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Soldier4Christ
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« Reply #60 on: April 30, 2006, 06:57:59 PM »

—U.S. Supreme Court, 1931—
U.S. vs. Macintosh

"We are a Christian people... and acknowledge with reverence the duty of obedience to the will of God."






—U. S. Supreme Court, 1952—
Zorach v. Clauson

"The First Amendment, however, does not say that in every respect there shall be a separation of Church and State. Rather, it studiously defines the manner, the specific ways, in which there shall be no concert or union or dependency one on the other.

That is the common sense of the matter. Otherwise the state and religion would be aliens to each other—hostile, suspicious, and even unfriendly...

Municipalities would not be permitted to render police or fire protection to religious groups. Policemen who helped parishioners into places of worship would violate the Constitution. Prayers in our legislative halls; the appeals to the Almighty in the messages of the Chief Executive; the proclamation making Thanksgiving Day a holiday; "so help me God" in our courtroom oaths—these and all other references to the Almighty that run through our laws, or public rituals, our ceremonies, would be flouting the First Amendment. A fastidious atheist or agnostic could even object to the supplication with which the Court opens each session: God save the United States and this Honorable Court.

We are a religious people and our institutions presuppose a Supreme Being... When the state encourages religious instruction or cooperates with religious authorities by adjusting the schedule of public events to sectarian needs, it follows the best of our traditions.

For it then respects the religious nature of our people and accommodates the public service to their spiritual needs. To hold that it may not would be to find in the Constitution a requirement that the government show a callous indifference to religious groups. That would be preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe...

We find no constitutional requirement making it necessary for government to be hostile to religion and to throw its weighed against the efforts to widen the scope of religious influence. The government must remain neutral when it comes to competition between sects...

We cannot read into the Bill of Rights such a philosophy of hostility to religion."






Foreign Observers

Edward Kendall
Travels in America, 1807

"At about 11 o'clock, his excellency [Governor Jonathan Trumbull] entered the statehouse and shortly after took his place at the head of a procession which was made to a meetinghouse or church at something less than half a mile distance. The procession was on foot and was composed of the person of the government, together with the lieutenant-governor, assistants, high-sheriffs, members of the lower house of assembly, and unless with accidental exceptions, all the clergy of the State... The pulpit or, as it is called, the desk, was filled by three if not four clergymen; a number which, by its form and dimensions, it was able to accommodate. Of these, one opened the service with a prayer; another delivered a sermon; a third made a concluding prayer, and a fourth pronounced a benediction. Several hymns were sung; and, among others, an occasional one [a special one for that occasion]. The total number of singers was between forty and fifty. The sermon, as will be supposed, touched upon matters of government. When all was finished, the procession returned to the statehouse."





Achille Murat
A Moral and Political Sketch of the United States, 1833

"It must be admitted that looking at the physiognomy [discernible character] of the United States, its religion is the only feature which disgusts a foreigner... There is no country in which the people as in the United States; to the eyes of a foreigner they even appear to be too much so... The great number of religious societies existing in the United States is truly surprising: there are some of them for every thing; for instance, societies to distribute the Bible; to distribute tracts; to encourage religious journals; to convert, civilize, educate the savages; to marry the preachers; to take care of their widows and orphans; to preach, extend, purify, preserve, reform the faith; to build chapels, endow congregations, support seminaries; catechize and convert sailors, Negroes, and loose women; to secure the observance of Sunday and prevent blasphemy by prosecuting the violators; to establish Sunday schools where young ladies teach reading and the catechism to little rogues, male and female; to prevent drunkenness.... it is curious to observe the tranquillity which prevails in the United States."







Alexis de Tocqueville
Democracy in America, 1835

"Upon my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this new state of things.

In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America I found they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country.

Religion in America...must be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of it. Indeed, it is in this same point of view that the inhabitants of the United States themselves look upon religious belief.

I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion—for who can search the human heart?—But I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society.

