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vey to their several societies, together with the name adopted, a proposal to consider the propriety of each society's agreeing rot only to be called by one name, but to be cemented in one body; consequently bound by the ties of love to assist each other, at any and at all times when occasion shall require.
Voted, That it be recommended to the several societies, that committees of correspondence be appointed, to write circular letters, informing them what measures they have adopted in three months from the date hereof.
Voted, That the committees propose to their constituents the propriety of an annual meeting, and that the first be held in Boston, the second Wednesday in September, 1786.'
The following outline of the rise and progress of the First Universalist Society in the city of Boston, was hastily sketched for the gratification of the brethren in Convention assembled, at Lebanon, (N. H.) Sept. 15th, 1830.
In the year 1785, the society of the late Cotton Mather sold their place of worship to Shippie Townsend, John Stoddard, John Page, Josiah Snelling, and others; but there does not appear to be any records commenced until January 1st, 1786, when it is recorded that various sums of money were collected each sabbath; the first as follows, viz.: 'Jan. 1, 1786, by contribution, £2 1s. Delivered Mr. (Adam) Streeter £2 1s. Jan. 15th, by contribution, £4 9s. 6d. Delivered Mr. (John) Murray £4 9s. 6d. Jan. 22, by contribution, £3 9s. Given between Messrs. Streeter and Murray, £3 9s.' In this manner the records continue until Sept. 12th, 1786, when I find the following: Received of Shippie Townsend, John Stoddard, James Prentiss, John Page, and Josiah Snelling the sum of £16 4s. 11d. as a contribution from the christian society in Boston, for the relief and benefit of the widow and children of our deceased brother Adam Streeter, to be disposed of for said purpose, according to our best discretion, with the advice of the widow. (Signed) Samuel Davis, Jr., Daniel Fisk.'
Brother Murray continued to preach from time to time, and receive from 2 to £4, by contribution, until Sept. 1788, when I find the following record: Sept. 14th, 1788. Voted, to request Mr. Murray to minister to us one half his time, or as much as he can, consistent with his other engagements.' 'Sept. 28. Voted, to give Mr. Murray £4 per fortnight, or every Lord's day he preaches, or £104 a year. The society continued to conduct their concerns in this manner until Feb. 1792, when doubts arose in the minds of many proprietors as to the legality of their proceedings. Accordly, a warrant to Messrs. Townsend, Brazier, Hicks, Dillaway, and
Lane, under the seal of James Sullivan, justice of the peace, throughout the commonwealth,' was obtained, and a meeting called under the warrant, March 1st, 1792, which is the first commencement of a regular record of the proprietors' meetings. At this meeting it was voted to give Mr. Murray £4 per week' until further orders.—April 5th, 1792. It was Voted, to enlarge the meeting-house; but no records are made for several years, excepting at the yearly meeting of the proprietors. This year Brother Richards supplied the desk in the absence of Brother Murray. In 1793, it was 'Voted, That Mr. Murray's salary be £4 per week.' And, 'Voted, That Mr. Richards' salary be £3 per week.' This year also, a regular sexton was chosen.
On Wednesday, Oct. 24th, 1793, Brother Murray was solemnly installed 'Pastor and Teacher of the First Universalist Church and congregation,' by deacon Oliver W. Lane. April, 1791, Mr. Murray's salary was raised to £5. And in 1795, Voted, That Mr. Mursay's salary the present year be 22 dollars each sabbath.' In 1796, a regular tax on pews was laid, to defray the expenses of the society. No important event took place in the society until 1806, in which year they were incorporated by an act of the legislature. In 1810, Brother Mitchell was installed colleague with Brother Murray, and in 1811 the connexion was dissolved. In 1812, the society voted to give brother P. Dean a call, and in 1813 he was installed junior pastor. In 1815, Sept. 3d, brother John Murray departed this life, to dwell with Christ. In 1823, the connexion with Mr. Dean was dissolved, and the desk was supplied by Brother Winchester and Adin Ballou, until the call and settlement of brother Sebastian Streeter, which took place in 1824.-From this society in less than half a century, have emanated six societies, who have erected for themselves places of worship, in this city and vicinity, all of which are as fully attended, if not more so, than any other places of worship.
