executed in the following' year. There is however no notice of this
fact in First Church records. 1556. On the extinction of so splendid a luminary, as
that of Cotton, it became necessary, in the estimation of the church, to kindle in its place another light. Rev. John Norton of Ipswich, then distinguished for his literary and theological at
tainments, was mentioned, as a suitable candidate ; SECT. III. and, it was said, had been nominated by Mr. 1655. Cotton himself in his last hours. This gentleman soon came to Boston, and resided here awhile, executing the duties of a minister ; but he occasionally visited Ipswich, and, on the death of Mr. Rogers, in 1655, the tradition is, that he was almost persuaded to return to the people of that place. On 29 Nov. 1655, a church meeting was holden at the house of the pastor, in which it was voted to give Mr. Norton 2001. towards the purchase of a house, on the supposition that he becomes the teacher of the church. Numerous obstacles impeded the union. After the lapse of nearly four years, the sitting of several ecclesiastical councils, and the decision of the governour and magistrates in favour of his removal, he and his wife were admitted members of First Church, 6 July, 1656 ; and his installation took place, on the 23d of the same month.
From the commencement of the year 1653 to 1656. the end of 1656, there had been two hundred and ten children baptized, one hundred and twentythree of whom were males. Twenty-four persons, during the same period, were admitted to communion, seventeen of whom were women. Three men and as many women had been dismissed, at their own desire, to other churches; one male admonished for keeping evil company ; three males excommunicated for the sins of drunkenness and adultery ; and one male, acknowledging the sin
spor y of drunkenness, for which he had been suspend.
- ed, restored to the bosom of the church. 1656.
No regular record of marriages and deaths, for aught that appears, was, at this or any subsequent period, kept by any of the pastors, until the time of Dr. Clarke.
From the sett lement of Mr. Norton, 1657, to his death, 1663.
In the opinion of the church and its friends, the sea settlement of Mr. Norton was an auspicious event. —
1656. One of his earliest official duties was to go with elder James Penn to Salisbury, for the settling of a religious controversy. In those days, missions of that nature were sufficiently frequent. For a similar purpose he went with a delegate to Hartford, in the beginning of 1657.
A deal of mischief was now happening to the quakers, twelve of whom were banished by the government.
In January, 1657, the following question was proposed to the church, which passed in the af. firmative. “Whether the relation of immediate children of church members be such, as giveth the church a church power over them, and consequently, whether it is the duty of the church to ex. ercise that power regularly upon them, that their life and knowledge may be answerable to the engagement of their relation; and whether it be the church's mind, that solemn notice be given to them seasonably.” It was, in consequence of this
SECT. IV. vote, for some time the practice of the church to
admonish and even excommunicate the offending children of church members. In the course of the year, a kind of synod was holden by twenty-six ministers to consult on the subject of enlarging the door to the ordinances, particularly to baptism. It was agreed, that the children of church members should be baptized. For the same and one other purpose, another synod was holden at Boston, in 1662, by recommendation of the general court.
The decision was similar, in the case of baptism, to what had been formerly given. The synod declared, that “ church members, who were admitted in minority, understanding the doctrine of faith, and publickly professing their assent there. unto, not scandalous in life, and solemnly owning the covenant before the church, wherein they give up themselves and children to the Lord, and subject themselves to the government of Christ in his church, their children are to be baptized.” The other matter before the synod was, whether it be expedient to have a consociation of churches ? This question was answered in the affirmative. Yet it does not appear, that any measures were taken to effectuate the design.
The following year is rendered memorable in the church by the death of Mr. Norton. This gentleman was born, 6 May, 1606, at Stortford, Hertfordshire, England, of poor but respectable parents. In early childhood, he discovered a ripeness of wit, which indicated extraordinary