1 i I:
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON
PASTOR OF THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, NEWTON, MS.
EMBRACING HISTORICAL, STATISTICAL, AND ECCLESIASTICAL IN-
FORMATION PERTAINING TO THE TOWN OF
S^^ F6 SMITH. VA
JOHN PUTNAM, 81 CORNHILL.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1819,
By S. F. Smith,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
MEMBERS OF THE
FIRST BAPTIST SOCIETY IN NEWTON,
PAST AND PRESENT,
THIS MEMORIAL OP THEIR VENERATED PASTOR,
BEING DEAD, YET SPEAKETH,
Since I came to the pastorate of the First Baptist
church and Society in Newton, but very few days have
at any time passed, in which I have not heard- some
allusion to the Rev. Joseph Grafton, my honored and
revered predecessor. It has happened to few ministers
to live so vividly in the hearts of their people, so long
after the vail which hides eternity from time has dropped
between them. In most cases it might be said that in
much less time than twelve years, another race " arose,
which knew not Joseph." But the number of those
with whom the good pastor's memory is so fragrant is
rapidly diminishing. A i^ew more years will suffice to
sweep off from the stage most of those who were inter-
ested in his ministrations. I have often heard an ex-
pression of regret, especially among older persons, that
nothing in a permanent form had been done to preserve
the character of that venerable servant of God from
oblivion. On that account I have, for some time past,
cherished the purpose to endeavor to rescue the remain-
ing items that could be secured for the gratification
both of the generation that is now fast fading away, an(J
of those which are and which are soon to be on the
stage. The first Sabbath in the present year, I ex--
hibited in a discourse to my congregation the history
of the church from its commencement. At a parish
meeting shortly afterwards, the members of the society
passed a vote kindly expressing their interest in the
sermon, and requesting its publication. This deter-
mined me to gather up at once such memorials as I
could obtain of the venerable pastor, my predecessor,
who filled so large a space in the history, and to inter-
weave the narrative of his life, so far as possible with
my discourse. This is what I have done in the follow-
ing little book. As father Grafton was not a man who
loved his pen or made much use of it, I have found
but i'ew materials for the illustration of his life. A brief
autobiography has furnished me with the history of his
Christian experience. Most of the remainder I have
elicited in conversation from those who treasured up the
living image of their minister while he was yet with
them. This is especially true of the chapter of " Anec-
dotes ; " there is but a single one of them which I
have ever seen in print.
If any one should be disposed to find fault with
this chapter as deficient in dignity I beg him to remem-
ber that I wish to give, as far as possible, a life-like
portraiture of the man. And in no other way could 1
have done it with such vividness. If any thing in the
chapter is not sufficiently elevated to meet the demands
of a refined and highly polished taste, it should be con-
sidered that father Grafton had already won for himself
a place of honor in the hearts of all who knew him.
He was a peculiar man, living in an age unlike our
own. Most of his parishioners had known and revered
him from their childhood. And though some of his
sallies of wit and pleasantry may not strike us favorably,
they must have appeared differently to those who viewed
them from another position, and who saw them relieved
by a spirit of habitual devotion. The casual peculiari-
ties which gave a charm to his character, and which
add a zest to the contemplation of it, are not of such a
nature as to detract from the reverence with which he
is and ought to be regarded. "The seal is on his
The Appendix contains a variety of information, ec-
clesiastical, statistical, and general, which I trust will
prove not uninteresting to the curious. Many persons,
in the large circle over which the influence of father
Grafton extended, will welcome it, I doubt not, as re-
newing some of the hallowed recollections of the past.
As the town of Newton is fast accumulating a new
population, the items here set down seem to me well
adapted to solve a variety of questions, such as persons
commencing a residence in a new place would be likely
to ask. Several facts which I have introduced are
recorded nowhere else, and many aged persons in the
town do not know them.
For most of the statistical, and other historical infer-
mation contained in the Appendix, I have as vouchers
written documents and the testimony of credible works.
The Records of the Town, of the East Congregational
Church, of the First Baptist Church and of the First
Baptist Society, have furnished many facts of import-
ance. From the Massachusetts Historical Collections,
Mather's Magnalia, and the printed sermons of Rev.
Mr. Grafton, Rev. Dr. Homer and Rev. Mr. Baury, I
have also derived much assistance. The Funeral Ser-
mon by Rev. Dr. Sharp was kindly put at my disposal
by the author, and I doubt not will add much to the
interest of the volume.
I. Early Life and Christian Experience, . . . .13
II. Trials respecting his Engagement in the Ministry, . 22
III. History of the First Baptist Church, Newton, previoas
to the Pastorate of Rev. Mr. Grafton, ... 37
IV. Pastoral Connection with the First Baptist Church, Newton, 46
V. Anecdotes illustrating his character and manner, . 62
VI. Mr. Grafton as a Preacher, 90
VII. Domestic Relations, 124
VIII. Last Days and Death, 127
The Funeral Sermon, by Rev. Dr. Sharp, . . . 147
Notes on the town of Newton, 161
Newton Theological Institution, ..... 165
The First Baptist Meetlng-House, 166
Early proceedings of the First Baptist Society, . • 168
Additional Notes to the Historical Sketch of the First Baptist
Biographical Notice of the Rev. Caleb Blood, . . 177
Churches proceeding from the First Baptist Church in Newton, 183
Ministers who have been Members of the First Baptist Church, 186
Mr. Jonathan Hyde — Mr. Nathan Ward, .... 187
Notices pertaining to the East Congregational Church, 188
Dr. Jonathan Homer, . 19^
Sketchof the Rev. John Eliot, 192
The Mission among the Indians at Newton,
The Congregational Church at West Newton,
Episcopal Church, Lower Falls,
Second Baptist Church, ....
Ministers of Newton, ....
Garrison Houses, ....
" Dignifying the Pews,"
"Noon Houses," ....
Private Admissions to the Church, .
Anecdote of Noah Wiswell, . . .
Chronology of Events, ....
LIFE OF REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON.
EARLY LIFE AND CHRISTLIN EXPERIENCE.
It is a sublime declaration of the sacred Scriptures
that "the righteous shall be had in everlasting re-
membrance." Earth, it is true, loses their memory,
but heav^en retains it. Their sepulchres may become
unknown. The letters on their head-stones may be
obliterated by the hand of time. Their names may
pass into oblivion among men. But on " the hills of
immortality" they are known, and loved, and talked
of, and the history of God's dealings towards them is
celebrated with ever fresh delight. It becomes us,
however, to preserve on earth, as far as possible, the
memory of those whom God loves. The example of
their piety, faith and patience, their labors and their
zeal, is a precious legacy, worthy of a lively and a
It is under this impression that I shall attempt a
brief sketch of the life of Rev. Joseph Grafton.
14 LIFE OF
a man of God, who, twelve years ago the sixteenth
of December last (Dec. IG, 1836), entered into rest
He was born in Newport, R. L, June 9, A. D. 1757.
His parents were natives of Salem, Mass., and were
industrious and honest people. His father, William
Grafton, was a mariner, and, for several years, master
of a vessel in the West India trade. But, disheart-
ened by misfortune, he relinquished the sea at the
age of fjfty years, and devoted himself to the business
of sail-making. On account of his occupation he re-
moved to Providence, with his family, when the sub-
ject of our sketch was about ten years old.
At this period, there were no public schools in Pro-
vidence. Consequently, many of the children of the
town grew up with a very meagre education. Pa-
rents in slender circumstances were unable to afford
their children very extensive advantages, however
highly they might appreciate them. The father of
Mr. Grafton gave to him and to his other children the
best opportunities in his power. But so low was the
standard of education at this time, that the amount
of learning and discipline secured, was barely enough
to enable persons of good natural abilities to pass re-
spectably through the world. The subject of our me-
moir was kept at school until he was more than four-
teen years of age. His only school-apparatus was a
spelling book and Bible; and the opportunities which
he enjoyed reached only to a knowledge of writing,
reading, spelling, and arithrrietic. The study of
grammar, even, was a thing never mentioned.
On leaving school, Mr. Grafton was initiated into
the business of his father. As this occupation was
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 15
immediately connected with navigation, he v/as
brought into frequent contact with sailors; and he
showed himself but too ready to follow their wicked
ways, and to adopt their language and their habits.
He was never, however, bold in wickedness. His
mother, v/hom he believed to be a pious woman, often
conversed with her children, catechized and instructed
them. But if any impressions were made upon his
mind, they were "as the morning cloud, and as the
early dew which goeth away." He was convinced
of the necessity of religion. He was often checked in
his career of sin by the admonitions of conscience,
and he had many occasions of religious awakening.
But, until the eighteenth year of his age, he lived
" without God and without hope in the world."
About this time, in the autumn of 1774 and begin-
ning of 1775, an interesting revival of religion was
experienced in the town of Providence. This reli-
gious attention was confined chiefly to two congrega-
tions; the one, a Congregational church of peculiar
character, under the pastoral care of the Rev. Joseph
Snow; the other, the First Baptist church, then en-
joying the labors of the Rev. James Manning, D. D.,
who was also the President of Brown University.
The former of these churches Mr. Grafton used to at-
tend, with his parents. During this season of re-
ligious interest, he was, for a considerable time, en-
tirely unmoved. After some months, however, his
mother, one evening, asked him, "Do you know
A. B.7" He replied, "Yes." She added, "He is
converted." Converted ! — he thought to himself;
" And do I not need to be converted ? " " Yes," an-
swered conscience. From that moment he felt him-
16 LIFE OF
self a guilty sinner. His first determination was to
live better than he had ever done. He read the Bible,
prayed, and attended religious meetings, both public
and private; but found no improvement in his case.
He was brought to feel that his heart was vile, and
that he had violated the law of God, which is "holy,
just, and good." For about fifteen days, he saw so
clearly the justice of God in condemning him, that he
thought he must certainly perish forever. The law
of God appeared to him so holy and right, that he did
not perceive how God could be just, and maintain the
purity of his law, and yet save such a sinner as he
felt himself to be. He expected to reap the wages of
sin. His mouth was stopped, and he was guilty be-
fore God. That passage, Rom. 9: 22, was much
upon his mind — "What if God, willing to show his
wrath, and to make his power known, endured with
much long-sufiering the vessels of wrath, fitted to
destruction ? " He thought that he was a vessel of
wrath; that by his sins he had fitted himself for de-
struction, and that it would be infinitely just in God
to consign him to everlasting misery; and that it was
the long-sufi'ering of God, which prevented his eter-
nal ruin. He went about from day to day, like a
criminal justly condenmed. While his mind was
thus anxious, he became acquainted wilh a young
man Avhose exercises were of a similar character. As
the residence of this young man was not far away,
they were often together, by night and by day.
United in spirit, like two condemned criminals they
bemoaned together their sin and folly. Tliey often
slept together, and feared lest they should lie down
together in everlasting sorrow. But one morningj
REV. JOSEPH GEAFTON. IT
when Mr. Grafton was at work alone, in his place of
business, this young man came to him with a cheer-
ful countenance. Mr. G. immediately perceived the
alteration that had taken place in his appearance, and
thought within himself, "Now B. B. has found com-
fort to his soul, and I am left." Upon this, the pas-
sage darted into his mind, "I will have mercy upon
whom I will have mercy." He was now led to feel,
that if he should be saved, it must be by sovereign
mercy. The young man proceeded to describe his
happy feelings, and endeavored to persuade his friend
to believe also. As their religious exercises had been
alike hitherto, Mr. G. concluded that if he himself
should ever be converted, he should feel the same
transports of religious joy which animated B. B.
As is usual, however, in such cases, his calcula-
tions were disappointed. One evening, several days
afterwards, he attended a private religious meeting.
When most of the assembly had retired, a young
woman, recently converted, asked him concerning his
religious state. He replied, that he had found no
peace. She said to him, "You must go to God."
His answer was, "I am afraid of God." She re-
joined, "Afraid of God! why you are in his hands,
and it is impossible to flee from him. It is he who
upholds you, and prevents you from sinking in hell."
The words made a deep impression upon his mind.
His views of God were suddenly changed. He felt
that he was surrounded by God; that he could not go
from his Spirit, nor flee from his presence; and yet
this view of God did not terrify him. He seemed to
himself to be lost in wonder. After having commit-
ted himself to God, he retired to rest. In the morning
18 LIFE OF
he was greatly distressed, because he feared that his
rehgious impressions were irrecoverably gone, and
that he should again give himself up to sin, and per-
ish forever. After breakfast, on going forth into the
open air, he stood amazed in beholding the works of
God. He saw God in everything around him. He
looked up, and there he saw God. He viewed the
earth, the grass, the stones, and there he saw God.
Yea, in every atom he beheld the wisdom, the
power, and the goodness of the great "I AM.'' The
question arose in his mind, — "Is he not worthy of
praise ? Ought he not to be praised? " The answer
was, "Yes; why then cannot I praise him 7 " "I
can," was the reply of his heart. Immediately his
whole soul was sweetly drawn out in silent praise.
While he was thus occupied, the scripture passed
through his mind, "The wind bloweth where it list-
eth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not
tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth ; so is
every one that is born of the Spirit."
In this happy frame he continued for a considerable
time. He praised God himself, and wished others to
praise him also. He desired to relate to those about
him how God appeared to him, and how worthy he
is to be loved, adored, and praised. Not far from him
there was a work-shop, in which were several young
men, religiously inclined. He determined to go and
tell them of God's glorious goodness, and to call upon
them to praise him. He went, and began to converse
with them. After having listened to him with atten-
tion for some time, one of them asked him, " Are you
not converted 7" He replied, "I do not know
whether I am converted or not. This I know — that
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 19
God is good ; that he is worthy of our love, and
ought to be adored by all his creatures." His mind
was so much absorbed in his views of God, that he
forgot, for a time, that there was such a being as him-
self in existence. When asked again if he was not
converted, he seemed surprised, like one awaking out
of sleep. How great was the contrast of his present
and his former feelings ! Before, guilt had burdened
his soul. Justice pursued him through every path,
with its drawn sword, calling for vengeance, and
threatening him, as a sinner, with deserved destruc-
tion. His mouth was stopped, and he was guilty be-
fore God. Now all was serenity, peace, and joy —
'•joy unspeakable and full of glory." His language
was — to use a quotation employed by himself to de-
scribe his emotions at this time —
" O what immortal joys I felt,
And raptures all divine —
When Jesus told me I was his,
And my Beloved, mine."
After having enjoyed this tranquil and comfortable
frame of mind for three weeks, he began to inquire
into the reasons of the change he had experienced.
He was conscious that it was not the fruit of any ef-
fort of his own. He could no more create the new
views and feelings by which he was animated, than
he could create a world. He asked himself, " How
is it that God's law seems no longer to condemn me?
Why am I not afraid of hell 1 And how is it that
God can forgive my sins through Jesus Christ? Who
is Jesus Christ, and what has he done to open a way
of reconciliation between man and God?" Here the
20 LIFE OF
gospel method of salvation was unfolded to him. He
saw that Christ was one in essence, one in design,
one in affection with the Father ; that they were not
antagonistic, but harmonious, in opening a way of
pardon for ruined man. The Father planned, the
Son assented. The Father gave his Son, the Son of-
fered himself. By his obedience and sufferings he
brought in everlasting righteousness. In him as the
Mediator, mercy and truth met together, righteous-
ness and peace embraced each other. He saw how
God could be as just in pardoning the sinner, as in
punishing him. Often did he exclaim with the apos-
tle, " Great is the mystery of godliness." His former
sinful companions and amusements were dead to him,
and he was dead to them. His delight was in reli-
gious duties, and in the society of the people of God.
He found in the Bible great comfort, and that instruc-
tion which his soul thirsted after. Thus he com-
menced his religious career. Old things were passed
away; all things had become new.
In this clearly marked and striking manner did the
Holy Spirit proceed in regenerating this future mes-
senger of salvation. God came not in the tempest,
the earthquake, or the fire ; but in the slill, small
voice. He did not overwhelm his creature with ter-
rors ; he drew him by his love. The change was
sufficiently obvious to create in the subject of it an
humble confidence that God had wrought it by his
mighty power; though in its progress, God, to some
extent, concealed his hand. He who designed him to
be a minister of glad tidings to his fellow-men, in his
wisdom caused the type of his Christian experience
to resemble that which he would be likely most fre-
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 21
quenily to meet in his future work. In his spiritual
exercises there was no boisterous excitement ; but
calm, clear and evangelical views, under the influence
of which he was led to cherish entire self-despair, and,
as a lost sinner, to flee for refuge to the sovereign
mercy of God in Jesus Christ.
After a few weeks, he made a public profession of
religion, and united with the Congregational church
in Providence, then under the pastoral care of the
Rev. Joseph Snow. This church was of a mixed
character, many of the members being, in almost
every respect, Baptist in their opinions, but choosing
this church on account of its principles of free or
mixed communion. It would seem also that persons
desirous of joining here, were immersed, if they pre-
ferred it, no questions being asked, nor any eftbrts
used to turn them from their principles. Mr. G. had
attended this church with his parents from the time
that he was ten years of age. Before uniting with
the church, he examined the Scriptures in respect to
baptism ; and he was not long in deciding that they
teach that immersion is the only mode, and believers
in Jesus Christ the only scriptural subjects, of that
ordinance. And so he was baptized. He said, many
years afterwards, that, after this solemn transaction,
he could say, with a good conscience, that his great-
est object was to live agreeably to his profession.
TRIALS RESPECTING HIS ENGAGEMENT IN THE MINISTRY.
He who sanctified Jereiiiiab, and ordained him, be-
fore 1 is birth, to be a propliet to the nations, ordained
the subject of this memoir, as a chosen vessel, to
preach the unsearchable riches of Christ. After hav-
ing traced the progress of his long and successful min-
istry, and observed his peculiar adaptation, in many
respects, for that work, we cannot doubt that this
was the sphere of labor and of usefulness for which
God had prepared him. But Mr. Grafton shrunk
from the idea of filling so responsible a station. '' No
man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is
called of God, as was Aaron." And it was no easy
matter for Mr. G. to persuade himself that this was
the path to which the finger of God was pointing
This was a period of critical interest to the North
American colonies. The business of the country was
turned aside from its customary channels, or wholly
prostrated. Life, liberty, and property, were liable
to be wrested from their possessors. Hardships and
temptations abounded. Many of the young men were
connected with the army, and Mr. G. was left almost
alone. He did not enter the army, but performed his
quota of military duty when called upon, as did all who
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON.
were able to bear arms. Thus he was preserved from
those scenes of excitement and of sin, under whose
baleful influence his devotional spirit might have suf-
fered an irrecoverable shock. He was also spared
from exposure to dangers in which so many lives
were sacrificed. God had undertaken to deal with
him in respect to a question of duty; and the routine
of ordinary life was better adapted to the course of
divine dealing which was to be instituted with him,
than the din of camps and the array of battle-fields.
Soon after he had made a profession of religion,
Mr. Grafton began to inquire into the duties appro-
priate to his station as a church member. ''Why
have I professed religion ? What is my duty in the
church, and what does God require of me?" — were
questions often in his mind. Regarding the church
" as a building fitly framed together," — as a vine-
yard, in which every member is a laborer, — he be-
lieved that he had a part to take in the service of
Christ, for which he was personally responsible.
With this view he attended public and private reli-
gious meetings, and often took part in prayer and ex-
hortation. Thus he continued for many months, still
ruminating on the inquiry, " Lord, what wilt thou
have me to do 7"
Once when he was thus reflecting on the path of
duty and of usefulness, the thought came into his
mind, whether, at some future period, it might not be
his duty to preach the gospel to his fellow-men.
Surprised at the thought, and unwilling for a moment
to entertain it, he instantly replied to the suggestion,
" No, it can never be." From this period, until he
actually entered on the work of the ministry, — for
24 LIFE OF
seven years, — he passed through many trials, and
was often the victim of anxious thoughts respecting
his duty. To become a minister of the gospel seemed
to him so great a cross that he thought he could never
bear it. Often, he remarked, did he think that he
would rather be a galley-slave, than expose himself
to public view as a preacher of the word of life. He
kept his exercises of mind to himself, until " the word
of the Lord was as a fire shut up in his bones." He
imagined himself to be under a delusion. He thought
that there were other young men in the church, of
more promising abilities than himself; and that if
God designed any among them for the service of the
ministry, he could not be the most probable candi-
date. At one time, he labored to suppress all
thoughts of the subject. At another, he resolved to
search the Scriptures, that he might learn what qual-
ities are required in a minister ; anticipating that he
should find in himself a marked deficiency of those
qualities, and that the question would be thus eflfectu-
ally set at rest. He objected that he had neither the
natural abilities, nor the intellectual acquisitions that
were requisite. He did not doubt the evidence that
he was a pious man ; but he judged that gifts were
necessary, in addition to grace — such gifts as he sup-
posed himself not to possess. He dreaded lest he had
been under a fidse impression in those points in which
he had taken encouragement. Again he applied him-
self to his Bible; but instead of escaping from the
suggestion that he should serve God in the sacred of-
fice, unnumbered passages confirmed the idea. He
feared to communicate his thoughts to any of his
brethren, and in solitude endeavored to banish them.
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 25
But the effort was vain. After a long tiQ:ie, he dis-
closed his state of mind to a member of Brown Uni-
versity, a very religious man, and a candidate for the
ministry, — ^enjoining upon him perfect secrecy. This
friend said to him, that if God called him to preach,
he would open a door in his providence for his en-
trance into the ministry. He advised him to continue
to exercise his gifts in the social meetings, waiting upon
God in the dictates of his word and providence; trust-
ing that if he had ministerial talents, the church would,
in time, discern them. With this advice, he was, for
the present, satisfied, hoping to quiet his conscience
by laboring as a private Christian, and anticipating
that the church would fail to discover in him the
requisite gifts ; and that he should thus avoid the ser-
vice which filled him with so much dread.
His early associations had given him the impression
that a collegiate education was indispensable to one
who would enter the sacred ofiice ; and as he had not
such an education, he tried to believe that he was
perhaps excused. Again he went to his Bible, to see
if the early preachers of the gospel were men of ex-
tensive attainments. He found that, up to the time
when they came under the immediate instruction of
Jesus Christ, they were chiefly unlettered men, and
engaged in laborious occupations. In the third chap-
ter of Paul's first epistle to Timothy, concerning the
qualifications of a bishop, which he read often and
attentively, he found no direct mention made of deep
and varied learning.* Then he supposed that the
* Nothing that is here said should be construed as if
the Scriptures contained sentiments adverse to a compe-
26 L I F E O F
miraculous gifts of the apostolic age were a sufficient
substitute for a literary education. This, however,
did not fully satisfy him. He thought that in the
present state of the world, it was necessary at least
to be acquainted with the original languages of the
Scriptures; and without an education, he felt deter-
mined never to attempt to preach the gospel. Thus
his mind was tossed. Still, however, he continued
to take part in the social religious meetings of the
church. He seems also, about this time, to have
begun to yield ; at least so far as to seek an op-
portunity of further mental training, as preparatory
to the work to which he began to suspect that per-
haps God had called him. The student before men-
tionedj to whom he had disclosed his exercises, hav-
ing now graduated at college, and taken a pastoral
charge in the State of Connecticut, he addressed a
tent education in those who are called to the labors of
the gospel ministry. In writing to Timothy, it was the
plan of the apostle to treat of other than literary qualifi-
cations. It is manifest that he did not undervalue such
acquisitions, from the fact that he exhorted the same
youthful minister to " give attendance to reading," — an
exhortation which, in that age of the scarcity of books,
could not be complied with, unless by great and assidu-
ous effort, and the most active perseverance. High
natural qualifications and divine endowments are espe-
cially to be desired; but it is manifest that no intellectual
furniture is to be spurned, nor any acquisition to be
lightly omitted, by which the minister of Christ may be
made more competent to honor his divine Master, or to
save the souls of his fellow men.
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 27
letter to him, asking his assistance in obtaining some
literary advantages. This gentleman interested him-
self ill Mr. G.'s behalf, and secured from a third per-
son the offer of board and tuition for Mr. G., for the
space of three months, provided he should receive a
proper recommendation from the church.
As he was a minor, he deemed it necessary to se-
cure the consent of his parents. They objected to
his leaving them, because they were in slender cir-
cumstances and needed his labor. He then laid the
matter before the minister and deacons of the church.
But in view of the opposition of his parents, and be-
cause the enemy were then in possession of a part of
the State, they thought it unwise for him to leave
home. This disappointment seemed to him to settle
the question. Divine Providence seemed now to
have shut up his path in respect to the attainment of
a suitable education, and he resolved to think no
more on the subject. But such was the state of his
mind, that the words were often ringing in his ears —
'' Wo is me, if I preach not the gospel."
He now sunk into a kind of spiritual lethargy.
The broken and wasted state of the country commu-
nicated a disheartening influence to his mind. Many
promising young men had been ruined by the war,
and vice and profligacy, the sure attendants of such
a state of public calamity, everywhere abounded.
Under these circumstances, he was married, Dec. 12,
A. D. 1779, and thus seemed to himself to have fixed
his lot in a private station in life. The lady to whom
he became united, was a daughter of Capt. Barnard
Eddy, who died on his way to join the Northern
army, in the year 1776. She was the young person
28 L I F E F
before mentioned, who first addressed him, after a
religious meeting, in such a way as to lead to the
marked change in the character of his religious exer-
cises. Their marriage proved to be one of great
happiness. Mr. Grafton remarked concerning this
union, "We were happily united in religion as well
as in our worldly and domestic affairs. I cannot
recollect that she ever gave me a cross word or an
angry look. Thus serene was my morning sky."
Soon after he was settled in life, two of the deacons
of the church, visiting him one evening, said, "We
have come to converse with you, for we are dissatis-
fied with you, because you are backward in in:)prov-
ing your gifts." After much conversation, they pro-
posed to appoint a meeting of the church, that he
might preach before them, so that they might have
opportunity to judge of his gifts and qualifications.
He consented to the arrangement, believing and se-
cretly wishing, that they might be convinced of his
want of ability. He thought that if the church
should pronounce an opinion adverse to his preach-
ing, he could plead that opinion as an excuse, and
thus abundantly satisfy his conscience. At the ap-
pointed time, he appeared before his brethren. He
felt a consciousness of the presence of God, and deter-
mined to speak according to the light he enjoyed.
The text which he chose was 2 Tim. 3 : 16, "All
Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profit-
able for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for in-
struction in righteousness." He exhibited, in this
discourse, his views of the doctrines of grace, or those
truths the knowledge of which is important to salva-
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 29
The church at once decided that it was his duty to
preach, wherever divine Providence should open a
door, and gave him their approbation in so doing.
But he was now less at ease than before. Reluctant
to 3^ield to the inward monition, it was made doubly
importunate by this expression of the opinion of his
brethren. He compounded the matter by preaching
occasionally, and at the same time continuing his
But God was evidently displeased with his reluc-
tance, and showed his displeasure by overwhelming
him with a succession of severe afflictions. In a
course of years, the marriage union into which he had
entered, was blessed by the birth of two sons. In
May, 1783, the eldest sickened and died. Directly
afterwards, the other son began to decline, and in six
weeks more, died also. From the time of the death
of this infant child, the mother, who was naturally
possessed of a delicate constitution, faltered ; and
having lingered till March 27, 1784, she followed her
babes to the world of spirits. Thus God's way was
in the deep waters, and his servant was left solitary
and childless. Mrs. G. died in a triumphant manner,
aged 27 years. Their married life had extended only
to four years, three months, and fifteen days. Mr.
G. was sustained under these repeated trials by the
power of the gospel ; but it is no wotider that he was
led with deep anxiety to ask why God was dealing
with him in judgment.
After this, sad and desolate, he continued to pursue
his worldly business, thinking little of the ministry,
and falling into a state of spiritual languor. But God
had not relinquished his purposes concerning him.
30 L I F E O F
In the month of July, 1784, Mr. G. was seized with
pulmonary hemorrhage. The violence of the attack,
and the debihty superinduced by it were such as to
leave him but little hope of recovery. His great in-
quiry then was, " Am I prepared to die? Is my lamp
trimmed and burning?" His conscience answered,
No. He had not done his duty, which was indicated
by the word and providence of God. He had lived
in disobedience. Eternity was in full view before
him, and he feared lest the Judge should say concern-
ing him, " Take ye the unprofitable servant, and bind
him, hand and foot, and cast him into outer dark-
ness." He was conscious that he had not improved
the talents which God had given him ; and now he
thought that he was about to be summoned before a
just Judge, to give account. He had great darkness
and distress of soul for a considerable time. Though
Christ had died for him, he thought that he had been
ashamed of Christ. To use his own words, — " I con-
sidered myself as the property of God. He created
me with such talents as he thought best. ' And shall
the thing formed say unto him that formed it, why
hast thou made me thus?' And if God had called
me to preach, should I object, when my duty was
made plain to me, because I had not greater gifts,
or could not acquire that degree of learning which
I desired? My mouth was stopped, and I was
dumb and guilty before God. In this state of mind,
under my weakness, my physician visiting me twice
a day, was 1 thus exercised, and no human creature
knew my distress, — or a thought that occupied my
mind. 1 did not give up my hope in the Redeemer.
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 31
But O, what a sense of guilt and what darkness per-
vaded my soul. ' How ungrateful to him who died
for my sins — and I, unwilling to preach his gospel.'
I presumed it was now too late for me to speak of the
preciousness of Christ. ' My days are almost num-
bered. I am now going the way of all the earth. I
have none to depend upon for help, but that Saviour
of whom I have been ashamed. Could T live to speak
his praise, I would devote my all to him ; but my
strength and health are gone.' Such was the lan-
guage of my soul. My friends supposed me to be in
a consumption, and I did not expect to continue long.
My prayer was, ' God be merciful to me a sinner.' "
One day, as he was thus bemoaning his sad case,
with the Bible open before him, he turned to the
chapter in Isaiah which recites the account of the
sickness and reprieve of Hezekiah. In many respects,
he found the narrative applicable to his own state.
As he drew to the close of it, reading and comment-
ing, faith and trust in God sprang up in his soul. He
was strongly impressed with the idea that he should
recover ; and from that hour his symptoms of decay
began to abate. He was extremely weak, however,
and for many months was confined to a spare diet.
But he was now deeply impressed with the duty of
giving himself wholly to the work of the ministry.
He lost all anxiety about the aflfairs of this life, and
heard only the words ringing in his ears, " Go thou
and preach the gospel." On his knees before God,
he offered himself a living sacrifice to him, and con-
secrated his talents, once for all, to the Saviour who
had loved him and given himself for him.
The contest was now ended. The rebellious ser-
^^ LIFE OF
vant of God had ceased to struggle against the de-
mands of duty, and Avas ready to do his Master's
bidding. Had he willingly yielded in the first in-
stance, how many anxious thoughts and painful
strifes he would have avoided.
We are firmly convinced that he whose duty it is
to devote himself to the service of God in the minis-
try, must be called to that work by the Holy Ghost.
We believe that no gifts, nor talents, nor learning are
sufficient to constitute a call to the sacred office, in
the absence of this divine summons. And in the'se-
ries of strange providences by which many, particu-
larly of the older ministers of the Baptist denomina-
tion, were induced to leave their worldly callings for
the preaching of the gospel, we recognize not so much
the call, as the evidence of the call. Still we do not
deem it necessary that in every case he who is de-
signed for this work should pass through such a se-
ries of painful experiences. The peculiar circum-
stances of that period, and of the individual, should
be taken into consideration. The prevailing impres-
sion in the community was, that no one could be
called to the ministry, who had not enjoyed the ben-
efits of a collegiate education. Mr. Grafton had been
blessed with but few opportunities of a literary charac-
ter; and though his natural abilities were excellent, his
acquisitions were very limited. He was engaged in
a secular occupation, and treading in the obscurer
walks of life. From this situation he had no desire
or design to emerge, and no powerful friends among
the learned and the influential to overcome his scru-
ples and to draw him forth. It was no trifling mat-
ter for him to break from the circle of his business
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 33
connections. It required great moral courage and
daring, from a mechanical trade, toilsome in itself,
and which associated him more particularly with
seamen and laborers, the obscure and unknown, to
press into the ranks of one of the learned professions,
whose duties would involve a constant demand upon
intellectual resources, which, he was conscious, were
in his case, very small. It was necessary that God
should deal with him otherwise than with persons
free from any worldly business to bind them, and
already furnished intellectually with a higher amount
of acquired qualifications than Mr. Grafton ever could
boast. God adapts his agencies to the ends to be ef-
fected, and to the character and circumstances of
those whom he wishes to act upon. And we have
cause to adore that divine energy which, in this case,
wrought effectually to call forth this eminent servant
of God from obscurity to a wide sphere of usefulness,
and to labors whose benign results will be brought to
light only with the glorious revelations of eternity.
Soon after his recovery, he received from the church
of which he was a member, a full license to preach,
and thenceforth devoted himself to the work of the
ministry. He labored at first, for some time, at Re-
hoboth Neck, so called. Afterwards, he preached by
invitation at Plainfield, Connecticut, to a " separate
Congregational church," where he continued fifteen
months. It was during his residence with this
church, that his mind began to be exercised on the
terms of communion. He perceived how unscrip-
tural and indefensible was the ground on which he
had stood. In the year 1787, he asked dismission
from the church with which, for twelve years, he had
*^^ L I F E O F
been associated, and joined the First Baptist Church
The letter of dismission breathes a beautiful spirit
of piety and Christian love. It is so peculiar, that
we copy it from the origiiial document. It must not
be judged by the rules of rhetoric or of grammar.
Conformity to the latter is no part of the author's
care. It was probably written by a private and illit-
erate brother, being in a different hand from the si-
nature of the pastor. It is as follows : ""
"The church of Christ in Providence to the churches of Christ in general
'' Dear Brethren,~We are persuaded that all the
churches who believe in Christ, and are united to
him, and drink in of his spirit, and labor to walk by
his directions, are all one in Christ, their head, thou-h
they may be called by different names. ""
"And that all such churches and members in this
state of probation are imperfect in light and love, as
m all other graces ; and even now, while we are
striving after perfection, we hope through infinite rich
grace by the blood of Christ to be washed and made
holy, and with all saints finally be received as his
church triumphant, and reign with him forever.
With these views we express ourselves, in the third
article of our Covenant, that we will labor, by God's
assistance, to hold regular communion with the whole
regular, mystical body of Christ.