That God would thus prosper his church throughout the habitable globe, is the earnest prayer of your humble servant,
THOMAS KETTELL, Pro. Clerk.
Boston, Sept. 7th, 1830.
P. S. Since writing the above, brother Hicks handed me some old papers, among which I find the following scrap: March 6th, 1791. The christian church commonly called Universalist, celebrated the Lord's supper for the first time; the number of twenty brethren and nine sisters. It was celebrated after the afternoon exercises, when Mr. Murray had entertained us through the day from Isaiah xxxv., four first verses. The collection was for procuring the elements, and the overplus to furnish the furniture of the table after the bread and wine; for there remains in the hands of Deacon Lane 8s. 1d.'
Exact copy, verbatim.
Concerning the relative History and Sentiments of Murray and Winchester.
John Murray and Elhanan Winchester were both extraordinary men-they were men of uncoinmon talents—they were the founders of a sect of Christians; and as long as their usefulness continued, they were the two principal preachers in that sect. There was about ten years difference in their ages, Mr. Murray being the elder. He came into this country about 1770, aged thirty years; Mr. Winchester was converted to Universalism in 1780, at the same age. Under these circumstances it becomes a very interesting inquiry, what were the feelings of these men towards each other? It is a fact which will be distinctly shown, that their systems of doctrine were decidedly different. Mr. Murray, before his conversion to Universalism, was a strong Calvinist, holding with great pertinacity, the peculiar doctrine of atonement as held by that class of Christians. Salvation, in his view, for the elect, was altogether the effect of the grace of Christ, who had died the just for the unjust, and satisfied the demands of the divine law. He retained these principles in becoming a Universalist. Reading Relly's Union he found that all mankind were united to Christ in a mystical manner, as their head; and that by virtue of this union his sufferings and death were ours, and were the same as to their effect as though every individual had suffered personally in the same manner. He did not hold, while a Calvinist, that the elect were to be damned for their sins, but because God, in the inscrutable purposes of his grace, saw fit to pass by them, and ordain them to dishonor and wrath to the praise of his vindictive justice. In becoming a Universalist he came to consider all men in the same view in which he had regarded the elect, except so far as that some of them remained through life, and until the day of judgment, ignorant of the grace of God, and the salvation he had provided for them. Mr. Winchester, on the contrary, had always believed, that wicked men would be damned forever, not because no atonement had been made for them, but on account of their iniquities. His conversion then, to Universalism, unlike Mr. Murray's, did not consist in being brought to believe that all the sins of every man had been visited upon Christ, but in shortening the term of the sinner's punishment for his own sins. Thus it will be seen their systems were widely different, but they were both Universalists. The salvation of all mankind was the distinguishing doctrine of both, and they were both considered as belonging to the same denomination of Christians. Like Whitefield and Wesley, they were contemporaries, and leaders. The world knows that between Whitefield and Wesley there was no fellowship nor christian feeling. They furnished a sad example of the melancholy fact that two great men, leaders in the same sect,
can rarely live at peace. It becomes the faithful historian of the Universalist denomination to look at Murray and Winchester with this fact in view, and to show these two eminent individuals to the public precisely as they stood in their intercourse with each other.
Elhanan Winchester avowed himself a convert to the doctrine of Universalism, in the month of October, 1780, in the city of Philadelphia. At this time Mr. Murray resided in Gloucester, Mass. and had never met Mr. Winchester, and it may be had not heard of him. The arguments touching the scriptures which are found in a work entitled the Everlasting Gospel,' written originally in German by Paul Siegvolk, an edition of which had been published in Pennsylvania in 1763, had had a great influence on Mr. Winchester's mind. He subsequently read 'Stonehouse on Universal Restitution,' and these two works had a great influence in fixing the peculiar form of his opinions. They are both profuse in their elucidations of the sense of the scriptures, as understood by their authors.
