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and all the succeeding generations who shall enjoy the benefit of these noble benefactions, ought not only to feel, but suitably to express our gratitude to the pious donors. To make the ministers of the gospel rich, or to supply them with the means of luxury, would, generally speaking, be more likely to injure than to promote their usefulness. They ought to be examples of temperance, good economy, and self-denial. Their circumstances should be that temperate mean, between want and abundance, which is reasonably competent to the faithful discharge of their many and very imtant duties. In a diocese which is large, a bishop cannot do credit to his office, no justice to his charge, whilst encumbered with the whole parochial duties of one church.
It is not, I trust, necessary even to remind those who compose this convention, how essential to the prosperity of our churches is the diffusion of religious knowledge, and chiefly "the first principles of the doctrine of Christ." For this end, you will readily perceive that we ought to have, throughout the whole diocese, one uniform and well devised plan of catechetical instruction. It should be, as I conceive, a systematick digest of the rudiments of Christian theology, well calculated for instructing children in the church catechism; youth respecting confirmation,and young people, and all who need it, what is the nature, and what the benefits of receiving, the Lord's supper. Whether it is expedient for this convention to appoint a committee, or to take any measures on this subject, you will judge.
In no one thing, as I conceive, can we better promote the interests of religion, than in selecting, encouraging, and aiding pious young men, of suitable qualifications, to labour as missionaries in the remote parts of this diocese. Or, if there be any one duty of still greater importance, it is, that all the members of our churches
should be more frequent, and more earnest in our prayers to almighty God, and the adorable Head of the church, that he will send labourers into his harvest,-pastors after his own mind; and that he will direct and prosper those who now are engaged in the sacred ministry. It is much to be feared that there is among us a very great deficiency in this duty, without which, you well know, all we do else is to little purpose. Our blessed Lord has particularly commanded us, as the most effectual means of obtaining labourers for his work, to apply directly, by prayer, to him, the Lord of the harvest. That he may inspire, direct, and hear our prayers, God mercifully grant through Jesus Christ.
ALEX. V. GRISWOLD.
To the Editor of the Gospel Advocate. AMONG those who came to Salem in the second embarkation, in 1629, were Messrs. Samuel and John Brown, the one a lawyer, and the other a merchant, both men of wealth, and recognised among the first patentees. Whether they left England to escape persecution, or from mercenary considerations, does not appear; it is evident, however, that they were strongly attached to the ritual of the English church, and entertained the reasonable expectation that the church about to be organized in Salem, would adhere to the formulary and government of the establishment. But they were soon undeceived. Governour Endicott, previously to their arrival, had communicated his views to the church in Plymouth, and two articles were mutually agreed on,viz. that the church at Salem should not acknowledge any ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the church at Plymouth, and that the authority of ordination should not exist in the clergy, as in the protestant churches in Europe, but should depend entirely upon the election of the members of
the church; and that there should be a representative of this power continually in the church. Mr. Endicott was resolved to disown all connexion with the church of England, to establish an independent form of ecclesiastical government, and to abolish the use of the English liturgy. Soon after the arrival of the Browns, a publick meeting was called to obtain the sanction of the colony to these measures. Mr. Endicott was successful, but not without a vigorous opposition from a very respectable minority, who had been active in promoting the settlement. At the head of this minority were the Browns, both of whom were members of the council. Finding their efforts to restore the ancient worship and order of the church ineffectual, they withdrew from the society, and as sembled in a private house, for the purposes of devotion. They did not continue long, however, in the enjoyment of their religious rights and privileges. The magistrates, or rather Mr. Endicott, having sent to demand a reason for the separation, they replied, that, "as they were of the church of England, established by law in their native country, it was highly proper they should worship God as the government required from whom they received their charter surely they might be permit ted that liberty of conscience, which all conceived so reasonable when they were on the other side of the water." Their arguments, however, were pronounced mutinous and seditious by most of the first settlers, who, notwith standing their recent sufferings for religious liberty, were resolved that none sbould participate the blessings of this promised land, but " saints of levelling principles and puritanical feelings." The Browns, refusing to comply with the wishes of Endicott and his partisans, were transported back to England. Governour Endicott was decidedly inimical to the interests of the Episcopal church. "He was deter
mined," says Mr. Bentley,*
Of Episcopacy and Episcopalians in Salem we hear nothing further until a century from this period. During that time, however, it is presumed the number of persons attached to the worship of the church was gradually increasing; for, in 1733, large and respectable society was formed, and the present church erected upon land given by Philip English, Esq.
