In 1629 The theocratic leadership of Salem, Massachusetts had enacted a covenant of correct or proper conduct in the community. Apparently, its statutes were not of sufficient explicitly because a second covenant was enacted in 1636.
Several of my ancestral families such as the Deacon Robert Page family lived in Salem at that time. T/hey moved north to Hampton shortly thereafter. The other families all soon moved away too, so family stories about life in early Salem are limited.
The Enlarged Salem Covenant of 1636
We covenant with our Lord, and one with another; and we do bind our selves in the presence of God, to walk together in all his ways, according as he is pleased to reveal himself unto us in his blessed word of truth; and do explicitly, in the name and fear of God, profess and protest to walk as followeth, through the power and grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
We avouch the Lord to be our God, and our selves to be his people, in the truth and simplicity of our spirits.
We give our selves to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the word of his grace for the teaching, ruling and sanctifying of us in matters of worship and conversion, resolving to cleave unto him alone for life and glory, and to reject all contrary ways, canons, and constitutions of men in his worship.
We promise to walk with our brethren, with all watchfulness and tenderness, avoiding jealousies and suspicions, back-bitings, censurings, provokings, secret risings of spirit against them; but in all offences to follow the rule of our Lord Jesus, and to bear and forbear, give and forgive, as he hath taught us.
In public or private, we will willingly do nothing to the offence of the church; but willing to take advice for our selves and ours, as occasion shall be presented.
We will not in the congregation be forward either to show our own gifts and parts in speaking or scrupling, or there discover the weakness or failings of our brethren; but attend an orderly call thereunto, knowing how much the Lord may be dishonoured, and his gospel, and the profession of it, slighted by our distempers and weaknesses in public.
We bind our selves to study the advancement of the gospel in all truth and peace; both in regard of those that are within or without; no way slighting our sister churches, but using their counsel, as need shall be; not laying a stumbling-block before any, no, not the Indians, whose good we desire to promote; and so to converse, as we may avoid the very appearance of evil.
We do hereby promise to carry our selves in all lawful obedience to those that are over us, in Church or Commonwealth, knowing how well pleasing it will be to the Lord, that they should have encouragement in their places, by our not grieving their spirits through our irregularities.
We resolve to approve our selves to the Lord in our particular callings; shunning idleness as the bane of any stake; nor will we deal hardly or oppressingly with any, wherein we are the Lord’s stewards.
Promising also unto our best ability to teach our children and servants the knowledge of God, and of His Will, that they may serve Him also; and all this not by any strength of our own, but by the Lord Jesus Christ; whose blood we desire may sprinkle this our Covenant made in his name.