ORIGINAL NARRATIVES OF EARLY AMERICAN HISTORYINTRO
The Wonder-working Providence of Sions Saviour
BEING A RELATION OF THE FIRST PLANTING IN NEW ENGLAND IN THE YEARE, 1628
The sad Condition of England, when this People removed.
When England began to decline in Religion, like lukewarme Laodicea, and instead of purging out Popery, a farther compliance was sought not onely in vaine Idolatrous Ceremonies, but also in prophaning the Sabbath, and by Proclamation throughout their Parish churches, exasperating lewd and prophane persons to celebrate a Sabbath like the Heathen to Venus, Baccus and Ceres; in so much that the multitude of irreligious lascivious and popish affected persons spred the whole land like Grashoppers, in this very time Christ the glorious King of his Churches, raises an Army out of our English Nation, for freeing his people from their long servitude under usurping Prelacy; and because every corner of England was filled with the fury of malignant adversaries, Christ creates a New England to muster up the first of his Forces in; Whose low condition, little number, and remotenesse of place made these adversaries triumph, despising this day of small things, but in this hight of their pride the Lord Christ brought sudden, and unexpected destruction upon them. Thus have you a touch of the time when this worke began.
Christ Jesus intending to manifest his Kingly Office toward his Churches more fully than ever yet the sons of men saw, even to the uniting of Jew and Gentile Churches in one Faith begins with our English Nation (whose former reformation being vere imperfect) doth now resolve to cast down their false foundation of Prelacy, even in the hight of their domineering dignity. And therefore in the yeere 1628, he stirres up his servants as the Heralds of a King to make this proclamation for Voluntiers, as followeth.
"Oh yes! oh yes! oh yes! All you the people of Christ that are here Oppressed, Imprisoned and scurrilously derided, gather yourselves together, your Wives and little ones, and answer to your severall Names as you shall be shipped for his service, in the Westerne World, and more especially for planting the united Collonies of new England; Where you are to attend the service of the King of Kings."
Upon the divulging of this Proclamation by his Herralds at Armes, many (although otherwise willing for this service) began to object as followeth:
"Can it possible be the mind of Christ, (who formerly inabled so many Souldiers of his to keepe their station unto the death here) that now so many brave Souldiers disciplined by Christ himselfe the Captaine of our salvation, should turne their backs to the disheartning of their Fellow-Souldiers, and losse of further opportunity in gaining a greater number of Subjects to Christs Kingdome?"
Notwithstanding this Objection, It was further proclaimed as followeth: "What, Creature, wilt not know that Christ thy King crusheth with a rod of Iron, the Pompe and Pride of man, and must he like man cast and contrive to take his enemies at advantage? No, of purpose hee causeth such instruments to retreate as hee hath made strong for himselfe: that so his adversaries glorying in the pride of their power, insulting over the little remnant remaining, Christ causeth them to be cast downe suddenly forever, and wee find in stories reported, Earths Princes have passed their Armies at need over Seas and deepe Torrents. Could Caesar so suddenly fetch over fresh forces from Europe to Asia, Pompy to foyle? How much more shall Christ who createth all power, call over this 900 league Ocean at his pleasure, such instruments as he thinks meete to make use of in this place, from whence you are now to depart, but further that you may not delay the Voyage intended, for your full satisfaction, know this is the place where the Lord will create a new Heaven, and a new Earth in, new Churches, and a new Common-wealth together; Wherefore,
The Commission of the People of Christ shipped for New England,
and first of their gathering into Churches.
"Attend to your Commission, all you that are or shall hereafter be shipped for this service, yee are with all possible speed to imbarque your selves, and as for all such Worthies who are hunted after as David was by Saul and his Courtiers, you may change your habit and ship you with what secrecy you can, carrying all things most needfull for the Voyage and service you are to be imployed in after your landing. But as you shall forthwith shew whose servants you are by calling on the Name of your God, sometimes by extraordinary seeking his pleasing Face in times of deepe distresse, and publishing your Masters will, and pleasure to all that Voyage with you, and that is his minde to have purity in Religion preferred above all dignity in the world, your Christ hath commanded the Seas they shall not swallow you, nor Pyrates imprison your persons, or possesse your goods. At your landing see you observe the Rule of his Word, for neither larger nor stricter Commission can hee give by any, and therefore at first filling the Land whither you are sent, with diligence, search out the mind of God both in planting and continuing Church and civill Government, but be sure they be distinct, yet agreeing and helping the one to the other; Let the matter and forme of your Churches be such as were in the Primitive Times (before Antichrists Kingdome prevailed) plainly poynted out by Christ and his Apostles, in most of their Epistles, to be neither Nationall nor Provinciall, but gathered together in Covenant of such a number as might ordinarily meete together in one place, and built of such living stones as outwardly appeare Saints by calling. You are also to ordaine Elders in every Church, make you use of such as Christ hath indued with the best gifts for that
end, their call to Office shall be mediate from you, but their authority and commission shall be immediate from Christ revealed in his word; which, if you shall slight, despise or contemne, hee will soone frustrate your call by taking the most able among you to honour with an everlasting Crown; whom you neglected to honour on Earth double as their due, or he will carry them remote from you to more infant Churches. You are not to put them upon anxious Cares for their daily Bread, for assuredly (although it may now seeme strange) you shall be fed in this Wildernesse, wither you are to goe, with the flower of Wheate, and Wine shall be plentifull among you (but be sure you abuse it not). These Doctrines delivered from the Word of God imbrace, and let not Satan delude you by perswading their learned skill is unnecessary, soone then will the Word of God be slighted as translated by such, and you shall be left wildred with strange Revelations of every phantastick brain; which to prevent here are to be shipped among you many both Godly, Juditious and Learned, who
Of the Demeanor of their Church Officers.
