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

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taok it down from memory or from them off from their attachment to

the notes of his pastor. It appear- him, that they might be more en-

ed in print for the first time in 1646, tirely free to search and follow the

in this work, and all succeeding Scriptures." Annals, p. 176.


CHAP, from the world, and the works of the world, which are
. - v-^ works of the flesh, such as the Apostle speaketh of. And
Ephes. as the churches of Christ are all saints bj calling, so we
^ico^!' desire to see the grace of God shining forth (at least
9-ii- seemingly, leaving; secret things to God) in all we admit

Ephes. ft ^ ' o o /

ii.u,i2. -j^^Q cl^Qich fellowship with us, and to keep off such as
openly wallow in the mire of their sins, that neither the
holj things of God nor the communion of the saints may
be leavened or polluted thereby. And if any joining to
us formerly, either when we lived at Leyden in Hol-
land or since we came to New England, have with the
manifestation of their faith and profession of holiness
held forth therewith separation from the Church of
England, I have divers times, both in the one place and
the other, heard either Mr. Robinson, our pastor, or
Mr. Brewster, our elder, stop them forthwith, showing
them that we required no such things at their hands,*
but only to hold forth faith in Christ Jesus, holiness in
the fear of God, and submission to every ordinance and
appointment of God, leaving the Church of England
to themselves and to the Lord, before whom they
should stand or fall, and to whom we ought to pray to
reform what was amiss amongst them.^ Now this re-

* Cotton too says, " When some of England ; penned by that learned
Englishmen ihatotfered themselves and reverend divine, Mr. John Ro-
to become members of his church, binson, late pastor to the English
would sometimes in their confes- church of God in Leyden ; primed
sions profess their separation from according to the cony that was
the church of England, Mr. Robin- found in his study after his de-
son would bear witness against cease." From this rare work I
such profession, avouching they re- extract the concluding paragraph,
quired no such professions of sepa- " To conclude. For myself, thus
ration from this or that or any I believe with my heart before
church, but only from the world." God, and profess with my tongue.
Way, p. 8. 1 and have before the world, that I

' In 1634, nine years after his have one and the same faith, hope,

death, there was published "A spirit, baptism, and Lord, which I

Treatise of the lawfulness of hear- had in the Church of England, and

ing of the ministers in the Church none other; that I esteem so many


formation we have lived to see performed and brought chap.


about bj the mighty power of God this day in a good ^.^^
measure, and I hope the Lord Jesus will perfect his
work of reformation, till all be according to the good
pleasure of his will. By all which 1 desire the reader
to take notice of our former and present practice, not-
withstanding all the injurious and scandalous taunting
reports [that] are passed on us. And if these things
will not satisfy, but we must still suffer reproach, and
others for our sakes, because they and we thus walk,
our practice being, for aught we know, wholly grounded
on the written word, without any addition or human
invention known to us, taking our pattern from the
primitive churches, as they were regulated by the
blessed Apostles in their own days, who were taught
and instructed by the Lord Jesus Christ, and had the
unerring and all-knowing spirit of God to bring to their
remembrance the things they had heard, — I say if we
must still suffer such reproach, notwithstanding our
charity towards them who will not be in charity with
us, God's will be done.

in that Church, of what state or tioned, both lawful, and upon occa-
order soever, as are truly partakers sioa necessary for me and all true
of that faith, (as I account many Christians, withdrawing from that
thousands to be,) for my Christian hierarchical order of church gov-
brethren, and myself a fellow mem- ernment and ministry, and the ap-
ber with them of that one mystical purtenances thereof, and uniting in
body of Christ scattered far and the order and ordinances instituted
Avide throughout the world ; that I by Christ, the only King and Lord
have always, in spirit and affection, of his church, and by all his disci-
all Christian fellowship and com- pies to be observed; and lastly, that
munion with them, and am most I cannot communicate with or sub-
ready in all outward actions and mit unto the said church order and
exercises of religion, lawful and ordinances there established, either
lawfully done, to express the same; in state or act, without being con-
and withal, that I am persuaded demned of mine own heart, and
the hearing of the word of God therein provoking God, who is
there preached, in the manner and greater than my heart, to condemn
upon the grounds formerly men- me much more."





