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Chronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 online

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corruption that was in it.

But if any object, he separated from the Church of
England and wrote largely against it, but yet let me
tell you he allowed hearing the godly ministers preach
and pray ^ in the public assemblies ; yea, he allowed
private communion ^ not only with them, but all that
were foithful in Christ Jesus in the kino;dom and else-
where upon all occasions ; yea, honored them for the
power of godliness, above all other the professors of
religion in the world. Nay, I may truly say, his spirit
cleaved unto them, being so well acquainted with the
integrity of their hearts and care to walk blameless in
their lives ; which was no small motive to him to per-
suade us to remove from Holland^ where we might
probably not only continue English, but have and
maintain such sweet communion with the godly of
that nation as through God's great mercy we enjoy
this day.

'Tis true, I confess, he was more rigid in his course
and way at first than towards his latter end ; '^ for his
study was peace and union, so far as might agree with
faith and a good conscience ; and for schism and divi-

* Cotton says, " This must not any church, but from the world.' "

be understood of the Common Prince, Annals, p. 174.

Prayer Book, but of the prayers ^ The Avords " to some other

conceived by the preacher before place," seem to be here accidentally

and after sermon." Way, p. 8. omitted.

- " By private communion I sup- * Baylie himself acknowledges
pose he means in opposition to the that "Master Robinson was the
mixed communion in the public most learned, polished, and modest
churches ; that is, he allowed all of spirit that ever that sect enjoyed ; "
tbe Church of England who were and adds, "it had been truly a mar-
known to be pious to have commu- vel if such a man had gone on to
nion in his private church. For as the end a rigid Separatist." Dis-
Mr. Cotton, writing of Mr. Robin- suasive, p. l"?.
son, says, ' He separated not from


CHAP, sion, there was nothins; in the world more hateful to


— v^- him. But for the government of the Church of Eng-
land, as it was in the Episcopal way, the Liturgy,' and
Stinted prayers of the Church then, yea, the constitu-
tion of it as National, and so consequently the corrupt
communion of the unworthy with the worth v receivers
of the Lord's Supper, these things were never approved
of him, but witnessed against to his death, and are by
the church over which he was, to this day.' And if
the Lord would be pleased to stir up the hearts of
those in whom (under him) the power of reformation
lies to reform that abuse, that a distinction might once
be put between the precious and the vile, particular
churches might be gathered by the powerful preaching
of the Word, those only admitted into communion
whose hearts the Lord persuades to submit unto the
iron rod of the Gospel, O how sweet then would the
communion of the churches be ! How thorough the
reformation ! How easy would the differences be re-
conciled between the Presbyterian and Independent
way ! How would the God of peace, who command-

* " Our faith is not negative, nor strangers from all show of true piety

consists in the condemning of and goodness, and fraught never so

others, and wiping their names out full with many most heinous impie-

of the bead-roll of churches, but in ties and vices, are without difference

the edifying of ourselves ; neither compelled and enforced by most se-

require we of any of ours, in the vere laws, civil and ecclesiastical,

confession of their faith, that they into the body of that church. And

either renounce or in one word of this confused heap (a few, coni-

contest with the Church of Eng- pared with the rest, godly persons

land — whatsoever the world cla- mingled among,) is that national

mors of us in this way. Our faith church, commonly called the church

is founded upon the writings of the of England, collected and framed.

Prophets and Apostles, in which no Every subject of the kingdom,

mention of the Church of England dwelling in this or that parish, is

is made." bound, will he, nill he, fit or unfit,

"No man to whom England is as with iron bonds, to participate

known can be ignorant that all the in all holy things, and some unholy

natives there, and subjects of the also, in that same parish church."

kingdom, although never such Robinson's Apology, pp. 52, 56.


€th love and good agreement, smile upon this nation ! chap.
How would the subtle underminers of it be disa})point- -X~
ed, and the faithful provoked to sing songs of praise
and thanksgiving ! Nay, how would the God of order
be glorified in such orderly walking of the saints! And
as they have fought together for the liberties of the
kingdom, ecclesiastical and civiV so may they join
together in the preservation of them (which otherwise,
'tis to be feared, will not long continue) and in the
praises of our God, who hath been so good to his poor
distressed ones, whom he hath delivered and whom he
will deliver out of all their troubles. But I have made
too great a digression, and must return.

