Benjamin Trumbull (1735-1820) was a historian and minister. He graduated from Yale in 1759 and received a theological education from Rev. Eleazer Wheelock. He served as a minster for almost 60 years. Trumbull also was a chaplain during the Revolutionary War.
THE HISTORY OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
Interspersed and Closed With
SERIOUS PRACTICAL REMARKS.
Delivered at Norh-Haven,
JANUARY 1, 1801
BY BENJAMIN Trumbull, D.D.
Of the Church of North-Haven.
I. CHRONICLES, XXIX. 29, 30, AND PSALM LXXVII. 11, 12.
Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer, with all his reign and his might, and the times that went over him, and over Israel, and over all the kingdom of the countries.
I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will mediate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.
THE works of the Lord are great, honorable and glorious. They are sought out of all those who have pleasure in them. His works of providence, in the redemption, preservation, government and final salvation of the church, especially, are great and marvelous. They have employed the thoughts, the tongues and pens of patriarchs and prophets, of apostles and good men, in the various ages of the world. They have been the wonder and joy of saints and angels; and will be celebrated in their united songs forever. They exhibit the glories of God to men, and teach them their duty to him. How important is it therefore, that they should be made known to us: That they may excite out reverence and fear of him; our gratitude and praise, our hope and trust!
For these ends, those excellent men, Samuel, Nathan, and Gad, who were prophets, and teachers in the church, recorded the great events of David’s reign, and the times that went over him, and over Israel, and over all the neighboring kingdoms. – This affords full evidence that it is a pious and honorable work, becoming the character of a teacher in the house of GOD.
In our text, David, the man after God’s own heart, determined piously to recollect and most certainly to keep in his remembrance, the wonders, which, in former generations, the LORD had wrought for his people. He formed a resolution, that they should be the subject of his pious and frequent meditations, and that he would converse upon them, for his own support and comfort, and for the instruction and comfort of others. In how many other psalms does he, in a most sublime and animating manner, celebrate the divine works? How does he wake up his glory, and summon everything which hath life and breath to praise the LORD, for his mighty acts, and for his excellent greatness? How does he teach all men to regard and contemplate the works of GOD, and to praise him, for the wondrous things he hath wrought in all the earth?
Another thing worthy of special notice in the words of the text, is the doctrine of the universal providence of God, superintending all the affairs of men – all the revolutions and events of ancient and modern times. Whatever influence creatures might have in them, the psalmist teaches us that they are the works and wonders of God. In numerous other psalms he gives us the same view. Saith he, the LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens: and his kingdom ruleth over all. He celebrates the dispensations of providence over the sick, over travelers, captives, mariners, the planters of new countries, princes and nations, as governing them in adversity and in prosperity, and in all the various conditions of life. In this view, he exhorts all men to praise the LORD for his goodness and wonderful works. The Almighty claims it as his sole prerogative, to govern all events. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. It was the doctrine of our Savior that the divine providence extended to all events, and to all things: That the hapless sparrow falls not on the ground without the notice of our Father who is in heaven: That he gives to the grass of the field, to the tulip and the rose their verdure, fragrance and beauty. Saith the apostle, of him, and through him, and to him are all things: To whom be glory forever.
Having made these general observations, showing the duty of bringing into view and devoutly contemplating the works of God and that we should view the mighty revolutions and events of ages as the operations of the divine hand, I shall now proceed to give you a sketch of the works of God, in the century past, in Europe and other parts of the old world; and especially of his dispensations towards America, the United States, New England and this town.
In this sketch I shall more especially notice those events which respect the church of God, in which prophecies have been fulfilled and the work of redemption advanced.
At the commencement of the last century William and Mary reigned on the throne of Great Britain, and Lewis the XIVth on the throne of France. Poland was a powerful Roman Catholic kingdom. At Rome the pope reigned with great power and magnificence. He was supported by the Lewises, those powerful kings of France, by the emperor of Germany, the kings of Spain, Portugal and Naples, and by numerous petty princes and states. Avignon, that large opulent and capital city of Provence, in France, where seven popes had successively reigned, with the whole province of the Venaissin, was subject to his dominion. – In America, the French and Roman Catholics were powerful. – The Jesuits, who constituted the most deceitful, intriguing and formidable branch of the Romish hierarchy, were in full power. These kings and priests with the whole papal hierarchy, in their respective kingdoms, according to the divine prediction, had one mind to give their power and strength unto this anti-christian beast.
At this period the state of literature and civilization was advanced to a considerable degree of eminence; but its progress since is beyond calculation. The improvements of the last century, in philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, law, physics, the fine arts, navigation, commerce, and manufacturers have exceeded all former precedent. The acquaintance of mankind, with the seas, continents and islands, with the various inhabitants of the earth, with their customs, manners, religion, commodities, manufactures and commerce has exceedingly increased. The progress in history and geography in Europe and America has been very considerable. In both countries there have been great improvements in almost every branch of agriculture. In both the progress of civilization has been rapid. Numerous new and humane establishments have been made, for the relief and assistance of the poor, the infirm, the unfortunate and miserable of the human kind. A vast number and variety o instruments have been invented of great convenience and utility in manufactures, husbandry, and the numerous branches of business which employ mankind.
However it is remarkable that in the midst of all these improvements, light and civilization, the most illuminated and civilized nations upon the globe, have employed one half of the century in fierce and horrid warfare. Between eleven and twelve years, Queen Anne and her allies carried on a powerful and bloody war, to defend themselves against the encroachments, growing powers and influence of Lewis XIV, and to preserve the balance of Europe. The wars of her successors, with France, Spain and America, have employed them nearly forty years more. About forty years of the same period, these American colonies and United States, have been obliged to fight in their own defense, against France, Spain Great Britain, and the American Indians. Other nations in Europe and other parts of the earth, have exhibited the same hostile desolation and death. What a public and striking evidence have all men, that violence is yet in the earth! That their feet are swift to shed blood; and that destruction and misery are in their ways?
In these mighty wars and convulsions, Kingdoms, commonwealths, and cities have been despoiled, overthrown and erased; thrones and royalty have been annihilated; whole countries impoverished and enslaved, and debts contracted which are the astonishment of mankind. In Europe and America great and wonderful revolutions have been effected: and while kingdoms and thrones and cities have disappeared in some places, new and independent states, republics, and cities have sprung up in others.
Another event worthy of special notice is the growth of error, infidelity, atheism, the most filthy and abominable doctrines, immoral obscene, unnatural and wicked practices. Deism, which made its first appearance in France and Italy, about two hundred and forty years ago, and in England little more than a hundred and seventy, in the last century, as might naturally be expected, degenerated into the grossest atheism. The false reasoning and dissolute lives to which infidelity led those who embraced it so blinded and hardened them that they boldly denied authority to be a mere usurpation: That family government which God has enjoined, to be the beginning of all tyranny; AND CIVIL GOVERNMENT A CURSE. They have declared chastity and natural affection to be mere prejudices: and that murder, adultery, the poisoning of their neighbors, and other crimes of the same diabolical nature, , are lawful, and, as circumstances may be, virtuous actions. Their writings and conversation are too obscene to be expressed among people of any modesty. There is no impiety, filthiness, villainy, nor cruelty which they do not vindicate. They have conspired against religion, society, government and God himself. In the latter part of the century they spread their infernal doctrines and manners far and wide, in France and Germany, in several of the principal courts of Europe, and among people in other countries. By this means they have effected the late surprising revolutions, in France, Germany and Italy: and have filled Europe and other parts of the world with such a scene of horror rapine, death and carnage, as has no parallel in modern ages.
In these wars and revolutions, God in his province, has in a conspicuous manner accomplished the predictions of his word, and diminished the resources, wealth, power and influence of the Roman anti-christ. Within the last half century the order of Jesuits has been abolished, and other orders of the Romish clergy, in several papal countries, have been suppressed or greatly reduced. In some, their permanent estates have been confiscated. The inquisition in some popish countries has been abolished, and in others greatly ameliorated. Poland, as a distinct kingdom, is no more. Venice, and Sardinian monarchy, and the popish part of Switzerland, as political bodies, have vanished in the late memorable revolutions. Austria and the whole German empire have been greatly impoverished, weakened and deeply wounded. Rome and Naples have been taken, plundered and exceedingly weakened. Italy has been conquered, impoverished and laid waste.
In France, the throne of the Louis’s, those firm and powerful supporters of popery has been overthrown, and royalty and annihilated. The Romish hierarchy has been persecuted and destroyed with the hatred and cruelty which have no example. Thousands of the clergy have been slain or banished, and their estates confiscated. Not only in France, but in Belgium, the influence of the clergy has been in a manner destroyed, and their immense wealth taken from them, and employed for secular purposes. In France, Spain Germany, Italy and Egypt, millions have perished in the revolutionary wars.
