John Allyn.

A sermon delivered at Plimouth, December 22, 1801, commemorative of the pious ancestry, who first imigrated [!] to that place, 1620 online

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Online LibraryJohn AllynA sermon delivered at Plimouth, December 22, 1801, commemorative of the pious ancestry, who first imigrated [!] to that place, 1620 → online text (page 2 of 18)
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ficiently interefting to juftify a recital. To recom-
mend themfelves as proper perfons for emigration,
they fay, (i.) " We verily believe and truft the Lord
" is with us ; to whom and whofe fervice we have
" given ourfelves in many trials, and that he will
" gracioully profper our endeavours* (2.) We are

« well



^* well weaned from the delicate milk of our mother-
^* country, and inured to the difficulties of a ftrange
" land. (3.) The people are, for the body of them,
^* induftrious and frugal, we think we may fafely fay,
''^ as any company of people in the world. (4.) We
^'' are knit together as a body in a moft ftrift and
" facred bond and covenant of the Lord ; of the
" violation v/hereof we make great confcience, and
" by virtue whereof we hold ourfelves ftraitly tied to
^' all care of each others good, and of the whole. (5.)
" It is not with us, as with other men ; whom fmaU
^^ things can difcourage, or fmall difcontentments
'^' caufe to wilh ourfelves at home again."* This let-
ter, together with the good carriage of them who
prefented it, produced a refolution in the Virginia
Company to favour their deiigns. *' As to the King,
he promifed to connive at their religious practices,
but he denied them toleration under the great feal."
Passing over other incidents relating to the ven-
erable pilgrims during the two following years, our
attention is forcibly arretted by the circumftances of
their embarkation, and voyage to America. In the
fpring of 1620, it was determined that a part of the
fociety fhould embark for America, and tnake prepa-
ration for the remainder, vv^hich it was agreed fhould
follow them. To fix the doubting, to confirm the
ftrong, and to give animation to all, Mr. Robinfon
delivered a difcourfe from thofe words in the ill
book of Samuel, xxiii. 3, 4. *' And David's men
^' faid unto him. Behold we he afraid here in Jiidah ;
^^ how much more then if we come to Ke'ilah againji the
* Prince, sz. " PhHi/iines ?

^'^ Philljiines ? Then David enquired of the Lord yet
^^ again. And the Lord anfwered him and f aid .^ Arifa.
*' and go down to Keilah^for I zuill deliver the Philijiines
" into thine hand." We can find no extracts from this
fermon : It is not difficvilt however to imagine, what
the occafion, and the preacher's piety dictated. The
events propitious to their undertaking were probably
brought into view as tokens of divine approbation,
and as an earnell in future of the divine blefling.
" The greater number being to Hay, require their
" paftor to flay with them : Their elder, Mr. Brewfter,
^' to go with the other : Thofe who go firft to be an
" abfolute church of themfelves, as v/ell as thofe that
" ft ay ; with this provifo, that as any go over or re-
" turn, they fliall be reputed as members, without
^' further difmiilion or teftimonial : And thofe who
" tarry to follow the reft as foon as they can."*

On July 2o, they were prepared for the moving
feparation of the next day by another difcourfe from
Ezra viii. 21, " Then I proclaimed a faji, at the river
" Ahava, that we inight afflid ourf elves before our God,


Of this difcourfe we are furniihed with a fpecimen
by Governor Winflow, the liberality of which will
excite admiration, Vv^hen we coniider the bigotry of
the age in which it was delivered ; and even at this
day, which claims the honour of high improvement,
may not be unprofitable for doctrine, reproof, correc-
tion and inftrudion in righteoufnefs. The Governor