In the next place I should speak of Mr. Robinson's
Apology, wherein he maketh a brief defence against
many adversaries, &c. But because it is both in Latin
and English,^ of small price, and easy to be had, I shall
forbear to write of it, and only refer the reader to it for
the difference between his congregation and other the
Reformed Churches.

The next thing 1 would have the reader take notice
of is, that however the church of Leyden differed in
some particulars, yet made no schism or separation
from the Reformed Churches, but held communion
with them occasionally. For we ever placed a large
difference between those that grounded their practice
upon the word of God, (though differing from us in the
exposition or understanding of it) and those that hated
such Reformers and Reformation, and went on in anti-
christian opposition to it and persecution of it, as the

' This was written and published ^ See the title of this work, note ^
in England in the time of the civil on page 40.
wars in the reign of Charles I.


CHAP, late Lord Bishops did, who would not in deed and
^^^^-^ truth (whatever their pretences were) that Christ
should rule over them. But as they often stretched
out their hands against the saints, so God hath wither-
ed the arm of their power, thrown them down from
their high and lofty seats, and slain the chief of their
persons, as well as the hierarchy, that he might be-
come an example to all those that rise against God in
his sabbath, in the preaching of his word, in his saints,
in the purity of his ordinances. And I heartily desire
that others may hear and fear withal.

As for the Dutch, it was usual for our members that
understood the language and lived in or occasionally
came over to Leyden, to communicate with them, as
one John Jenny,^ a brewer, long did, his wife and
family, &c. and without any offence to the church.
So also for any that had occasion to travel into any
other part of the Netherlands, they daily did the like.
And our pastor, Mr. Robinson, in the time when Ar-
minianism prevailed so much, at the request of the
most orthodox divines, as Polyander, Festus Hommius,
1613. &c. disputed daily against Episcopius (in the Academy
at Leyden) and others, the grand champions of that
error, and had as good respect amongst them as any of
their own divines.^ Insomuch as when God took him
away from them and us by death, the University and
ministers of the city accompanied him to his grave
with all their accustomed solemnities, bewailing the
great loss that not only that particular churdh had,
whereof he was pastor, but some of the chief of them

' He was one of the passengers * See pages 40 — 42.
in the Ann. See note on page 352.


sadly affirmed that all the churches of Christ sustained chap.
a loss by the death of that worthy instrument of the — ^-^
Gospel.' 1 could instance also divers of their members
that understood the English tongue, and betook them-
selves to the communion of our church, went with us
to New England, as Godbert Godbertson,^ &c. Yea,
at this very instant, another, called Moses Symonson,^
because a child of one that was in communion with
the Dutch church at Leyden, is admitted into church
fellowship at Plymouth in New England, and his child-
ren also to baptism, as well as our own, and other
Dutch also in communion at Salem, &:c.

And for the French churches, that we held and do
hold communion with them, take notice of our practice
at Leyden, viz. that one Samuel Terry was received
from the French church there into communion with us.
Also the wife of Francis Cooke,'' being a Walloon, holds ^
communion with the church at Plymouth, as she came
from the French, to this day, by virtue of communion

' " Contrary to Mr. Baylie's sug- Mrs. Adams, the wife of Presi-

£jestion. Gov. Bradford and Gov. dent John Adams, in a letter writ-

Winslovv lell us that Mr. Robin- ten Sept. 12, 1786, says, "I would

son and his people always lived in not omit to mention that I visited

great love and harmony among the church at Leyden, in which our

themselves, as also with the Dutch, forefathers worshipped, when they

with whom they sojourned. And fled from hierarchical tyranny and

when I was at Leyden in 1714, the persecution. I felt a respect and

most ancient people from their pa- veneration upon entering the doors,

rents told me, that the city had like what the ancients paid to their

such a value for them, as to let Druids."

them have one of their churches, " This name is also spelt Cud-

in the chancel whereof he lies bu- bart Cudbartson and Cuthbert

ried, which the English slill enjoy ; Cuthbertson. He came in the

and that as he was had in high es- Ann. See note on page 352.

teem both by the city and univer- ' Symonson came in the For-

sity, for his learning, piety, moder- tune. The name has become

ation, and excellent accomplish- changed into Simmons. See

ments, the magistrates, ministers, note * on page 235.

scholars, and most of the gentry ^ Francis Cooke came in the

mourned his death as a public loss, Mayflower, and his wife Hester

and followed him to the grave." and children in the Ann. See

Prince, p. 238. note ' on page 39.




