Oliver N Bacon.

A history of Natick, from its first settlement in 1651 to the present time; with notices of the first white families, and also an account of the centennial celebration, Oct. 16, 1851, Rev. Mr. Hunt's address at the consecration of Dell Park cemetery, &c. .. (Volume 2) online

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Online LibraryOliver N BaconA history of Natick, from its first settlement in 1651 to the present time; with notices of the first white families, and also an account of the centennial celebration, Oct. 16, 1851, Rev. Mr. Hunt's address at the consecration of Dell Park cemetery, &c. .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 5 of 22)
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themselves upon this great and hazardous undertaking, of planting
themselves at their own charge in these remote ends of the earth,
that, without offence and provocation to our Brethren and Country-
men, we might enjoy that liberty to worship God, which our own con-
sciences informed us was not only our right, but duty ; as also that


we might (if it so pleased God) be instrumental to spread the light
of the Gospel, the knowledge of the Son of God, our Saviour, to the
poor barbarous heathen, which, by his late Majesty, in some of our
Patents, is declared to be his principal aim.

These honest and pious intentions have, through the grace and
goodness of God, and our kings, been seconded with proportionable
success ; for, omitting the immunities indulged by your Highness'
royal Predecessors, we have been greatly encouraged by your
Majesty's gracious expressions of favor and approbation signified
unto the Address made by the Principal of our Colonies, to which
the rest do most cordially subscribe, though, wanting the like season-
able opportunity, they have been (till now) deprived of the means
to congratulate your Majesty's happy restitution, after your long
suffering, which we implore may yet be graciously accepted, that we
may be equal partakers of your royal favor and moderation, which
hath been so illustrious, that (to admiration) the animosities and
different persuasions of men have been so soon composed, and so
much cause of hope, that (unless the sins of the Nation prevent) a
blessed calm will succeed the late horrid confusions of Church and
State : and, shall not we Dread Sovereign) your subjects of these
Colonies, of the same faith and belief in all points of doctrine with
ouV countrymen, and the other reformed churches (though perhaps
not alike persuaded in some matters of order, which in outward
respects hath been unhappy for us) promise and assure ourselves of
all just favor and indulgence from a Prince so happily and graciously
endowed ?

The other part of our errand hither hath been attended with
endeavors and blessing, many of the wild Indians being taught, and
understanding the doctrine of the Christian religion, and with much
affection attending such preachers as are sent to teach them, many
of their children are instructed to write and read, and some of them
have proceeded further, to attain the knowledge of the Latin and
Greek tongues, and are brought up with our English youths in
University learning. There are divers of them that can, and do read
some parts of the Scripture, and some catechisms, which formerly
have been translated into their own language, which hath occasioned
the undertaking of a greater work, viz., the printing of the whole
Bible, which (being translated by a painful laborer amongst them,
who was desirous to see the work accomplished in his day) hath


already proceeded to finishing the New Testament, -which we here
humbly present to your Majesty, as the first fruits and accomplish-
ment of the pious design of your royal ancestors.

The Old Testament is now under the press, wanting and craving
your royal favor and assistance, for the perfecting thereof.

We may not conceal that though this work hath been begun and
prosecuted by such instruments as God has raised up here, yet the
chief charge and cost which hath supported and carried it thus far,
hath been from the charity and piety of our well afifected country-
men in England^ who, being sensible of our inability in that respect,
and studious to promote so good a work, contributed large sums of
money, which were to be improved according to the direction and
order of the then-prevailing povvcrs, which hath been faithfully and
religiously attended both here and there, according to the pious
intendons of the benefactors : and we do most humbly beseech your
Majesty, that a matter of so much devotion and piety, tending so
much to the honor of God, may suffer no disappointment through
any legal defect (without the fault of the donors, or the poor
Indians, who only receive the benefit) but that your Majesty may
be graciously pleased to establish and confirm the same, being
contrived and done (as we conceive) in the first year of your
Majesty's reign, as this book was begun and now finished in the first
year of your establishment, which doth not only presage the happy
success of your Majesty's Government, but will be a perpetual
monument, that by your Majesty's Favor the Gospel of our Lord and
Saviour, JtiSMS Christ was first made known to the Indians, an honor
whereof (we are assured) your Majesty will not a little esteem.

