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64 Character of Mr. Robinson.
bered among the founders of New England. He possessed a strong mind, cultivated with a good education. His do&rines were Calvinism; he admitted the articles of the church of Englandr and the confession of faith, professed by the French reformed churches. He held that every church of Christ is to consist only of such as appear to believe in and obey him ; that infants are to receive baptism only when, at least, one of the parents is a member of the church, which is also declared in the French confession of faith.* As a disputant he was celebrated. At the time of his living in Leyden the dispute was warm between the Calvinists and Arminians. Polyander, a professor of divinity in the university, with the ministers of the city, invited Mr. Robinson to hold a public disputation with Episcopius, the Arminian professor of divinity in the university. At first Mr. Robinson modestly declined the combat, but being importuned, he thought it his duty, and "in view of a numerous assembly, he defended the truth, foiled his learned opposer, and put him to an apparent nonplus." Evidences of his goodness meet us in every incident of his life. Several months before the removal of his people to New England, to confirm the wavering and remove the scruples of those who doubted, he set apart a day for solemn prayer, and preached from 1 Sam. 23, 3, 4. "And David's men said unto him, behold, we be afraid here in Judah, how much more then if Character of Mr. j&tfimom 65
* Hazard, Bslxnap*
wz come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines ? Then David inquired of the Lord yet? again. And the Lord answered him, and saidr arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand."
In July following, another day of prayer wasobserved, when he preached from Ezra 8, 21. In this sermon are the following passages worthy of notice. ""Brethren,"'said he,, " we are now quickly to part from one another, and whether I may live to see your face on earth any more, the God of heaven only knows; but whether the Lord hathappointed that or not,.I charge you before God and his blessed angels, that you follow me no further, than you have seen me follow the Lord Jesus Christ. If God reveal any thing to you by any other instruments of his,, be as ready to receive it, as ever you- were to receive any truth by my ministry;; for I am verily persuaded, I am very confident, that the Lord has yet more truth to break forth from his holy word.. For my part L cannot sufficiently- bewail the condition of the reformed churches, who are come to a period in.religion,, and will at present go no further than the instruments of their reformation. The Lutherans cannot be drawn to go beyond what Luther saw. Whatever part of .his will our good God has revealed to Calvin,.they will rather die than embrace. And the Galvinists, you see, stick fast where they were left by that great man of God, who yet saw not all things. This is a misery
66 r Character of Mr. Robinson,
much to be lamented, for though they were burning and shining lights, in their times, yet they penetrated not into the whole counsel of God; were they now living they would be as willing to embrace further light, as that which they first received. I beseech you, remember it is an article of your church covenant, " That you be ready to receive whatever truth shall be made known to you from the written word of God*"
Such was the mutual love and respe<St between this worthy man and his flock, that it was hard to judge whether he delighted more in having such & people, or they in having such a pastor. His love toward them was constant, and his care always good. Beside his singular abilities in divine things, he was discreet in civil affairs, to foresee dangers and inconveniences, by which he assisted his people in their temporal as well as spiritual concerns. None were so odious to him as the selfish, u those who were close and cleaving to themselves, and retired from the common good.55 Those who were stiff and rigid in small affairs: those, who inveighed against the faults of others, but were careless of their own condu£t, were odious" in his view. His people esteemed and revered him while living, but more after his death; when they felt the want of his assistance. Not only his own flock, but the people of Leyden, held him in high esteem. They gave him the use of one of their churches, in the chancel of which he was baried. The whole city and university regard
JVew and larger Patent. 67
eel him as a great and good man: his death they sincerely lamented, and honoured his funeral witfa jtheir presence.
A larger patent obtained, difficulties between the company in England and the planters, persecution of the Puritans, sports on the Lord's day established, Cromwell and others contemplate a removal to America, character of the first settlers, Massachusetts purchased, settled, charter obtained, its contents, first church formed at SalepJ, addition of 1500 to the colony, Indian conspiracy, scarrity, mortality, a number discouraged* return to England.
IN 1629, when the plantation consisted of about 300 souls, a patent of larger extent, than the one which Pierce had obtained and relinquished, was solicited by Isaac Allerton, and taken out in the name of" Willikm Bradford, his heirs, associates, and assigns.55* This patent confirmed their title, (as far as the crown of England could confirm it) to a tra6l of land, bounded on the east and south, by the Atlantic ocean, and by lines drawn west from the rivulet ofl Conohasset, and north from the river of Narraganset, which lines meet in a point, comprehending all the country then called Pokanokit. To this tra6l they supposed they had a prior title from the depopulation of a great * Hazard*
part of it by a pestilence, from the gift of Massaaoit, his voluntary subje&ion to the crown of Eng,land,.and his having protection of them. In a declaration published by them in 1636, they asserted their u lawful right in respeft of vacancy% donation, and purchase of the natives,"* which,, together with their patent from the crown through1 the council of New England, formed " die warrantable ground, and foundation of their government, of making laws, and disposing of lands."' In the same patent was granted a large traft bordering on the river Kennebec, where they had carried on a traffic with the natives for furs, as they did also at Connecticut river, which was not equally^ beneficial because they had the Dutch for rivals, t The fur trade was found to be much more advantageous, than the fishery. Sometimes they exchanged corn of their own growth for furs; but European coarse cloths, hard ware, and ornaments, were good articles of trade, when they could copamandthem
The company in England, with which they were conne&ed, di'd not supply them in plenty,. Losses were sustained by sea; the returns were not adequate to their expectations;, they became discouraged ; threw many refle&ions on the planters, and finally refused them any farther supplies ;$ but still demanded the debt due from them, and would not permit them to conned; themselves in trade with any other persons. The planters cgm
* Hazard, f Hutchinson and Prince. | Brad*Or»'§ Letters, fcfotoxkal Cclle&iofc>