The sects that exist in the United States are innumerable. They all differ in respect to the worship which is due to the Creator; but they all agree in respect to the duties which are due from man to man.

Each sect adores the Deity in its own peculiar manner, but all sects preach the same moral law in the name of God....

Moreover, all the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is everywhere the same.

In the United States the sovereign authority is religious,... there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility and of its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.

In the United States, if a political character attacks a sect [denomination], this may not prevent even the partisans of that very sect, from supporting him; but if he attacks all the sects together [Christianity], every one abandons him and he remains alone.

I do not question that the great austerity of manners that is observable in the United States arises, in the first instance, from religious faith... its influence over the mind of woman is supreme, and women are the protectors of morals. There is certainly no country in the world where the tie of marriage is more respected than in America or where conjugal happiness is more highly or worthily appreciated...

In the United States the influence of religion is not confined to the manners, but it extends to the intelligence of the people....

Christianity, therefore reigns without obstacle, by universal consent; the consequence is, as I have before observed, that every principle of the moral world is fixed and determinate...

I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors...; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.

Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.

The safeguard of morality is religion, and morality is the best security of law as well as the surest pledge of freedom.

The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.

Christianity is the companion of liberty in all its conflicts—the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims.

They brought with them... a form of Christianity, which I cannot better describe, than by styling it a democratic and republican religion.... From the earliest settlement of the emigrants, politics and religion contracted an alliance which has never been dissolved."








Harriet Martineau
Society in America, 1837

"The institutions of America are, as I have said, planted down deep into Christianity. Its spirit must make an effectual pilgrimage through a society of which it may be called a native; and no mistrust of its influences can forever intercept that spirit in its mission of denouncing anomalies, exposing hypocrisy, rebuking faithlessness, raising and communing with the outcast, and driving out sordidness [vileness] from the circuit of this, the most glorious temple of society that has ever yet been reared."



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Soldier4Christ
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« Reply #61 on: June 20, 2006, 06:37:54 AM »

The history of America. History today is what people want it to say and not what actually happened. People tend to re-write history to fi their agenda. This is especially true of atheists that want to obliterate God from all aspects of our lives. I have left this thread sit for awhile since I have had other committments that have tended to pull me away from it.

With incidents in recent news bringing to light the continued desecration of our history and the attempt to turn our churches and our public schools into the despot of all evil I see the necessity to continue in this thread.

Our children must be taught correctly. They must indeed know our true history and the true words of the Bible. I urge all parents to seriously consider the teachings that their children are getting in public schools and what the Bible tells us is our responsibility to insure that our children are brought up in the ways of the Lord for it is we, as parents, that will be held accountable by God in this matter.

Since this is a thread on restoring Christian America I will leave other portions of our Christian heritage for another time and another thread.

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« Reply #62 on: June 20, 2006, 06:42:33 AM »

Book of Prophecies by Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus)


One aspect of Columbus and his journey to America is consistently left out of modern day history books. We're often told that Columbus decided to take his famous voyage in hopes of establishing trade routes. I don't know of any evidence that supports that notion, and Columbus himself wrote an entirely different reason in the only book that he ever wrote, "Libro de las Profecias" (or Book of Prophecies):

" At a very early age I began to sail upon the ocean. For more than forty years, I have sailed everywhere that people go. I prayed to the most merciful Lord about my heart's great desire, and He gave me the spirit and the intelligence for the task: seafaring, astronomy, geometry, arithmetic, skill in drafting spherical maps and placing correctly the cities, rivers, mountains and ports. I also studied cosmology, history, chronology and philosophy.

It was the Lord who put into my mind (I could feel His hand upon me) the fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies. All who heard of my project rejected it with laughter, ridiculing me. There is no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit, because he comforted me with rays of marvelous illumination from the Holy Scriptures, a strong and clear testimony from the 44 books of the Old Testament, from the four Gospels, and from the 23 Epistles of the blessed Apostles, encouraging me continually to press forward, and without ceasing for a moment they now encourage me to make haste.

