« AnteriorContinuar »
PSALM XLVIII. 9.
WE HAVE THOUGHT OF THY
LOVING KINDNESS, O GOD, IN
THE MIDST OF THY TEMPLE.
The loving kindness of the Lord is a theme on which the pious Psalmist delighted to dwell. The remembrance of it never failed to warm his heart with gratitude, and fill his mouth with praise. It mingled with the hallowed topicks of his private meditation, and gave animation and fervour to his publick devotions. And who, that duly considers the nature and extent of the Divine beneficence, can suffer himself to forget it, or to think of it with indifference? To what, my brethren, but to the loving kindness of the Almighty, are we indebted for every temporal and spiritual blessing ? To what other source are we to trace our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life? To what else are we to
attribute the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, the means of grace, and the bope of glory? From this living, inexhaustible founiain, cmanate all those streams which refresh and fertilize this lower world, and gladden the hosts of heaven. The Loid God is a sun and shield; “ a sun io enlighten and direct us in our way, and a shield to proteci us against the enemies of our salvacion.” The Lord will give grace and glory; “ giace to carry us on from strength to strength, and glory to crown us when we appear before bim in Zion; he will withhold nothing that is good and profitable for us in the course of our journey, and wili himself be our reward when we come io the end of it.” Surely, then, it becomes us, with the Psalmist, to think of the loving kindness of God in the midst of his temple, to record in our memories and in our hearts the wondrous works which he has wrought for us, to render thanks for the great benefits that we have received at his hands, and to set forth his most worthy praise.
I wish, on the present occasion, my brethren, more particularly to direct your thoughts to the loving kindness of God, as displayed towards this religious society, from its origin to the present time. This day' completes a century since religious worship was first celebrated in this sacred
temple. It will not, therefore, I trust, be thought an uninteresting or unprofitable employment of our time, if we take a slight survey of our past history, and unite in the devout and grateful acknowledgment, that hiiherio the Lord has helped us.
Subscriptions for building this church were commenced the latter part of the year 1722. The preamble to ibe subscription paper was as follows. ““ Whereas the Church of England, at the south part of Boston, is not large enough to contain all the people that would come to it; and several well disposed persons having already bought a piece of ground at the north part of said town to build a church on : We, the subscribers, being willing to forward so good a work, do accordingly affix to oui names what each of us will cheerfully contribute.”
On the 15th day of April, 1723, the corner stone of this edifice was laid by the Rev. Samuel Myles, minister of King's chapel, accompanied by the gentlemen of his congregation. The ceremony was concluded with these words,
May the gates of hell never prevail against it.” The building was completed during the succeeding summer and autumn, and first opened for publick worship on the 29th day of December, in the same year, by the Rev. Timothy Cutler, D. D., the first rector of this church. The
appropriate passage of scripture from which the preacher addressed a numerous audience on this interesting occasion was, “ For mine house shall be called An house of prayer for all people." Isaiah lvi. 7. Dr. Cutler was educated at Harvard college, Cambridge, and received the honours of that university in 1701. In 1710, he received Congregational ordination at Stratford, Connecticut, where he continued in high estimation as a minister and a scholar, till 1719, when he was appointed rector of the college in New Haven, now Yale college. “ This," says a dissenting divine, “ was an auspicious event to that institution, for he was a man of profound learning, and presided with dignity, usefulness, and general approbation." He was, says the same writer, " the first scholar," and, according to the testimony of another, “ the most celebrated preacher, in the colony."
In 1722, Mr. Cutler, with several of the tutors and neighbouring clergy, men eminent for their talents and influence, having, after careful inquiry and mature deliberation, been led " to suspect, not only the regularity, but even the lawfulness and validity of Congregational ordination, conformed to the Church of England. He accordingly resigned the rectorship of the college, and came to Boston, whence, in company with Mr. Johnson and Mr. Brown, two of the conformists, he embarked for England on the 5th of November. On their arrival in London, “ they were received with all possible kindness by Dr. Robinson, the bishop of London, and by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel ; and it was readily agreed that Mr. Cutler should be sent to the new church in Boston." Mr. Cutler was ordained first deacon, and then priest, in March, 1723, by Dr. Green, bishop of Norwich. On visiting the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, he received from each the honorary degree of doctor in divinity. Having been appointed missionary to this church, he embarked for America in July, arrived in Boston in November, and, on the 29th of December, commenced his labours in this part of his Master's vineyard. The success of his ministry appeared in the increasing number and the exemplary lives of those who attended on his publick ministrations. At the opening of the church, the usual audience is stated to have been about four hundred
pers sons; but they increased, continually, till they amounted to nearly double that number. The congregation are spoken of as having, “ in
many respects, approved themselves a worthy people, very devout in publick worship, and conscientious in their lives and actions."
Dr. Cutler continued in the faithful and suc