" Wherefore, brethren, we would now inform you
that our brother, Joseph GRAFTON,-who, more than
two years back, we recommended as a preacher of
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 35
the gospel, and his labors to this day appear to be
well accepted among the brethren, and we trust for
the good of others, — and, as he thinks it his duty to
give himself wholly to the work, that if a door should
be opened in divine Providence for his settlement in
any one place, or if he should think it proper to be
sent out to preach the gospel at large, — either of
which we freely give him fellowship —
" But as his mind, at present, seems to be strait-
ened, in respect to his holding visible communion
with churches in the Congregational order, and re-
quests to be dismissed from us and to be recommend-
ed to some other church, — which thing we have taken
under deliberate consideration, and, in brotherly love,
all things considered, do comply with his request.
And though at present he appears not so cordially to
commune with all the churches which we believe our
blessed Lord appears visibly to commune with, yet
we feel charity and tenderness towards our brother;
and, excepting this one point, as above, we can fully
recommend him to all the churches as a preacher of
the gospel, and as a member in regular standing with
and in our church.
" And furthermore, if this, our aforesaid brother,
should apply to any one church agreeable to his mind
to join to, we address ourselves in particular imto
you, that if, upon our recommendation of our brother
as above, and his offering of himself, you are cordial
and free to receive him into your church, — by these
lines we, therefore, dismiss this our brother from
under the particular watch and care of this church,
and commit him over to the particular watch and
care, and as a proper member of your church.
36 REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON.
'^ These, with our hearty wish and prayer for peace
and prosperity, unity and harmony to abound among
you, and all the dear churches of our common Lord
and Head of all his churches, — we subscribe ourselves,
" Your brethren in the Lord,
" Joseph Snow, Elder ^
" In behalf of the church.
" Providence, August 13, 1787."
Having united with the Baptist church in Provi-
dence, Mr. G. immediately received an invitation to
preach to the Baptist church in Hampton, Conn.,
where he labored several months. During his stay,
a work of grace appeared among the people, and he
was twice formally invited to settle with them. He
saw fit, however, to decline the invitation.
Leaving Hampton, he visited Newton, which be-
came the scene of his protracted and useful labors,
and where his flesh now rests, in hope of a glorious
resurrection. At this poirit, a few notices in respect
to the place of his labors, and especially the church
with which his history is identified, will not be devoid
SKETCH OF THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, NEWTON, PRE-
VIOUS TO THE PASTORATE OF REV. MR. GRAFTON.
It is useful to contemplate the path by which God
has led us in the past, and at the same time to view
his hand in the present. It is a trite, but true re-
mark, that God is in history. He is in political histo-
ry, in the history of the church, and in the history of
every individual. He who examines his own past
life can easily discern in it the hand of God. In his
temporal mercies and deliverances, and in spiritual
things, who is there that cannot lay his finger upon
successive events, and say of them, with a conscious-
ness of the truth of his words, " This, and that, indi-
cated the hand of God ?" Still more in ecclesiastical
history generally, and in the history of individual
churches, it is interesting and profitable to mark in
what manner God has guided his people in prosperity,
interposed for them in trial, built them up from the
days of their weakness, raised up supporters for them
in their poverty, blessed them with his Holy Spirit,
and made them nurseries for souls, and the outer
courts of heaven. A Christian church, organized
with the divine sanction, and adhering to the truth
and to holiness, may expect the continued divine ben-
ediction. Occasionally it may pass through days of
darkness. Friends and supporters may be with-
drawn. The Holy Spirit, for a season, may withhold
3S LIFE OF
his refreshing, reviving influences; and the people of
God may tremble for the ark of God. But God will
never forsake it. A gospel church is a society in
which God is peculiarly interested, and to which he
is peculiarly present. When men acknowledge Jeho-
vah as their Lawgiver, Judge and King, they have
reason to look with the highest hope on their pros-
pects, and to trust in his word even in the greatest
In the Christian church, as a body of believers, and
in the history of individual churches, these principles
have been abundantly illustrated. " Look upon
Zion, the city of our solemnities. Thine eyes shall
see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that
shall not be taken down ; not one of the stakes
thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of
the cords thereof be broken. For the Lord is our
Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our
King, and he will save us."
The town of Newton was originally a part of the
town of Cambridge. In the true spirit of our Puritan
fathers, early provision was made by the inhabitants
for their religious instruction. According to the cus-
tom which prevailed in New England at the begin-
ning, all the people of the town formed one religious
society, of the Congregational order, under one min-
ister, elected by the tov/n, and all were taxed for his
support. The settlement of the minister, the provi-
sion to be made for his sustenance, and all other
things pertaining to the public worship, were matters
of town business. Under this system lived the first
four ministers of the town, John Eliot, son of the
Apostle to the Indians, Nehemiah Hobart, John Cotton,
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 39
and Jonas Meriam. The latter died August, 1780, the
month following the organization of the Baptist church,
of which Mr. Grafton was pastor. This was 108 years
after the gathering of the First Church in Newton.
While we disapprove of some things in the ecclesi-
astical system of that period, others are worthy of
imitation. Ministers were not then settled in haste.
John Cotton, the third minister of the town, was
elected to the pastoral charge, March 22, A. D. 1713;
but it was not till Sept. 28, 1714, — more than a year
and a half afterwards, — that arrangements were
made by the assembled burgesses for his ordination.
Mr. Meriam was called Dec. 9, 1757 ; but he was
not ordained till May 22, 1758. The average period
of the residence of the first four pastors, was exactly
twenty-seven years. Casting out of the account the
case of Mr. Eliot, who died in four years after his set-
tlement, the average period of the pastorate of the
second, third, and fourth ministers, was 34 2-3 years.
From an early period there were persons residing
in the town of Newton, whose principles were in har-
mony with those of the Baptist denomination. The
first of whom any account remains, was Mr. Jonathan
Willard, who was baptized Dec. 7, A. D. 1729, and
united with the First Baptist Church in Boston.
Somewhat more than two years later, (May 7, A. D.
1732,) " Esther Willard, of Newton, was baptized,
and received into the" same "church." Mr. Wil-
lard lived till the age of ninety-four years. " He was
not a little wondered at on account of his religious
sentiments." For several years, this family seem to
have been alone. Seventeen years later, July 21, A.
D. 1749, Noah Parker, of Newton, was baptized, and
40 L I F E O F
admitted to the Second Baptist Church in Boston.
Sept. 1, of the same year, Esther Parker was baptized
and admitted to the same church ; and July 1, A. D.
1753, Mrs. Sarah Parker, wife of Mr. Noah Parker,
having been previously baptized by Dr. Thomas
Green, of Leicester, was also admitted. David Rich-
ardson, having been propounded to the same church,
was baptized and received a member in full commun-
ion, July 2, 1758. Shortly afterwards other Baptists
were residing in the town, although the circumstan-
ces of their baptism and place of membership do not
appear. The town records contain an attested cer-
tificate, signed by Rev. Mr. Green, of Leicester, and
dated Sept. 9, 1754, affirming that he had baptized
Messrs. John Hammond, Noah Wiswell, and Thomas
Parker. The year before this, (May 14, 1753,) Mr.
Wiswell and others sent in a memorial to the town
meetings praying that they might be exempted from
paying a ministerial tax for the support of the clergy-
man of the town, because they were conscientious
Baptists, and paid a tax elsewhere. The town voted
that their petition be not granted. Three years later,
March 15, 1756, some of the Baptists, it would seem,
had fallen into arrears in respect to the payment of
their ministerial rates, hoping that the citizens would
abate the demand. But the matter, on being brought
up in the town meeting, was disposed of in a most
summary way. The records of the town register
the action of the freemen in the following manner •
" After some debate on the request of John Hammond
and others, that they might not be rated for the sup-
port of the ministry, the question was put, whetlier
they should be excused for the time past ; and it
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 41
passed in the negative. And then the question was
put, whether they should be excused for the future ;
and it passed in the negative." This system of
measures, however, did not check the extension rf
Baptist views. Candor and charity, exercised
towards men conscientious in their action, would
have been far wiser. But the policy of exclusiveness
The town records, eighteen years later, contain a
certificate addressed to the town, atFirming that cer-
tain persons therein named, being ten in number,
were Anti-Pedobaptists, symbolizing with them in
belief, and ordinarily worshipping with persons of
that persuasion. These were John Dana, John Ken-
rick, Caleb Whitney, Thomas Parker, Eben. Bartlett,
Joseph Hyde, Nathaniel Parker, Thomas Tolman,
widow Abigail Richardson, and Elisha Bartlett.
This certificate was dated August 12, 1774. The
strictness of the people began at last to relent. In
June, 1776, James Richards and Edward Hall were
excused from ministerial taxes ; and four years after-
wards, July 5, 1780, the First Baptist Church was
In the autumn of 1740, Rev. George Whitefield
made his first visit to New England, and preached in
such a way as to awaken general interest. As a
fruit of his labors, great attention to religion prevailed
for several years. The people were aroused from a
dead formalism. The more spiritual and the newly
converted, dissatisfied with the low state of piety
which was deemed a sufficient passport to the Lord's
table, desired a purification of the churches, corres-
ponding to the inspired direction, ''Come out from
42 L I F E O F
among them and be ye separate, and touch not the
imclean thing." The result of this movement was
the formation, in several towns, of what were called
separate, or New Light churches. This name was
given them as a term of reproach, as if they pretend-
ed to have received new light from heaven. A
church of this character was formed at Newton.
They held their assembly at the house of one of their
members (Mr. Nathan Ward), who subsequently be-
came their leader or pastor. Soon after the settle-
ment of Mr. Ward, the minds of some of the members
became interested to search the Scriptures on the sub-
ject of baptism. The result was, that many of them
were baptized on profession of their faith, and after
the example of the Lord Jesus. They still retained
their connection, however, with the church, and Mr,
Ward retained his Pedobaptist views. After a time,
the majority of the church having become Baptists,
Mr. Ward retired from among them. He had per-
formed the duties of his office about seven years.
The Baptist brethren continued to assemble on the
Lord's day, at first in dwelHng houses, but afterwards
in a school-house. Their worship was conducted by
Deacon Jonathan Richardson and Mr. John Dana,
the father of Nathan Dana, who was afterwards li-
censed by the church, and ordained at Newton, No-
vember 20, 1793. Whenever they could obtain the
labors of ministers, it gave tliem great joy ; and sev-
eral ministers, in the true apostolic spirit, visited and
labored among them. For nearly twenty years, they
continued in this manner to maintain divine worship
and the ordinances of the New Testament, waiting
for the salvation of God.
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 43
The beginning of the year 1780 was marked by a
peculiar religious interest in the town of Newton. In
the spring of that year, Mr. Elhanan Winchester, who
afterwards embraced and preached the doctrine of
Universal Restoration, visited the place. His labors
were attended with a divine blessing, and several
persons, having become hopefully pious, received the
ordinance of baptism from his hands. Ministers who
heard of the work of grace, came and labored with
the people in the gospel. The number of converts
increased to such a degree, that they were advised to
organize themselves into a church. Preliminary
meetings were held June 6th, 10th, 15th, and 22d, at
which a statement of the views of the brethren as to
the duties of a church and of its members, was dis-
cussed, and drawn up in twenty-one articles. These
articles make no mention of theological tenets, but
relate only to what was anciently and quaintly called,
"church-building." On Wednesday, July 5, 1780,
the members met in the house on the east side of the
road, opposite Wiswell's Pond, for the purpose of
being publicly recognized as a church of Jesus Christ,
and the First Baptist Church in Newton. Three
ministers were present, — Rev. Noah Alden, of Bel-
lingham, Rev. Thofnas Gair, of Medfield, and Rev.
Caleb Blood, late of Marlow, N. H. After having
examined and approved the steps taken by the mem-
bers, Mr. Alden preached from Acts 2 : 47 — " Prais-
ing God and having favor Avith all the people. And
the Lord added to the church daily such as should
be saved." "After which, Mr. Gair made a prayer,
and read over a summary confession of faith — to
which thirty-eight persons assented, in the presence
44 LIFE OF
of a nnmerons congregation.. The whole was con-
cluded by an exhortation from Mr. Blood."
Ten days after this public ceremony (July 15), the
church voted to invite Mr. Blood to take the pastoral
care. In January following (1781), a committee was
appointed to request the brethren at Weston to con-
sent that Mr. Blood might preach at Newton a part
of the time, until the spring. At that time, Mr. Blood
became a resident of Newton, and fulfilled the duties
of the pastorate until January 24, 1788. To aid in
his support, he taught the district school in the south
district in Newton (Oak Hill) for two winters. By
those who remember him, his preaching is said to
have been "plain, bold, faithful and able." Though
his ministry was short, he was much beloved. On
the evening after he had taken his leave of his people,
two sisters, then mere children, went home in tears,
and it is said that one of them steadily affirmed that
she would willingly leave her father and mother, and
all that she held dear, for the privilege of accompa-
nying Mr. Blood, even if he should go to the ends of
He was very affectionate in his preaching, and
seemed to have a deep sense of the importance of re-
ligion and the worth of souls. In his exhortations to
the young, from the pulpit, the tears were often seen
coursing down his cheeks, and sometimes by the
intensity of his feelings he was wholly overcome.
The support which the church was able to give,
proving inadequate to liis necessities, Mr. Blood then
asked a dismission from the church and society,
which was granted. The records both of the church
and society contain an official letter to Mr. Blood,
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 45
communicating to him an account of the action of the
members on his rejqnest, which is highly creditable
both to them and to him. He retired to Shaftsbury,yt.,
whence he afterwards removed to the Charles Street
Baptist Church in Boston, and thence to the First
Church in Portland, Me., where he died March 6,
1814. When Mr. Blood became the pastor, the num-
ber of members who had been admitted to the church
was seventy -three ; at his dismission, the number
was ninety-two. The number of additions was nine-
teen. His pastorate continued about seven years.*
* A brief memoir of Mr. Blood, which appeared in the
Baptist Missionary Magazine for March, 1814, (Vol. IV.,
p. 50,) will be found in the Appendix.
PASTORAL CONNECTION OF REV. MR. GRAFTON WITH THE
The same month in which Mr. Blood closed his
connection with the church, Mr. Grafton was invited
to visit them. On the 10th of April, 1788, after he
had preached sixteen Sabbaths, he was invited by
the church and society to become their pastor. In
the letter containing the call, it is said, " For his
serving of us in the ministry we do promise to sup-
port him in such a manner that he may be free from
worldly care and anxiety ; and for the first year we
promise him the consideration of fifty-five pounds,
and to pay it quarterly ; and after that, to make such
fartlier additions as his necessities require and our
circumstances will admit of."
Mr. Grafton wrote an acceptance of this call, which
was dated May 13, A. D. 1788. He was ordained
June 18th, 1788. The council met at Little Cam-
bridge (Brighton). Mr. Gair, of Med field, offered
the introductory prayer at the ordination; Mr. Stan-
ford, of Providence, preached from 1 Pet. 5 : 4 —
"And when the chief shepherd shall appear, ye shall
receive a crown of glory that fadcth not away." Mr.
Backus, of Middleborough, oifcrcd the consecrating
prayer and gave the charge; Dr. Stillman, of Boston,
REV. JOSEPH GKAFTON. 47
gave the hand of fellowship, and Mr. Greeiij of Cam-
bridge, offered the concluding prayer.
Feeling sensible of his deficiency as to literary at-
tainments, Mr. Grafton determined to devote his
whole time to the work of the ministry. He felt it
necessary and important to gain all the biblical
knowledge in his power, and to become acquainted
both with ecclesiastical and general history. For
this purpose he improved the opportunities afforded
him of access to the libraries of Drs. Baldwin and
Stillman, of Boston, and Dr. Homer, of Newton. He
endeavored also to make all his reading subservient
to his great work, as a minister of the gospel. It is
an interesting fact to be contemplated in connection
with his protracted ministry among the same people,
that he resolved, early in his pastoral life, to avoid
temptations to a change of residence. He sought no
change of place ; he was always happy at home.
Late in life he wrote an opinion bearing on this point,
worthy of serious consideration. He said, '• I have
for many years been fixed in the sentiment that no
pastor of a church should leave it, until God in his
providence opens the door for his going out, as wide
as it was for his coming in among them."
The labors of Mr. Grafton seem to have been both
acceptable to the people, and attended with a divine
blessing. As his necessities required, and the ability
of his parishioners permitted, additions were made,
from time to time, to his salary. His ministry was
long and prosperous. For nearly half a century, he
continued to go out and in among his people, as a
good shepherd caring for the sheep. Again and
again the church was blessed with unusual religious
48 LIFE OF
awakenings, and '' multitudes were added to the
Lord." Religion flourished in his days, and the
church sent forth her branches to the right hand and
the left. The good pastor was the guide of the youth
who gathered around him, and the staff" of hoary age.
During his incumbency, many began the Christian
race, and many were made ripe for glory. The
whole number who were united to the church during
his separate ministry was 554. There were only four
years, during his protracted residence at Newton, in
which there were not additions to the church. Sea-
sons of special religious interest during his pastorate
are indicated by the number of persons who, in va-
rious years, were baptized. In 1788, the additions
to the church were twenty ; in 1789, eleven ; in 1808,
sixteen; in 1811, fifty-one; in 1812, twenty-eight;
in 1813, eighteen; in 1817, twenty-seven; in 1827,
one hundred and two ; in 1828, twenty-four ; in
1832, ninety-one. The whole number added to the
church, during his entire ministry, was five hundred
and sixty-seven, — being an average of more than
The following account of the religious interest
which prevailed in the year 1811. — from the pen of
Mr. Grafton, — will awaken many pleasant and profit-
able recollections in the minds of those who were ac-
tive in those scenes of hallowed interest. The com-
munication was addressed to the editor of the Baptist
Missionary Magazine, and printed in that work in
" It hath pleased God, the fountain of all good and
the giver of every perfect gift, to grant us of late a
refreshing season ; an impartial account of which, I
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 49
presume will gladden the hearts of all who love the
Redeemer, and the souls of their fellow sinners.
''It is about eighteen months since there were fa-
vorable appearances of a religious nature among us.
Some, who had been frequently convinced of sin,
began to feel the necessity of holiness of heart.
Others, who had made a profession of religion, fear-
ing that their hope was built upon the sand, seriously
contemplated the fatal consequences, and were
brought to great searchings of heart.
" A number of youths, in different neighborhoods,
and in different towns, became greatly alarmed about
their salvation, and inquired the way to Zion, with
their faces thitherward. From September, 1810, to
May, 18 LI, it was a solemn and interesting period.
Most of the time, w^e had three sermons on the Lord's
day and evening; besides two religious meetings
generally in the coursd of the week. Several of our
ministering fathers and brethren visited and preached
among us, whose labors were blessed to the awaken-
ing of sinners, and the edification and comfort of the
children of God.
" From September, 1810, to the present period, we
have had added to the church by baptism, fifty-three,
and one by letter ; and what is rather uncommon,
twenty-six are males.
" The work has been free from noise and confusion,
excepting what has been made by its enemies. No
crying out under distress of soul — no swooning, or
falling down — no extraordinary transports ; but silent
solemnity, and deep distress of mind. In general,
those who have been brought to entertain a hope, have
appeared very diffident, arising from a view of their
50 LIFE OF
sinfulness, and the nature and importance of a change
of heart; as also, from a sense of the infinite conde-
scension of God, to regard and pardon such great sin-
ners as they saw themselves to be. From a view of
these things some have been kept back for months
from making a public profession.
" The ages and circumstances of those who have
joined us are various. I have baptized persons from
eleven years old to^fifty. Twenty are heads of fam-
ilies. Seventeen are under twenty-one years of age.
Were it not that the good and great Shepherd gathers
the lambs in his arms, and carries them in his bosom^
I should greatly fear for them. But Christ says,
'My lambs — my sheep — I give unto them eternal
life.' May we not trust them with him?
" From a review of what has taken place among
us, I have been led to make the following reflections
and remarks. It appears that the preached word has
been the principal means of producing the alteration
among the people. It is evident that the seed sown,
for months previous to any visible appearance, was
operating lilfe the leaven hid in the meal, — an en-
couragement to ministers, to be instant in season, out
"One circum'stance is worthy of record. On a
Sabbath afternoon, when the minister was preaching
from this passage, ' A bruised reed he will not break,
and the smoking flax he will not quench,' — two
young men at meeting, one sitting in the gallery,
and the other in a pew below, were both at the
same moment, and from the same idea of truth,
brought to hope in the compassion of the Saviour.
In the evening at a meeting, each related his exer-
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 5l
cises, and their hearts ran together like the hearts
of David and Jonathan. O how will souls mingle
when melted by the love of God !
*' The divine authority of the scriptures has been
pecuharly demonstrated, both m impressing the mind
with a sense of the guilty, condemned state of unbe-
lievers, and the justice of God in the punishment of
impenitent sinners; and also in affording peace, joy
and hope in trusting in the merits of the divine Re-
*' The alteration in the young converts, together
with their affectionate exhortations, have been blessed
for the conviction of others ; and, in several instances,
ended, as we hope, in their saving conversion to God.
^'The administration of the ordinance of baptism
has also been attended with serious impressions, more
so than I had ever before observed in the course of
m}'' ministry. Hundreds within the last fifteen
months, at our baptismal seasons, have seen the ordi-
nance administered, who never had seen it before.
''I anticipate with much pleasure, considering the
age and standing of a number who have professed
the Lord Jesus, that when the head which now dic-
tates, and the hand that traces these lines, shall sleep
in dust, good, spiritual good will descend to many
yet unborn. And from the usual method of God's
providence, many of the youth, and even tlie boys
and girls, who lined the shores of our baptistery, will,
at some future period, by the grace of God, have those
impressions revived in their minds, which were then
made. Grant it, most gracious God, when thy un-
worthy servant shall have taken his departure from
these mortal shores.
52 LIFE OF
" Another sentiment which to me is real, and has
been abundantly confirmed both from observation
and the bible, is, that the Spirit and word of God lead
the subjects of his grace into the ordinance of baptism,
as a duty, belonging to none but professed believers;
and were it not for the influence of tradition, self-in-
terest, and inattention to the bible, there would not
be a real Christian who is a professor of religion, who
would not, in the plain and literal sense of the phrase,
be buried icith Christ by baptism.
" That some who have put their hand to the
plough may look back, is to be feared ; however this
may be, it is, and shall continue to be my daily
prayer to Almighty God, that they may hold out unto
the end, and be saved.
" I am not unapprized, after thirty-seven years^
experience and observation respecting the work of
God, (for T liave been favored to see several revivals,)
that there has always been chaff among the wheat.
This is not peculiar to any particular denomination
of Christians, or to any period of time. Nor am I
insensible, with what avidity and gust, the infidel,
the profane and the legalist will grasp at this tainted
food, and satiate their unhallowed appetites: Fc
' they eat up the sins of my people as they eat brea
Although there may be such, 'who are worse foi
mending, washed to fouler stains ;' yet I cannot con-
ceive that such instances can, or ought to be consid-
ered as suflicient to invalidate all true religion. Be-
cause Judas was a thief, must Paul be a deceiver?
Because Arnold was a traitor, must Washington be a
villain? By such loose and unfair reasoning, all vir-
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 53
tue, religion and patriotism, may be Imoted out of
^' Upon a careful retrospect, I liud great occasion
to praise God for his gooduess towards such a great
sinner as I feel myself to be. I have reason to bless
the name of the Lord, that I was called by his grace
in early life; that I was constrained to devote myself
to the ministry; and that divine Providence cast my
lot with an affectionate people, among whom I hope
my imperfect labors have not been in vain. Almost
twenty-four years have elapsed since my residence
with them; and v/hile many of the aged have been
taken away by death, some of their children and
grandchildren have been called by grace to fill their
places in the church of Christ. We have a number
who have recently professed religion, thai were un-
born when I was settled in this town. Most cheer-
fully do I devote myself, my time, my health, and
what abilities God has given me, to their spiritual
and eternal good. It is in my heart to live and to die
with them. May God continue to build us up, and
to display the riches of his grace more generally
among us. And may his kingdom come, and will be
done on earth as in heaven. To which petition I
have no doubt you will join your Amen."^
* The following, furnished by a friend and intimate
acquaintance of Mr. Grafton, gives a graphic delineation
of a Sabbath during this revival, from personal recollec-
"On the first Sabbath in May, 1811,1 walked more than
six miles to hear Mr. G. for the first time. Met by a
friend on my way, I was importuned to attend meeting at
54 LIFE OF
Mr. Grafton maintained an ardent and cheerful
piety. The variety, fervor, and power of his prayers
another place of worship; but I persisted in my resolu-
tion to hear Mr, G. I arrived at the place. Services
had commenced, and the voice of the minister ascending
in prayer, and breathing out tenderness and affection,
while expressing strong faith, impressed me with an aw-
ful solemnity. I thought, what manner of man is this!
Surely did I never hear such words before!
" He preached from the words in Psalm 24 : 9 — ' Lift
up your heads, O y^e gates,' etc. In describing the
* King of glory ' — his life, death, resurrection, and as-
cension into heaven, he set the character of the Saviour
and his relation to sinners so vividly before us, and his
power to apply the remedy to every particular case, that
I could not persuade myself that I was not meant. He
swept away the many frivolous excuses men offer for
neglecting the soul's salvation; and so often did he use
the affectionate terms, 'dear hearers,' * dear breth-
ren,' or, 'dear friends,' that it took a deep hold on me.
"At noon the ordinance of baptism was administered.
The administrator seemed like a holy man, and the can-
didate had the appearance of an angel, and seemed to
have the world completely under her feet. During the
ordinance, the hymn beginning
* O how haj)py are they,'
was sung. When they came to the words
' I then rode on the sky,'
Mr. G. entered into the words with great spirit, and ap-
peared almost as though he would soar whhout the aid
"After the services of the day, I returned part of the
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 55
ill public showed that he was familiar with secret
prayer, and a frequent visitor of the throne of grace.
He devoted himself, body, soul, and spirit, to the
service of God. He commenced the work of the
ministry in a spirit of consecration to God ; and, as a
vessel set apart for the Master's use, he felt that he
was given up, in an everlasting covenant, to his Fa-
ther in heaven. Among his papers is a covenant of
self-dedication to God, written several years after his
way home, with the scenes and services deeply fixed in
my heart, I remained through the night at the house of
the friend, who in the morning had invited me to attend
meeting at another church. She remarked, ' I fear you
will hardly be paid for your long walk.' I could only
answer with tears; but in my soul I hoped to obtain
' that good part.'
"After I became acquainted with Mr. G., he often in-
quired with deep interest after my spiritual state. My
convictions of my sinfulness continued for six months,
during which he frequently pointed me to the crucified
Saviour. He sometimes left me saying, 'Well, "Bles-
sed are they that mourn," ' or, 'the Lord's time is best.'
" In October my soul was set at liberty, after hearing
Mr. G. preach from the words in Prov. 8 : 17 — 'I love
them that love me; and they that seek me early shall
find me.' The next month I was baptized; and while I
was descending into the water, he repeated the text
which had been such a blessing to me. My older sister,
who had been a member of Dr. Pay son's church, in Port-
land, Me., was baptized at the same time. While ad-
ministering the ordinance to her, he said, loudly and dis-
tinctly, "' Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have
respect unto a7/ thy commandments.' "
56 LIFE OF
settlement in the ministry. The document is inter-
esting, iis unfolding to the world a part of the private
occupation of a minister of the gospel. The covenant
is as follows :
" O, eternal Jehovah ! I am inclined to enter into
an everlasting and solemn covenant with thee. Di-
rect me, O Lord, what to write. May I feel my en-
tire dependence on thy grace. May I realize that
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy
Ghost, are viewing me, and that they know the mo-
tives which influence me, and that I cannot deceive
them ; also that the holy angels are witnesses to my
solemn vow ; and that my conscience will ever re-
prove me, if I v/il fully violate this, my solemn en-
gagement with the Lord. But, how many are my
fears. How treacherous my heart, and how powerful
my sinful passions. O Lord, may thy grace be suffi-
cient for me.
'' I am induced to form this covenant from the fol-
lowing considerations :
^' 1. God gave me my existence.
" 2. He has preserved me thus far in life, and sup-
ported me under and carried me through great and
" 3. From a hope tliat he gave his Son for me,
and that through his most precious blood I have eter-
"4. From a hope that, when in the days of my
youth, I was called by his grace, regenerated by his
Spirit, and adopted into his family. Also, I trust that
by his word. Spirit, and providence, I have been
called into the work of the ministry, though much
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 57
against my natural inclination and the strivings of
my sinful passions : which I view as rebellion against
God, and for whicli I hope I have received his for-
'- o. From a firm belief that God's commands are
equitable, his service delightful, his grace infinite, and
the rewards thereof eternal.
" Lastly, from a consideration that it is my most
reasonable service, and what he requires of rational
"And now, O eternal God, on my knees before
thee, and as in thine inmiediate presence, do I, with
fear and trembling, consecrate my soul, my body, my
time, my talents, unto thee. May my body be ever
a temple for the Holy Ghost to dwell in; my soul,
an altar on which I shall from day to day offer unto
thee the sacrifice of prayer and praise. may I see
but for God ; may my tongue, my glory, speak thy
praise, and sound louder and clearer the trumpet of
the gospel. 1 am determined by thy grace, O Lord,
not to set m.y affections on any thing below thee, the
origin of all good. I will not willingly sin against
thee. I v/ill, by the aid of thy grace, den}^ myself,
and daily take up my cross and follow thee. I will
sacrifice every creature, however pleasant and how-
ever dear, when thou shalt demand it of me. No
enjoyment of a terrestrial nature shall be so good, and
no sin so sweet, but 1 v/ill part with them for my God
and Saviour. I will devote the remainder of my life,
my strength, and all I have to thy service and to thy
will. O my God and Father, I beseech thee to grant
me grace that I may never, never forsake thee, nor
violate my vows. Prepare me, Lord, for all thy will
58 LIFE OF
on earth, for long life, for painful sickness, or for sud-
den death ; for adversity or prosperity. Whatever
may be my future circumstances in life, I beseech
thee never forsake me. Write, O Lord, these vows
upon the tables of my heart. Make me, O Lord, a
blessing in my ministry to the souls of my dear and
affectionate people. Accept, most gracious God, of
this, my self-dedication unto thee, — and once more I
ask thy grace to enable me to fulfil my vows.
" Signed in the presence, and, I hope, in the fear
of the eternal God. As witness my hand,
Newton, October 31, 180i.
The circumstances which diversify the life of a
minister of the gospel, in the ordinary routine of his
parochial duties, furnish but little material for the
gratification of a curious spirit. As Mr. Grafton kept
no journal, we are left to glean the few memorials of
the occurrences of a large part of his life from such
other sources as are within our reach. Of many inter-
esting events, of scenes of labor and of usefulness,
of the patient endurance of trials, and of faithfulness
to the cause of his divine Master, doubtless no record
remains upon earth. The tablets on which they arc
inscribed have been long since transmitted to heaven.
The precious memories of events over which redeemed
spirits rejoiced and the angels sung praises, are gar-
nered up among the things to be revealed at the res-
urrection of the just.
From the recollections of his friends we have drawn
together a considerable number of his characteristic
sayings, which will be presented in the next chapter.
None have been admitted without examination, nor
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. b\)
any thing stated, we believe, which may not be rehed
upon as authentic.
As an indication of the public estimate of his abili-
ties and sound judgment, — even in points not pertain-
ing to his profession, — it may be stated that at the
Convention for revising the Constitution of Massachu-
setts, held A. D. 1820, Mr. Grafton received twenty-
nine votes out of the whole number of votes cast by
his fellow- townsmen. His neighbor, the clergyman
of the Congregational church, received at the same
time but one vote.
Honorable testimony is borne to the estimation in
which he was held by his brethren, by the numerous
ecclesiastical offices to which, at various times, he
was appointed. He was Vice-President of the Mas-
sachusetts Baptist Missionary Society (now the Mas-
sachusetts Baptist Convention) from 1815 to 1825,
and, after the death of Dr. Baldwin, President. He
was appointed on the Committee of the Evangelical
Tract Society in 1817, and Trustee of the same from
1823 to 1829. In the early history of the Baptist
General Convention for Foreign Missions, he was one
of the Committee for the northern section of the Union
to examine candidates for missionary labor. In 1819,
he was a member of the Committee of the American
Baptist Magazine. He was Vice-President of the
Boston Baptist Foreign Missionary Society for Boston
and vicinity, being elected several times successively
for the space of three years each, from the year 1819.
In 1826 he was elected President of the Board of
Trustees of the Newton Theological Institution. He
was President, successively, of the Norfolk County
Foreign Missionary Society, and of the Middlesex and
60 LIFE OF
Norfolk County Missionary Society. He preached
the annual sermon of the Warren Association at Mid-
dleborongh, in the year 1799, and of the Boston As-
sociation, at the Charles Street church in Boston, in
1815 ; and was Moderator of the latter in the year
1822 at the Second Baptist church in Boston, and in
1826 at South Reading.
We have made a brief record of the part taken by
him at several occasional ecclesiastical services, which
may have a two-fold interest to the reader, first as il-
lustrating the rank assigned him among his brethren ;
and secondly, as presenting statistical items, many of
which have come to have a historical value. He of-
fered the introductory prayer at the installation of
Rev. James M. Winchell (Boston, March 30, 1814),
Rev. Bela Jacobs (Cambridgeport, July 22, 1818),
and at the ordination of Rev. N. W. Williams (Bev-
erly, Aug. 14, 1816), Rev. J. Colman and Rev. E.
W. Wheelock, missionaries (Boston, Sept. 10, 1817),
Rev. Ebenezer Nelson (Lynn, July 6, 1820), Rev. J.
Cookson (Maiden, March 24, 1824), and at the dedi-
cation of the Federal Street church, Boston (now
Rowe Street) (July 18, 1827). He preached the ser-
mon at the ordination of Rev. Wilham Bcntley (Sa-
lem, Sept. 1807), Rev. Charles Train (Framingham,
Jan. 30, 1811), Rev. James A. Bos well (Danvers,
June 9, 1819). He offered the ordaining prayer at
the ordination of Rev. Herbert Marshall (May 2,
1817), Rev. Samuel Adlam (Dedham, Nov. 3, 1824),
Rev. J. D. Knowles (Boston, Dec. 28, 1825), Rev.
