« ZurückWeiter »
yard, and would be here in a day or two:—and to myself, who, after a very tedious passage of eleven weeks, having escaped the dangers of the sea, and the. enemy, and been signally preserved from perishing by shipwreck, was now arrived safe, after more than a year and four months' absence, to join with my good parents and brethren, on such a special day, in our thankful praises to God for his great goodness to us.
The Wednesday evening after I came home, I preached at a private meeting of devout Christians, who monthly upheld such meetings at each other's houses alternately, from Isaiah xxxv. 10. The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads. Which I considered as ultimately referring to the joy and triumph, with which the redeemed of the Lord shall arrive at the heavenly world, from all the dangers and temptations they had met with in this: in which also I described my own particular case, yet decently couched, with thankfulness. There was a crowded house, of four rooms upon a floor, who hung upon my lips. Soon after, I preached the same sermon upon the Sabbath, at Mr. Colman's meeting-house, with great satisfaction to the hearers.
A few days after my arrival, I waited upon Governor Dudley at Roxbury, to pay my duty to him, and deliver some books with letters I brought for him. He diligently inquired of me about the circumstances of the times in England. I gave him the best account I could; and among other things told him, the new ministry, St. John's and Harley, and the others, were supposed by those who best understood affairs, to be driving at the preparing the way for the Pretender, and had persuaded her Majesty he was her real brother, and she seemed to be willing to resign the crown to him; that the inferior clergy, were nineteen in twenty, in the Pretender's interest; and it was expected it would not be long before the nation would be embroiled in a civil war upon the account. He replied to me, "Child, you should not divulge such things; you will endanger the bringing yourself into mischief; you are too far from the Court, to know the secrets of it." I said to him, "Sir, I do not make this common talk, but I thought it my duty to acquaint your Excellency with it." Soon after King George I. came to the throne, in the year 1715, the kingdom was invaded, and insurrections made in behalf of the Pretender. Meeting Governor Dudley after the tidings arrived to us of the insurrection, among other conversation, I said to him, "Sir, your Excellency may remember some accounts I gave you of affairs at home, which you was pleased to check me for. What does your Excellency think of it now?" "Ah, child," said he, "we old men dream dreams, but you young men see visions."
The pulpits in Boston, and round about the country, were soon open to me, so that between the public and private preaching, I had constant employment. And it gave me some diversion to hear (as I passed along the streets,) people in their shops saying to one another, "How much better he preaches now than before he went to England;" though I often preached the sermons I had made before.
In the summer of 1711, there was a fair prospect, from the generality of the people being fond of it, that 1 should have settled at Reading. But a very worthy gentleman accidentally travelling through the town, they invited him to preach to them the next Sabbath. He did so; and a wise Providence so ordered it, that when they came to a choice, the vote turned out for him. In the latter end of 1711, it was concluded by my friends, from the affection the people had for me, that I should have been fixed at Jamaica, a parish in Roxbury. I confess it pleased me, because it was within five miles of Boston. But happening to attend a lecture at Roxbury, Governor Dudley, who saw me come in, threw open his pew door to me. Some of the chief persons of Jamaica were present, and observing the respect the Governor showed me, concluded I should be a Governor's man, as they called it, and though they were particularly set for me before, yet, from some disgust they had to the Governor, altered their minds, and threw me off. The latter end of 1712, the people of Newton had a great inclination to settle me among them; but one of their chiefs made a visit to , to consult him about it; he only answered with a forbidding shru^, an4 so put an end to it. There were the prospects of my settling in several other places; but a good and wise Providerjee overruled it for the best.
