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complexion of the Westminster Assembly and the hopeless minority in which he and his Congregational associates would be likely to find themselves, if members of it.

But the summons of that assembly raised the whole question of the proper organization of the Christian Church to an intensity of debate such as had not yet characterized England. Cotton, Davenport, and Mather on this side of the Atlantic set forth Congregational principles; while English Presbyterian Puritans and their Scottish fellow-believers, like Charles Herle, William Rathband, and Professor Samuel Rutherford, replied with a keen critique of the New England position. The controversy waxed so warm and seemed to the New England divines so important that the ministers assembled at Cambridge on July 1, 1645, examined and approved several answering treatises which had been prepared in refutation of these Presbyterian criticisms. One of these was Hooker's “Survey,” in which the Hartford minister laboriously and minutely traversed the ground covered in the volume entitled “The Due Right of Presbyteries,” which Samuel Rutherford, the vigorous professor of divinity at St. Andrew's, had put forth in 1644. The manuscript of this painstaking work started for England on that ship which sailed from New


Haven harbor one cold winter's day in January, 1646, and the otherwise unknown fate of which was believed to have been mysteriously signified in the strange mirage or apparition which was seen by the people of New Haven nearly two years and a half later, and formed so curious an episode in the story of early New England credulity. The manuscript thus lost, Hooker, after much hesitation, attempted to reproduce; and he was still engaged on the task at the time of his death, so that the form in which it was at last published by his friends, in 1648, was very imperfect. And this incompleteness, combined with the minuteness with which he attempts to refute Rutherford's involved argument, makes the volume exceedingly tedious reading. But the preface of the volume as it stands is evidently a copy of that originally prepared in 1645; and it contains one of the most luminous and compact expressions of Congregational principles to be found in the literature of early New England. Its language is technical, but its meaning is simple and clear.

If [says Hooker] the Reader shall demand how far this way of Church-proceeding receives approbation by any common concurrence amongst us; I shall plainly and punctually expresse my self in a word of truth, in these following points, viz.

Visible Saints are the only true and meet matter whereof a visible Church should be gathered, and confæderation is the form.

The Church as Totum essentiale, is, and may be, before Officers.

Each Congregation compleatly constituted of all Officers, hath sufficient power in her self, to exercise the power of the keyes, and all Church discipline, in all the censures thereof.

Ordination is not before election.

There ought to be no ordination of a Minister at large, Namely, such as should make him Pastour without a People.

The election of the people hath an instrumentall causall vertue under Christ, to give an outward call unto an Officer.

Ordination is only a solemn installing of an Officer into the Office, unto which he was formerly called. . .

Consociation of Churches should be used, as occasion doth require.

Such consociations and Synods have allowance to counsell and admonish other Churches, as the case may require. ...

But they have no power to excommunicate. Nor do their constitutions binde formalitèr & juridicè.

To Hooker's thinking, therefore, a true church of Christ is a company of Christian people united to one another in the service of God by a voluntary covenant and under the spiritual overlordship of Christ. Such a congregation possesses full and complete authority to administer its own affairs, choose and ordain its own officers, and govern its members. We have here presented, in the clearest and most succinct form, that democratic conception of the self-governing independence of the local congregation characteristic of the founders of New England, but especially congenial to the democratic spirit of Hooker, and destined to be vastly influential in the development, not only of New England, but of American political and religious life. And, while we cannot claim for Hooker any such pre-eminence in the formation of Congregational polity as belongs to him in the assertion of principles of democratic civil government, he ranks with Cotton and Mather and Davenport as one of the great expounders of the characteristic religious polity of New England.

It is interesting to observe, however, that this man of power in the pulpit and of leadership in matters of State was as marked by kindness and wisdom in the conduct of the affairs of the church of which he was the pastor as by forcefulness and clearness in the exposition of problems of more public concern.

Cotton Mather records of his relations to the congregation of his Hartford ministry that, “as for ecclesiastical

censures, he was very watchful to prevent all procedures unto them, as far as was consistent with the rules of our Lord; for which cause (except in grosser abominations) when offences happened he did his utmost that the notice thereof might be extended no further than it was when they were first laid before him; and having reconciled the offenders with sensible and convenient acknowledgements of their miscarriages, he would let the notice thereof be confined unto such as were aforehand therewith acquainted; and hence there was but one person admonished in and but one person excommunicated from, the Church of Hartford, in all the fourteen years that Mr. Hooker lived there.”

It would have been fortunate for the early New England churches if all of their pastors had been as profound in their knowledge of human nature and as wise and charitable in their conduct of church affairs as this leader of Connecticut.

Hooker's pastorate at Hartford terminated by his death, after a brief illness, on July 7, 1647. The story recorded of his last hours may well be true, and, if so, seems characteristically illustrative of his humility of spirit.

“ When one that stood weeping by the bedside said unto him, 'Sir, you are going to receive the reward of all your labors,' he replied, “ Brother,

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