At the same time the personal revenues of the pope have been exceedingly diminished, and in a good measure annihilated. Avignon, that ancient and opulent city, and the whole province of which it was the capital, has been taken from him. The late pope was seized, divested of all temporal dominion, restricted to a certain pension, and exiled from his royal city. For a certain time the beast ceased to reign on the seven mountains. A successor, it is true, has been chosen and crowned. But what dominion resources or influence has he? Is not the mystical Euphrates dried up? Is there not a drought upon all its waters?
Can we not in these great events clearly see the accomplishment of several of the divine predictions, especially under the sixth vial! What can more clearly answer to the description of the three unclean spirits, the spirits of devils, working miracles, and going forth unto the king of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that day of GOD ALMIGHTY, than the teachers of those impious and filthy doctrines of which I have just been speaking? Have they not above all contended against GOD? Have they not, in a very extraordinary manner, gathered the kings, and a great proportion of the inhabitants of the earth to fight against GOD? Are they not still gathering them together? Is not the figurative Euphrates drying up; and the way preparing for the destruction of the mystical Babylon?
It is not remarkable indeed, that the ten kings, the same earthly powers, which for a time, had one mind to give their power and strength unto the beast, should now hate and destroy him? Is it not worthy of special notice, that France, the very power whose king, nearly ten centuries and a half since, raised the pope to temporal power and dominion, should be the first to implacably to hate him, and with such power and success, to begin the work of his destruction? Is there not something in this rapid decline of popery in the shaking of all the Roman Catholic kingdoms, and the destruction of so many men of eminence and figure among them, which looks like the falling of the tenth part of the city, and the slaying of seven thousand men of name! At least, do we not see the commencement of them? How strongly do these great events witness, that, known unto God, are all his works from the foundation of the world? What new and increasing evidence do they exhibit that the scriptures are a divine word!
America, New England, and the United States, in the same period, have witnessed great events and salvations. At the commencement of the century, they were few in number, poor, and scattered over a vast tract of country, the principal part of which was a vast wilderness. Their wants, enemies, and dangers were great and many. Queen Anne’s long war impoverished, weakened and almost ruined the Northern, and greatly distressed some of the Southern colonies.
In 1707, the French invaded South Carolina, demanded the surrender of Charlestown, landed in several places, and burnt a number of buildings, they were nevertheless, through a variety of providential circumstances, remarkably defeated. Of about eight hundred of the enemy, nearly three hundred were killed and taken. Among the latter was Monsieur Arbuset, commander in chief by land, with a number of naval officers, who offered ten thousand pieces of eight for their ransom.
The massacre of the Palatines, and war with the Tuscaroras in 1712, and the general rising of the Indians in 1715, exceedingly distressed the colony, and threatened its total extirpation. But, in the mount of difficulty, god appeared for the distressed colony and granted a signal victory.
The New England colonies, during the war, made great exertions to defend themselves against the enemy. In 1710 they were successful in an expedition against Port Royal. The next year, they, with the Providence of New York, made extraordinary exertions for the reduction of Canada. But the design failed by reason of the shipwreck of the fleet in the river St. Lawrence.
In 1742, Georgia experienced a memorable deliverance. – About the last of June a Spanish fleet or thirty-two sail, with more than three thousand men on board, under the command of Don Manuel de Monteano, came to anchor near the fort. They soon passed it, and proceeding up the river, out of reach of its cannon, landed the troops erected a battery of twenty eighteen pounders. The enemy had a fine artillery, under a good commander. But General Oglethorpe, with seven hundred men and some friendly Indians, defended himself for a considerable time, and finally by a stratagem, caused them, after sustaining considerable loss, to raise the siege and quit the colony.
The capture of the Louisburg by the New Englanders, assisted by a few of the King’s ships in 1745m, was a truly memorable event. Its consequences to New England to Great Britain and France were prodigious. The prizes taken, during and after the siege, amounted to about a million sterling. The French fishery on the coast was destroyed, the trade of the colonies was preserved, the Newfoundland fishery restored, Nova Scotia and the Eastern Coast protected. What was still more important, it finally purchased a peace for the nation.
The next year New England experienced a deliverance never to be forgotten. The French, fired with resentment at the losses they has sustained in America determined on the recovery of Louisburg, the conquest of Nova Scotia, the destruction of Boston, and the ravaging of the American coasts from Nova Scotia to Georgia. The armament designed for this mighty work of destruction, consisted of eleven ships of the line, and thirty smaller ships of war, from thirty to ten guns. It was accompanied with transports carrying between three and four thousand regular troops. These were to form a junction with fifteen hundred French and Indians, at Nova Scotia. The Duke D’Anville, a nobleman of distinguished abilities, in whose courage and conduct the French had reposed the greatest confidence, was appointed to command the armament. Monsieur Pomeret commanded the land forces. As early as beginning of May, this formidable fleet was ready for sea; but it was so detained by contrary winds, that the Admiral could not leave the coasts of France until the 22d of June. Admiral Martin, with a fleet of observation, waited before the harbor to prevent his sailing, but he got out unnoticed and proceeded without molestation. The Duke detached Mons. Conflans with three ships of the line and frigate, to convoy the trade to Cape Francois in Hispaniola, with directions to join him at Chebucto, the place of general rendezvous. This powerful fleet and army were now left, without the least molestation from any human being, to carry into execution all their mighty works of destruction against the colonies. It was now left wholly to Him who disappointeth the devices of the crafty, and taketh the prey from the mighty, to save the colonies, and especially New England, from ruin. Let us be bold with grateful astonishment, how he wrought for their salvation.
Beside laying an embargo on them, for more than six weeks before they failed, he caused their passage to be stormy and tedious. Like the chariots of Pharaoh, when the Lord looked upon them, they moved heavily. At more than three hundred leagues from the place of their destination one of their first rate ships became so disabled, that the mariners were obliged to burn her. Soon after, they were overtaken with a storm, which so injured the fleet, that three more ships of the line were obliged either to bear away for the West Indies or return to France. It was not until the 12th of September, that the Duke D’Anville arrived at Chebucto, accompanied with one ship of the line and four transports only. But one ship had got in before him. Conflans had arrived on the coast some time before; and not finding the fleet, returned to France. This long and disastrous passage had totally deranged his whole plan. He waited until the 16th, and not one of the ships of war arriving, and but three of his transports, he was so affected with disappointment and chagrin, that it brought on him an apoplectic fit, or he drank poison, and died suddenly the same morning. In the afternoon, after his death, the Vice Admiral, with four ships of the line and some transports, arrived in the port.
By reason of the long passage, the troops arrived in an extremely sick and miserable condition. The admiral was dead Conflans was gone for France, more than half the force designed for the expedition had not arrived, and the season for action was far spent; D’Estounelle was therefor for giving up the expedition, and returning to France. He proposed it in council to his officers; but Monsieur De la Jonquiere, governor of Canada who was the third in command, with a majority of his officers, for nearly eight hours violently opposed him. De la Jonquiere and his party insisted, that the sick, with fresh air and provisions, would soon recover, and that they were able, at least, to reduce Annapolis and Nova Scotia: After which they might safely winter in Casco Bay, or return to France as should best suit their inclinations. The issue of the debate was a rejection of D’Estounelle’s proposition. This threw him into such an extreme agitation that it brought on a fever, and threw him into a delirium. He seemed to be smitten with a divine terror, and put a period to his own life. Jonquiere, who was a man of skill and experience in war, and zealous for the honor and welfare of his country succeeded him, and greatly raised the expectations of the fleet and army.
On the 28th of September, certain intelligence came to Boston, of the arrival of the fleet at Chebucto. It was reported to be more numerous than it really was when it sailed from France, and there was not the least intimation of the damages it had received. England was not more alarmed with the Spanish Armada, in 1588, than Boston and New England were at the news of this armament of the Chebucto. Every possible measure of defense was immediately adopted. In a few days six thousand and four hundred of the inland militia marched into Boston. Six thousand more were on the march on the first notice, from Connecticut, to the assistance of their brethren. The rest of the militia was to be retained for the defense of the sea coasts. In the meantime, the good people were prostrate seeding the divine aid. The consequences were happy; the enemy never came against a city, a village or a single fortress, or shot an arrow there. Sickness and death, in such an extraordinary manner emptied their ships, thinned their ranks, and wasted all the adjacent country – such storms and disasters constantly attended them that they finally returned with great loss and shame to their own country. Our fathers stood still and saw the salvation of the Lord.
In the French war, which was proclaimed in 1756, the colonies experience d a great salvation. The French for more than half a century had been planning their total extirpation. They had nearly encompassed them, on the land side with a line of fortifications; and their plans were just ripe for execution. But those memorable events, the capture of Louisburg and Quebec, and the conquest of all Canada, in the course of the war, broke up their bloody designs, and threw them into the pit, which they had digged for their neighbours. The cession of all that country to Great Britain at the close of the war, was of high consideration to the then American colonies, and to the churches of Christ it gave then a happy season to rest, populate, increases their settlements, resources, and importance. It exceedingly weakened the papal interest, in America, and enlarged and secured the protestant territories and churches. It was an important part of that great series of events, which prepared the way for the cession of such extensive territories to the United States, at the close of the revolutionary war. Who can but be filled with a reverential and grateful admiration, in view of the immense and gracious designs of providence, in causing that chain of fortresses which had been erected around them to be delivered into their power, and to be the means of their enlargement, convenience and defense.