^ Prince, 66.. informs

t 22 3

Ififorms us, that when the Plymouth people p^rtei
from their renowned Paftor, wjith whom they had
always lived in the moft intire affed:ion, " He charged
'' us before God and his bleffed angels to follow
" him no farther than he followed Chrift : And
" if God fhould reveal any thing to us by any
^' other inftrument of hisj to be as ready to re-
" ceive it as ever we were to receive any truth by
^' his miniftry : For he was very confident that the
" Lord had more light and truth yet to break forth
" out of his holy word. He took occafion alfo to
^' bewail the ftate of the reformed churches who were
" come to a period in religion, and would go no fur-
" ther than the Inftruments of their reformation. As
" for example, the Lutherans could not be drawn to
*' go beyond what Luther faid ; for whatever part of
** Gods word he had further revealed to Calvin, they
" had rather die than embrace it ; and fo, faid he,
^^ you fee the Calvinifts, they {lick where He left
*^ them — -a mifery much to be lamented : For though
" they were precious, fluning lights in their times ;
" yet God had not revealed his whole will to them :
" And were they alive now, they would be as ready
^' to embrace further light as that they had receivedp
" Here alfo he put us in mind of our church cov*-
^'' enant ; whereby we engaged with God and one
" another to receive whatever light or truth fhould
*^' be made known to us from His written word. But
" withal exhorted us to take heed what we receive for
** truth ; and well to examine, compare and weigh it
^' with other fcriptures before we receive it. For,*-
^* faid he, it is not pjjible the chrjftian world Jhould

" come

C n 3

*' corns fo lately aut of fuch antichrijiian darknefs^ and
*' that full perfe^ion of knowledge Jhould break forth ai
*' once"* Mr. Robinfon, knowing the afFedion of
his people, and aware that this affedion might leacJ
ihem to entertain too much refped for his c^inions^
was led to fuggeft the cautions above related. They
give us an exalted opinion of their author ; They
breathe a noble fpirit of libertyj and are deferving of
the attention of reformed churches and minifters,
«ven in this age.

But fupprefling refleHions^ \tl us proceed in the
relation of events. *' Having fpent the evening pre-*
vious to their embarkation in friendly, entertaining
and chriftian converfe, on July 22, the wind being
fair, our voyagers leave the city of Ley den, being ac-
companied by moft of their brethren, and go on
board the veflel prepared for their reception : But
not till they had fallen on their knees, and, by the
mouth of their afFedionate paftor, with watery cheeks
commended themfelves to the protedion of Almighty
God, Then they took leave with mutual embraces
and many tears/'

Before v/e follov/ our Fathers over the ocean, you
wiU indulge me in a tribute of refpecl to thei?
worthy paftor. This digreffion will be the more
readily pardoned, as his charader is peculiarly inter*
efting to minifters of the GofpeL After the Apoftles,
he is as good a copy for their imitation as is furni£h«
ed by the hiftory of the church. " He has been de-
fcribed as being a man of an excellent underftandingj
gteat modefty, candour and integrity } courteous
* Prince, 90, • *^^

[ ^4 ] '

and dbilging manners ; ready on convi6lion to ad-
knowledge his errors ; fond of converfmg with good
men ; moderate and charitable, yet zealous and ftricl
in his religion : As he advanced in years^ he grew
mild and benevolent : He was dextrous at peace-
making ; able to give good advice. Loved moft af-
feftionately by his flock, refpeded by the magiftrates
of Ley den, he died the ift of March, 1625, in the
50th year, in the height of his reputation and ufefuU
nefs ; and, 90 years after his death, was ftill remem'*
bered and lamented as a great and good man/' Sure-
ly, He ivas a Pajior after God*s own heart i

