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Introductory Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Kendall, of Weston. Sermon
6 Doct. Fiske, of Brookfield. Charge
66 66 66 Mr. Cushing, of Waltham. Right Hand of Fellowship 56 " Mr. Hilliard, of Cambridge. Ordaining Prayer
" Mr. Clark, of Lexington. Concluding Prayer
" Mr. Osgood, of Medford. 1807. [Feb. 27.] The Parish incorporated into a town by the name of West Cambridge.
Rev. Dr. Fiske's Resignation. May 8th, 1828. The Rev. Dr. Fiske having previously signified his wish to the Parish to resign the Pastoral office, he was this day regularly dismissed by vote of the Parish. The Parish, at the same time, gave an affectionate and respectful testimonial of the good character and long and faithful services of their Pastor. For a full account of all the proceedings relative to the resignation of Dr. Fiske, see the Parish Records.
May 14, 1828.–At a meeting of the Church-chose Jeduthan Wellington moderator and Miles Gardner Clerk pro tem. On motion voted unanimously that the following resolve be accepted and a copy of the same given to the Rev. Doct. Fiske-viz. :
To all whom these presents may come. Whereas it has become expedient for reasons stated in a communication made to the church and congregation of West Cambridge, by the Rev. Dr. Fiske, Pastor of said Church, that his pastoral relation be dissolved by mutual consent and that Mr. Miles Gardner, the Parish Clerk, be a committee from the church to express to him the due sense we have of his long and faithful services among us and the deep regret we feel that existing circumstances should dissolve a union which has been so endearing to us by time. And during forty years of his ministry he has maintained a fair character as a man and as a christian in the performance of his various and arduous duties : and has been an example of the believer in word, in conversation, in faith, in benevolence, in humility, in purity and in piety. And it is our ardent and fervent wish that his life may be prolonged to do good ; that the infirmities of age may rest upon him with joy and hope, And that many blessings and comforts may attend him in his retirement from his pastoral labours among us.
West Cambridge, May 14, 1828.
1828, May 26. Mr. Miles Gardner chosen Deacon. After the death of Dea. John Adams, Ephraim Cutter assisted Dea. Frost in his duties, and, at some time not recorded, was chosen deacon and served as such till his death March 31, 1841. [Vide Cutter Hist., v. $2, 9.]
Apr. 8, 1841. Voted that Bros. Emerson Parks and Henry Whittemore make provision for the communion and till a deacon or deacons be chosen.
1829, May 20. Frederic H. Hedge ordained minister Church aņd Parish West Cambridge. Dismissed March 9, 1835.
1835, Mh. 13, David Damon was installed. He died (June 25) 1843.
1845, Jan., 2d Sunday, William Ware commenced his ministry without installation services—resigned 1846.
1835, Ap'l 15. Mr. Damon gives a list of 40 communicants—all that belong to said Church - as far as can be ascertained," and then follows a list of 7 “ become communicants by residence among us.”
1845, Jan’y 29. By Wm. Ware. “A record will be kept of births, marriages and deaths as heretofore, but no sufficient reason appears why a record should be made of church meetings, as during the last ministry (Mr. Damon's), any further than shall be necessary to explain an alteration in the constitution of the Church unanimously adopted by the present members to-day.”
The pastor stated that he wished to meet the members of the Church and see if some change could not be effected in the manner in which Christians are admitted to the Lord's Supper. The proposition was readily agreed to, and they came together twice for the purpose. At these two meetings—the principles on which Christians were at present received to communion, and that on which it was believed they ought to be, were fully discussed, and it was unanimously resolved that hereafter “ All persons should be considered members in full communion of the First Church of Christ in West Cambridge who should subscribe their names to a profession of faith in Jesus Christ."
[1847, Aug. 10. Some have communed with the church on the strength of this resolve, but there is no evidence in the Church records of any subscription as above proposed.-B. CUTTER.]
1848, Nov. 1. James F. Brown ordained. He died at Springfield, Mass., June 14, 1853, aged 32, and in the fifth year of his ministry at West Cambridge.
1854, June 22. Samuel A. Smith ordained. He died in West Cambridge, May 20, 1865, aged 36, and in the eleventh year of his ministry.
1866, June 7. Charles C. Salter ordained. Resigned Jan. 1869. 1870, Jan. 26. George W. Cutter ordained.