The repeal of the stamp act was, doubtless, a very essential part of that scheme of providence, which led to the present independence and freedom of the United States. Hag Great Britain persisted in carrying it into execution; it is not improbable that she would have succeeded. America was not then able to resist. Has she submitted to that, it is very doubtful whether the revolution would have ever been effected.
The American Revolution in which these United States assumed the rank of free, sovereign and independent powers; and in consequence of which they have, in so short a period, risen to their present state of strength, opulence, prosperity and respectability, is one of the greatest and most memorable events of the last century. That a people who, at the commencement of the war, had not a regular regiment, nor a forfeited town, nor a ship of war; who had neither money, arms, nor military stores, should maintain a seven years’ war, with one of the most warlike and powerful nations upon earth; that they should capture two complete armies, and finally obtain their independence ought ever to be acknowledged as one of the wonderful works of God.
New England and the American States have not only been wonderfully protected, but increased. At the commencement of this century, the inhabitants of New England, I supposed did not amount to more than forty-five of fifty thousands, and now they probably exceed a million. The whole number of ministers in New England was about one hundred and twenty four within the providence of New Hampshire, one in the providence of Main, eighty-six in Massachusetts, and twenty-eight in Connecticut. Now there are in New England, I suppose, about seven hundred congregational and Presbyterian ministers; about thirty-seven Episcopalian, and nearly one hundred and sixty Baptist ministers. The churches are much more numerous. In Massachusetts there are more than eighty vacant churches exclusive of the countries of Hancock and Washington, in which are more than 40,000 inhabitants, with not more than three or four regular ministers. In New Hampshire there are about forty vacancies in the congregational churches. In Connecticut there are twelve. In the Episcopalian and Baptist churches there are many more vacancies in proportion to their numbers.
The population and settlement of the United States, the increase of their navigation, commerce and husbandry, especially since the revolution, have exceeded all parallel. From an hundred, or an hundred and fifty thousands, they have, in a century, increased, probably to nearly six millions. Their navigation, a century ago, nay, at the pacification with Great Britain, was next to nothing, and now the American flag is displayed in the ports of almost every commercial state and kingdom upon the globe. The United States have now more tons of shipping upon the seas than any other nation upon the earth, except Great Britain. Their fisheries have increased in some happy proportion to that of their numbers and settlements. The old colonies, not states, have exceedingly extended their settlements, and four or five new ones have been added to them.
Connecticut, since the beginning of the last century has increased from about fourteen or fifteen thousands of inhabitants to two hundred and fifty or sixty thousands. Within its limits, at that t period, there were thirty-eight churches illuminated by the same number of ministers. Now there are more than two hundred of each. At that period except just in the center of the towns, it was a wilderness. Now it is covered with beautiful villages, towns and cities, and appears like a well in closed and cultivated garden.
Just after the commencement of the century Yale College was founded, which, considering its small endowments, for many years at first, has prospered beyond all parallel. It has been a source of blessings to the church and commonwealth. More than two thousand and five hundred have received its public honors. Of these, two hundred and thirty-five have been exalted to the feat of magistracy. Nearly eight hundred have shone as luminaries in the American churches. Others have been eminent in the profession of law, physic, and natural philosophy, of ecclesiastical history and the learned languages. The State abounds with academies and schools, and with respect to the degree of natural and moral instruction, with respect to the degree of natural and moral instruction, with which it is everywhere illuminated, it has no rival. Connecticut has not only settled and cultivated its own territories, but has borne a large share in planting, peopling, and forming churches, in all other States. – Her inhabitants settled Minas in Nova Scotia, Wyoming in Pennsylvania, large and numerous tracts in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, and even at Muskingum. Her sons have been envoys to foreign kingdoms, governors members of congress chief judges and general in this and other states. They have been presidents in their colleges, heads of their academies, teachers in their schools, and ministers in their churches. The have been missionaries in the new settlements, and to the heathen.
Indeed, literature, civilization, and everything which can ameliorate the state of man, hath been rapidly increasing in the United States in general. At the commencement of the last century, there was built one college completely founded in New England. Now there are six. In all the colonies, now States, south of Connecticut, there was then but one, how there are fifteen or sixteen.
God hath not only wonderfully enlarged and protected the American church, but granted her happy days of spiritual reviving and refreshment. Besides the ordinary blessing of God on the churches and colleges in this country, from the beginning, there have been extraordinary seasons of seriousness and attention to religion. In 1733, there was a very great awakening, in many towns in New England, which continued for several years. – Happy additions were made to the churches; and those who had been good people before, experienced the fresh anointing’s of the spirit and was filled with new zeal and joy. The great revival in 1741 was much more general and powerful. It pervaded New England and New Jersey, especially Yale college, and the college at Princetown, have experienced, several times of refreshing. Dartmouth College, has once, experienced a most happy visitation. By these seasons of salvation, a number of young men, from time to time have been raised up, whom, in their day, have been experimental, powerful preachers, and signal blessings to the churches.
At the time of the general awakening in Dartmouth College, the towns in the vicinity participated in the heavenly shower. In 1783, a considerable number of towns in the county of Litchfield, and in the county of Berkshire, in Massachusetts, enjoyed a precious harvest, in which many souls appeared to be gathered unto Christ. Besides these more general revivals, particular in towns and parishes, in this State, and in the other States, have been graciously visited, when there has been nothing special in the churches round bout them. God hath dispensed his mercies in a sovereign manner. It hath rained upon one city, and upon another it hath not rained: One hath been taken and another left.
The late awakening and gathering, which so many churches and congregations have experienced, for two or three years past, and which some are still experiencing ought particularly and thankfully to be acknowledged. Christ hath appeared, walking in the midst of the golden candlesticks, with greater power and glory than the churches have, at any former period, experienced. The work has been more powerful and genuine, and the fruits of love, union, self-loathing, humility, prayerfulness, righteousness, and peace have been more abundant.
Within the last century, have been formed all the religious constitutions, which unite the American churches, one with another, and which harmonize and regulate their ecclesiastical proceedings. The churches of Connecticut, associated and consisted in the beginning of the century, and their religious constitution was approbated and established by the legislature. The formation of presbyteries, synods, and the United States, is of a more modern date. The formation of the general assembly was not effected till sometime after the American Revolution. – Within a few years, a general union hath been formed between the general assembly of the Presbyterian churches, in the United States, and a general association of the State of Connecticut. A similar union hath been effected, the last year, between the general association of the State of Connecticut, and the convention of ministers in the State of Vermont. By these unions, the pastors and churches are brought into a more general and intimate acquaintance with each other, and with the general state of the churches and of religion; are under better advantages to give advice, guard against vice and error, against erroneous and immoral ministers and mere impostors; to act with more united and harmonious exertion and influence in promoting divine knowledge, unity of sentiment, piety, righteousness, and genuine Christianity among themselves, and in their respective congregations; and also diffusing Christian knowledge in the numerous new and vacant settlements, and in communicating the blessings of the gospel to the heathen.
Since the American Revolution, the Episcopalian church in the United States has been completely organized. The churches of that denomination, in each State, have their own Bishop. Dr. Seabury was the first bishop in the United States. He was consecrated to his office in Scotland, November 14, 1794. The Episcopalian churches in Connecticut, were the first in the United States, who enjoyed the privilege of a bishop. The episcopal clergy and churches meet in a general convention, or in particular conventions in each State, as they judge most convenient and necessary. They have agreed on forms of prayer and mode of worship adapted to the United States, and given themselves the name of the Episcopal Protestant Church in America.
Perfect toleration and liberty of confidence is enjoyed in all the United States, and various denominations of Christians are forming, or have formed themselves into such associations, classes, synods and conventions, as they judge most subservient to the great interests of religion.
The abolition of the slave trade in Great Britain, in New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and in other parts of the United States; and the total abolition of slavery in some of them, ought to be noticed as a happy event of the past century. The amelioration of the condition of the slaves in the southern States, and in some other parts of the world’ the Christianizing of great numbers of them, with the pleasing prospect of the total abolition of that horrid trade, in the human species is matter of inexpressible joy. May the Great Parent of all creatures hasten the day, when all human beings shall enjoy natural and moral freedom.