Without noticing the troubles w^hich befel our
Fathers on the coaft of England, the perils which at-*
tended them on their voyage to this continent, we
fhall land them upon this fliore, and briefly view the
hardftiips, dangers and forrows which here awaited
them. V/e land them on this fliore ! But to what
do we introduce them ? Do v.''e bring them to warm
fires, convenient houfes, plentiful tables, friendly
neighbours ? Nay. A fweeping flcknefs fome years
before had not fpared even the barbarian to Jhew them
fome little kindnefs. It was indeed to them a matter of
devout rejoicing that they had fafely pafl^d the
vail ocean ; but they entered upon a nev/ fea of
troubles. The winter was fiiarp : The fliorms fierce :
It was dangerous to travel far by land : The coaft was
unknown. It was vain to look back the way they
had come, and the forward profped was woods and
thickets, — a difcouraglng contrafl; to the cultivated
field^ of Europe they had lately left. And, to fill up


C 25 3

the meafure of difcouragements, to add horror to the
difmal fcene, a general iicknefs, attended v^ith great
mortality, reduced them to half their number on land-
ing. Worn out with fatigue, debilitated by difeafe, for-
rowful by the lofs of near connexions and intimate
friends, they had to unlade and fecure their goods, to
build cottages for habitation, to confult about laws,
civil and military, and alrnoft daily , at the clofe of
the winter, to follow one and another of their com«
pany to the grave.

But their patience and fortitude were as extraor-
dinary as their trials. By the powerful energies of
religious principle tliey were not wearied nor faint in
their minds. By the armour of righteoufnefs they
ftood approved in all their afflictions, neceffities, and
diftreffes, Notwithftanding the diminution of bodily
ftrength, the inward man was daily renewed ; and
through him who loved them, and whom they alfo
loved, they were in all thefe things more than conquerors.

The piety of our Fathers, in doing z.nd fuffering the
will of God, merits attentive notice and high praife. .
Particularly, with what religious gratitude did they
record every fmile of divine Providence ! Though
poor in the extreme, yet how much more thankful
were they than we are, who have entered upon their
labours with multiplied advantages ! The fpringing
fpire of grafs, — a favourable gale to their weather-
beaten Ihailop,— a pittance of corn, invited them to
make the moft liberal expreflions of gratitude to
heaven. In the prefent day, the world is fo- con-
vulfed in opinion by the vices of men, that many are
difpofed to doubt of the agency of God in human af-
D fairs.

L 2^ 3

fairs, and few are found to adore Him7 the giver of
every good and perfect gift. That punifliment of
this ing-ratitiide and impiety may not be far off,
which fhall bring men to the full acknowledgment of
a diyine providence', the belief of which was the com-
fort and fupport of" ciir' ahcefiors ; and its effeds,
Koth in circiiraftances of profperity and adverfity, al-
ternately begat exalted praife and profound fubmillion.
We have in this and riiany other inftances degenerated
from the pious fentiments and practices of our fath-
ers. The harp, the viol, the tabret, the pipe^ and wine'
are in our feajis ; hut %ve regard noi the work of the
Lord, fieither conjrder the operation of his handJ^

But tlxQ manners as well as the piety oi our Fathers
deferve commendation. They were fruitful in good
works. Their faith worked by love, purified their
hearts, and made them holy in all manner of conver-
sation. We have need to be ftirred up by their ex-
ample to a ftricler obfervance of the Lord*s-day, — to
a greater diligence in training up the young in the
v/ays of the Lord, Their impartial regard to juftice
13 an exemplary reproof of modern fraud and oppref-
fion. We may learn from them the exercife of com-
paiiion to the diflrelTed, and the genuine motions of
dilinterefted benevolence. In one word, the details
of hiftory in our polTellion will juftify the beUef, that
the firft planters of Plimouth approached near to the
pattern of the primitive churches in dodrine, difci-
pline, faith and manners.

To thefe general encomia beftowed on the F^ithers

indifcriminately, this occaJlion requires a refpedful

* miah V. la. mentioa

mention of feme particular cliara<?cei*s^ who . were thte
leaders of the people in their hazardous enterprize,
.and their mofl active fupporters in feafons of afflic-
tive trial.