The first minister of St. Peter's church, was the Rev. Charles Brockwell, A. M. This gentleman was educated at St. Catharine's Hall, (Cambridge,) and left England for this country, May 11, 1737, having been appointed missionary to St. Andrew's church, Scituate, (Mass.): but finding neither the place nor the people to answer his expectations, he accepted an invitation from the church in Salem, and united with them in a petition to the society for propagating the gospel in foreign parts, to sanction bis removal. He entered on his official duties at Salem, October 8, 1738, and May 9, 1739, was the first appointed missionary. In a letter to the society in England, soon after this period, the wardens and vestry of the church expressed the highest satisfaction at the
*See a description and history of Salem, the Massachusetts Historical Society, vol. 6. by the Rev. William Bentley, Collections of for 1799.
appointment of Mr. Brockwell, and spoke of him in the warmest terms of approbation.
The Society in return, forwarded a large number of the book of common prayer and tracts, for gratuitous distribution, and also furnished books for a parochial library. The indefatiga. ble exertions of this venerable society in the service of religion, deserves the warmest praise of every Christian, and demands the gratitude of every churchman in America. It commenced its operations in the first year of the last century, with special reference to the American colonies, and its disinterested efforts in furthering the cause of primitive Christianity, by the support of missionaries, catechists, and schoolmasters, were continued without interruption, through a period of more than 70 years, until the war of the revolution drove its missionaries from the field of their spiritual labour, and prostrated in the dust all the hopes of the church of England in America. Be. sides the Christian liberality displayed in the support of missionaries, &c. the society annually expended a conside rable sum in the purchase of books for distribution and for the establishment of parochial libraries for the benefit of the clergy. From its formation, to the year 1728, the society forwarded to the colonies more than 8000 volumes of religious books, and caused to be distributed by the missionaries, up. wards of 100,000 tracts of devotion and instruction. Some of the books sent by the society to St. Peter's church still remain in the hands of the present rector.
The Rev. Mr. Brockwell continued to officiate in Salem, until Nov. 27, 1746, when he resigned the rectorship, and removed to King's chapel, Boston, to which he had been appointed by *The number of volumes usually furnish ed by the society for this purpose was 160, consisting of the most valuable and scarce books in English theology.
the bishop of London, as successor to Rev. Mr. Roe.
On the petition of the church in Salem, the society in England sent over the Rev. William M Gilchrist, A. M. to succeed Mr. B. Mr. M'Gilchrist was born in Scotland, A. D. 1703, and graduated at Baliol college, Oxford, in 1731. He was ordained deacon by Dr. Reynolds, bishop of Lincoln, May 20, 1733, and priest by Dr. Benson, bishop of Gloucester, Aug. 17, 1735.
In 1741, he was sent out by the society to South Carolina, where he ar rived in September of the same year, and officiated in St. Philip's church, Charleston, as assistant to the Rev. commissary Garden, until May, 1745, when he was obliged, in consequence of indisposition, to resign his charge and return to England. He carried with him the esteem and respect of the people, and testimonials from the commissary of his "excellent moral character his diligence in the sacred office, and his attainments in literature." On the restoration of his health, he was ap pointed to succeed Mr. Brockwell, in Salem, and entered on the duties of his office in 1747.
Under the long and faithful ministry of Mr. M.G. the Episcopal church gradually increased, until it was found necessary, in 1771, to make an addition of 20 feet to the church. The same year the congregation engaged the Rev. Robert B. Nichols, as an assistant minister. Mr. Nichols was educated at Queen's college, Oxford, and is said to have been a very popular and eloquent preacher. He continued to officiate until Dec. 1774, when he removed to Halifax.
On the commencement of the revo
lutionary struggle, most of the Episcopal clergy in New England conscientiously refused to omit the prescribed prayers for the king and royal family, not because they were opposed to the war, but because they believed themselves under the most sacred obliga
tions to the church and society in England, and bound to adhere strictly to their ordination vows, until the contest should be decided in favour of the colonies. Among those who entertained these scruples, so destructive to the interests of the church, was the Rev. Mr. M'Gilchrist. He continued, however, to perform his publick duties without much serious interruption, until Feb. 1777, when he was compelled to shut the church, and the parish became al
His constitution having become great ly impaired by age and infirmities, and especially by the unkind and injurious treatment which he received, in common with most of the clergy, during the war, he died April 19, 1780, aged 73 years. As a token of his gratitude and respect for the venerable society in whose service he had been faithfully and creditably employed for forty years, he bequeathed to it three years salary, which was due him, and all his books to the minister who should succeed him in the parish.
