Sewall, who doubtless was the embodiment of the opposition,
on Wednesday the fourth "held a private fast at Esq. Pettingill's respecting
the approaching event of Mr. Foster's ordination," and "drew seven objections
against his doctrines to be laid before the council," a copy of which
he presented to Mr. Foster on the fifth. Sunday the eighth the Rev.
John Foster, the candidate's brother "preached flagrant free will
doctrine," and Daniel Foster lectured at the meeting-house Monday, and
according to Sewall he "preached poor doctrine. "1
At length Wednesday the eleventh of October, the day
appointed for the ordination, arrived. In the morning the council, composed
of the two Fosters and Rev. Samuel Eaton of Harpswell, Rev. Alex. McLean
of Bristol, and probably Rev. Thomas Moore of Pownalborough, assembled
at Daniel Cony's house. Sewall was present and presented his seven charges
against the "candidate's doctrines,"' and "endeavored to sustain
them." The hearing upon these lasted until noon, when Sewall left the
council to debate the matter. "The debate held till near sunset, when
they proceeded to the meeting-house and laid hands on the candidate."
The next day Sewall records that "Mr. Eaton and Mr.
McLean called and gave him the reason of their laying hands on Mr. Foster,
viz: that he did in the most solemn manner before the council profess
to hold fully to all the cardinal points in the Calvinistic scheme of
divinity, and also gave full account of a work of saving grace on his
own soul!!!!!" to which he adds, "If he speaks truth he
is a Christian!"
The objections against the doctrines held by Mr. Foster,
prepared and presented by Capt. Sewall, are stated as follows:
ARTICLE 1. Holding that the gospel
dispensation was purchased by the death of Christ, in order that God might
accept of an imperfect obedience from his creatures, instead of that perfect
one which his law originally required.
2. Denying that Adam was created
holy. Holding that he had only a capacity to generate holiness by a
series of obedience.
3. Denying the total depravity
of human nature in its unregenerate state. Holding it only in extent,
not in degree. Asserting that unregenerate persons have a moral
power, while such, to ask, and seek, and strive, in the gospel sense;
and that if they then improve common grace they will obtain special
4. Denying the doctrine of absolute, unconditional
election. Holding that