"Being called to Office are in all humility to feed the flock of Christ, and not for lucre to admit mostly of such sheepe, whose faire fleeces allure much: nor yet for filling the flocks to crowd in infectious sheepe, or rather wolves in sheepes cloathing, assuredly it will prove bitternesse in the end: neither shall you, for feare your allowance will fall short, hinder the increase of Churches, that so your fellow brethren indued with like gifts fall short of all; But above all beware of any love selfe-conceited Opinion, stopping your ears from hearing the Counsell of an Orthodox Synod, but by daily communication one with another impart Christs minde each to other, that you may all speake one and the same things; heale not lightly the wounds that Wolves make, lest from their festering Teeth a Gangrin grow; and further for compleating the Churches of Christ as well in matters as in Doctrine, there are ancient experienced godly Christians shipped among you (but be sure you make choise of such, for feare they be despised) and let them not be led by favor or affection (as naturally men are) to Administer in your Office partially, for unworthy the name of a Ruling Elder is hee, who loses his Lyon-like courage, when the sound and wholesome Doctrines delivered by Pastor or Teacher are spoken against by any; unseemely behaviour and sleepy hearing by private exhortation prevent (if possible) lest publick example in open professors stumble some and hinder the operation of his word, especially in the hearts of those who have bin long time led away with the inventions of man in the worship of God. Be sure you contradict not but confirme with trienall love the Doctrines of Christ, delivered by your Teaching Elders, which will be a great means to make it prevaile, for a three-fold cord is not easily broken, trust not to your own gifts for preventing error, but use all helpes that Christ may bless his own meanes, cast not away as incorrigible such as at first receive not the word in all points, but wait with patience if at any time the Lord will be pleased to give them a heart to turne unto him. Beware of a proud censorious spirit, and should Christ be pleased to place in his building more pollished stones than thy selfe, make it matter of rejoycing and not of envy. And further, because the Preaching of the word is to be continued with all diligence, here are likewise imbarked with you faithful servants of Christ to attend on the Tables of the Churches, plaine-dealing men, yea, indued with wisdome from above, by which they are inabled to manage and improve the Churches Treasury, not greedily given to hoord up for themselves, but by their own example leading others to liberality, and hospitality, having the Earth in low esteeme, and Faith in exercise when Cattell and Corne fayle, not given to magnifie their own gifts, but boldly maintayning such sound truths as their Teaching Elders have cleared up from the word of God. And,
How the People in Christs Churches are to behave themselves.
Now you’re his People, who are pickt out by his provide[ence] to passe this Westerne Ocean for this honourable service, beware you call not weake ones to Office in this honorable Army, nor Novices, lest they be lifted up with pride. You see how full you are furnished for the worke, give no eare to any Braggadociaes, who to extoll themselves will weaken the hands of those whom Christ hath made strong for himselfe. Yea, such will be the phantasticall madnesse of some (if you take not heed) that silly Women laden with diverse lusts, will be had in higher esteeme with them, then those honoured of Christ, indued with power and authority from him to Preach; Abuse not the free and full liberty Christ hath given you in making choyce of your own Officers, and consent in admitting into his Churches, and casting out such Members as walke disorderly; you are to walke in all humility, lest in injoyment of such freedoms as you formerly have not exercised, you exceede the bounds of modesty, and instead of having your moderation knowne to all, your imbecility, and selfe-exaltation bee discovered by many. In admission of others into Church society, remember your selves were once Aliens from the Covenant of Grace, and in Excommunication, consider how your selves have been also tempted: in sincerity and singlenesse of heart, let your words be few, do nothing [to] be had in high esteeme among men; And think it no imputation of a weake discerning to be followe[r]s of those set over you in the Lord as they follow Christ; Let your Profession outstrip your Confession, for seeing you are to be set as lights upon a Hill more obvious than the highest Mountaine in the World, keepe close to Christ that you may shine full of his glory, who imployes you, and grub not continually in the Earth, like blind Moles, but by your amiable Conversation seeke the winning of many to your Masters service. Beware of a proud censorious spirit, make it no part of your Christian communication to be in continuall discourse of others faults; Let all things be done in love, and looke not for more smoothnesse in stones as yet unplaced in Christs building then is in thy selfe, who hast been long layd therein: wait with patience and cast not off as Reprobates such as canno0t presently joyne with you in every poynt of Discipline, and yet hold fast to sound and wholesome Doctrine. If you will be a people to his prayse, who hath called you, seeke the turning of many to Righteousnesse, purge out all the sowre Leven of unsound Doctrine, for