The names of CajrVer^ Bradford, Brewfter^ Stan-
diih, Winflow, Cufliman, will ever be mentioned with
veneration by all who juftly appreciate patience, cour-
age, integrity, public fpirit, practical wifdom and
piety. Thefe men, in their principles, feelings and
condud refembied the elders referred to in the,
text, of whom . the world was not worthy^ and who
have all left a good report through faith.

In Carver v/e behold the meeknefs of Mofes,
and his piety too, choojlng to fuffer affiiElion with
-the people of Godp

There was none like Bradford among all the
people : Like Jofliua he was full of the fpirit of wif^
dom. The Lord magnified him in the fight of the people,

Brewster, though not a prieft was neverthelefs
like Noah a preacher of righteoufnefs-—^, juft man^ and
one who found grace in the fight of God.

Standish wielded the fword of the Lord and ^
Gideon. And the people might fay of him as the
Ifraelites did of David, Thou art worth ten thoufand
of us. He is ranked among the heroes of antiquity,
who waxed , 'valiant in fghty and turned to flight this
armies of the aliens,

WiNSLow was a faithful meffenger / he gave him-
felfasan hofiage iov his people. He was poileffed of
the good underflanding which giveth favour.

Gush:Man preached peace to the brethren : And


. C »8 ]

though net called of God as was Aaron to the office
of a prieji^ yet his prophefyings are not to be def-

" They all have obtained with pofterity a good re-^
port through faith : They died in faith : They were
perfuaded of the fulfilment of the divine promifes : They
embraced them and confejjed that they were firangers
and pilgrims on the earth. By their fpirit and con-
dud: it is plainly declared that they fought a better
country. If they had been inindful of that country from
whence they came out^ they might have had opportunity to
have returned : But they defired a better country that
is an heavenly}'^

While we thus do the merited honour to the
memory of our departed Anceftors, let us claim no-
thing to ourfelves but from an imitation of their
virtues. Let us remember thofe words of John the
Baptift to the Jews, " Bring forth fruits meet for re-
'^^ pentance. And think not to fay within yourfelves^
^^ We have Abraham to our father.'* And again,
when the Jews faid unto our Saviour, Abraham is
our father : he faid unto them, " If ye were Abra-
** ham's children ye would do the works of Abra-
" ham.*'

The hiftory we contemplate not only furniihes
exemplary charaBers, but inftrudive and interefting
events. We fhall mention a few of them, and re-
commend them to the riling generation as contain-
ing lelTons to the heart and head, calculated not only
to amufe innocently, but to make them wifer and
better. The

* Sec his excellent Sermon on Self-Love, delivered i6»i.

[ 29 3

The firft interview with the native Indians has
many engaging particulars, the detail of which muft
excite in every reader of fenfibiiity twice the interefb
of the moft enchanting romance.

The ill fuccefs of their firil plan of labouring in
common is inflrudive, and if evidence were want-
ing, it proves that plenty is beft fecured when every
man plants and waters his own ground, for his own
private benefit, and trufts to perfonal exertions for a
fupport. After our fathers had made a divifion of
land (not for an inheritance, but only to till) " it
" made all induftrious, — gave content. Even the
*' women went into the field to work, and more
" corn was planted than ever."

The treaty made with Maffafoit is a valuable doc-
ument relating to ancient times. It ftipnlates recip-
rocal benefits ; it is well worded, and what is more,
it ihews that the parties meant to do jujily.^

In the progrefs of the hiftory before us, it is high-
ly interefting to read the account of the friendly
vifit to Maffafoit, when he was iick. Mr. Winflow


* League of Friendfhip between Governor Carver and Maffafoit.

" Art. ift. That neither he nor his ihould injure any of ours.

a. _ That if they did, he fhould fend the offender that we might pun-

ifh him.
$. _ That if our tools were taken away, he Ihould reftore them : _ And

if any of ours did any harm to any of his, we would do the like to


4. If any unjuflly warred againft him, we would aid him ; and if any
warred againft us, he fhould aid us.

5. He fhould certify his neighbour confederates of this, that they might
not wrong us, but be comprifed in the conditions of peace.