CHAP, of churches. There is also one Philip Delanoy,' horn
^^-^-^ of French parents, came to us from Leyden to New
Plymouth, who coming to age of discerning, demanded
also communion with us ; and proving himself to be
come of such parents as were in full communion with
the French churches, was hereupon admitted by the
church of Plymouth ; and after, upon his removal of
habitation to Duxburrow,^ where Mr. Ralph Partridge^
is pastor of the church, and upon letters of recommen-
dation from the church at Plymouth he was also ad-
mitted into fellowship with the church at Duxburrow,
being six miles distant from Plymouth; and so, I dare
say, if his occasions lead him, may from church to
church throughout New England. For the truth is,
the Dutch and French churches, either of them being

' De la Noye came in the For-
tune. This n.ime has become cor-
rupted into Delano.

- The church in Duxbury was
formed in 16.J2. " Those that lived
on their lots on the other side of the
bav, (called Duxburrow,) could no
longer bring their wives and child-
ren to the public worship and
church meetings here (at Ply-
mouth,) but with such burthen, as
growing to some competent num-
ber, they sued to be dismissed and
become a body of themselves; and
so they were dismissed about this
time, (though very unwillingly,)
and some time after being united
into one entire body, they procured
Reverend Mr. Ralph Partrich to be
their pastor." MS. Records Plym.
Ch. p. 36. " So that Duxbury
seems to be the second town and
church in Plymouth- Colony, and
the next town settled after New-
ton, that is, Cambridge, in New
England." Prince, p. 411. See
note on page 126.

^ Ralph Partridge, "a gracious
man of great abilities," arrived at

Boston in 1636. He had been a
clergyman of the church of Eng-
land, but "being hunted, by the
ecclesiastical setters, like a par-
tridge on the mountains, he had no
defence, neither of beak nor claw,
but a flight over the ocean." He
was a member of the Cambridge
Synod, in 1647, and was associated
with John Cotton and Increase
Mather, in drawing up the Plat-
form of church government and
discipline. He continued in the
ministry at Duxbury till his death
in 1653. Cotton Mather, after
playing upon his name through a
whole page, concludes his Life of
him thus; "Mr. Partridge was,
notwithstanding the paucity and
poverty of his congregation, so
afraid of being any thing that look-
ed like a bird wandering from his
nest, that he remained with his
poor people, till he took wing to
become a bird of paradise, along
with the winged seraphim of hea-
ven. EpUaphtum — Avolavit ! "
Ste Morton's Memorial, p. 276 ;
Mather's Magnalia, i. 365.


a people distinct from the world, and gathered into a chap.
holy communion, and not national churches, — nay so >1-^
far from it as I verily helieve the sixth person is not of
the church, — the difference is so small (if moderately
pondered between them and us) as we dare not for the
world deny communion with them.

And for the Church of Scotland, however we have
had least occasion ofifeied to hold communion with
them, yet thus much I can and do affirm, that a godly
divine coming over to Leyden in Holland, where a
book was printed anno 1619, as I take it, showing the
nullity of Perth Assembly,^ whom we judged to be the
author of it, and hidden in Holland for a season to
avoid the rage of those evil times, (whose name I have
forgotten,) this man being very conversant with our
pastor, Mr. Robinson, and using to come to hear him
on the sabbath, after sermon ended, the church being 1619,
to partake in the Lord's Supper, this minister stood
up and desired he might, without offence, stay and see
the manner of his administration and our participation
in that ordinance. To whom our pastor answered in
these very words, or to this effect, " Reverend Sir, you
may not only stay to behold us, but partake with us, if
you please ; for we acknowledge the churches of Scot-
land to be the churches of Christ," &c. The minister
also replied to this purpose, if not also in the same
words, " that for his part he could comfortably partake
with the church, and willingly would, but that it is

' Sir Dudley Carleton, in a letter fairs of the church. It is without

to Secretary Naunton, dated at the name either of author or printer;

Hague, July 17, 1619, writes, "I but I am informed it is printed by

have s^en, within these two days, a certain English Erownist of Ley-

a Certain Scottish book, called Per/A den, as are most of the Puritan

Assfimbly^ wriUen with much scorn hooks sent over of late days

and reproach of the proceeding in England." Letters, p. 379. See

that kingdom coacerning the af- note ' on page 42.


