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his taking two brethren with him, when he came to his lodgings." He answered me, " He knew of no other." "Then," said I, "your action is wholly grounded upon that?" He said, "Yes." The defendant's attorney pleaded his cause well enough, but with many fleers upon the ministry and our churches; (the attorney belonged to the Church of England.) When he had done, the Chief Judge said to me, "Mr. Barnard, now is as good a time as any to offer what you have to say in this case." I paid my respects to the Court, and delivered my speech, (the copy of which I have by me,) the substance of which was, "That as this honorable Court were Christians, they could not but be concerned for the welfare of the church of Christ, and I was well assured would do nothing to hurt it; that this particular case was evidently in the hands of the church, and by them referred to a Council of churches, who now had it under consideration; that if the civil authority should think fitting for them to take such a case out of the hands of an ecclesiastical process, there would be an utter impossibility of laying conviction before an offending brother, and every church, of every denomination, would be precluded from observing the laws of Christ, and so his laws be rendered absolutely useless; which I hoped no Christian magistrate would ever attempt. They had heard out of the plaintiff's own mouth, that his action was founded altogether upon what a brother had done in an exact conformity to the divine law. And therefore I prayed the Judges to dismiss the action." Mr. Webb, who was sent from Boston on purpose, and was now by me, said to the Court, "Hejoined in my sentiments and request." The Judges immediately threw the action out of Court, being glad, as they expressed it, to get rid of so dirty an affair. Then one of the lawyers said openly in the Court, "My speech smelt damnably of the lamp." Thus happily did this matter issue, respecting the Court; but it went on in the Council, and how it was managed there, I cannot say, because through indisposition, I could not attend.
Many a time, when contentions have been kindling in some of our churches, and some of the brethren have come to me, laid their case before me, and asked my advice, instead of giving them any, I have designedly asked them such questions as would draw advice out of their own breasts, and wrote to their minister; by which means the smothering fire has been extinguished.
So long ago as the year 1727, I understood that Mr. John Checkley (who was fixed afterwards in your parts, and possibly known to you,) was gone over to England to take orders, and (as I was told at Boston,) with an eye upon Marblehead Church of England, which was then destitute. I knew the man to be void of a liberal education, though he had got some Latin at school, and that he was an indefatigable enemy to the churches of this country, and a Non-juror to the British Government; for which reasons I consulted the Rev. Mr. Holyoke, and we agreed to write to Dr. Gibson, then Bishop of London, if possible to prevent so troublesome a man coming among us. Accordingly, I drew a letter, which Mr. Holyoke signed with me, and sent it, unsealed, enclosed in another, to Mr. Henry Newman, a very worthy gentleman, whom I knew in England, desiring him, if he approved of it, to seal it and deliver it to his lordship; but if not, to destroy it. Mr. Newman wrote me word that he not only highly approved it himself, but his lordship, when he had read it, expressed himself as greatly pleased with it; and desired him to acquaint us that, if he could find time, he would write us an answer with his own hand, (which he did not,) and inform us that he would take special care to appoint for the church in our town, a good man, of catholic temper, and loyal to the Government; and it seemed, by Mr. Newman's letter, as if his lordship had his eye upon Mr. Price, who soon after was sent to Boston. But the Church of England in Marblehead, hearing of Mr. Pigot, at Providence, agreed with him, and sent to his lordship to appoint him for them. He complied with their request, and he was fixed for a time among them, till he run from them. The consequence of our letter was, the Bishop inquired of our former Governor Shute, then in London, and finding we had wrote the honest truth, in our character of Mr. Checkley, refused to admit him to orders; though afterward the Bishop of Exeter (if I mistake not) did, and sent him to Narraganset. Thus our town, and the churches of this Province, through the favor of God, got rid of a turbulent, vexatious and persecuting-spirited Non-juror. Blessed be God for his kind dealings with us! I have the copy of the letter by me.