Another occurrence which strongly characterizes the close of the eighteenth century, and shall still a more happy aspect on mankind, and the church of God, is that uncommon exertion, and charity, exhibited in Europe and American, for the spreading of the gospel among the heathen. The formation of numerous societies for that truly apostolical and glorious purpose is a new and peculiarly auspicious event. That holy ardor and union in prayer, among pious people, in both countries, for the conversion of the Jews and calling of the gentiles; the uncommon exertions which have been made, and are still making, fir the promulgation of the gospel, to the continents in the four quarters of the earth, and to the most distant islands in the seas, portend great good to the church. They afforded the highest encouragement to pray for the prosperity of Jerusalem to exert ourselves, and spare no pains for the furtherance of the gospel. When the people of God take pleasure in the stones and favor of the dust of Zion, will he not arise and build her up? Is not the set time to favor her then commencing?
Having given this general view of the principal events of the last century, suffer me to present you with a sketch of the history of this society and town.
The lands in the town were purchased by the Rev. John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton, Esq. in behalf of the first planters of New Haven, of Momaugin sachem of Quinepiack, and Montowese, son of an Indian sachem at Mattabeseck, now Middletown. The agreement with the first of these, was made on the 24th of November, 1638; in which he concedes all his right to all the lands rivers, ponds, and trees within the utmost limits of the said Quinepiack, with all the liberties and appurtenances thereof, to the said Davenport and Eaton, and the other English planters of New Haven, their heirs and assigns, forever. The other agreement and purchase was made December 11, 1638, in which Montowese confirms, in the same ample manner, a tract, principally north of the other, thirteen miles in breadth, extending eight miles east, toward Connecticut River, from the river Quinnipiac, and five miles west, towards Hudson’s river, and ten miles in length, north and south. These two deeds conveyed a tract of country about eighteen miles in length, and thirteen in breadth, covering the whole tract within the towns of New Haven, Woodbridge, Hamden, East Haven and North Haven; the principal part of the towns of Wallingford and Cheshire, and of the parish of North ford. By the terms of the agreements and purchases, the Indians were to enjoy lands to plant on, upon the east side of the river, upon the tract since called East Haven, they had also the right of hunting, fowling and fishing upon the lands and rivers secured to them. On their part, they bound themselves not to injure nor affright the English, nor to enter into any combinations against them.
The lands having been thus purchased, and Governor Eaton owning a large tract on the west side of the river, it seems put one William Bradley, who had been an officer in Cromwell’s army, upon it, nearly an hundred and fifty years ago. He, I suppose, was the first person who came into the town. Next to him, were Thomas and Nathaniel Yale, who, it seems, came on to the land about the year 1660. In a deed of said land, given by Theophilus and Hannah Eaton, heirs of Governor Eaton, to Thomas Yale, executed March 9, 1659, it appears that Thomas was then upon the land. About the year 1670, a considerable number of inhabitants of New Haven moved to Wallingford, and began the settlement of that town, formerly called New Haven village. This encouraged the settlement of North Haven, and Jonathan Tuttle, about the same time, began a settlement near the river on the farm formerly owned by Deacon Isaiah Tuttle, who was his grandson. Nathaniel Thorpe, Ebenezer Blakslee, and John Humaston, soon after settled on the eastern bank of the river near the center of the town. Daniel and Thomas Barns, Thomas Jacobs, and Moses Brockett, made settlements near the river, on the east side of it, about a mile north of the fourth line of the town. These appear to have been some of the first settlers; and they began the settlement in this scattering manner. Next to these families, were Stephen and Moses Clarke, Michael Todd, Ebenezer and Thomas Ives, James Bishop, John Cooper, John Grannis, John Brockett, and Joseph Ives. The two last of these went from first from New Haven. Joseph Ives built on the road, about twenty rods north of the house erected, at the corner, by Isaac Thorpe. In this the people met for public worship, until they were able to build them a meeting house. These were generally descendants from the first planters of New Haven. The names of a considerable number of their ancestors are among the first freemen and church members, who entered into the remarkable agreement and subscribed in the fundamental articles of government, adopted at Quinnipiac, June 4, 1639.
The settlement was very slow, and it seems, that for nearly forty years, come of the first planters attended public worship, and buried their dead at New Haven. The woman usually went on foot to New Haven, on the Lord’s Day, attended two long exercises, and returned. In some instances they did this with a child in their arms. The inhabitants were not made a distinct ecclesiastical society, until the session of the general assembly, in October 1716, when they were vested with all the privileges of such a society. The honorable Nathan gold, Esq. Deputy governor, and the Rev. Samuel Andrews, then pastor of the church, at Milford, were appointed a committee to repair to North Haven, and to assist the parish in appointing a place in which to erect their meeting house, and to advise them with respect to the settlement of an orthodox and worthy minister. The Rev. Mr. James Pierpont had given them the plat of ground, on which the meeting house now stands, upon condition, that the people would erect their house of worship upon it. This was thankfully accepted. – A house for public worship was erected about 1718; 38 or 40 by 28. The posts were of a proper height for good galleries.
While the parish was transacting those affairs, they had invited Mr. James Wetmore to settle with them in the work of the gospel ministry. At the session of the general assembly in May 1718, the assembly gave the inhabitants liberty to form into a church. And the November following Mr. Wetmore was ordained.
At the time when the parish was formed, the limits of it extended considerably north and west of the ground on which the meeting house in Mount Carmel has since been erected, and comprehended twelve families, which before 1716, were settled upon that tract. The whole number of families, at the time when they were made a parish, was about forty. Mr. Wetmore was greatly esteemed and beloved by his people; but after he had labored with them for nearly four years he altered his sentiments, and in September 1722, declared for episcopacy. The consequence was a dismission, soon after, from his pastoral relation. He went to England and took orders, in 1723. He was rector of the church at Rye, where he finished his course, May 14, 1760. He was educated at the collegiate school at Saybrook, where he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts, in September, 1714.
After a vacancy of a little more than two years, the Rev. Isaac Stiles succeeded him in the pastoral office. He was ordained on the 11th of November, 1724. He was graduated at Yale College, 1722, and died May 14, 1760, on the same day and nearly at the same hour, in which his predecessor, Mr. Wetmore, died. He was well versed in the scriptures, had a natural gift of elocution, and was a zealous, engaging preacher.
The bereaved congregation, after they had heard several gentlemen, by the advice of the association, made application to me. Upon their invitation, I paid them a visit and preached to them, the first time, on Lord’s Day, August 31, 1760. After preaching with them a little more than two months, the church and society, with great unanimity, gave me a call to settle with them in the work of the ministry. I appeared my duty to accept their invitation, and I was ordained to the pastoral office, by the consociation of the pastors and churches of the whole county, December 24, 1760. Through help obtained from God, I continue to this time. I am now just entering on the forty-first year of my ministry. My locks have whitened and my eyes grown dim in your service; but during this long period, through the wonderful patience and goodness of the Great Father of mercies, I have never been unable to perform the public worship, on both parts of the day, but in one single instance. I have been able to meet you at every lecture, at every funeral, and upon all occasions in which my ministerial service has been required. Within a little less than a century you have had three ministers, two of whom have served you about seventy-six years.
There have been in the church, ten deacons; David Yale and Samuel Ives, chosen 1718. Deacon Ives died November 25, 1726. Samuel Todd succeeded him, chosen about 1727. – Moses Blakslee, about 1728, succeeded Deacon Yale. Deacon Blakslee removed to Northbury, now Plymouth, 1739, and Deacon Thomas Cooper succeeded him chosen 1740. Upon the decease of Deacon Todd, Isiah Tuttle was chosen Deacon, about the year 1741. The Deacons by reason of their advanced age, desiring assistance, Jesse Todd was chosen Deacon, December 24, 1772, and James Humaston, November 24, 1773. Upon the resignation of Humaston, Solomon Tuttle was chosen November 2, 1780. Deacon Titus Todd was chosen, March 1, 1787, to supply the vacancy made by the removal of his brother Jesse Todd, to Springfield, in Massachusetts.
The first military officers chosen and commissioned in North Haven were Capt. Joseph Ives, Lieut. John Granis, and Ensign Samuel Ives. They received their commissions at the session of the general assembly, October, 1718.
Your ancestors were few in number, but you are now increased to about fourteen hundred souls. They were clothed and fed coarsely, and fared hardly; but you are generally dressed with elegance, and have not only the conveniences, but many of the delicacies of life. They were compassed with a wilderness, with wild beasts and savage men. But you dwell amidst cultivated and pleasant fields, orchards and gardens, and have nothing to fear from either. In their times, the ways were unoccupied. A solitary path through a dreary swamp or wood led to their humble cottages. But your roads are broad and smooth, and your houses are large and elegant. They had everything to do, but their means were small. You have houses built, wells dug, gardens planted, orchards and trees of various fruit, prepared to your hands. They were under great disadvantages for schooling their children, not only on account of their low circumstances, but their distance from each other, and of the danger of children’s travelling so far through groves and swamps; but you have distinguishing advantages to get wisdom yourselves, and to school your children. Your advantages, I these respects, are much greater now, than they were at the time of my settlement with you. There was then but one school house within the limits of the parish: Now you have eight school districts and the same number of school houses, general commodious and well built. –Your progress in knowledge, civilization, agriculture, and manufactures, has been very considerable. You have experienced no such distressing season of general sickness and morality, as the inhabitants have been visited with in former years. Your population has been very great, though on the account of the numerous emigrations and the setting off of a large number of families, to the parish of Mount Carmel, you are not, perhaps more numerous than you were in 1759. In October, 1786, you were made a distinct town, and vested with all the immunities of such a free corporation. You have a large and convenient house for the public worship, an elegant steeple, a large and excellent bell. You enjoy peace among yourselves, and the blessings of uncommon health pervade your habitations. Are not the lines fallen to us in pleasant places? Have we not a goodly heritage? What more is necessary to complete our happiness, than thankful and obedient hearts, rendering unto the Lord according to his benefits?