The next aspersion cast upon us is, that we will not
suffer any that differ from us never so little to reside or
cohabit with us ; no, not the Presbyterian government,
which differeth so little from us. To which I answer,
our practice witnesseth the contrary. For 'tis well
known that Mr. Parker and Mr. Noyce,^ who are
ministers of Jesus Christ at Newberry, are in that way,
and so known, so far as a single congregation can be
exercised in it ; yet never had the least molestation or
disturbance, and have and find as good respect from
magistrates and people as other elders in the Congre-
gational or primitive way. 'Tis known also, that Mr.
Hubbard,^ the minister at Hengam, hath declared him-

' Thomas Parker and James
Noyes carae to New England in
1634, and were settled in 1635 as
pastor and teacher of the church in
Newbury, which was the tenth
church gathered in Massachusetts.
They were cousins, had been pu-
pils and teachers in the same school,
came over in the same ship, and
lived together in the same house for
twenty years, when death separated
them. Parker had been a pupil of
Archbishop Usher, and Noyes had
been a student in the university of
Oxford. The celebrated Baxter said
" he was a lover of the New Eng-
land churches according to the New
England model, as Mr. Noyes had
explained it." We are told by
Winthrop that the principal occa-
sion of the synod held at Cambridge
in 1643. was because " some of the
elders went about to set up some
things according to the presbytery,
as of Newbury, &c. The assembly
concluded against some parts of the
presbyterial way, and the Newbury
ministers took time to consider the
arguments, &c." For further par-
ticulars concerning them, see Ma-
ther's Magnalia, i. 433—441 ; Sav-
age's Winthrop, ii. 137; Allen's
Am. Biog. Diet. ; and Eliot's New
England Biog. Diet.

' Peter Hobart, the first minister
of Hingham, was from the town of
the same name in Norfolk, Eng-
land, and having been graduated
master of arts at the university of
Cambridge, came to New England
in June, 163-5. Hubbard says " he
was not so fully persuaded of the
congregational discipline as some
others were ; he was reported to be
of a presbyterial spirit, and man-
aged all affairs without advice o£
the brethren." Some idea of his
character may be gathered from the
following passage in Winthrop's
History; " There was a great mar-
riage to be solemnized at Boston.
The bridegroom being of Hingham,
Mr. Hubbard's church, he was pro-
cured to preach, and came to Bos-
ton to that end. But the magis-
trates, hearing of it, sent to him to
forbear. The reasons Avere, first,
for that his spirit had been dis-
covered to be averse to our eccle-
siastical and civil government, and
he ivas a hold man, and ivould speak
his mind." See more concerning
him in Mather's Magnalia, i. 44S —
452; Lincoln's History of Hing-
ham, pp. 21, 59, 156; Savage's
Winthrop, ii. 222, 313; Hubbard,
in Mass. Hist. Coll. xv. 192, xvi.


self for that way ; nay, which is more than ever I heard chap.


of the other two, he refuseth to baptize no children '-

that are tendered to him, (although this liberty stands
not upon a Presbyterian bottom,) and yet the civil
state never molested him for it. Only coming to a
Synod held in the country the last year, which the
magistrates called, requesting the churches to send
their elders and such others as might be able to hold
forth the light of God from his written word in case of
some doubts which did arise in the country, I say he
coming the last sitting of the Assembly, which was
adjourned to the 8th of June next, was in all meek-
ness and love requested to be present and hold forth
his light he went by in baptizing all that were brought
to him, hereby waiving the practice of the churches ;
which he promising to take into consideration, they
rested in his answer.

