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The following is the entire instrument which was drawn up as the uniting compact of the society in Gloucester. Every one who peruses it, must be highly pleased with the truly Christian spirit that it breathes.

'New England: State of Massachusetts, January 1st, 1779. 'Inasmuch as it hath pleased God, of his great mercy, in every age of the world to choose a people for himself, giving them his fear and revealing to them his secret; and as this Great Lord of Heaven and Earth, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, hath been pleased to reveal unto babes, what he has hid from the wise and prudent; We, the subscribers, greatly affected with a sense of the Divine Goodness in thus distinguishing us, who had nothing in us to merit his notice, think it our interest and bounden duty to 'let our light shine before men, that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father which is in Heaven.' As therefore it hath pleased God to make us acquainted with the voice of the good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, we cannot from henceforth follow the voice of a stranger; nor ever give attention to such as are unacquainted with the Saviour of the world. But though we cannot have fellowship with them whose fellowship is not with the Father and with the Son Jesus Christ, yet we are determined, by the grace of God, never to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but as a church of Christ, meet together in his name, being persuaded wherever or whenever two or three are thus met together, the invisible God will be present with them.

'As Christians, we acknowledge no Master but Christ Jesus, and as disciples of this Divine Master we profess to follow no guide in spiritual matters, but his word and his spirit. As dwellers in the world, though not of it, we hold ourselves bound to yield obedience to every ordinance of men, for God's sake; and we will be peaceable and obedient subjects to the powers that are ordained of God in all civil cases; but as subjects of that King whose kingdom is not of this world, we cannot acknowledge the right of any human authority to make laws for the regulating of our consciences in any spiritual matter.

'Thus as a true Independent Church of Christ, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, we mutually agree to walk to

gether in Christian Fellowship, building up each other in our most Holy Faith, rejoicing in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and determining by his grace no more to be entangled by any yoke of bondage. As disciples of the meek and lowly Jesus, we resolve, as far as in us lieth, to live peaceably with all men; yet as believers living godly in Christ Jesus, we expect to suffer as much persecution as the laws of the country we live in will admit of. But we resolve, by the grace of God, none of these things shall move us to act inconsistent with our characters as Christians. We will, as much as possible, avoid vain jangling and unnecessary disputation; and should we be reviled, endeavor in patience to possess our souls.

'As an Independent Church of Christ, thus bound together with the cords of love, and meeting together in his name,—We mutually agree to receive as our minister, that is, our servant sent to labor amongst us in the work of the Gospel, by, the great Lord of the vineyard, our friend and christian brother, John Murray: This we do from a full conviction, that the same God that sent the first preachers of Christ Jesus, sent him; and that the same gospel they preached, we have from time to time received from him; thus believing him a minister of the New Testament, constantly declaring the whole counsel of God, proclaiming the same divine truth that all God's holy prophets from the beginning of the world hath declared, we cordially receive him as a messenger from God; and as it hath pleased God to open a great and effectual door for the preaching his gospel, by this his servant, in some parts of this great continent, whenever it shall please his and our Divine Master to call him to preach the everlasting gospel elsewhere, we wish him God speed, and pray that the good will of Him who was seen in the. bush, may accompany him and make his way clear unto him. But should he at any time preach any other gospel than that which the Apostles proclaimed, we will not wish him God speed, but consider him as a false teacher; and whereas, the great Lord of the harvest has taught us to pray that he would be pleased to send forth laborers into his harvest, and as he never taught us to pray doubting, but has assured us that every one that asketh receiveth, and whosoever seeketh findeth; and as the promise of the divine presence is, to any two or three that meet together in the Saviour's name, we are resolved, by God's grace, whether we are blessed with the public preaching of the word or not, as often as we find convenient to meet together, to supplicate the Divine favor; to praise our redeeming God; to hear his most holy word, and freely to communicate whatever God shall please to manifest unto us, for our mutual edification. And that we may more effectually show forth his praises, who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light, we resolve to pay a serious regard to his expostulations, admonitions and instructions given to us by the spirit of God, in the Epistles dictated to our Holy Apostles. We will, as far as in us lieth, do good to all men, but especially unto them of the house

hold of faith. We will, by the grace of God, in word and in deed endeavor to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour. As children of One Father, as members of one head, We, who are bound together in christian fellowship, will, once every month, meet together to hold conference, and deliberate on whatever may tend to our mutual edification and profit.'