The church remained without a pastor until 1782, when the Rev. Nathaniel Fisher, A. M. was chosen rector. Mr. Fisher was born in Dedham, Massachusetts,in 1742, entered Harvard College, Cambridge, in 1759, and received the degree of A. B. in 1763. He went to England, and received holy or ders in 1776, from the hands of the right reverend doctor Lowth, bishop of London. He officiated as minister and schoolmaster, in Granville, N. S. until 1781, when he removed to Salem, and became the rector of St. Pe ter's church, where he continued until his death, which took place suddenly, immediately on his return from performing morning service on Sunday, Dec. 22, 1812. On the Sunday previous to his death, he preached from 2 Sam. xix. 34, "how long have I to live?" The writings of Mr. F. published during his life, were, a sermon, deliver ed Dec. 29, 1799, on the death of Gen. Washington, from Psalm cxii. 6,
and an address delivered Oct. 26, 1804, at the annual exhibition of a writing school in Salem. In 1818, some of his friends,in order to cherish his memory, and to express their regard for their deceased pastor, published from his manuscripts a volume containing twenty-seven sermons on moral and practical subjects. Among these is the sermon above alluded to. In the preface to this volume it is justly said of him, that" to clearness of apprehension, he joined a sprightly imagination, which was exercised with ease and modesty, and contributed equally to illustrate and enliven bis sentiments. This, as well as the other faculties of his mind, was regulated and enriched by a devoted study of the ancient classicks, which, to the latest period of his life he read with the ardour of a true scholar." His consort, Mrs. Silence Fisher,died in Salem, in Dec. 1821. The church was occasionally supplied by the neighbouring clergy and candidates for orders, until Trinity Sunday, 1814, at which time the present rector, the Rev. Thomas Carlile, A. M. commenced officiating in the capacity of reader. Mr. Carlile was born in Providence, R. I. and educated at Brown university, where he received the degree of A. B. in 1809, and that of A. M. in course. He was admitted to the holy order of deacons in St. John's church, Providence, Jan. 10, 1816, by the right reverend Alexander V. Griswold, D. D. the present bishop of the eastern diocese. He received priest's orders from the same hands, in St. Peter's church, Salem, Jan. 21, 1817: and on the following day, was instituted rector of the church.*
The number of communicants, at present belonging to the church,is about seventy persons.
learn that the Rev. Mr. Carlile resigned the rectorship of St. Peter's church, on the 6th of October. The church, therefore, is now vacant.
Since the above sketch was in type, we
To the Editor of the Gospel Advocate. THE right of private judgment in matters of religion is made the perpetual theme of observation. Scarcely a sermon is preached upon a publick occasion, which has not the liberty of thinking, as its burden. Now a stranger would be led to imagine from all this, that thinking was a very new ex. ercise in this community; and that we were all a set of prisoners just releas ed from the manacles and fetters of a long captivity, whose chief delight consists in stretching their legs and brandishing their arms, and shouting,
we are free."
Such would be the first and most obvious conclusion; but the sagacious inquirer who is accustomed to penetrate a little under the surface of things, will be apt to view this matter with some degree of suspicion. Where general truths, which all acknowledge, and concerning which there is no dispute, are so perpetually asserted, it is impossible not to suppose that there is some ulterior design. There must be some sapping and mining going forward, while the attention of the garrison is called off by a false alarm.
What greatly strengthens this suspicion, is the fact, that the open and avowed enemies of Christianity have made their attacks precisely in the same manner. In the year 1713, Anthony Collins, esquire, a notorious infidel, published a pamphlet entitled "a discourse of free-thinking, occasioned by the rise and growth of a sect called free-thinkers." To this production a number of answers were written, among which were, "remarks upon a late discourse of free-thinking, by Phileleutherus Lipsiensis," (Doctor Richard Bentley ;) "free-thinking rightly stated, wherein a discourse, falsely so called, is fully considered," free-thoughts upon the discourse of free-thinking," and "Mr. C-ns's discourse of free-thinking, put into plain English, by way of abstract, for the use of the poor. By a friend of the author." Your readers, perhaps, will
not be displeased at seeing a specimen of the discourse on free-thinking, and of the answers to it. The first will be designated by the name of the author; the last three by the titles of "rightly stated," "free-thoughts," and "plain English." Your readers will have only to substitute "the right of private judgment," for "free-thinking," and the whole subject will at once be arrayed in the garb of the present enlightened period.