In the time of the Whitfieldian ferment, in 1741, I was enabled, by the grace of God, so to conduct, as not only to preserve my own flock in peace and quietness, but to prevent the other church in town, and their minister, from being thrown into the like disorders and confusions, in which so many towns and churches in the country were involved; and when the ministers at the Convention proposed to draw up a public Testimony against several errors and bad practices prevalent among us, they made use of my hand for the draught. When some of the ministers, very hot in their thought of the good work in the land, taxed me with opposing the work of God, I told them I sincerely endeavored to think as they did; but since 1 could not, I hoped, as 1 was content they should think as they saw cause, they would allow me also to think for myself. I also preached a sermon, at the Boston lecture, in March, 1742, upon Zeal for Good Works, which was immediately published, and proved very much the occasion of checking many of the disorders in several places; and for which I have received more thanks and compliments, from several parts of the country, and from gentlemen whom I knew not, than for any thing I ever did. The phrases of "zeal guided by knowledge, tempered with prudence, and accompanied with charity," sounded in the pulpits in Boston, and in the country churches, many months after. Nor have I been without high expressions of commendation, from some of the most judicious ministers, for my volume of the Mystery of the Gospel. When my book, of the Confirmation of the Truth of the Christian Religion, came over from London, bound in royal octavo, the very Rev. Dr. Colman said upon reading it, " they were more than royal sermons." I printed also a volume upon The Imperfection of the Creature, and the Exceeding Breadth of the Divine Commandment, to good acceptance. I have given the world A New Version of David's Psalms, which has been greatly commended for its plainness, tolerable poetry, and great strictness to the original; insomuch that the Rev. Mr. Prince told me, that it more strictly agreed to the original than any of twenty versions he had seen; and the reverend Messrs. Mather, Byles, and Cooper, said they were the best they knew for a public congregation. There are also more than twenty single sermons I have printed, which I hope will be of some service among our people.
After the suppression of the Rebellion by the battle of Culloden, the Convention of ministers at Boston thought it proper for them to address King George II. with their congratulations, and thankful acknowledgments of the divine favor to his Majesty and the nation, in that signal victory, under the conduct of the Duke of Cumberland, to express their firm allegiance to his Majesty, and their fervent prayers for his long life and happy reign; when being appointed one of the committee, my poor hand was employed to form the draught.
In the spring of the year 1745, the Government sent to me, desiring me to go one of the chaplains in the expedition against Louisburgh. I laid the matter before my church, telling them I would go or stay, according as I should know the mind of God by their actions. They unanimously appeared against my going, from the difficulties attending that service at my age, being then in my 64th year; for which reason I was obliged to deny the Government's request.
Some years ago, the Convention of ministers proposed the raising a fund, for the propagating of the Gospel among the Six Nations of Indians, bordering upon the lakes, who were in friendship with us, and the forming of a Corporation to manage that affair. Being one of the committee, I was put upon draughting the scheme. It met with an unexpected stop for a while; but when it pleased God to give success to our arms against Canada, both ministers and people thought themselves more than ever obliged to attempt the proselyting these nations to the Christian faith and manners, and therefore some of the ministers in Boston consulted with some prime gentlemen there about it, who readily came into it, and about thirty were designed for a Corporation. They sent to me to know if I would be one of the Corporation. I sent them word they might make use of my hand and purse, as they pleased; and, if I lived to come to Boston, I would confirm it. They made use of my draught, with what alterations I know not, addressed the Government to grant them the powers of a Corporation, upon their plan. The Government granted their request. Could they have been contented with this, all would have been well and none would have given disturbance to them. But they thought it would be more safe and honorary, to have the sanction of his Majesty to what the Government had done, and therefore sent it over to the King, requesting his hand to it. I wish somebody had not designedly at first started that motion on purpose to prevent the design taking place; for upon its being laid before the King, Archbishop Seeker appeared-strongly against it, as only a design to propagate the Dissenting interest, and so quashed it, wiiu a prohibition to the Government's granting a charter for the intended purpose. Would such a man as Archbishop Seeker have appeared against such a truly noble, pious, charitable design, if he had not had intimations (though false ones) that the real intent was to counterwork the propagation of the Church of England in America? They knew well, how vilely they abused the charity for the Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts, chiefly to encourage and support their church in opposition to the established churches (which they call Dissenters,) in America, and concluded we should imitate them; but we abhorred the thought of it. However, this pretence crushed one of the most charitable designs that could be. So, like the dog in the fable, they neither eat the hay, nor suffered the generous horse to eat it.
Though I suffered greatly by the depreciating of the wretched, false paper medium, to the loss of several hundred of pounds yearly, which I spent in the service of my people, out of my own stock, yet, when the change came on of a silver currency, and two of the chief of my people came to me, and desired me to give them an account of what I had received, as stipend, from my first settlement, and by computation found they fell seven hundred and forty pounds sterling short of their engagement to me, and asked me what they should do in the case, "for," said they, "it is a due debt," I frankly forgave all that vast debt, and gave them under my hand that I did so, saying to them, "I sought not theirs, but them."
My church and congregation have once or twice been in danger of being thrown into a controversy; but a good and a wise God has been pleased so to direct me, in the management of the affairs, that the fire has been quenched before it broke out into a flame; though I had some of the chief and stubbornest spirits to deal with; and now for more than one and fifty years we have enjoyed as great peace and unity among us, as any church in the country.
From November, 1702, to November, 1766, sixty-four years, through the distinguishing goodness of God, I have never been confined by any sickness to my bed; though I have been exercised with many pains and some special weaknesses at times; as in the year 1732, I was visited with the sciatica, for ten weeks together, and yet performed my public