So also 'tis well known that before these unhappy
troubles arose in England and Scotland, there were
divers gentlemen of Scotland that groaned under the
heavy pressures of those times, wrote to New England
to know whether they might be freely suffered to ex-
ercise their Presbyterial government amongst us ; and
it was answered affirmatively they might. And they
sending over a gentleman to take a view of some fit
place, a river called Meromeck, near Ipswich and
Newberry aforesaid, was showed their agent, which he
well liked, and where we have since four towns settled,
and more may be for aught I know ; so that there they
might have had a complete Presbytery, and whither
they intended to have come. But meeting with mani-
fold crosses, being half seas through, they gave over
their intendments ; and, as I have heard, these were


CHAP, many of the gentlemen that first fell upon the late
-^-^^ Covenant in Scotland. By all which will easily ap-
pear how we are here wronged by many, and the
harder measure, as we hear, imposed upon our brethren
for our sakes, nay pretending our example for their
precedent. And last of all, not long before I came
away, certain discontented persons in open court of
the Massachusets, demanding that liberty, it was
freely and as openly tendered to them, showing their
former practices by me mentioned, but willed not to
expect that we should provide them ministers, he. for
the same ; but getting such themselves, they might
exercise their Presbyterian government at their liberty,
walking peaceably towards us, as we trusted we should
do towards them. So that if our brethren here shall
be restrained, they walking peaceably, the example
must not be taken from us, but arise from some other

But it will be objected. Though you deal thus
with the Presbyterian way, yet you have a severe
law against Anabaptists ;' yea, one was whipped at
Massachusets for his religion f and your law banish-
eth them. Answer. 'Tis true the Massachusets
Government have such a law to banish, but not to
whip in that kind. And certain men desiring some
mitigation of it, it was answered in my hearing, " 'Tis
true we have a severe law, but we never did or will
execute the rigor of it upon any ; and have men living
amongst us, nay some in our churches, of that judg-^
ment ; and as long as they carry themselves peaceably,

' This law may be seen in punished was Thomas Painter, of

Hazard's State Papers, i. 538. See Hingham. This was in 1644. See

also Savage's Winthrop, ii. 174. an account of it in Savage's Win-

^ The name of the person thus throp, ii, 174.


as hitherto they do, we will leave them to God, our- chap.


selves having performed the duty of brethren to them. — ^ —
And whereas there was one whipped amongst us, 'tis
true we knew his judgment what it was ; but had he
not carried himself so contemptuously towards the au-
thority God hath betrusted us with in a high exemplary
measure, we had never so censured him ; and there-
fore he may thank himself, who suffered as an evil-
doer in that respect. But the reason wherefore we
are loath either to repeal or alter the law, is, because
we would have it remain in force to bear witness
against their judgment and practice, which we con-
ceive them to be erroneous. And yet nevertheless,"
said the Governor to those [who] preferred the request,
*'you may tell our friends in England, whither ye are
some of you going, since the motion proceedeth from
such as we know move it in love to us, we will se-
riously take it into consideration at our next General
Court." So that thou mayest perceive, good reader,
that the worst is spoken of things in that kind.

Furthermore, in the Government of Plymouth, to
our great grief, not only the pastor^ of a congregation
waiveth the administration of baptism to infants, but
divers of his congregation are fallen with hini ; and yet
all the means the civil power hath taken against him
and them is to stir up our elders to give meeting, and
see if by godly conference they may be able to con-
vince and reclaim him, as in mercy once before they

* The person here referred to to intrants, provided it were done

was the Rev. Charles Chauncy, at by immersion. See Mather's Mag-

this time minister of Scituate, and nalia, i. 418 — 430; Deane's Scit-

5fterwards President of Harvard uate, pp. 60, 89, 173; Savage's

College. It appears, however, that Winthrop, i. 330, ii. 72; Mass.

he was willing that the ordinance Hist. Coll. iv. 112, x. 30, 174;

of baptism should be administered Hutchinson's Mass. i. 227,


cHAi\ had done, by God's blessing upon their labors. Only
-^^^ at the foresaid Synod, two were ordered to write to
him in the name of the Assembly, and to request his
presence at their next meeting aforesaid, to hold forth
his light he goeth by in waiving the practice of the
churches ; with promise if it be light, to walk by it ; but
if it appear otherwise, then they trust he will return
again to the unity of practice with them. And for the
other two Governments of Conectacut and Newhaven,
if either have any law in force against them, or so
much as need of a law in that kind, 'tis more than I
have heard on.

