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sary to their welfare that there should be a public settlement of questions, some of which were of a nice and embarrassing nature, and might lead to an inconvenient discussion with acute and opinionated men. More than a year had passed after the dissolution of the Synod, when isso, the General Court resolved “to commend it ** [the Platform] to the judicious and pious consideration of the several churches within the jurisdiction, desiring a return . . . . . how far it was suitable to their judgments and approbation, before the Court proisol ceeded any further therein.” At the end of two ** years more, they disposed of the business by a brief declaratory vote, giving “ their testimony to the said Book of Discipline, that, for the substance thereof, it was that they had practised and did believe.” Questions of civil and religious liberty, and of church organization, were not the only matters of common interconversion of est between the leaders of affairs in New Eng** land and their friends in the parent country. To convert the natives to a Christian faith and practice was an object of solicitude with the settlers, in which they sought and found the sympathy and aid of fellow-believers in England. The reader has observed what a generous purpose in this respect was cherished by the colonists both of Plymouth and of Massachusetts.” Their enthusiasm had not properly estimated the difficulties they would have to struggle against. They must, indeed, have anticipated that time and pains would be needed, to establish friendly relations with the natives, and to learn the languages which must be the medium of instruction. But they were uninformed as to the unpromising structure, intellectual and moral, of the minds which they proposed to address. And they could not make fit allowance beforehand for those wants and hardships of their own, which for a time were to afford sufficient employment to the thoughts of every day, nor for the engrossing solicitude with which at a little later period they were oppressed for the preservation of their religious and political immunities. Had they been encouraged by finding in their new neighbors an aptness to be taught, they would without doubt have managed to profit by it, notwithstanding unfavorable circumstances. But the first lesson enforced upon their minds by their observation of the stupid barbarians whom they encountered was, that the making of Christians out of such materials would be no simple task. Still they were never indifferent about the religious condition of the savages around them, nor unconcerned to use such opportunities as occurred for their instruction and improvement. The Plymouth people did what they could for their native visitors, in the way of occasional teaching; and it was a great satisfaction to them
* Mass. Rec., II. 285; III. 177, 240; * See Wol. I. 147,292. IV. (i.) 57; comp. Hubbard, 537.
e 2 - - Early indicathat Squanto, when about to die, “desired the o ness re
Governor to pray that he might go to the Eng-coivo Chris. lishman's God in heaven,” and that Hobbomok." “could never be gotten from the English nor from seeking after their God, but died amongst them, leaving some good hopes in their hearts that his soul went to rest.” In Massachusetts, Sagamore John, near Watertown, “began to hearken after God and his ways.” He was “kept down by fear of the scoffs of the Indians,” but on his death-bed “sent for Mr. Wilson to come to him, and committed his only child to his care.” “Divers of the Indians' children, boys and girls,” received into English families as servants, “began to understand in their measure the grounds of Christian religion;” and “some would use to weep and cry when detained by occasion from the sermon.” “An Indian maid at Salem . . . . . knew herself naught for present, and like to be miserable for ever, unless free grace should prevent it, and after this grew very careful in her carriage, proved industrious in her place, and so continued.” A native rebuked an Englishman “for profaning the Lord's day by felling of a tree;” and a Sagamore enjoined upon his subjects, “that none of them should kill pigeons upon the Sabbath-day any more.” In Connecticut, “that famous Indian Wequash, who was a captain, a proper man of person, and of a very
* Bradford, History, 128.
grave and sober spirit, . . . . . seeing and beholding the mighty power of God in the English forces, how they fell upon the Pequots, . . . . . from that time was convinced
and persuaded that our God was a most dreadful God.” “In the use of means, he grew greatly in the knowledge of Christ, and in the principles of religion, and became thoroughly reformed according to his light.” Attacked with mortal sickness, he rejected the help of a powow, “and so yielded up his soul into Christ's hands.” It was thought that “one mean amongst others, that had thus far won these poor wretches to look after the Gospel, had been the dealings and carriages which God had guided the English to exercise towards them.” The hope thus inspired of the existence among the natives of some degree of capacity for the reception of the Gospel, concurred with the comparative leisure and repose of the time to revive attention to the object which had never been lost sight of The General Court of Mas,..., sachusetts passed an Order “that the County * Courts in this jurisdiction should take care that into the Indians residing in their several shires should ”* be civilized, and that they should have power to take order from time to time to have them instructed in the knowledge and worship of God.” The Elders were
* New England's First Fruits, &c., friends, who desired to be satisfied in 1-8. (Comp. Winthrop, II, 121,122.)— these points by many New-England This work was published in London, in men who were there present, and were 1643, “at the instant request of sundry eye or ear witnesses of the same.”
informed “of the ready mind of the Court, upon loss.
* Mass. Rec., II. 84, 134, 178, 179. Vol. I. 357. The Reverend Dr. Con
* Perhaps, however, there was a vers Francis has published an excellent Dutch mission to Ceylon a little earlier. Life of John Eliot, in Sparks's Ameri
* For some of his antecedents, see can Biography, Vol. W.
nunciation," he took him into his family; and hav, ing first, with his help, qualified himself to translate the Lord's Prayer and the Decalogue, he was able to proceed with more ease to get possession of a larger vocabulary, and to obtain an insight into the curious principles of the composition of words and sentences in the Indian tongues." In an interview with some natives, he “told them that they and we were already all one, save in two things, o, which make the only difference betwixt them go * and us; — first, we know, serve, and pray unto God, and they do not; secondly, we labor and work in building, planting, clothing ourselves, &c., and they do not; — and, would they but do as we do in these things, they would be all one with Englishmen. They said they did not know God, and therefore could not tell how to pray to him nor serve him.” He told them he “would come to their wigwams, and teach them, their wives and children, which they seemed very glad of.” Accordingly, Eliot, with three others (one of whom was probably Wilson, pastor of Boston), “having sought God, you... went unto the Indians inhabiting within our ... bounds, with desire to make known the things of wateriown, their peace to them.” They were met by five or ** six natives, at a little distance from a cluster of wigwams by the falls of Charles River, and conducted to a hut, where they found “many more Indians, men, women, children, gathered together from all quarters round about.” The service began with a prayer in English ; after which Eliot, in a sermon in the Indian language, “ran through all the principal matters of religion.” It lasted an hour and a quarter, and was so favorably received by the listeners as to delight their friends “that they should smell some things of the alabaster-box broken
* Eliot, Indian Grammar, 66; comp. * Letter of Eliot, in Shepard's Clear Glorious Progress of the Gospel, 19. Sunshine of the Gospel, 17.