John E. Weston (East Cambridge, Oct. 10, 1827),
and Rev. J. Taylor Jones, missionary (Boston, Aug.
28, 1830) ; and the prayer of consecration at the in-
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 61
stallation of Rev. J. Elliot (Roxbury, April 10, 1822),
and Rev. Howard Malcom (Boston, Jan. 9, 1828).
He delivered the charge at the ordination of Rev.
William Gammell (Medfield, Nov. 22, 1810), Rev.
Samuel Waite (Sharon, June 3, 1819), Rev. Samuel
C. Dillaway (Charlestown, Aug. 31, 1820), Rev. Oren
Tracy (Randolph, Nov. 9, 1825), Rev. Jonathan Al-
drich (Dedham, Jan. 3, 1828), and at the installation
of Rev. Joseph Clay (Boston, Aug. 19, 1807). He
offered the prayer at the organization of the First
Baptist church in Roxbury (March 17, 1821), and at
the dedication of the meeting house in Weston (Oct.
8, 1828), and Watertown (Aug. 19, 1830). He ad-
dressed the church at the ordination of Rev. George
Leonard (Salem, Aug. 23, 1826), and at the installa-
tion of Rev. C. P. Grosvenor (Boston, Jan. 24, 1827),
and Rev. William Hague (Boston, Feb. 3, 1831).
He also gave the hand of fellowship and addressed
the church at West Cambridge (Nov. 20, 1817), and
at Cambridgeport (Dec. 25, 1817), at the public cer-
emony of their constitution. He offered the conclud-
ing prayer at the ordination of Rev. Asa Niles (War-
ren, R. I., Sept., 1805), and Rev. F. Wayland (Bos-
ton, 1821), and at the installation of Rev. George
Phippen (Woburn, Sept. 16, 1818). He also offered
prayer at the funeral exercises of Rev. William
Bachelder (Haverhill, April 11, 1818), Rev. James
M. Winchell (Feb., 1820), and Rev. Dr. Baldwin
(Boston, Aug., 1825).
At a period later than that indicated by these dates,
he felt to such a degree the effects of the decrepitude
of age, that he chiefly declined services of this sort,
in favor of his junior brethren.
ANECDOTES OF MR. GRAFTON.
The ends of a biography are twofold ; — to narrate
the incidents of a life, and to give an accurate delin-
eation of character. The most eifectual method of
presenting the latter is by exhibiting the subject in
the various aspects in which he appeared. The per-
son should be permitted to pass before us exactl^r
such as he was in the public stations filled by him^
and as he was in the undress of life. Constraint
makes a man artificial. The staidness of manners
and words incident to situations in which a person
feels that he is observed, is unfavorable to a complete
and living portraiture. What we gain in finish and
beauty, we lose in vividness, point and nature. The
character of father Grafton was one which cannot be
accurately presented without showing him in the easy
intercourse of private life and of the social circle. It
was then that he made always a strong impression
by his keen discernment, his ready wit, and his
pointed repartee. Few persons were long in his so-
ciety without being delighted by these qualities, min-
gled as they were with great cheerfulness, and at the
same time chastened by a true religious spirit. We
have desired to exhibit him as he was in private life,
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 63
and when, in the bosom of an affectionate people, he
felt at liberty to cast off reserve, and to speak and act
as the impulse of the moment directed. For this pur-
pose we have drawn together a few of the anecdotes*
of him which could be gathered up from the memo-
ries of his surviving friends. The selection will give
a more accurate view of his character than pages of
description, unaccompanied by illustration.
It is difficult to obtain a satisfactory account of his
familiar style of preaching. It was eminently simple,
obvious and unadorned, yet evangelical and effective.
His theology was of the order of Andrew Fuller's.
His texts were chosen from the whole range of the
Scriptures ; and most of his illustrations he drew from
the treasure-house of the divine word. At one time,
he preached from Is. 44 : 20. " He feedeth on ashes ;
a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he can-
not deliver his soul, nor say, ' Is there not a lie in my
right hand V " He showed that there are three class-
es of persons who feed on ashes — the seekers after
riches, honors and pleasures. He took as the type of
the first the rich man in Luke sixteenth, and Lazarus
as the opposite. The type of the second was Haman,
an.d Mordecai the opposite. He made also a wider
application of each point, to the circumstances of his
hearers, and closed with suitable exhortations. At
another time he preached from Rom. 8 : 6 — " To be
carnally minded is death ; but to be spiritually mind-
ed is life and peace." After a very solemn ititroduc-
* He frequently illustrated the points in his discourses
by a suitable "anecdote." He used to put the accent
on the second syllable of the word.
64 LIFE OF
tion, he announced that he should exhibit a kw of
the marks of the spiritual mind; and he entreated his
hearers to examine themselves, whether that mind
were in them. Again, he preached from Luke 2 :
14 — "Glory to God in the highest;" — a text which
led him to speak of the Lord Jesus, and of the spirit
of praise, in such a manner as to be instrumental in
bringing one soul, at least, to a penitent and believing
In addressing a company of young Christians, on
the importance of keeping their hearts, he referred to
the sacrifice of Abraham (Gen. 15 : 9-17), when,
after it was dark, "a smoking furnace and a burning
lamp passed between the pieces" of the sacrifice.
Taking the ravenous fowls that would have come
down to devour the oblation, as an image of wicked
thoughts, he exhorted them to keep the lamp of de-
votion always burning, that they might by this means
drive oflf these birds of prey.
He was anxious to preach in such a way as to
meet the case of all his hearers. Hence, one evening,
in addressing an assembly at a parlor-sermon, he
said in the commencement, — " I shall aim about
breast-high;" — alluding to the remark of Whitefield,
that some men shoot above the heads of their auditors.
He was very faithful in the pulpit with the souls
of his people, and often alluded to the fact, in his lat-
ter days, that he should soon leave them. Many
times did he say to them, with a solemn emphasis,
"Remember, when my head lies low in the dust and
you see my face no morCj that I have faithfully
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 65
He often preached with tears in his eyes, tenderly-
exhorting his hearers to be reconciled to God. Such
was the effect of his loving and melting appeals, that
one of his young auditors was once heard to remark
— '' We ought to be Christians, if it were only to
The conversion of young persons gave him great
delight. He saw in them the seed of the church, and
the hope of future years. Once when a very youth-
ful candidate had given an unusually satisfactory re-
lation before the church, quite overcome with tears
he exclaimed, "Out of the mouth of babes and suck-
lings thou hast perfected praise," and "Thou hast
hid these things from the wise and prudent and re-
vealed them unto babes ; even so. Father, for so it
seemed good in thy sight." It was not till he had
relieved himself in this way, that he could put the
vote to the church.
In his preaching, like many of the ministers of his
age, he used often to quote passages from the Canti-
cles. He abounded also in the spiritualizing method
of using the facts of Scripture. On one occasion, in
preaching from the narrative of the women who were
early at the sepulchre, he spoke of their anxiety be-
fore they reached the sacred spot, as they said, Who
shall roll us away the stone 1 He endeavored to show
from this that if men dread obstacles in their path,
they have only to press forward in the way of duty
with perseverance and trust, and they will often find
the stone rolled away.
In speaking on the subject of loving God, he under-
took to show that the difficulty of the sinner in loving
66 LIFE OF
God arose from the fact that his heart is cold, and
dead, and averse to God ; he illustrated the principle
by saying, " when a blacksmith wishes to weld two
pieces of iron, if one of them is perfectly cold, his la-
bor is in vain ; but if they are both brought to the
requisite degree of heat, they unite without any diffi-
Many years since he preached the annual sermon
before llie old Massachusetts Baptist Missionary So-
ciety, of which he was the Vice President for many
years, and afterwards. President. He took for his
text. Mat. 17 : 26, 27. At the close of his sermon, as
there was to be a collection in aid of the funds of the
Society, he said, " And now let every gentleman feel
in his pocket, and every lady in her purse, and see if
there be not there a piece of money, as there was in
the mouth of Peter's fish." The archness and
naivete with which this was said, produced general
gratification, and secured a handsome donation to the
funds of the Society.
In preaching a charity-sermon be once remarked
that some persons are always ready to give when
they are asked ; but they are governed by impure
motives, hoping for some sort of recompense. He
said they were willing to cast their bread upon the
waters, but they were careful to have a string tied to
it, that they might be secure of drawing it back.
His texts were often chosen with great appropriate-
ness. When three of the children of a family of his
parishioners were taken away by death in quick suc-
cession, he improved the event in a sermon, taking
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 67
for his text, Gen. 42 : 36, " Joseph is not, and Simeon
is not; and ye will take Benjamin away."
It is said of him that he was not only an exceed-
ingly kind pastor, but especially attentive to his pa-
rishioners in cases of sickness. If he heard that any
of them were sick, he was often at their bedside, min-
istering to the wants of their souls, before the arrival
of the physician who was summoned for the healing
of their bodies.
He often made his hearers the subjects of special
prayer, not only carrying to the throne of grace their
individual families, but, in his private devotion, pre-
senting the several persons by name before God.
In his preaching, particularly in the latter days of
his life, he tended to be, using his own term, " prolix."
The sameness in his discourses — the infirmity of old
age — sometimes rendered him tedious ; and though
the " anecdote " with which he illustrated almost
every principle, gave a life to his sermons, still the
"once more," "one thought more," "finally," and
"lastly," which led him still onward, in pressing the
claims of religion, were sometimes felt to be more
He had a quick, nervous manner, but was always
perfectly self-possessed. Once, in preaching at Bev-
erly, he accidentally knocked off the pulpit cushion
into the deacons' seat below, but went on in his ser-
mon, as if nothing had happened.
He was peculiarly apt and impressive in prayer.
On one occasion, having been called to officiate at a
funeral, a deacon of a church of another order after-
68 LIFE OF
wards remarked that he had never heard such a
prayer in his hfe. " Every word was just what it
ought to be, and just where it ought to be. Every
thing was to the point."
It was customary anciently, on the day of a miU-
tary review, to draw up the regiment into a hollow
square, and to have prayers oiiered for the soldiers
by their chaplain. On one occasion, when troubles
were impending between this country and England,
father Grafton was called on to perform this service.
He mounted a gun-carriage that was near him, and
placing one foot upon the cannon, poured forth such
a strain of devout supplication, as to astonish and
delight every hearer. His apt allusions to the exist-
ing state of the country, and the dangers into which
her soldiers might soon be called, affected many to
tears. A very profligate and hardened man who was
present, and who was deeply tinctured with infidel
principles, was afterwards heard to remark that,
" Mr. Grafton was the first man that ever drew a tear
from his eyes."
A Unitarian lady, a member of Dr. L.'s church in
Boston, having once heard him pray at a funeral, af-
terwards remarked, that she seemed to herself never
to have heard a prayer before. The service made
such an impression on her mind, that she affirmed
she could never forget it.
In his family prayers, he was always very fervent
and very appropriate. Without designating the indi-
viduals present, he exhibited at tlic throne of grace
their several cases, under their peculiar circumstan-
ces, or states of mind, in so apt and striking a man-
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 69
ner, that any person familiar with them would readily
trace the exact allusions to each.
Though he was so apt, skilful and rich in prayer,
there were two instances in which he wrote out at
full length the prayers which he designed to offer;
one of them was for a masonic festival, and the other
for some military celebration. It seems that notwith-
standing his fertility and power in this exercise, he
did not dare to trust himself to the impulses of the
moment, on occasions so far out of his ordinary track.
He was very apt in the quotation of the Scriptures.
Once being attacked by disease during service, he
was obliged to shorten the sermon, and to give notice
that he could not preach in the afternoon. As a sup-
ply could not be found to meet so sudden an emer-
gency, the congregation were left to go every one his
own way. Though tortured with pain, he could not
resist his ruling passion ; and so he finished his an-
nouncement by saying, "And this reminds me of the
passage, ' I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep
shall be scattered.' "
He was once giving the right hand of fellowship to
a number of persons in his own church. Coming at
length to one whose name was Asa, his first words
were, " Asa's heart was perfect with the Lord all his
days,"— quoting 1 Kings, 15 : 14.
At the constitution of a Baptist church in one of
the neighboring towns, it was assigned to him to ad-
dress the newly organized body. Upwards of twenty
of the number had been dismissed from the First
church in Newton. The closing words of his address
70 LIFE CF
were, '• When it is well with yon, remember Josepli,"
— alhiding to Gen. 40 : 14; and containing a donble
play npon the word Joseph ; he conld be nnderstood
as referring to himself personally; or to the chnrch
from which the members had come out — agreeably
to the blessing pronounced by Jacob npon his son Jo-
seph (Gen. 49 : 22) — " Joseph is a fruitful bough, even
a fruitful bough by a well, whose branches run over
Though he employed a part of his time on the little
farm upon which he lived, he endeavored to make
the hour spent in labor subservient to his great work
as a minister of Christ. On one occasion a person
passing by and accosting him as he was raking hay,
speaking pleasantly of his employment, he said, "I
get many lessons in my field, to be carried into the
Going to preach on one occasion at a private house,
a person who was a miller, and who acted as a kind
of niaster of ceremonies, handed him a bible, pointing
out a particular verse, and asking him to preach from
it as his text. Father Grafton replied, ''When you
have a quantity of corn to grind, do you not first look
to see how the pond is 7"
He spent little time in his study, but a great deal
in pastoral visitation. There was scarcely a day,
except in storms, when he did not ride abroad to see
some of his parishioners. Much of his preparation
for the pulpit was conducted in his chaise. Some-
times, when riding with a familiar friend, he has been
observed, not only talking out the plans of his ser-
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 71
mons, but actually gesticulating as if preaching them
in his pulpit.
Thougli he had no particular enthusiasm as an ob-
server of nature, he evidently felt the effect of its
kindling influence. We have intimated that his
chaise was his study. Besides, he might often be
seen on a Sabbath morning m summer, walking in
his garden for more than an hour before the public
worship, appearing by the motions of his lips and by
his gestures to be preaching over in solitude the ser-
mons which he was to deliver that day to his people.
In the old meeting-house the ancient square pews
were generally furnished with one or two chairs, be-
sides the permanent seats around the sides. On the
Sabbath-noon, most of the families remaining during
the intermission and bringing their lunch with them,
the box of provisions was placed in a chair in the
middle, and all the family helped themselves. Fa-
ther G. uniformly remained also, but brought no re-
freshment with him. He went round, however, from
pew to pew, taking a piece of pie here, and of cake
there, and an apple from another place, and going on,
eating and conversing with his parishioners, like
another Oberlin among his Alpine flock. At a suita-
ble opportunity, all having had time enough, he used
to say, " Come, friends, it is time to go to the prayer-
meeting ;" and thus, in this simple and primitive
way the good old man went in and out among his
people, as a good shepherd knowing his sheep, and
known of them.
An interesting feature of the labors of the earlier
Baptist ministers of New England is their missionary
72 LIFE OF
character. When the churches were comparatively-
feeble and few, and the scattered members in various
towns enjoyed few rehgious privileges with brethren
of their own faith, the ministers often went forth on
short excursions, travelhng and preaching gratuitous-
ly, and strengthening and comforting the disciples.
On one occasion father Grafton and Dr. Baldwin left
Boston together on such an errand ; at Roxbury they
separated, going in different directions, and reached
home again on Saturday in season to preach to their
own flocks on the Sabbath. During their absence,
father Grafton preached fourteen times and Dr. Bald-
win thirteen, though they were not more than twen-
ty-five miles distant from Boston at any time during
the week. This anecdote shows how feeble were the
Baptist churches in this region, but a few years ago,
and how greatly God has blessed and enlarged them.
Whatever abilities he possessed, natural or ac-
quired, he made them all subservient to his useful-
ness in his great work as a minister of the gospel.
He was distinguished by his keen discernment, and'
his knowledge of human nature. The laws of sug-
gestion and association seemed perfectly familiar to
him. In judging of persons, he rarely erred; and in
discovering and tracing mental phenomena, he ex-
celled most persons who have had higher advantages,
and who boast larger attainments. His mind seemed
formed to grasp the movements of other minds, and
to apprehend at a glance their laws of action. This
characteristic is well illustrated in the incident which
follows. He used to preach in the neighboring towns,
very frequently, in private houses, or in some public
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 73
hall. Often, for successive weeks, after his two ser-
mons on the Sabbath in his own pulpit, he had a lec-
ture at Watertown, Brookline, Cambridge or else-
where. On one occasion, going to Watertown, being
a little belated, he saw a company of persons linger-
ing around the door of the hotel; as if he took them
to be persons of a spirit kindred with his own, who
were awaiting his arrival, he called out in his pleas-
ant way, as he rode near them, " Come, friends, now
let us go to the hall." The invitation was given with
so good a grace that they followed him, as if sponta-
neously, and all went in to hear his sermon.
He was very social in his disposition and greatly
enjoyed the companionship of friends. One Saturday
evening, he had been conversing with a number in
his parlor until eight o'clock, when he pleasantly re-
marked, alluding to the members of the Theological
Institution, that he had now a learned congregation
to preach to, and must withdraw to his study to pre-
pare for the Sabbath. He was absent only about
twenty minutes, when, yielding to the strong tempta-
tion below, he came running down again, and spent
the residue of the evening in friendly chat.
He also made himself very interesting in society.
The social element in his character was strongly de-
veloped. His remarks were rather sparkling than
profound. Whatever subject was broached, he had
some apt and striking thing to say. Yet with all his
vivacity and sprightliness, he did not lower the dig-
nity of the Christian minister; and whatever theme
was discussed, he found means to bring back the
conversation easily and naturally to religion.
74 LIFE OF
He took great pleasure particularly in the society
of the young. He had a wonderful power of adapt-
ing his conversation to persons of every age; he was
skilful in striking upon themes suited to interest those
who were about him. If at any time any of his do-
mestic trials or losses happened to be introduced in a
way capable of awakening gloom or pain, on perceiv-
ing it he would instantly change the subject. For
months together he was able constantly to interest
two or three young theological students who boarded
with him, by his sprightly conversation ; and in that
free unbending of the mind, they never ceased to ad-
mire him, and never deemed him, to use his own
term, " prolix." Persons who often heard him pray,
will readily recal the thanksgiving which he often
offered, '• We thank thee for friends and friendship.^''
On a certain occasion, an exchange of pulpits had
been arranged by him with the Rev. Dr. Sharp ; but,
at the last moment, the plan was unavoidably broken
up. When Mr. Grafton appeared before his congrega-
tion he explained the circumstances as an apology for
his want of preparation, adding, "In music every
tune is either ^ sharp or a flat; and I am afraid you
will have a flat to-day ;" — playing upon the name of
Dr. Sharp. After this he proceeded with his sermon.
He delighted in the mutual love and unity of the
church, and omitted no opportunity to enforce these
duties upon the members. At one time, in preaching
upon the church under the image of a building, he
remarked that in a building there are both large tim-
bers and small ones, and many pins of different sizes,
which hold the timbers together ; and, that the small-
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 75
est timbers and pins are necessary to the strength of
the building, as well as the larger ones. So, he said,
every member of the church is useful and necessary
in his place; and no one should despise another.
This sermon was delivered two or three weeks before
he made his celebrated remark concerning the sharps
and flats in music; and in connection with that ob-
servation, he contrived very adroitly and happily to
allude to the sermon, whose doctrine would now serve
him so good a turn.
Like his friend Dr. Baldwin, he was a true peace-
maker. He carried light and sunshine with him in
his path. The demon of discord was banished from
his presence. Differences of opinion were soon settled
wherever he came ; and love, the last evidence of
Christianity sprung up, as if almost spontaneously,
under his eye. His was emphatically the benediction
pronounced by our Saviour, — " Blessed are the peace-
makers ; for they shall be called the children of God.''
If any case of church action required peculiar wis-
dom in its management, he took much pains in con-
triving how to present the matter in the happiest way
to m^ake a favorable impression. And by some fortu-
nate turn of expression, or by an apt observation, he
would often restore harmony between brethren. His
assistance was therefore often asked in ecclesiastical
councils. In a certain church difficulty, which
threatened the destruction of the harmony of the
members, he was called to be the moderator of a
council convened on the case. A brother of the
church, who had been deputed for the purpose, began,
by request of the council, to state the grievances
76 LIFE OF
which were the matter in debate. Soon, a sister in
the church thought herself called upon to interrupt
him, and to correct some statement. Father Grafton,
who had heard enough to reveal to him the true diffi-
culty; said, "Ah, I see how it is, — the hens crow."
By this apt remark, perhaps as dignified as the case
demanded, the whole matter was set in its true light,
and the dissentients, ashamed of their quarrel, were
restored to peace and good-will.
He seemed to delight, by an innocent pleasantry,
to awaken expectations, which he designed by some
artful turn of expression, to disappoint. Thus in
preaching upon Paul's " thorn in the flesh," he stated
at considerable length the opinion of several commen-
tators as to the question what the thorn might be.
To close up all, he added, " And now, my hearers,
you may perhaps wish to know what is the opinion
of your minister; and I will tell you- when
Paul tells me."
He was a strong advocate for permanency in the
pastoral relation. It gave him pain to observe for
how slender causes the tie between ministers and
their people is often severed. Once, attending an in-
stallation, after the examination of the candidate be-
fore the council was over, as the brethren were dining
together, he took occasion to remark upon it. " We
have come here," he said, " to instal a minister over
this people. I don't like the word install it ought to
be, married. The relation is not held sacred enough.
Irs bonds are too easily broken. In many instances,
we have scarcely finished the public services by
which a minister is set apart to his flock, before his
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 77
wings are spread, and be is ready to soar away.
Sometimes the first thing we hear of him, after his
installation, is, that he has vanished." In this
strain he proceeded, interminghng wit and pleasantry
with serious instruction, during the hour of dinner,
and made a deep and most happy impression on the
minds of all present.
At another time, in speaking on the same subject,
he remarked, that it is often the case that "after a
minister has been ijistaUed^ if in a short time we go
to look for him, behold the stall is empty."
At the ordination of Rev. F. G. Macomber (died
July, 1827)j at Beverly, Mass., father G., in giving
him the charge, repeated the sentiment which was so
fully engraven on his own mind, that a minister
ought never to leave the people of his charge until
the door is opened as wide for his going out as it
was for his coming in. Being called to officiate at
the funeral of that excellent man (aged 29), about
seventeen months afterwards, he alluded to the sen-
tence in his charge ; beautifully inviting attention to
the circumstances of the case, and showing the pro-
priety of his abdicating his office on earth, inasmuch
as God had opened the way, and a voice of divine au-
thority had said to him, " Come up hither."
One morning, as Prof Sears, then a student at the
Newton Theological Institution, met the old gentle-
man, riding out in his chaise, he accosted him in the
usual manner, " Good morning, father Grafton, how
do you feel, this morning?" He suddenly dropped
the reins, his horse, at the same moment, as it were
78 LIFE OF
instinctively stopping, and replied — " Well, bro.
SearSj I will tell you how I feel —
* O, for a closer walk with God,
' A cairn and heavenly frame ;
* A light to shine upon the road
* That leads me to the Lamb.' "
He gave his strong and characteristic accent to every
important word in the stanza; after which, without
saying any thing more, he resumed the reins and
He had a very clear perception of the true nature
of religion. He discriminated accurately as to the
value of the different exercises of the Christian ; and
discerned at once what experiences are important as
a test of piety, and what are unimportant. Calling
once upon a friend who expressed much despondency,
and who remarked, (using a common phrase,) "I do
not enjoy myself," he responded, " Well, well, that is
not much matter; but do you enjoy God?" — thus
showing the self-diffident disciple the true refuge of
the soul, and the proper source of a Christian's joy."
He was a great friend to singing schools, promoting
them, when they were proposed in his parish, by all
his influence, often going into the school and showing
his interest by some kind remarks. One winter,
wlien a dancing-school in the place drew away the
attention of the young people, he pleasantly imputed
the prevention of the singing school by such means
to Satanic agency, and remarked that " John, the
Baptist, lost his head by dancing."
Though he was not a singer, yet he greatly enjoyed
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 79
singing, and often in social meetings, particularly at
his own house, he would join in it with much appa-
rent pleasure. The tune called Eaton, which held a
prominent place in books of church-music twenty or
twenty-five years since, was a favorite with him.
He would always take part in it, and, his voice being
not very strong, his discords were drowned in the
He was fond of sacred poetry, and had several ap-
propriate hymns and verses always ready for any oc-
casion. One of his favorite hymns was, "When I
can read my title clear," &c., and another, "God
moves in a mysterious way," &c. At one time, in
visiting a Christian under great dejection, he repeated
the whole of the latter hymn, with his peculiar em-
phasis, thus ministering at the same time instruction
In respect to his religious belief, he laid great stress
on the teachings of the Scriptures. He used to say,
"I believe in the gospel, as it was preached by
Chrysostom, Calvin and others ; not because Chrysos-
tom and others preached it thus, but because the bible
A conversation having once arisen in his presence
on the subject of dancing, an amusement to which he
was much averse, it happened that Mrs. Grafton, as
if playfully advocating it, as in itself not sinful, re-
marked, " I used to dance, when I was young." Fa-
ther Grafton instantly turned upon her in his arch
way, and, as if asserting an authority which was al-
ways a gentle yoke as administered by him, replied,
••' Well, my dear, you won't do it again."
80 LIFE OF
He often quoted common proverbs on occasions
when they were appropriate. For example, finding
a storekeeper very constant at his place of business,
on entering it he would say, "Ah, you are always
here. Well, ' keep your shop, and your shop will keep
For many years it was customary to give him for
his salary a certain fixed sum, and all the loose
money collected in the weekly or monthly contribu-
tions on the Sabbath. The latter sums were uniform-
ly paid to him on Monday. When, by a change in
the pecuniary arrangements of the Society, this
weekly fund was discontinued, he remarked that it
was "like stopping his market-cart."
On one occasion, the Rev. Mr. B , the junior
pastor of the First Congregational church, was called
upon to immerse three candidates who could not be
satisfied with any other baptism. After the baptism
of the first, father Grafton stepped down to the ad-
ministrator and " instructed him in the way of the
Lord more perfectly." At the close of the ceremony,
the assembly were beginning to disperse, without
singing, prayer, or parting blessing. Father Grafton,
with his characteristic aptness, took off his hat and
exclaimed, in allusion to the ordinance just witnessed,
and expressing his joy in the event, " Lord, it is done
as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room ;" —
after which he pronounced the apostoHc benediction.
He once heard a sermon from the eccentric John
Leland, in his peculiar style. It related to the leav-
ing of Jesus behind the company at Jerusalem, at the
age of twelve years. The sermon found great favor
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 81
with the people, and was blessed to them. Father
G.J however, was disgusted with it. But he was af-
terwards heard to remark, that if such preaching
were blessed to the people, he would never again be
hypercritical, or say what God could or could not
He regarded afflictions as the discipline sent by his
heavenly Father. Instead of murmuring at them, he
viewed them as necessary to the Christian's true
sanctification and advancement. In speaking of his
own trials one day with a friend who had been also
afflicted, he remarked that his heavenly Father, every
little while had occasion to bring him down to the
ring-bolt, to humble his pride and subdue his will,
adding that so it must be with every true Christian.
Cherishing these views, it is not surprising that he
met the trials allotted to him with great resignation.
He never uttered a murmuring word. When some
one spoke to him, sympathizingly, as he was suffer-
ing under a severe attack of his painful malady, he
answered cheerfully, '' This pain is one of the ' all
things,' promised as the Christian's possession ;"~ al-
luding to the passage (1 Cor., 3 : 21-23, " All things
are yours," etc. A person calling on him directly
after the death of his daughter Hope, he reached out
his hand to him and said — it was his only salutation
— " Bro. H— — -, the Lord reigiieth."
When the project of organizing a second Baptist
church in Newton was discussed, father G., fearing
lest the original church might be left very feeble in
pecuniary ability, remarked, " When bees swarm,
they always leave in the hive honey enough for the
old ones. If you swarm, brethren, I hope you will
leave honey enough in the old hive."
He had a deep sense of im worthiness, and keenly
felt the little kindnesses designed for his comfort.
Being once at the house of a friend in cold weather,
and a fire having been kindled in his chamber for his
comfort, on entering the room, he walked across it
several times with evident emotion, and then speak-
ing of the fire, remarked, " I am not deserving of
Calling one day on a parishioner, the latter at part-
ing put a bag of meal into his chaise. Grateful for
the kindness, and confident that it would be noticed
by him who rewards the benefits conferred on his
children, he said, ^^ I don't know when I shall be
able to pay you for this ; but I have a rich Father,
I'll commend you to him."
The late Dr. Benjamin Shurtleff, of Boston, was
informed by a friend that probably father Grafton, in
the latter part of his life, was in needy circumstances,
and that a benefaction would prove very acceptable
to him. Dr. Shurtleff soon after meeting the venera-
ble minister in Washington Street, in Boston, called
to him, inviting him to his chaise, where they con-
versed for a considerable time. At parting, Dr. S.
put into the hand of Mr. Grafton a roll of bank-notes,
saying, " Perhaps you may find a use for them."
Father G., looking up v/ith one of his arch smiles,
replied in a way expressing at the same time his
gratitude and true wit, " When I get home, I shall
tell my Master."
He was, by nature, of a sensitive temper, nervous.
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 83
quick, and irritable ; and grace had much to do to
enable him to overcome that tendency. Yet he was
never seen to yield. Sometimes, under peculiar ex-
citement, he would rise from his chair, and walk
hastily three or four times across the room in silence,
and then return to his place, calm and collected, the
struggle over and peace restored ; — reminding one of
that excellent man, Robert Hall, who, in the midst
of a discussion in which he had become heated, was
sometimes observed suddenly to walk to a window,
where he would repeat two or three times the prayer,
" Lamb of God, calm my perturbed spirits " — after
which he became cool and at ease.
When some one spoke in praise of some of his
public performances, he said, cautioning his friend
against the influence of flattery upon him, "You do
not know how much tinder I have in my bosom."
This anecdote, which has often been related of various
other ministers, is said to have belonged originally to
Being once at a public dinner party, where his feel-
ings were much annoyed by a young gentleman op-
posite him, who scarcely uttered a sentence without
some profane oath attached to it, he rose in his place,
and exclaimed, " Mr. President." When the presi-
dent had rapped upon the table with his knife, pro-
ducing silence and calling the attention of the guests,
Mr. Grafton said, " Sir, I move you that no person at
the table have permission to utter a profane oath ex-
cept my friend, the Rev. Dr. Homer." Such was
the mutual intimacy of the two clergymen, and so
well established was the character of Dr. Homer for
84 LIFE CF
piety, that no offence was taken, and the well-merited
reproof had its designed effect. The young man
swore no more.
Within the circle of his knowledge was a person
distinguished by a penurious spirit. He was gaining
wealth by degrees, and seemed resolved to let nothing
go out of his hands, particularly for any charitable or
religious use. On a certain time, the store of this
person was broken open, and robbed of a considerable
amount. The next day, father Grafton called to con-
dole with the man in regard to his loss, and in his
witty method remarked, " What the Lord didn't get,
the devil did."
On one occasion, it was announced that a certain
Mr. Bird was to preach on a week-day in one of the
villages of Newton. Mr. Grafton went with the rest
of the multitude to hear the discourse. For some
cause or other, the preacher failed to arrive; where-
upon father Grafton — not willing that the people
should go home without any service — remarked,
"Well, since a bird in the hand is worth two in the
bush, I'll give them a short sermon."
A Christian brother whose punctual habits were
well known, once made an appointment to meet him
at a certain time ; but being detained by company he
arrived five minutes later than the specified moment.
Father Grafton exclaimed, as the brother entered the
room, '^ I have seen an end of all perfection."
His last wife was distinguished for her neatness.
Father G. once remarked to her, " My dear, if you
are as nice about your heart as you are about your
house, you will have the first seat in heaven."
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 85
It was highly creditable to the character of his
wives, and to his appreciation of them, that when a
person afflicted with an uncomfortable companion
asked advice of him, he replied, " Yon have come to
the wrong person ; I have had three wives, and they
have all been good ones."
The estate on the beautiful hill, now the Theologi-
cal Institution, was formerly the property of a gentle-
man whose name was Peck. A person once remark-
ing that the airy position of the house, at the summit,
pointed it out as a fine situation for a grist-mill, to be
carried by wind, father Grafton — alluding to the pe-
cuniary misfortunes of Mr. Peck, which came near
ruining him — replied, that he had never heard that
but one peck had been groitnd there.
He read men rather than books, and, as we have
remarked above, was a discriminating observer of
character. He rarely mistook in the estimate he
formed, though he often abstained from uttering his
opinions. When he was once asked his opinion
of a certain individual whom he took to be a bag of
wind, he gravely answered by spelling out deliberate-
ly a single word expressing his judgment, without
There was an aged gentleman in Newton who con-
ceived the odd fancy to build the largest house in the
county of Middlesex, At the age of seventy-nine, he
projected an addition to his house, in fulfilment of
this ambition. Father G. in calling upon a parish-
ioner in the same neighborhood, asked if Mr. R. was
just beginning the world? For, he added, one would
86 L I F E O F
judge from appearances that be was just beginning,
rather than just leaving it.
A clergyman of another denomination for a long
time manifested a great curiosity to know what salary-
father Grafton received from his people ; but the old
gentleman had his own reasons for refusing to gratify
him. On one occasion, he took the liberty to ask
him the question directly; lo which he answered, re-
garding at the same time the good name of his people^
and alluding to the scantiness of his support — " My
people give me all they are able, and I take all I can
At another time he was accosted by a neighboring
minister on the subject of the means of living. The
latter said, " I find my salary will not support me.
I cannot live. Pray, what do you receive? How
do you get along?" Having recited the narrative of
the woman of Zarephath, whose barrel of meal did
not waste nor her cruse of oil fail, he added. " I find
that there is always a little meal in the bottom of my
He ofliciated at the marriage of a certain couple
whose connection proved to be an unhappy one,
through the ungracious spirit of one of the parties.
After some years, the woman applied to father Graf-
ton for a release from the bonds of matrimony. As
it was a case in which he had no occasion to feel any
particular delicacy, when asked if he could unmarry
the ill-fated pair, he instantly replied that he could;
and, at the appointed time, he went to the house for
that purpose. When all were in readiness, '' Now,"
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 87
said he, " stand up, back to back, and then both of
you go forward, and never come together again."