^, That when their men come to us, they fliould leave their bows and
arrows behind them, as we fhould leave our pieces when we come
to them. — And thus doing, King James would efteeni him as his
friend and ally."

This league lafted aj^ye fifty years. Princep 10%,

[ 30 3

was jippoihted to. this feryice, having Hobamock for
a guide and interpreter. It was rumoured by fome
Indians, as they purfued their journey, that MaiTafoit
v/as dead. The eulogy of Hobamock is irreiiftibly
eloquent. " My loving fachem ! many have I known,
but never any like thee" 1 Then turning to me (^
Winflow) he faid, whilfl I lived I Ihould never fee
his^iike among the Indians. He was no liar, he was
3^ot bloody and cruel like other Indians 4 in anger
and pailion he was foon reclaimed ; eafy to be recon<.
cUed toward fuch as had offended him ; ruled by rea-
fon in fuch meafure as he would not fcorn the advice
of mean men ; and that he governed his men better
v/ith few ftrokes than others did with many ; truly
loving where he loved ; yea, he feared we had not a
faithful friend left among the Indians, fliewing how
often he reftrained their malice. He continued a
long fpeech, with fuch iigns of lamentation and un-
feigned fprrow as v/ould have made the hardeft heart

Have we not here a greaUr than Alexander the
Qreat ? Might not the old and new tyrants in Eu-
rope profit by meditation on this charader of Maffa-
foit ? To wliat chrijiian prince can we juftly attribute
a charafter of more amiablenefs and worth ?■' — The
vilit of Winilow to this excellent Saqhem was a prac»
tical comment on that apoftolic precept, " Is anyjtck f
let him call for the elders of the church ; and let them
pray over hm^ anointing him with oil in the name of ths
Lord : And the prayer of faith jhall fave the Jick, and
}he Lord fiall raifi him up,'*


[ 3^ ]

Closing our relation of the things which happen-
ed in old time, let us look for one moment to the
prefent ftate of our country. From fmall arid weak
beginnings how extenlive the population, how numer-
ous the improvements of Englilh America ! When
we contemplate the prefent importance of the
United States in connexion with a peridd Ihort of
20b years, we have a comment on the prophetic ex-
preffion, " A nation born at once." In the courfe of
two centuries and our fons will be planted on the
banks of the Miilifippi, and the wildernefs beyond
** fliail bloffom as a rofe." But, alas, a retrofped: of
paft events begets the unpleafant. anticipation of wars
and fightings. We fee in future profpc«£l the Kings
of the Souths begotten of luxury, pride, licentioufnefs
and impiety, invading the hardy inhabitants of the
North. We fee the armies of the Eaft and Weil en-
countering each other at fome narrow pafs in the
mountains, like the armies of Europe and Alia at
the ilreights of Thermopylae. We fee thrones and
fceptres, baftiles and fetters, the punilhment of hea-
ven on guilty men, who no longer deferve liberty, of
are capable of enjoying her. Should all this be pre-
vented, — it muft happen through the kind interpo-
fition of that Being who " rules the raging of the
fea, and ftilleth the tumult of the people."

" The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice" in

a ^ragen

ALMIGHTY GOD! who hafl made of one
blood all nations of men inhabiting the face of the
earth ; who haft determined their times, and the
bounds of their habitation ! We proftrate oiirfelves
before Thee in humble acknowledgment of all the
mercies fhewn to our Fathers. Thou didft deliver
them in fix troubles, yea in feven, and nothing fatal
overtook them. In famine thou didft redeem them
from death, and in war from the power of the fword.
Thou didft deliver them from the hands of the op-
preffors j and wh^n they wandered in the wildernefs,
and found no city to dwell in, then they cried unto
Thee and thou didft hear their voice and look on
their afflidions.