the minde of Christ is to build up his Churches, and breake them down no more; And therefore be sure there be none to hurt or destroy in all his holy Mountaine, and as he hath pressed you for his service, that by passing through the Flouds of Persecution you should be set at liberty, and have power put into your hands, Then let none wrest it from you under pretence of liberty of Conscience. Men of perverse judgements will draw Disciples after them, but let your consciences be pure, and Christs Churches free from all Doctrines that deceive. And all you, who are or shall be shipped for this worke, thinke it not enough that you injoy the truth, but you must hate every false way and know you are called to be faithful Souldiers of Christ, not onely to assist in building up his Churches, but also in pulling downe the Kingdome of Anti-Christ, then sure you are not set up for tollerating times, nor shall nay of you be content with this that you are set at liberty, but take up your Armes, and march manfully on till all opposers of Christs Kingly power be abolished: and as for you who are called to sound forth his silver Trumpets, blow lowd and shrill, to this chiefest treble tune; For the Armies of the great Jehovah are at hand. See you not his Enemies stretched out on tiptoe, proudly daring on their thresholds, a certaine signe of their sudden overthrow? be not danted at your small number, for every common Souldier in Christs Campe shall be as David, who slew the great Goliah, and his Davids shall be as the Angels of the Lord, who slew 185000. In the Assyrian Army.
Finally, all you who are now sent forth by Christ your Jehovah to enter upon a Blessed Reformation, if ever you will have the honours to be provokers of his ancient People Israel (who are againe suddenly to be honoured by him in believing) kindle the fire of jealousy in their brests by your Holy, Heavenly and humble walking, have you not the most blessedest opertunity put into your hands that ever people had? then
What Civill Government the People of Christ ought to set up,
and submit unto in New England.
Fayle not in prosecution of the Worke, for your Lord Christ hath furnished you with able Pilots, to steere the Helme in a godly peaceable, Civill Government also, then see you make choyce of such as are sound both in Profession and Confession, men fearing God and hating bribes; whose Commission is not onely limitted with the commands of the second Table, but they are to looke to the rules of the first also, and let them be sure to put on Joshuas resolution, and courage, never to make League with any of these seven Sectaries.
First, the Gortonists, who deny the Humanity of Christ, and most blaphemously and proudly professe themselves to be personally Christ.
Secondly, the Papist, who with (almost) equall blasphemy and pride prefer their own Merits and Workes of Supererogation as equall with Christs invaluable Death, and Sufferings.
Thirdly, the Families, who depend upon rare Revelations and forsake the sure revealed Word of Christ.
Fourthly, Seekers, who deny the Churches and Ordinances of Christ.
Fifthly, Antinomians, who deny the Morall Law to be the Rule of Christ.
Sixthly, Anabaptists, who deny Civill Government to be proved of Christ.
Seventhly, the Prelacy, who will have their own Injunctions submitted unto In the Churches of Christ. These and the like your Civill Censors shall reach unto, that the people of and under your Government, may live a quiet and peaceable life in all godlinesse and honesty, and to the end that you may provoke Kings, Princes, and all that are in authority to cast downe their Crownes at the Feet of Christ, and take them up againe at his command to serve under his Standard as nursing Fathers, and nursing Mothers to the Churches and people of Christ; when your feete are once safely set on the shores of America, you shall set up and establish civill Government, and pray for the prosperity thereof, as you love the peace of his Churches, who hath called you to this service, he hath for that end shipped among you, some learned in the Law of God, and practised in rules of good reason or common Lawes proper to our English Nation. Be sure you make choyce of the right, that all people, Nations and Languages, who are soonly to submit to Christs Kingdome, may be followers of you herein, as you follow the Rule of Christ; your Magistrates shall not but open the Gates for all sorts. But know, they are Eyes of Restraint set up for Walles and Bulworks, to surround the Sion of God; Oh for Jerusalem her peace, see that you mind it altogether, you know right well that the Churches of Christ have not thrived under the tolerating Government of Holland, from whence the Lord hath translated one Church already to the place whither you are now to goe; and further it is well known, loose liberty cannot indure to looke Majesticall authority in the face. And also you shall finde erronious persons will contend with authority for upholding truth irrationally, denying it any power to condemne deceiveable Doctrines, and that upon this very ground, because Tyranny hath inforced error heretofore; be not borne downe with a multitude, neither let any flatter for preferment, which to prevent, honour shall be very chargeable among you; yet let not any deny to beare the burden and cumber of governing this people of Christ; for assuredly, although their recompence fall short from man, it shall not be forgotten with the Lord. Lastly,
How the People of Christ ought to behave themselves in War-like Discipline.
