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New England Meeting Houses

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Cottcn Mather said: "I find rio just gronnd in Scripture to apply such a trope as church to a house for public worship. A meeting house is the term that is most cotuinonly used by New England Christians, and every town, for the most part, can say we have a modest aud a handsome house for the worship of God, not set off with gaudy, pompons, tlieaCrical fiuenes, but suited unto the simplicity of Christian worship. " The peopla were seated in the early days, says Dr. Ezra Hoyt Byingtou, in kis book on ' 'The Puritan In England and New Eugland, " on rough benches, uen and women on opposite sides. Pews were not provided first. Now and hen a special vote was passed by the town authorizing some person to build a pew in the meeting house at bis own expense. Squares on the floor, about 6 'eet by 6, were deeded to individuals, on which they erected pews to suit ;hemselves. The best seat was someimes assigned to the man wbo paid the jigbest tax in the parish. Sometimes the committee was instructed "to have respect cpon them that are 50 years old and upward, others to be seated according their pay. " In one instance we have a record that the committee was instrncted "to have respect to age, office and estáte, so far as it tendeth to make a man respectable, and to everything else that hath the same tendency. "


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News