I have now only one great and solemn event more, of the last century and year, to lay before you; that is the progress of death. A view of this is necessary, that we may close the last and begin the new year with proper views and exercises, and that we may form just conceptions with respect to the century before us.
Ever year is productive of events, solemn, vast and wonderful. A century increaseth them an hundred fold. From the Most accurate bills of morality, it appears, that half the human race, even in this healthful climate, die under twenty years of age: And it is computed, that, taking the world at large, on half die under seventeen. Once in about twenty-seven years, it is supposed that a number dies equal to the whole number of inhabitants upon the globe. Some estimate this number at a thousand millions – and that there die annually, about thirty-seven millions – seven hundred and twelve thousands every week – one hundred and one thousand seven hundred and fifty daily – four thousand two hundred and thirty-nine every hour – and about seventy every minute. . Nine hundred and fifty thousand millions is the lowest computation of the inhabitants of the earth. According to this estimate, thirty-five millions one hundred and eight-five thousands one hundred and eight-five die every year – six hundred seventy-six thousands six hundred and thirty-eight each week – every day, ninety-six thousand six hundred and sixty two- every hour, four thousands and twenty-seven – and sixty seven each passing minute. Wonder tremendous morality!!! What an astonishing current of souls is rapidly borne on the tide of time, incessantly shooting into the ocean of eternity, and appearing before God, in judgment!
If this representation be just, the earth changes the whole number of its inhabitants, at least three times and half each century. Three thousand three hundred and twenty-five millions have exchanged worlds the last century. During this period four kings and one queen have reigned on the throne of Great Britain. William and Mary, queen Anne, George the first and second, with all their courtiers, admirals, generals, and mighty men, rest together in the dust. The Louis’s, their courts and mighty men are no more. Royalty has been abolished, constitutions and tyrants in quick succession, have followed each other, and vanished away. Kingdoms and republics have been shaken and demolished, in the face of Europe, and of the whole world hath been changed.
If we come nearer home and review America, New England, Connecticut, and our respective towns, will not the retrospect be solemn, instructive and affecting? All the venerable fathers, who, at the commencement of the last hundred years, conducted the affairs of church and state, with their children, and most of their grandchildren, are gone down to the sides of the pit. Their wisdom, beauty, influence, and lives, have all been lost in the ravages of time. In this State, which was so small at that period, there have died ten governors, with their councils and officers, nine presidents or chief instructors of college. The fellows who were their contemporaries, and the tutors who assisted them, generally are gone down to the congregation of the dead. About three hundred ministers, who shone as lights in this part of the firmament of the church, have been extinguished and new stars and constellations have arisen, to illuminate her children, and guide them in their successive generations, to virtue and glory. – The numerous hearers, who once assembled with those preachers of righteousness, and hung upon their lips, have closed their eyes with them in death, and spread their graves around them. The pastors and the flocks have gone to judgment, and are reaping in different worlds, according to what they have sown. Your former pastors, their churches and congregations rest together in the places of burial.
During the forty years of my ministry, there have died out of the town 570 persons; 484from among the people of my pastoral charge; about 75 out of the Episcopalian society, and ten or twelve from among the separates and Baptists. I suppose, that the inhabitants of the whole town, upon an average, during the term of forty years, have been about 1300, a little more than a thousand have been under my pastoral care. The deaths and ages, among these, have been accurately kept. The deaths, upon an average, have been about twelve and one tenth annually, a little more than one to an hundred. Of the 484, 79 have lived to 70 years and upwards. Thirty-seven lived to between 70 and 80; thirty-five to between 80 and 90; and seven of the 484 have lived to be 90; and between 90 and one hundred years of age. Of the seven last mentioned, one was 91, one 92, one 93, one 95, and the oldest 99 and 8 months. This is the greatest degree of health and longevity, which, in modern times, I have known for so long a period. Nevertheless, how has the face of this assembly been changed! The fathers where are they? And how are the heads of their children whitening with years! One generation passeth away and another generation cometh.
What profitable reflections shall we now make, on the view we have taken of our subject, and of the year and century past? – With what feelings and prospect should we begin the New Year, and the nineteenth century? The doctrine of divine providence, that the Lord governs universally, uncontrollably, perfectly, and forever, exhibits HIM as a proper and glorious object of our e tire trust, of our prayers and praises. What encouragement is there to trust in, and pray to Him, who governs all worlds, creatures and events, and performeth all things for his people? – What support and comfort must it give to Zion and to all who fear the Lord, when the earth is removed, and the mountains carried into the midst of the sea, when the waters of it roar, and the mountains tremble at the swelling of it, that he sits king forever, and presides in every storm? How calming and consolatory to hear him speaking, in the dark day, and amidst the raging tempest, as he did to the affrightened disciples upon the sea of Galilee. It is I, be not afraid.
This, at the same time, should beget in us entire acquiescence and submission, with respect to all present and future circumstances, relating to ourselves, the church of God, and all creatures and things. In view of the universal and perfect government of the Most High; this should be the language of our hearts, it is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good.
The universal dominion of God, teacheth us to acknowledge him in all the judgments and fearful desolations which have been, or are made in the earth, and in all the riches of goodness and mercy with which it is filled. It leads us to communion with him in all his providences, as well as ordinances: To know him by the judgments which he 4executeth, and to learn righteousness, while they are in the earth: - To see him in all his goodness, and to be led by it to repentance and thanksgiving.
While we behold his mighty works, and consider the operation of his hands, how should we adore his greatness, wisdom, and power, and learn to fear him forever? While we behold how he bringeth the princes to nothing, and maketh the judges of the earth as vanity; how he maketh cities a ruinous heap, and plucketh up and planteth the nations at his pleasure; how should we tremble before him, and fly to his mercy in Christ Jesus?
While we see him, in his inflexible justice and veracity, in all places and generations, executing that awful sentence, DUST THOU ART, AND UNTO DUST SHALT THOU RETURN, how should we learn, in this tremendous testimony which he bears against sin, how his soul abhors it? How inexpressibly should we and all men loathe and fear it? How should God’s inflexibility in the execution of this sentence, establish us, in the persuasion, that he will execute all his threatnings; and, that though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.
As we see in him all past ages, and in the present age executing his threatnings and fulfilling the promises and predictions of his word, how should it confirm our faith in the scriptures our confidence in him, and assurance that he will accomplish all the good which he hath spoken concerning Zion.
How does our subject teach us to give all glory to God, for the signal deliverances which he hath granted to our fathers and to us their posterity? For his complicated and mighty works in giving us this great and good land, in protecting his church here in every emergency, and in the admirable increase of it, the century past? With what venerable and exalted ideas, should we adore his providence in the American Revolution, in the establishment of our independence, and in our present peace, distinguished privileges and growing prosperity? How gracious has he been to us, that this war hath hunt out its bloody flag, and raged beyond all former example, in almost every part of the world, we have enjoyed peace? While the cities, kingdoms, wealth, commerce and resources of other countries, are in a manner annihilated, their inhabitants slain, by millions, and their habitations, and pleasant tracts made desolate, we have not only rebuilt the towns and cities repeopled and fertilized the tracts which war had ruined and repopulated, but we have extended our settlements, increased our numbers, navigation, commerce fisheries, wealth, and resources beyond all parallel. The tracts where war raged, where the clashing and roar of arms, the thunder of cannon and noise of battle shook all the adjacent country, where the wounded groaned, and the mighty fell, are now covered with pleasant villages, walks, and gardens, and fields wave with plenteous harvests. There freemen lie down in quiet, and mothers hush their numerous babes to rest in safety. Extensive regions, which for ages past had been a dreary wilderness, filled with the hideous howling’s of savage beasts and men are not peopled with Christians, and prayers and praises are constantly addressed to the throne of heaven. Are there my brethren, the works of the Lord, and shall not all America awake to praise him? Can we contemplate, that according to the common rate of morality, three or four ministers, and three or four thousands of people, upon the lowest computation, die annually in this State, and yet, that not one governor nor magistrate, not one member of congress, nor judge of our courts, has died the year past, and but one minister of the gospel, and not be deeply affected with the divine patience and goodness? – Are we alive amidst all the ravages of time and death, to celebrate the commencement of a New Year, and Century; and is the voice of health and peace heard in our habitations, and shall we not serve the Lord with gladness? Shall we not enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise? – Should not every heart expand with gratitude, and every tongue sing hallelujah? Shall we not, like the psalmist, remember God’s wonders of old, meditate of all his works, and talk of his doings? Shall not this be the universal study, what shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits?