You shall with all diligence provide against the Malignant adversaries of the truth, for assure your selves the time is at hand wherein Antichrist will muster up all his Forces, and make was with the People of God; but it shall be to his utter overthrow. See then you store your selves with all sorts of weapons for war, furbrish up your Swords, Rapiers, and all other piercing weapons. As for great Artillery, seeing present meanes falls short, waite on the Lord Christ, and hee will stir up friends to provide for you: and in the meane time spare not to lay out your coyne for Powder, Bullets, Match, Armes of all sorts, and all kinde of Instruments for War: and although it may now seeme a thing incredible, you shall see in that Wildernesse, whither you are going, Troopes of stout Horsemen marshalled, and therefore fayle not to ship lusty Mares along with you, and see that with all dilligence you incourage every Souldier-like Spirit among you, for the Lord Christ intends to atchieve greater matters by this little handfull then the World is aware of; wherefore you shall seeke and set up men of valour to lead and direct every Souldier among you, and with all diligence to instruct them from time to time.
Feare not the misse of men to fill your Townes, and compleat your companies; for although at first struglings for truths advance there may but a small number appeare of sound judgement: yet shall you not prefer any to Office, whose zeale is not strong for the truth, for now the mind of Christ is to put out the Name of Ammaleck from under Heaven (I meane such as have persecuted the Churches and People of Christ in their low condition) and assuredly unsound Saules will spare such as should not be saved from destruction.
Then be strong and of a good courage (all you that are to fight the Lords Battaile) that your Faith faile not at sight of the great Armies of Gog and Magog: and as for you, who shall be preferred to highest places in his New England Regiments, cause your Captaine and other inferior Officers to be diligent in their severall places, that you may lend helpe to your Countreymen, that ere long be will see a necessity of contending for the truth, as well as your selves in choyce of Military Officers; Let faithfulnesse to the cause in hand, courage, activity and skill have the prehemency of honours; for although it may seeme a meane thing to be a New England Souldier, yet some of you shall have the battering and beating down, scaling, winning and wasting the over-topping Towers of the Hierarchy; Lieutenants, Ensigne and Serjeants, exceed not your places, till Experience, Skill and true Valour promote you to higher honour, to which you shall be daily aspiring. As the worthy incouragement of a Souldiers labour, let Military discipline be had in high esteem among you. Gentlemen, Corporalls, and fellow-Souldiers, keepe your weapons in continuall readinesse, seeing you are called to fight the Battails of your Lord Christ; who must raigne till hee hath put all his enemies under his Feet, his glorious Victories over Antichrist are at hand, never yet did any Souldier rejoyce in dividing the spoyle after Victory, as all the Souldiers of Christ shall, to see his judgement executed upon the great Whore, and withall the Lambs bride prepared for him, who comes Skipping over and trampling down the great Mountaines of the Earth, whose universall Government will then appeare glorious, when not onely the Assyrian, Babilonian, Persian, Grecian and Roman Monarchies shall subject themselves unto him, but also all other new upstart Kingdomes, Dukedomes, or what else can be named, shall fall before him; Not that he shall come personally to Reigne upon Earth (as some vainly imagine) but his powerfull Presence and Glorious brightnesse of his Gospell both to Jew and Gentile, shall not onely spiritually cause the Churches of Christ to grow beyond number, but also the whole civill Government of people upon Earth shall become his, so that there shall not be any to move the hand, nor dog his tongue against his chosen, And then shall the time be of breaking Speares into Mattocks, and Swords into Sithes; and this to remaine to his last comming, which will be personally to overcome the last enemies of his Saints, even death, which hee will does by the word of his Mouth, audibly spoken the World throughout.
Then all you, who are now, or shall hereafter be shipped for this Voyage, minde the worde of Christ, and not some following raigne [vain?], titles of honour, others eying the best Grasse-platts and best Situation for Farmes and large Accommodations, crouding out Gods people from sitting down among you. Wherefore above all beware of covetousnesse; all you that will be admitted into these select Bands of Christ Jesus, remember Achan, whereas Rams Hornes could overthrow the high and strong walles of Jericho, before his theft committed, after it the little number of the men of Ai could put the Host of the living God to flight. See then you stand upon your watch continually in the strength of Christ, for assuredly instead of casting downe the enemies of Christ, this sin will cast down you utterly, disinable you for striking one stroke in the cause of Christ; and whereas he hath purposely pickt out the People for a patterne of purity and soundnesse of Doctrine, as well as Discipline, that all such may finde a refuge among you, and let not any Merchants, Inkeepers, Taverners and men of Trade in hope of gaine, fling open the gates so wide, as that by letting in all sorts you mar the worke of Christ intended: neither shall such labourers as hee hath pickt out to be pyoneers in this Campe of his, drinke up like Spunges such meanes as hee hat sent to maintaine both Officers, and private Souldiers. Lastly, let not such as fight set foote on Land to compose Townes for Habitations, take up large accommodations for sale, to inrich themselves with others goods, who are to follow them, but freely as you have received, so give out to others: for so soone as you shall seeke to ingrosse the Lords wast into your hands, he will ease you of your burden by making stay of any farther resort unto you, and then be sure you shall have wast Land enough.
