Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: Rise of the Baptist Society

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Rise of the Baptist Society

It remains now to consider Mr. Webster's ministry in his relation to the whole town; as, after the union of the two religious organizations, which resulted in his settlement, all the people were nominally Congregationalists, and he, their minister. Only three men, as far as can be learned, claimed to be of a different persuasion, two of whom had joined a Baptist society in Portsmouth. It should not, however, he inferred, that all the people cordially united in the settlement and support of the present pastor.

About that time some of the people became interested in the movements of a few leading men of the new religious sect, then calling themselves CHRISTIANS, and adopted, to some extent, their principles, which differed radically from those held by Mr. Webster and his church, generally. They, as might have been expected, did not continue, voluntarily and cheerfully to aid in the support of the pastor. There were others in the town, who, though they did not affiliate with the new sect, never relished some of the doctrines held and taught by Mr. Webster. One after another of this class began to neglect his ministrations; but this course for many years caused no serious difficulty. The meetings on the Sabbath and at other times were generally well attended, and die minister's salary was promptly paid. Still, some of those who had absented themselves became restive under taxation for his support.

Ten years from the beginning of Mr. Webster's ministry a town meeting was holden, by request, to see if the town wished for his services as their minister any longer." A majority of the voters at the meeting were friendly to Mr. Webster. Instead of acting immediately upon the main article in the warrant, they voted to postpone it, and act upon the next article, under which a consultation with the pastor was to be held, and all further action postponed to an adjourned meeting. But nothing came of it, and things remained as they had been.

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