1740 June 11 (Wednesday). Deacon Fay and Deacon Forbush accompany’d me to Marlborough to the Ordination of Mr. Aaron Smith. The Council being form’d, the Church was call’d. Mr. Jabez Ward, Strengthened by Colonel Woods and Mr. William Witt, Objected First, against the Council, alledging that it was not what the Church of Marlborough had chose but what their Committee for appointing the Time of the Ordination and who had no Authority to go any further, had chose. This was answer’d from the Votes of the Church. Secondly that the Church were not ripe for ordaining Mr. Smith, for he had never seen, or Consented to their Original Covenant. This was removed by his Consenting to a Covenant which the Church, upon its being read to them, acknowledged and accepted. He further debated, and alledged many Things, and frequently repeated and insisted upon the Same over again. Mr. William Witt objected against the Council and so not owning them as such had prepar’d no reasons, but had divers to offer if there might be a regular Council call’d, and time to prepare himself. The Council noted that the Church had been regular in their Calling and choosing of this Council, nor any infringement of their Privileges, it having been their own proper act, and that the agrieved had had Sufficient Time to prepare themselves with their Reasons. Colonel Woods offer’d (as he Said) not by way of Objection or Opposition, but by way of Self Defence, what the hasty and precipitant proceeding of the Church had been, and his great Dissatisfaction therewith, which the Council by Examining the Records or Minutes thereof found to be very different (in their Apprehension) from what the Colonel had represented, and especially as to the Choice, the coming to the Choice, and the renewing and strengthening of it — it being by Continuation and adjournment November latter End to December 24 and the last meeting not till some time in February. The Colonel urg’d that not thinking the Church would come to a Choice neither he nor many Others of them acted — But it was made Evident that both Church and Town were fully apprized Sufficient time beforehand what the Business was, and might have come and acted if they had pleas’d — but that those persons were plainly desirous to clogg and impede the Church’s Settlement. When the Colonel declar’d his unpreparedness to offer his Reasons against Mr. Smiths settlement there, the Council desir’d him to reveal what the Reasons were if he did not offer the Defence of them. Colonel said he judg’d him unqualify’d for the Gospel ministry. Upon this the Council read the Testimonials of Sundry Ministers in the County of Essex concerning him; and the Moderator had given an Account of his Examination by a number of ministers at the Church’s express Desire, and the Result of it. And as to ordaining him without hearing him preach, there being but few in the Council, to be sure of the ministers, but what had, They who were of that number, that had not gave the Council to understand that they had taken equivalent Methods for Satisfaction in his ability for public Exercises, and were satisfy’d. Then the Council voted that they were ready (having chose a person to give the Charge — This was done at the Churchs express Desire — and another to give the Right Hand) to proceed to the Public Service. And the Church likewise voted that they were ready. Four o’Clock p.m., Mr. Williams of Weston pray’d. Mr. Wigglesworth preach’d on 1 Tim. 4.16. Mr. Prentice gave the Charge, and Mr. Loring the Right Hand. Sung Ps. 184.108.40.206. After supper Mr. Stone, Mr. Daniel Rogers, of College, and several others of us went to see the Colonel. N.B. Dr. Gott no hand in any of the Business of the Church or Council to Day. Deacon Brown of Weston rode with us as far as Captain Warrins. Late before we got home.
Ward was one of a group of residents of eastern Marlborough, who in the period 1738-1744 were endeavoring to divide the town. Hudson, Marlborough, 128-130.
Son of John Witt of Marlborough.
Rev. Solomon Prentice of Grafton.
Rev. Israel Loring of Sudbury.
(HC 1725). A tutor at Harvard College, and later minister at Exeter, N.H., 1748-1785. SHG, 7:554-560.
Benjamin Brown. Lamson, Weston, 12.