He was a friend to the Theological Institution at
Newton, from whose students he received important
aid in his labors. Once, in spending a night with a
friend in a neighboring town, just as he was leaving
the parlor to retire to his chamber, he patted his
friend on the shoulder, remarking, "You know we
have a little stream yonder that needs more water."
The delicate allusion was understood, and the next
morning a ten dollar bill was put into his hand for
the school of the prophets.
Of his last daughter, whose name was Hope, he
observed to a friend, " Fler name was Hope, and we
hoped she would have been spared,"
When he went to Boston, he generally put up his
horse at Utley's livery stable, Hanover street. One
day, on taking the horse, Mr. Utley remarked, " I
think, sir, your horse has been well taken care of."
Father G. replied, "If he has not, he will tell me be-
fore I get home."
We have said that he was warmly attached to the
Rev. Dr. Baldwin, who died suddenly at Waterville,
Me., in August, 182.5. Father Grafton used to relate
that on the very night of the death of that revered
minister, he dreamed that they were standing on the
opposite banks of a river, and that Dr. Baldwin called
to him and said, " Be faithful, brother, and you will
soon be here." Though we do not attach any special
importance to dreams, yet we cannot fail to see a
beautiful appropriateness in this imaginary interview
bo LIFE OF
between these aged saints, as one of them had just
crossed the river of death, and was walking up, joy-
ful and glorified, to the celestial city.
Even in his more vigorous days, he was sensible
what changes age would work in him. He knew
that the progress of decay would perhaps abate some
of those attractions which the fondness of friends saw
in him. Hence, when some one expressed a wish
that he might live for twenty years, he replied, " If I
should, I should not be Mr. Grafton twenty years
When he came to the decline of life, he was not
unconscious of the ravages of time upon him. Even
in those respects in which persons are not so readily
sensible of their own decay, he felt that what he
might not perceive himself, was perceptible by others.
Dr. Homer once asked him pleasantly, " Brother
Grafton, what is the reason that there are now no old
people, as there used to be? Where are the old peo-
ple 7" Mr. G. perceived the hallucination of his ven-
erable friend, and replied, " Brother Homer, ask the
young people, they will tell you."
Being asked, in his old age, in reference to certain
theological difficulties, which experience and thought
had convinced him that it was beyond the power of
human reason to solve, he at the same time showed
his ripe wisdom, and rebuked the readiness of inexpe-
rienced youth, when he said, " I cannot answer you
as to these things ; but ask some young theologian,
and he will toll you all about them."
Being asked, on his death-bed, if he thought he
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 89
should live differently from what he had done, in case
it were permitted to him to live his life over again,
" No," he answered, " not if I were still to have this
The most striking feature of Mr. Grafton was his
black eye, which was remarkably keen and piercing.
When it was lighted up by any vivid emotion of the
mind, it gave a peculiarly impressive air to his coun-
tenance. This feature was not easily forgotten by
any person who had ever seen him. In the exercise
of his truly patriotic spirit, he visited the American
army during the war of the revolution. By some
means he became acquainted there with the celebra-
ted general Lafayette. The latter, on his visit to this
country in 1824, seeing father Grafton on the steps of
the State-house in Boston, instantly recalled him to
remembrance and exclaimed, — " There's Mr. Graf-
ton ; I know him by his eyes." This recognition was
very remarkable, seeing that it was at least forty
years since they had met. Lafayette Avas distin-
guished by the ability to recal the features of those
whom he had once seen, and to associate with them
the names of persons. It is said that during his tour
through the United States on the visit above alluded
to, he recognized and was able to call by name sev-
eral individuals whom he had last seen during the
war of the American revolution.
MR. GRAFTON AS A PREACHER.
It was the custom of father Grafton to preach from
a written sketch of the main thoughts to be presented.
Among all the pulpit materials which he left, there is
only one sermon written out in full. This is a ser-
mon preached on a Thanksgiving day, giving an ab-
stract of the early history of New England. Some
of his discourses which have appeared in print, were
written out after they were delivered. =* He left a
* PUBLICATIONS OF MR. GRAFTON.
The publications of Mr. Grafton, so far as known, are
the following :
1. A Sermon occasioned by the death of Samuel Bix-
by, who died Sept. 25, a^t. 17; Jonathan Shepard, Jr.,
who died Sept. 28, aet. 29; James Ward, who died Sept.
29, set. 25; and Michael Bright, Jr., who died Oct. 10,
set. 20. (All of the small pox.) Preached Oct. 21,
2. A Sermon delivered at Newton on the third Lord's
day in October, 1802, occasioned by the death of Miss
Sally Grafton, set. 12. By her Father. Published by
Request. With a Preface by Dr. Jonathan Homer.
3. The godly and ftiithful man delineated. A Sermon
delivered at Newton on the first Lord's day in January,
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 91
small number of his briefs, not exceeding sixty, care-
fully tied up in a bundle. Perhaps they were deemed
by him a selection of his best efforts. Perhaps they
were chosen as exhibiting his views in theology, as
they embrace almost the entire circle of Christian
doctrine. Although he indulged in the discursive
method in the filling up of his plans, he generally ex-
hibited, in these specimens, a topic aptly chosen and
distinctly conceived ; and in the several parts of the
plan he adhered strictly to his main point. The fol-
lowing texts and titles, taken almost at random from
the package before mentioned, show the kind of sub-
jects selected by him.
1. Divine authority of the Scriptures.
2 Pet. 1 : 16.
2. Ministers set for the defence of the gospel.
3. God glorious in holiness.
4. God's mysterious judgments.
5. God's covenant with his people.
Phil. 1 : 17.
Ex. 15 :11.
Rom. 11 :33.
John 6 : 37.
1804. Occasioned by the death of Mr. Samuel Richard-
son, set. 70. Published by Request.
4. A Sermon exhibiting the Origin, Progress and
Present State of the Baptist Church and Society in New-
ton, Mass. Preached before them on the first Lord's
day in January, 1830, by the Pastor.
Besides the above, Mr. Grafton printed a few shorter
pieces, as letters, brief addresses, etc. They appeared
in connection with the sermons, etc., of others, or in the
92 L I F E O F
6. Divine guidance.
8. Christ, the ark of refuge.
9. The good Shepherd.
10. Comfort for the people of God.
11. Christ's people made willing.
12. The church, God's building.
13. Christians the sons of God.
14. The mercies of God.
15. Beholding the Lamb of God.
16. Following the example of Christ.
17. Object of Christ's death.
18. Christ the Captain of salvation.
19. Christians not their own.
Ps. 73 : 24.
Ps. UG : 12.
Gen. 7 : 1.
John 10 : 11.
Is. 40: 1.
Ps. 110 : 3.
Eph. 2 : 20-22.
1 John 3 :2.
Lam. 3 : 22.
John 1 : 36.
1 Pet. 2:21.
Heb. 11 : 10.
1 Cor. G : 19, 20.
20. Forsaking Christ, and cleaving to liim.
John 6 : GG-G8.
21. Children exhorted to fear the Lord.
Ps. 34: 11.
22. Quenching the Spirit.
1 Thess. 5 : 19.
23. Losing the soul.
Mark 8 : 36, 37.
24. Entreating sinners.
1 Cor. 4 : 13.
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 93
25. Redeeming the time.
26. Desiring to depart.
Phil. 1 :23.
27. Absent from the body and present with the Lord.
2 Cor. 5 : 8.
28. New heaven and new earth.
29. Comfort from the resurrection.
30. Evils of war.
Rev. 21 :4.
1 Thes. 4 : 8.
Mat. 24 : 6.
It is scarcely worth while to present many of these
schemes in detail. A small number of them, how-
ever, will be not devoid of interest to readers general-
ly. They will serve to show not only the method in
which he constructed his sermons, but also the ten-
dencies of his mind. They furnish likewise a fair
transcript of his spirit. If the private room and the
scene of pastoral intercourse were his high place,
where he showed especially the salient points of his
character, still it would be impossible to gain an ac-
curate impression of him apart from his preaching.
His sketches of sermons also present in a striking
manner the system of divine doctrines in which he
believed. We select a very few of the skeletons, as
specimens of the general manner of the whole.
I. MLNISTERS SET FOR THE DEFENCE OF THE GOSPEL.
Phil. 1 : 17. — " I am set for the defence of the gospel."
Among Other trials which the Apostle Paul had to
combat with, was that of false and contentious breth-
ren. "Some," says he, "indeed preach Christ even
of envy and strife." What then? Shall I quit the
94 L I F E O F
cause? No; God forbid. Whether in pretence or in
truth, Cfirist is preached, and I therein do rejoice, yea,
and will rejoice. Did the apostle rejoice in iniquity ?
No, surely. He did not rejoice in the envious and
contentious spirit of those preachers ; but he rejoiced
that Christ was preached, and in that I will rejoice.
He knew that though the seed was sowed with a dir-
ty hand, it might, under the culture of heaven, pro-
duce a crop. We cannot but admire the amiable
temper of the apostle; while those teachers were
filled with envy and contention, he was placid and
rejoicing; determined to keep his post. "lam set
for the defence of the gospel, and mean not like a
coward, to retreat from my duty."
The proposition which I shall deduce from the text
is this. That the ministers of Christ are appointed
by him to defend the gospel.
In attempting to illustrate the doctrine, I shall, I.
Inquire what we are to understand by the word gos-
pel in the text? II. Point out how, or with what
weapons, they are to defend it.
I. The word gospel, simply considered, means
good news, or glad tidings. The gospel is indeed
good tidings. " Behold," said the angels, &c. But
the word gospel in the text is not to be taken in this
contracted sense. The gospel is the house which
Wisdom hath builded, consisting not of one, but seven
pillars. The scheme of mercy, or the gospel, con-
tains a number of important truths peculiar to revela-
tion, and which would never have been known with-
out it. They are essential to Christianity, and con-
stitute its existence, and are necessary to be believed
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 95
for the salvation of the soul. The most prominent I
shall endeavor to present to your view.
The first is man's depravity. This doctrine lies at the
foundation of the gospel. Had man never sinned, &c.
The second is his recovery through the inter-
vention of the Lord Jesus Christ. Man's salvation
is attributed to the grace of God. Hence the gospel
is called " The gospel of the grace of God." Define
the term grace. God's grace is distinct from his good-
ness; yet grace implies goodness.
" By grace are ye saved." The scheme of man's
salvation reveals the grace of the Father, the grace
of the Son, and the grace of the Holy Ghost ; or if
you please, the gracious influences of the divine
Spirit. "God so loved the world," &c., "Brethren,
ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ," &:c.
Christ crucified is the theme of the gospel preach-
er. " I am determined," said Paul, who defended
the gospel with all his mind, with all his might, and
with all his soul, '• to know nothing among you save
Jesus Christ and him crucified." The deity of the
Lord Jesus is to be defended. The atonement he
made for sin is to be insisted upon. The invaluable
price of his blood — the perfectness of his obedience —
the power of his resurrection — the glory of his ascen-
sion — the efiicacy of his intercession — the universality
of his power — are truths which his ministers are to
preach — to be proclaimed aloud, as essential to the
salvation of man.
Thirdly. The personality and influence of the
Holy Spirit, is a doctrine according to godliness.
What Christ has done or sufl^ered, does not aflfect
the moral state of man. He still remains in enmity
96 LIFE OF
to God. It is the office of the Holy Spirit to convince
of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come.
When Jesus left the world, the Holy Spirit took the
work of redemption and carried it forward.
The Holy Spirit is in person distinct from the Fa-
ther, or the Son, yet is mysteriously and indissolubly
united with both. He proceedeth from them. Re-
generation, repentance and faith are represented as
necessary for salvation. The Holy Spirit effects each
and all of these. Eternal judgment, and the promise
of everlasting life to the righteous, and endless misery
to the impenitent, are truths which are brought to
light by the gospel.
But it is time to attend to the second part of the
subject, viz : — How, and with what weapons are the
ministers of Christ to defend the gospel ?
The language of our text is military. The apostle
viewed himself as a soldier of Christ, the great Cap-
tain of salvation, and by him appointed to defend his
cause. But what weapons should he use? Hear
what he says himself. " The weapons of our war-
fare are not carnal." By carnal weapons we are first
to understand the civil sword. This has been abun-
dantly used to promote (professedly) the cause of
Christ. But carnal weapons may also design deceit,
fraud, intrigue, and false reasonings. The first gos-
pel weapon is the shield of faith — David, &c. — x\no-
ther is the sword of the Spirit — the word of God.
Another weapon is the spirit of Christ. This implies
all the graces of the Spirit — meekness, gentleness, for-
bearance and patience.
One thought more.
Paul, when writing to the church at Rome, said,
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 97
" I am sure that when 1 come unto you, 1 shall come
in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ."
Now my brethren, to go in the fulness of his blessing,
is to go anointed with that unction which is from the
From the preceding remarks, we pass to a few in-
ferences, and shall conclude the discourse.
1. The text and subject teach us what is the
post and duty of the minister of Christ — to defend
the gospel, or the truth.
2. What responsibility is upon us as ministers of
Permit me, my brethren, to exhort you to fidelity,
Finally, if ministers are under such obligations to
defend the truth, should not Christians do all they
can to encourage and strengthen them in their work 7
II. DIVINE AUTHORITY OF THE SCRIPTURES.
2 Pet. 1 : 16. ^' For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when
we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
but were eye witnesses of his majesty."
I. The authenticity of Christianity, or the divine
originality of the Scriptures. II. Principal objections
against the authority of Christianity. III. The ad-
vantages derived from revelation. lY. Inferences.
I. The authenticity of Christianity, or the divine
originality of the Scriptures.
As a necessary preliminary article, I shall take it
for granted that we all believe in the immortality of
98 L I F E O F
1. We argue from granting the preceding truth,
that mankind need a revelation.
2. If Christianity is not of divine authority, we
are in a state of entire uncertainty respecting futu-
3. If Christianity is not of God, it is the contriv-
ance or invention of men. Would good men do it?
Have wicked men done it? What advantage could
the contrivance be to wicked men? W^hat was the
end of Clirist and his apostles?
4. The character and perfection which the Scrip-
tures ascribe to the Deity, are such as we might ra-
tionally expect of the Creator, Governor, and Judge
of the universe — his eternal existence, his almighty
power, infinite knowledge, inflexible justice and holi-
Sovereignly not omitted.
5. The history and present state of the Jews, de-
monstrate the truth of divine revelation.
G. The influence which the truths and spirit of
Christianity have upon the conscience, tempers and
lives of those who receive it, is ample proof of its being
7. Christianity is perfectly and completely calcu-
lated to the circumstances and exisrencies of mankind
as hopeless, helpless and guilty sinners,
II. The principal objections against Christianity.
1. One objection against the Scriptures is, that they
are so mysterious they cannot be understood. In
answer to this objection, we sliould consider that the
Scriptures were not designed for one period, or nation
only; but that they look forward to the end of time,
and were designed for all nations where the gospel
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 99
should be preached. And not only so, but they con-
tam a great variety. They reveal the character, the
purposes and the grace of God— they refer to the rise
and fall of nations. Again, the prophetic eye looks
forward and beholds the different situations of the
church of God, and the rise, progress, and destruction
of anti-Christian religion. They also refer to the ful-
filment of the promise, and the accomplishment of the
purposes of God in time, and open to view the con-
summate glory of all the work, government and grace
of God in the world above. Can it be expected that
a finite mind can comprehend ail this? No; to do
it, one must be infinite.
But what particularly concerns us is plain and
easy, viz : — our duty. The objection is in favor of
Christianity. We should consider, however, that
Christianity is an object of our faith.
2. Another objection is the conduct of many who
profess religion, and the abuse which has been made
of it. This is a serious and melancholy truth. But
we will give it all its weight. First, as it respects
individuals — many false professors. Is this sufficient
to invalidate the reality of religion? If so, it will in-
validate every principle of virtue and patriotism in
the universe. But the abuse which has been made
of religion even by those nations called Christian —
3. Another objection is, that it is enthusiasm and
fanaticism ; consequently all who are religious are
enthusiasts and fanatics. Define the terms. But is
there no reason in real religion and the true religion-
ist? Reason upon God, our duty, 6cc.
til. The advantages derived from revelation.
I. By revelation we learn the true character of God.
100 LIFE OF
2. By revelation we are taught what man was at
his creation, what is his present state, and how he
may be extricated from sin and its fatal consequences.
3. By revelation we are taught and confirmed in
the truth and reality of our immortality.
4. Christianity points out to us the great end of
our existence, viz : — glorifying God, and enjoying him
5. Revelation teaches the difference between the
righteous and the wicked, and their future situations.
Improvement. From the preceding remarks we
1. That we have the greatest reason to give credit
to the bible as of divine authority.
2. Those who do not believe the bible are left in-
excusable, and must remain in a state of uncertainty
respecting eternal things.
3. It is the duty of mankind to receive Christianity
with pious gratitude.
4. What a source of spiritual comfort the Scriptures
are to the believer.
5. If Christianity is from God, do we not this day
stand reproved that we are so indifferent respecting
it, and are no more attentive to the blessings which it
Once more. Such are the truths of Christianity.
Such the great authority of our holy religion, that
with the greatest safety and utmost confidence we
may venture our eternal interests upon their veracity,
III. ENTREATING SINNERS,
' 1 Cor. 4:13. '* Being defamed, we entreat."
There is much weight in the following? declaration
EEV. JOSEPH GRAFTON, 101
of the apostle, in another part of this epistle. ^Mf in
this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of ail
men most miserable," (See the context.) But, be-
lieving the great truths of Ciiristianity, and thongh we
suffer all these things and are defamed, yet we entreat.
The doctrine which I shall deduce from tlie text is
the following, viz: —
That consistently with the eternal purpose of
God respecting the salvation of man, the minister of
the gospel may entreat sinners to be reconciled to
God ; or, in other words., to seek salvation.
Perhaps, primarily, the meaning of the passage is,
that the apostles entreated those who defamed, them
to desist from their evil ways,
I. Sinners should be entreated to be religious from
the consideration of the right that God has in them.
We are his by creation,
II. Mankind should, and ought to be entreated to
serve God from the consideration that they possess
intelligent or rational powers, whereby they are ca-
pable of serving God,
III. Mankind should be entreated to serve God
from the fact that the law which he has given them
is holy, just and good.
IV. We are under obligation to love God and bs
entreated to serve him from the consideration of what
has been done to procure salvation for us, siimers.
And what has not been done?
V. Men should be entreated to seek salvation from
the necessity and importance of it.
VI. Men should be entreated to seek religion from
the consideration that that, and that only will render
102 LIFE OF
YII. We should be excited to seek religion because
time is short.
Lastly, we should be entreated to seek religion
now, for now is God's gracious time.
IV. LOSING THE SOUL.
Mark 8 : 3G, 37. ''' What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world^
and lose his own soul V
I. Mankind are in danger of losing their souls.
1. This is demonstrated from the text.
2. From the plain declaration of God in his word.
3. From the general inattention among mankind
respecting their salvation.
4. From the deceitfulness of the heart of man, and
his innate love to sin, and sinful ways.
II. What are we to understand by the loss of the
soul 7 Not annihilation — not ceasing to live, or exist.
But loss of future happiness; loss of God's blessing;
loss of an interest in the great salvation : to experi-
ence the fulfilment of the denunciations threatened
against the impenitent in the word of God.
III. Nothing can compensate for the loss of tlie
soul. Tliis is intimated in our text, "What,"&c.
Can riches 7 Can honor? Can pleasures? Can
friends? Can literary acquirements?
IV. Arguments to persuade you to attend to the
salvation of your souls. But where shall I begin?
Arguments pour themselves forth on every side. Do
we consider the present moment? What is its lan-
guage? Attend to the salvation of thy soul. Do Ave
look forward to an eternal state of happiness or mis-
ery to which we are progressing? Prepare to meet
thy God, is its authoritative voice.
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 103
But to be more particular.
1. We argue from its importauce, that men sliould
attend to the salvation of their souls.
2. From the consideration of the great good we
3. From the consideration of the great misery we
4. From the consideration of what has been done
for man's salvation.
5. If we neglect this great salvation, we cannot es-
6. The uncertainty of life.
7. What is doing. &c.
V. QUENCHING THE SPIRIT.
1 Thes. 5 : 19. " Quench not the Spirit."
I. Some observations relative to the Spirit. Much
is said in the Scriptures respecting the Spirit of God,
his divinity, his agency and his eflects.
The Spirit is distinct from our souls. It is distinct
from our consciences, and it is distinct from the reli-
gion of nature; though it pervades all, operates upon
and affects them. The Spirit is God, and conse-
quently is divine. Personality is ascribed to the
Spirit. Says our Lord, I will send " him unto you,"
— meaning the Holy Spirit — •' and when he is come,"
— referring to the same divine person.
II. The influence and ofhce-work of the Spirit.
1. As it respects his influence. I have already ob-
served under the preceding head that the Spirit per-
vades all. When we look into the history of crea-
tion, we read that " the Spirit of God moved upon
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the face of the waters." Creation is attributed to the
influence of the divine Spirit.
2. We shall notice the influence of the Spirit in the
afl^airs of rehgion, and in effecting the great plan of
(I.) It was the divine Spirit that inspired holy
men to predict of the person and grace of the Re-
deemer. They spake as they were moved by the
Holy Ghost. Here enlarge. (2.) It is by the influ-
ence of the divine Spirit that ancient saints wrought
miracles and triumphed in God. (3.) It was in con-
sequence of the influence of the Spirit that Old Testa-
ment saints believed in, and had the blessing of the
Messiah appropriated to them. Here enlarge, if this
good Spirit grant — (4.) It was the Spirit who quali-
fied the great Mediator for, and assisted him in com-
pleting the work of redemption. At his baptism he
lit upon him in the appearance of a dove. His holy
disposition, miracles, suff'eriug, death, resurrection
and ascension, were all eflected by the power of the
But to pursue the history of the church we find
that after the ascension of our Lord, the Spirit by its
influence according to liis promise descended in a
most miraculous manner, to establish the gospel and
to extend its influence and blessings. From the ex-
traordinary influence of tlie Spirit we will particular-
ly attend to his ordinary and necessary 'influence
upon the hearts of men in order to qualify them for
heaven. This, by some, is denied; but I firmly be-
lieve it. Here it may be asked, " how may a person
know whether he is under the influence of God's
Spirit or not?" I answer, by the eflects. We read
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 105
'' That the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep
things of God." I observed before, that the Spirit of
God was not the soul nor the conscience, yet it op-
erates upon both ; upon every faculty of the mind.
And here it is necessary to notice, that all the teach-
ing and influence of the Spirit are and ever will be in
perfect accordance with divine revelation. The bi-
ble was written under divine inspiration; God can-
not contradict himself. We observe then,
1. That the Spirit enlightens the mind.
2. It renovates the soul in works, faith, love, re-
pentance, humility, self-denial — it sanctifies the soul,
it comforts and supports it under the evils of life, and
finally prepares it for glory.
III. What is it that quenches the Spirit, and the
danger of so doing.
More fully to ascertain the point, it will be neces-
sary to notice several passages similar to the text.
We read of grieving the Spirit — of resisting the Spirit
— and of doing despite to the Spirit of grace. These
passages not only corroborate the text, but carry the
idea farther. A person may quench and grieve the
Spirit, and yet not resist and do despite unto it.
Christians may quench the Spirit, but it is the unre-
newed and unsanctified who resist the Holy Ghost,
and do despite to the Spirit of grace. But to proceed.
What is it that quenches the Spirit?
1. The indulgence of any known sin.
2. The omission of any known religious duty ; and
particularly a duty which requires great self-denial.
3. An undue pursuit after this world, either its
riches, pleasures, or honors,
4. A vain and trifling disposition,
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5. A disposition unreconciled to our worldly
IV. The evil and danger of quenching the Spirit.
1. It is very provoking and grievous to God.
2. It is always accompanied with guilt.
3. It involves us in darkness and uncertainty re-
specting our spiritual interests.
4. In quenching God's Spirit there is danger lest
we should go from step to step, till at last we end in
apostacy, and God should say, " My Spirit shall not
strive with 3^ou."
Improvement. 1. Our subject teaches us how im-
portant the work of salvation is. God the Father,
Son and Spirit, are all concerned to effect it.
2. The subject teaches us the necessity and impor-
tance of the divine influence.
3. How circumspect and watchful we should live,
lest we should grieve and quench the Spirit.
4. We may learn why religion is so low among us.
Have we not quenched the Spirit?
5. May we not take encouragement from a consid-
eration of the power of the divine Spirit ?
6. If quenching and grieving the Spirit are provok-
ing to God, see that none of you continue in so doing;
here apply the subject to sinners.
VI. god's covenant with his people.
John G : 37. " All that the Father givelli me, shall come to me j and him
that Cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.''
The legitimate doctrine contained in, or rising out
of the text is, that in consequence of sinners being
given to Christ they will come unto him.
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 107
111 illustrating the doctrine, I shall inquire,
I. By whom sinners were given to Christ. By the
Father. "AH that the Father hath given unto me."
II. Wlieii were sinners given to Christ? In eter-
nity. See Eph. 3:4. 1 Tim. 1 : 9.
HI. How were they given ? By covenant, or
agreement. By the covenant alluded to, 1 mean the
covenant entered into between the three Divine per-
sons, as parties in this covenant, or God absolutely
considered, and Jesus Christ in his mediatorial char-
A covenant implies an agreement between two or
more parties upon certain terms. In forming an
agreement or covenant, one proposes and the other
consents, and the parties so agreeing feel under sol-
emn and mutual obligations to fulfil the terms of the
covenant then made. That there was such a cove-
nant between God absolutely considered, and the
Lord Jesus Christ as mediator between God and
man, is fully revealed in the Scriptures of truth.
This covenant is a covenant of grace. We may
speak after the manner of men in things relating to
God and his plan of mercy. May we not suppose
that God the Father might say to his Son, ' My
Son, after the heaven and earth are created, I shall
create a })erson that shall be called man ; he shall
possess a complex nature, his body will I create out
of the ground, I will breathe into him a principle of
immortality, and it shall be denominated his soul.
Man that shall be created shall be constituted the
federal head of his posterity. I shall place him in a
state of trial or probation — I shall place him under
law ; a law which will be just and good — but I fore-
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see that he will transgress the law which I shall en-
join upon him; but such is the rectitude of my na-
ture, and the reasonableness of the law which I shall
impose upon him, that should he transgress it he
must die, and that eternally. Now if one adequate
to the redemption of man could be found, that should
obey and magnify the law that I shall give him. I
have sutficient love or benevolence to save him from
that eternal death to which he will expose himself,
and the unnumbered millions of his posterity. How
shall he, or any part of his posterity be saved?' On
hearing tliis, the Son replied, " Here am I. send me."
' But, my beloved, in order to eflect this, you must
part with the glory you have now with me. You
must become a man of sorrows and acquainted with
grief You must be made lower than the angels.
You must in your own body bear the sins of many.
You must die in shame and deep distress. But for
these sufferings I will reward you. I will give thee
a seed to serve thee — a people that shall be wilHng in
the day of thy power.' See Isaiah 53 : 10. Psalms
110 : 102, 103. Thus this covenant or testament is
agreed to, signed, and in the view of the parties
sealed with blood. It is a covenant of grace — grace
in the Father, and grace in the Son.
II. It is an eternal covenant.
III. It is a covenant well ordered in all things and
Well ordered in all things. There is provision
made in this covenant for accomplishing all the de-
signs of God's purpose for the salvation of those whom
the Father gave to his Son. Among other things,
and as a constituent part of this covenant was secured
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 109
the influence of the Holy Spirit. Notwithstanding
wliat Christ should do or suffer, the influence of the
Holy Spirit was necessary to the fulfilment of this
covenant. It was necessary that the gospel should
be preached for the salvation of men. This was ar-
ranged in this covenant. In a word — as the apostle
expresses himself upon the subject — " According to
his divine power, lie hath given unto us all things
that pertain unto life and godliness." Here, I appre-
hend, is the foundation of man's salvation ; and from
this proceeds the cause and certainty of sinners' com-
ing to Christ. ''All that the Father," &c.
We are now led to show how sinners come to
1. Tliey come as sinners.
2. As repenting and humble sinners.
3. As believing sinners. That is, they believe that
Christ is able to save them.
Improvement. If the preceding sentiments are cor-
rect, we learn the foundation of the salvation of sin-
What obligations are those under to God and Christ
for their salvation.
Do any say, if I knew I was given to Christ I
would go to him?
Do any say, I do not know that I am given to
Christ; therefore I cannot go to him ? If you wait
to know this, then you will never go to him.
VII. OBJECT OF Christ's death.
Tit, 2:14-. " Who give himself for ns, that he might redeem us from all
iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
The great scheme of mercy consists of a number
110 LIFE OF
of constituent parts, not expressed fully in one pas-
sage of Scriptnre, nor revealed at one time. But God
spake at sundry tinries and in divers manners, by the
prophets, and in these days, i. e., the days when
Christ was upon earth, by his Son, and in after days
by the inspired apostles. And no one passage per-
haps contains more of the substance of the gospel
than the following. " Without controversy God
manifest in the flesh,'' &c. Our text contaius two
parts of the glorious plan of salvation ; or, I may say
two pillars of the grand edifice of mercy.
In order to ascertain the full meaning of the text,
it will be necessary to advert to what immediately
precedes it. "For the grace of God," &c., and then
comes in the text — " Who gave himself for us," &c.
From tiie text we shall inquire,
I. What is implied in his (Christ) giving himself
for us 7
He gave himself, i. e., to suffer and to die. This
I conceive to be the meaning of the apostle in this
part of the text. " He gave his life a ransoni for
many." " Christ died according to the Scripture."
He gave himself a sacrifice. " Christ, our passover,
is sacrificed for us."
He gave himself willingly.
II. For whom Christ gave himself — or, who are
designed by the word us, in the text?
Christ did not die without an object in view. He
did not give himself, or die at uncertainty. For
whom then did he give himself? Let an inspired
apostle answer. " He (Christ) loved the church, and
gave liimself for it."
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTOxN. Ill
III. The design of his giving himself for the
church. '-That he might redeem it from all in-
1. That his people should be redeemed from all
sin. This redemption I conceive is the design the
influence and efficacy of the Holy Spirit.
2. That they might be purified, or sanctified.
3. That they should be a peculiar people.
4. That they should be "zealous of good works."
Refer to 1st Epistle of Peter, 2d chapter, 9th verse,
Application. I. Our subject teaches ns that one
great design of God in the plan of redemption was to
make men holy, to be useful in this life, and by grace
to prepare them for heaven.
2. As many of us profess Christ, let us inquire, are
we redeemed from our iniquities?
3. Permit me to exhort yon to the discharge o[
every duty, and to be zealous of good works.
4. See. my hearer, the road to heaven.
VIII. CHRIST, THE CAPTAIN OF SALVATION.
Heb. 11 : 10. " Tlie Captain of their salvation."
I. Some of the qualifications of the great Captain
of salvation. I. Wisdom. 2. Honor. 3. Power
and wealth. 4. Goodness. 5. Tenderness and jus-
II. The cause of which he is at the liead, and in
which every true soldier of Christ is engaged. Neg-
atively. Not a temporal cause. But it is the cause
of virtue and religion against sin and Satan. It is a
good cause, an eternal cause; a cause in which the
112 LIFE OF
eternal Father, tlie Holy Spirit, the holy angels, and
all good people are engaged.
III. The encouragement given to all who enlist
under the banner of Christ. A good bounty — a good
living — good wages — good arn:ior — good company,
and a good general.
IV. What is required of every soldier of this Cap-
tain. 1. Yoluntariness. 2. Sincerity. 3. Love. 4.
Faithfulness. 5. Courage. 6. Obedience in heart
and life. 7. Perseverance.
V. The certainty of success.
VI. The victory and rewards of the soldiers of
IivirROVEMENT. 1. Jcsus Christ is worthy of our
love and obedience.
2. The Christian is in a good cause.
3. The encouragement for every true, faithful and
volunteer soldier of Jesus. Enumerate some of the
heroic acts of the faithful.
4. From the preceding observations, may I not be
permitted to address the different ages and characters
in this assembly? The aged may enlist under this
5. If Christ is so powerful, what may his enemies
We add an occasional address delivered by Mr.
Grafton, and a charge to a young minister— both for
the practical wisdom they contain, and as specimens
of his manner in such performances.
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 113
ADDRESS TO A YOUNG MINISTER.
One prominent and uniform duty which will devolve
on you is the preaching of the word. The address of the
angel to Peter and John, after tliey had miraculously es-
caped from prison, are not inapplicable to you. " Go,
stand in the temple, and preach unto the people all the
words of this life." Similar was the charge which Paul
gave to Timothy — " Preach the word, be instant in sea-
son, out of season." The words of this life, and the
word which Timothy was charged to preach, are the gos-
pel. The subject matter of the gospel ministry is
** Christ crucified." In preaching the word, my son,
you must, you will preach the perfect obedience and vi-
carious sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, as making
an atonement for sin — laying a foundation for God's par-
doning sinners and bringing in "everlasting righteous-
ness." "God, for Christ's sake," said the apostle,
" hath forgiven you." We have redemption through his
blood. For he who knew no sin, was made sin for us,
i. e., a sin-offering, that we might become the righteous-
mess of God in him. Here, my brother, is the founda-
tion which God hath laid in Zion. Here is truth which
is important and precious to e\ery real Christian. Go,
then, proclaim to guilty, needy sinners, a Saviour's love,
a Saviour's merits, a Saviour's righteousness. Be not
afraid to exalt him too high. Be not afraid to appreciate
the blood of Christ as too meritorious. No, no. His
blood cleanseth from all sin.
In preaching the word, you will, you must exhibit the
holiness, spirituality and perpetuity of the moral law.
This, my brother, is the eternal standard of right and
wrong. Inform your hearers that all intelligences in
heaven, earth and hell, are under eternal obligation to
114 LIFE OF
love the Lord Jehovah with all their hearts — and that
the evil disposition of the wicked, instead of excusing
them, increases their guilt. " Do we make void the law
through faith? God forbid — yea, we establish the law."
