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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the yen* 1849; 

B7 S. F. Smith, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts. 











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 ^0 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 few 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, and 
of those which are and which are soon to be on the 
stage. The iirst 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 
Joved his pen or made much use of it, I have found 
but few 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 I 
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 he con- 
sidered that father Graflon 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 infor- 


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. 


Cbap. Page. 

I. Early Life and Christian Experience, . . . .13 

II. Trials respecting his Engagement in the Ministry, . 22 

III. History of the First Baptist Charch, Newton, previona 

to the Pastorate of Rev. Mr. Grafton, ... 87 

IV. Pastoral Connection with the First Baptist Charch, 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 Institation, 166 

The First Baptist Meeting-HoQse, 166 

Early proceedings of the First Baptist Society, . . 168 
Additional Notes to the Historical Sketch of the First Baptist 

Church, . . 171 

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 Baptbt Church, 186 

Mr. Jonathan Hyde— Mr. Nathan Ward, .... 187 

Notices pertaining to the East Congregational Church, 188 

Dr% Jonathan Homer, 190 

Sketch of the Rev. John Eliot 192 



The Mifsion among the Indiaofl at Newton, , 196 

The Congregational Charch at West Newton, ... 201 

Epiflcopal Charch, Lower Falla, . . 202 

Second Baptist Chareh, 204 

Ministers of Newton, ....... 205 

Original Settlers, 206 

Garrison Houses, . 207 

"Dignifying the Pews," 207 

" Noon Henses,'* 209 

Wood Lots, . 210 

Private Admissions to the Chnrch, 210 

Anecdote of Noah Wiswell, .211 

Chronology of Events, 211 




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 heaven 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 
lasting remembrance. 

It is under this impression that I shall attempt a 
brief sketch of the life of Rev. Joseph Grafton. 


a man of God, who, twelve years ago the sixteenth 
of December last (Dec. 16, 1836), entered into rest 
and joy. 

He was born in Newport, R. I., 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 fifty 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 arithmetic. 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 


immediately connected with navigation, he was 
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, whom 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 
bis 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 1776, 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.?" 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- 


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-sufi*ering the vessels of wrath, fitted to 
destruction 7 '' 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-sufiering of God, which prevented his eter- 
nal ruin. He went about from day to day, like a 
criminal justly condemned. While his mind was 
thus anxious, he became acquainted with a young 
man whose 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. They often 
slept together, and feared lest they should lie down 
together in everlasting sorrow. But one morning, 


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 bis 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 flriend 
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, '^lam 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 


he was greatly distressed, because he feared that his 
religious 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 ? " "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, rehgiously 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?" He replied, "I do not know 
whether I am converted or not. This I know — that 


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 ifaptures 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 ? 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 


gospel method of salvation was unfolded to him. He 
saw that Christ was one in essence, one in design, 
one in aflFection 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 embracied 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 dulies, 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 still, 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- 


quently 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 efforts 
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. 



He who sanctified Jeremiah, and ordained hira, be- 
fore his birth, to be a prophet 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 


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. (Srafton 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 


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 false 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. 


But the effort was vain. After a long time, 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 olEce ; 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 corope- 



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- 
tioned, 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. 


letter to him, asking his assistance in obtaining some 
literary advantages. This gentleman interested him- 
self in 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. lie 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 slate of his 
mind, that the words were often ringing in his cars — 
** 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 


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. GJrafton 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 improv- 
ing your gifts." After much conversation, the}'- 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- 


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 yield 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 
secular business. 

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 wonder 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. 


III the month of July, 1784, Mr. G. was seized with 
pulmonary hemorrhage. The violence of the attack, 
and llic debility 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." lie 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 I thus exercised, and no human creature 
knew my distress, — or a thought that occupied my 
mind. I did not give up my hope in the Redeemer. 


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 I 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 afiairs 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- 


rant of God had ceased to struggle against the de- 
mands of duty, and was 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 


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 


been associated, and joined the First Baptist Church 
in Providence. 

The letter of dismission breathes a beautiful spirit 
of piety and Christian love. It is so peculiar, that 
we copy it from the original 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 sig- 
nature of the pastor. It is as follows : 

" The church of Christ in Providence to the churches of Christ in general 
aends greeting, — wishing grace, mercy and peace maj be multiplied 
among you all. 

** 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, though 
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 
in 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 


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, — cither 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 unto 
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. 


" 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 point, 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 
of interest. 



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 


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 town, 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, 


and Jonas Meriam. The latter died August, 1780, the 
monthfoUowing the organiz5ition 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 
VVillard, 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 


admitted to the Second Baptist Church in Boston. 
Sept. 1, of the same year, Esther Parker was baptized 
and admitted to the same chnrch ; 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 
meeting; 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, whether 
ihey should be excused for the time past; and it 


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 c( 
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, affirming 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 


among them and be ye separate, and touch not the 
unclean 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 dwelling 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 them great joy ; and sev- 
eral ministers, in the true apostolic spirit, visited and 
labored amopg 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. 


The beginning of the year 1780 was marked bj'' 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, 
tlie members met in the house on the east side of the 
road, opposite WiswelPs Pond, for the purpose of 
being publicly recognized as a cjiurch of Jesus Christ, 
and the First Baptist Church in Newton. Three 
ministers were present, — Rev. Noah Alden, of Bel- 
lingham, Rev. Thomas 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 with 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 


of a mimerous 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 niight 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 aflSrmed 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 
the earth. , 

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 his 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, 


communicating to him an account of the action of the 
'members on his request, which is highly creditable 
both to them and to him. He retired to Shaftsbury,Vt., 
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. 



