December 3, 1749

1749 December 3 (Sunday).  Read Exod. 10 with Exposition, and preach’d from 2 Tim. 4.3.  Din’d (by his renewed invitation to me, but no mention of any of the rest) at Deacon Newtons.  Molly and Lucy and Billy tarry’d at the Meeting House.  I enquir’d of Mrs. Newton what was become of them and she manifested concern and Disappointment for she had ask’d them (heretofore) and did Desire they might be with us at Dinner, and said she spoke to Billy (to Day) at the Meeting House Door, to come.  (But I suppose they knew not upon what foot they were to come and therefore did not.  It is a pity that this Affair has made any Difficulty.)  P.M. I read part of Luke 11, viz. to 13, and after a few glances upon it, I wav’d the rest, to the sermon which was upon those words in 2.  When you pray, say, Our Father etc. in which I improv’d what I had upon Mat. 6.9.  For though I had writ more than might have serv’d for one Exercise, upon the Subject in the Morning yet I much rather chose to deliver as much of it as I well could at once.  May God please to pardon my Defects, and own and bless my imperfect, if sincere Endeavours preventing misunderstandings of what has been offer’d, that men might be prejudic’d against seasonable Truth.  May God enable us to see and embrace it as it is in Jesus, and be sanctify’d thereby!  N.B. Besides Neighbour James Maynards going over to the Church of England, we hear sorrowfull News from Hardwick of some Number of those who went from this town (Mr. James Fay[1] etc.) Separating from the Church there and setting up John Roberts[2] late of Grafton, for their Preacher if not Teacher: and some among ourselves hankering to go after them.

[1]Son of the late Captain John Fay of Westborough. Stephen Fay, who had settled in Hardwick in 1746, was a founder of the Separatist Church, Congregational, in Hardwick, in 1750.  Deacon Fay was named as a Tory in 1775 by the Hardwick Committee of Correspondence.  George H. Johnson, One Branch of the Fay Family Tree (Columbus, O., 1913), p. 25.

[2]Roberts was not a college graduate but a lay-preacher or exhorter.  There is no record that the Separatist Church of Hardwick had a settled minister.  In 1761 Roberts and some others of the Congregation voted to move to Bennington, Vermont, and there they formed the first church in the state of Vermont.  Paige, Hardwick, pp. 225-230.