You must preach to men as sinners. You must exhibit
before them their lost, guilty, impotent condition. You
will not consider sin as a misfortune, but a crime; and
that the transgressor of God's law is exposed to its pen-
alty, which is eternal death. This truth men must know,
this they must feel, or they will never appreciate a Sa-
viour's worth. "The wliole need not a physician, but they
that are sick," was an aphorism of him who spake as never
man spake. " I came, said the same divine teacher,
" not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
In preaching the word, you will insist upon the neces-
sity of the special influence of the Holy Spirit to renew
and sanctify the children of men, to make them meet for
the inheritance of the saints in light. The declaration
was made by the Saviour, the word is gone out of his
mouth, it cannot return void. "Verily, verily, I say
unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see
the kingdom of God." Solemn asseveration ! It is all
important, from the consideration of the dignity and au-"
thority of him who made it. I say unto thee — I, the
eternal Son of God — I, who came to bear witness to the
truth — I, who came to seek and to save that which was lost
— I say unto thee — to you, Nicodemus — to all men — that
you and they must be born again, or neither you, nor
they, can ever see or enter the kingdom of God. Sanc-
tification is the fiuit of regeneration. First make the
tree good, and the fruit will be good also.
Once more. You will insist upon the necessity of
men's believing the gospel. No passage in all the Scrip-
tures is more authoritative than the following. "Go ye
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 115
into all the world, and preach the gospel to every crea-
ture. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;
he that believeth not shall be damned." This, my
brother, is your commission.
Faith is the hinge on which men's salvation turns.
Other important doctrines might be mentioned, connected
with, or involved in the preceding, which it will be your
duty to preach. But these appear to me to contain the
fundamentals of the gospel of the grace of God, and ne-
cessary to be believed for salvation.
You are not only to preach the word, but you are to
take the oversight of this church in the Lord. You have
just stepped over the hallowed threshold of the pastoral
door. You have been inducted into your sacred office
by prayer, and the laying on of the hands of the bresby-
tery. Several similes are made use of in the New Testa-
ment to represent the office and duties of a pastor. They
are compared to shepherds, to overseers, to rulers and to
watchmen. Christ the good Shepherd said to Peter,
" feed my lambs — feed my sheep." Paul charged the
elders of the church at Ephesus to "Take heed unto all
the flock over which the Holy Ghost had made them
overseers." " Obey them which have the rule over you,
for they watch for your souls as they who must give ac-
count." And a solemn account, my brother, it will be.
Much will depend for your future usefulness and re-
spectability on the manner in which you begin and dis-
charge your duties in the first years of your ministry.
For the profitable and acceptable discharge of your pas-
toral duties, you, my brother, need much wisdom, pru-
dence, circumspection, long-suffering, brotherly kind-
ness and Christian affection. Are you now in the afllec-
tions of the people.? Endeavor to continue so. In order
for this, your conduct must be such as to convince them
116 LIFE OF
that it is not theirs, but them you seek — their spiritual
good — their eternal welfare. Feel, my brother, that this
is your home — your field of labor — that this people is
your people — that their prosperity will be your prosper-
ity — their adversity your adversity. "Rejoice with
them who do rejoice, and weep with them who weep."
Mingle your truest sympathies with them in all their af-
flictions, trials and temptations; and you will find a
pleasure in the pain. " He that hath friends must show
Possessing and exhibiting such Christian feelings, and
pursuing such a mode of conduct, will tend to strengthen
the affection of your friends towards you; and when by
them reciprocated, (which I trust will be the case) will
form a three-fold cord, not easily parted.
I have often in the course of my ministry been much
grieved, that after having assisted in ordaining a brother
as pastor of a church — almost the first information I re-
ceived from him was, that he was about quitting his
post, or, that he had spread his wings and taken his flight.
But, my brother, from my intimate acquaintance with
you, I confidently expect better things; and things which
are more encouraging and of good report, though I thus
Permit me, my son, from the consideration that age
may speak, to caution you against the indulgence of van-
ity. How apposite is the advice of the apostle upon this
point ! Let no man, no Christian, no minister, think
more highly of himself than he ought to think ; but
think soberly, and you will also suppress every imperi-
ous feeling. "For the servant of the Lord must not
strive, but be gentle unto all men." What a contrast —
a humble Saviour, and a proud minister !
As it will be your duty to guard the door of the church,
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 117
you will be careful whom you admit into your fellowship.
You will make the evidence of conversion the turning
point upon which you receive every member.
You will be attentive, faithful, and prudent in seeing
that the disciplinary laws of Christ are executed in the
church. In administering the special ordinances of the
gospel, viz : — baptism and the Lord's supper — as to the
first, you must follow the example of the Lord Jesus
Christ, and conform to the practice of his apostles. The
latter is a church ordinance. Baptism is a personal act
of devotion or self-dedication to God. It cannot be per-
formed by proxy. And in order for any one to partake
of either, they must give evidence of their "repentance
toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
When called to assist in ordaining another, adhere to
the direction of the apostle, "Lay hands suddenly on no
man. Neither be partaker of other men's sins. Keep
Endeavor, my brother, to cultivate a peaceable and can-
did temper toward Christians differing from you. "As
much as in you lieth, live peaceably with all men." But
you must not part with truth for the sake of peace.
Are you ready to exclaim — from the consideration of
the weighty truths you are to preach, the holy temper
you are to exhibit, and the godly life you should live,
and above all, your high responsibility and accountable-
ness to God — " Who is sufRcient for these things?" No
man. Not a Paul, or an Apollos, without the grace of
God. But listen, my brother, to the declaration of the
Lord of glory. "All power is given unto me in heaven
and in earth. And lo, I am with you alway, even unto
the end of the world." "My grace is sufficient for
And now, " I charge thee in the sight of God, and be-
118 LIFE OF
fore Jesus Christ." "Let no man despise thy youth;
but be thou an example to the believers, in word, in con-
versation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity; give
attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine."
"Take heed unto thyself and to the doctrine; continue
in them; for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself
and them that hear thee."
May your life be long and useful; and when you shall
be called to render up your account to your Saviour,
your God, and your Judge — then may you hear from him
that soul-animating plaudit, " Well done, good and faith-
ful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. Amen."
Then will all the redeemed join their loud amen. And
thus shall the saints judge the world, and thus shall they
RIGHT HAND OF FELLOWSHIP DELIVERED AT CAMBRIDGE-
The occasion on which we have assembled is solemn,
important and pleasing. Solemn, for it has an imnrediate
reference to the honor of God and the glory of the Re-
deemer — important, for the visible kingdom of our Lord
Jesus Christ and the salvation of immortal souls are in-
volved in it — pleasing, for the service of God is ever de-
lightful, his tabernacles are amiable, his yoke is easy,
and his burden light.
It may not be uninteresting to take a retrospect of the
dealings of God with this people in effecting what we
this day witness. Not far from ten years ago, two per-
sons, members of the Baptist church in Newton, removed
into this place. For some length of time, tliey were
alone as it respected their religious connections and
privileges. Others, of the same sentiments, from time to
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 119
time were added to them. The speaker, as in duty
bound, frequently preached among them, and the assem-
blies were ever civil and attentive. Nothing, however,
very important transpired until March, 1816; when at a
lecture on a Lord's day evening, at the house of a bro-
ther not far from where this house is erected, the people
flocked like clouds and like doves, " and filled the house
where we were sitting." From that evening several
have dated their first serious impressions. The few
brethren then residing in the vicinity thought it duty to
open a meeting for prayer and conference, and God
blessed it for the spiritual good of others. A place was
procured where they met for public worhip on the eve-
nings of Lord's days. A number of the ministering
brethren in the vicinity, as well as others, supplied them;
and their proximity to the metropolis greatly facilitated
their object. Several, during these transactions, were
hopefully brought to the knowledge of the truth, and pub-
licly professed the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus the little
cloud which appeared produced a gracious, a refreshing
A number of professors belonging to the second and
third Baptist churches in Boston and to the church in
Newton, conceived it would promote the cause of the
Redeemer and contribute to their religious privileges,
to unite in erecting a house for the worship of God, and
in constituting a church in the faith and order of the New
Testament. In these their undertakings, God hath re-
markably smiled upon them.
This day, my brethren, you may with the greatest pro-
priety exclaim with the ancient prophet — " Hitherto hath
the Lord helped us."
We congratulate you upon your pleasing circumstan-
ces and future prospects. It gives us much religious
120 LIFE OF
pleasure tliat you have been enabled to erect this decent
and convenient place for divine worship, and are consti-
tuted a church of Jesus Christ. In order to obtain and
enjoy such privileges as these, did our ancestors leave
their native country, when oppressed by the iron hand of
religious tyranny. Here they sought and found an asy-
lum for themselves and for us their children. For the
defence and permanent security of our civil and religious
rights, did many of our fathers and brethren, in our rev-
olutionary struggle, fight, and bleed, and die. Yea,
more. To procure our religious and spirifual blessings,
did the Son of God, who was rich, become poor; he died
that we might live; he lives, that we may have eternal
It is peculiarly satisfactory to us, that the method of
your embodying into a church was by relating to each
other the work of grace upon your souls and the reason
of the hope that is within you, by which you became ac-
quainted with each other's sentiments and obtained the
fellowship of the saints. This resembled the building of
the ancient temple, (which was a figure of a spiritual
church of Christ,) the materials of which were made ready
before they were brought to the place of building, so that
there was neither hammer nor axe, nor any tool of iron,
heard in the house wliile it was building. And, indeed,
this was the practice of the first planters of churches in
this State (then colony). Governor Winthrop, in his
Journal, relates the following circumstance. A number
of ministers met at Dorchester, (not more than six miles
from where we are now assembled,) to constitute a
church; but not being satisfied with the evidence of a
work of grace on some who oflered themselves as mem-
bers, they separated without effecting the object of their
meeting. But you, brethren, having first given your-
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 121
selves to the Lord, and to one another by the will of God,
we view and recognize you as a church, built upon the
foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ
himself being the chief corner-stone. And you, as lively
stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priest-
hood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God
by Jesus Christ.
As it is customary, on occasions such as this, for some
person to be designated to present the hand of fellowship,
and this part of the service, at your instance, and by the
appointment of the council here convened, being assigned
to me — in behalf of the churches we represent, I do with
much pleasure give you, through the medium of this_
brother whom you have appointed for the service, this
hand. Take it, my brother, and with it goes my heart;
yea, and with it go the hearts of all my brethren. Re-
ceive it as a token of our union, and as a pledge of our
Christian affection for you. Hereby recognizing you as
a church of Jesus Christ, engaging to render you all the
assistance and advice which it may be in our power to
grant, and, in return, expecting the same from you.
Your erecting this house for the worship of God, and
embodying into a church, was not to intrude on others
differing in sentiment from you, or to abridge any of their
religious privileges. No; but simply to enjoy your own.
Consider, my brethren, with grateful feelings, your obli-
gations to God for his great goodness towards you. You
are now as a city set upon a hill — may it never be hid !
a candlestick whence light should shine — may it never
become extinct !
As a distinct and independent body, you will have du-
ties, trials, and joys, peculiar to yourselves. Permit me
to exhort you to the exercise of Christian affection, can-
dor, meekness, forbearance, and long-suffering. Con-
122 LIFE OF
sider one another, provoking (or exciting) to love and
to good works.
You are this day, my brethren, like a ship, richly
laden, commencing her passage with a clear sky and a
fair and gentle breeze; but which, before she makes her
port, has to encounter adverse winds, boisterous waves,
and repeated storms. You must not expect to be
" Carried lo the skies,
" On flowery beds of ease ;
" While others fought to win the prize,
" And sail'd through bloody seas."
Be sober, be vigilant, always abounding in the work of
the Lord. Be careful whom you hereafter admit into
your fellowship. You will make the evidence of conver-
sion the turning point upon which you receive every
member. Be attentive, be faithful, be prudent, in your
In your endeavors to obtain a pastor, be not precipi-
tate. Make it a subject of your united and fervent
prayers. Let not brilliancy of talent — let not high litera-
ry attainments out-go the man of God, the humble disci-
ple of the meek and lowly Jesus. If you can find the
man in whom talents, learning and grace unite, well;
but if not, I beseech you, for Christ's sake, to choose
the man of grace.
In closing this address, I beg to be indulged one mo-
ment in expressing my own feelings on the occasion.
Twenty, who have united with this church, were dismiss-
ed from that over which I have the honor and pleasure
of being the pastor. To part with you, my brothers and
sisters, was like parting with our right hands and our
right eyes; but these feelings are, in a great degree,
counterbalanced by the consideration that here with
more convenience you can enjoy your religious privi-
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 123
leges, and, we hope, be a means of extending and sup-
porting the visible kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Most of you were young when you joined the church,
and one among you not eleven years of age. Some have
been with us five, seven, ten, fifteen, and others more
than twenty years. Much have we enjoyed of the good-
ness of God; and in many privileges and spiritual bless-
ings have we participated together. But our obligations
and duties, as pastor and people, this day end. But will
our Christian affection for each other cease? No. It
cannot; it must not. If we forget one another, let our
right hand forget its cunning; and if we cease to love
and to pray for each other, let our tongue cleave to the
roof of our mouth. Permit me to say to you, as the an-
cient patriarch said to Pharaoh's chief butler, after hav-
ing given him a favorable interpretation of his dream —
*' But think on me when it shall be well with thee." Nor
do I indulge any fear that the conduct of that ungrateful
cup-bearer expressed in the following passage, will ever
be exhibited by one of you. "^^ Yet did not the chief but-
ler remember Joseph, but forgat him.**
And now, brethren, we commend you to God, and to
the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and
to give you an inheritance among all them which are
sanctified. And let all the people say amen.
Mr. Grafton was thrice married. Of his earliest
marriage we have already spokeii. We have only to
add the following pleasing tribute to the memory of
the first Mrs. G. Mr. Grafton says of her, "It is but
justice to say that Mrs. Grafton from her youth feared
God; and, from the time of her professing religion to
her death, she was an ornament to her profession.
For weeks before her death she was sensible of her
situation, and died, happy and triumphing, aged
twenty-seven years and five days." Tiie second
marriage probably took place not very far from the
time of his settlement at Newton ; for we find the
name of the second Mrs. G. inserted in the catalogue
of the church under date of Aug. 29, 1790. The
connection was not a long one. Mrs. G. died June
15, 1804, aged 41. The name of the third wife first
appears in the church records under date of July 19,
1812. At her baptism, as he led her down into the
water, he pronounced with great emphasis the
words, " As for me and my house, we will serve the
Lord." She died January 26, 1835, aged 73. He
had, in all, nine children ; — two, as has already been
stated, by his first marriage, and seven by the second.
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 125
— James Manning, Sally, Ruth, Fanny, Joseph Dana,
William, and Hope. It is believed that not more
than one now survives him. In his children he found
both sorrow and joy. One little daughter died at
Newton, at the age of twelve years. Her father
preached a sermon occasioned by the event of her
death, the third Lord's day in October, 1802, which
was printed. As an exemplification of exquisite taste
and feeling, we have heard the fact that after her
death a piece of embroidery which she had nearly
fiiiished was framed and hung in the parlor, with the
needle, ready to take the next stitch, remaining just
where her fingers had left it — a meet and tasteful em-
blem of a life thus cut off in the midst, and a home-
inonument of touching significancy.
He was keenly alive to the pleasures of domestic
life, and ardently attached to his family circle.
Hence he felt deeply the solitude of his situation in
the latter portion of his life. One day on his last ex-
cursion from home, calling on a friend, he remarked,
" I can fully sympathize with the Psalmist in his
words, ' I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon
the house-top.' "
It is remarkable that God should have permitted
so good a man to suffer, in this respect, under so se-
vere chastisements. He lived to bury three wives.
Six of his children died in infancy or childhood.
Of the three who lived to adult years, two were a
source of extreme anxiety to him, and the third died
at the early age of thirty-two under his roof True
it is that affliction is no certain proof of a gracious
state. But such dispensations strongly remind us of
the words of the apostle (Heb. 12 : 6, 8), " For whom
126 REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON.
the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourget?i every
son whom he receiveth. If ye be without chastise-
ment, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards,
and not sons." Doubtless by so stern a discipline,
God designed to purge him from earthly dross, and
to fit him, as a good minister, to sympathize with his
parishioners under their griefs. And, now that he
has safely escaped to tlie paradise of God, he is im-
questionably satisfied with the dispensations of his
heavenly Father, and convinced that there was not a
drop of bitterness too much in any cup he was called
" The hours of grief have yielded good,
" Which prosperous days refused ;
*' As herbs, though scentless when entire,
" Yield fragrance when they're bruised.
" The oak strikes deeper as its boughs
" By furious blasts are driven ;
" So life's tempestuous storms the more
" Have fixed my heart on heaven.
** All-glorious Lord, whate'er my lot
" In other times may be,
*' I'll welcome still the heaviest grief,
*' That brings me near to thee."
LAST DAYS AND DEATH.
Father Grafton, as he was familiarly called in his
advanced years, was long subject to severe nervous
attacks, especially under the form of tic douloureux.
This fact, together with the growing infirmities of
years and the loss by death of most of his earl}'' ac-
quaintances and friends, led him often to look forward
to the close of his labors. As long ago as the year
1819, as is supposed, seventeen years previous to his
demise, he sketched the following series of thoughts,
to use his own words, "in the near view of death
REFLECTIONS AND REMARKS IN THE NEAR VIEW OF DEATH
I thank God thai I entertain a hope that I experi-
enced religion when young. I was in the eighteenth
year of my age. I well remember the morning and
the place, when and where I lost my load of guilt.
''All was mercy, all was mild" when my whole soul
Avas filled with a heavenly serenity.
I thank God that after many trials and sore temp-
128 LIFE CF
tations, I was enabled on my knees to devote myselt
to the work of the gospel ministry.
I bless God that it has been a good, a pleasant, and
often a delightfnl work to my soul.
I adore the God of all grace that I have evidence to
believe that my preaching has been blessed to the sal-
vation of some souls; how many, I am willing to
leave until the judgment of the great day shall an-
I thank God that in my near approach to eternity,
I have not to learn through the medium of sophistical
or angry controversy, whether our Lord Jesus Christ
be a fallible man, a super-angelic creature, or the
mighty God. No; no. "I know whom I have be-
lieved." On Christ Jesus I trust for eternal life, as
one equal with the Father. With this foundation
under my feet, I feel as though I stood firm. Upon
a review of my life and labors, I find I have great
occasion to mourn and be humble before God, that
there has been so much vanity, pride- and sin mingled
with my best religious duties. "O Lord, enter not
into judgment with thy servant !"
I expect, I know that my last prayer will be (if I
am indulged with the exercise of my reason), " God
be merciful to me a sinner."
I desire, I hope to die committing myself uncondi-
tionally into the hands of him " who justifies the un-
godly," — calmly repeating the words of the first
Christian martyr, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
Were it not for a firm belief in the purposes of God,
and the promised influence of the Holy Spirit, I
should tremble for the cause of truth.
Denying the equality of the Son with the Father
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 129
and the plenary inspiralion of the Scriptures, is, m
my view, equivalent to infidelity, and tends to sap
the very foundation of Christianity.
It is my opinion (and I feel myself near eternity
and responsihle to my Judge), that what are denom-
inated liberal sentiments originate in opposition to
the divine character and a disregard to the divine
authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.
If I could practise but one religious rites under the
idea of its being a divine institution, without a divine
warrant, upon the same principle I could practise
If I could dispense with one truth revealed in the
bible, or one command of the Lord Jesus, for the sake
of accommodation, from the same mode of reasoning
and with as good a conscience, I could dispense with
all the truth and with all his commands.
An Old Minister.
On his successive birth-days, for a series of years,
he recorded his feelings as a dying testimony to
the goodness of God and the worth of the gospel.^
It is remembered by many that at several successive
meetings of the Boston Baptist Association, he took a
formal leave of his brethren, anticipating, every year,
that he should see their faces no more. At a meeting
of the First Baptist Church in Newton, held July 2,
* Rev. Dr. Stijlrnan recorded similar series of thoughts
on the like occasions in a book in which he kept a regis-
try of the texts which he had preached from. These
thoughts for February 1797-1800 are printed in the
American Baptist Magazine for May, 1819,
130 LIFE OF
A. D. 1835, he asked the members to release him
from the responsibiHties of the pastoral office, gene-
rously proposing to relinquish the emoluments of his
station, and advising the settlement of a young and
vigorous minister, who could more effectually watch
over the interests of the church, in his stead. The
church received his proposal in a becoming manner,
consenting to elect a junior pastor, and affirming their
consciousness of obligation to make the requisite pro-
vision to render the remaining days of their aged
minister comfortable and happy. In accordance with
the plan. Rev. F. A. Willard was recognized as the
junior pastor, Nov. 25, 1835, and Father Grafton was
thenceforth released from responsibiUty pertaining to
the church, though his occasional services were al-
ways thankfully accepted. During the winter of the
year 1835-36, he was confined to his chamber by
sickness ; but with the opening summer he was re-
stored again, and spent a considerable time in visiting
his younger relatives, and his spiritual children who
were settled in the town and vicinity ; — a fitting and
beautiful employment for an aged minister, who,
having spent^ his days in the service of the gospel,
was even now dipping his feet in the brim of Jordan,
through which he was about to pass over into the
Fatlier Grafton left so few recorded memorials of
himself, that we look with deep interest upon every
thing that remains from his pen. He needed the im-
pulse of an extraordinary occasion to induce him to
submit to the labor of writing at all. The recurrence
of his birth-days, particularly in the decline of life,
seems always to have made a strong impression upon
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 131
his mind ; and we are indebted to them for the series
of brief papers above alluded to. These papers, con-
sidering their source and the circumstances under
which they were produced, we believe will be not
without interest to the readers of this Memoir.
June 9, 1828. This day I am 71 years of age. A
long life indeed ! O, how many mercies have I re-
ceived from the hand of God ! O, that I could bless
the Lord for all his goodness, and forget none of his
benefits. It is more than forty-eight years since I
was licensed to preach, and forty, lacking nine days,
since I was ordained pastor over the church in New-
ton. Mercies upon mercies have I enjoyed. How
many of my dear friends have I parted with ! Com-
paratively, how little good have I done. How much
of my time has run to waste. And alas, how much
sin has been mingled with all that I have done. En-
ter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord.
Notwithstanding my age, yesterday I comfortably
preached and baptized two persons.
Newton, June 9th, 1830. This day I am 73 years
of age. I have seen and experienced much of the
goodness of God. I have been a licensed preacher
more than fifty years, and pastor of the church with
which r am now connected, forty-two. My life has
been drawn through various scenes. Sometimes
clouds and darkness have been round about ; at other
times, the sun of prosperity has shone around my
tabernacle, and the church with which I am pastor.
One very great tax I have been called to pay an-
nually in the removal by death of some of my dear
132 LIFE OF
religions friends. Bnt in the aggregate, my mercies
have been snperabounding. When I contemplate my
imperfection, my short-comings in duty, my want of
holy and supreme love to my God and Saviour, and
the remains of sin, I am constrained to exclaim, and
that with grief, O, wretched man that I am ! And if
I am a Christian, and if I have a good hope of eternal
life, I am constrained to say in the language of the
apostle, " By the grace of God I am what I am." I
expect to stay in this vale of tears but a little longer;
may I fill up the remnant of my days with useful-
ness — meet the future allotments of divine providence
with Christian resignation, and death in peace — and
througVi riches of grace in Christ Jesus, be admitted
into the joys of heaven.
Newton, June 9th, 1831. One year more has God
spared my life. I am this day 74 years of age. O,
the goodness, the patience, and long-suffering of God
towards so unprofitable a servant as I have been,
and now am. How much reason have I for humility
and gratitude; — humility for my sins and many im-
perfections which have ever accompanied my minis-
terial duties — and gratitude for the unnumbered bless-
ings which I have enjoyed through life, and espe-
cially for the love, peace and harmony I have en-
joyed for forty-three years with the same church ; and
I trust tha#neither God nor they have cast me ofl" in
my old age. This evening, by leave of Providence,
I expect to preach at Mrs. Dana's, at whose house I
preached more than forty- three years ago. She is an
old disciple, not far from 87 years of age, who ap-
pears to be waiting for the salvation of God. O,
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 133
may the remainder of my days be spent in the ser-
vice of him who Joved sinners and gave himself for
June 9, 1832. Tliis day I complete the 75th year
of my age. '' O, to grace how great a debtor."
And I shall be a debtor forever. Many blessings
have I enjoyed the past year. My health has been
such that I liave been able to attend public worship,
and to preach every Lord's day. God has been very
gracious to us as a church. Since June 1831, fifty-
seven have been added to the church. O may the
remainder of my strength and time be devoted to
him, in whom I hope for salvation. The work of
the ministry has been pleasant to me, though I have
often felt my inadequacy thereto. I have generally
enjoyed a comfortable evidence that I was called of
God to the work, and in my brightest moments could
appeal to him for the rectitude of my intention.
June 9th, 1S33. This day I am 76 years old. O
how much of God's goodness have I enjoyed, and
how many have been my religious privileges! But
how few returns of love and gratitude hath my God
and Saviour found. I feel as though I was near the
end of n]y mortal life. For my departure, great God,
prepare me ! The nearer I feel myself approaching
death, judgment and eternity, the more interesting
and solemn do those scenes appear. O may I at
last be found in him (Christ Jesus), not having mine
own righteousness; then I shall be safe and happy^
I have this day (it being Lord's day) preached from'
Romans 8 : 31. '' What then shall we say to these
;[34 LIFE OF
thinss ? If God be for us, who can be against us V
O, what great, what blessed, what glorious things
are promised in this chapter to those who love God.
All things work together for their good. Nothing
shall separate them from the love of Christ. The
love of Christ to his church is infinite, is eternal, is
immutable. He loved the church and gave himself
(a sacrifice) for it. O thou loving and thou lovely
Lamb of God, may I at last be amongst those whose
song shall be, " Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.''
I have been examining the reason of my hope. It
is not founded on any goodness of my own, or upon
any act or obedience which I have or can perform.
June 9, 1834. This day I enter upon the TSth year
of my age. The nearer I apprehend myself to death
and eternity, the more solemn and interesting do they
appear. The longer I live, the more do I feel the ne-
cessity of a better righteousness than my own. O
may I at last be found in him (Christ Jesus), not
having on mine own righteousness, but that which is
by the faith of Jesus Christ. It is now full fifty-nine
years since I put on the Lord Jesus by baptism. But
O, how much of my precious time has run to waste.
How many vacuums have 1 left behind that can
never be filled. '' Lord, cast not thy servant away
in anger"— "God be merciful to me a sinner," are
petitions which I am daily constrained to olTer at the
throne of grace. But notwithstanding all my pro-
vocations, goodness and mercy have followed me all
the days of my life. What is yet to come I am wil-
ling to leave with him who is wise in counsel.
Yesterday being Lord's day, I preached twice;
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 135
first, from 1 Cor. 14 : 19. "If in this life only we
have hope in Christ, we are of all men most misera-
ble. At 5 o'clock from 2 Cor. 4 : 17, 18. '• Our light
An interesting specimen of his correspondence is
also preserved in a letter to Rev. John Stanford, D.
D., late of New York. Dr. Stanford arrived in this
country from England, in November 1786. He was
pastor of the First Baptist church in Providence, R.
I., for a year, commencing in the spring of 1788.
Afterwards he engaged in teaching in the city of New
York, and continued in this employment for thirty-six
years. He received the honorary degree of Doctor in
Divinity from Union College, Schenectady, about
four years before his death. He died January 13,
1834, aged 81.
The letter of Mr. Grafton exhibits the interesting
spectacle of one aged pilgrim communing with ano-
ther, when each of them was in the immediate pros-
pect of the eternal world.
Newton, April 11th, 1833.
My dear brother Stanford, — By this you perceive
that I am still in this sinful and dying world ; and I
know not but that is the case with you. If so, we
are like two old invalids, living upon their pensions.
It is a great mercy that the Captain of our salvation
has provided for such old soldiers. '= His bread shall
be given him, and his water shall be sure."
I am nearly confined to my house by infirmities
and the unpleasant weather. I feel, my dear brother,
as if I were getting near the end of my journey, O
136 LIFE OF
may I, like Israel when they came down to Jordan,
see the ark of God before me, and view the waters
dividing — or like Banyan's Pilgrim, when going
through the river of death with his good friend
Hopeful cheering him onward — then,
" Not Jordan's stream, nor death's cold flood
" Should friglit me from the shore."
I trust, my dear brother, that the great truths I have
preached are the support of my hope, and my conso-"
lation in the prospect of dissolution ; and I also trust
that this is your case. May your faith, and hope,
and joy abound in the Lord ! May the God of love
and peace be with you — with lis both, to sustain us
under our infirmities ; and, as it is probable we shall
never ^ea each other in this world, O may we meet
in that world where we shall see face to face — and
what is infinitely better, the face of him who filleth
all in all.
>So prays 3^our friend and brother in the Lord,
Rev. John Stanford, D. D.
N. B. Perhaps this is the last letter I may ever write.
His last birth-day record, dated June 9, 1836, is as
" This day I enter upon the eightieth 3^ear of my
age. O the goodness, the long-suffering, the patience
of my heavenly Father towards such an aged sin-
ner ! How many mercies have I enjoyed ! How
many blessings have I been made the partaker of!
They are more than I can number; — personal, do-
mestic, social, and above all these, my religious privi-
leges. Forty-eight years the ISth day of this month.
REY. JOSEPH GKAFTON. 137
since I was ordained pastor of the church with wliich
I am still connected. But that generation who were
members of the church when I was settled among
them, are all gone the way of all the earth except two,
one of whom is 92 years old. 1 have the vanity or
pleasure to believe that no pastor was ever happier
with a church than I have been — for which I bless
God. Last Lord's day in the afternoon, I preached.
* * :^ # :^? =^ After which I assisted in administering
the Lord's supper, perhaps for the last time. O may
I partake of the marriage-supper of the Lamb. O.
Lord, prepare me for thy holy will."
Thus did this aged patriarch anticipate the coming
of the Son of Man, and hold himself in readiness,
year after year, for that solemn yet joyful event. It
was observed during the last six months of his life,
that an unusual seriousness was visible in his man-
ner. His conversation was of an unusually religious
turn, and he spoke much of his departed ones. The
wit and repartee in which he had abounded was
gradually diminished, and he seemed, unconsciously
to himself, to have assumed the air of solemnity, ap-
propriate to one who was soon to put on the robes of
During the year 1836, the church and society had
been engaged in the enterprise of erecting a new
house of worship, a little removed from the site of the
ancient sanctuary. At the commencement of the
winter, the new building being nearly ready for oc-
cupancy, it was arranged that on the third Sabbath
in December the closing service should be held in
the house where their fathers had worshipped, and
where the presence of God had been so often and so
138 LIFE OF
richly enjoyed. The aged pastor, most appropriately,
was to have preached on the occasion. What a scene
of touching interest and heauty might have been an-
ticipated, wlien the reverend servant of God, full of
days and of honors, should stand up for the last time
within those consecrated walls, which had so long
echoed with the sound of the gospel, which had been
adorned, year after year, by the presence of the Lord
Jesus Christ, which had witnessed the vows of mul-
titudes of converts, and where so many believers
had been ripened for heaven ! How many aflecting
memories of the past would crowd upon the thoughts
of the auditors! How many tears would bedew the
sacred threshold, as the aged pilgrims who had seen
the glory of the former house should cross it for the
last time, and go out from the hallowed temple no
more to return !
But a scene of more touching interest was prepared.
The last public service in the house was the funeral
ceremonies of the aged pastor himself
Father Grafton enjoyed, on the whole, a remarka-
bly green old age. " Since his complete recovery from
the effects of a long and severe confinement with the
tic douloureux," says Mr. Willard, ^- both his mental
and physical faculties had been strikmely vigorous.
And on our own account, we were hopinor that he
might continue with us, perhaps even for some years.
Nor was this liope abandoned till after the acute
attack (by influenza) which terminated his course in
the short space of forty-eight hours." We have
stated above that he spent some of the pleasant
months of the year 1836 in visiting his relatives, and
the former members of his church and society in the
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 139
neighboring towns. His last visit was made in Rox-
bury, where he spent the first two Sabbaths in De-
cember, preaching once on each Sabbath. He preach-
ed for the last time on Sabbath evening, December
lllh, in the meeting-honse of the First Baptist Charch
in Roxbnry from Hebrews 2:3. " How shall we
escape, if we neglect so great salvation ? " His last
sermon to his own people was from John 14 : 23.
"Jesus answered and said nnto him. If a man love
me, he will keep my words ; and my Father will
love him, and we will come unto him and make our
abode with him." It was most appropriate that he
should discourse upon such words, who was about to
go himself and make his abode with the Father.
Some of his last sermons at Newton, as well as at
Roxbury, were spoken of at the time of their delivery
as strikingly impressive and interesting. The last
sermon he ever preached, in which he particularly
addressed the young, njade impressions upon the
minds of some which will never be forgotten, and
which, it is hoped, may lead them to follow in the
same path to heaven.
" When he left his grand-children at Roxbury on
Wednesday before his death, though not then so well
as usual, he spoke of visiting them again after the
dedication at Newton, on the 22d inst. And when he
became worse in the evening after his return home,
he seems to have had no apprehension of a fatal issue.
He indeed called in -medical advice from the imme-
diate neighborhood, but did not think best to send for
his family physician. In the morning he was much
worse, but in a state in which he took little notice of
what was passing or of his own condition. A torpor
140 LIFE OF
of mind had been produced by the aggression of the
disease, and by the nse of opiates, which had been
administered to allay the pain occasioned by irrita-
tion and obstruction of the intestinal canal. As the
morning advanced, however, he had an impression, in
his brighter moments, that he should not recover. Dur-
ing the day, his generally drowsy and lethargic state
was broken by short intervals of wakefulness, in
which he spoke to those about him; but still in a
manner which showed that his perception of com-
mon things was very imperfect. Except when food
or medicine was offered him, he scarcely spoke ra-
tionally of any thing pertaining to this world more
than once. And then he mentioned who was the
executor of his will, and requested that the key to
the drawer of his private papers might be taken from
his pocket, and given to one of the deacons of the
church. But during his comparatively wakeful mo-
ments it was interesting to observe, that though his
mental perceptions for the most part were dim emd
misty, and had been so from the time when he appre-
hended no danger, yet the current of his thoughts
was heavenward; and when he saw nothing else
clearly, he had clear views of religious truth.