To this Commission was added a strong motive to this work as followeth: Namely, the great enmity betweene that one truth as it is in Jesus, and all other unsound and undeceiveable Doctrines, together with the persons that hold them; insomuch, that they cannot stand in one Common-wealth long together, as sixteene hundred yeares experience will testifie, the which Moses layes down as one maine reason, why he might not admit of a toleration to worship God in Egypt. And therefore all you that believe the Scriptures, which so plainly prophecy the destruction of Antichrist and all Antichristian Doctrines; Pray, pray, pray, pray continually with that valiant worthy Joshua that the Sun may stand still in Gibeon, and the Moone in the vally of Aijalon, for assuredly although some small battailes may be fought against the enemies of Christ, yet the great day of their finall overthrow shall not come till the bright Sonne of that one cleare truth of Christ, stand still in the gentile Churches, that those who fight the Lords Battells may plainly discerne his enemies in all places, where they finde them, as also such as will continue fighting must have the World kept low in their eyes, as the Moon in the valley of Aijalon.
Of the goodnesse of God in helping his People to a large liberty in Spirituall things, under the hopes of gaine in Earthly things.
This Proclamation being audibly published through the Ile of Great Brittaine by sundry Herraulds, which Christ had prepared for that end: the rumour ran through Cities, Townes and Villages; when those that were opposites heard it, some cried one thing, and some another, much like the tumult in the Townhall at Ephesus, some said let them goe, others cryed, sweare them first, others said let no Subsidy men passe, others would have strict search made for non-conformants, and that none of the late silenced Ministers might passe into the Ships; Amidst this great hurry the sincere servant of Christ humbly seeke the Lords assistance in days of Humiliation, taking up some serious cogitations, how to begin this worthy worke, upon which it was thought meete a patterne should be procured, comprised after the manner of a Corporation-company or Brotherhood, with as large liberty for government of the Association, as could be got under the Broad Seale of England, which accordingly was done by advise of one Mr. White and honest Counsellor at Law, as also furthered by the honoured Mr. Richard Belinham, and under the name of many worthy personages, as Governour, Dep. Gov., Assistant[s] and Freeman, etc. Granted, Ingrossed and Sealed as holding of the manner of East Greenwitch, yeelding by way of homage the sixth part of all such Ore of Gold or Silver, as might for after the time be found within the Limits of the said Grant bounded on the North, with the most Northerly part of the pleasant River of Merimech, one mile beyond, and on the South with the most Southern part of that oft frequented River commonly called Charles, one mile beyond, with power to rule and govern in all those parts both by Sea and Land; To elect and set up all sorts of Officers, as well Superior as Inferior; to point out their power and places, to defend and maintaine the said Land, and Inhabitants thereof with all their lawfull liberties (against all such as at any time should Invade, Molest or Disturbe the same) as well by offensive as defensive War, as also to constitute and ordaine Lawes, etc. Thus these Souldiers of Jesus Christ prepared to advance his Kingly Government, much like Samuel, when he went to annoynt David, took up another errant, withall that the Malignant spirit of Saul might not hinder the worke, so those Worthies of Christ joyning themselves with Merchants and others, who had an eye at a profitable Plantation, who had not herein been deceived would they have stayed their time, but surely such mist not their marke, whose ayme was at the durable interest, unlesse the fault were their owne, neither let any man thinke Christ will not recompense those one way or other, would have been any way helpful to his people in this his work; amongst whom the Author will not misse that good Gentlemen, Matthew Craddock. By the way of thankfullnesse to him, Mr. Goff and others this Verse is tendred:
For richest Jems and gainfull things most Merchants wisely venter;
Deride not then New England men, this Corporation enter;
Christ calls for Trade shall never fade, come Craddock factors send:
Let Mayhew go and other more, spare not they coyne to spend;
Such Trades advance did never chance, in all thy Trading yet:
Though some deride thy losse, abide, her[e]’s gaine beyond mans wit.
Of the wonderfull Preparation the Lord Christ by his Providence,
wrought for his peoples abode in this Western world.