CHAP, possible some of his brethren of Scotland mi^ht take

XXV. ...

— ^ offence at his act ; which he desired to avoid in regard

1619. of the opinion the English churches, which they
held communion withal, had of us." However, he
rendered thanks to Mr. Robinson, and desired in that
respect to be only a spectator of us.^ These things I
was earnestly requested to publish to the world by
some of the godly Presbyterian party, who apprehend
the world to be ignorant of our proceedings, conceiving
in charity that if they had been known, some late wri-
ters and preachers would never have written and spoke
of us as they did, and still do as they have occasion.
But what they ignorantly judge, write, or speak of us,
I trust the Lord in mercy will pass by.

In the next place, for the wholesome counsel Mr.
Robinson gave that part of the church whereof he was

1620. pastor at their departure from him to begin the great
work of plantation in New England, — amongst other
wholesome instructions and exhortations he used these
expressions, or to the same purpose :

" We are now ere long to part asunder, and the
Lord knoweth whether ever he should live to see our
faces again. But whether the Lord had appointed it
or not, he charged us before God and his blessed an-
gels, to follow him no further than he followed Christ ;
and if God should reveal any thing to us by any other
instrument of his, to be as ready to receive it as ever
we were to receive any truth by his ministry ; for he
was very confident the Lord had more truth and light

* Cotton, in his Way of Congre- John Tarbes,) he offered him com-

gational Churches Cleared, page 8, munion at the Lord's table ; though

says, "I have been given to under- the other, for fear of offence to the

stand, that when a reverend and Scottish churches at home, excused

godly Scottish njinister came that himself."
way, (it seemeth to have been Mr.


yet to break forth out of his holy word. He took oc- chap.
casion also miserably to bewail the state and condition ^JL,
of the Reformed Churches, who were come to a period 162 0.
in religion, and would go no further than the instru-
ments of their Reformation. As, for example, the
Lutherans, they could not be drawn to go beyond
what Luther saw; for whatever part of God's will he
had further imparted and revealed to Calvin, they will
rather die than embrace it. And so also, saith he, you
see the Calvinists, they stick where he left them ; a
misery much to be lamented ; for though they were
precious shining lights in their times, yet God had not
revealed his whole will to them ; and were they now
living, saiih he, they would be as ready and willing
to embrace further light, as that they had received.
Here also he put us in mind of our church covenant,^
at least that part of it whereby we promise and cove-
nant with God and one with another, to receive what-
soever light or truth shall be made known to us from
his written word ; but withal exhorted us to take heed
what we received for truth, and well to examine and
compare it and weigh it with other Scriptures of truth
before we received it. For, saith he, it is not possible
the Christian world should come so lately out of such
thick antichristian darkness, and that full perfection of
knowledge should break forth at once.

"Another thing he commended to us, was that we
should use all means to avoid and shake off the name
of Brownist,^ being a mere nickname and brand to

^ See on page 21, the terms of the ' In his book on "Religious Com-

cfcvenant here alluded to, by which munion, primed in 1614, Robinson

they affree " to walk in all the ways says, p. 45, " He miscalls us Brown-

of the Lord, made known or to be ists ;" and on the title pace of his

made known unto them." Apology he speaks of "certain



CHAP, make religion odious and the professors of it to the


-^■^^ Christian world. And to that end, said he, I should
1620. be glad if some godly minister would go over with jou
before my coming ; ' for, said he, there will be no dif-
ference between the unconformable ^ ministers and
JOU, when they come to the practice of the ordinances
out of the kingdom.^ And so advised us by all means

Christians, contumeliously called
Brownists." See this matter set
right by Dr. Holmes, in his Annals,
i. 572. Some account of Brown will
be given hereafter.

' They had engaged a minister
to go wiih them. See page 85.