Sir : — The shines of your royal favor upon these undertaJcings,
will make these tender plants to flourish, notivithstaiiding any
malevolent aspect from those that hear evil ivill to this Lion,
and render Your Majesty more illustrious and glorious to
after generations.

The God of heaven long j^veserve and bless Your Majesty ivitJi
many happy days, to his glory, the good and comfort of his
Church and people. — J.we?i."

In 1663, the Old and New Testaments and a version of the
Psalter in a separate volume, were completed, and a copy of each
forwarded to the king. Richard Baxter, who was a friond and


correspondent of Eliot, speaks of the gift as " such a work anrl fruit
of a plantation as was never before presented to a king." The
perfect Bible was accompanied by the following dedicatory address,
which, Thomas states, was omitted in nearly all the copies circulated
in America : —

" To ilie high and mighty Prince Charles the Second, by the
grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and
Ireland, Defender of the Faith, ^c, the Commissioners of
the United Colonies in New England, wish all happiness, &c.

Most Dread Sovereign : —

As our former presentation of the New Testament was graciously
accepted by your Majesty, so, with all humble thankfulness for that
royal favor, and with the like hope, we are bold now to present the
WHOLE Bible, translated into the language of the natives of this
country, by a painful laborer in that tvork, and now printed and
finished, by means of the pious beneficence of Your Majesty's
subjects in England ; which also by your special favor hath been
continued and confirmed, to the intended use and advancement of so
great and good a work as is the Propagatioii of the Qospel to these
poor barbarians in this (ere while) unknown world.

Translations of the Holy Scriptures, — the Word of the King of
kings, — have ever been deemed not unworthy of the most princely
dedications ; examples whereof are extant in divers languages. But
your Majesty is the first which hath received one in this language,
or from the American world, or from any parts so remote from
Europe as these are, for aught that ever we heard of.

Publication also of these sacred writings to the sons of men (who
here, and here only, have the ministers of their eternal salvation
revealed to them by the God of heaven) is a work that the greatest
princes have honored themselves by.

But, to publish and communicate the same to a lost people, as
remote from knowledge and civility, much more from Christianity,
as they were from all showing, civil and Christian nations, — a people
Avithout law, without letters, without riches, or means to procure any
such thing, — a people that sat as deep in darkness and in the shadoiv
of death as (we think) any since the creation. This puts a lustre
upon it that is superlative, and to have given royal patronage and
countenance to such a publication, or to the means thereof, will


stand among the marks of lasting honor in the eyes of all that
are considerate, even unto after generations.

And, though there be in this Western world many Colonies of
other European nations, yet we humbly conceive, no Prince has had
a return of such a work as this ; which may be some token of the
success of your Majesty's plantation of New England, undertaken
and settled under the encouragement and security of your royal
father and grandfather, of famous memory, and cherished with like
gracious aspects from your Majesty.

Though indeed the present Poverty of these plantations could not
have accomplished this work had not the forementioned Bounty of
England lent Relief; nor could that have continued to stand us in
stead, without the Influence of Your Royal Favor and Authority, where-
by the Corporation there for Propagating the Gosjyel among these
Natives hath been established and encouraged, (whose Labor of Love,
Care and Faithfulness in that Trust, must ever be remembered with
Honor ;) yea, when private persons, for their private Ends, have of late
sought Advantages to deprive the said Corporation of Half the Pos-
sessions that had been by Liberal Contributions, obtained for so
Religious Ends.

"We understand That, by an Honorable and Righteous Decision in
Your Majesty's Court of Chancery, their Hopes have been defeated,
and the Thing settled where it was and is ; for which great favor and
illustrious fruit of Your Majesty's Government we cannot but return
our most humble thanks in this Public manner ; and as the result of
the joint Endeavors of Your Majesty's subjects, there and here, act-
ing under your Royal Influence, We present You with this work,
which upon sundry accounts is to be called yours.