" In the early part of the forenoon, he was visited
by one of the oldest female members of the church,
who passed the day with him. On looking up to her
soon after she came in, he said, ' You saw my dear
wife die.' ' Yes.' ' You saw my dear daugliter die.'
' Yes.' He seemed as if he would have added,
' Well, you will see me die loo ; ' but his voice faltered
and his eyes again closed. Not long after, liis nurse
brought him some gruel, which she proposed he should
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 141
take, but he declined it ; and gently pushing her back,
in a moment more he spread out his hands in the
attitude of prayer, and exclaimed three times suc-
cessively ' Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' At a sub-
sequent time, in words not remembered by those
present, he spoke in strong language of his own great
sinfulness, and of his exclusive reliance for salvation
on the abounding fulness and efficacy of the atone-
ment of Christ. And soon after he repeated the lines,
"'Here, Lord, 1 give myself away,
'T is all tliat I can do.'
'' In the afternoon his own physician was sent for,
who arrived in the early part of the evening. At
this time, and for an hour or more afterwards, during
the visit of Prof Ripley and the surviving pastor, he
was brighter than at any previous time during the
day. He was much attached to his physician, and
he received him, as he came in, with strong marks
of tenderness and affection. To the doctor's inquiry
respecting his state he replied — 'I am going. But 1
am ready to go, and willing to go; and the reason
that I am willing is that I hope I am prepared.' A
most pathetic, though indirect exhortation.
"About the time his physician left, Prof. Ripley
called in. He found him lying silent, and apparently
asleep. He approached his bedside, and, calling him
by name, asked him if he knew him. There was no
reply. He then said, ' You are very sick ; how do
you feel ? ' 'I feel like one on the borders of eternity.'
' I hope your mind is peaceful and happy.' ' Yes.'
'Christ is very precious to you.' 'Yes,' he replied.
The professor then said, ' He is all your salvation and
142 LIFE CF
all your desire.' He replied, repeating the expres-
sion, 'AH my salvation — all my desire.' Imme-
diately after this, the officiating pastor, who had
necessarily been in Boston during tlie day, came in.
As Mr. Grafton's eyes were closed, he did not ap-
proach the bed immediately. Soon the former uttered
some unfinished sentences, and immediately after-
wards the stanza,
" 'There is a house not made with hands,
Eternal, and on high,
And here my spirit wailing stands
Till God shall bid it fly.'
''The other then came to the bedside and said,
' Do you recognize me, father Grafton ? ' ' Yes,' he
replied, 'it is brother Willard.' 'Yes.' 'Let me
kiss you,' said he. The departing patriarch pressed
his dying lips with unearthly tenderness to those of
his younger brother, and said, 'I hope I shall meet
you in heaven.' Oh ! how immortal is the bloom of
Christian affection ! Love, the glory of ' the better
land,' the affection of which God himself is the per-
sonification, which is the bond of union among all
the holy through eternal ages, shone out, his
" 'Ruling passion strong in death.'
There was an interval of silence, and then again an
indistinct utterance of something which seemed to be,
'I love to hear people pray;' then another interval
and an apparent repetition of the same expression;
on which the surviving pastor said to him, ' Would
you like to have me offer a short prayer?' 'Yes.'
At the close of the exercise ho twice emphatically
said ' Amen.'
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON. 143
" These were his last hours of apparent conscious-
ness. The evening was wearing away, and he slum-
bered on. At one o'clock Friday morning, he seemed
to be in a state of insensibility, and continued so,
apparently without much suffering, until two o'clock,
P. M., when he expired." *
On the following Tuesday, the funeral services
were attended in the meeting-house where he had
preached for nearly half a century. -f
* The above account of the last illness and death of
father Grafton was written by Rev. Mr. Willard, the
I The regard entertained for his memory was evinced
by the numerous concourse which assembled to pay their
last tribute of respect to his mortal remains. The public
exercises were as follows:
" Hear what the voice from heaven prochiims."
2. Reading the Scriptures by Rev. Mr. Willard.
3. Prayer by Rev. Dr. Homer.
4. Sermon by Rev. Dr. Sharp, from Rom. 8 : 20 —
"The glory which shall be revealed in us."
5. Statements by Rev. Mr. Willard, concerning the
last illness and death of Mr. Grafton.
" Thou art gone to the grave, but we will not deplore thee."
7. Prayer by Rev. Professor Chase.
8. Benediction by the surviving pastor.
The little propert-y which father Grafton had in his pos-
session, he distributed by his Last Will, which was dated
April 19, A. D. 1836. The whole value of it, as estimated
by the appraisers, was as follows: Real Estate, ^1500.00 ;
144 LIFE OF
On a green mound in the ancient burial ground
near the centre of Newton, stand side by side two
white monuments of similar form. They mark the
Personal Estate, 4388. 12; Library, §76.00. The estimate
of the library is quite as high as the common price of
books would warrant. The books of inferior importance
were sold at auction, and purchased as keepsakes by
several of his parishioners. Those of a more valuable
character were designated by him for the use of the
Newton Theological Institution and the First Baptist
Church. We copy this portion of the Will, for the pur-
pose of showing what books formed the basis of father
Grafton's theological studies. After a few bequests of a
personal character, the Will proceeds :
" Item. I give and bequeath to the Library of the New-
ton Theological Institution the following named books, viz.
Wallin's Lectures on Primitive Christianity; Gill on
Baptism ; Stennett's Works, 4 vols. ; Lowman's Para-
phrase of the Revelation of St. John ; Semple's History
of the Baptists in Virginia ; West on Agency ; Watts'
Philosophical Essays ; Life of Dr. Cotton Mather; Forty
Election Sermons tied in one Bundle.
" Item. I give and bequeath to the First Baptist Church
in Newton, the following named books, as the foundation
of a permanent library, for the use of the Church and
Society, viz : Gill on the New Testament, 3 vols. ; Ridge-
ly's Body of Divinity, 2 vols.; Henry on the Bible, vols.
2d and 3d; Fuller's Works, 8 vols.; Ryland's Life of
Fuller; Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, 6 vols; Kemp-
ton's History of the Bible, 4 vols.; The American Bap-
tist Magazine, from the year 1817; Oiton's Exposition
of the Old Testament, 6 vols.; Bellamy's True Reli-
gion delineated; Buck's Theological Dictionary; Shaw's
Works, 2 vols.; Stanford's Aged Christian's Cabinet."
REV. JOSEPH GRAFTON.
resting-place of two aged ministers who labored side
by side for nearly half a century : — one, the Rev. Dr.
Homer, pastor of the Congregational church ; the
other. Father Grafton. The monument over the lat-
ter was reared chiefly through the energy and perse-
verance of Mr. Thomas Edmands, to whom we are
indebted for the neat and faithful inscriptions. The
expense was met principally by subscriptions, not
exceeding one dollar each, from a multitude who
were glad in this way to do the aged pastor honor.
The following are the inscriptions on the monument:
[On the West side.]
Rev. Joseph Grafton,
Born in Newport, R. I.
June 9, 1757.
Died Dec. 16, 1836,
First Baptist Church in Newton,
From June 18, 1788,
Until taken from his
of 48 1-2 years.
[On the East side.]
Erected by many Friends.
[On the South side.]
Died March 27, 1784,
Died June 15, 1804,
Died Jan. 26, 1835,
Mrs. Hope G. Parker,
Widow of Joseph Parker,
Died May 13, 1835,
Heb. 11 :13.
[On the North side.]
Bury the dead, and weep
In stillness o'er tiieir loss ;
Bury the dead — in Christ they sleep,
Who bore on earth his cross j
And from the grave their dust shall
Tn his own imasfe to the skies.
THE FUNEHAL SERMON,
BY REV. DANIEL SHARP, D. D.
THE GLORY WHICH SHALL BE REVEALED.— Rom. viii. 18.
A HUMAN being under the power of death is a humili-
ating object. And we feel this most sensibly, when he
who is dead occupied a large space in the public eye,
and was distinguished for active piety and eminent use-
fulness. We involuntarily exclaim with emotions of sor-
row, ' He is stripped of his glory, and the crown is taken
from his head.' Such are our feelings while we gaze
for the last time on the remains of a dear and tenderly
cherished friend. Our tears begin to flow while we see
the affecting change which death has made in the form
of one whom we long loved. The eyes which beamed
with kindness, and sparkled with intelligent thoughts,
are now closed forever. The tongue that in tender and
earnest accents addressed us is now mute in death; and
the whole body that was so active is now entirely mo-
tionless, sleeping the long sleep of death. And such is
the unpleasant and unsightly process which takes place,
that we are compelled to convey to the tomb, or to hide
in the earth as an object unfit to be seen, those that we
would gladly keep with us even afler they are dead.
And the mind, so sprightly, so devotional, so overflowing
with sympathy, inspiring so many delightful associations
148 FUNERAL SERMON.
in other minds, where is it? We see none of its mani-
festations. It surely has departed. Has it ceased to
exist, or whither has it gone? Will the dead body live
again? Will there be a reiinion of the material and
immaterial nature, and what will be the condition and
character of that union? These are interesting inquiries,
and yet reason, with all its powers, has felt itself unable
to answer. It has carried its speculations beyond the
grave. But it has returned, confessing that clouds and
darkness rested upon it, not to be penetrated by the
human mind. In this our gloom, the gospel comes to our
aid, and brings "life and immortality to light." It
informs us that as " Jesus died and rose again, even so
them that sleep in Jesus shall God bring with him." It
gives the assurance, that when Christ shall come the
second time without sin unto salvation, he shall change
our vile bodies, and fashion them like unto his glorious
body, according to the working whereby he is able to
subdue all things unto himself The hopes of the believer
are directed beyond the vale of death to the glory that
shall be revealed.
As I am not able to describe the scenes through which
our deceased friend has passed in this valley of tears,
I will endeavor, for our mutual consolation and encour-
agement, faintly to sketch the glorious scenes on which
he has already entered, and which are destined to be still
more glorious when the redemption of the purchased pos-
session shall have been completed.
Believers in Christ are represented as "heirs of the
glory which shall be revealed."
Let us consider what is included in this sublime
Glory is a term of comprehensive and delightful im-
port. It is expressive of a state of si)lendor, dignity
and bliss. As referring to a future world, it is descrip-
FUNERAL SERMON. 149
live of the sinless, exalted and happy condition to which
the truly pious of every period shall be raised.
Glory may be considered as characterizing either the
state of our bodies, the character of our minds, or the
circumstances of our external condition. In each of
these respects, there is an inconceivable glory awaiting
the righteous. *' Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard," etc.
And although they are revealed to us by the Spirit in the
Scriptures, and we enjoy the earnest of heavenly bless-
ings, yet our most enlarged and vivid conceptions fall
infinitely short of the promised realities.
1. A glory will be conferred on the body, transcend-
ing all our conceptions.
When we see a man of tall stature and of athletic
strength, combining an intellectual countenance with
symmetry of form, we feel his commanding presence,
and say to ourselves, his person is majestic, splendid.
We yield admiration and respect to this workmanship of
But if these forms of clay, through which the immortal
spirit w'ithin beams forth and manifests its presence, are
glorious, how great will be the glory when the " spirit is
clothed upon with its house from heaven! " There is,
says the apostle, a terrestrial and there is a celestial
body. The glory of the terrestrial is one, but the glory
of the celestial is another. The one is a natural body, etc.
The one is corruptible, liable to the feebleness and
wrinkles of age, and to ultimate corruption and decay.
The other is incorruptible, and shall retain forever the
vigor and beauty of celestial youth. The one is sown in
dishonor, the other shall be raised in glory. When the
Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God,
the dead in Christ shall rise first, and with the living in
150 FUNERAL SERMON.
Christ shall be changed; and so shall they ever be with
the Lord. How glorious will be the transmutation!
Then our bodies will be incapable of sickness, or pain,
or decrepitude. "They shall hunger no more, and
thirst no more, for the Lamb shall lead them to fountains
of living waters, and God himself shall wipe away all
tears from their eyes." They shall never more be
clogs to the activities and aspirations of the spirit
within, and no inferior impulses shall war against the
noble purposes of the soul and bring it into subjection.
These bodies shall then be arrayed as were the shining
ones on the mount, in raiment glistening in whiteness
above the purest snows. This, my hearers, is a part of
the glory that shall be revealed.
2. A glory shall be conferred on the mind. In this world
the mind is the chief glory of man. It is this which gives
him eminence in the scale of created beings. There are
beings far below him that might boast of greater beauty,
strength, or fleetness. But these have not the reflecting
and improving mind which characterize man. They
give no indications of a conscience and of a moral sense.
In his intellectual and moral powers man stands preemi-
nent, and in consequence has "dominion over the
And there are degrees of intellectual and moral glory
in our present state. The difference is immense between
the cultivated and uncultivated man. We feel that there
is a glory in the well-balanced and richly instructed
mind. We admire the scintillations of genius, and are
awed by the wide-reaching thoughts of giant intellect,
and enraptured by the outpourings of an eloquence which
gushes from the deep fountains of the soul. And when
these manifestations of mind are associated with well-
regulated affections, and an irreproachable and useful
FUNERAL SERMON. 151
life, we feel that it cannot be extinguished, but is des-
tined to shed its light with increasing lustre forever.
But if this be the glorj of a mind in its earthly resi-
dence, how great is the glory which shall be revealed !
When released from the body, its glory shall be great
beyond conception. He whose intellectual vision is most
clear and comprehensive now, only sees through a glass
darkly, but then he shall see face to face. For when that
which is perfect is come, then that which is imperfect
shall be done away. The wisest of human beings, while
here, only think and speak like children. But at death
they shall attain at once to maturity and perfection of
thought. Elevated above the clouds which now obscure
their vision, and dwelling in the pure and serene atmos-
phere of heaven, they shall see every object as it is, and
in all its relations and circumstances. What was dark
will be illumined; what was mysterious will be unravel-
led; what was inexplicable will be made plain. As by
intuition the saints in light will "look back on all the
way the Lord hath led them," singing, it was a right
way to a city of habitation. The Deity himself will be
revealed in full orbed glory, and the mysteries of re-
demption, the harmonies of grace and truth, of justice
and mercy, of the sinner pardoned and the law honored,
will be seen blended together in sweetly mingled rays.
And the moral glory of the soul will surpass the intel-
lectual. Every feeling will be in complete subjection to
the will of God. Every passion will be attuned to praise,
and every social affection towards angelic and redeemed
spirits will be perfect. There will be no conflict between
flesh and spirit. There will be no envy, or jealousy, or
anger, or alienation, or rivalry there. Each will take
and love his place, and move in delightful intercourse
with kindred minds. Freed from all infirmities of tem-
per, from selfishness of feeling, and from the petty inter-
152 FUNERAL SERMCN.
ests which disturb the harmony even of good men here,
no causes of alienation will exist. There will be no
pertinacity of opinion there; no pride looking down upon
others with contempt, and no envy looking up "and
withering at another's joy or hating excellence it can-
not reach." All will be meekness, disinterestedness and
love. He who is least in glory, will feel no mortifica-
tion that he is eclipsed; but will rejoice in the supe-
rior honor and brighter splendor conferred on his re-
deemed associates. Where is the pious heart which
does not say,
" In such society as this,
My weary soul would rest ;
The man that dwells where Jesus is
Must be forever blest."
3. The attending circumstances of the just made per-
fect will all be glorious.
There is in this life a glory in man's outward estate.
Irrespective of the form of his body or the character of
his mind, he may be surrounded by external splendor.
There is a beauty and magnificence which wealth creates,
dazzlingto the senses, and filling the mind with astonish-
ment and admiration. But whatever of glory there may
be in " cloud-capt towers, and gorgeous palaces, and
solemn temples," these will all fade before the superior
splendor which shall hereafter be revealed. In heaven
the entire condition of its inhabitants is glorious. There
is not a sumptuous palace, and in its vicinity mean and
shelterless huts. There are not a few in purple, em-
broidered with jewels and gold, and hundreds around
them in coarse and tattered garments. All is glorious.
Whatever of difference there is, it is only different forms
of simplicity, beauty, and grandeur, the variety that adds
interest and splendor to the scene.
FUNERAL SERMON. 153
But the real glory and happiness of our condition de-
pends on its being suited to our tastes and pursuits, and
on our being surrounded by objects and persons of our
Such is the glory to be revealed. We have at times
enjoyed the presence of God, and we have desired it
more. Our language has been, "Whom have I in
heaven but thee," etc. This desire shall be realized.
"In his presence there is fulness of joy," etc. The
believer has a desire to depart, etc. He shall have his
desire; for the Lamb shall be the light of the place.
He shall "see him as he is," and with grateful and
reverent heart shall bend before him, and with other
hymning spirits say, " Not unto us, O Lord, but unto
thy name be glory, for thou hast redeemed us, and
washed us from our sins in thy blood."
And the companions of departed saints, who will they
be ? They will be the wise and good and pure of every
age, of every Christian sect, and from every nation un-
der heaven. And although the representations of gates
of pearl, and streets of gold, and a river pure as crystal,
and ever-verdant trees bearing all manner of fruits, and
robes of royalty, and palms of victory, and thrones of
state are to be received as figurative, yet they are
intended to convey the impression, that whatever there
is of magnificence, splendor, riches and dignity on earth,
shall be infinitely surpassed in heaven. In the bright
world to which all Christians are hastening, " are scenes
surpassing fable, but yet true." All our conceptions
fall infinitely short of the reality. We can only say,
that the saints' final portion is "an exceeding, eternal
weight of glory."
In bringing this part of my discourse to a close, it will
be proper to remark that a participation in the glory
154 FUNERAL SERMON.
which shall be revealed, will be limited to character.
Without holiness no one can see the Lord. Tliis glory
will only be conferred on those who walk not after the
flesh, but after the Spirit; who are new creatures in Christ
Jesus; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. If
need be, says the apostle, we must be willing to suffer
with Christ, that we may be glorified together with him.
If we acknowledge him before men, he also will acknow-
ledge us before his Father and in the presence of his
holy angels. If we deny him, he also will deny us. If
we suffer with him, we shall reign with him. Hence
the apostle speaks of the glory that shall be revealed in
us. The visions of heavenly glory will not be seen by
the righteous at an immeasurable distance, as in the case
of the rich man, who in misery himself saw Lazarus afar
off in Abraham's bosom. The celestial streams shall
not flow in sight, but untasted by their parched tongues.
They shall not feel the hopeless pang, that there is a
wide gulf, over which they may not pass to that state
whose bright glories are seen from their dark and mis-
erable abode. No! No! There will be glory all around
them, and glory in them. They themselves will be the
subjects of this glory. In the celestial manifestations
made to their minds, in the high elevation given to their
characters, and in the influx of bliss which shall fill their
souls, the glory will be revealed in them. Honor and
dignity will be theirs, for " they shall reign as kings and
priests unto God forever.'*
But to be partakers of the glory that shall be revealed,
we must be partakers of the grace that is so freely
oflTered. There must be a meetness for the inherit-
ance, or the inheritance cannot be ours. The only pass-
port received at the gates of the heavenly glory is char-
acter. Of some that will be admitted it will be said,
these are they that have come out of great tribulation.
FUNERAL SERMON. 155
and have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb;
and of others it will be said, these are they that have fol-
lowed their Saviour in the regeneration. Of all others
it will be said, '* Depart from me ye workers of ini-
Let each one, then, seriously ask himself — am I pre-
pared to meet my God? If conscious of being unpre-
pared, let me affectionately entreat you to indulge no
delay. At once *' break off your sins by righteousness."
Seek the renewal of your minds, and repose in the mercy
of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Then may you
*' look for that blessed hope, even the glorious appearing
of the great God and our Saviour," "who shall be
glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that
On this glory, of which I have given so inadequate a
description, I have not the least doubt that the spirit of
your late pastor, released from its tabernacle of clay,
has entered. Yes! he is blessed; for he rests from his
pains and cares and labors, and his works do follow him.
Although I have enjoyed the happiness of an intimate
and uninterrupted friendship with the deceased during
the last twenty-five years, yet I am not in possession of
facts which qualify me to give a succinct history of his
life and ministry. This service would indeed have been
most grateful to my own feelings; for there are few men
whose private and public character I have contemplated
with such unmingled pleasure. I should have loved
to trace the incidents of his early youth; the struggles
of his mind in reference to his being a preacher; the
circumstances connected with his first coming among
you; his early trials, when for a season he was laid aside
from his duties by a threatened consumption; the ardor
and zeal with which he commenced his work, and the
influence which severe and repeated domestic afflictions
156 FUNERAL SERMON.
exerted over his character as a minister, a pastor, and a
Christian citizen. But of these and other incidents of
which I have but an imperfect knowledge, I may not on
this occasion speak.
Such a narrative would no doubt awaken those feel-
ings, pleasant and yet mournful to the soul, of which
one is conscious while he gazes on the picture of a de-
parted friend. As he surveys each feature, some tender
or thrilling recollection swells his bosom and sends its
influence to his eyes; — and he yields himself to the re-
•' Of joys departed— ne'er to be recalled.''
You have the moral portrait of your late beloved pastor
engraven in your hearts with far more accuracy and
completeness than any impression that I can produce.
The aged among you " have fully known his doctrine,
manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, charity,
patience," and afflictions, and the divine supports which
he experienced up to the period of his triumphant deUv«
erance from them all.
To those who had but a slight and recent acquaintance
with the deceased, it may not be unprofitable to give a
brief and imperfect sketch of his character.
I. He was indefatigable in his labors.
No one could say with truth that he made his oflice
a sinecure. He loved his Master, and he loved his ser-
vice indescribably more than the emoluments of office.
Hence he was " instant in season and out of season.'*
Imbued with a spirit of ardent piety, possessing a ready
utterance, and dwelling for the most part on the more
obvious truths of the gospel — relative to man's condition
as a sinner, and his recovery through the mediation of
Christ, when a door in Providence was opened he was
• FUNERAL SERMON. 157
always willing to preach. In the early part of his ministry
the circumstances of the denomination rendered such
efforts necessary. I think I have heard him say, that
at that period there were only eight Baptist churches
in any direction within forty miles of his dwelling. And
yet there were many members of these churches scat-
tered over this wide extent of territory. Their entreaties
that he would come over to their towns and villages and
help them, were viewed in the light of a call which he
was not at liberty to disregard. Many were his refresh-
ing visits and interviews of this kind. Souls were con-
verted, and they that dwelt as in solitary places were
made glad. To the gratuitous itinerant efforts of that
man of God, whose remains are now before you, many
of our churches owe their existence. Weston, Water-
town, Cambridge, Roxbury, Brookline, Newton Upper
Falls, were chiefly or in part constituted by secessions
from this church.
2. He possessed in a rare degree those traits of
character that are essential to the continued usefulness
and happiness of the pastoral relation.
1. He was endowed with a large portion of sound com-
mon sense. Many were his superiors in literary and
scientific acquirements; but few ministers were equal to
him in a knowledge of mankind. If the " proper study of
mankind is man," so far his studies were appropriate. He
was all his days an attentive observer of human actions,
their causes and effects. He saw clearly the principles
and influences by which men were affected and governed.
This gave him great advantage, both in his ministrations
and his intercourse. He was able, in most instances, to
see the end of a thing from the beginning. His prophe-
cies concerning measures or men were generally ful-
filled. His knowledge of human nature enabled him,
without any sacrifice of principle, to determine when to
158 FUNERAL SERMON.
meet and when to shun difficulties, when to stand erect,
and when to stoop, that he might conquer in a good
and holy cause. He did not drive his chariot so fast as
some, but he went on slowly and surely — leaving far be-
hind him many who started with greater rapidity.
2. In alliance with a discriminating judgment was a
most amiable disposition.
You all can bear witness with what " meekness he in-
structed those that opposed themselves;" and that he was
"gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her chil-
dren." So being affectionately desirous of you, he was
willing to have imparted to you, not the gospel of God only,
but his own soul, because you were dear to him. If at any
time there was a collision of interests, or rivalries in the
church or society, how guardedly he kept himself aloof
from being one of a party, and how in the spirit of a
peace-maker, with what kindness he labored to soothe
irritated feelings and heal divisions. His interposition
was not always seen; but its genial influence was lelt like
the invisible but soft and balmy breezes of spring.
It was his habitual aim to live peaceably with all men.
He was the last to give offence, and the first to remove
it. To all his younger brethren in the ministry he was
an affectionate father; to the older he was a brother.
He assumed no airs of superiority. He invited confi-
dence, and never disappointed it. In the long intimacy
of an unreserved intercourse, I do not recollect that he
ever made to me a severe and uncharitable remark con-
cerning any one. The law of kindness was in his heart.
He was a lover of peace and concord, and of all good
3. He was contented with the sphere of his labors.
Next to the marriage relation, he held the pasto ralcon-
nection sacred, and not to be dissolved without solemn
and weighty reasons. The last conversation I had with
FUNERAL SERMON. 159
him was on this subject. Without judging or censuring
any of his brethren, he expressed his deep regret that
such dissolutions were of constant occurrence.
His own conduct in being the pastor of this church
over fifty years, the causes which gave permanency to
this union, and its effects on himself and his people for
so long a period, are worthy of profound consideration.
Besides the conviction resting on his own mind of the
sacredness of the pastoral relation, the permanency of his
own connection was no doubt promoted by his own unam-
bitious views. He sought not high things; he had no
aspirings after a conspicuous station. He was satisfied
with the humble and quiet lot of a village pastor, and
with the tokens of his people's regard, and the evidences
of being useful. And thus a ministry, commenced with
you in youth, has only terminated at a very advanced
As he lived he died. Like Jacob leaning on the top
of his staff*, and blessing those around him, he has long
been calmly and joyfully waiting the period of his re-
lease. The summons came and found him ready, with
his loins girded and his lamp trimmed and burning,
expecting the approach of the bridegroom. He has gone
to be a guest at the marriage supper of the Lamb, and
is participating in the glory that shall be revealed.
NOTES ON THE TOWN OF NEWTON.
The town of Newton was incorporated under its
present name December 8 (N. S. 19) 1691. It was pre-
viously a part of Cambridge, and was styled Cambridge
village, or New Cambridge. Its centre is about eight
miles from Boston. The Charles river, by a circuitous
course, forms a natural boundary around three quarters
of the town. The adjoining towns are Watertown and
Waltham on the North, East Needham and West Rox-
bury on the South, Brookline and Brighton on the East,
and Weston and West Needham on the West. The
town contains five villages, each of which has a post
office and a daily mail. The central village is the small-
est. The names of the villages are Newton Corner,
West Newton, Newton Lower Falls, Newton Upper
Falls, and Newton Centre. The first four of these vil-
lages are disposed along the edges of the town, because
the natural or other advantages which have given them
their importance have so determined their location. The
scenery of the town, in various parts, is extremely ro-
mantic, and its situation renders it both a healthful and pic-
turesque retreat. Its water scenery (the river Charles
has a circuit of nearly fourteen miles around the town,)
exhibits every possible variety of beauty; two or three
fine ponds, of which the largest, named Wis well's pond,
contains upwards ofthirty-three acres, and is in the centre
of the town, contribute to the health of the people, and
the charms of the landscape. The Upper and Lower
Falls are manufacturing villages. West Newton and
Newton Corner have become celebrated as the resi-
dences of persons doing business in Boston, and who
pass back and forth to their business and their homes by
the railroad. Newton Centre is the seat of the Theolog-
ical Institution of the Baptist denomination, Professor
Siedhof's Classical Institute on the German system, Mr.
Burbank's Classical and High School for boys, and the
Newton Young Ladies' Institute, under the superintend-
ence of the Rev. John B. Hague. One of the State Nor-
mal Schools for young ladies, is established at West
Newton, together with a model school in connection
with it; also an academy of high character, originated
many years since by Mr. Seth Davis, and in charge of
an accomplished teacher, a member of his family. Two
other incipient villages, Newtonville and Auburn Dale,
within the limits of the town of Newton, lie along the
track of the Boston and Worcester Railroad. All the
villages in the town have either a railroad depot, or an
omnibus connecting them with the depots, so that they
have access to the capital during the whole year from six
to nine times every day.
The town embraces nine religious societies, eight of
which have meeting-houses, and the remaining one holds
worship in a public hall. The denominations are as fol-
lows: two Baptist, three Congregationalist, one Method-
ist, one Episcopal, one Universalist, and one Unitarian.
They all have settled pastors. A lyceum is maintained
at Newton Corner, with a public library* and reading
* Two pubfic libraries were founded, in the East and West
parts of the town, A. D. 1797. The one in the East part of the
room. There is also a well selected circulating librai j
at Newton Upper Falls.
The cemeteries of the town are well w^alled, and pleas-
antly adorned with ever<^reens, deciduous trees, and flow-
ering shrubs. The first meeting-house of the First (East)
Congregational parish stood in the middle of that at New-
ton Centre. After standing several years, it was enlarged.
The second house stood on the opposite side of the street,
nearly on the site of Mr. Gardner Colby's house. It was
carefully taken down and transplanted to Waltham in
1721, where it remained till the year 1776. The last
sermon was preached in it in Newton, October 29, 1721.
The third meeting-house was dedicated November 5,
1721, — three years from the time that the vote was taken
authorizing its erection. The dedication sermon was by
Rev. Mr. Cotton, from 1 Kings 6 : 11-13.* The fourth
was dedicated November 21, 1805; and the present
house, March 24, 1847.
It is interesting to compare the original arrangements
for the instruction of the young with the present liberal
provisions. It was in 1696, — live years after the town
was incorporated, — that the citizens voted to build the
first school-house. It stood near the meeting-house in
the centre of the town. The second school-house was at
Oak Hill. One teacher was employed for the year, one
town after a time ceased to excite much interest, and the books
were sold at auction. The other still remains, but it is under-
stood that the books are seldom called for.
* When Mr. John Cotton was to commence his ministry,
so high was the respect cherished for the virtues and accom-
plishments of this youth of twenty, that the town in general
went in procession, met, and gave him a joyful welcome upon
his entrance into it as a candidate. He preached bis first ser-
mon after he came into the town (July 18, 1714) from Heb. 2: 3,
"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation."
third of the time at Oak Hill, and two thirds at the centre
of the town. The scholars who learned to read paid
threepence a week; and those who learned to write and
cipher, fourpence a week. At the same time that the
vote was passed to build the school-house, a committee
was also chosen "to treat with and persuade John
Staples [afterwards a worthy deacon of the Congrega-
tional church] to keep the school. To him they gave,
agreeably to their day of small things, one shilling and
sixpence per day." The town, at present, numbers at
least seventeen schools, — nine public, eight private, — be-
sides the Theological Institution. Not less than forty
persons are engaged either the whole or a part of the
year in giving instruction within the limits of the town.
The town has hitherto been distinguished for the health
and longevity of its inhabitants. Dr. Homer calculated
several years since that the deaths were as one to
seventy in a year; this is nearly 50 per cent, in favor of
Newton above most of our cities. In a bill of mortality
kept within one of the religious societies for seventeen
years, the number of deaths was 154. Of these, 49 had
exceeded 70; 73 had exceeded 50; and, leaving out of
view 24 infant children who died under two years, con-
siderably more than half the remainder lived beyond 50.
In 1776, one hundred and seven years after the town
was incorporated, the only person known to have reached
100 years was Mrs. Mary Davis. Twenty-two however
had lived beyond 80, and six beyond 90. Mrs. Davis
died A. D. 1752, in her 116th year. She lived at the
south part of the town, and cultivated the ground with
her own hand till extreme old age. She used the hoe and
scythe with much skill, and retained her faculties in a
considerable degree till within two years of her death.
Dr. Homer remarks (Mass. Hist. Coll. Vol. v. p. 275)
that "she was upheld by the singular providence of God
through half the reign of Charles I, through the protec-
torate of Oliver Cromwell, the reigns of Charles II,
James II, William and Mary, Queen Anne, George I,
and died in the old age of George II."
NEWTON THEOLOGICAL INSTITUTION.
This institution went into operation in the year 1825.
The first class of theological students graduated in 1826,
consisting of two members. It is designed to give an
elevated course of theological instruction, and is second
to no professional institution of the kind in the United
States. It has four departments of instruction — Biblical
Literature, Christian Theology, Church History, and
Sacred Rhetoric and Pastoral Duties. A preparatory
school was for a season connected with the Institution;
but for many years it has been purely theological. Most
of its students are college graduates. "The Trien-
nial Catalogue, published in January, 1849, contains the
names of 203 persons. Besides these, more than 60
have enjoyed, to a greater or less extent, the advantages
of the regular course in the Institution. Of those who
have been in the regular course, twenty have been
or are connected with theological seminaries and col-
leges, as presidents and professors; eighteen have been
or are foreign missionaries; and twenty-five have de-
ceased." The library contains more than six thousand
volumes, and the reading room is supplied with the most
important newspapers and literary periodicals.
OFFICERS OF THE INSTITUTIO-V.
Rev. Irah Chase, D. D. . . 1825—1845.
Professor of Ecclesiastical History.
Rev. Henry J. Ripley, D. D. . 1826
Professor of Sacred Rhetoric and Pastoral Duties.
*Rev. J. D. Knowles, . . 1832—1838.
Professor of Sacred Rhetoric and Pastoral Duties.
Rev. Barnas Sears, D. D. . 1836—1848.
Professor of Christian Theology.
Rev. Horatio B. Hackett, D. D. 1839
Professor of Biblical Literature and Interpretation.
Rev. Robert E. Pattison, D. D. 1848
Professor of Christian Theology.
[The first, second and fourth of these Professors have
filled other departments in the Institution. We have
appended to their names the title of their present pro-
fessorship, or of the one last filled by them.]
The Institution is situated on the summit of a beautiful
hill in the centre of the town, and is approached by a
winding avenue of nearly half a mile, bordered through
its whole extent by a colonnade of trees. The landscape
visible from the hill on a clear day embraces a circle of
adjacent villages, the neighboring metropolis, the waters
of Massachusetts Bay, and, in the distance, the high
lands of Framingham, Wachusett mountain in Princeton,
and Monadnock in New Hampshire, besides an almost
boundless expanse of cultivated fields, lakes, farm-houses
and forests. The Institution has enjoyed the patronage
of a few liberal benefactors, but is still in great need of
an adequate endowment. Among the deceased benefac-
tors may be named, especially Mr. Nathaniel Ripley
Cobb, of Boston, who died May 26, 1834, and Deacon
Levi Farwell, of Cambridge, who died May, 1846.