While we weep over the graves of our ancestors and contemplate the revolutions of time and ravages of death, shall we not seriously think of our own dissolution? How soon time may be with us no more? Shall we not learn how frail we are? How precious is every moment of time? And how necessary to prepare for death without delay? Dow we see kings, counselors and judges of the earth, the wise, the strong, the young and beautiful covered with dust and worms? Do we know that we shall soon be like them, and shall we not be clothed with humility?
Now we have closed another year and century with what seriousness should we reflect, that such an important portion of time, all its Sabbaths and opportunities are past never to be recalled? That time has borne us on so much nearer to death, judgment, and our final doom! How seriously should everyone enquire, am I prepared for these great events? Do my preparations bear any proportion to the rapid advances I am making towards them? What if this year should be my last? What would be my condition? What my company where should I make my everlasting abode?
We are now advanced to a New Year and century. The events of it will be vast and momentous. Old kingdoms and states will sink, and new ones rise. Millions will die, and millions be born, and the whole earth be peopled with new inhabitants. – States which are now small, may, by the close of the present century, outnumber the greatest kingdoms in Europe. The inhabitants of the United States, at their usual rate of population, will in an hundred years, amount to ninety-six millions. In the same period, more than twice the number of mankind now upon the face of the earth will be swept awa7y by the hand of death. – Solemn thought! All the intelligence, literature, wisdom, life and beauty, now upon the earth will be no more!!! If Xerxes, when he took a view of his army of seventeen hundred thousand men, from a lofty eminence, wept at the reflection, that in one age they would all be dead; how should our hearts melt and our ryes run down with tears at the prospect before us? In this we see our own funerals, the deaths of our children, and of all our friends.
From past and present appearances, and from a general view of the prophecies the present century will be one of the most eventful and interesting periods, in which God, in rapid succession, will be carrying into execution his judgments against his enemies, and effecting the great events preparatory to the commencement of a new, more pure, peaceful and glorious state of the church.
With respect to ourselves, we know that we shall never see another century; we may not see another year. We know not what a day, much less what a year may bring forth. From the prospect which has been exhibited, you perceive that thousands will die in this State, before another year, and numbers among ourselves. Some of us – who, and how many, God only knows, must exchange worlds and go to judgment. With respect to such as shall survive, they may be called to lay their dearest enjoyments in the grave, or wounds, sickness, or misfortunes, wearisome nights, and days and months of vanity may be appointed unto them. How highly therefore, does it concern us all to begin the year with God; with an immediate preparation for the events of it, whatever they may be? With what an entire submission to the divine will, with respect to all the occurrences of the year, and of time itself, should we enter upon such a period? While we behold the rage of the wicked, the tumult and confusion of the nations, how the floods have lifted up themselves, their voice and their waves, how should we rejoice, that the Lord on high, is mightier than the noise of many waters; yea than the mighty waves of the sea? That he reigneth and will reign forever? That all the vast concerns of the universe are in his hands, and that he will govern them for his own glory, and the good of his holy kingdom?
As our conduct may have great influence on the countless millions of those who shall be born, lie and die after us, and on the present and future happiness of our country, how piously, righteously, and circumspectly should we live? What great and united exertions should be made for the instruction, pious and good education of young people, and to make the generations to come, wise, useful and good? With what pains, prayerfulness and perseverance should all Christians exert themselves to diffuse Christian knowledge, and as far as possible, to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth? The honor of God, his love to men, the salvations he hath granted unto us and our fathers, the distinguishing privileges, and countless blessings we now enjoy, love to God, to our country, and to such an innumerable multitude of human beings, combine all their energies, and press us to those duties.
We are now, probably, under the pouring out of the last part of the sixth vial. The spirit of devils is, doubtless, gone forth, and is still going forth unto the kings of the earth, and to the whole world, to gather them unto the battle of the great day of God Almighty. The battle is probably began, and will still be fought with greater fury and wider destruction. The ten kings will destroy the Romish anti-Christ, burn her with fire, and then, according to the prophecies, go into perdition themselves. The Turkish Empire the other great oppose of God, and persecutor of the saints, will fall with the harlot of Babylon. The judgments of God in the century past, and at present, are remarkably upon it, and it is not less rapidly declining than the papal interest. Constantinople has been eighteen times on fire, the last century, in which, more than 120,000 thousand houses besides other buildings, were burnt, with 8000 inhabitants. In 1750, it was visited with the plague, in which it lost 7000 people. The next year it was almost destroyed by an earthquake, in which 3000 more perished. Other principal cities and extensive countries have been overthrown, and in a manner ruined, by earthquakes. The plague at several times, in various parts of the empire, hath swept away vast numbers of the inhabitants. Russia has made important conquests within it, and greatly impoverished and weakened the Turks. The French, in their invasion and conquest of Egypt and the adjacent countries, have slain a prodigious number of people, and seduced many others to rebel and take arms against the empire. They are progressing in their conquests, and threaten with destruction. At the same time, the rebellion and victories of Passawan Oglou are of an aspect no less menacing. – In this tumult of the nations and wreck of empires, it is reasonable to expect that the church will experience days of perplexity and danger. Fortitude, circumspection, patience, zeal, prayerfulness and self-denial, will therefore, be of the highest necessity. The language of the Savior to his church, at this period is Behold I come as a thief: Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
To conclude, while I ask your acceptance of my grateful acknowledgements, for all the respect, kindness, and support which I have received from you, in the course of my ministry, with great pastoral affection, and desire for your welfare, I wish you a happy New Year. May it indeed, be a year of the richest blessings to you and your families. Especially, may it be a year of spiritual quickening, peace and salvation to all his flock, to this town and State, to the United States, and the whole Israel of God. That we may enjoy the smiles, and abide under the shadow of the Almighty, let us remember his wonders of old. Let us meditate also of all his works, and talk of his doings. Let the end of years and centuries remind us of the end of time, and of all things; of the judgment of the great day, and of the ineffable scenes of eternity: and let us all be prepared for them. Whoso is wise, and will observe those things, even they shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord.
Page 3, last line in the text, for work read works.
Page 7, marginal note, fourth line from the bottom, for 38 miles read 38th mile.
Page 16 marginal note, fifth line from the bottom, for 90 read 190.
The reason that the churches of several denominations of Christians have not been more particularly noticed in the preceding discourse has been the want of accurate information respecting them. Some general account, however, may be of service to give the reader a fuller view of the American churches. As there happens to be a vacant page it shall be employed for that purpose. The Dutch reformed churches in America are ancient and respectable. There were in the State of New York and New Jersey, about ten or twelve years since, 90 congregations of this denomination, 66 in New York, and 24 in New Jersey. – These were divided into five classes, three in New York, and two in New Jersey, the three in the State of New York, are that of New York, containing 18 churches; that of Kingston, containing 23; that of Albany, containing 23; and there are four ministers and congregations in the State of New York which are annexed to the Hackensack class in New Jersey. In that State there are two classes, the classis of Hackensack comprising nine congregations, exclusive of the four in the State of New York; and the classis of New Brunswick, in which were fifteen congregations. These are, probably now increased to more than an hundred congregations. These churches were formed exactly upon the plan of the churches in North Holland, and were under the direction of the classis of Amsterdam, until after the American Revolution. There are Calvinistic, and differ in nothing essential from the Presbyterians.
Since about the middle of the last century, a considerable number of Germans, Lutherans and Calvinists, have made settlements in Pennsylvania. The number of their ministers and churches, probably, is nearly 80. There are twelve or more churches of German Lutherans in New York.
There are in New York and Pennsylvania, a number of churches denominated Seceders, who maintain a separate ecclesiastical jurisdiction, but they are Calvinists, and differ in nothing materially from the Presbyterians.
In New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, there are 80, or 92 Baptist churches. In the southern States there are many Baptists and Methodists, but their numbers cannot be ascertained. In Pennsylvania, the Friends, or Quakers, are the most numerous denominations. There are about 20 congregations of Friends in the State of New York; and between 40 and 50 in New Jersey.
In Rhode Island there are a number of congregations, but in other parts of New England there are few of this denomination.
Psalm, eiii. 19.
Isaiah, c. xlv. 7.
Rom. xi. 36.
Revelation xvii. 12, 13,
The aurora borealis, or northern light is a new appearance in the heavens, to this country, peculiar to the eighteenth century. It has been seen in Great Britain, especially in the north of Scotland, for many centuries past, but even in that country it had not appeared for eighty or a hundred years, until March 6, 1716. Its first appearance in New England was on the 17th
of December 1719. It appears to have been a great light, and began about eight o’clock in the evening. It filled the country with the greatest alarm imaginable. It was the general opinion that it was the sign of the coming of the son of man in the heavens, and that the judgment of the great day was about to commence. According to the accounts given by the ancient people, who were spectators of it, there was little sleep in New England that night.