The Southern Colonies of the Spanish Nation have sent home
from this American Continent, much Gold and Silver as the fruit and
End of their discoveries and Transplantations : That (we confess)
is a scarce commodity in this Colder Climate ; but (suitable to the
ends of our undertaking,) we Present this and other Concomitant
Fruits of our poor Endeavors to Plant and Propagate the Gospel here,
which, upon a true account, is as much better than Gold, as the souls of
men are more worth than the whole World. This is a noble fruit, (and
in the counsels of an All-disposing Providence was a higher intended
End) oiColumhus, his Adventure. And though by his Brother being
hindered from a seasonable Application, your Famous Predecessor


and Ancestor, King Henry the Seventh missed of being sole Owner of
that first Discovery, and of the riches thereof, yet if the Honor of
first discpvering the true and saving knowledge of the Gospel unto
the poor Amerieans, and of Erecting the Kingdom of Jesus Christ
among them, be reserved for, and do redound unto your Majesty
and the English Nation, after ages will not reckon this inferior to
the other. Religion is the End and Glory of mankind, and as it was
the professed End of this Plantation, so we design ever to keep it in
our eye as our main design, (both to ourselves and the natives about
us,) and that our Products may be answerable thereunto. Give us
therefore leave, (^Bread Sovereign,^ yet again humbly to beg the con-
tinuance of your Royal Favor, and of the Influences thereof, upon
this poor Plantation, The United Colonies of Neiv England, for the
securing and establishment of our Civil Privileges and Religious Liber-
ties hitherto enjoyed ; and upon this Good Work of Propagating Reli-
gion to these Natives, that the Supports and Encouragements thereof
from England may be still countenanced and confirmed.

May this Nursling still suck the Breast of Kings, and be fostered
by your Majesty, as it hath been by your Royal Predecessors, unto
the preservation of its Main Concernments. It shall thrive and
prosper to the Glory of God and the Honor of your Majesty. Neither
will it be any loss or grief unto our Lord the King, to have the
Blessing of the Poor to come upon Him, and that from these Ends of
the Earth.

The Grod hy ivhom Kings Reign and Princes Decree Justice, Bless
Your Majesty and establish your Throne in Righteousness, in Mercy
and in Truth, to the Crlory of His Name, the Good of His People, and
to your oivn Qomfort and Rejoicing, not in this only hut in another

The title-page is in English and Indian. The Indian title is as
follows : " Mamusse Wemetupematamwe, Up-Biblum God naneeswe
Nekkone-Testament kakwonk Wusku Testament. Nequoshinnumuk
nashpe Wattemeamak Christ noh asoowesit John Eliot Nahohteou
outehetoe Printewoomuk, Cambridge Printenoop nashpe Samuel

We give, as a specimen of the Indian language, the Lord's
Prayer, with the EngUsh translation, from the first edition of the New
Testament, printed at Cambridge, in 1661.


THE LORD'S PRAYER, Matt., 6 : 9.

Nooshum kesukqut quttianata-i Our Father which art in heaven,
manack hoowesaouk. Peyaum- hallowed be thy name : Thy king-
ooutch kukkenau-toomoouk ne a ' dom come : thy will be done in
nack okkeet neam kesukqut. — [ earth, as it is in heaven. Give us
Nem-meet-sougash asekesuhokesu j this day our daily bread: And
assanmauean yedyee kesu-kod. ! forgive us our debts, as we forgive
Kah ahquotaneas inneaen numma- our debtors : And lead us not into
teheouqasu, neem machenekuke-| temptation, but deliver us from
qig nutahquoretawmomouag. Ah- ! evil : for thine is the kingdom, and

the power, and the glory, forever.


que sag hompagunaianeem en-
qutchuasouqauit webe pohquohwa-
ossueau wutch matchitut. Newat-
che hutahteem ketassootamouk
hah nuumkessouk, kah sohsa-
moouk michene. Amen. '

" The first impression of the Indian Bible," says Dr. Francis, in
his excellent life of Eliot, " sufficed for about twenty years. In
1680, another edition of the New Testament was published. Mr.
Eliot, in a letter written during that period to the Hon. Mr. Boyle,
alludes to it when he says, ' We are at the nineteenth Chapter of
the Acts, and when we have impressed the New Testament, our
commissioners approve of my preparing and impressing the Old.' "