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 
farther 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 Medfield, 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 fadeth not away." Mr. 
Backus, of Middleborough, offered the consecrating 
prayer and gave the charge ; Dr. Stillman, of Boston, 


gave the hand of fellowship, and Mr. Green, of Cam- 
bridge, ojBTered 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. Fot 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 


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 staflF 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 
eleven annually. 

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 
December, 1811. 

" 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 


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, 1811, it was a solemn and interesting period. 
Most of the time, we had three sermons on the Lord's 
day and evening; besides two religious meetings 
generally in the course 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 


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 Iambs 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 like the leaven hid in the meal, — an en- 
couragement to ministers, to be instant in season, out 
of season. 

"One circumstance 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- 


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 
peculiarly demonstrated, both in 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, a§ 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 
my ministry. Hundreds within tlic 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 the boys 
and girls, who litied 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. 


^' 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 xc'itk 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 holckout unto 
the end, and be saved. 

" I am not unapprized, after thirty-seven years' 
experience and observation respecting the work of 
God, (for T have been favored to see several revivals,) 
that there has always been chaflf 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: For 
* they eat up the sins of ray people as they eat bread,' 
Although there may be such, 'who are worse for 
mending, washed to fouler stains ;' yet 1 cannot con- 
ceive that such instances can, or ought to be consid- 
ered as sufficient to invalidate all true religion. Be- 
cause Judas was a thief, nuist Paul be a deceiver 1 
Because Arnold was a traitor, must Washington be a 
villain ? By such loose and* unfair reasoning, all vir- 


tUG, religion and patriotism, may be hunted out of 
the world. 

" Upon a careful retrospect, I find great occasion 
to praise God for his goodness 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 liopc 
my imperfect labors have not been in vain. Almost 
twenty-four years have elapsed since my residence 
with them; and while 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, that 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 tlicir 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 Amcn.''=^ 

* The following, furnished by a friend and intimate 
acquaintance of Mr. Graflon, 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.4br the first time. Met by a 
friend on my way, I was importuned to attend meeting at 


Mr. (jlraftoii maintained an ardent and cheerful 
piety. Tlie variety, fervor, and power of his prayers 

another place of worship; but I persisted in my resolu- 
tion to liear 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! 

**rie preached from the words in Psalm 24 : 9 — 'Lift 
up your heads, O ye 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 oflcn 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 happy 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 without the aid 
of wings. 

"After the services of the day, I returned part of the 


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 all thy commandments.' " 


settlement in the ministry. The document is inter- 
esting, as 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 wilfully 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 : 

^* L 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 
many trials. 

" 3. From a hope that he gave his Son for me, 
and that througli his most precious blood I have eter- 
nal redemption. 

"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 


against my natural inclination and the strivings of 
my sinful passions ; which I view as rebellion against 
God, and for which I hope I have received his for- 

*^5. 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 immediate 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. I am determined by thy grace, O Lord, 
not to set my affections on any thing below thee, the 
origin of all good. I will not willingly sin against 
thee. I will, by the aid of thy grace, deny 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 I will 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, Liord, for all thy will 


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 tliee, — 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, 

Joseph Grafton." 

Newton, October 31, 1804. 

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 are 
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 


any thing stated, we believe, which may not be relied 
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 slated 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 


Norfolk County Missionary Society. He preached 
the annual sermon of the Warren Association at Mid- 
dleborough, 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. William Bentley (Sa- 
lem, Sept. 1807), Rev. Charles Train (Framingham, 
Jan. 30, 1811), Rev. James A. Boswell (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- 


stallation of Rev. J. Elliot (Roxbury, April 10, 1822), 
and Rev. Howard Malcom (Boston, Jan. 9, 182S). 
He delivered the charge at the ordination of Rev. 
William Gammell (Medficld, 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 Nilcs (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. 



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 effectual 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 exactly 
such as he was in the public stations filled by hino, 
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, 


and when, in the bosom of an affectionate people, he 
felt at liberty to cast off reserve, and to speak and act 
as the knpulse 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 foedeth 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, 
and 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 introduc- 

* 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. 


tion, he announced that he should exhibit a few oi 
the nnarks of the spiritual mind: and he entreated his 
hearers to examine themselves, whether that mind 
were in them. Again, he preached from Luke 2 : 
11 — " Glorv to God in the highest;" — a text which 
led him to speak of tlie Lord Jesus, and of the spirit 
of praise, in such a mnnner 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 off 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 more, that I have faithfully 
warned you." 


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 
please him." 

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 ? 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 siimer in loving 


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 he 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 


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 Hfe, 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 
than enough. 

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 ofliciate at a 
funeral, a deacon of a church of another order after- 


wards remarked that he had never heard such a 
prayer in his life. " 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 mili- 
tary review, to draw up the regiment into a hollow 
square, and to have prayers offered 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 the throne of grace 
their several cases, under their peculiar circumstan- 
ces, or states of mind, in so apt and striking a man- 


ncr, 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 aj)t 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 tlie right hand of fellowship to 
a number of persons in liis 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 


were, " When it is well with you, remember Joseph," 
— alluding to Gen. 40 : 14 ; and containing a double 
play upon the word Joseph ; he could be understood 
as referring to himself personally ; or to the church 
from which the members had come out — agreeably 
to the blessing pronounced by Jacob upon his son Jo- 
seph (Gen. 49 : 22) — " Joseph is a fruitful bough, even 
a fruitful bough by a well, whose branches run over 
the wall." 

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 master 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?" 

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- 


mons, but actually gesticulating as if preaching them 
in hi^ pulpit. 

