« PreviousContinue »
Accordingly Mr. Bates convened the church, and appointed Deacon Nathan Knowlton and Mr. John Kenny a committee to labor with Mr. Lamb again, who called upon him and asked him if he wished to come back to the church again. To which he replied, he was not prepared to answer that question until he had been informed how he must come, or on what grounds he should be received ; and took up his Bible and recited a passage of scripture referring to the excommunicated person, when Mr. Kenny abruptly observed, we did not come here to dispute with you upon the scripture. To this Mr. Lamb replied, Well, gentlemen, then tell me what I must do, or what you will do. This being in the month of November, 1825, he consented that the church should have till May, 1826, making five years from the time of his suspension, to consider upon it and then to act. The committee then retired.
Here it must be observed, that about the time Mr. Bates became pastor of the church, the Consociation in the County of Windham, voted that the articles of faith and church covenant should be the same in all the churches belonging to that body. Accordingly a new confession of faith and church covenant was received by the church in Newfane, entirely different from that from which Mr. Lamb was suspended. The last committee reported to the church that they got no satisfaction ; and Mr. Lamb appeared at the church meeting on the 4th of May, and expressed some doubts as to the propriety of their proceeding to excommunicate him from a system of faith which he never had subscribed. Mr. Bates replied that he had once put himself under the watch and care of this church, and having a new confession of faith made no difference, he would find them all alike in the County, Brother Lamb then stated that he did not feel accountable to a confession of faith he had not subscribed to ; and then retired to let them act alone. He called upon them again soon after, and Mr. Bates informed him that the church had voted to excommunicate him ; to which he replied, I will accept it. Deacon Knowlton then arose and said, he wished to ask him once more if he was willing to come back to the church again ; to which he replied, May God forbid that ever I should be bound by any man, or body of inen that will not allow me to enjoy my own conscience.Mr. Bates then inforned him, that sixty days would be allowed him to consider and return to his duty, afterwards his sentence would be read, if he did not return. But before sixty days expired, he received the following letter:
Nerofane, June 27, 1826. Mr. James Lamb,
Sir,Whereas you have been convicted of a breach of covenant in voluntarily absenting yourself froin communing with this church at the Lord's table, and for heresy, and after due pains taken with you in private, still remain obstinate and impenitent-whereby it becomes necessary according to the rules of the gospel that
you be publicly admonished as an instituted means to bring you to repentance. These are therefore, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to require you to appear before the pastor and congregation, in the meetinghouse in Newfane, on the nest Thursday in the afternoon, then and there to confess for the sins aforesaid. By order of the Church,
CHANDLER BATES, Pastor.
Newfane, June 28, 1826. Rev. Chandler Bates,
Sir,--Having received a citation from you, to appear before the pastor and congregation, to answer to the charges of voluntary neglect of duty, and heresy, I take this method to state to you the reasons of my noncompliance with your requisition. I have learned since the late church meeting, that I hurt the feelings of some persons by disowning a confession of faith, not in existence when the church withdrew their fellowship from me, therefore I decline appearing before them again. As to your first charge, voluntary neglect of duty, I left my seat at the table, expecting that some of the members would leave theirs if I did not. As to your second charge, heresy, I never knowingly denied the Lord that bought me, but considered him as an all sufficient Savior, as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world ; therefore, I wholly deny the charge. But this I say, that after the way which you call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets.
JAMES LAMB, in the 75th year of his age. The Church of Christ in Mewfane, to Mr. James Lamb.
Sir,--Whereas you having become a member of the Church of Christ in this place, and having solemnly covenanted before God, and with this church, to walk with them in all the doctrines and duties of the gospel, and to submit yourself to the watch and discipline of the
And as you have voluntarily absented yourself from the communion of the Lord's table, and departed from the faith and practice of this church, and violated your covenanted engagements, it has been considered a duty to use those means with you which Christ has directed to be used with an offending brother. The first and second step of the gospel being taken without the desired effect, it was told to the church agreeable to our Lord's direction. The church having seriously examined the complaints, together with the evidence produced, have judged you guilty of a breach of covenant, in voluntarily absenting from the communion, and for heresy, and after due admonition and much patience, dost yet. remain obstinate, giving no evidence of repentance-and it being the will and ordinance of our Lord Jesus Christ, that his church should have no fellowship with himn that is an heretic, (sce Titus 3, 10.) but withdraw themselves from every brother who walketh disorderly, and cast such out of the church, and esteem and treat them as heathen and publicans. I do therefore, in the name and by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the consent of this church, declare thee James Lamb excommunicated and cast out of the communion of the church of Christ--debar thee from their privileges, and deliver thee into the visible kingdom of Satan, for the destruction of thy fleshly and corrupt principles anil practices, that thy spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. With the concurrence of the brethren,
CHANDLER BATES, Pastor. Neufane, July 2, 1826.
Editors of papers or periodical publications who may insert the foregoing or any part of the same, will please make such comments upon the same as they conceive will serve the cause of truth.
REMARKS ON THE FOREGOING.
In the proceedings which the Congregational Church had with Brother Lainb, we discover a very uncharitable spirit. There are but two charges brought against our aged friend. The first is, that he absented himself from the communion table. The second is, that be believed all the human race would finally be saved. Now are either of these charges, or both of them a sufficient reason for excommunicating a respectable member of the church ? Respectable we say, because we find him charged with no immoral or irreligious conduct. We are ready to say that we view such doings rash in the extreme. Br. Lamb, as you will observe, asked to be dismissed from the church, and that without any re
It also ap
commendation from them to join another. But this could not be granted him by the Rev. Pastor. ExcomMUNICATION, and that only would answer. pears that the Articles of Faith had been essentially altered since Br. Lamb joined the church and that without his assistance or consent. This makes it rather doubtful in our minds whether he belonged to the newformed church, and if he did not, we are sure they could not excommunicate him. There is no excommunication spoken of in the New Testament that we recollect, because a brother or a sister did not meet with the disciples of Christ and eat bread and drink wine. Then why should the church in Newsane be so rigid in their rutes ? Again, we do not find in the Bible that a person believing that Christ is the Savior of the world, was ever on that account excommunicated or disfellowshiped by the primitive disciples of Christ.-Paul says, “we trust in the living God who is the Savior of all men, and why may not Br. Lainb do the same ? We close our remarks on this subject by observing that we believe the Church at Newfane would find it a long road to heaven in the arbitrary spirit which they have manifested toward Br. Lainb.
“WHAT THINK YE OF CHREST;" Much has been written and much controversy in private and in public has agitated the christian world concerning this very important question which Christ put to the Jews, “What think ye of Christ P” Many eminent writers have contended, that Christ was the Father; or in other words one, from eternity with the Father, equal in power and glory, the Creator of all worlds, and by his power spake all things, and all beings from a state of chaotic darkness into existence, and placed them in the beautiful order they now stand. This