In addition to the Psalms, a Catechism was annexed as in the first
impression. This New Testament has the imprint of Cambridge,
but no printer's name. In 1685, a second edition of the Old Testa-
ment appeared, printed at Cambridge, by Samuel Green. This was
bound with the last impression of the New Testament, and the two
parts, thus taken together, constitute the second edition of the whole
Bible, though there was an interval of five years between the times
at which the two Testaments respectively appeared. Each part has
but one title-page, which is in Indian, and the same as before. We
learn some facts respecting this second edition of the Indian ver-
sion, from Eliot's correspondence with Mr. Boyle. The whole im-
pression was two thousand cojaies. It was superintended by Mr.
Eliot, who gave a part of his salary towards defraying the expense,


and received for the same purpose, from the corporation in England,
through Mr. Boyle, X900 at diflferent times: namely, £iO at one
time, £460 at another, and £400 at a third. If some collateral
expenses be included, the whole cost of the impression must have
been little, if any, short of XIOOO. Mr. Eliot's remarks lead us
to suppose that the first edition was nearly or quite exhausted. If
so, and if the numb^ of the copies was what I have supposed, this
fact will furnish us with a measure by which we may estimate the
demand for the Scriptures among the Indians for twenty years after
the translation was first printed. We might presume that the num-
ber of copies which curiosity might lead the people of the colony to
purchase, or which courtesy might send to England, could not be

Eliot apologized to Mr. Boyle for the slow progress of the print-
ing, by alleging the want of an adequate number of workmen, and
the interruption of labor among those they had, by sickness, which
prevailed fatally in the winter of 1683 and the spring of 1684.
His heart was saddened by these and other events which seemed to
throw discouragement on the work ; for he was then bending beneath
the weight of years, and with the feeling of an old and faithful ser-
vant, his soul yearned to witness, as his last labor, the completion of
the new edition of his translation.

The afiectionate earnestness with which he dwells on the subject
in his correspondence with the Enghsh philosopher, has a touching
interest : " My age," says he, " makes me importunate. I shall
depart joyfully, may I but leave the Bible among them, for it is the
word of life." Again he writes, " I desire to see it before I die,
and I am so deep in years that I cannot expect to live long, and
sundry say if I do not procure it printed while I live, it is not within
the prospect of human reason, whether ever, or when, or how it may
be accomplished." He bore it on his heart to God in his devotions,
and the anxious earnestness of his soul seemed to be fixed on this

The prayer of the good man was answered. He lived to see a
new impression of his Bible, and when he took the precious volume
in his hands, we can easily imagine that with uplifted hands he may
have uttered the Nunc Bimittis of the aged Simeon. In preparing
his second edition Mr. Eliot received valuable assistance from the
Qev. John Cotton, of Plymouth, who had spent much of the time


for several years in forming an acquaintance with the Indian lan-
guage. This obligation EUot acknowledged in a letter to Boyle in
1688. Several years before that time Boyle had intrusted to Eliot
.£30 for the promotion of religion among the Indians. The money
had not been expended, perhaps because no opportunity had occurred
for the particular mode of using it which Boyle designed. Of this
sum Eliot requested that XIO might be givwi to Major Gookin's
widow, who was poor, £10 to Gookin's son, who lectured among the
Indians, and £10 to Mr. John Cotton, " who," says he, "helped
me much in the second edition of the Bible."

Perhaps Mr. Cotton revised the whole version, that, by their
joint labor, a more exact and faithful translation might be exhibited
in the new impression.

Mr. Francis in another place remarks that the Indian Bible has
become one of those rare books which the antiquarian deems it a
treasure to possess. It has acquired the venerable appearance of an
ancient and sealed book, and when we turn over its pages, those
long and harsh words seem like the mysterious hieroglyphics in some
time-honored temple of old Egypt.

" It failed to answer the pious purpose for which the translator
labored in preparing it. But it has answered another purpose, which
Avas, perhaps, never in his mind, or, if it were, was doubtless consid-
ered as of inferior importance. In connection with his Indian gram-
mar, it has afforded important aid as a valuable document in the study
of comparative philology. Though the language in which it is printed
is no longer read, yet this book is prized as one of the means of gain-
ing:: an insicfht into the structure and character of ' unwritten dialects
of barbarous nations,' a subject which of late years has attracted the
attention of learned men, and the study of which it is believed will
furnish new facts to modify the hitherto received principles of univer-
sal grammar. On this account scholars of the highest name in mod-
ern times have had reason to thank Eliot for laboi's which the In-
dians are not left to thank him for. While the cause of religion
missed in a great degree the benefit design^ed for it, the science of
language acknowledges a contribution to its stores. Mr. Eliot trans-
lated the Bible into a dialect of what is called the Mohegan tongue,
a language spoken by all the New England Indians, essentially
the same, but varied by different dialects among the several tribes.
By Eliot, and others, it was called the Massachusetts language.