'^ That is, the nonconforming
clergy, who had not separated from
the church.

^ This prediction was remarka-
bly fulfilled in the case of the Mas-
sachusetts colonists. Higginson,
in 1629, in taking his last look of
his native land from the stern of
his ship, exclaimed, " We will not
say as the Separatists were wont
to say at their leaving of Eng-
land, Farewell, Babylon ! Farewell,
Rome ! But we will say, Fare-
well, dear England ! Farewell, the
Church of Gud in England, and all
the Christian friends there! We
do not go to New England as se-
paratists from the Church of Eng-
land." Gov. Winthrop, too, and
his company, on their departure in
1630, in their address " to the rest of
their brethren in and of the Church
of England," say, " We desire you
would be pleased to take notice of
the principals and body of our com-
pany, as those who esteem it our
honor to call the Church of Eng-
land, from whence we rise, our
dear mother, and cannot part from
our native country, where she
specially resideth, without much
sadness of heart, and many tears
in our eyes, ever acknowledging
that such hope and part as we have
obtained in the common salvation,
we have received in her bosom and
sucked it from her breasts. We

leave it not therefore as loathing
that milk wherewith we were nou-
rished there, but blessing God for
the parentage and education, as
members of the same body, shall
always rejoice in her good, and
unfeignedly grieve for any sorrow
that shall ever betide her, and while
we have breath, sincerely desire
and endeavour the continuance and
abundance of her welfare, with the
enlargement of her bounds in the
kingdom of Christ .Jesus ; wishing
our heads and hearts were fountains
of tears for your everlasting wel-
fare, when we shall be in our poor
cottages in the wilderness, over-
shadowed with the spirit of suppli-

These professions were undoubt-
edly heartfelt and sincere. And
yet no sooner were these Noncon-
formists in a place where they could
act for themselves, ihan they pur-
sued precisely the course taken by
the Separatists, adopted their form
of ecclesiastical discipline and gov-
ernment, and set up Independent
churches. Higginson, though a
presbyter of the Church of Eng-
land, was ordained over again by
the members of his own congrega-
tion at Salem. Phillips, after-
wards the minister of Walertown,
who signed the above address with
Wmihrop, declared soon after his
arrival, that if his companions
would "have him stand minister
by that calhng which he received
from the prelates in England, he
would leave them." And when
Mr. Cotton came over in 1633, " by
his preaching and practice he did
by degrees mould all their church


to endeavour to close with the godly l)arty of the king- chap.
dom of England, and rather to study union than divi — — ^
sion, viz. how near we might possibly without sin 1620.
close with thein, than in the least measure to affect
division or separation from them. And be not loath
to take another pastor or teacher, saith he ; for that
flock that hath two shepherds is not endangered but
secured by it." '

Many other things there were of great and weighty
consequence which he commended to us. But these
things I thought good to relate, at the request of some
well-wiUers to the peace and good agreement of the
godly, (so distracted at present about the settling of
church government in the kingdom of England,) that
so both sides may truly see what this poor despised
church of Christ, now at New Plymouth in New Eng-
land, but formerly at Leyden in Holland, was and is ;
how far they were and still are from separation from
the churches of Christ, especially those that are Re-

'Tis true we profess and desire to practise a separation

administrations into the very same writers, such as Mather, Prince

form which Mr. Phillips labored to and Neal, have copied it from

introduce into the churches before ;" Winslow.

so that after a while there was no "Words," says Prince, speak-

perceptible difference between the ing of this exhortation, "almost

Puritans of Massachusetts and the astonishing in that age of low and

Separatists of Plymouth. See Ma- universal bigotry which then pre-

ther's Magnalia, i. ri28 ; Hutchin- vailed in the English nation;

son's Mass. i. 487; Morion's Me- wherein this truly great and learned

morial, p. 146 ; Mass. Hist. Coll. man seems to be the only divine

iii. 74, XV. 186. who was capable of rising into a

* We have here this celebrated noble freedom of thinking and prac-

farewell discourse of Robinson in tising in religious matters, and even

its original form. Winslow was of urging such an equal liberty on

present and heard it, and either his own people. He labors to take

Online LibraryAlexander YoungChronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 → online text (page 34 of 44)