The following letter addressed to the Universalist Society in Gloucester, Mass. by the Universalist Society in Oxford, Mass. will show the origin of this body.

'Oxford, August 28, 1785.

'The Second Religious Society in Oxford, to Mr. John Murray and his Society, sendeth greeting: This Society would wish to congratulate you in the most reciprocal manner, on account of our happy Constitution, which tolerates free liberty of conscience to all denominations of Christians, which cause highly corresponds with the rules of the gospel. But as we expect the executive part of the government will make the most scrutinous investigation into the matter, in order to know who are to be denominated Christians in the Commonwealth; we, being duly sensible that our strength depends on our being cemented together in one united body, in order to anticipate any embarrassment of our constitutional rights, have in some measure organized ourselves, that we may be known as a religious body. And though it may be acknowledged universally that we belong to the spacious family of the great parent of the Universe, yet we are like a child without a name. And as we have had the happiness of Mr. Murray's administrations in this town when we were in a state of miniature as to religious knowledge, therefore we would wish to correspond with the Society at Gloucester. And being informed that you act upon the principle of 'universal benevolence,' it induces this Society most earnestly to desire your friendship and correspondence and advice; for which purpose this Society have appointed an ASSOCIATION to be held at Oxford, on the 14th day of September next, in order to take into consideration what measures will be the most conducive to the good of the society at large. For which purpose we have also written to Boston, Providence, &c., desiring their attendance at the time and place offered. And we should be exceedingly happy to wait on Mr. Murray at the said place, with any of your brethren you shall choose. And as your advice and assistance will be of much consequence to the society at large, we wish for an interview with you.

And may the God of peace be with you and bless you, which is the sincere desire of your friends at Oxford.

'Per order,

To which the following answer was returned:




'The Independent Society of Gloucester have received your friendly epistle the 28th of August, and are glad to express their satisfaction in an opportunity to correspond with you on a subject so important as that held out by your letter. God and nature have made us free, and we hope to enjoy religious liberty by right, and not by sufferance. There is no doubt the executive and judicial departments of government will be attentive to exert and retain all the power they possibly can; but we conceive our cause is so closely interwoven with the cause of the other sectarians, we trust that no jury will be found so uninformed as not to see, that in sacrificing us they destroy themselves. The compass of this sheet would be insufficient to detail a history of what we have passed through, as well as of our present state. A number of pamphlets sent you herewith, will in some measure answer that purpose.

'Had we been a little earlier apprized of your design, one of our society would have accompanied our dear friend and brother, John Murray, whom we have sent on this occasion. We declare ourselves ready to afford you all legal, brotherly, and christian aid in our power, considering ourselves to be strengthened by our union with you. Praying that the Saviour of the world would afford you freedom, peace, and comfort, we are with friendship and esteem, your brethren at Gloucester, B. H. HORDAN.

'Sept. 10th, 1785.'

Here follow the records of the Association at Oxford, as laid before the society in Gloucester, by Mr. Murray, Sept. 28, 1785.

'Oxford, Sept. 14, 1785.

'At a meeting of the "Second Religious Society in Oxford," together with Messrs. Elbanan Winchester, Shippie Townsend, Abijah Adams, John Murray, Francis Liscombe, Daniel Melvil, Jolin Lazeel, Ebenezer Sumner, Noah Wiswall, Samuel French, Caleb Rich, and Laban Bates, council from the different religious societies corresponding with said society, it was

Voted, That Mr. Elhanan Winchester be chosen moderator of said meeting.

Voted, That Mr. Daniel Fisk be clerk.

Voted, That this meeting be adjourned to Thursday, the 15th inst. at 9 o'clock in the morning.

Thursday Sept. 15th, 1785.-Met according to adjournment. Voted, by the several committees, to adopt the name of 'Independent Christian Societies, commonly called Universalists.'

Voted, That each of the committees from Boston, &c. shall con

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