We have heard with our ears, our Fathers have
told us what work thou didft in their day, in the
times of old. How thou didft drive out the heathen
with thy hand, and didft plant thetn, and caufe the
light of thy countenance to fhine upon them. The
things which we have heard we will not hide
from our children, but fliew to the generation to
come the praifes of the Lbrd, fo that they may know
them, and arife and declare them to their children.

We earneftly delire in ourfelves a greater refem-
blance of ovr Fathers in their concernment for the


C 33 3

foul and things of another world ; In their faithful*
nefs and conftancy in the profeffion of religion ; in
their zeal and adivity in the difcharge of duty. As
thou didft call them from the evil of this prefent
world, a chofen generation, to know thy will, to feek
tliy face, to know thy ways , wilt thou alfo call us
effedually to virtue, and may our light, as theirs
did, ihine before men and lead them to glorify Thee.
We pray for all refor?ned churches ; may they
be more reformed, and every plant not of thy plant-
ing be plucked up. May an end be put to all
vfurpation and tyranny, to all infringement on the
rights of confcience and chriftian liberty. And may
no weapon formed againft the difciples of Chrift be
permitted to profper. Haften the deliverance of
thofe who fufFer for bearing teftimony to the truth
and are perfecuted for righteoufnefs fake.

Bless the churches in our country. May not the
fruits of chriftian profeflbrs be briars and thorns, but
righteoufnefs, peace and joy in the exercife of a holy
fpirit. May every thing be gathered from among
thy people which worketh abomination, and may
they be ijuholly fandified through thy word and fpirit.

Bless the preachers of the GofpeL May they be
faithful as paftors of the flock, and exemplary in all
their converfation. Wilt thou furniih them for the
good work of opening the eyes of men, and turning
them from darknefs to light, and from the power of
fm unto holinefs. While they ftop the mouths of
falfe prophets by foundnefs of dodrine and purity of
% charader;,

t 34 ]

cliara5:er, may their labours in edifying the body of
Chrijl be crowned with full fuccefs. May they behave
themfelves not as having dominion over the faith of
chriilians, but as helpers of their joy. As meffeng^rs
of thy heavenly will, may they make full and cleaii
manifeftations of the truth, and commend themfelvei
to every man's confcience in thy fight. , May the)
feel the joy of that Salvation which they preach, tb
force of every motive they urge, and by their con
dud as well as by tkeir ftated miniflrations b|
preachers of righteoufnefs.

Bless the worftiipping fociety in this place. Ma^
the rock of the pilgrims, and every veftige of antieniL
times which they have among them, be alTociated;
with the recolledion of thofe chriftian virtues by
which their fathers were difcriminated from the pro-
fane world. We pray for the unity and peace of the
church in this place. May all unreafonable averfions
be fubdued. And by reflefting on the many impor-
tant truths in which they agree, may they be led
ivith more candor to difcufs thofe points about whicli
they differ.

Bless to our perfect eftablilhment in piety and
virtue the recolleci:ion of this day. While we call up
to view the hiftory of our anceftors, and praife Thee
for all the provifions of thy goodnefs, fupporting and
comforting them in feafons of forrow and danger :—<
While we have a clear and grateful perception of our
advantages, in many refpeds the fruit of their labours,
may we ^ith faithfulness hold up to view their prin-

- ciple§

C 35 3

ciples to pofterity, and urge upon our children the
imitation of their chriftian virtues.

May we individually be gathered to our fathers in
peace, having in the likenefs of their zeal and fidelity
ferved Thee in our day and generation. Unto the
only wife God our Saviour be afcriptions of praifc
forever, AMEN.



I S C O U E S E,




DECEMBER 22, 1806,


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Online LibraryJohn AllynA sermon delivered at Plimouth, December 22, 1801, commemorative of the pious ancestry, who first imigrated [!] to that place, 1620 → online text (page 2 of 18)