Though 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 in 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 


character. When the churches were comparatively 
feeble and few, and the scattered members in various 
towns enjoyed few religious privileges with brethren 
of their own faith, the ministers often went forth on 
short exxursions, 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, tliough 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 


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 or 

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 agej 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 capablQ 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 a 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 j and, that the small- 


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, 
tinder 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 make 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 


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 difii- 
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 ia 
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 — < ^yhe^ 

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 instalj it ought to 
be, married. The relation is not held sacred enough. 
Its 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 


wings are spread, and he 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, intermingling 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 itisialled, 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), at Beverly, Mass., father G., in giving 
him the charge, repeated the sentiment which was so 
fully engraven on I^ii 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 


instinctively stopping, and replied — ^* Well, bro. 
Sears, I will iell you how I feel — 

* 0, for a closer walk with God, 

* A calm 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 
rode on. 

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 expressStf 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, 
when 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 


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 
general harmony. 

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 lime, 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 
and comfort. 

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 
teaches it." 

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." 


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 
you.' " 

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 apostolic 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 


with the people, and was blessed to them. Father 
G., 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 ChristiaUt 
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 reigneth." 

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 un 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, 
ril commend you to him." 

The late Dr. Benjamin ShurtleflF, 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 with one of his arch smiles, 
replied in a way expressing at the same time hia 
gratitude and true wit, ** When I get home, I shall 
tell my Master." 

He was, by nature, of a sensitive temper, nervous, 


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 naidst 
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 



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." 


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, ** You 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 ground 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 
pronouncing it. 

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 


judge from appearances that he 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; to 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 ihe 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 officiated 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,'* 


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, " Her 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 oi" 
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, 1825. 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 


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 V^ 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 tell you all about them." 

Being asked, on his death-bed, if he thought he 


should live difterently 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 
wicked heart." 

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 was 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. 



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 


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, aet. 17; Jonathan Shepard, Jr., 
who died Sept. 28, set. 29; James Ward, who died Sept. 
29, SBt. 26; and Michael Bright, Jr., who died Oct. 10, 
8Bt. 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, aet. 12. By her Father. Published by 
Request. With a Preface by Dr. Jonathan Homer. 

3. The godly and faithful man delineated. A Sermon 
delivered at Newton on the first Lord's day in January, 


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. 

Phil. 1 : 17. 

3. God glorious in holiness. 

Ex. 15 : 11. 

4. God's mysterious judgments. 

Rom. 11 : 33. 

5. God's covenant with his people. 

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, Graflon printed a few shorter 
pieces, as letters, brief addresses, etc. They appeared 
in connection with the sermons, etc., of others, or in the 
Baptist Magazine. 


6. Divine guidance. 

7. Gratitude. 

S. 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. 116 : 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. 

Tit 2 : 14. 

Heb. 11 :10. 

1 Cor. 6 : 19, 20. 

20. Forsaking Christ, and cleaving to him. 

John 6 : 66-68. 

21. Children exhorted to fear the Lord. 


22. Quenching the Spirit. 

1 Thess. 5 : 19. 

23. Losing the soul. 

Mark 8: 36, 37. 

24. Entreating sinners. 

1 Cor. 4 : 13. 


25. Redeeming the time. 

Eph. 5 : 16. 

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 Thee. 4 ; 8. 

Mat. 24 : 6. 

It is scarcely worth while to presentf 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. 

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 


cause ? No; God forbid. Whether in pretence or in 
truth, Christ 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 


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 efficacy 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 suflered, does not afiect 
the moral state of man. He still remains in enmity 


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 sbield of faith — David, &c. — Ano- 
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, 


" I am sure that when I come unto you, I 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 
Holy One. 

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 
the gospel. 

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 ? 


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 Christy 
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. IV. 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 
the soul. 



1. We argue from granting the preceding truth, 
that mankind need a revelation. 

2. If Chrislianity 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 naen do it? 
Have wicked naen done ill What advantage could 
the contrivance be to wicked men 1 What was the 
end of Christ 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- 
ness, &c. 

Sovereigntjr not omitted. 

5. The history and present state of the Jews, de- 
monstrate the truth of divine revelation. 

6. 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 exigencies 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 should consider that the 
Scriptures were not designed for one period, or nation 
only ; but that they look forward to the end of time, 
aud were designed for all nations where the gospel 


should be preached. And not only so, but they con- 
tain 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 all 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 iaith. 

2. Another objection is the conduct of many who 
profess religion, and the abuse which has been mac^e 
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 urho are religious arc 
enthusiasts and fanatics. Define the terms. But is 
there no reason in real religion and the true religion- 
ist? Reason upon God, our duty, &:c. 

III. 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. 

6. 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 
reveals 7 

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. 

1 Cor. 4:13. 'SBeing defamed, we entreat.^' 

There is much weight in the following declaration 


of the apostle, in another part of this epistle. "If in 
this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all 
men most miserable," (See the context.) But, be- 
lieving the great truths of Christianity, and though we 
suffer all these things and are defamed, yet we entreat. 

The doctrine which I shall deduce from the 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 po.ssess 
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 be 
entreated to serve him from the consideration of what 
has been done to procure salvation for* us, sinners. 
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 
us happy. 


102 LIFE OF 

VII. We should be excited to seek religiou because 
time is short. 

Lastly, we should be entreated to seek religion 
now, for now is God's gracious time. 


Mark 8 : 36, S7. ** 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 ? 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 the 
soul. This is intimated in our text, "What,"&c. 
Can riches? 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 we 
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. 


But to be more particular. 

1. We argue from its importance, that men should 
attend to the salvation of their souls. 

2. From the consideration of the great good we 
sh&ll obtain. 

3. From the consideration of the great misery we 
shall escape. 

4. From the consideration of what has been done 
for man's salvation. 

5r, If we neglect this great salvation, we cannot es- 

6. The uncertainty of life. 

7. What is doing, &c. 

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 effects. 

