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edly to be reckoned as a daughter of the Church of Scotland. Presbyterians begun to emigrate from Scotland and the North of Ireland, to the American Colonies, as early as 1689; and they quickly manifested a disposition to reproduce here, their own pe. culiar institutions. The first and largest churches were established in Pennsylvania and Maryland, two colonies distinguished from the earliest times for their notions of religious liberty. The Puritan element early found its way into the body from New England, and the reformed churches on the continent have, from time to time, made contributions to it; but the original organization has always remained substantially the same." So Presbyterianism was introduced into the States south of us some twenty years later than the time of the Stratford troubles, and into New England later still. Yet by the “Stratford View,” we are called to believe, that differences as between Presbyterian and Congregational church order and discipline, was the true cause of the "unhappy” dissensions at Stratford. It is quite inconceivable that this church should be disputing about “non-essentials,” and rending the peace of the colony, as wel} as their own, while they were quite at peace, and in loving accord on the “Half-way Covenant” theory, and views connected with it, which were at that very time shaking to their centres, and to the loss of their usefulness, the churches at Hartford, Windsor, and, indeed, all churches throughout the colony.

It will also be readily noticed on a careful inspection of the records introduced into the former volume, and those which follow in this, that the form of church government and discipline is no where insisted op. It is nowhere claimed by either party, that the "ancient way” of independent and individual church government should be abandoned, and a “system of church government by presbyteries, or associations of teaching and ruling elders," should be instituted in its stead. From the beginning they had had their Elder Grove, a leading man in the colony, “Deputy and Assistant," against whom no complaint seems ever to have been brought, who remained said elder to his death, in 1676, a period some years later than this. And yet this church, like the first three churches of the colony, was a strictly Congregational church. It was a “law unto itself." It never ceased to be a Congregational church, and never had even a ruling elder after Elder Grove's death. The Second church of Stratford ever was and now is, as the First church of Woodbury, a purely.Congregational church, It never had a ruling elder. Where then do we discover the faintest traces of Presbyterianism? Something caused the division of the church, and the formation of the new one. Neither ever practised Presbyterianism. Both, in their original organization, and in their subsequent history, were and are, literally, “a church without a bishop, and a State without a King." They organized as civil, as well as religious communities, and for long years the towns acted parish-wise in the calling and settling of ministers, and in all arrangements for their support, while all the conditions of baptism, communion and church government were decided within the circle of communicants, subject only to appeal to the General Court. In 1665, (about the commencement of these troubles,) the Commissioners of Charles II. reported, of the people of Connecticut, “that they had a scholar to their minister in every town or village.” They were independent, and were well supplied with scholars to lead them. In view of all this, could disputes concerning the introduction of Presbyterian church order have been the cause of these Stratford disputes ? We think not.

If, then, the “Stratford View" be not the true one, is the “Woodbury View” any more reliable? Let us examine, and weigh well every recorded word on the subject, and determine, as best we may. And, in the beginning, we must bear in mind throughout the discussion, that the First church of Stratford was, in its church government purely Congregational, and in its doctrine purely Calvinistic. It was precisely the same, in all its features, as the churches at Hartford, Windsor and Wethersfield. A history of the one, with a change of names, would be a history of the other. What was this organization ? No better answer can be given to this question, nor to the question as to what caused the divisions in the church at Stratford, than those given in answer to the same questions in relation to the church at Hartford, planted by the sainted Hooker and the Apostolic Stone, by the late lamented author of "Hartford in the Olden Time," the Hon. Isaac W. Stuart, the accomplished scholar, the industrious antiquarian, the orator of surpassing ability, who was a descendant, in the fourth generation, of that worthy and distinguished divine, who for more than sixty years ministered to us in Ancient Woodbury-our own sainted Anthony Stoddard. In his truly eloquent history he records:

“A few words now on the first religious organization of Hartford. This was purely Congregational, and we may add also, purely republican. Non-conformists all to the liturgy, ceremonies and discipline of the Church of Engand, though firm believers in its faith-feeling that the simplicity of the gospel was 'marred by association with the display of surplices, caps, capes and cassocks '-the settlers claimed the right, independently of all external or foreign power, to choose and establish their own ministers, to enact their own ecclesiastical laws, and exercise their own discipline—and so, with a Pastor, Preacher, Ruling Elder, and Deacons, for officers, in a Meeting House, which those who preceded Hooker and his party had already erected, they started the first systematized Church of God in this their Wilderness town.' Their Deacons were as Deacons now, but their Pastor and their Teacher were somewhat peculiar in their functions. Exhortation chiefly was the duty of the former-it was his province to work on the will and the affections. The latter was Doctor in ecclesia, as he is styled-it was his province to teach, explain and defend the doctrines of Christianity. The Ruling Elder, who was ordained with all the solemnity of a Pastor, or Teacher, was, "to assist in the government of the church, to watch over all its members, to prepare and bring forward all cases of discipline, to visit and pray with the sick, and, in the absence of the Pastor and Teacher, to pray with the congregation, and expound the scriptures.