There is, beside, a moral aspect in -which this translation should be
viewed. It must be regarded as a monument of painstaking love to
the soul of man, and of laborious pietj. Would the translator
have had the spirit to undertake, still more the perseverance to carry
through, a work so wearisome and discouraging, had he not been an-
imated by the deep, steady, strong principle of devotedness to God
and to the highest good of his fellow men ? The theological scholar
who translates the Bible, or even one of the Testaments, from the
original into his vernacular tongue, is considered as having achieved
a great task, and as having given ample proof of his diligence. Yet
such arwork is easy, compared with the work which Eliot undertook
and finished amidst a press of other employments, which alone might
have been deemed sufficient to satisfy the demands of Christian in-

Among the many remarkable doings of the apostle to the Indians,
this bears the most striking testimony to his capacity of resolute en-
durance in the cause of man's spiritual welfare. We justly admire
the moral courage, the spirit of self-sacrifice which sustained him in
the tasks of preaching, visiting and instruction, never deterred by the
dark squalidness of barbarity, never daunted by the fierce threats of
men who knew no law but their passions, never moved by exposure
to storms, cold, and the various forms of physical suffering. But
when we represent him to our minds as laboring in his translation of
the Scriptui-e in the silence of his study, year after year, in the fresh-
ness of the morning hour and by the taper of midnight, weaned but
not disheartened ; continually perplexed with the almost unmanage-
able phraseology of the dialect of the barbarians, yet always patient
to discover how it might be made to represent truly the meaning of
the sacred books ; doing this chapter by chapter, verse by verse,
without a wish to give over the toil ; cherishing for a long time only
a faint hope of publication, yet still willing to believe that God in his
good providence would finally send the means of giving the printed
Word of Life to those for whom he toiled and prayed — we cannot but
feel that we witness a more trying task, a more surprising labor, than
any presented by the stirring and active duties of his ministry among
the Indians. It was a long, heavy, hard work, wrought out by the
silent but wasting efforts of mental toil, and relieved by no immedi-
ately animating excitement. It was truly a labor of love. When we
take that old, dark volume into our hands, we understand not the


words in which it is written, but it has another and beautiful mean-
ing, which we do understand. It is a symbol of the affection which
a devoted man cherished for the souls of his fellow men. It is the
expression of the benevolence which fainted in no effort to give light
to those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death ; and so it
remains, and will ever remain a venerable manifestation of the power
of spiritual truth and sympathy.

The second edition of the translation was the best, and the printer
will never again be called to set types for those words so strange, nor
will there, in all after time, probably, be a person in the world who
can read the book.

Cotton Mather tells us that the anagram of Eliot's name was Toile,
and the conceit has the merit of expressing truly one of the chief
traits in the apostle's character.

" His youtli was innocent : his riper age

Marked with some act of goodness every day ;

And watched by eyes that loved him, calm and sage

Faded his late declining years away.

Cheerful he gave his being up, and went

To share the holy rest that waits a life well spent."

We have seen, in the civil history of the town, Natick chosen as,
in the opinion of Mr. Eliot, the most eligible spot for planting an In-
dian town ; we have seen the streets laid out, the houses and bridges
built, and a civil government adopted for the guidance of the infant

After so much had been accomplished a meeting-house was erected
and a church gathered.

The following is the simple covenant entered into by the Indians.
It will be seen to consist of a declaration of belief, and an agreement
with God and each other :

" We are the sons of Adam. We and our forefathers have a long
time been lost in our sins ; but now the mercy of the Lord beginneth
to find us out again : therefore, the grace of Christ helping us, we
do give up ourselves and our children unto God, to be his people ; He
shall rule us in all our aifairs. The Lord is our judge, the Lord is
our lawgiver, the Lord is our king, ho will save us ; the wisdom
which he taught us in His book shall guide us. ! Jehovah, teach
us wisdom, send thy spirit into our hearts ; take us to be thy people ;
and let us take thee to be our God."


Twenty years after the formation of this church, it contained forty

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Online LibraryOliver N BaconA history of Natick, from its first settlement in 1651 to the present time; with notices of the first white families, and also an account of the centennial celebration, Oct. 16, 1851, Rev. Mr. Hunt's address at the consecration of Dell Park cemetery, &c. .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 5 of 22)