For our parts (I mean the churches of New Eng-
land) we are confident, through God's mercy, the way
of God in which we walk and according to which we
perform our v^orship and service to Him, concurreth
with those rules our blessed Saviour hath left upon
record by the Evangelists and Apostles, and is agreea-
ble with the practice of those primitive churches men-
tioned in the Acts, and regulated by the same Apostles,
as appeareth not only in that Evangelical History, but
in their Epistles to the several churches there mention-
ed. Yet nevertheless if any through tenderness of ,
conscience be otherwise minded, to such we never
turn a deaf ear, nor become rigorous, though we have
the stream of authority on our sides. Nay, if in the
use of all means we cannot reclaim them, knowing
" the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then
peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of
mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without
hypocrisy ; and the fruit of righteousness is sown in
peace of them that make peace," according to James
iii. 17, 18 ; and if any differing from us be answera-


ble to this rule in their lives and conversations, we do chap.


not exercise the civil sword against them. But for -^^^
such as Gorton and his company, whose wisdom seems
not to be from above, as appeareth in that it is " full jan,es
of envyings, strife, confusion," being therein such as '"' '
the Apostle Jude speaks on, viz. " earthly, sensual, •'^'■e
devilish," who " despise dominion and speak evil of
dignities," these are " murmurers, complainers, walk- le-
ers after their own lusts, and their mouth speaketh
great swelling words, being clouds without water, car- 12.
ried about of winds, trees whose fruit withereth, with-
out fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots, raging 13.
waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame, wan-
dering stars, to whom (without repentance, which I
much desire to see or hear of in him, if it may stand
with the will of God,) is reserved the blackness of
darkness forever" — these, I say, are to be proceeded
with by another rule, and not to be borne ; who suffer
as evil-doers, and are a shame to religion, which they
profess in word, but deny in their lives and conversa-
tions. These every tender conscience abhors, and
will justify and assist " the higher powers God hath
ordained," against such carnal gospellers, " who bear R°^-
not the sword in vain," but execute God's vengeance
on such ; for the civil magistrate is " the minister of
God, a revenger to execute wrath on him that doth
evil." And therefore a broad difference is to be put
between such evil-doers and those tender consciences
who follow the light of God's word in their own
persuasions, (though judged erroneous by the places
where they live) so long as their walking is answerable
to the rules of the Gospel, by preserving peace and
holding forth holiness in their conversations amongst


CHAP. Thus much I thought good to signify, because we of
^iil^ New England are said to be so often propounded for
an example. And if any will take us for a precedent,
I desire they may really kno^v what we do, rather than
what others ignorantly or maliciously report of us, assur-
ing myself that none will ever be losers by following
us so far as we follow Christ. Which that we may
do, and our posterities after us, the Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ and our Father accept in Christ what is
according to him ; discover, pardon, and reform what
is amiss amongst us ; and guide us and them by the
assistance of the Holy Ghost for time to come, till time
shall be no more ; that the Lord our God may still
delight to dwell amongst his plantations and churches
there by his gracious presence, and may go on blessing
to bless them with heavenly blessings in these earthly
places, that so by his blessing they may not only grow
up to a nation, but become exemplary for good unto
others. And let all that wish well to Zion say Amen.^

' The work of Winslow to which London. 1649." The paging, list

this Brief Narrative is appended, of errata, &c. are precisely the same

was afterwards published with a as in the other book, Hypocrisy

new tiile-page, as follows: " The Unmasked.

danger of tolerating levellers in a Whilst Winslow was in England,
civil state ; or a historical narration he published, in 1647, another book,
of the dangerous practices and ^xi\\\\^A'' New England's Salaman-
opinions wherewith Samuel Gor- der Discovered — or a satisfactory-
ton and his levelling accomplices answer to many aspersions cast
so much disturbed and molested upon New England." This work
the several plantations in New is reprinted in Mass.HisUColLxxii.
England. By Edward Winslow, 110—145.
of Plymouth, in New England.