WEST CAMBRIDGE IN 1809. Extract from “ A Discourse, delivered April 23, 1809, completing just Twenty one years from the Author's settlement in the work of the ministry, being the Anniversary day of his Ordination. By Thaddeus Fiske, A.M., Pastor of the Congregational Church and Society in West-Cambridge. Published by Request. Cambridge: Printed by Hilliard and Metcalf, 1809.”
Many changes and events have taken place in this church and congregation, and many alterations and improvements been made in this town, within the term of twenty one years, to the review of which I now proceed. The incidents of our own lives, though trivial in thenselves and unimportant to others, are often very interesting and important to ourselves. Almost an entire change has appeared on the face of society here. The inhabitants are in a great measure changed. Twenty one years ago this place was noticeable for aged people. There were then twenty eight persons from about seventy years and upwards. There is now but four men who have arrived to seventy years. There is one woman,* in her eighty seventh year; and five others who have reached the common term of life. "Your fathers, where are they?” They are gathered to the great congregation. The children have risen up in their stead, and occupy the places they have left. “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh.” The members of this church also are mostly changed. But ten males and thirteen females, who then were resident members, now remain among us; they are either dead, or removed to other churches. The church then consisted of twenty six males and thirty one females ; thirteen have been removed to other churches, eighty eight still remain. One hundred and fifty one couples have been joined in marriage by your pastor, one or both of which belonged to this parish or town. Four hundred and nineteen have been baptized ;t of which number thirty one were adult persons. Three hundred and forty three have died; of this number two lived to the great age of one hundred and one years [Anna Winship, d. Feb. 2, 1806, and Thomas Williams, d. Feb. 5, 1809]; four between ninety and one hundred ; nineteen between eighty and ninety; and twenty six between seventy and eighty years; hence fifty one reached or survived seventy years. From this statement it appears, that a proportion of about one in six lived to or beyond the common term of life. Though a temperate, regular and simple mode of living, the mode of former days, rather than the present, may contribute to long life, and one place be more friendly to health than another; yet long life and health are the gift of God. “He it is, that sets the bounds of our habitation, which we cannot pass.” Among the deaths above enumerated, there are some, that took place, not by the common laws of mortality, through sickness or decay ; but by suicide and casualty. Three put an end to their own lives; three were killed by falling from carts or waggons; one by falling from a tree ; and one by drowning. The two deacons, who were in office at the beginning of the term now under review, lived to a good old age; one seventy nine, the other ninety years. They both died the same month of the same year. Our brethren, who succeeded them, and are now in office, we hope will long be continued to us. The ministers who assisted in the ordination of your pastor, are all, except one,* gathered to the congregation of the dead. Thus we see what great and affecting changes take place, within a small compass, in the course of a few years. And if we may judge the future by the past, we may view in prospect what changes and events will be brought to pass, “ when a few years are come.” Time is hastening to finish my course and yours, and to add us to the number of those that are gone; “ a few years more” will close our probationary state, and when we part, it will be to meet not again, until the dead, both small and great, shall stand before God. The gospel will be preached here by another pastor, and new professors of religion will here attend on the ordinances of Christ, and unite in these services and exercises of God's holy worship, after we shall sleep in the dust; for the church must and will abide ; it is the constant object of the divine care; and “ the gates of hell cannot prevail against it.” Of the three hundred and forty three deaths that have taken place in the course of twenty one years, there are many whom you dearly loved, and who live in your constant and affectionate remembrance, whose names cannot be mentioned without tears; for some of them were the dearest members of your families, and your nearest connexions ; your fathers or your mothers, your brothers or your sisters, your husbands or your wives, or your dearly beloved children. And some also were among the firmest friends of religion, and the most substantial supporters and pillars of the church and society here. You cannot see them again till the heavens be no more. Let it then be your chief concern to be followers of them, wherein they were followers of Christ, and be prepared to meet them at the right hand of God, in the coming world. Such are the changes and events, that have taken place in this church and congregation. Let us now take a view of the alterations and improvements, that make a distinction in our favor, as a society and town.
Mrs. Lucy Cutter, widow of the late Mr. John Cutter, a pious and exemplary christian; for more than sixty eight years a member of this church; still retaining a vigor and strength, both of body and mind, uncommon in old age. [Vide Cutter Hist., p. 46.)
+ The average number of baptisms yearly has been about twenty. In 1805 uncommon attention to the ordinance was awakened and excited. This year many whole households were baptized, and increased the number to sixty three. Eighteen adult persons, several of whom were heads of families, consecrated themselves and their children unto God, in this holy ordinance.