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 office-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 

104 LIFB OF 

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 
aflTairs of religion, and in efi*ecting the great plan of 

(1.) 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 wais the Spirit who quali- 
fied the great Mediator for, and assisted him in coni- 
pleting the work of redemption. At his baptism he^ 
lit upon him in the appearance of a dove. His holy 
disposition, miracles, suffering, death, resurrection 
and ascension, were all effected by the power of the 
Holy Ghost. 

But to pursue the history of the church we find 
that after the ascension of our Lord, the Spirit by its 
influence according to his promise descended in a 
most miraculous manner, to establish the gospel and 
to extend its influence and blessings. From the ex- 
traordinary influence of the 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 effiBCts. We read 


** 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 caqt- 
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 ftirther. 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. 

106 LIFE OF 

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 you." 

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 6 : 37. '' All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me 3 and him 
that Cometh anto me, I will in no wise cast ouf 

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. 


In illustrating the doctrine, I shall inquire, 

I. By whom sinners were given to Christ. By the 
Father. "All that the Father hath given unto me." 

II. When were sinners given to Christ 7 In eter- 
nity. See Eph. 3:4. 1 Tim. 1 : 9. 

III. How were they given? By covenant, or 
agreement. By the covenant alluded to, I 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 person 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- 

108 LIFE OP 

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 sutficienl 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 this, the Sou replied, " Here am I, send me." 
' But, my beloved, in order to effect 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 willing in 
the day of thy power.' See Isaiah 63 : 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 


the influence of the Holy Spirit. Notwithstanding 
what 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, he haih 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. "AH that the Father," &c. 

We are now led to show how sinners come to* 

1. They come as sinners. 

2. As repenting and humble sinners. 

3. As believing sinners. That is, they believe that 
Christ is able to save them. 

IfljPROvEMENT. 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 liim7 

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 gave 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 Scripture, nor revealed at one time. But God 
spake at sundry times 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 contains 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 the text we shall inquire, 

I. What is implied in his (Christ) giving himself 
for us 7 

He gave himself, i. e., to sufler and to die. This 
I conceive to be the meaning of the apostle in this 
part of the text. " He gave his life a ransom 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 «/«, 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 7 Let an inspired 
apostle answer. " He (Christ) loved the church, and 
gave himself for it." 

Here enlarge. 


III. The design of his giving himself for the 
church. " That he might redeem it from all in- 
iquity," &c. 

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, 

and onward. 

Application. 1. Our subject teaches us 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 you to the discharge of 
every duty, and to be zealous of good works. 

4. See, my hearer, the road to heaven. 

Heb. U : 10. " The 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. 6. Tenderness and jus- 

II. The cause of which he is at the head, 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, the 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 armor — good company, 
and a good general. 

IV. What is required of every soldier of this Cap- 
tain. 1. Voluntariness. 2. Sincerity. 3. Love. 4. 
Faithfulness. 6. Courage. 6. Obedience in heart 
and life. 7. Perseverance. 

V. The certainty of success. 

VI. The victory and rewards of the soldiers of 

Improvement. 1. Jesus 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 

6. If Christ is so powerful, what may his enemies 
expect ? 

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. 



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, ader they 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 sufierings 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- 
ness 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 every 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 whole 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 
jou and they must be born again, or neither you, nor 
fhey, can ever see or enter the kingdom of God. Sanc- 
tification is the fruit 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 


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 affec- 
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 18 not theirs, but them you seek — ^their spiritual 
good — their eternal welfare. Feel, my brother, that this 
is jour 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 
himself friendly . " 

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 oflen 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, 


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 
thyself pure." 

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 sufficient 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 
judge angels. 


The occasion on which we have assembled is solemn, 
important and pleasing. Solemn, for it has an immediate 
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, they were 
alone as it respected their religious connections and 
privileges. Others, of the same sentiments, from time to 


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- 
nfarkably 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 OP 

pleasure that 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 spiritual 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 while 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 ofl^ered themselves as mem- 
bers, they separated without effecting the object of their 
meeting. But you, brethren, having first given your- 


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- 

133 LIFE OF 

aider 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 to the skies, 

'* On flowery beds of ease ; 
" While others fought to win the prize, 
*' And aail'd throngk 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- 


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, aAer 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 spoken. 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." The 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 ine 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, 


— James Mannitrg, 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 tho fact that after her 
death a piece of embroidery which she had nearly 
finished was framed and hung in the parlor, with the 
needle, ready to take the next stitch, remaining jtist 
where her fingers had left it — a meet and tasteful em- 
blem of a life thus cut off in the midst, and a home- 
monument of touching significaney. 

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 

128 LIFE CF 

tations, I was enabled on my knees to devote royseli 
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 
oi: angry controversy, whether our Lord. Jesus CbriBt 
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 etenial life, as 
ooe equal with the Father. Witb 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 
ani indulged with the exercise of my reason), " God 
be merciful to me a sinner." 

I desire, I hope to die committmg myself uncondi- 
tionally into the hands of him '' who justifies the u«h 
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 


and the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures, is, in 
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 responsible 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 
ten thousand. 

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 tmth 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. StiUman 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 LIFB OP 

A. D. 1835, he asked the members to release him 
from the responsibilities 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 coold 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 responsibility 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 
celestial city. 

Father Grafton left so few recorded memorials of 
himself, that we look with deep interest upon every 
thing tliat 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 


bis mind ; and we are indebted to thero for tbe series 
of brief papers above alluded to. These papers, con- 
sidering their source and the circumstances imder 
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 I O, that I could bless 
the Lord for all his goodness, and forget none of bis 
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 I 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 

religious friends. But in the aggregate, my mercies 
have been superabounding. When I contemplate 107 
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 langtiage 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 
through 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 ray 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 that neither God nor they have cast me off 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, 


may the remainder of my days be spent in the ser- 
vice of him who loved sinners and gave himself for 

June 9, 1832. This day I complete the 75th year 
of my age, '*0, to grace how great a debtor." 
And 1 shall be a debtor forever. Many blessings 
have I enjoyed the past year. My health has been 
such that 1 have 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, 1833. 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 my 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 

134 LIFE OF 

things 1 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 thera 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 78th 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 I 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 offer at the 
throne of grace. But notwithstanding all my pro- 
vocations, goodness arid ,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; 


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 
pifflictions," etc. 