Now let all men know the admirable Acts of Christ for his Churches and chosen, are universally over the whole Earth at one and the same time, but sorry man cannot so discourse of them; And therefore let us leave our English Nation in way of preparation for this Voyage intended, and tell of the marvelous doings of Christ preparing for his peoples arrivall in the Western World, whereas the Indians report they beheld to their great wonderment that perspicuous bright blazing Comet (which was so famously noted in Europe); anon after Sun set it appeared as they say in the South-west, about three houres, continuing in their Horizon for the space of thirty sleepes for so they reckon their dayes) after which uncouth sight they expected some strange things to follow, and the rather, because not long before the whole Nation of the Mattachusets were so affrighted with a Ship that arrived in their Bay, having never seene any before, thus they report some persons among them upon the Waters, wondering what Creature it should be, they run with their light cannowes, (which are a kind of Boates made of Birch Rindes, and sowed together with the rootes of white Cedar-Trees) from place to place, stiring up all their Countreymen to come forth, and behold this monstrous thing; at this sudden news the shores for many miles were filled with this naked Nation, gazing at this wonder, till some of the stoutest among them manned out these Cannowes. Being armed with Bow and Arrowes, they approached within shot of the Ship, being becalmed, they let fly their long shafts at her, which being headed with bone some stuck fast, and others dropped into the water, they wondering it did not cry, but kept quietly on toward the, till all of a sudden the Master caused a piece of Ordnance to be fired, which stoke such feare into the poore Indians, that they hasted to shore, having their wonders exceedingly increased; but being gotten among their great multitude, they waited to see the sequell with much amazement, till the Seaman firling up their sailes came to an Anchor, manned out their long bote, and went on shore, at whose approach, the Indians fled, although now they saw they were men, who made signes to stay their flight, that they may have Trade with them, and to that end they brought certaine Copper-Kettles; the Indians by degrees made their approach nearer and nearer till they came to them, when beholding their Vessells, which they had set forth before them, the Indian knocking them were much delighted with the sound, and much more astonished to see they would not breake, being so thin, for attaining those Vessells they brought them much Bever, fraughting them richly away according to their desires. This was the first working providence of Christ to stir up our English Nation, to plant these parts in hope of a rich Trade for Bever-skins, and this made some of our Country-men make their abode in these parts, whom this Army of Christ at their comming over found as fit helps to further their designe in planting the Churches of Christ; Who by a more admirable act of his Providence not long after prepared for his peoples arrivall as followeth.
The Summer after the blazing Starre (whose motion in the Heavens was from East to West, poynting out to the sons of men the progresse of the glorious Gospell of Christ, the glorious King of his Churches) even about the yeare 1618. A little before the removeall of that Church of Christ from Holland to Plimoth in New England, as the ancient Indians report, there befell a great mortality among them, the greatest that ever the memory of Father to Sonne tooke notice of, chiefly desolating those places, where the English afterward planted. The Country of Pockanoky, Agissawamg, it was almost wholly deserted, insomuch that the Neighbor Indians did abandon those places for feare of death, fleeing more West and by South, observing the East and by Northern parts were most smitten with this contagion. The Abarginny-men consisting of Mattachusets, Wippanaps, and Tarratines were greatly weakened, and more especially the three Kingdomes or Saggamore ships of the Mattachusets, who were before this mortality most populous, having under them seven Dukedomes or petty Saggamores, and the Nianticks and Narrowganssits, who before this came were but of little note, yet were they now not much increased by such as fled thither for feare of death. The Pecods (who retained the Name of a war-like people, till afterwards conquered by the English) were also smitten at this time. Their Disease being a sore Consumption, sweeping away whole Families, but chiefly yong Men and Children, the very seeds of increase. Their Powwowes, which are their Doctors, working partly by Charmes, and partly by Medicine, were much amazed to see their Wigwams lie full of dead Corpes, and that now neither Squantam nor Abbamocho could helpe, which are their good and bad God and also their Powwows themselves were oft smitten with deaths stroke. Howling and much lamentation was heard among the living, who being possest with great feare, oftimes left their dead unburied, their manner being such, that they remove their habitations at death of any. This great mortality being and unwonted thing, feare[d] them the more, because naturally the Country is very healthy. But by this meanes Christ (whose great and glorious workes the Earth throughout are altogether for the benefit of his Churches and chosen) not onely made roome for his people to plant; but also tamed the hard and cruell hearts of these barbarous Indians, insomuch that halfe a handfull of his people landing not long after in Plimoth-Plantation, found little resistance, of whom the Author purposes not to speake particularly, being prevented by the honoured Mr. Winslow, who was an eye-witnesse of the worke:
Onely thus much by the way, they were sent to keepe possession for their Brethren and fellow Souldiers, who arrived eight yeares after them, as in processe of this story will God-willing appeare: and verily herein they quit themselves like men, or rather Christ for and by them, maintaining the place notwithstanding the multitude of difficulties they met withall at their first landing, being in doubtfull suspence what intertainment these Barbarians would given them, having with prayer supplicated the Lord in the Name of Christ their King and guide in this their undertaking, they manned out a Boate to discover what store of the Inhabitants were there. Now these men, whose courage exceeded the number, being guided by the provident hand of the most high, landed in some severall places; and by making fires gave signes of their approach. Now the Indians, whose dwellings are most neer the water-side, appeared with their Bowes bent and Arrowes one [on] the string, let fly their long shafts among this little company, whom they might soon have inclosed, but the Lord otherwise disposed of it, for one Captaine Miles Standish having his fowling-peece in a reddinesse, presented full at them, his shot being directed by the provident Hand of the most high God, strook the stoutest Sachem among them one [on] the right Arme, it being bent over his shoulder to reach an Arrow forth his Quiver, as their manner is to draw them forth in fight. At this stroke they all fled with great swiftnesse through the Woods and Thickets, then the English, who more thirsted after their conversion than destruction, returned to their Bote without receiving any damage, and soon after arrived where they left their Brethren, to whom they declared the good hand of God toward them, with thankfull acknowledgement of this great worke of his in preserving them; Yet did they all remaine full of incumbred thoughts, the Indians, of whose multitudes they had now some intelligence, together with experience of spirits, and also knew well without commerce with them they were not like long to subsist.
