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THE CHRISTIAN'S ARMORY.
FEBRUARY, 1807. [No. 9. Vol. II.
To the Editors of the Panoplist. GENTLEMEN, DESIROUS of paying a tribute of respect to the memory of a good and useful
man, who exhibited through life, an example worthy of imitation; and at the request of a respectable member and officer in the church founded by the Rev. Mr. Moorhead, I take the liberty to enclose the following
sketches of his life. In my youth, I was well acquainted with him, though he was then considerably
advanced in years. From information of some of his aged acquaintances and my own knowledge, I have collected the following account of him. It is imperfect, because little is known of the early periods of his life. His contemporaries have long since deceased, and the few writings which he left, were lost in the siege of Boston. Very respectfully yours, &c.
MEMOIRS OF REV. JOHN MOORHEAD, FIRST MINISTER AND FOUNDER OF A PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN BOSTON.
About the year 1729, a num ining, that, as they came from ber of Protestant, Presbyterian Ireland, they must necessarily be families from the North of Ire- Papists. But the truth was, that land, came to Boston. They the Protestant sect, to which were from the counties of Lon- those strangers belonged, had sufdonderry,Donnegall, Antrim and fered far more dreadfully by the Down. The motives inducing a Papists in Ireland, in plunderings, removal from their native coun massacres, and all the horrors of try, were the enhanced price of persecution, than the fathers of their leased lands, ecclesiastical New England ever had, by all the oppression, the prospect of the oppressions of the English hieracquisition of property here ; but archy, conducted by the sanchiefly that they might enjoy re- guinary bishop Laud and his asligious and civil liberty, in this sociates. land of freedom. They were a They were generally descendcompany of religious, moral and ants of ancestors, who emigrated industrious people. They met
They met from Scotland to Ireland, in the with opposition at their landing, reign of king James I. ; and setand patiently suffered the insulis tled in the north part of the Islof the misinformed rabble. Some and, which had been conquered, were opposed to their reception and the estates confiscated, by into the town, ignorantly imag- his predecessor Queen Elizabeth. Vol. II. No. 9.
Hence they were called Scotch voices, they worshipped and honIrish.
oured Him, who, for our salvation, On their admittance into Bos- condescended to be born in a stable. ton, their first care was to prom -As the congregation increased, cure a place for the peaceable by migrations from Ireland and worship of Almighty God, ac- Scotland, they enlarged the place cording to his word. They pur- of worship, by adding two wings chased a lot of land in Bury to the lowly building. The presstreet, cornering on Federal ent commodious and decent edistreet, then called Long Lane. fice was built Anno 1744. Either before they left Ireland, or The first meeting of the brethon their arrival, they invited Mr. ren, with their minister, for the Moorhead to be their minister, election of Elders, according to and he arrived in Boston, soon the discipline of the Church of after them.
Scotland, was at the house of Mr. Moorhead was born in John Little, in Milk Street, July Newton, near Belfast, in the coun- 14th, 1730. ty of Down, of pious and respect
The Elders then chosen, were able parents.
His father, who John Young, Robert Patton, Samwas a farmer, gave him the best uel M'Clure, Richard M'Clure, advantages within his power, for and Thomas M'Mullen, who were improvement in learning. He solemnly consecrated to that offinished his education at one of fice. the universities in Scotland. He In doctrine, worship and discicame to Boston about the twenty- pline, the church was formed acthird year of his age. There cording to the model of the Presis no record of his ordination.* ' byterian Church of Scotland. This little colony of Christians, The Elders with the Pastor formfor some time, carried on the ed the session, and constituted an public worship of God in a barn, ecclesiasticalcourt, for the adjudiwhich stood on the lot which they cation of all matters of governhad purchased. In this humble ment of the congregation, and temple, with uplifted hearts and discipline of its members. AN
* About the time of the arrival of baptized persons, as well as memMr. Moorhead's fock, a considerable
bers in communion, were subnumber of families, with three or four jected to the watch and discipline ministers, also came over from Ire of the session. Candidates for land, and fixed down in different parts admission into the church, were of the country. Particularly, the Rev. John M'Kinstry, who with his examined and admitted by them. people, in 1730, began the settlement Their discipline was strict, and of Ellington,' (in Connecticut) then conducted with great solemnity called Windsor Goshen. The Rev. and decorum. The session met Mr. Abercrombie, who, with a num
frequently, either at Mr. Moorber of families, settled in Pelham ; several at Coleraine, and also in the
head's, or the houses of the ElNorth Society in East Windsor, and ders, in rotation. It began with at Brookfield.