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 Bnnyan'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 nie from the shore.** 

I trust, my dear brother, that the great truths I have 
preached are the support of n'ly 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 us both, to sustain us 
under our infirmities ; and, as it is probable we shall 
never lEee 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 fi.lleth 
all in ail. 
So prays your friend and brother in the Lord, 

Joseph Grafton. 
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 year of my 
age. O the goodness, the long-sufiering, 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 I8th day of this month, 


since I was ordained pastor of the church with which 
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. I 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 beauty might have been an- 
ticipated, when 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 affecting 
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 strikingly vigorous. 
And on our own account, we were hoping that he 
might continue with us, perhaps even for some years. 
Nor was this hope 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 


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-house of the First Baptist Church 
in Roxbury 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 unto 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, made 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 use 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. Dtir- 
ipg 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 and 
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 daughter 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, his nurse 
brought him some gruel, which she proposed he should 


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, I give myself away, 
'Tisall thatlcando.' 

** 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 I 
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 7 ' '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 LIFI CF 

all your desire.' He replied, repeating the expres- 
sion, ' All my salvation — all my desire.' Imme- 
diately after this, the officiating pastor, who had 
necessarily been in Boston during the day, came in. 
As Mr. Grafton's eyes were closed, he did not ap-p 
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 waiting 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 he twice emphatically 
said * Amen.' 


" 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 suffferirig, 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 Graflon was Written by Rev. Mr* Wiliard, the 
junior pastor. 

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: 

1. Hymn, 

^ Hear what the voice from heaveti proclaims." 

2. Reading the Scriptures by Rev. Mr. Wiliard. 

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. Wiliard, concerning the 
last illness and death of Mr. Graflon. 

6. Hymn, 

" 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 property which father Graflon 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^ j^ 1500.00 ; 

144 LIFE OP 

On a green mound in the ancfent bnrtal ground 
near the centre of Newton, stand side by side two 
white monuments of similar form. They mark the 

Personal Estate,ijj^388. 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 
Graflon's theological studies. Afler 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; Orton'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." 



resting-place of tw5 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 Edman3s, 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: 

[Onfhe West tide,] 

Rev. Joseph Graftow, 

Born in Newport, R. I. 

June 9, 1757. 

Died Dec. 16, 1836, 

iEt. 79. 


of the 

First Baptist Church in Newton, 

From June 18, 1788, 

Until taken from his 

United People 

Afler an 

Unbroken Communion 

of 48 1-2 years. 

Rom. xii. 

[On the Eatt side.] 



of unsurpassed 

Ministerial Fidelity, 

. Hallowed Affections, 

Sodal Virtues, 


Holy Perseverance. 

Erected by many Friends, 


[On the SvtUh side.] 

Ruth Codv, 

Our Pastor's 

First Wife, 

Died March 27, 1784, 

Mi. 27. 

Sallt Robinson, 

Second Wife, 
Died June 15, 1804, 

iEt. 41. 
Hannah Parker, 

Third Wife, 

Died Jan. 26, 1835, 


Mrs. Hope G. Parker, • 

Last Child, 

Widow of Joseph Parker, 

Died May 13, 1835, 

iEt. 32. 

Heb. 11:13. 

[On the North side,] 
Bury the dead, and weep 

In stillness o'er their loss ; 
Bury the dead— in Christ they sleep, 

Who bore on earth his cross ; 
And from the grave their dust shall 
In his own image to the skies. 




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 


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 reunion 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 splendor, dignity 
and bliss. As referring to a future world, it is descrip- 


tive 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 ^e 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 within 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 


Christ shall be changed ; and so shalh they ever be with 
the Lord. How glorious will be the transmutation! 

Then our bodies will be incapable of sickness, or pam, 
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 isense. 
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 


life, we feel Chat it' cannot be extinguished, but is des- 
tined to shed its light with increasing lustre forever. 

Bat if this be the glory 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- 


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, 
dazzling to 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. 


But the real glory and happiness of our condition de- 
pends on its being suited to our tastes and pursuits, and 
on oyr 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 


which shall be revealed, will be limited to character. 
Without holiness no one can see the Lord. This 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 reyealed 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 J 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 reyealed, 
we must be partakers of the grace that is so freely 
offered. 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. 


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 


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 deliv- 
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 office 
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 


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 Tew 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 aflfected 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 


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 Iksi as 
some, but he went on slowly and surely — Cleaving 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 afiectionately 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 felt like 
the invisible but sofl and balmy breezes of spring. 

It was bis habitual aim to live peaceably with all men. 
He was the last to give oflence, and the first to remove 
it. To all his younger brethren in the ministry he was 
an aflectionate 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 paste ralcon- 
nection sacred, and not to be dissolved without solemn 
and weighty reasons. The last conversation I had with 


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 stafiT, 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. 



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 Uppeif 
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 oif 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 of thirty-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 Toung 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 public libraries were founded, in the East and West 
parte of the town, A. D. 1797, The one in the East part of the 


room. There is also a well selected circulating library 
at Newton Upper Falls. 

The cemeteries of the town are well walled, and pleas- 
antly adorned with evergreens, 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. Afler 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, — five years afler the town 
was incorporated, — ^that the citizens voted to build the 
first school-house. It stood near the meeting-house in 
the ceittre 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 afler 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." 


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. 


Rev. Irah Chase, D. D. . . 1825—1845. 

