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HISTORY OF THE OLD SOUTH CHURCH.
THE THIRD CONGREGATIONAL Church in Boston, now usually styled THE OLD South Church, was formed at Charlestown on the 12th and 16th, of the third month, i. e. of May 1669, O. S.
The original members were William Davis,
Richard Trewsdale, Hezekiah Usher,
Theophilus Frarye, afterwards DeaJohn Hull,
con, Edward Raynsford, afterwards Rul- Robert Walker, ing Elder,
Josiah Belcher, Edward Rawson,
Seth Perry, Joshua Scottoe,
James Pemberton, Benjamin Gibbs,
Dawes, Thomas Savage,
Joseph Davis, Joseph Rocke,
Thomas Thatcher, afterwards chosen Theodore Atkinson,
the first Pastor, * John Wing,
* Mr. Thatcher had been Pastor of the church in Weymouth, Mass., from which he had been dismissed, and had removed to Charlestown, and united with the First Church there, from which he was dismissed to be united with this church at its formation,
The names of the several Pastors, and the dates of their ordination or installation, and of their decease or dismission, are as follows. Thomas Thatcher, inst'd Feb. 16, 1669, deceased Oct. 15, 1678. Æ. 58. Samuel Willard, do. April 10, 1678, do. Sept. 12, 1707. “ 67. Ebenezer Pemberton, ord'd Aug. 28, 1700, do. Feb. 13, 1717. " 45. Joseph Sewall, D. D. do. Sept. 16, 1713, do. June 27, 1769. “ 80. Thomas Prince, do. Oct. 1, 1718, do. Oct. 22, 1758. “ 72. Alexander Cumming, instd Feb. 25, 1761, do. Aug. 25, 1763, “ 36. Samuel Blair, do. Nov. 26, 1766, dismissed Oct. 10, 1769. John Bacon,
do. Sept. 25, 1971, do. Feb. 8, 1775. John Hunt,
ord'd Sept. 25, 1771, deceased Dec. 30, 1775. “ 31. Joseph Eckley, D. D. do. Oct. 27, 1779, do. April 30,1811. “ 61. Joshua Huntington, do. May 18, 1808, do. Sept. 11, 1819. “ 33. Benj. B. Wisner,D. D. do. Feb. 21, 1821, dismissed Nov. 12, 1832.
The following persons have been Ruling Elders or Deacons of this Church.
[This list, from the defective manner in which the early records were kept, is necessarily very imperfect.] Edward Raynsford, Ruling Elder.* Peter Bracket, Deacon. Jacob Eliot, do. Theophilus Frarye, ord'd Deacon,t Nov. 8, 1685. Nathaniel Williams, elected Deacon, Oct. 15, 1693. James Hill,
do. Nov. 24, 1693. Daniel Henchman,
deceased in 1763. Jonathan Simpson, do. Aug. 7, 1733, do.
1763. Thomas Hubbard, do. April 9, 1739, resigned Jan. 23, 1764. Samuel Sewall, do. Sept. 16, 1763, deceased Jan.
1771. David Jeffries, do. Sept. 16, 1763,
Sept. 1786. William Phillips,
do. Feb. 27, 1764, resigned Nov. 1793. Jonathan Mason,
do. Aug. 20, 1770, deceased May 5, 1798. Thomas Dawes,
do. Oct. 20. 1786, do. Jan. 2, 1809. Samuel Salisbury, do. March 24, 1794, do. May 2, 1818. William Phillips, Jr. do. March 24, 1794, do.
May 26, 1827. Josiah Salisbury, do. May 8, 1817,
Feb. 10, 1826, Edward Phillips,
do. May 8, 1817, do. Nov. 4, 1826. Pliny Cutler,
April 29, 1826. Thomas Vose,
April 29, 1826. Samuel T. Armstrong,
May 18, 1829.
* Most of the churches of New England, for some time after the settlement of the country, had, besides a pastor and a teacher, and two or more deacons, a ruling elder, or ruling eiders, whose “business,” says the author of Ratio Disciplinæ,"it was to assist the pastor in visiting the distressed, instructing the ignorant, reducing the erroneous, comforting the afflicted, rebuking the unruly, discovering the state of the whole fíock, exercising the discipline of the gospel upon offenders, and promoting the desirable growth of the church.”
The name of but one Ruling Elder is mentioned in the Records of the Old South Church. This does not prove, however, that none others were ever chosen. There is no mention in the records of any Deacon having been chosen till Nov. 1685; but we know that the church had not been till that time without Deacons.
† In the early periods of the New England churches, the Deacons were ordained with prayer, and the laying on of the hands of the pastor,
Rules of the Old South Church in Boston in relation to
the admission and dismission of Members.
March 27, 1826. Voted, That hereafter the following shall be the method of proceeding in relation to applications for admission to this church on dismission and recommendation from other churches, viz: The applicants shall be conversed with by the pastor for the purpose of ascertaining whether they approve of the covenant, and are disposed to conform to the faith and government of this church, and their letters of dismission and recommendation shall be examined and approved by the committee already appointed for that purpose, agreeably to a vote of this church passed Jan. 1, 1816. If the pastor and the committee are satisfied with the results of their examinations, the names of the applicants shall be mentioned, as applying for admission to this church on dismission and recommendation from other churches, at the same times at which persons applying for admission on profession are propounded. At the expiration of a fortnight from the time of their application being thus mentioned before the congregation, if no objection to their admission has, in the mean time, been stated to the pastor, their testimonials shall be read to the church and the vote taken
upon their application, immediately before the usual proceedings in relation to the admission of those who are to be received on profession.
Voted, That in conformity with the spirit of a resolution adopted by this church Jan. 1, 1816,-it be a standing rule of this church, that members, who shall absent themselves from the communion of this church and associate in attendance on divine ordinances with other churches, be expected to apply for a dismission from this church in order to their regular admission to the churches with which they statedly worship and commune, within two years from the time of their thus ceasing regularly to commune with this church, or sooner if convenient; and
that when members of this church so worshipping and communing statedly with other churches, shall not apply for a dismission till after the expiration of two years from the time of their ceasing regularly to attend on Christian ordinances with this church, they be required to accompany their application for a dismission and recommendation with a certificate, from the pastor, and when there is no pastor, from one of the other officers of the church with which they have been in the habit of communing and to which they wish to be recommended, testifying to their correct deportment since they have worshipped and communed with said church.
Voted, That members of other churches who shall statedly attend worship and communion with this church, be expected and desired to obtain a dismission and recommendation from the churches of which they are members to this church, within two years, or sooner if convenient, from the time of beginning thus regularly to attend Christian ordinances with this church.
March 1, 1827. Voted, That the names of persons whom the pastor intends, from time to time, to be propounded to the church, be mentioned to the brethren and sisters of the church at a meeting at least a fortnight before the time of their being publicly propounded from the pulpit on the Sabbath.