But hee, whose worke they went about, wrought so rare a Providence for them, which cannot but be admired of all that heare it. Thus it fell as they were discoursing in the Bote they had built for shelter, all of a sudden, an Indian came in among them, at whose speech they were all agast, he speaking in the English Language, Much welcome Englishmen, their wonder was the greater, because upon those Costes they supposed no English had so much as set foote, and verily Christ had prepared him on purpose to give his people intertainment, the Indian having lived in England two year or thereabout, after which he returned home, and at this time had wandred into those parts in company of other Indians. All this, and the condition of the neere adjoyning Indians, hee soon discovered unto them, at which they were transported beyond themselves very much, what with joy and the mixture of their former feare and affection intervening with the other, surprised all their senses of a sudden, that long it was ere each party could take its proper place, yea, and beyond all this Christ Jesus, by the power of his blessed Spirit, did now work upon all their faculties both of Soule and Body [that] the great impression of his present Providence might not soon be washed off with the following incumbred cares of a Desart Wildernesse; but to contract, they made use of the present opportunity, and by the instrumentall meanes of this Indian, became acquainted and reconciled with most of the Neighbouring Indians. And afterward planted a Church of Christ there, and set up civill Government, calling the name of the place Plimoth: under this jurisdiction there are ten Churches at this very day, this being the first place any English resorted unto for the advancement of the Kingly Government of Christ in this Westerne World.
Of the first preparation of the Marchant Adventurers, in the Mattachusets.
Now it will be time to returne againe to England, to speake further of the people that wee left in way of preparation; who in the year 1628. Sent forth some store of servants to provide against the wants of a Desart Wildernesse, amongst whom came over a mixt multitude, insomuch that very little appeared of the following worke, onely the much honoured Mr. John Indicat came over with them to governe, a fit instrument to begin this Wildernesse-worke, of courage bold undanted, yet sociable, and of a chearfull spirit, loving and austere, applying himselfe to either as occasion served. And now let no man be offended at the Authors rude Verse, penned of purpose to keepe in memory the Names of such worthies as Christ made strong for himselfe, in this unwonted worke of his.
John Endicat twice Governour of the English, inhabiting the Mattachusets Bay in N. England.
Strong valiant John, wilt thou march on, and take up station first;
Christ cal’d hath thee, his Souldier be, and faile not of thy trust;
Wilderness wants Christ’s grace supplants, then plant his Churches pure.
With Tongues gifted, and graces led, help thou to his procure;
Undanted thou wilt not allow Malignant men to wast
Christs Vineyard heere, whose grace should cheer his well-beloved’s tast.
Then honoured be, thy Christ hath thee their Generall promoted:
To shew their love, in place above, his people have thee voted.
Yet must thou fall to grave with all the Nobles of the Earth,
Thou rotting worme, to dust must turn, and worse but for new birth.
The place picked out by this People to settle themselves in, was in the bosome of the out-stretched arme of Cape Anne, now called Gloster, but at the place of their abode they began to build a Town, which is called Salem. After some little space of time, having made tryall of the Sordid spirits of the Neighbouring Indians, the most bold among them began to gather to divers places, which they began to take up for their owne. Those that were sent over servants, having itching desires after novelties, found a reddier way to make an end of their Masters provision, then they could finde meanes to get more; They that came over their own men had but little left to feed on, and most began to repent when their strong Beere and full cups ran as small as water in a large Land, but little Corne, and the poore Indians so fare from relieving them, that they were forced to lengthen out their owne food with Acorns, and that which added to their present distracted thoughts, the Ditch betweene England and their now place of abode was so wide, that they could not leap over with a lope-staffe, yet some delighting their Eye with the rarity of things present, and feeding their fancies with new discoveries at the Springs approach, they made shift to rub out the Winters cold by the Fire-side, having fuell enough growing at their very doores, turning down many a drop of the Bottell, and burning Tobacco with all the ease they could, discoursing betweene one while and another, of the great progresse they would make after the Summers-Sun had changed the Earths white furr’d Gowne into a green Mantell. Now the vernall of thirty nine [twenty-nine] being come, they addrest themselves to coste it as fare as they durst for feare of loosing themselves, or falling into the hands of unknown Indians, being kept in awe by a report of a cruell people, not far of[f,] called the Tarratines. All this while little like-lihood there was building the Temple for Gods worship, there being only two that began to hew stones in the Mountaines, the one named Mr. Bright, and the other Mr. Blaxton, and one of them began to build, but when they saw all sorts of stones would not fit in the building, as they supposed, the one betooke him to the Seas againe, and the other to till the Land, retaining no simbole of his former profession, but a Canonicall Coate.