FIRST BAPTIST MEETING-HOUSE.
The first meeting-house was erected on land given by
Mr. Noah Wiswell. The vote to build the house is dated
January 17, 1731. The vote of the Society directed that
it should be thirty-five feet square. In the plan of the
Building Committee, which was accepted by the Society,
the dimensions were somewhat altered. The plan re-
ported made it forty feet by thirty-two, and it was calcu-
lated that the expense would be about three hundred
pounds specie, or one thousand dollars. The house,
however, was not completed at once. The Society man-
ifested the greatest dread of accumulating a burdensome
debt, and proceeded in the work only so far as the means
in their hands would warrant them. It was several years
before the house stood complete; and, up to August,
1788, a subscription had been five times set on foot for
the purpose of carrying on the work. A pulpit was
built in April, 1792; the expense of it was ,£14 17s Id,
about ^49,50. This, with the building of sheds for car-
riages, and the finishing of the pews in the galleries, was
the consummation of the work. . The whole was set in
order in April, 1795, fourteen years from the commence-
ment. The house was enlarged in the summer of 1802
by the addition of seventeen feet to the west side, which
gave space for twenty-four new pews. A committee was
appointed in the year 1782, while the original house was
building, to " dignify the pew spots," according to the
custom of the times; the highest stations were assigned,
to those whose subscriptions to the house had been the
most liberal; and no person could have a pew who had
subscribed less than ten pounds.* By the first arrange-
* It is an interesting fact, illustrative of the history of the
times, that among the proprietors of the house, forty-four in
number, — all but five bore Scripture names. Six bore the name
of John; Ebenezer, Samuel and Thomas, four each; Aaron,
three ; David, Elislia, Jereuiiah and Noah, two each ; Daniel,
Gershom, James, Josiah, Nathan, Simeon, Solomon, Stephen
and Thaddeus, one each. The names of females were also
much more frequently scriptural names than in our own days.
Huldah seems to have been a favorite appellation.
merit, there were twenty wall pews^ and four pews " back
of the body-seats."
In January, 1795, a vote was taken to procure a stove
to warm the meeting-house. The Society's vote states
with great exactness where the stove shall stand, together
with the course of the stove-pipe, and the "window''
where it shall make its exodus from the house. The ex-
pense of the stove and funnel was <£11 13s lOd, — a trifle
less than forty dollars. So important was this article of
luxury in the eyes of our fathers, that in the annual
engagement with the sexton, it was distinctly mentioned,
that he was " to take care of the meeting-house and the
The last sermon preached in the old meeting-house, by
Rev. Mr. Willard, was from the text, Exodus 33 : 15,
" If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence;"
II very pertinent, interesting, and profitable discourse.
The present meeting-house was built in 1835-3G. It
has seventy-six pews on the lower flower, of which six,
in the nortliwest corner of the house, are appropriated to
the use of the students of the Theological Institution.
The clock was transferred from the old meotinir-house.
There has been an organ in the house since the beginning
ofthe year 1840.
EARLY PROCEEDINGS OF THE FIRST BAPTIST SO-
Among the early arrangements of the Society, votes
occasionally appear which may provoke a smile at tlic
present day; but they are still interesting to us, because
they illusti-ate the manners ofthe times. At the meeting
of the Society March 19, 178'2, it was voted that " Mes-
sieurs John Kenrick, jr., John Wiswall and Jeremiah
Richardson be choristers for this Society for the present
year." At the same meeting it was "voted that the
singing, in a general way, be carried on by reading a line
at a time in the forenoon, and a verse at a time in the
afternoon." This vote indicates the deficiency of books
in the congregation, and at the same time the latter part
of it implies among the worshippers, " in a general way,"
a good degree of familiarity with the standard hymns.
From the earliest period the members of the Society
were impressed with a proper sense of the value of the
stated ministry, and their obligation to sustain an evan-
gelical pastor among them. At their very first meeting
after the organization of the Society by the choice of a
moderator and clerk, the first vote has reference to the
securing of a minister, and the second to the erection of
the meeting-house. The by-laws of the Society are
commenced with the following excellent preamble:
" We, the subscribers, members of the First Baptist
Church and Society in Newton, taking into considera-
tion the many obligations God in his word has laid us
under to keep up and support the gospel ministry amongst
us, — although there has been, and still are, diversity of
opinions amongst professing Christians respecting the
same, yet we are persuaded that reason and the word of
God plainly dictate that it ought to be done in such a
manner that one be not eased and another burdened;
also that the preacher, whoever he may be, who shall be
set over us, may be so far released from worldly busi-
ness that he may give himself to study and the care of
the flock over which he is set. And, in order that those
desirable ends may be answered, we do, each of us, for
ourselves voluntarily agree to the following articles."
The following is the first article:
'* We will each of us contribute in proportion to our
ability towards the support of the ministry, and pay the
same at such time as shall be agreed on by this so-
The salary of Mr. Blood, the first minister, was small,
amounting only to sixty pounds and " the loose money "
contributed on Lord's days. For the sake of these cas-
ual contributions, the box was carried around generally
on the lower floor every Sabbath, but in the gallery
only once in the month, until the year 1815. After the
accession of Mr. Grafton, in addition to the salary and
eight cords of wood, twenty pounds a year were granted
to the pastor "in consideration of the enhanced price of
the necessaries of life." The thoughtful regard which
prompted the society, unasked, to make this addition to
the salary of their minister is truly praiseworthy. The
support of Mr. Grafton was afterwards increased from
time to time, in proportion as the expenses of his family
and the style of living in successive periods demanded.
In addition to his salary, several members of the society
purchased " half of the place that Mr. Blood used to
own," and gave it "to Mr. Grafton as a settlement."
A " settlement " seems to have been a present, over and
above the stipulated salary, given to the minister as a
token of good will. The amount paid for this settlement
was £15 or $250.
The society was incorporated by the Legislature of
Massachusetts, and the act of incorporation signed by the
governor, February 12, 1821.
The Warren Association met at Newton in September,
1808, and the Boston Association in 1832. At the latter,
the annual sermon was preached by Rev. Howard Mal-
com, on the "Doctrine of Atonement." It has since
ADDITIONAL NOTES TO THE HISTORICAL SKETCH OF
THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH.
The original members of the First Baptist church in
Newton were thirty-eight in number, as stated in the
Life. The summary declaration of faith, read by Mr.
Gair at the public exercise, was the same which had
been adopted by the Second Baptist church in Boston.
The same year in which it was organized, the church
was admitted on application into the Warren Associa-
ciation, which then met at Athol.
It does not appear from any reliable documents, or
from tradition, where the ceremony of the public organi-
zation of the church was held; it was probably, however,
in the house of Mr. Noah Wiswell. The Baptist meet-
ing-house was not erected till the following year. It
stood on the border of the beautiful baptistery, called
Wiswell's Pond, at the south-east part, fronting on the
road. During the whole ministry of Rev. Mr. Blood,
the interior of the house was unfinished. The only seats
were rough boards laid upon the supports which are de-
nominated by carpenters, horses. The pulpit also was
a structure of unplaned boards. It was to avoid a bur-
densome debt that the society consented to worship in
so comfortless a building. Soon after the settlement of
Mr. Grafton, the walls were plastered and the interior
arrangements began to assume an air of convenience and
comfort. The church at first held their meetings in the
house of Mr. Noah Wiswell. In mild weather, the pub-
lic worship was often performed under the noble elms in
front of the house.
The frame of the original meeting-house, minus the
additions, still stands. It is now transformed into a
The Letter of the church to the Association in the
year 1788, is an interesting specimen of the documents
of that character; and, as exemplifying the spirit of that
period, we subjoin the principal part of it.
"The Baptist church of Christ in Newton, — holding
the doctrines of grace in general and the following in
particular, — divine sovereignty, particular election, total
depravity, efficacious grace in regeneration, justification
by the righteousness of Christ, saints' final perseverance
and the eternity of the future punishment of the wicked, —
"To the Warren Association, which is to be held at
Sturbridge, the Tuesday after the first Wednesday in
September, 1788, —
Sendeth Christian salutation.
Beloved elders and brethren,
"Since our last anniversary, it hath pleased the great
Head of the church to cause us to experience both pros-
perity and adversity. Divine Providence seemed to for-
bid our beloved elder Blood's continuing his services
with us any longer. At first, we were ready to say, ' all
these things are against us.' Must the cause fall to the
ground.^ Must this great evil come upon us? Is there
not a cause? From these thoughts much searching of
heart ensued. In the mean time we were favored with
great harmony and condescension. From the most ma-
ture deliberation, on January 24th, 1788, we unanimously
voted to give elder Blood a dismission and recommenda-
tion as a faithful and regular minister of our Lord Jesus
Christ. Thus we were left as sheep without a shepherd.
We were brought to look beyond the watchmen. Our
united prayer was to the Lord of the harvest, that he
would appear for us and send us one to take us by the
hand and lead us. And, forever blessed be his name,
that in the multitude of our thoughts within us, his com-
forts delighted our souls. When we were brought into a
great strait, he appeared for us. He quickened us by his
grace. He encouraged our hearts. He increased our
fellowship. He strengthened our union; and we found
he was faithful that had promised.
"Having had an interview with Mr. Grafton, a mem-
ber of our sister church at Providence, we gave him an
invitation to preach, with which he complied. And,
after preaching with us seventeen Lord's days to the
satisfaction of the church, he was, on the 18th of June
last, ordained over us by our elders Backus, Stillman,
Stanford, Gair, and Green, — ' without the noise of axe
"Several who had been 'hid in the secret place of
the stairs,' were enabled to make an open profession of
Christ, to own him in baptism, and join the church. A
spirit of conviction followed, and a number, in the judg-
ment of charity, have been converted, O infinite good-
ness and condescending mercy. ' The Lord hath done
great things for us, whereof we are glad.' At present,
great harmony prevails amongst us, and we can say by
experience, ' It is good for brethren to dwell together in
unity.' It is like the precious ointment, shed on the head
of Aaron. We desire to be kept humble, to live thank-
fully, to ' walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,' —
for which we desire a remembrance in your prayers.
*'May the great head and king of the church pervade
you with his presence. We wish you a happy meeting,
and that you may hear good tidings of the increase of
the Redeemer's kingdom is the sincere prayer of your
brethren in gospel bonds."
By the pastor and the three delegates.
In consequence of the increasing infirmities of the
aged pastor, as related in the Life, he voluntarily pro-
posed to relinquish his office, in a communication to the
church, dated July 2, 1835, and Rev. Frederic Augus-
tus Willard was elected to the office of colleague,
and installed November 25, 1835. After the death of
father Grafton, he remained sole pastor of the church.
Mr. Willard resigned his place July 10th, 1838, having
been connected with the church as sole pastor or as
colleague, two years and seven months. The number of
persons added to the church during his ministry was
After the dismission of Mr. Willard, the church de-
pended on the Theological Institution and especially on
Professor Ripley, for the supply of the pulpit and for
pastoral labors, until the close of December, 1841.
During this interval of three years and a half, God con-
tinued to pour out his Spirit upon the church, and thirty-
six were added to its fellowship. When the under shep-
herds are taken away, how glorious is it to enjoy the
care and interest of " the shepherd and bishop of souls."
In January, 1342, nearly eight years since, the Rev. S.
F. Smith commenced his labors with the church. Within
that period, the number of persons who have become
connected with the church is fifty-seven.
The whole number who have been members of the
church to Sept. 1849 is 763. Persons of all ages and
in various circumstances have been baptized and united
to its fellowship. Occasional registration has been made
in the catalogue, of the ages of persons when they have
come into the church. This has been done only where
the candidate was distinguished by youth, or by extreme
age. Among the number so designated, one is marked
as 8 years of age at the time of baptism, two aged 10,
three aged 11, seven aged 12, two aged 13, etc.; and,
at the other extreme of life, one aged 71; one, 73; one,
75; one, 80, and one, 90. One was deaf and dumb, and
The late Rev. Dr. Pierce, of Brookline, remarks in his
Jubilee Discourse, (March, 1847,) that the average an-
nual addition to his church, during its whole existence,
was only 4; and his church, during thirty years of that
period, was the only one in the town. The average an-
nual addition to this church has been 10§J.
If we distribute the first sixty -three years of the exist-
ence of the church into periods of seven years each, we
find the average of additions in each period of seven
years as follows:
From this it appears that the least prosperous period
of the church, so far as additions are concerned, was
from 1787 to 1807 — a period in which the Boston churches
were richly blessed. These twenty years were compara-
tively days of darkness; but to a faithful pastor and a
loving people, they were still days of comfort and joy.
If the number of conversions was not large, the church
was growing in faith and zeal, and under a faithful min-
istry the way was preparing for greater accessions in
the years to come. The most prosperous period in re-
spect to additions appears by this table to have been
from 1822 to 1828.
The church has been in existence a little short of 70
years. It has had four pastors, who have been wholly
or mainly devoted to its interests. During the same
period, sixteen ministers have been connected with the
church as members, of whom five have deceased.
During its whole history, the church has only been two
years and seven months without a pastor, or some one
exercising a pastoral interest and supervision over it.*
The church has had thirteen deacons ; of whom eight
have deceased, and three now hold the same ofiice in
*From November 1, 1838, till Sept. 4, 1840, Prof. Ripley, of
the Theological Institution, was engaged to take the oversight of
the pulpit, and to perform such pastoral labors as were not incon-
sistent with his relations to the Institution.
We look back over the period embraced in the history
of this church with feelings of solemn awe. Of the orig-
inal thirty-eight members, not one remains among the
living. Its first two pastors have gone to the rewards of
the just. The ministers who took part in the public re-
cognition of the church, and in the ordination of its se-
cond pastor, have all rendered their account to God.
Of the crowd who witnessed the services at the organi-
zation of the church, nearly all have since entered into
eternity. If any remain who, as little children, were
carried by their parents to witness the solemnity, those
little children are now gray-haired and decrepid men and
women, tottering over the brink of the grave. The
original supporters of the gospel here have all given an
account of their stewardship, and are no longer stewards.
The thousands of faithful sermons preached before the
congregation have made their indelible impression upon
human souls, and have become a savor of life unto life
or of death unto death. The first pastor has probably
met the whole, or nearly the whole, of his church and
congregation in the world of disembodied spirits ; the se-
cond pastor has met the major part of his ; like a loving
shepherd, leading them to Christ, as the lambs of his
fold, or bearing his faithful testimony against their im-
penitence and procrastination. Those who remain are
hastening to join the great congregation of the departed.
They are in the ranks of the procession of spirits passing
into eternity, and have come, none can tell how near, to
its verge. Blessed are they who shall have part in the
general assembly and church of the first born, whose
names are written in heaven.
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE OF REV. CALEB BLOOD.
[Referred to on page 45.]
Mr. Blood was born in Charlton, Worcester county,
Mass., Aug. 18, 1754. In the 21st year of his age, he
was hopefully brought to a sweet and comfortable expe-
rience of the truth. It is said that he was struck with a
deep sense of his lost condition while at a ball, in the
midst of mirth and gaiety. The impression here made,
continued, until the Lord by his sovereign grace set him
at liberty. Soon after, he became deeply impressed with
the situation of a world of sinners around him, and in
about eighteen months commenced preaching. We pre-
sume he was approbated and sent into the ministry by the
church at Charlton, of which the late Rev. Nathaniel
Green was then pastor.. Mr. Blood, after preaching in
a number of places, in the autumn of 1777 visited Mar-
low, N. H., where he received ordination, probably as
an itinerant. He continued in this place about two
years, and then removed to Weston, and supplied the
Baptist church and society in that place for about one
year and a half. At this time, the Lord was pleased to
pour out his Spirit on the inhabitants of Newton, and
numbers were hopefully converted and baptized. The
infant church invited Mr. Blood to take the pastoral
charge of them. He accepted their call, and was settled
over them as their pastor in 1781. He continued his
faithful labors vv'ith this people until the beginning of the
year 1788, when, by the consent of the church, and at
the earnest request of a number of brethren, he removed
to Shaftsbury, Vt.
Here his labors became more eminently useful. Seve-
ral revivals of religion were granted under his ministry.
In the winter of 1798 and 1799, a most wonderful work
of reformation took place in that town. The congrega-
tion to which Mr. Blood ministered shared largely in
this gracious revival. Between 150 and 200 were added
to the church under his pastoral care. Several of his
own children shared in this good work.
But the labors of Mr. Blood were not confined to his
particular charge; he frequently travelled and preached
in the adjacent country, being often called to assist in
councils, ordinations, etc. So eminent were his services
in that region, that he was justly considered as one of the
fathers in the Shaftsbury Association.
In 1791, when the University of Vermont was estab-
lished, Mr. Blood was appointed one of the Trustees;
and the year following, by the appointment of the Legis-
lature, he preached the Election sermon.
In addition to his other itinerant labors, which were
very considerable, Mr. Blood 'accepted an appointment
from the Association to which he belonged, to go on a
mission for three months to the north westerly parts of
the State of New York, and the adjacent province of
Upper Canada, which he performed in the autumn of
1804. There is reason to believe that his labors were
highly useful in many places, in " setting in order the
things that were wanting," and in "strengthening those
that were ready to die."
After spending nearly twenty years of the meridian of
life in Shaftsbury, he removed to the Third Baptist
church in Boston, and continued with this church from
Sept. 1807 to June 1810, and then took a dismission
from them and removed to Portland, Me. which proved the
final scene of his labors.
During his ministry in Boston, he experienced some
very severe afilictions. He received an accidental blow
in his face, which greatly aflfected his whole system.
Though the wound appeared trifling, it often occasioned
him great pain; and at one time, by taking cold in the
part, a fever ensued which threatened his immediate dis-
solution. He also experienced some very severe trials
of another nature. These, together with the impaired
state of his health, at times greatly depressed his spirits.
The last four years of his life he spent with the First
Baptist church and society in Portland. During this
period, the church and society were enabled to erect a
very decent and convenient house for public worship.
Mr. Blood's labors were very acceptable to this church
the whole time of his being with them. It was thought
they were increasingly so the latter part of his life.
For nearly two months before his death, he was unable
to walk to the meeting-house, which was but a small dis-
tance. But his zeal for the cause and love to immortal
souls suffered no abatement. It was thought that he felt
and spake like a dying man. To all who heard him, his
addresses appeared unusually solemn and impressive.
He struggled hard with his infirmities, and was often ex-
ercised with great pain while discharging the duties of
On Feb. 19, he was attacked more violently, and con-
tinued to fail until Lord's day morning, March 6th, about
6 o'clock, and then fell asleep in Jesus. The state of
his mind during his last sickness may be learned from
the following letter, dated March 12, 1814, from his
"Dear, respected friend,
"I received your kind letter with grateful emotions.
The sympathy of friends may, in some instances, soothe
our sorrows, but it cannot ease the heart that is rent by
the cruel tyrant death. But shall I call that cruel, which
alone introduces the soul into immortal felicity.? O no;
let me rather adore the goodness of God, that overrules
his power, and makes even death the great privilege of
" Yet I may truly say, the hand of the Lord lies heavy
upon us. Few children have had such a parent. But
alas! he is now no more. Should I indulge the unre-
conciled part of my feelings to flow from my pen, I should
lament like David for Absalom. But stop, my soul; let
me rather lie at the feet of mercy, and cry for true sub-
mission to the divine will. This, I think, is my greatest
" The Lord has been good to us, especially in granting
the manifestations of his love to my father. In his last
sickness and for some months before, he was unusually
engaged in prayer and preaching; so much so that many
thought him ripening for glory.
"His mind was perfectly composed in his sickness,
and by his conversation he evinced to all that heard him
the reality of the religion of Jesus and its power to sup-
port the soul when flesh and heart fail.
" The Sabbath morning before his decease, a number
of brethren and sisters called to see him. After conver-
sation, he requested to be raised up in his bed, and de-
sired them to sing the two last verses of the hymn,
' Why should we start and fear to die ? '
which they did. He raised his hand and beat the tune
while they sung, and then told them to sing it again on
this ' resurrection morn.' The scene was solemn, but not
"When in the near prospect of death, he manifested
an unshaken belief in the doctrine he had preached, ex-
pressing an entire confidence in God and dependence
on the righteousness of Christ.
"He often said, ' I am as naked as the thief on the
cross, as to any thing to recommend mc to God.' When
he spake of his sufferings, he would quote those words,
Luke xxiii, 41. When it was mentioned that he was go-
ing to receive the reward of his labors, he would reply,
* If mere mercy through the atonement of Christ can
reach so great a sinner, and a soul that deserves to sink
to hell can be saved, I shall arrive at the kingdom of
glory; if not, I am gone.'
*' Being asked if he could give up all below, he said
he calmly resigned his family and the dear church; but
the thought of no more warning poor sinners was the
hardest thing to him; but at length he said, ' I have done
the work, and finished the ministry which I have re-
"He fervently warned ministers against seeking to be
great in the view of others; and of the great necessity of
church discipline. He desired that poor sinners might
be told that he died with a concern on his heart for their
souls. As a ministering brother was going to pray with
him, he was asked what he would wish to have prayed
for.^ ' O,' said he, * pray that all our wills may be swal-
lowed up in the divine^will, and that the cause of God
may flourish in this world.'
"He often repeated the following verse:
* This life's a dream, an empty show ;
But the bright world to which I go
Hath joys substantial and sincere;
When shall I wake and find me there ? '
" When in extreme pain, he would say,
'Thoiiirh pninful at present, 'twill cease before long,
And then, O how pleasant the conqueror's song.'
" Seeing tny mother affected in looking at his hand, he
said, 'Do n't be anxious because you see death in it; the
Lord will fashion it like unto his glorious body; for I
shall see him for myself and not for another.' She re-
plied, ' I hope it will not be long before we meet again,
no more to part.' He replied, 'It will be all grace if
we do.' When in great distress, he said, 'My heart
and my flesh fail; but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.' To a friend that was standing
by his bed, who observed his hand to be cold, he said,
'Blessed Jesus, how much he endured for sinful man!
Though I die in a confused time, Christ is going to send
peace and salvation on the earth.' To one of his watch-
ers he said, ' Mr. C , I have been thinking of your
kindness to me; but except you have an interest in
Christ, of what avail will it be to you? ' When exer-
cised with excruciating pain, he said he was thinking
to pray to God to relieve him before he died; 'but,'
said he, 'the ways of God seemed so just, that I could
"When very near to death, being asked if he was
sensible he was going, he said, ' I believe I am, very fast.'
Then he was asked how his mind was; he said, 'calm;
I am not afraid to trust in Jesus; there is enough in
him.' And on the morning of the Sabbath, we have
reason to believe he entered an eternal Sabbath of
[The following sketch appeared in a Portland paper.]
On Lord's-day morning Gth inst., between the hours
of six and seven, departed this life, after a short but
painful illness, the Rev. Caleb Blood, pastor of the
Baptist church in this town, in the sixtieth year of his
age, and thirty-eighth of his ministry. His dying testi-
mony to the last, so impressive upon the minds of all that
heard it, is the best comment upon iiis character. In his
last sickness, all classes appeared equally concerned,
each one striving to express a regard for so valuable a
member of the community. A bereaved widow and two
children mourn the loss of a husband, a father, an
instructer and most invaluable companion, under the full
conviction that he is now reaping the full rewards of a
faithful servant. The bereaved church of which he was
pastor, sustaining so great a loss, are entitled to the
sympathy of all the friends of Zion. May the great
Head of the church, with whom is the residue of the
Spirit, comfort the bereaved, and repair this breach now
made in his militant church, for the glory of his name
and support of his cause upon the earth.
His funeral was attended on the Wednesday follow-
ing by a large concourse of people of all denominations,
from the Baptist meeting-house, where a very solemn
discourse was delivered on the occasion by the Rev.
SylvanusBoardman of North-Yarmouth, from Job 5 : 17.
Thus terminated the life of this excellent man, leaving
behind him the good name which is better than precious
CHURCHES PROCEEDING FROM THE FIRST BAPTIST
CHURCH IN NEWTON.
The First Baptist church in Newton is the mother of
several churches around it. Like the fruitful bough of
Joseph (Gen. 49 : 22), its branches have "run over the
wall." Father Grafton used to say in his latter days.
* Mr. Blood was the antiior of a controversial work on bap-
tism. It is in the form of a dialogue, between a Baptist and a
Pedo-Baptist. The charge given by him at the ordination of
Rev. Thomas Green in West Cambridge, Nov. 17, 1783, is also
printed in connection with the ordination sermon of Rev. Thomas
Gair, of Medfield. Boston, 1784.
that '* making his own church the centre of a circle, the
radius of which should be forty miles, there could not be
found in that circle, when he became the pastor of the
church in Newton, but eight Baptist churches;" at his
death there were more than sixty. Several of these
churches were, directly or indirectly, offshoots from that.
This was especially the case with Weston and Framing-
ham (organized 1789), now two distinct and flourishing
bodies; First Cambridge* (org. 1817), West Cambridge
(org. 1817), First Roxbury (org. 1821), Brookline (org.
1828), Watertown (org. 1830), First Lowell (org. 1826),
Second Newtonl (org. 1835). The number of members
embraced in these churches in September 1848, was
2,285; and, including the First church in Newton, 2,405.
All these churches sustain their own pastors, and enjoy
their religious institutions and privileges; and most of
them contribute largely in aid of the benevolent enter-
prises by which the present age is distinguished.
From the churches above named, as a nucleus, other
churches have been formed. The First church in Cam-
bridfje gave to the church in Old Cambrido-e most of its
members, besides contributing to the other churches in
the town. The first in Roxbury gave most of the origi-
nal members constituting the second and third in the
same city. Brookline gave some members to the church
on Jamaica Plain. And from the First Lowell, to which
Newton gave twenty-six members, have sprung two other
Baptist churches in that city. One or more of the dea-
cons, past or present, of the Second church, Newton,
* Twenty members were dismissed to form the First Baptist
eh lire 1 1 in Cambridge.
f Fifty-five members were dismissed from the First Baptis
eburch to join in the embodiment of the Second.
First Roxbury, First Cambridge, Brookline and Water-
town, have been either private members or officers of
the First Baptist church in Newton. It has fallen to the
lot of few churches to hold so commanding a position, or
to exert so wide an influence.
It is interesting to compare the day of small things
among the Baptists in Massachusetts with the present
flourishing condition of our churches and congregations.
The first settlers of the state established the Congrega-
tional form of government, worship and ordinances; and
it was natural that these should prevail for some time,
nearly or quite to the exclusion of all other sects.
Hence it is that the Baptist churches did not begin to
multiply at an earlier period. The last annual statement
of the Baptist churches in Massachusetts (1848) gives
the date of the organization of the churches in nine out
of the thirteen associations. The four associations in
which the date is omitted lie mostly in the western part
of the state, and are, beyond a doubt, chiefly of recent
origin. From these tables it appears that at the time of
the organization of the First Baptist church in Newton,
only fourteen other Baptist churches existed in the whole
state. Three more were formed the same year. The
number has now increased to two hundred and forty.
The Newton church united in September, 1780, with the
Warren Association, the only Association existing in
New England. Now Massachusetts alone has thirteen
Associations. If we suppose that the fourteen churches
existing previously to July, 1780, had at that time an
average of 150 members each,* this will give 2,100 for
* This is in fact a very high average. The average at tlie
present moment is only about 197^ ; or, taking out of the
account two large city churches, the present average of mem-
bers in the remaining twelve is not quite 117.
the sum total in the State. The present number is
MINISTERS WHO HAVE BEEN MEMBERS OF THE FIRST
*Caleb Blood (ord. Mario w, N. H., 1777).
*JosEPH Grafton (ord. Newton, June 18, 1788).
^Nathan Dana (licensed Jan. 3, J789 ; ord. Nov. 20, 1793).
Charles Train (ord. Weston, Jan. 30, 1811).
*Francis G. Macomber (licensed Nov. 18'20. Ord. pastor,
Beverly, died July, 1827, aged 29).
*Hadlet Proctor (ord. China, Me., 1824 ; died April 12, 18-12,
Irah Chase, D. D. (ord. Danvers, Sept. 17, 1817).
HenryJ. Ripley, D. D. (ord. Boston, Nov. 7, 1819 ; quasi pas-
tor from Nov. 30, 1838, to Sept. 4, 1840).
F. AuGuesTus Willard (ord. Worcester, Jan. 17, 1832).
S. F. Smith (ord. Waterville, Me., Feb. 12, 1834).
Horatio B. Hackett, D. D. (ord. Nevi^ton, Dec. 9, 1839),
Sanford Leach (ord. Wilmington, Del., Nov. 4, 1841).
Charles Platts (ord. Homer, C, Feb. 18, 1846).
Robert Everett Pattison, D. D. (ord. Salem, 1829).
Joseph W. Warder.
Fletcher O. Marsh.
deacons of the first baptist church.
*Jeremiali Richardson, Appointed Aug. 24, 1797.
*Samuel Holt, « " " "
*Noah King, « April 2, 1812.
Elijah Corey, « " " "
^Thomas llovey, « July, 1818.
*Josiah Bacon, « April 3, 1828.
*Jonathan Bixby, « " " "
*Reuben Stone, «' " « "
Perez Lothroi), « " " "
Isaac Keyes, Appointed Nov. 4, 1832.
Eben Stone, « " " "
Ebenezer Davis White, « Jan. Q, 1837.
MR. JONATHAN HYDE— MR. NATHAN WARD.
[Referred to on page 42.]
Mr. Jonathan Hyde, of Brookline, was ordained pastor
of a Separate or New Light church in that place, Jan.
17, 1750. His ministry was attended by many persons
from Newton. He resided near the intersection of the
Worcester turnpike with the county-road, about two
miles east of the Theological Institution.
In March, 1782, after Mr. Blood's salary for the pre-
ceding year had been paid, two small contributions
remaining in the hands of the committee were, by
unanimous vote, sent to Mr. Hyde. This is an interest-
ing fact, indicative of the liberal feelings of the members
of the Baptist Society.
After Mr. Hyde's church had left him, he continued to
attend worship regularly with the First Baptist church
in Newton, as long as he was able to go abroad. Mr.
Blood used to remark that he was always glad to see
father Hyde in his place; for he knew that he had one
The ordination of Mr. Nathan Ward, the pastor of a
Separate church in Newton, is noticed, as well as the
former, in the records of the East Congregational
church. Mr. Ward afterwards returned to the fellow-
ship of the church, and became the first pastor of the
Congregational church at Plymouth, N. H. When in
Newton, he resided a short distance south of the Win-
chester mansion, on the opposite side of the road. He
was born in Newton, April 11, 1721, died June 15
1804, aged 83. He was hopefully converted under
the, preaching of Mr. Whitefield. He had not a collegi-
ate education, but received the honorary degree of A. M.
from Dartmouth College. He had eleven children, —
seven sons and four daughters. Five of the children
died of putrid fever within the space of five weeks, two
of them the same day, and a third forty-eight hours after-
NOTICES PERTAINING TO THE EAST CONGREGATIONAL
During thirty years, from Jan. 1782 to Dec. 1811, the
number added to the East Congregational church was 142 ;
being an annual average of 4}^. At a subsequent period,
directly after a season of revival the most extensive
which the church has ever enjoyed. Dr. Homer made the
statement that for forty-six years, the annual average
addition had been 6|. From Dec. 31, 1727, to April 21,
1728, a period of four months, fifty were added to the
church. This was a season of special blessing also to
the churches in Boston. It was directly after the great
earthquake, which occurred Oct. 29, 1727. At that
time eighty were added to the Old South church in Bos-
ton. A second season of revival occurred in the year
1741. From June 28, 1741, to April 4, 1742, 104 were
added to the church. In connection with the account of
these additions, Dr. Homer appends the remark, "The
preaching of Rev. Gilbert Tenncnt about 1741, — which
was most alarming to sinners, — probably began the
awakening." This, it will be recollected, was the era
of those wonderful refreshings in the time of President
Edwards, which blessed various portions of New Eng-
land, and especially the region of the Connecticut river.
The celebrated Mr. Whitefield at a later period visited
and preached in Newton " before crowded and attentive
audiences." He officiated " Nov. 8, 1748, in the period
of Rev. Mr. Cotton, and Sept. 28, 1770, in the period of
Rev. Mr. Merriarn." This was a few days before he
died at Newburyport. It is not known that his visits to
Newton produced any very powerful impression.
The greatest revival which occurred in the East Con-
gregational Society during Dr. Homer's connection with
it was in 1827. Fifty-six were added to the church
within the space of fifty-six days, of whom twenty-four
were heads of families. The church received ninety in
It is interesting to observe the manner in which the
church controlled every thing pertaining to public wor-
ship. When the choir, ambitious of exhibiting their
musical attainments, had learned a series of new tunes,
the church voted (Nov. 6, 1770) that a due proportion
only of the new tunes should be mingled with the old.
It was voted in church meeting, Dec. 11, 1771, to intro-
duce Tate & Brady's version of the Psalms, with hymns
annexed; and by a similar vote, Nov. 7, 1790, this book
of psalmody was exchanged for Watts.
DEACONS OF THE EAST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH.
John Jackson, Jan. 30, 1674.
Hon. Tliomas Oliver (Counsellor), Nov. 1, 1715.
James Trowbridge, July 22, 1717.
Edward Jackson, Sept. 30, 1727, aged 75.
Richard Ward, 1739, aged 73.
John Staples, 1740, aged 81.
William Trowbridge, 1744, aged 60.
Hon. Ebenezer Stone (Counsellor), 1754, aged 92.
John Stone, 1769, aged 76.
Ephraim Ward, 1772, aged 69.
Thomas Greenwood, 1774, aged 78.
John Woodward, 1801, aged 76.
Jonas Stone, 1804, aged 82.
Ebenezer Woodward, 1806, aged 49.
Samuel Murdock, 1814, aged 62.
Jeremiah Wiswall, Appointed Sept. 21, 1798.
Ebenezer White, " June 11, 1815.
EMjah Fuller Woodward " " " " died April,
Hon. William Jackson, « Oct. 28, 1827.
DR. JONATHAN HOJVIER.
On the occasion of the ordination of Dr. Homer, the
Council met at the house of Mrs. Hannah Gibbs (now
Marshall S. Rice, Esq.). At the service in the meeting
house, the church publicly testifying the renewal of
their call and the pastor elect renewing his acceptance
of it, Mr. Eckley, of Boston, prayed; then Mr. Jackson,
of Brookline, (Dr. Homer's pastor) preached from Is. 6:
5 — 8; afterwards Mr. Eliot, of Watertown, prayed; Mr.
