« ПредишнаНапред »
should receive them from the watery element. They were brought to this place without their own design; having agreed with the captain to land them at the mouth of the Hudson (New-York). God led them by a right way; yet no thanks to the treacherous captain. “There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord that shall stand.” The band of pious Pilgrims must first people New-England. And God had here prepared the way for them, having by a plague the year before cut off nine-tenths of the natives; while at the mouth of the Hudson the natives were very numerous and powerful, and might soon have destroyed the feeble band of the Pilgrims.
The destination of this people of God was indeed to a wilderness. Grant that the term is found in a figurative passage, and means a wilderness of trials: nothing is abated from the beauty of the figure from the fact, that near the front of their mystical wilderness must stand a literal one; and such an one as the world besides could not furnish,a wilderness of nine thousand miles in length, and filled with
savage beasts and savage men;—and this feeble band thrown into it just at the setting in of winter! On this literal wilderness they must enter, and convert it into a habitation for themselves and their descendants. Vastly greater and more terrific was this their literal wilderness, than was that of the church in her first flight,—the wild alpine valleys of the Waldenses and Albigenses. The terrors of this literal wilderness of America, uniting with the other trials, dangers, deaths and privations, which our fathers here experienced, most strikingly exhibit to us the fitness and the strength of the figure, that this flight of the woman should be to a wilderness. The early history of this band of God's worshippers further illustrates the strength of the figure.* Read their trials from the natives; their
* To see something of these trials of the woman, recollect the following items. The first company of the Pilgrims was 101: and in less than four months, 46 of them were no more. The Pilgrims early purchased land of the natives, and made friendly arrangements with them, which continued for fifty years, with the exception of one short war with the Pequots in Connecticut, which closed in 1637: but in 1675, a tremendous war, called Philip's war, commenced. This noted chief (living in Rhode Island) foresaw the extinction of the natives of the land unless a blow could be struck to prevent it, by the extermination of the new inbabitants. To accomplish this, he laid a deep plan, and combined in union all the Indian tribes in this part of the continent, to make a united attack upon the settlements of our fathers: and with such vast secrecy was this plan laid and kept, that the
early wars with them; their subsequent wars with the French and Indians from Canada; and the revolutionary struggles with the mother country: and from these afflictions, the figure received further illustrations. And what further illustrations may be given to this figure, in trials still awaiting the American church, from infidelity, licentiousness, and from local national interests and jealousies, —the prevalence of Romanism, the deep system of the infidelity of the last days, and the wars of Satan against "the infant colonies learned nothing of it till the tempest began to burst upon them. It opened upon the Plymouth and Massachusetts colonies, and soon after it burst upon the New Hampshire settlements, upon the banks of the Piscataqua river; where men, women and children were cut in pieces, houses burnt, flocks destroyed, and many people dragged off into the wilderness by savage bands. After three years of much horror, the noted Philip was slain, and a peace was obtained, which continued ten years.
Philip was a son of Massasoit, the noble Indiau chief, who was a great friend to the Pilgrims. The latter gave his youngest son the name of Philip; who after his father's death became a great warrior and enemy to the English. The last and great battle with him was fought Dec. 19, 1695. His head-quarters were in a swamp, in the middle of which were several acres of high land, where were many Indian families and their provisions. A battle of three hours was here fought, in which 700 Indian warriors fell dead, and 300 more died of their wounds, and their chiefs were slain: 600 wigwams were burnt, with many of their aged, their women, and their children. The loss of the Pilgrims was considerable. Philip escaped; but was the next July shot through the heart, and his tribe became extinct, as did many other tribes in those regions. In this war our fathers lost about 600 men of the flower of their strength; 12 towns and 600 dwelling-houses were destroyed. In 1688, the French and Indians combined in a war of eleven years which occasioned vast horrors. In 1703, another war of ten years commenced with redoubled fury. After this a peace of nine years ensued. Another bloody struggle of three years commenced, called Lovell's war; who, at the head of a band of volunteers, Aung himself into the head-quarters of the warlike Pickwackets; and though he and most of his heroes fell, the scene filled the Indians with terror; and a peace ensued. Thus out of fifty years, twenty-seven were consumed in bloody contests. In 1737, a throat-distemper commenced, which continued long, and was vastly fatal. In Kingston, N. H., 40 were attacked, and not one of them survived. One town buried 113; another 100; another 127; another 88; another 99; another 122; another 210; and another 104. In 1744, commenced a war between England and France, which bronght the French and Indians from Canada, against our infant settlements, for sixteen years, called the old French war. In this, the sufferings of our frontier settlements were great and perplexing; none could safely labor in their fields. The trembling mother, when committing her children to rest, felt a torture of soul, lest before the next morning both she and they might be slain or burnt alive. In 1760, peace was restored: but the horrors of the war of our Revolution soon after occurred. These are a few hints of the wilderness state of our pilgrim fathers.
