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conviction that it is the duty of every servant of Christ to sacrifice his own friendship, feelings and connexions, whenever there is a probability of their interfering with the general and superior good of Zion, could have made me submit to this separation with any degree of composure. But viewing this to be the case, I rejoice in the idea that our great Master will make you instrumental in pulling down the high pillars of Satan's kingdom, and destroying his strong hold, and cause you to witness for the truth, as the apostle of old, even at Rome.
When I reflect on the many interesting scenes I have witnessed since you was our pastor—the many hours of sweet intercourse we have had together ; when I consider your zeal, your ardor, your faithfulness in our Master's cause, and the blessing that has attended them, the thought that I must witness them no more, I must confess, is too much for my feeble nature to bear with composure, and I must weep in silence. May a compassionate Saviour forgive the falling tear, if wrong! Suffer me to entreat still an interest in your prayers, and that you will never cease wrestling at the throne of grace for me and those who are dearer to me than life, till I have a comfortable hope that we shall all meet with joy at the final appearing of our glorious Immanuel, when my children shall be of the gems that shall constitute your crown of rejoicing. Now go in peace, cloathed with the whole armor of God, prepared to fight the battles of our Master; and the God of Peace be with you, and make you abundantly successful in all things, and continue you his faithful witness to the end.
My dearest Mrs. B. bears the idea of parting worse than I do. She joins me with our children here, in our best affection to your dear Mrs. Griffin and Louisa, wishing you may long be continued a blessing to each other in health and happiness.
I am, my dear Sir,
HIS RESIDENCE AT ANDOVER AND BOSTON.
On the morning after he preached his farewell sermon, Doctor GRIFFIN left Newark with his family for Massachusetts, and on the 21st of June was inducted with appropriate ceremonies into the professorship at Andover, to which he had been appointed. His inaugural oration, which was one of his most chaste and beautiful productions, fully justified the high opinion that had been formed of his qualifications for that important station.
There was, as has been already intimated, another enterprise with which Doctor GRIFFIN about this time became identified, scarcely less important in its bearing upon the interests of truth and piety, than the opening of the Theological Seminary, viz. the establishment of Park-street church. For nearly seventy years previous to this period, that great system of religious doctrine which had been held by the Pilgrim fathers had been gradually declining in the capital of New-England, till it seemed to have well nigh reached the point of utter extinction. It would be a most important service to the cause of Ecclesiastical History to trace minutely the progress of this decline, and the causes in which it originated; and it is to be hoped that before this generation shall have passed away, and while the materials for such a chapter in our religious history are easily accessible, some qualified person may be found to address himself to the work. If a remark or two on the subject is not out of place in this connexion, perhaps it is safe to say, that this lamentable defection is to be traced, more than to any other cause, to the irregularities and extravagances that prevailed so extensively in New-England during the revival of 1741 and 1742, in which DaVENPORT and others of the same stamp had so prominent an agency. No doubt that many-perhaps most of these, were truly devoted men, who fully believed that in all their wild and fanatical movements they were doing God service; and several of those who had been most conspicuous, especially DAVENPORT himself, not only became convinced of their errors, but retracted them in an honest and christian-like manner; but still it admits of no question that their influence upon the church was both disastrous and enduring. It was quite natural that some of those churches which took a stand against them from the beginning and kept it to the end, should have come out of the conflict with fanaticism with an undue prejudice against religious excitement; and from this there was but a step to a state of chilling formality; and this was the appropriate field for the propagation of a lax theology. And it was quite as natural on the other hand, that those churches over which the tempest of fanati
cism had swept unresisted, should gradually sink into a state of indifference under the influence of a withering re-action: and here again was the legitimate preparation, though effected in a different way, for sowing the seeds of error. About this time arose Doctor MAYHEW and Doctor CHAUNCEY, the former an Arian and the latter a Universalist of the Restoration school, and both thorough going Arminians, and men of great power and commanding influence. The evangelical ministers of Boston, though entertaining a cordial dislike for their theological peculiarities, were yet unwilling to renounce fellowship with them, especially as it was understood that their peculiar views were rather for the study than the pulpit. For thirty or forty years the influence of these distinguished men was operating, silently indeed, but with great power, over most of the churches in Boston and its vicinity; and the secret of their influence no doubt to a great extent was, that though they never preached heterodoxy, at least in orthodox pulpits, yet their views were generally understood, and the interchange of labors with them by evangelical ministers was considered as a virtual acknowledgment on the part of such ministers, that if their views were not absolutely correct, yet they were not deeply erroneous. And the consequence of all this was, that when Doctor MAYHEW and Doctor CHAUNCEY left the stage, there was not only a leaven of Arminianism extensively diffused through nearly all the churches to which their influence had extended, but it was well understood that several clergymen of distinc
tion had secretly embraced their more startling peculiarities. During the last thirty or forty years preceding the commencement of the present century, the theology of Boston was Arminianism gradually declining into Arianism; and when this century opened, though there had been no direct avowal of any dereliction of evangelical principles, except perhaps on the part of a single church, there were probably not more than one or two pulpits in Boston in which was taught the primitive orthodoxy of New-England. There had been no decree of banishment formally and openly issued against this system of doctrine; and there were not wanting those who maintained that it was the system still in vogue, except perhaps being a little pruned of some of its more offensive forms of phraseology; but the truth was, it had been silently, and by almost common consent, driven into exile; and it came to pass at length that it was as much as a man's reputation was worth to appear openly as its advocate.* There
The following extract of a letter on this subject, from the Rev. Dr. Miller, is regarded as too important to be withheld from the public.
"There are two sources of this evil which appear to me to deserve par. ticular consideration. The one is the regular system of exchanges of pul. pits, which for a long time pervaded the Boston churches. When I was first acquainted with that city, which is now nearly half a century ago, the system of exchanges was stated and uniform. No man was expected to be found in his own pulpit on Sabbath morning. And as there was known to be great diversity of creed among the ministers of the city, and as every sermon that a pastor wrote was expected to be preached in all the pulpits in town as well as his own, each got into the habit of writing on such a general plan as would give offence to none. Hence those who believed the peculiar doctrines of the gospel seldom brought them forward with any prominence or point; and those who did not, of course, whenever they came near such doctrines, wrapped up their discussion in general and in. offensive terms. The consequence was, that the most precious and pecu. liar doctrines of the gospel were seldom, from about 1756 or 1760, preached