# The average number of deaths yearly is abont fourteen. In the close of the summer of 1802, the dysentery and fever prevailed, and carried off many children and young persons. Thirty six were added to the congregation of the dead. Early in the fall of 1805 the same mortal sickness returned. and
nd increased the average number of deaths to thirty four.
Deacon Joseph Adams died May 3, 1794, aged seventy nine. Deacon Thomas Hall died May 29, 1794, aged ninety. They were both chosen into office Dec. 5, 1759, in which they continued more than thirty five ycars. [Vide Cutter Hist., pp. 51, 88.]
Deacon Ephraim Frost, and Deacon John Adams, chosen April 19, 1792.
Compare your situation now, to what it was twenty one years ago. Then you had troublesome times. You had been destitute of a minister almost five years, without stated preaching on the sabbath, and without the regular adıninistration of the ordinances of the gospel. As sheep without a shepherd, you were scattered, and exposed to 66 grievous wolves.” There were divisions among you, and discord, and alienation of affection. A new society under a new denomination had been set up; not to introduce a new religion, nor to preach any other gospel, than what was already preached; but merely to change one denomination of christians to another, unhappily dividing a society already small, and when united not more than competent to a decent support of a minister, with ease to yourselves ; a division occasioned by a distinction in the form of godliness, rather than its power; assumed to designate a party, distinct and separate from the body of the christian church; for you were not in the state of those unchristianized and unchristened Jews and Gentiles to whom the gospel was first preached, who had never before heard of Christ or the way of salvation through him; but you were born of christian parents, were baptized into the name of Christ, from children had known the holy scriptures, had been instructed in the doctrines and duties, and lived in the peaceable enjoyment of the ordinances of the gospel salvation. While in this situation, you were broken in upon, and “ soon became as an house or kingdom divided against itself.” Some, who were members of this church, “ went back, and walked no more with Christ.” The walls of partition were set up. The number of regular religious professors diminished. For more than five years no additions were made to the church. The spirit of Christ and the gospel, and the true interests of religion seemed to be lost in zeal for party notions, and in contention for victory. The consequence was, the actual declension of real religion. Doubts were created in the minds of some; “halting between two opinions ;” indifference in those of others; and a total neglect of public worship in many. And you appeared to decline also, in your worldly substance and welfare. Debts were accumulating,* and nothing seemed to prosper in the work of your hands; and total subversion of the true interests of religion and of society here was seriously apprehended. You were reduced to a situation exceedingly unfriendly both to your spiritual and temporal welfare ; and very discouraging to the settlement of a minister. Your situation now is just the reverse of all this. You enjoy the regular and stated means of religion in a preached gospel, and the administration of the ordinances of Christ. The church is built up and enlarged, and additions are made, we trust, of such as shall be saved. You are free from strife and contention about the different modes and persuasions of religion, for the support of the gospel. And if all are not perfectly joined in the same mind, and in the same judgment; yet a disposition prevails, to permit every one freely to enjoy the right of religious opinion and practice, provided he does no violence to the rights of others. You now experience “ how good and pleasant it is to dwell together in unity.” And keeping the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, your state is friendly to the interests of religion, to the success of the gospel, and to the practice of godliness; and you are enabled to increase and prosper in the labor and work of your hands. Instead of being embarrassed in your circumstances, or burdened with debts, you have become independent and easy in your worldly and temporal affairs, and have made progress in wealth. You are without fear that the creditor will come; you sit under your own vines and fig-trees without molestation; and there are evident marks and signatures of a kind providence that has blessed you, and caused you to prosper. From a parish connected with, and in some measure dependent on another, you have become an incorporated town, and transact all your public concerns, with convenience and advantage to yourselves. A small and inconvenient house of worship is now exchanged for this spacious, elegant, and commodious temple, whose tower is adorned and enriched with an excellent and beautiful clock.†
* Rev. Dr. Osgood, of Medford, who made the concluding prayer. *_* * The sermon was preached by the Rev. Dr. Fiske, of Brookfield [Uncle to Rev. T. Fiske.], from these words in Luke xii. 32:-“ Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." The sermon is printed and published with other sermons of his, in an octavo volume. # # #
# An arrearage of salary to a considerable amount was then due to the heirs of the former minister, which had been accumulating for more than six years. This, together with the constant expense necessarily arising from hiring candidates to supply the pulpit, had thrown a heavy burden on the parish.
+ The first meeting house was built in 1734, and opened and consecrated on the first day of Feb. 1735. The area of the building was 50 by 40 feet, and stood just seventy years. The present house of worship was built during the year 1804, on the ground where the for