Professor of Ecclesiastical Hwtorj. 

Rev. Henry J. Ripley, D. D. . 1826 
Proieasor of Sacred Rhetoric and Pastoral Dotiea. 


•Rev. J. D. Knowles, 1832 — 1838. 

ProfeMor of Sacred Rhetoric and Paitoral Duties. 

Rev. Barnas Sears, D. D. 1836 — 1848. 

ProfeMor of Cbrittmn Theology. 

Rev. Horatio B. Hackett, D. D. 1839 
Professor of Biblical Literatare and luterpreiatioii. 

Rev. Robert E. Pattison, D. D. 1848 

Professor of Christian Tbeolofy. 

[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 bj 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 Framingbam, 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. 


The first meeting-house was erected on land given by 
Mr. Noah Wiswell. The vote to build the house is dated 
January 17, 1781. 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 year9 
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 jEl4 lis Idl, 
about 1^49,50. 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 wes( 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 t|^e 
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, Elisha, Jeremiah and Noah, two each ; Daniel, 
Gershom, James, Josiab, Nathan, Simeon, Solomon, Stephen 
and Thaddeus, one each. The names of females were also 
much more frequently scriptural namea than In our own days. 
Huldah seems to have been a favorite appellation. 


ment, there were twenty wall pews, and four pews ** back 
of the bodynseats." 

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 j£ll 13« 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;" 
a very pertinent, interesting, and profitable discourse. 

The present meeting-house was built in 1835-36. It 
has seventy -six pews on the lower flower, of which six, 
in the northwest corner of the house, are appropriated to 
the use of the students of the Theological Institution. 
The clock was transferred from the old meeting-house. 
There has been an organ in the house since the beginning 
ofthe year 1840.. 


Among the early arrangements of the Society, votes 
occasionally appear which may provoke a smile at the 
present day; but they are still interesting to us, because 
they illustrate the manners ofthe times. At the meeting 
of the Society March 19^ 1782, it was voted that ** Mes- 
sieurs John Kenrick, jr., John Wiswall and Jeremiah 


Richardson be choristers for this Society fot 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 ^ 
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 timo 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. Afler the 
accession of Mr. Graflon, 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. Graflon 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 £75 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 1332. At the latter, 
the annual sermon was preached by Rev. Howard Mal- 
com, on the ** Doctrine of Atonement." It has since 
been printed. 



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, Jiorses, 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 an^ 
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,-^ivine 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 <o 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-f 
tion as a faithful and regular minister of our Lord Jesus 
Christ. Thus we were lefl 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 hina 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 
or hammer.' 

'* 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 
one blind. 

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 lOjJ^. 

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 hiessed. These twenty years were compara- 
tively days of darkness; hut 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 office in 
other churches. 

♦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, tnose 
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. 



[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, afler 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 with 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 oflen 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 Shaflsbury 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 afflictions. He received an accidental blow 
in his face, which greatly affected his whole system. 
Though the wound appeared trifling, it oflen 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 clyirch 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 
the pulpit. 

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, so9the 
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 
the believer. 

** 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 me 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 be)ow, 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 tha 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 And me there ? ' 

*' When in extreme pain, he would say, 

' Though painful at present, 't will cease before long, 
And then, O how pleasant the conqueror's song.' 

'* Seeing my 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; «bot,' 
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 6th 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 his 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. 
Sylvanus Boardman 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 


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 author 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. ]7, 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 froni 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 Newtonf (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- 
bridge gave to the church in Old Cambridge 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 
church in Cambridge. 

f Fifty-five members were dismissed from the First Baptia 
church to join in the embodiment of the Second. 



First Roxbupy, 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 the 
present moment is only about 197i ; 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 


•Caleb Blood (drd. Mario w, N. H., 1777). 
♦Joseph Grafton (ord. Newton, June 18, 1788). 
•Nathan Dana (licensed Jan. 3, 1789; ord. Nov. 20, 1793). 

Charles Train (ord. Weston, Jan. 30, 1811). 
•Francis G. Macomber (licensed Nov. 1820. Ord. pastor, 

Beverly, died July, 1827, aged 29> 
•Hadlet Proctor (ord. China, Me., 1824 ; died April 12, 1842, 
aged 48). 

Irah Chase, D. D. (ord. Danvers, Sept. 17, 1817). 

HenryJ. Riplet, D. D. (ord. Boston, Nov. 7, 1819 ; quasi pas- 
tor from Nov. 30, 1838, to Sept 4, 1840). 

Haryf.t Ball. 

F. Augustus Willard (ord. Worcester, Jan. 17, 1832). 

S. F. Smith (ord. Waterville, Me., Feb. 12, 1834). 

Horatio B. Hackett, D. D. (ord. Newton, 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. 

♦Jeremiah Richardson, 

Appointed Aug. 24, 1797. 

•Samuel Holt, 


tt tt tt 

•Noah King, 


April 2, 1812. 

Elijah Corey, 


u tt tt 

•Thomas Hovey, 


July, 1818. 

"•Josiah Bacon, 


April 3, 1828. 

•Jonathan Bixby, 


(( (( (( 

•Reuben Stone, 


u tt u 

Perez Lothrop, 


U it u 


Isaac Keyes, Appointed Nov. 4, 1832. 

Eben Stone, " u u u 

Ebenezer Davis White, <" Jan. 2, 1837. 


[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 reqpark that he was always glad to see 
father Hyde in his place ; for he knew that he had one 
praying hearer. 

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 j 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- 


During thirty years, from Jan. 1782 to Dec. 181 1, the 
number added to the East Congregational church was 142; 
being an annual average of 4^. At a subsequent period, 
directly afler 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 6i. 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 Tennent 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 oiSiciated ** Nov. 8, 1748, in the period 
of Rev. Mr. Cotton, and Sept. 28, 1770, in the period of 
Rev. Mr. Merriam." 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 
one year. 