The Rev. James prayer, by the Minister, and M'Gregore, with a considerable con
closed with the same by one of gregation, in 1719, began the settle. inent of Londonderry, in New Hamp
the Elders. shire. He was succeeded by Rev.
In 1744, the number of El. Matthew Clarke in 1729.
ders of his church, were
xwelve, and the congregation was were within his ability to bestow; divided into twelve districts. or solicited assistance for them. The duty of each Elder was to Virtuous strangers from North visit and pray with the sick, with. Britain and Ireland, were sure in his bounds ; to counsel, ac! to find a friend in him. vise, and reprove, when peedful ; good Bishop, he was given to and to notify the session of the hospitality. As a sample of this circumstances of the poor, and benevolence, allow me to men. obtain for them some pecuniary tion, that it was his custom, when assistance.
he heard of ministers from the Once or twice in the year, Mr. country, who were strangers in Moorhead visited all the families Boston, at public houses, to go of bis congregation, in town and or send for them, to come to his country ; (one of the Elders, in hospitable roof. rotation, accompanying him,) for He was faithful and impartial the purpose of religious instruc- in his duty, as a reprover of ertion. On these occasions, he ad ror and vice in all their forms. dressed the heads of families While he rebuked with sharpwith freedom and affection, and ness, he shewed an affectionate inquired into their spiritual state. concern for the offender, and by catechised and exhorted the chil. meekness and condescension, ladren and servants, and concluded boured to reclaim him. With his visit with prayer. In this last equal cheerfulness, he visited the solemn act, (which he always hut or the garret of the poor, and performed on his knees, at home the parlour of the rich, to do and in the houses of his people) them good. Some were offendhe used earnestly to pray for the ed at the severity of his reproofs, family, and the spiritual circum-' and withdrew from his society stances of each member, as they to others, where they could find respectively needed.
more indulgence. He was uniIn addition to this labour of versally respected by the good, family visitations, he also con and feared by those of the oppovened, twice in the year, the fam- site character. He appeared less ilies, according to the districts, at ambitious of fame, than of faiththe meeting-house, when he fulness as a minister of Christ. conversed with the heads of fam Mr. Moorhead was a plain, ilies, asking them questions, on evangelical and practical preachsome of the most important doc: He paid very little attention trines of the gospel, agreeably to to the ornaments of style, in his the Westminster confession of pulpit performances. His disfaith; and catechised the chil courses appeared to be extempodren and youth,
He expounded the He was unwearied in his en- Scriptures in course in the morndeavours to promote the edifica- ing, and delivered a sermon in tion and salvation of his people. the afternoon. He preached the His thoughts and plans of be law and the gospel, in their spirnevolence extended also to ituality and purity. He insisted their temporal concerns. He principally on the peculiar doc, encouraged the industrious, by trines of the gospel,—the deep such small pecuniary aids as depravity of human nature-tbo
Divinity of Jesus Christ, and the duties of family religion, and the efficacy of the atonement
the government and education of special agency of the Divine their children. Spirit in regeneration ; the ne- At the age of twenty-six, Mr. cessity of repentance ; of faith Moorhead married Miss Sarah in Christ, and of good works. Parsons, an English lady of a
He possessed strength of bright genius and good education. mind, sprightliness of imagina- With her he lived happily, many tion, and readiness of expres- years; and by her had several sion; but appeared indifferent to children. The only surviving the choice of the most appro- one, is the widow of the late Capt. priate phraseology. His manner Alexander Wilson of Boston. was solemn, affectionate, and He continued the faithful paspathetic. His language and tor of the church about forty-tour manner were the index of his
years, and died at the commence. mind. He spoke from the heart. ment of the revolutionary war, His tears flowed in the earnest, and entered we trust into everalarming, or persuasive applica- lasting rest. tions of his sermons. He was The children of the founders án “ Israelite, in whom was no of the church, feeling less atguile.” Such was the success tachment than their fathers, to of his faithful labours, and the the particular forms of Presbyteaccession of foreign Protestants, rian church government, and that in six years, after the found- finding themselves locally distant ing of the church, the communi. from those of the same denomicants were about two hundred nation, with whom to associate ; and fifty. Four times in the changed the Presbyterian, for the year, he celebrated the Lord's Congregational form of governsupper. They were seasons of ment, at the settlement of the
reat solemnity. On these occa- Rev. Dr. Belknap, the successor sions Mr. Moorhead commonly of Mr. Moorhead. had the assistance of one or two May the purity of evangelical of his brethren, particularly the doctrines and manners, be foreve Rev. Mr. M'Gregore, and after- er maintained in a church foundwards the Rev. Mr. Clarke of ed by the signal' direction and Londonderry, and once, of the blessing of Heaven ! celebrated Mr. Whitefield, when every heart was moved by his solemn and enraptured perform
LIFE OF REV. JOHN SERGEANT. ances. On these occasions, each minister served a tablein rotation.