Godly and Conscientious Reader,

It is a great part of the happiness of heaven, that
the saints in celestial glory are and shall be all of one
mind ; and it is not unprobably gathered by the learned,
that when " the Lord shall be one, and his name one," ^^^""g
there shall be a joint concurrence of the saints in and
about the matters of God. In the mean time, it is no
small grief to every modest, moderate-minded Christian,
to see such discord among the best of saints; whereas
if the ground of the difference were sometimes well
scanned, it would appear to be more in circumstance
than in substance, more nominal, or respecting names or
abusive names given, than in substantial realities. Rev.
Mr. Manton, in his sermon before the honorable House
of Commons, saith, " The Devil getteth great advan-
tages by names amongst Christians, as Lutherans,
Calvinists, Presbyterians, Independents, inventing,"
saith he, " either such as may tend to contempt or
derision, as of old Christians, of late Puritans, or to
tumult and division, as those names amongst us, under
which the members of Christ sadly gather into bodies
and parties."


Let me add hereunto, that the mischief of this also
appeared when light sprung out of [the] darkness of Po-
pery. Then the godly were forced to sustain the name
of Puritans and the nickname of Brownists, so as many
of the godly in our nation lay in obscurity under con-
tempt of those names ; ^ and afterwards, as light ap-
peared, notwithstanding became one in the profession
and practice of the truth respecting the kingly office of
Christ, wherein they seemingly differed but a little
before, both in New England and in Old England ;
but yet so as some estrangedness remains amongst
those, although that in the main and substance of
things they are of one mind, and with oneness of heart
and mouth do serve the Lord, and do agree in and
about the matters of the kingdom of Christ on earth.
Yea, and 1 doubt not but some such of them as were
of the eminentest on both sides, who are now departed
this life, do agree and have sweet communion with
each other in their more nobler part in glory.

I have lately met with a plain, well composed, and
useful Dialogue, penned by that honored pattern of
piety, William Bradford, Esq. late Governor of the
Jurisdiction of New Plymouth Colony, which occa-
sionally treats something of this matter, together with
and in defence of such as I may without just offence
term martyrs^ of Jesus, and in defence of the cause
they suffered for ; it being no other in effect but what
our church and the churches of Christ in New England
do both profess and practise. I will not defend, neither

' These differences were partly Greenwood, Mr. John Penry, Mr.
blown up amonijst these Christians William Dennis, [Mr. John] Cop-
by the names of Brownist and Pu- ing and Elias [Thacker] and several
ritans. — Morton'' s No Le. others that suffered much, though

* Mr. Henry Barrow, Mr. John not put to death. — Morton's Note.


doth he, all the words that might fall from those blessed
souls in defence of the truth, who suffered so bitterly
as they did from such as ere while (if I mistake not)
were forced to fly into Germany for the cause of God
in Queen Mary's days, and returned again in the happy
reign of Queen Elizabeth, and turned prelates and bitter
persecutors.^ This thing considered, and other things
also, if some passages that fell from them might have
been spared, yet in many things we all offend, and
" oppression will make a wise man mad," saith Solo-
mon. Such circumstantial weakness will not unsaint
a Christian, nor render him no martyr, if his cause be
good, as you will find it to be by the perusing of this
Dialogue, I doubt not ; but let it speak for itself.

Gentle reader, I hope thou wilt obtain a clear reso-
lution about divers things, whereof possibly thou wert
in doubt of formerly respecting the premises ; in the
transcribing whereof I have taken the best care I could
to prevent oifence and to procure acceptance. If any
good comes thereof, let God have all the praise.^

' See pages 9 — 13. Plymouth Church, whence I oh-

* This Preface was written by tained it. It has never before been

Secretary Morton, who copied this printed.

Dialogue into the records of the




CHAP. Gentlemen, you were pleased to appoint us this time

*" to confer with you, and to propound such questions as

might give us satisfaction in some things wherein we
are ignorant, or at least further light to some things
that are more obscure unto us. Our first request
therefore is, to know your minds concerning the true
and simple meaning of those of The Separation, as
they are termed, when they say the Church of Eng-
land is no Church, or no true Church.


For answer hereunto, first, you must know that they
speak of it as it then was under the hierarchical prelacy,
which since have been put down by the State, and not
as it is now unsettled.

2. They nowhere say, that we remember, that they

' That is, the Dialogue was held or written in 164S.

Online LibraryAlexander YoungChronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 → online text (page 35 of 44)