Woodward, of Weston, the Moderator of the Council,
prayed and gave the charge, and Mr. Greenough, of
West Newton, gave the hand of fellowship. The address
to the church in those days had not come into use.
Dr. Homer enjoyed unusual health during the period
of his protracted ministry. His entire ministry as sole
pastor was forty-four years. His whole residence with
the church was fifty-one years and six months. For
thirty-five years he was never out of his pulpit in conse-
quence of sickness. He was very laborious in seeking
to promote the interests of his charge. His literary
ability was respectable, and his attainments, for the age
in which he spent the vigor of his life, equal perhaps
to the prevailing standard. His principal study for many
years was directed to ascertaining the precise condition
in which the English version of the Scriptures was left
by King James' translators, and the variations from the
translations of Wickliffe, Coverdale, Matthewe, Tyn-
dale, Rogers, and the rest. Dr. Homer manifested
great enthusiasm in this employment, and wrote many
notes, which he proposed at some future time to pub-
lish. The notes, however, were left in a scattered state.
Dr. Homer died Aug, 11, 1843. At the funeral exer-
cises held on the following Sabbath, an appropriate ser-
mon was delivered by Rev. Dr. Codman, of Dorchester,
and the several congregations in the town gave up their
usual worship for the purpose of attending the service
and doing honor to his memory.
PUBLICATIONS OF DR. HOMER.
The publications of Dr. Homer, so far as known, are
1. Description and History of Newton in the County
of Middlesex. An Article in the Massachusetts Histori-
cal Collections, 1798.
2. A Sermon delivered in Newton, Oct. 13, 1816, upon
the occasion of the decease of Mr. Samuel Hammond, of
Brookline, who died Oct. 5, 1816, aged 26. Published
3. Address to the Clergy and People of the County of
Middlesex, from the Middlesex Massachusetts Auxiliary
Society, established June 1817, in aid of the American
Society for Edupating Pious Youth for the Gospel Min-
4. Fourth and Fifth Reports of the Bible Society in
the County of Middlesex, Mass., April 1819, 1820.
5. A Sermon delivered before the Massachusetts Soci-
ety for promoting Christian Knowledge at their Anni-
versary, May 29, 1828.
6. The Columbian Bible. (A large folio edition of
the Bible for the pulpit. Dr. Homer aided the printer
by some kind of editorial assistance.)
7. Century Sermon.
8. The Way of God vindicated, in a sermon preached
Lord's day, Sept. 16, 1804 — after the interment of his
only child, Jonathan Homer, A. B., who died of con-
sumption, Sept. 7, 1804, aged 21.
SKETCH OF THE REV. JOHN ELIOT.
John Eliot, commonly denominated the Indian apostle,
was a native of England; but the place of his birth is
unknown. Having studied at the University of Cam-
bridge, he came to New England in 1631, leaving behind
him " a virtuous young gentlewoman, whom he had pur-
sued and purposed a marriage unto." She came over
the year following, and they were married in October,
1632. He had six children, three of whom died before
him. In his advanced years he remarked concerning
them, " I have had six children; and I bless God for his
free grace, they are all either with Christ or in Christ,
and my mind is now at rest concerning them." His
second cliild and oldest son was the first pastor at New-
ton. Cotton Mather says of him, " He bore his father's
name, and had. his father's grace. He was a person of
notable accomplishments, and a lively, zealous, acute
preacher, not only to the English at New Cambridge,
but also to the Indians thereabout. He grew so fast,
that he was found ripe for heaven many years ago; and
upon his death-bed uttered such penetrating tilings as
could proceed from none but one upon the borders and
confines of eternal glory. It is pity that so many of
them are forgotten; but one of them, I think, we have
all cause to remember: ' Well,' said he, 'my dear friends,
there is a dark day coming upon New England, and in so
dark a day, I pray how will you provide for your own
security? My counsel to you is, get an interest in the
blessed Lord Jesus Christ, and that will carry you to
the world's end.' "*
On his first coming to America, Mr. Eliot supplied a
vacancy at Boston, caused by the temporary absence of
Mr. Wilson. He had, however, encouraged a select
few of his acquaintances at home, that, should they
come to New England before he had accepted the pastor-
ate of any church, he would become their teacher. It
so happened that they came the year after him and settled
in Roxbury; and he was shortly afterwards ordained
over them, and continued to minister to them for more
than half a century. It was not till fourteen years after
his settlement in Roxbury that he began his labors among
the Indians of Nonantum.
Eliot was a man of ardent piety. Prayer was to him
as his breath. When he visited a house where he was
familiar, he would often say, " Come, let us not have a
visit without a prayer; let us pray down the blessing of
heaven on your family before we go." When he heard
any important news he would say, "Brethren, let us
turn all this into prayer." Though he was very apt and
witty in conversation, his words were always seasoned
* Tliese words of Mr. Eliot are engraved on his tombstone
with piety. In this respect, father Grafton very closely
resembled him. He observed the Sabbath with great
strictness, commencing his preparation for it before sun-
set on the previous evening. Cotton Mather beautifully
says of him, " We cannot say that we ever saw him walk-
ing any whither, but he was therein walking with God;
wherever he sat, he had God by him; and it was in the
everlasting arms of God that he slept at night."
He was a person of great industry. Besides preach-
ing twice on the Lord's day, and once a fortnight at a
lecture among his own people, "he made his weekly
visits to the lectures in the neighborinof towns — Boston,
Charlestown, Cambridge and Dorchester ; visited his
scattered parishioners, and catechized the children;
learned the language of the Indians, and printed a gram-
mar of it, and primers and catechisms for the use of the
natives, besides translating and printing the whole Bible,*
Baxter's Call to the Unconverted, the Practice of Piety,
and other works, both in Indian and English, | and fre-
quently going to Newton to preach to the Indians, and to
watch over their spiritual concerns. Pie rose early in the
morning for study and prayer; and, for more than twenty
years before he died, he removed his lodgings into his
study, that he might employ his early mornings in useful
occupations without disturbing any one in the house.
He was distinguished for his charity. The poor had
in him a friend and father. It is said that he gave away
hundreds of pounds; often, doubtless, with an indiscrimi-
* Fifteen hundred copies of tlie New Testament in Indian,
witli mar<iiMal references, were printed at the expense of the
"Society for propagating the Gospel." The wliole Bible was
coniph;t('(l in 1GG3. It was printed at Cambridge.
f Besides other Engfish works, he printed a " Harmony of
the Gospels in the Holy History of Jesus Ciirist."
nate and unwise liberality. In this regard it was fortu-
nate that Mrs. Eliot served as a check upon his profusion;
else he might have given away his whole salary, leaving
nothing for the support of his family. Once it is said
that the treasurer, on giving to him his quarter's sal-
ary, tied the handkerchief containing it in many knots,
fearing lest in his indiscreet kindness of heart, he
would give it away to some beggar before he reached his
home. On his way, Eliot called on a poor woman in
necessitous circumstances, and attempting to untie the
knots in his handkerchief that he might share his riches
with her, at length finding it a difficult task, he threw the
whole into her lap, saying, "Here, good woman, I be-
lieve the Lord designs it all for you."
His labors in behalf of the Indians were commenced
in October 1646, and continued till near the close of his
life. And though at home he brought beaten oil into the
sanctuary, and was always graceful, solemn and earnest,
the great work by which he was distinguished was his
work among the Indians, It was by this that he made
an impression on the age in which he lived. Dividing
his cares between his parish at Roxbury and the Indians,
first at Nonantum Hill and afterwards in Natick, he
labored on, a loving and beloved pastor, till he was more
than fourscore years of age. His declining years were
marked by peculiar modesty and a dread of praise.
Writing to the Hon. Robert Boyle, he said, " I am draw-
ing home; the shadows are lengthening around me; I
beseech you to suppress the title of ' Indian Evangelist;'
give not any glory to me for what is done; give it to
God who hath strengthened me." Again, speaking on
his death-bed of the decline in the work of grace among
the natives that was incident to the Indian war, he said,
"There is a cloud, a dark cloud upon the work of the
gospel among the poor Indians. The Lord renew and
prosper that work, and grant it may live when I am dead.
It is a work which I have been doing much and long
about. But what was the word I spoke last? I recall
that word, my doings! Alas, they have been poor, and
small, and lean doings, and I'll be the man that shall
throw the first stone at them all.'"
His last hour^ were spent in great tranquillity; and
the words which lingered upon his dying lips, the latest
expression of the state of his soul, were, " Welcome,
joy." His age was eighty-six years.
THE xMISSION AMONG THE INDIANS AT NEWTON.
Mr. Eliot, accompanied by three friends, made his first
visit to the Indians at Nonantum, October 28, 1646. He
had pie/iously sent a message to them, announcing his
coming to address them on the subject of Christianity.
He had already become acquainted with their language,
and prepared in it some small elementary works. His
first meeting was in the wigwam of Wauban or Waban,
their chief, who met him at a small distance from the
settlement, and welcomed him to the place of assembly
provided on Nonantum hill. After a short prayer in Eng-
lish, he preached to the Indians from the text, Ezek.
37 : 9, 10 — " Then said he unto me. Prophesy unto the
wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind,* Thus
* The histories of the time say that IVahan, the name of the
Indian cliief, corresponded to the word translated ivnid in this
passage. Prol)abiy Ehot had an eye to this coincidence in se-
lecting the text. Jt must have been very imi)ressive to the
sachem, a home-argument truly, when lie heard the Holy Scrip-
tures commanding this jirophecy to himself, personally — "Pro-
phesy unto Waban," etc.
saith the Lord God, Come from the four winds, O breath,
and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I
prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came
into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an
exceeding great army." The sermon continued about
an hour and a quarter, and embraced the principal arti-
cles of the Christian religion, applied to the case of the
hearers. At the close of the discourse, desirous of know-
ing whether he had spoken intelligibly, he asked the In-
dians whether they understood? To which they replied,
that they understood all.
The visit was received with general satisfaction, and
many of the audience heard the pathetic parts of the
discourse with tears. Dr. Homer remarks, that " Waban,
particularly, received those happy impressions which
abode by him through life, and qualified him zealously
and successfully to aid the generous design of convert-
ing his countrymen. After the discourse, three hours
were devoted by Mr. Eliot and his friends to answering
questions of the Indians."
The second visit was made a fortnight afterwards, No-
vember 11, and the assembly was larger than before.
At this meeting he proceeded in much the same manner
as before, layipg open, especially, the plan of salvation
through Jesus Christ. When liberty was given to pro-
pose questions, " an aged man stood* up, and with tears
inquired whether it was not too late for such an old man
as he, who was near death, to repent and seek after
God.^ Another asked, How the English came to diflJer
so much from the Indians in their knowledge of God and
Jesus Christ, since they had all at first but one father.^
Another inquired, How it came to pass that sea water
was salt, and river water fresh? Another, That if the
water was higher than the earth, as he supposed, how
it comes to pass that it does not overflow all the earth?
198 ' APPENDIX.
Mr. Eliot and his friends spent several hours in answer-
ing these and some other questions. The Indians told
them, upon their quitting them to return home in the
evening, that ' they did much thank God for their com-
ing; and, for what they had heard, they were wonderful
The attendance at the third meeting, November 26,
was somewhat diminished by the threats of the powows
or priests, of whom the Indians stood in great fear. The
terror, however, was soon overcome, and by this time
the uncultivated people began to ask that their children
might be instructed by the English in the things of reli-
gion, and in the arts of civilized life. This opened the
way for the commencement of civilization among them.
By the authority of the General Court a tract of land
was set apart for their use, on the declivity in the north-
east part of the town, at the foot of which lies the village
of Newton Corner. The settlement was surrounded by
ditches and by a stone wall, wigwams were built cov-
ered with the bark of trees, and the arts of husbandry
were taught. They also " completely built a house for
public worship, fifty feet in length and twenty-five feet
in breadth, which an eye witness observed, ' appeared
like the workmanship of an English housewright.' "
The report of the success of these early efforts in
behalf of these aborigines seems to have excited a strong
sensation in England. The British Parliament, then un-
der the Protectorate, passed an act July 27, 1649, for the
advancement of the work. The preamble of the act
runs as follows: "Whereas the Commons of England,
assembled in Parliament, have received certain intelli-
gence from divers godly ministers and others in New
England, that divers of the heathen natives, through
the pious care of some godly English, who preach the
gospel to them in their own Indian language, not only of
barbarous have become civil, but many of them forsake
their accustomed charms and sorceries and other satan-
ical delusions, do now call upon the name of the Lord,
and give great testimony to the power of God, drawing
them from death and darkness to the life and lioht of the
glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, which appeareth by their
lamenting with tears their misspent lives, teaching their
children what they are instructed themselves, being care-
ful to place them in godly families and English schools,
betaking tliemselves to one wife, putting away the rest,
and by their constant prayers to Almighty God, morning
and evening, in their families, prayers expressed, in all
appearance, with much devotion and zeal of heart; — All
which considered, we cannot but, in behalf of the nation
we represent, rejoice and give glory to God for the be-
ginning of so glorious a propagation of the gospel among
those poor heathen, which cannot be prosecuted with that
expedition as is desired unless fit instruments be en-
couraged and maintained to pursue it, schools and cloth-
ing be provided, and many other necessaries," See. The
act, of which this is the preamble, then proceeds to
establish a corporation of sixteen persons to superintend
the disbursement of moneys which should be given to
aid in instructing, clothing, civilizing and Christianizing
the Indians, " A general collection was ordered to be
made for these purposes through all the churches of
England and Wales. The ministers were required to
read this act in the churches, and to exhort the people to
a cheerful contribution to so pious a work. Circular
letters were published at the same time by the Universi-
ties of Oxford and Cambridge, recommending the same
object. A fund, which in Charles IPs time produced
six hundred pounds sterling per annum, was thus pro-
vided, the benefit of which extended till the period of the
separation " of the colonies from the mother country.
In consequence of the increase of converts at Nonan-
tum, the place soon became too strait for the inhabitants.
They were removed, therefore, to Natick, ten miles dis-
tant, where a tract of three thousand acres was assigned
for their accommodation. Here also the first Christian
church was organized among them in 1660, for during
their residence at Newton, the ministers thought it not
wise to hasten them out of the state of catechumens.
For several years the church continued to thrive. But
by wasting sickness and other causes, the number of In-
dians began to diminish, and towards the latter part of
the last century, the race in Natick became extinct.
The work, however, was abundantly honored by the
divine blessing. Many of the Indians became hopefully
pious, and adorned religion till the day of their death.
Dr. Increase Mather wrote to Professor Leusden of Hol-
land in 1687, that "there are six regular churches of
baptized Indians in New England, and eighteen assem-
blies of catechumens, or candidates for baptism, profess-
ing the name of Christ. Of the Indians, there are twen-
ty-four preachers of the word. There are also -four
English ministers, who preach the gospel in the Indian
The labors and exposures of Mr. Eliot, the Indian
apostle, were very great. He wrote on one occasion to
the Hon. Mr. Winslow, as follows: "I have not been
dry night nor day, from the third day of the week unto
the sixth; but so travelled, and at night pull off my
boots, wring my stockings, and on with them again, and
so continue. But God steps in and helps. I have con-
sidered the word of God in 2 Tim. 2:3, ' Endure hard-
ness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.'" His son, also,
the first pastor at Newton, devoted himself to the instruc-
tion of the Indians as well as of his own flock. He con-
stantly preached to them once a fortnight at Stoughton,
and sometimes at Natick, and won the afTcctions of the
THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH AT WEST NEWTON.
The Congreojational church at West Newton was or-
ganized in Oct. 1781. The orginal number of members
was 14. For many years in succession, several mem-
bers living in the west part of the town petitioned their
fellow-citizens in town meeting for the privilege of hold-
ing worship a portion of the year in that part of the
town. But their petition was uniformly and instantly
voted down without discussion, until 1781.
Soon after the new church was organized, a request
was presented to the East church by the new body for a
part of the communion furniture. The circumstance is
thus noticed in the records of the First Congregational
"Nov. 25, 1781. A request from the Second church
in Newton that they might have a part of the church
vessels appropriated to them, was laid before this church;
and after some conversation, the church voted that the
deacons deliver up four pev/ter tankards and one pewter
dish, as a present from this church to the Second church
This vote indicates the frugality of the churches of that
period, and implies the day of small things among them.
The First meeting-house was raised June 1764. En-
larged 1812. Ahered 1831 and 1838. Worship held in
the house for the last time, March 26, 1848. The Second
meeting-house was dedicated March 29, 1848. The ser-
mon, by Rev. Lyman Gilbert, from Acts 28 : 22, was
The West parish was incorporated in 1778.
In 1827, twenty-three were admitted by profession;
also, about the same number in 1832. The whole num-
ber of persons who have ever belonged to the church is
268; giving an average of a little less than four additions
yearly, since the formation of the church.
MINISTERS WHO HAVE BELONGED TO THE WEST CONGRE-
Joseph S. Clark.
DEACONS OF THE WEST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH.
*Joseph Fuller, .
chosen Nov. 18, 1781.
" Dec. 30, "
" Jan. 18, 1789.
" Mar. 18, 1793.
« Feb. 17, 1800.
« Dec. 22, 1806.
« Oct. 13, 1817.
Jan. 17, 1845.
" Feb. 28, 1845.
EPISCOPAL CHURCH, LOWER FALLS.
The church is denominated St. Mary's church. The
Episcopal form of worship was first used in the autumn
of 1811, in the District school-house at Newton Lower
Falls. Mr. John R. Cotting, a lay-reader, and previ-
ously a minister of the Orthodox Congregational persua-
sion, officiated occasionally during the winter following.
The 7th of April 1812, a number of the inhabitants of
that part of Newton and of the adjacent towns organized
themselves into a parish, and were incorporated by act
of the Legislature, June 16, 1813. Two acres of land,
for a cliurch and cemetery, were given by the late Mr.
Samuel Brown, a merchant of Boston. The corner stone
of the church editice was laid Sept. 29, 1813, by "the
Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted
Masons;" and in seven months afterwards, April 29, 1814,
the house was consecrated to the worship of God. For
ten years the society w^as deemed too feeble to sustain
a pastor. In the mean time divine services were per-
formed chiefly by resident-graduates of the University of
Cambridge, who were candidates for orders. Among
them may be named Walter Cranston, afterwards rector
of Christ church. Savannah, Ga. ; Rev. Dr. Wainwright,
Assistant minister of Trinity church. New York; Rev.
Dr. Boyle, rector of St. Paul's church, Dedham; James
B. Howe, Claremont, N. H. ; Allston Gibbes, Assistant
minister of St. Philip's church, Charleston, S. C; George
Otis, rector of Christ church, Cambridge, and for seve-
ral years Tutor in Harvard College; Philander Chase,
of Ohio; Benjamin C. C. Parker, of the Fldating chapel
for seamen, New York; Addison Searle, chaplain in the
U. S. Navy; George S. White, missionary at Newton,
Bridgewater and other places ; Cheever Felch, U. S.
Navy ; Samuel B. Shaw, Lanesborough, and others.
The present and only rector. Rev. Alfred L. Baury, was
ordained priest Nov. 28, 1822. The sermon on the oc-
casion was by the late Bishop Griswold, from Heb. 5 : 4.
" No man taketh this honor to himself, but he that is
called of God." At the close of twenty-five years from
his first officiating at that church, Mr. Baury preached a
historical discourse, which was printed, giving an ac-
count oftlie church from the beginning. The number of
communicants connected with the church in 1822 was
twelve ; in May, 1847, 132. The meeting-house was
enlarged in the year 1838-39, and its present size is 70
by 45 feet, exclusive of the tower. The first Sabbath
school was opened in the spring of 1818.
SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH.
The Second Baptist church in Newton (Newton Upper
Falls) was organized February 8, 1835. The original
members were 57 in number. Of these 55 went out from
the First Baptist church. At the public service of the
organization, Prof. J. D. Knowles preached the sermon;
Rev. Mr. Grafton gave the right hand of fellowship and
addressed the church. Isaac Keyes and Lauren Kings-
bury were appointed deacons at the organization of the
church, and still hold their office. The meeting-house
was dedicated March 27, 1833, — more than two years
before the formation of the church. The number of per-
sons who have been members of the church is 271. The
church has been destitute of a pastor about seven years
and a half, — or during half its existence.
In addition to the above, a meeting-house was erected
and a Corporation formed about the year 1827, called
the "Upper Falls Religious Society." The meeting-
house was built, three-fifths by the Eliot Manufacturing
Company, and two-fifths by Mr. Rufus Ellis. It was
dedicated as a place of divine worship Feb. 27, 1828.
No church of any denomination existed in connection
with this society. The pulpit was occupied by Unitarian
preachers until 1832, when the house was sold to Hon.
Marshall S. Rice and others, and it has since been the
seat of the Methodist Episcopal Society.
MINISTERS OF NEWTON.
I. EAST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH.
(Organized July 20, 1664.)
1. John Eliot, Jr., ordained July 20, 1G64, died Oct. 11, 1CG8.
2. Nehemiah HoBART, " Dec. 23, 1674, " Aug. 25, 1712-
a John CuTTON, " Nov. 3, 1714, " May 17,1757.
4. Jonas Meriam, " May 22, 1758, " Aug. 11, 1780.
5. JoNA. Homer, D. D. " Feb. 14, 1782, " Aug. 13, 1843.
6. James Bates, (colleague) « Nov. 14, 1826, res'd April 7, 1839.
7. William Bdshnell, " May, 1842, " Dec. 13, 1846.-
8. Daniel L. Furber, « Dec. 1, 1847.
II. FIRST BAPTIST.
(Organized July 5, 1780.)
1. Caleb Blood, installed Jan. 17, 1781, dis. .Ian 24, 1788.
2. Joseph Crafton, ord. June 18, 1788, died Dec. 16, 1836.
3. F. Aug. Willard, inst. Nov. 25, 1835, res'd July 10, 1838.
4. S. F. Smith, Jan. 1, 1842.
III. WEST congregational.
(Organized Oct. 1781.)
1. Wm. Greenough, ordained Nov. 8, 1781, died Nov. 10, 1831.
2. Lyman Gilbert, « July 2, 1828.
IV. episcopal, lower falls.
(Organized April 7, 1812.)
Alfred L. Baurf, instituted Rector, Nov. 28, 1822.
V. METHODIST EPISCOPAL, UPPER FALLS,
1. Charles K. True, . . . 1832-33.
2. John Parker, . . . 1833-35.
3. N. B. Spaulding, . . . 1835-36.
4. Charles S. Macreading, . 1836-38.
5. Edward Otheman, . . . 1838-39.
6. N. S. Spaulding, . . . 1839-40.
7. James Mudge, . . . 1840-41.
8. Joseph A. Merrill, . . 1841-43.
9. Joseph Depjison, . . . 1843-45.
10. Zachariah a. Mudge, . • . 184.5-47.
11. Jacob Sanborn, . , . 1847-48.
12. M. P. Webster, . . . 1848-49.
VI. SECOND BAPTIST, UPPER FALLS.
(Organized Feb. 8, 1835.)
1. Origen Crane, ord. Newton U. F. Sept. 14, 1836, resM 1840.
2. Charles W. Denison, ord. Oswego, N. Y. Jan. ]9, 1836.
inst. Newton U.F. March 1842, res'd June, 1843.
3. Samubl Stillman Leighton, ord. Andover, Aug. 25, 1841.
became pastor Feb. 8, 1846, res'd July 1, 1847.
4. Amos AVebster, ord. Newton U. F. Nov. 15, 1848.
VII. UNIVERSALIST, NEWTON, UPPER FALLS.
(Organized Sept. 8, 1841.)
1. Samuel P. Skinner, May 6, 1842.
2. Gamaliel Collins, Oct. 1, 1845.
3. A. S. Dudley, Oct. 1, 1846.
4. William F. Teulon, July 1, 1847.
VIII. ELIOT CHURCH, NEWTON CORNER.
William T. Leavitt, ord. 1846.
IX. unitarian, west NEWTON.
William Orne White, ord. Nov. 22, 1848.
ORIGINAL SETTLERS OF NEWTON.
Twenty-two landholders came into Newton and estab-
lished their residence there between 1640, the date of
the coming of Mr. John Jackson, and 1664, the date of
the organization of the first church.
The following are their names:
John Jackson,t aged 79 Thomas Wis well,
Samuel Hides, John Wiswell,
Edward Jackson,t aged 79 Thomas Parks,
Jonathan Hides, James Prentiss,
John Fuller, John Spring,f aged 87
Thomas Prentiss,f aged 89 Thomas Hammond,
Daniel Bacon, Vincent Druce,
Richard Parks, John Kenrick,t aged 82
John Sherman, Rev. John Eliot,
John Ward,f aged 82 James Trowbridge,
John Parker, Isaac VVilliams,f aged 78.
To these some historians add the names of William
Healy and Gregory Cook; some also suppose that there
was a third family by the name of Prentiss.
During the period of the Indian wars, there were two
houses set apart as garrison houses, for the protection of
the inhabitants against a hostile invasion. One of these
houses was on land now covered by the house of Mr.
Ephraim Ward, in the east part of the town; the other,
on land now belonging to Mr. Lombard, opposite Hyde's
"DIGNIFYING THE PEWS."
The arrangements for sitting in the meeting-house were
peculiar. A single range of square pews was erected
completely around the house against the walls. A sin-
gle row of similar pews was set in the body of the house,
immediately in front of the principal door; and the whole
space remaining on the floor up to the pulpit was covered
with slips.* Tiie members of the congregation were
seated, by public authority, according to their dignity.
This was called dignifying the seats, or thepeivs ; or some-
times, seating the meeting-house. The ground of prefer-
ence seems to have been chiefly mere property qualifica-
tions; perhaps birth, or official civil standing might have
been also taken into consideration. The chief seat, as
to rank, was the first pew at the right hand, after enter-
ing the front door of the church. In the slips, the oldest
persons were seated nearest the pulpit, and the younger
behind them in regular order, towards the door; the
women on the right hand, as being tlie more honorable,
and the men on the left. A portion of the gallery was ap-
propriated as the boys^ seats. The fact that the older per-
sons, many of whom were perhaps in circumstances too
humble to admit of their aspiring to the dignity of sitting
in a pew, were arranged in the slips according to age,
accounts for the breaking up of families, and the seating
of the children by themselves. The girls were provided
for in the same manner as the boys, the seats on the
right falling to their share. In like manner, in the part
of the gallery occupied by the choir, through the gal-
lantry of our fathers, the right side was also appointed
for the female singers, and the left to the males; — an
arrangement which still exists to an indefinite extent
throughout New England, probably few persons have ever
inquired for wliat reason. This custom explains three
records, found in the earliest Town Book. Other similar
notes appear under various dates.
"Wednesday, May 14, 1744.— Voted, that the afore-
* In the History of the Old South Ciiiirch in Boston, in two
discourses by Rev. Dr. VVisner, preached May 9 and 16, 1830,
there is a wood-cut representing the interior of the building an-
cieiitly, which precisely corresponds with this description.
said Committee shall give men their dignity in their
setting in the Meeting House, in proportion to what they
pay to the Minister's Rate."
"March 4, 1754. — Voted, that the Selectmen be a
Committee to agree with workmen to erect one tier of
pews in the hind seats in the body seats of the meeting
house, both in the men's side and the women's side, as
soon as may be.
" Voted to choose a Committee to fill up vaquent room
in the Meeting House, and to dignifie the pews proposed
to be erected."
The meeting-house, as in all New England, was guilt-
less of warmth on the bleakest days in winter. The deli-
cacy of a stove had not yet invaded the stern hardness
and capacity of endurance of the religious puritans. As
a substitute, however, for this comfort, associations of
citizens were formed who erected in the neighborhood of
the meeting-house what were denominated noon-houses, for
the benefit of themselves and their families. The noon-
houses were buildings of one story, put up in the plainest
manner, ceiled with boards, and having a fireplace in the
middle, open on every side, the chimney being sup-
ported beneath by pillars. The seats were arranged
around the room, being fixed against the walls. There
were three or four of these houses at Newton Centre.
One of them stood nearly on the site of the Centre
School-house; a second on the south-west corner of the
present meeting-house lot; and a third opposite the resi-
dence of Rev. S. F. Smith. After these structures were
abandoned for their original use, they were tenanted
for some years by different families in humble circum-
In early times, a ministerial fund was deemed by the
New England churches a great blessing. Funds of this
sort took various forms. In the two parishes of Newton,
a wood-lot was set apart, as a bequest for the use of the
minister; and the m.ale members of the parish, on a cer-
tain day every year, cut and drew to him his year's sup-
ply. Dcaqon Edward Jackson left thirty-one acres of
woodland to the east parish; this land was sold at $1000,
and sunk in the meeting-house built in 1805. Deacon
John Staples left seventeen acres of woodland, which
brought 1/^800 for the benefit of the West Congregational
PRIVATE ADMISSIONS TO THE CHURCH.
It is pleasing to observe how highly the privilege of
being a member of the church was, in those remote days,
valued, and with what awe and carefulness the people
often approached it. Persons who had come to extreme
old age, or to a dying bed, sometimes Avished to join
themselves to the people of God on earth, by an extraor-
dinary effort, before their departure. Thus Michael Jack-
son was admitted to the church August 31, 1802, by a
deputation of the pastor and deacons, " he being sick and
very. low, supposed his last sickness," On the 7th of
December lci23, Elizabeth Hicks, widow, in her ninety-
eighth year, having been received to the church in her
•own residence, the Lord's supper was administered to
her, and about twenty members of the church partook of
the elements with her.
ANECDOTE OF NOAH WISWELL.
The house in which the Baptist church originally met
for worship was owned by one of their members, Mr. Noah
Wis well. From this family the lake opposite the man-
sion takes its name.
A descendant of Noah Wiswell relates the following
fact concerning him. At the commencement of the revo-
lutionary war, he was already more than seventy years
of age. After the companies of men, including his own
sons, had gone towards Cambridge, he started on foot and
alone to follow them, on the day of the battle of Lexing-
ton, saying, " I wish to see what the boys are doing."
Standing with some Americans not far from the field,
three British soldiers came in sight. He immediately
pointed them out to his companions, saying, " if you aim
at the middle one, you will hit one of the three." The
American did so and was successful; the other two fled.
But that which was remarkable is that as he held out his
hand to point towards the Britons, a ball fired from some
quarter passed directly through it. He coolly bound up
the hand with his handkerchief, picked up the gun of the
fallen regular, and returned home with it as a trophy.
CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS.
John Jackson, first settler in Newton,* . . . 1640
Eliot first preaclied to the Indians, Oct. 28, . . . 1646
Watertown Bridge built 1647
Indians removed to Nalick, 1651
First Indian cliurch organized at Natick, . . . 1660
* Mr. Jackson then settled within the limits of what is now the town
of Newton. The town was not incorporated till fifty-one years later.
East Congregational church organized July 20,* .
Waban, tiie Indian chief, died, Mt. 70, . . .
William Hammond, of Newton, mortally wounded in the
Indian war, June 28,
First election of Selectmen
Capt. Noah Wiswell, of Newton, killed in New Hamp-
shire by the French and Indians, July 6,
The apostle Eliot died, ^t. 86, .
Newton incorporated Dec. 8, ....
First school-house, voted,
Second (E. C.) Meeting-house built
First school-house builif
Second school-house built:!:
John My rick, Nathaniel Haley and Ebenezer Seager, of
Newton, killed by Indians at Groton, July 21,
Thomas Prentice, distinguished in the Indian wars, died
July 7, ^t. 89,
John Gibson, of Newton, killed by Indians at Casco fort
Last Sermon of Rev. Mr. Hobart, May 25,
Mr. Cotton preached his first sermon, July 18,
Rev. Mr. Cotton's house burnt, March 24,§
Third (E. C.) Meeting-house dedicated ...
Whitefield |)reached at Newton, Nov. 8,
Died, Mary Davis, JEt. 116 years,
West Parish School-house built
North school-house built (Newton corner)
* So far as can be 'ascertained, there were only about twenty families
within the limits of JNewton when Mr. Eliot became their minister. The
meeting-house built by the Indians is said to have been on the south side
of Nonantum hill, near the house of Mr. John Kenrick.
t The first school-house was seventeen feet square, besides chimney
:}; The second school-house was sixteen feet square. It was built in the
south part of the town, called Oak Hill.
^ Mr. Cotton's house stood near the site of the house of Mr. John
Cabot. The former pastors, Rev. Mr. Eliot and Rev. Mr. Hobart, had
resided on the same spot.
Rev. Mr. Meriam's bouse burnt, Marcb 18,* . . 1770
Wbitefield preached at Newton Sept. 28,t . . . 1770
West Parish incorporated 1778
First Baptist Church organized July 5, .... 1780
First Baptist Meeting-house built .... 1781
West Congregational Church organized October . . 1781
Two public libraries organized 1797
Fourth (I']. C.) Meeting-house dedicated Nov. 21, . . 1805
Tljeological Institution established .... 1825
Great hail storm at Newton July 31,| .... 1830
Methodist Society organized 1832
Meeting-house of Second Baf)tist Soc. dedicated Mar. 27, 1833
Second Baptist Church organized Sept. 8, . . 1835
Second Meeting-house of the First Baptist Society dedi-
cated Dec. 22, 1836
Universalist Society organized Sept. 8, . . . 1841
Universal ist House dedicated. May 6, ... 1842
Eliot Congregational Church organized . . . 1846
Fifth (E. C.) Meeting-house dedicated March 24, . . 1847
Second Meeting-house at West Newton dedicated Mar. 29, 1848
Unitarian Society, West Newton, organized . . . 1848
* At the same time with the house, were burnt all the records of the
First Congregational church. The fire was on Sabbath evening. It caught
from some corn cobs in the garret. The house stood in the location of
the present house of Mr. Martin Morse, formerly Dr. Homer's.
t This was near the close of Mr. Whitefield's labors. He died at New-
buryport, Sept. 30, 1770. A crowd attended his preaching at Newton, but
no special religious attention is known to have followed.
I Many stones weighed from half a pound to a pound. Much glass was
broken, and a special tax became necessary on the pews in the First Bap-
tist Meeting-house, to repair the extensive damage.
Q -> Q