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 niew 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. 



Edward Jackson, 

John Jackson, Jan. 30, 1674. 

Edward Jackson, 

Hon. Thomas 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. 

Epbraim Ward, 1772, aged 69. 

Thomas Greenwood, 1774, aged 78. 

John Woodward, 1801, aged 76. 

David Stone, 

Jonas Stone, 1804, aged &L 

Ebenezer Woodward, 1806, aged 49. 

Samuel Murdock, 1814, aged 62, 

Jeremiali Wiswall, Appointed Sept 21, 1798. 

Ebenezer White, " June 11, 1815. 

Elijah Fuller Woodward " u u u jjgj ^p^i^ 

17, 184a 

Hon. William Jackson, « Oct 28, 1827. 
Luther Paul, 
Asa Cook. 


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: 
6 — 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 WicklifTe, 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. 


The publications of Dr. Homer, so far as known, are 
the following: 

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 
by request. 

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 Educating Pious Youth for the Gospel Min- 
istry. 1819. 


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. 


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 child 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 folind ripe for heaven many years ago; and 
upon his death-bed uttered such penetrating things as 
could proceed from none but one upon the borders and 
confines of eternal glory. It is pity that so many qf 
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 

* These words of Mr. Eliot are engraved on his tombstone 
at Newton. 



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 gfeat 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 neighboring 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. He 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; oflen, doubtless, with an indiscrimi- 

* Fifteen hundred copies of the New Testament in Indian, 
with marginal references, were printed at the expense of the 
«* Society for propagating the Gospel." The whole Bible was 
completed in 1663. It was printed atjCambridge. 

t Besides other English works, he printed a " Harmony of 
the Gospels in the Holy History of Jesus Christ." 


nate and unwise liberality. In this regard it was fortu- 
nate that Mrs. Eliot served as a check uponliis 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 ca]]ed 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 
bis 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 V\\ be the man that shall 
throw the first stone at them all." 

His last hours 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. 


Mr. Eliot, accompanied by three friends, made his first 
visit to the Indians at Nonantum, October 28, 1646. He 
had pieviously sent a message to them, announcing his 
coming to address them on the subject of Christianitj. 
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, Elzek. 
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 Wahan, the name of the 
Indian chief, corresponded to the word translated wind in this 
passage. Probably Eliot had an eye to this coincidence in se- 
lecting the text, it must have been very impressive to the 
sachem, a home-argument truly, when he heard the Holy Scrip- 
tures commanding this prophecy 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-f 
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 
abod^ 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, laying 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 
a9 he, who was near death, to repent and seek after 
God? Another asked, How the English came to difter 
so much from the Indians m 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 ? 


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 
things.' " 

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 Englaiid, 
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 P^nglish, 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 light 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 themselves 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; — ^AU 
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," &c. 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. 


Id consequence of the increase of converts at Nonan- 
turn, 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, (or 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-r 
stantly preached to Ihem once a fortnight at Stoughton, 


and sometimes at Natick, and won the affections of the 
Indian people. 


The Congregational 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 
church : 

" 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; 
apd after some conversation, the church voted that the 
deacons deliver up four pewter tankards and one pewter 
dish, as a present from this church to the Second church 
in Newton." 

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. Altered 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. 


William Greemodgh, 
Marshall Shedd, 
Francis Jackson, 

Ltman Gilbert, 
Joseph S. Clark. 


^Joseph Ward, 
'Joseph Jackson, 
♦Enoch Ward, 
•Joseph Fuller, 
•Thomas Eustis, 
•Joseph Adams, 

Benjamin Fuller, 
•Joel Fuller, 
Benjamin Eddy, 
Joseph Stone, 
Samuel Ward, 

chosen Nov. 18, 1781. 

" Dec. 30, " 

« Jan. 18, 1789. 

" Mar. 18, 1793. 

« Feb. 17, 1800. 

" Dec. 22, 1806. 

" Oct 13,1817. 

" 1828. 

" Jan. 17, 1845. 

" Feb. 28, 1845. 


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 181^» a number of the inhabitants of 

APPENDIX. 203 , 

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 church and cemetery, were given by the late Mr. 
Samuel Brown, a merchant of Boston. The corner stone 
of the church edifice was laid Sept. 29, 1813, by '' the 
Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted 
Masons;" and in seven months afterwards, April 29, 1314, 
the house was consecrated to the worship of God. For 
ten years the society was 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; Jamed 
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 Floating 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 ofliciating at that church, Mr. Baury preached a 
historical discourse, which, was printed, giving an ac- 
count of the church from the beginning. The number of 
communicants connected with the church in 1822 was 

204 * APPENDIX. 

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. 


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. Graflon 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 j)lace 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. 



(Organized July 20, 1664.) 

1. John Eliot, Jr., ordained July 20, 1664, died Oct. 11, 1668. 

2. Nehemiah HoBART, « Dec. 23, 1674, " Aug. 25, 1712- 

3. John Cotton, « 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. 
a James Bates, (colleague) « Nov. 14, 1826, resM April 7, 1839. 

7. William Bushnell, « May, 1842, « Dec. 13, 1846. 

8. Daniel L. Furber, « Dec. 1, 1347. 

II. first baptist. 
(Organized July 5, 1780.) 

1. Caleb Blood, installed Jan. 17, 1781, die. Jan 24, 1788. 

2. Joseph Grafton, ord. June 18, 1788, died Dec. 16, 1836. 
a 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. Ltman Gilbert, « July 2, 1828. 

IV. episcopal, lower falls. 

(Organized April 7, 1812.) 
Alfred L. Baurt, instituted Rector, Nov. 28, 1822. 