The ingenious M. Herschel has made new and useful discoveries in the stellary regions. In 1782 he discovered a new planet, which has been called Herschel, in honor to the discoverer. He has made new discoveries since of a new region of stars, beyond that which had been discovered in preceding ages, presenting to the mind a far more magnificent view of the works of God, than had been before conceived.
Great Britain has furnished ten circumnavigators of the last century; Cooke 1708; Clipperton and Shelooek 1719; Anson 1740; Byron 1764; Wallis and Carteret 1766; Cook 1768; 1772, 1776; continued by king 1780; and since by Portlock 1788. The Dutch have had one, Roggewein 1721; and the French one, Bougainville 1766. Other navigators have explored particular parts of the earth, and made new discoveries. By them many new islands, and multitudes of human beings have been found, of whome the civilized world before had no knowledge. Among these are Fox island in the North pacific ocean, discovered 1760; Suffolk islands, 1774; Oraheite, June 18, 1765; New Caledonia, a large island in the Pacific ocean, 1774; Owhyhee island, the eastern most and largest of the Sandwich Islands, 1778. This island is about eighty four miles long and seventy two wide, and is supposed to containing 150,000 inhabitants. It was here on the 14th
of February 1779, that the celebrated Captain Cook fell a sacrifice to the revenge of the natives.
Geography, both in Europe and America was very imperfect. The geography of almost every part of the world, is now much better understood than the best writers in England knew that of the American colonies a century ago. The accounts which they gave of the American settlements were, in a high degree laughable. But by reason of the great increase of navigation, and the assistance of good writers on geography, mankind are become acquainted with each others countries, manners, interests, religion and commerce. By the assistance of the Reverend Dr. Morse’s Universal Geography, and that of Doctor Dwight’s for schools, school boys know more of geography now, than men did an hundred years ago; nay more than even the writers on geography knew at that period. Besides, several good histories of the colonies have been written during the last century, which have greatly increased their knowledge of each other, and acquainted the world more intimately with their affairs. Numerous histories of other countries were written during the same period, by which knowledge has been increased, and the acquaintance of mankind, in the various parts of the earth, with each other greatly advanced.
Among the numerous discoveries and inventions of the Americans in the last century, the discovery of the philosophy of the electric fluid and of rods to preserve building from the tremendous effects of lightning is worthy of notice. That great genius and philosopher, Doctor Franklin, conceived the idea of electricity about the year 1745, and began to communicate his discoveries in various letters to men of learning in 1746 and 1747,. He was the first and sole inventor of rods for the preservation of buildings. Some discoveries of this were made in Germany, at an early period, but the doctor appears to have been the first man who so fully investigated this branch of philosophy. It was not so fully investigated and established in great Britain until about twenty years after in 1766.
The debt of Great Britain is one of the modern wonders in the world. It began in 1697, and at that time was about 5,000,000l. At the death of King William in 1702, it was 14,000,000l. At the death of Queen Anne in 1713, it was 50,000,000l. In 1747, it was 64,793,797l. lbs. 91/2d. In 1757, when the interest was reduced to 3percent, it was 110,603,at that time was about 5,000,000l. At the death of King William in 1702, it was 14,000,000l. At the death of Queen Anne in 1713, it was 50,000,000l. In 1747, it was 64,793,797l. lbs. 9 ½ d. In 1757, when the interest was reduced to 3percent, it was 110,603,6l. 8s. 2 ½ d. – In 1780, it was upwards of 200,000,000l. and in 1790, it amounted nearly to 242,000,000l. besides an unfunded debt of 30,000,000l. The French war, which was proclaimed in 1756, cost the nation 90,000,000l. sterling. This debt, in one century, has increased nearly 300millions. A certain writer observes upon this debt, as it stood in 1790. “This sum in cash, if put into carts, each containing a thousand pounds, and two horses to draw, allowing 40 feet to each cart would load 5,000 carts, and cover 37 miles in length with a remainder of 116 in the 38 miles. Were it to be laid down in guineas in a line, it would extend 4,300 miles in length; if laid down in shilling, would extend three and a half times around the globe.” How should this warn the United States, and all people upon the earth against war and national debts.
See numerous quotations at large, from these writers, in professor Robinson’s proof of a conspiracy against all religions and governments; and the Abbe Barruel’s History of Jacobinism. Read also Godwin, and know facts from his own pen. It is very remarkable how God in his providence is retaliating upon most of the courts and princes in Europe, their own wickedness. They have joined with infidels in acting against God, his word and the glorious Savior, and how he is suffering those very immoral and abominable doctrines and practices which they encouraged, to be a means of shaking them from their thrones and filling their kingdoms with rapine, violence and death. How terrible has God shown himself to the kings of the earth. Has he not brought the princes to nothing, and made the judges of the earth as vanity?
The Jesuits were a famous order of priests in the Romish church, established under the name of the company of Jesus, A.D. 1540. Their founder was Ignatius Loyola, a Spanish gentleman of illustrious rank. They made a rapid and astonishing progress through all the Roman catholic countries, and had great influence until they were suppressed. In 1773.
Friars and Nuns were suppressed in Germany, A.D., 1785. In France 1790.
All torture was abolished, and a toleration of religious faith granted, in Austria, 1776. The inquisition, inquisition, in France, was abolished by edict, August 25, 1780; at Naples, 1781.
Poland suffered a defalcation of several of its provinces, by Russia, Prussia, and the Emperor of Germany, in 1772. May 3, 1791, the crown was made hereditary, and its citizens admitted to civil, military, and ecclesiastical employments. Since that period it has been conquered the king deposed, and the kingdom divided principally between the tyrants of Russia and Prussia.
Avignon was taken from the Pope by the King of France, 1769. But on the suppression of the Jesuits, for four years after, it was restored. In 1791, it was declared to belong to France, and he has no possession of it since that period.
The Acadians and Indians flocking to the French camp, with fresh provisions, took the contagion; and it was supposed that nearly half of the inhabitants of the adjacent country died with the infection. Besides the loss of two Admirals and a great proportion of troops, marines and seamen, the French lost three capital ships. The Caribou they were obliged to burn at sea, the Mars was taken by the Nottingham, just as she arrived on the coasts of France, and the Alcide was driven on shore by the Exeter, and burnt.
The settlement of Georgia commenced 1733. The first settlement is Vermont was at for Dummer on Connecticut river, in the year 1724. But the general settlement of the State did not begin until after the termination of the French war, in 1762. In January 1777, at a general convention of the representatives of the towns, it was declared a distinct, free and independent State. On the 18th
of February 1791, it was unanimously admitted into the union of the American States. The purchase of Kentucky was made in 1775. The settlement began about 1778. The Western Territory was made a government under certain conditions, July 13, 1787. This is very extensive, containing 411,000 square miles, equal to 263,040,000 acres. By act of Congress it may be divided into five distinct States.
There are in this state 178 congregational pastors, and about 90 churches. There are 20 episcopalian ministers, 16 pluralities, and 17 vacancies, comprising in the whole, 52 congregations. The Baptists have 25 ministers, and several vacancies. The pastors have formed themselves into two associations, by the names of two associations, by the names of Stonington Association, and the Danbury Association.
Cambridge university, founded 1638, was the only college in New England before the last century. In 1700 a number of ministers met at New Haven, and gave about 40 volumes of books for the founding of a college in Connecticut. In 1701 the general assembly gave a charter, and gave legal establishment to the college, which has since been called Yale college. The college at Providence in the State of Rhode Island, was founded 1764. Dartmouth, in the State of New Hampshire in 1769. Williamstown college, in Massachusetts, was instituted 1793. The Rev. Ebenezer Fitch, for several years a tutor in Yale college is president. A college has been lately instituted in Burlington in the State of Vermont, and the Rev Jeremiah Atwater, who was also a tutor in Yale college, ahs been appointed to the presidency of it.
William and Mary, in Virginia, founded 1692, was the only college in the colonies south of New England, until after the commencement of the last Century. King’s college, in New York, was founded in 1754, and Union College at Scdhenectady, in 1794. Nassau hall, at Princeton, was instituted 1738, and Queen’s college, Brunswick, 1775. In Pennsylvania, there are three colleges, the university at Philadelphia, founded during the war; Dickinson college, at Carlisle, established 1783, and Franklin at Lancaster, founded 1787. Maryland abounds in colleges: In it are Washington college, at Chestertown, in the county of Kent, founded 1782, and St. John’s at Annapolis, established 1784. These colleges, by an act of the legislature, constitute one university, by the name of the University of Maryland. In these colleges uniformity of law, instruction, manners, and customs are punctually maintained. The Roman catholics erected a college at Georgetown, Potowmac, about the year 1780; and the Methodists, about three years before, instituted one at Abington in the county of Hartford, named Cokesbury college, in honor to Thomas Coke, L.L.D. and Francis Asbury, bishops of the Methodist church. In Virginia a second college has been erected in Prince Edward county, named Hampden Sydney college. The legislature of North Carolina, in 1789, instituted an university, by the name of the University of North Carolina. About ten years since, the State loaned 5,000l. to the trustees to enable them immediately to proceed with their buildings. In South Carolina there have been three colleges instituted, one at Charleston, another at Winnborough, called Zion college, and a third at Cambridge, but I believe, that at Charleston, and the other at Cambridge, are little more than respectable academies.