Of the first Church of Christ, gathered at Salem in the Mattachusets Government
This years, 1629. Came over three godly Ministers of Christ Jesus, intending to shew his power in his peoples lowest condition as his manner is, thereby to strengthen their Faith in following difficulties, and now although the number of the faithfull people of Christ were but few, yet their longing desires to gather into a Church was very great; And therefore addressed themselves to finde out the blessed Rules of Christ for preserving herein, who through the assistance of his Blessed Spirit, found that the Word of God, penned by the Apostles in many Epistles, written to particular Churches, consisting of such as are beloved Saints, by calling appearing so in the judgement of Charity, being tried by the rule of the word, not scandalous in their Lives, for the society of such they sought, and in these beginnings found very few, seven being the lest [least] number a Church can be gathered, or conceived by just consequence from the Word of God. Having fasted and prayed with humble acknowledgement of their own unworthinesse to be called of Christ to so worthy a worke, they joyned together in a holy Covenant with the Lord, and one with another, promising by the Lords Assistance to walke together in Exhorting, Admonishing, and Rebuking one another. And to cleave to the Lord with a full purpose of heart, according to the blessed Rules of his Word made known unto them, and further they seeing by light of Scripture the Lord Christ ascended up on high to give gifts unto men, not onely extraordinary as Apostles, etc. before the Canon of the Scripture was perfected, but also ordinary as Pastors and Teachers, and that such are to be fitted with gifts according, for so mighty a worke, as is the Feeding and Ruling the Flock of Christ, Wherefore they Elected and Ordained one Mr. Higginson to be Teacher of this first Church of Christ, set up in those parts, a man indued with grace, apt to teach, and mighty in the Scriptures, Learned in the Tongues, able to convince gain-sayers, aptly applying the word to his hearers, who departed this life not long after, of whom it may be said.
The Reverend Mr. Higginson, first Pastor of the Church of Christ at Salem in New England.
What Golden gaine made Higginson remove,
From fertill Soyle to Wildernesse of Rocks;
‘Twas Christs rich Pearle stir’d up thee toile to love,
For him to feed in Wildernesse his flocks.
First Teacher, he here, Sheepe and Lambs together.
First crownd shall be hee in the Heavens of all
Christs Pastors here, but yet Christ[‘s] folke had rather
Him here retaine; blest he whom Christ hath call’d.
They also called to the Office of an Exhorting Elder Mr. Scelton, a man of a gratious Speech, full of Faith and furnished by the Lord with gifts from above, to begin this great worke of his, that makes the whole Earth to ring againe at this present day.
The Reverend Mr. Scelton, first Pastor of the Church of Christ, at Salem in New England, 1630.
Scelton for Christ did leave his Native soile,
Christ[‘s] Grace first wrought for him, or he had never
A Pastor been in Wildernesse to toile,
Where Christ his Flock doth into Churches gather;
For five yeares space to end they war-faire thou
Must meete with wantes, what wants can be to him
Whose Shepheard’s Christ? Earths fullnesse hath for you,
And Heavens rich Crowne for thee, with’s conquest win.
This Church of Christ, being thus begun, the Lord with the Water-spouts of his tender Mercy caused to increase and fructify. And now let every Eare listen, and every heart admire, and inlarge it selfe to the astonishment of the whole man at this wonderous worke of the great Jehovah, that in thrice seven yeares (after the beginning of this Worke) wrought such fearfull Desolations, and wonderfull Alterations among our English Nation, and also in this dismall Desart, wasting the naturall Inhabitant with deaths stroke, and that as is former touched, the Mattachusets, who were a populous Nation, consisting of 30000 able men, now brought to lesse then 300. and in their roome and place of abode this poore Church of Christ consisting at their beginning, but of seven persons, increased to forty three Churches in joynt Communion one with the other, professing One God, One Christ, and one Gospell, and in those Churches about 7750. Soules in one profession of the Rules of Christ, and that which makes the worke more admirable in the Eyes of all beholders, mens habitations are cut out of the woods and Bushes, neither can this place be entered by our English Nation, but by passing through a dreadfull and terrible Ocean of nine hundred Leagues in length.