(Organized 1832.) 

1. Charles K. True, 

. 1832-33. 

2. John Parker, 


3. N. B. Spaulding, 


4. Charles S. Macreading, 


5. Edward Otheman, 


6. N. S. Spaulding, . , 


7. James Mudge, 

. 184(ML 



8. Joseph A. Merrill, . . 1841-43. 

9. Joseph Denison, . • . 1843-45. 

10. Zachariah a. MuDeE, • . 1845-47. 

11. Jacob Sanborn, . , . 1847-48. 

12. M. P. Webster, . . . 1848-49. 

(Organized Feb. 8, 1835.) 

1. Origen Crane, ord. Newton U. F. Sept 14, 1836, res'd 184a 

2. Charles W. Denison, ord. Oswego, N. Y. Jan. 19, 1836. 

inst. Newton U.F. March 1842, res'd June, 184a 

3. Samubl Stillman Leiohton, ord. Andover, Aug. 25, 1841. 

became pastor Feb. 8, 1846, res'd July 1, 1847. 

4. Amos Webster, ord. Newton U. F. Nov. 15, 1848. 

(OrgSDized Sept 8, 1841.) 

1. Samuel P. Skinner, May 6, 1842. 

2. Gamaliel Collins, Oct. 1, 1845. 
a A. S. Dudley, Oct 1, 184a 
4. William F. Teulon, July 1, 1847. 

(Organized 1846.) 
William T. Leavitt, ord. 1846. 


William Orne White, ord. Nov. 22, 1848. 


Twenty-two landholders came into Newton and estab- 
lished their residence there between 1640, the date of 
the eoming of Mr. John Jackson, and 1664, the date of 
the organization of the first church. 


The following are their names: 
John Jack8on,f aged 79 Thomas Wiswell, 

Samuel Hides, John Wiswell, 

Edward Jackson,! aged 79 Thomas Parks, 
Jonathan Hides, James Prentiss, 

John Fuller, John Spring,t 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 Wardjf aged 82 James Trowbridge, 

John Parker, Isaac Williams,t 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 


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.* The members of the congregation were 
seated, by public authority, according to their dignity. 
This was called dignifying the seats, or the pews ; or some- 
times, seating the meeting-hotise. 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, afler 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 the more honorable, 
and the men on the lefl. 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 
bumble 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 lefl to the males; — an 
9.rrangement which still exists to an indefinite extent 
throughout New England, probably few persons have ever 
inquired for what 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 Cluirch in Boston, in two 
discourses by Rev. Dr. Wiener, preached May 9 and 16, 1830^ 
there is a wood-cut representing the interior of the building an- 
ciently, 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- 




la 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 male members of the parish, on a cer- 
tain day every year, cut and drew to him his year's sup- 
ply. Deacon 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 $800 for the benefit of the West Congregational 


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 wished 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 1323, Elizab »th 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. 



The bouse in which the Baptist church originally met 
for worship was owned by one of their m,embers, Mr. Noah 
Wiswell. 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. Afler 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. 


John Jackson, first settler in Newton,* . . . 1640 

Eliot first preached to the Indians, Oct. 28, . . . 1646 

Waierlown Bridge built 1647 

Indians removed to Natick, 1651 

First Indian church 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 yean later. 


East Congregational church organized July 20,* . . 1664 
Waban, the Indian chief, died, JEx. 70, . • . 1674 
William Hammond, of NeWton, mortally wounded in the 

Indian war, June 28, .... . . 1675 

First election of Selectmen 1678 

Capt Noah Wiswell, of Newton, killed in New Hamp- 
shire by the French and. Indians, July 6^ . . 1690 

The apostle Eliot died, JEl 86, 1690 

Newton incorporated Dec. 8, . . . • • 1691 

First school-house, voted, 1696 

Second (E. C.) Meeting-house built .... 1696 

First school-house builtf 1696 

Second school-house builtf 1700 

John Myrick, Nathaniel Haley and Ebenezer Seager, of 

Newton, killed by Indians at Groton, July 21, . 1706 
Thomas Prentice, distinguished in the Indian wars, died 

July 7, iEt. 89, 1709 

John Gibson, of Newton, killed by Indians at Casco fort, 

Nov. 26, 1711 

Last Sermon of Rev. Mr. Hobart, May 25, . . 1712 

Mr. Cotton preached his first sermon, July 18, . . 1714 
Rev. Mr. Cotton's house burnt, March 24,§ . . 1720 

Third (E. C.) Meeting-house dedicated .... 1721 
Whitefield preached at Newton, Nov. 8, . . 1748. 

Died, Mary Davis, ^El. 116 years, 1752 

West Parish School-house built .... 1754 

North school-house built (Newton corner) . , . 1763 

* So far as can be 'ascertained, there were only aboat twenty familiea 
within the limits of Newton 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. 

f The first school-house was seventeen feet square, besides chimney 

X 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. Merinm's liouse burnt, March 18,* . . 1770 

Whitefield preached at Newton Sept. 28,t . . . 1770 

West Parish incorporated ...... 1778 

First Ba])tist Church organized July 5, . . . . 1780 

First Baptist Meeting-house built .... 1781 

West Congi-egntional Church organized October . . 1781 

Two pulilic libraries organized . . . . . 1797 

Fourth (I'. C.) Meeting-house dedicated Nov. 21, . . 1805 

Theological Institution established .... 1825 

Great hail storn) at Newton July 31,1 .... 1830 

Methodist Society organized 1832 

Meeting-house of Second Baptist 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 

Universal ist Society organized Sept. 8, ... 1841 

Universal ist House dedicated. May 6, ... 1842 

Eliot Congregational Church organized . . • 1846 

Fiflh (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, bat 
no special religious attention is known to have followed. 

X 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. 







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