In Georgia a college has been instituted, at Louisville, and amply endowed, denominated the University of Georgia. Josiah Meigs, Esq. late professor of mathematics and natural philosophy, in Yale college, has lately been chosen president of said university, and is preparing to remove and assume the presidency.
See the Rev. Jonathan Edward’s narrative of the work, printed 1738.
The synod of New York and Philadelphia, at their sessions 1788, divided into four synods: viz. the synod of New York and New Jersey, the synod of Philadelphia, the synod of Virginia, and the synod of the Carolinas. These four synods were to constitute a general assembly; the first meeting of which was appointed to be at Philadelphia, in May, 1789. At the time of division the four synods consisted of sixteen presbyteries, in which there were 182 presbyters, who had the care of about 320 churches; and besides these, there were about 210 vacant churches. In 1794, the number of presbyteries within the limits of the general assembly, amounted to 22; but the returns from them were so deficient, that the increase of presbyters and churches could not be ascertained. The plan of union between the general assembly of the Presbyterian churches, in the United States, and the general association of Connecticut, was agreed upon, by a committee of each, at New Haven, September 15, 1791, and adopted by the general assembly, May 1792, and by the general associations the June following.
The first convention of the episcopal clergy was at Philadelphia, 1789. At this convention, they corrected and ratified the book of common prayer. – The prayers for the king and royal family were left out, and prayers adapted to the Government of the United States inserted; and alteration was also made in the burial service, and various resolutions passed for the government and good order of the episcopal church in the United States. They have met twice, in general convention since; in September 1795, and in June 1799. It appears that there were, at that time, in the States south of New England, 164 ordained officiating, episcopal clergymen. In the State of New York 18; of the New Jersey 6; of Pennsylvania 14; of Delaware 4; of Maryland 39; of Virginia 68; and of South Carolina 13.
William Tuttle, John cooper, William Thorpe, John brockett, William Ives, and James Clarke, are expressed by name.
The tradition is that Mrs. Blakslee, the great grandmother of the present Captain Blakslee, would take her child in her arms, on Sabbath day morning, travel to New Haven and hear Mr. Pierpont preach, and return again after meeting. The same is reported concerning Mrs. Thorpe, the wife of Nathaniel Thorpe. The people who settled this town were brought up in the strict puritanic religion of those excellent men, Mr. Davenport and Mr. Pierpont, and were numbers of them, truly of the excellent of the earth.
One or two families embraced episcopacy with Mr. Wetmore, which began the church in this town. In 1751, when Mr. Ichabod Campwent for orders for Wallingford and Middletown, there were two subscribers for him at North Haven. He came back and officiated at Wallingford, Middletown and North Haven, until 1760, when he removed to Virginia. The Rev. Mr. Punderson visited them frequently, the latter part of the same time, and for a year or two afterwards. In 1760 they built them a small house 40 by 30. From the year 1762, until about the year 1783, they were under the pastoral care of the Rev. Mr. Andrews, of Wallingford. The Rev. Mr. Hart preached to them for several years since, but they are now a plurality under the charge of Rev. Reuben Ives, of Cheshire, and have preaching once in three Sabbaths.
Deacon Yale died 1730; and some years before his death resigned his office.
Deacon Isaiah Tuttle died September 11m, 1776, aged 72. Deacon Thomas Cooper died March 11, 1784, aged 80.
The Indians were sometimes very numerous in this place, and gave much alarm to the inhabitants, especially to the women and children. When the towns of New Haven and Guilford settled, the Indians from both towns collected, principally to Branford and East Haven. At East Haven was the grand Indian burying place to which the Indians, at times, had a king of general refort. The Indians at Mattabeseck, were connected with the Indian in this par of the state, and the extent of the river into the Southern part of Farmington, and the fine fishing and fowling upon it, formed a connexion with the Farmington Indians. The combination of these circumstances, sometimes filled the parish with Indians. At particular times they seemed to swarm upon the river, and the groves and swamps appeared alive with them. Once after the settlement commenced they made a grand pawaw, on the road between the corner of the Market place, and Mr. John Humaston’s; people were in great fear that their fields of corn would be ruined by them; but by the influence of the chief sachem, they were restrained from doing any damage.
Some time before my ordination, Mount Carmel was made a distinct parish, and between twenty and thirty families were taken off from this society’ but they worshipped with us until about the close of the year 1760. The church in Mount Carmel, was embodied January 26, 1764, at which time about 18 members of the church in North Haven, by mutual consent, were embodied with that church. They communed with this church until that time, though they had been annexed to another society.
About 150 families have emigrated from this town within the 40 years of my ministry, besides a great number of young people; but few have moved into it. Almost all the inhabitants of the town are derived from the first planters.
It is 60 feet by 45 and ½. It was erected in 1739m and finished in August 1741.
This consists of 41 families. The firs man in the society of this profession, was Mr. Ebenezer Blakslee. He went off from the church in North Haven with Mr. Wetmore. The church increased considerably, in nearly 40 years, by the population of his own family; some families of the same persuasion moved into the parish, and some others joining them, from among the people in the society, towards the latter part of Mr. Stiles’s ministry, they, on the 24th
of April, 1759, had attained to such numbers, that they, in a solemn manner, formed into church state, and for the first time, chose wardens. At the commencement of the last century there were no sectaries in Connecticut, and thee was but one Episcopalian church in New England, which was in Boston. In 1707, a small Episcopalian church was established in Stratford. At the same time, when Mr. Wetmore declared for episcopacy, Mr. Cutler, the rector of College, and Mr. Johnston, minister at West Haven, declared. They went to England and took orders, and rector Cutler was fixed at Boston, and Mr. Johnston at Stratford. These gentlemen, with one or two more, who declared for episcopacy, at or about the same time, were very much the fathers of the episcopal church in New England.
Life in Connecticut, and New England in general, is one third, at least, nearly one half longer and better than it is in the world in general. Accordeing to the common estimate, one half of mankind die under 17 yars of age, and in populous cities and some parts of the world under 11 years of age; but in the bill of mortality for this town, but two more than half have died under 20. In every thousand people under 20, therefore, 3000 years of life are gained. – among 125,000, 375,000 years are gained. Were all the people throughout this State as healthy as the people in North Haven have been for forty years past, the bill of mortality for the whole State would be but about 3000. But the bills of mortality in the more populous towns and cities are greater; so that upon an average, is between four and five thousands. This is but about one half of the number which die through the world, in general, according to the common estimate. This is not owing wholly to the healthiness of the climate, but to the manners and comfortable living of the people. In Great Britain and in other parts of the world, where the climates are as healthy as in New England, the bills of mortality are much greater. The luxury of the great and opulent shortens their lives and renders their children less healthful and vigorous. The taking them off from the breasts of the mother and putting them unnaturally to others, to suckle and nurse, is doubtless, a further injury to life. The great poverty, low living, hardships, and vides of the people of the lower classes in life, shorten their days. But in New England, none are so poor, or necessarily subject to such hardships as to shorten their days. Their general temperance, regular and sober manner of living, their tender care and nursing of their children, are, under God, the great means of their extraordinary population, health, and longevity. The fear of the Lord prolongeth days. Temperance, chastity, a contended and quiet mind, and peaceful and righteous conduct, a cheerful confidence in God, and the reviving hope of his everlasting mercy, all unite their influence to secure and promote the natural life and happiness of man. Were there no world but this, the human race, would, no doubt, be most happy in the belief and practice of all things which God hath revealed or commanded.
The Rev. Nathaniel Taylor, of New Milford, who died December 9, 1800, in the 79th
year of his age.
On supposition that the inhabitants of the United States now amount to six millions, and that they double once in 25 years, they will in 1825, be 12 millions, in 1850, 24 millions; in 1875, 48 millions, and at the close of the resent century, 25 millions.
August 22, 1752, the city of Adrianople, the second in opulence and population in the empire, was, the greatest part of it, destroyed by an earthquake. September 2m, 1754, Grand Cairo had two thirds of its buildings shaken down, and 40,000 people swallowed up. In 1755, Fez, in Morocco, was half destroyed by an earthquake, and 12, 000 Arabs were buried in ruins. A few years since that part of the country was almost desolated by the plague. Tippoo Saib and his people, lately conquered by Great Britain were Mahometans. These judgments have been executed upon the people of that denomination.