(Continued from page 355.) At those seasons of fervent zeal in religion, the house BESIDES contending with the could not contain the multitudes, difficulties, which arose from the eager to hear the words of eter ignorance, the degradation, the nal life. The doors and windows habits of the Indians, Mr. Serwere crowded with spectators. geant met witi: obstructions to
The society in general were his benevolent designs from an respectable for good morals, in- unexpected quarter. If indig. dustry, sobriety, attention to the nation ever rises in the breast of
" If I
a good man, he will feel indig- the objects of the mission. The nant when he reads, that certain number of scholars had now inDutch traders from Hudson's creased to twenty-five, and the river, who had supplied the In- opinion which Mr. Sergeant had dians with rum at a very advanc formed of the capacity of his ed price, and who took advantage tawney pupils, will be seen in of their folly, when in a state of the following extract from a letintoxication, to make a good bar ter addressed to Adam Win. gain with them, fearing that throp, Esq. Secretary of the their profit would be diminished board of Commissioners. and their “ craft be in danger," do not judge amiss, the Indian made every attempt to produce children excel the generality of in their minds an aversion to the ours in pregnancy of parts and Christian religion and a suspi good humour. I am sure that I cion of the design, for which could not have found an English a missionary was sent amongst school any where, that would them. But such conduct, how have pleased me so much." He much soever it may excite ab proceeds to say, “ Capt. Kunkahorrence, is neither surprising pot is an excellent man, and I do nor uncommon. When men believe has the true spirit of prefer the acquisition of wealth Christianity in him. He knows to a good conscience, we must a great deal, and by the character suppose that they will overlook all his acquaintance give of him, every consideration of humanity his conduct is unexceptionable." and benevolence ; and how ma While at New Haven, he was ny do we now observe, who op not unmindful of his Housatonic pose the progress of the gospel, friends, but sent them several if not exactly in the manner a letters ; in one of which he tells dopted by the Dutch traders, yet
you are always in my by refusing to obey it, by their heart, and I cease not every day pernicious examples, and by cast to pray to God for you. We are ing contempt upon the righteous? all sinners, and deserve to be punMr. Sergeant, however, was so ished; but Christ took upon himhappy as to convince the Indians self the punishment due to us. of the design of the traders, and They cannot be your friends, thus counteracted the insinua that try to discourage you. They tions of those, whose gain was only endeavour to keep you in their godliness.
ignorance, that they may be unIn December, agreeably to his der better advantage to cheat promise when he left New Ha you. Knowledge is certainly ven, he returned to the college good. It is to the mind what to remain until commencement light is to the eye. You would with the class, which had been think them your greatest enecommitted to his care. He took mies, that should endeavour to with him two Indian boys, the put out your eyes ; especially if sons of the Captain and Lieuten you were travelling a difficult ant, and left in his school at Honi road. This world is like a thick, satonic Mr. Timothy Wood and entangled wilderness; and bridge of Springfield, who was why should not you, as well as tery serviceable in promoting other people, enjoy the benefit of