Such was the organization and constitution of the church at Hartford, and such was the type of the church at Stratford, during what we will call the First Period in the ecclesiastical history of the colony, which extended to 1650 or later.

Now let us quote from the same eloquent author in the same volume a statement which embodies the "Woodbury View,” in choicer words than we can express it.

“Soon after the commencement of our Second Period, a controversy commenced in the church of Hartford, which, for its circumstances, its duration, and its obstinacy,' says Trumbull, 'was the most remarkable of any in its day-which affected all the churches, and insinuated itself into the affairs of societies, towns, and the whole commonwealth.' Nor was it confined to Connecticut. It hung like a cloud over the heart of all New Englanddarkened almost every temple of worship, and kindled balefal fires at almost every altar.

1 Hartford in the Olden Time, p. 58.

“It began with a difference between Mr. Stone and Elder Wm. Goodwin, either about the admission of some member to the church, or the administration of the rite of baptism, and quickly involved many other points also of ecclesiastical polity. Look at the leading questions that were raised :

“What constitutes church membership---admission to full communion only, or a belief in Christianity and worshipful attendance upon its ordinances also ? Is the matter of the visible church' composed of saints exclusively, or of those also, who, not being communicants, attend religious services, hold pews, and pay rates ? Particularly does it not belong to the whole body of a town jointly to call and settle its minister and may not the adult seed of visible believers, not cast out, be true members of the church and subjects of church watch? What constitutes baptism-is federal holiness or covenant interest' its proper ground? Is the grace of perfect regeneration vital to its application, or may it not be used also as a 'seal of the covenant initiatory in its nature ? Particularly, is it scriptural to baptize the children of any parents who are not themselves in full communion? Whence do ministers receive their commission to baptize? Does the word of God warrant the communion of churches, as such ? Has a Synod decisive power? How far shall any particular church yield to its authority, or to that of any other ecclesiastical council ? Must every person grieved at any church process or censure, acquiesce in it, and if not, where shall he repair? What is the gospel way to gather and settle churches ? Does the laying on of hands in ordination belong to presbyters, or brethren ? A formidable list of questions, truly! But there were others, too-of minor consequence, yet all involved in these just stated-and most of these, in point of fact, in these two salient ones of church membership and baptism, of which baptism particularly was debated with an ardor that neither Socinian nor Romanist, Pelagian nor Hermian, not Naziandzen, St. Ciril, nor Salmasius, have ever surpassed !

“We are blameless, as most people, in our lives and conversation--we are well disposed-we are sober-argued, according to Mather, multitudes of persons-and so, particularly, many in the church in Hartford. We are full believers in the doctrines of Christianity. We desire to accept Christ for our Redeemer. We seek forgiveness of our sins. We are ready to promise that, through the aid of the Holy Spirit, we will forsake the vanities of this evil world, and strive to act according to the rules of the

gospel. We wish to submit ourselves to the watch and discipline of the church. Particularly, we will promise to bring up our children, that may be given us, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We want the distinction and privileges, therefore, of church membership for ourselves, and of baptism for our children. True, we are not communicants, but we will labor diligently to become so. Why then shut upon us, 'hopeful candidates' as we thus are, the doors of church privilege? Is it just ? Is it wise? Why make no difference, in this respect, between ourselves and Pagans ? Why, in particular, exclude our offspring, dear as they are to our hearts, and partakers, as it is our dearest wish they should be, of the kingdom of heaven, why exclude them from the baptism of Christianity simply because our own honest doubts and fears are such that we cannot ourselves come up to the cove. nanting state of communicants at the table of the Lord ? This is harsh-it is an unwarrantable strictness, Baptism and full communion are separate things, and the former, with church watch, may be enjoyed without the latter. Seal though it be of the covenant, baptism is, after all, but an initiatory rite. It does not itself absolutely confer, it does not of itself indelibly impress the grace of regeneration, nor is salvation so inseparately annexed to it, as that without it, no persou can enter heaven. "The Lord hath not set up our churches,' be it remembered, only that a few old Christians should keep one another warm while they live, and then carry away the church into the cold grave with them when they die; no, but that they might with all care, and with all the obligations and advantages to that care that may be, nurse up still successively another generation of subjects to our Lord, that may stand up in his kingdom when they are gone.' So pleaded, so demanded one large party in the church of Hartford.” 1

So pleaded, so demanded one large party in the church at Stratford, in 1665 and 1866. Let us see if we are right. Let us refer to the vote of the town, parish-wise, passed June 1, 1666-for, it will be remembered, that the whole town voted parish-wise in the settlement of ministers till after 1700—which vote is recorded on page 119 of this history. By that vote, it is claimed in the Woodbury View," the liberal, or dissentient party triumphed over the church proper in its conservative, close corporation notions, that is, the dissentient communicants, added to the freemen who were

I'Stuart's Hartford in the Olden Time, p. 221.

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