In the year 1713, a number of the brethren of the North Chuiwh i» Boston, to which I belonged, fourteen in number, concluded, with the assistance of several of the first men of th^ chmjcfe and congregation, to build a new? Jxieeting-tiQUse, with design to settle me in it. I knew nothing of their designs for me, till the house was raised; when at the dinner, to which I was invited, one of the chief of them said to me, "Sir, I hope within a little while to see you settled in this new house." When the house was near finished, the aged Dr. I. Mather sent for the aforesaid fourteen members, one by one, closeted them, appeared against their settling a manifesto* man, as he styled me because of the great friendship Mr. Colman showed to me, and extorted from as many as he could, a promise that they would not vote for me. By the direction of the Mathers, the said fourteen men got into a private room, and combined into a church. Soon after they proceeded to the choice of a minister; five of them gave their votes for Mr. Webb, and four for me; the other five would not vote at all, because they had been made to promise they would not vote for me. So a minister was chosen, and afterwards settled, by five persons out of fourteen, when the other nine were evidently for another person. The conduct of the Mathers was wondered at by all. Within a few days, I made a visit to Dr. C. M. as I generally visited him once a week or fortnight; and in all my visits to him, before this, he never said one word to me about the new house, nor I to him; but now he opened himself to me, and said, "Mr. Barnard, do you think we could easily bear to have the best men in our house leave us, as Capt. Charnock, Capt. Bant, Mr. Greenwood, Mr. Ruck, and it may be counsellor Hutchinson, and Mr. Troisel? No, sir, we cannot part with such men as these." Which was a plain telling me, the grand reason of their opposition to my settlement in the new house was, the fear that those gentlemen would leave them to sit under my ministry, in case I was fixed there; as I understood afterwards several of them designed. Soon after the choice of Mr. Webb, I made a visit to Mr. R. in an evening, where I found counsellor Hutchinson and his brother, E. Hutchin* st)n, discoursing of the management of the affairs of the new house; and presently counsellor H. applied himself to me, saying, "It is cruel hard treatment, when the house Was built designedly for you, and most if not all the members of the church aimed at settling you with them, to have it so
[* The church in Brattle Square, of which Mr. Colman was pastor, was for a while, in contempt, called the Manifesto Church, from "A Manifesto or Declaration set forth by the Undertakers of the JNNHfOhlrch now erected in Boston in New»Engfemdy Nov. 17, 1699." Pub. Com.}
clandestinely, and unjustly, contrary to their minds, wrested from you. But I will see who shall be settled in it; (it is to be noted that he had generously given the ground it stood upon, but had not yet given them a deed for it,) I'll shut up the doors of the house, and see who will dare to open them, without my leave." I said to him, "Sir, you will greatly endanger a controversy between you and your ministers, if you should do so." He replied, with some warmth, "Sir, I have already borne heavy things from them; but this is too much to bear calmly. If they will contend with me, my back is broad enough to bear it." I then said to him, "Sir, I humbly entreat you to consider what will be the natural effect of it. It will disturb your mind, prejudice you against your ministers, endanger your losing the benefit of their ministry, and will render you a sufferer in your best interest. I therefore earnestly beseech you, sir, to engage in no controversy with them upon my account; but leave me to the care of Divine Providence, which does all things well, and I trust will provide for me." I saw he was pleased with my answer to him; and presently diverted the discourse another way. I never knew till this time, that this honorable gentleman had any particular regards to me, or was any ways inclined to see me fixed in the new house. Within a few weeks he gave the society a deed for the ground; and they settled among them a much better man than myself. And I was truly thankful to God, that he was pleased to make use of me as an instrument to quench the flame that was kindling; which doubtless would have burnt very fiercely, had it not been stifled.
I preached in the new house, the second Sabbath of their meeting, on May 23, 1714, from Gen. xxviii. 17. The dedication of the house to the worship and service of God, and the gate of heaven. Within a few years something happened in Mr. Webb's conduct, about settling a colleague with him, which gave occasion to the Mathers repenting of their treatment of me, insomuch that Dr. C. M. said, "Johnny Barnard would not have treated them so."
After so many disappointments, and being now turned of my thirty-second year, I began to be discouraged, and think,, whether Providence designed me for the work of the ministry; whether I was not called upon to lay aside my own inclination, and betake myself to some other business. But I considered my parents' and my own solemn dedication to this service; and hearing from several parts of the country, that many had been greatly profited by my preaching, and ministers informing me, that this and the other person had given them an account that my preaching such or such a sermon was the means of their being first awakened, and turning into the path of religion and virtue, 1 was encouraged to keep to my studies, and go on in the work of the gospel, as I had opportunity, and to commit my case to God, and wait his pleasure. I often thought, if my father's circumstances would have afforded it, (which they would not,) I would live all my days at Cambridge, near the College, and preach to any people who needed help, but never come under the awful charge of a church, but give myself wholly up to studying.
The aged and Rev. Mr. Samuel Cheever, pastor of the church in Marblehead, needing assistance, the church and town nominated Mr. Edward Holyoke, (now President,) Mr. Amos Cheever, and myself, to preach to them, upon probation, for three months, alternately. The committee came to me in August, 1714, to acquaint me with their design, and desire my compliance with it. I went and preached to them, August 11, and took my turn with the others, until the church, in January, came to a choice, and the vote finally came out for me; and the town concurred in it, voting a salary. The committee brought me the votes both of choice and maintenance, and desired my acceptance of them. I thanked them for their respects to me, and their generous provision for my support; but knowing there were two of the church, and some chief men of the town, who swayed many others, were very fond of settling Mr. Holyoke with them, which would occasion a controversy among them, I deferred complying with their request, and told them I would take some time to consider it. Some months after, they came to me again to receive my answer. I told them I had heard there was a considerable strife in the town for the settling of Mr. Holyoke, which was very discouraging to me; and asked them, if they thought the town was large enough to require another house. They answered me, they believed there were people enough to fill another house. I then asked them, if they had any thing against Mr. Holyoke's settling among them. They said, no; if the vote of the church had turned out for him, they should have been entirely satisfied. Then