1728 March 11 (Monday). The Church met. I had great fear of disorder, but by the favour of God we went on smooth. Mr. Forbush, just before meeting began, told me I should have wisdom to take Care of my Self but people Said now Mr. Parkman’s undone — but this person has frequently enough shown that his Passions forc’d him to Speak what makes much mischief, though the most ungrounded. I having given a Serious Discourse to keep us all upon our guard in all church matters and Read the Platform Ch. 10. I laid open the case and advis’d first to an arbitration. It was accepted by all. The chief trouble was to find arbitrators. Mr. Bradish excepted against Peres Rice. Said Mr. Newton had bragg’d he had got Mr. Parkman and Mr. Bradish of his Side and he car’d not for all the Church besides. This Information he said came from John Eames of Hopkinton. Mr. Newton declar’d he spake no Such thing nor had he seen John Eames. I openly clear’d my Self from being of either side and by Gods Grace I will remain impartial. The Arbitrators went out and took up the Time. When they came in they declar’d it their Opinion that if Mr. Newton had taken the money by deceit he should return it, but they enquired whether they ought to bring it to Trial whether he had deceiv’d, etc. I reply’d their work was yet to do. I desir’d they would go on and finish it this Evening or Some day Speedily — for they ought to clear off all that was of a Secular Nature in the Cause. It grew Dark. There was opposition by Peres Rice that the witnesses ought to be sworn, etc. I dismiss’d this Business and propos’d another affair for the Church’s Consideration, Advice and Concurrence in. That is the Case of Samuel Hardy and his Wife, etc. I desir’d the Brethren would give me their minds and make what opposition they would ever offer. When one or Two had spoke Peres Rice (who gave us more Trouble than any one this meeting) Said he thought we must either wait till the Civil part of the Case was dispatch’d, till either the Court had done with it or rather till it had been put to an arbitration (reflecting upon the manner of managing the other Business of his Brother Asher and Newton), but (thought there’s difficulty in keeping our Selves under Suitable Command under such girds) I calmly assur’d him it was a far different Case, etc.
The Church gave their Consent to my Proceeding with the said persons and granting them Priviledges if they should Seriously declare their innocence, etc., upon which we clos’d the Meeting. After prayer Asher desir’d it might still go on that He might be heard in what he had of a Distinct Case to be Heard. I told him the meeting was over. What if the Brethren Should hear it? I am indispos’d but they may mediate between you when I am retir’d home. It Satisfy’d him and the Church might, etc. His Speaking the word church confirmed me in it that he thought it would be as much the Church that would act in the Evening upon anything he should bring before them (as much I say) as before the prayer and Blessing and dismission of the meeting, and as much in my absence as when I was there. So that my Reply was thus, viz. But observe, it hasn’t been known that a Church can act (as a Church) without the Pastor, or make acts without the Pastor, which dash’d the whole and I returned home desiring the Arbitrators to finish their work as [soon as] possible and give me notice of it and when they Should desire it there might be (if needfull) another Church Meeting. Diverse came into my house with me. Mr. Tainter Supp’d with me. He agreed to keep my mare, I being short of Hay. Thus finish’d this troublesome Day. My Soul praise the Lord for his gracious assistances and Restraints; and the Lord forgive Every offence by me, and all the offences of my Brethren this Day! For Scarcely do any come off innocent when involv’d in Dissensions.
Son of Thomas Rice, an original settler, and brother of Asher Rice.