remnant of the woman's seed here that keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ; time and events will decide. It would not be strange, should they see yet trying days before the Millennium. Most interesting was this flight to America among the events of the last days, and towards the conversion of the world; wonderful in relation to the rights of conscience, to civil liberty, and to the introduction of the Millennium! “So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, says Isaiah, in predicting the commencement of the Millennium. It then follows, “and his glory from the rising of the sun.” A church in the west then, was to be planted to commence the Millennium; from which church light should roll back to the most distant east; and to the various extremities of the world. We may hence be assured, that whatever calamities may befall our national government (in which but too little concerning God is maintained), the remnant of the woman's seed here who keep the commands of God, God will keep as the apple of his
eye. 5. It is believed no valid objection can be made against this view of the flight in our text. Should a latent murmur be heard that this is doing too much honor to the church in America; and should it be asked, Is this the only people of God on earth? Reply;—The view given of the figure does not say thus. But it does indeed honor this new and modern germ of the church of Christ, as being blessed with the signal display of divine grace and protection, as being destined to meliorate, essentially, the state of Zion on earth; to form here a nucleus or a renovating point, for the conversion of the world. It shows that the pilgrim fathers were brought hither to form a cradle for the liberty of conscience and the rights of man; to be as a beacon on a mountain which overlooks the world, and shall catch the eyes of distant realms, and teach thern lessons never before known. A branch of the church so signal may well be denominated the woman (the church),—at least by that well-known use of speech, the synecdoche, which elegautly puts a part for the whole. And when such a part is in fact a peculiar embodying of the original essence of the whole, after the other parts had become vastly degenerated, and this new branch is going to give a new complexion to the whole; it may well be honored with the name of the whole. And such has been the destination of the
church planted in this western world. Already has it shed a benign influence over the churches of Christ in the old continent not excepting the church in Britain.
6. So signal an event as this, might most surely be expected to be found in prophecy. A great object of prophecy is to give an antecedent view of events in and contiguous to the church, in which she has a deep interest: that she may be prepared to meet them; or at least may see in them the faithfulness of God, and the truth of his word, when the events are fulfilled. For these objects, the outline of the most interesting events from the commencement to the close of the Christian era, was antecedently furnished in the figurative language of the Revelation. And could so vast an event as that under consideration be overlooked in the details of events in this book ? and this too, when things far less interesting are found in this predicted line of events? It is incredible. The celebrated President Edwards was confident that the church in America must have a place among the prophecies. And we have in one of his volumes a labor of seven pages, to find something in the prophecies clearly alluding to it. But he and all others, strangely failed of fixing their eye upon our text.as a striking prediction of it. This twelfth of the Revelation, which sketches the course of the most interesting events for the part of the Christian era antecedent to the Millennium, is the part of this book where the prediction of this event might be expected. And it is found in the very part of this chapter where it might have been expected;-an event following and occasioned by the persecution which followed the Reformation in the 16th century. Place your eye then,-as I attempted to do,-at the place and time when the Puritans were driven to extremities by the persecutions of Jesuits, and other enemies of the pure evangelical truth; and see to what region the body of the best of that people did in fact flee from the face of the papal dragon to some far distant realm. You will find no other event so well answering to the figure as this; and none that has even the least degree of claim to it compared with this. And this great event then occuring does most fully accord with the prediction in our text.
7. Let us listen to some remarks of celebrated writers relative to this flight of our pilgrim fathers to America; and learn how fully the event did in their opinion accord with this figure, while yet they had no idea of our text as
alluding to it. Says Mr. Owen,—"Multitudes of pious peaceable Protestants were driven by severities to leave their native country, and seek a refuge for their lives and their liberties in the worship of God in the wilderness in the ends of the earth.” Says Dr. Mather,-" They were driven to seek a place for the exercise of the Protestant religion according to the light of their consciences, in the deserts of America. The church of the exiles were driven out into the horrible wilderness, merely for being well-wishers to the Reformation.' He adds, “they were now to transplant themselves into a horrible wilderness." “Our Lord Jesus Christ carried some thousands of reformers into the retirements of the American desert, that he might give a specimen of good things to which he would have his people elsewhere aspire and rise. This is at last the spot of the earth which the Lord of heaven spied out, for the seat of such transactions as require to be noted in history. Here it was,” he adds, “that our Lord intended a restingplace for the reformed church.” This great man speaking of the miseries of the exiles while they had been under the English hierarchy, says, “The mountain of ice lying then upon them was now broken by the opening of a retreat into a wilderness. Thus wrote that great observer of divine Providence, Dr. Mather, upon this flight of our fathers. He adds, “198 ships were employed in their passing the perils of the seas in the accomplishment of this renowned settlement; and but one miscarried." An early writer in New-England says, “The charter obtained by the Pilgrims here, soon after their arrival, seems to say to the pious in old lands, “Desert your seats; flee your country!” And concerning the many who did thus, he says, “Gentlemen of ancient and most honorable families, ministers of the gospel, merchants, artificers, and husbandmen, to the amount of some thousands, for twelve years, carried on the transplantation.' “And it was a banishment,” he adds, “rather than a removal.” To men of education, and of property, it was afflictive. Their hazard was of an extraordinary nature. And nothing less than a strange and strong impression from Heaven could have produced such movements. God seemed to have served a summons upon the spirits of these his people in England, stirring up thousands who had never seen each other with a most unanimous inclination to leave all the pleasant accommodations of their native land, and to pass a terrible ocean, into a more