Mr. Winchester's conversion made no small noise throughout the United States. It drew public attention to him, and his pulpit talents being of a high order, his popularity rather increased than diminished after his conversion. Mr. Murray expressed his feelings about this time, in the following words: 'My wish for a union of sentiment among those, especially teachers, who advocate the pure doctrines of God our Saviour, is a predominating wish. I have been accused of assuming the dictator, but the truth is, it would give me inexpressible satisfaction to find, in every town on the continent, a preacher infinitely superior to myself, both for matter and manner. I do not think I should be tortured by envy. God all-gracious, increase the number of faithful, well-instructed laborers, who may administer the truth in righteouness.'-(Letters and Sketches, ii. 111.) Writing to Mr. Winchester he says, 'Many months have elapsed since public fame brought to my ears the soul-reviving intelligence, that a certain gentleman who had breathed forth the spirit of Saul of Tarsus, was now like the apostle Paul preaching that faith which before he persecuted, boldly affirming that in the way the worshippers of Antichrist call heresy, so worshipped he the God of his fa thers. When I heard this report I felt, I believe, much as people in general do when they hear the gospel. I thought it was too good to be true. * * * * * Sir, I felicitate you on the divine discoveries you have made. Go on, then, thou highly favored of the Lord. I bid thee God speed. Go on, and preach Jesus and the resurrection. Cry aloud, spare not; tell professors their trangressions; tell churchmen their sins; and show them that they on whom the tower of Siloam fell, were not sinners worse than they; tell them that their works are evil. They will hate you for this; but remember him who hath said, they hated me before they hated you; and if they have done these things in the green tree, what shall they not do in the dry?'-(Letters, &c. ii. 287, 288.) His introduction to Mr. Winchester, and first acquaintance with him, are thus described on Mr.
Murray's journal: 'I, have a prospect of being introduced to a clergyman of great eminence in the religious world. He was, I am told, a zealous and most inveterate persecutor of those who profess to believe in the doctrines of the gospel; and was diligently employed in searching the sacred records, to qualify himself to enter the lists as a disputant, should chance ever throw me in his way; but being a man of great integrity, and remarkable for candor, much to the astonishment of his clerical brethren, his investigation made him a Universalist of the Chauncey School. Yet this shade of difference I conceived would operate as an effectual bar to his intercourse, or religious communion with me. However, I have, as I said, some reason to expect an interview with this same Mr. Winchester; and my expectation originates in a conversation, of which, considering the event it may produce, I think proper to preserve the following minutes.
G. Have you ever seen Mr. Winchester?
G. I attend on his ministry, sir; and but that he is too ill to go abroad, I am persuaded he would have waited upon you.
M. I am told Mr. W. is ill, sir, and I very much regret his indisposition. I will thank you to present him my respectful compli
G. That I will, sir, with a vast deal of pleasure. I shall be very happy indeed, sir, to carry such a message from you to him.
M. Well, sir, I will make you more happy still. I will pray you to assure Mr. W. of my heart's best affection, not as a compliment, but with such unfeigned sincerity, as one servant of the Redeemer ought to cherish toward another.
G. Well, sir, I am exceedingly pleased to be the bearer of such a message.
To this Mr. Murray adds,' And thus I presume the way is opened for my introduction to this zealous, benevolent, and most uncommon man.'
Again, says Mr. Murray, 'I dined yesterday, agreeably to promise; many gentlemen were present, but, by the life of Pharaoh, they were all spies. However, I treated them as spies in general are treated, when they are not hanged. I gave them something to carry away with them.
My message has been delivered to Mr. Winchester, with which he expressed himself exceedingly pleased. He would have met the party collected, had he been able; and he expressed a strong desire to see and converse with me. If requested, I shall certainly visit him.'****
'I have been, by invitation, to visit Mr. Winchester; he seems tottering on the verge of another world. I have been edified by his remarks; and although I am not united with him in sentiment in every particular, yet we join issue in one glorious and fundamental truth, the final restoration of the whole posterity of Adam, and on