Our Lord Jesus desired to perform a very obvious miracle in the voyage to the Indies, to comfort me and the whole people of God. I spent seven years in the royal court, discussing the matter with many persons of great reputation and wisdom in all the arts; and in the end they concluded that it was all foolishness, so they gave it up. But since things generally came to pass that were predicted by our Savior Jesus Christ, we should also believe that this particular prophecy will come to pass. In support of this, I office the gospel text, Matt. 24:35, in which Jesus said that all things would pass away, but not his marvelous Word. He also affirmed that it was necessary that all things be fulfilled that were prophesied by Himself and by the prophets...

For the execution of the journey to the Indies I did not make use of intelligence, mathematics or maps. It is simply the fulfillment of what Isaiah had prophesied. All this is what I desire to write down for you in this book...

I said that some of the prophecies remained yet to be fulfilled. These are great and wonderful things for the earth, and the signs are that the Lord is hastening the end. The fact that the gospel must still be preached to so many lands in such a short time - this is what convinces me."

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« Reply #63 on: June 20, 2006, 06:43:57 AM »

"Why Did Columbus Sail"

The bright noon sun beat down on the stone walls of the
Church of St. George in Palos, Spain.  Inside, in the cool quiet,
knelt Cristobal Colon, captain general of three small ships
anchored in the town's inlet below.  With Colon, saying
confession and hearing mass, were some ninety pilots, seamen, and
crown-appointed officials.  Later that day they would row to
their ships, Colon taking his place on the Santa Maria, a slow
but sturdy flagship no longer than five canoes.
     The next morning, Friday, August 3, 1492, at dawn, the Santa
Maria and its companion caravels caught the ebb tide and drifted
toward the gulf.  Their sails began to fill, and the crosses
emblazoned on them caught the light.  Their mission--the wild-
eyed idea of their foreigner captain--was to sail west, away from
all visible landmarks.  They would leave behind Spain and
Portugal, the "end of the world," and straight into the Mare
Oceanum, the Ocean Sea.
     In that Ocean of Darkness, some feared, the water boiled and
sea monsters gulped down sailors so foolish as to sail there.
Beyond--if they lived to see it--lay the fabled island of
Cipangu.  There, in the land of the Great Khan, houses were
roofed with gold, streets paved in marble.  And this was but one
of 7,448 islands Marco Polo had said were in the Sea of China.
But even if they reached the Indies, how would they get back,
since currents and winds all seemed to go one way?
 
Why take the risky voyage?
     Commander Cristoforo Colombo (as he was known in his
hometown of Genoa, Italy) was taller than most men; so tall; in
fact, he couldn't stand inside his cabin on the Santa Maria.
He'd had "very red" hair in his younger years, but since he'd
passed age 40, it had turned prematurely white.  His face boasted
a big nose and freckles.
     Columbus, as we know his name today, was an experienced
mariner.  He had sailed the Mediterranean and traveled to parts
of Africa, to Ireland, and probably even to Iceland.  He boasted
later in life, "I have gone to every place that has heretofore
been navigated."  He knew the Atlantic as well or better than
anyone, and he probably knew more about how to read currents,
winds, and surfaces of the sea than do sailors today.  "He [our
Lord] has bestowed the marine arts upon me in abundance,"
Columbus said.
     For nearly seven years, the "socially ambitious, socially
awkward" Italian had become a fixture at the Spanish court,
carelessly lobbying for his crazy "enterprise of the Indies."  A
royal commission in 1490 had judged "that the claims and promises
of Captain Colon are vain and worthy of rejection....The Western
Sea is infinite and unnavigable.  The Antipodes are not livable,
and his ideas are impracticable."  Yet Columbus had pressed on,
proving, as he said, "If it strikes often enough, a drop of water
can wear a hole in a stone."
     Why?  Why would someone, anyone, doggedly spend years
getting funding for a death-defying feat?
 
The misleading textbook answer
     The textbook answer, as any schoolchild could recite, is
that Columbus wanted to find a trade route to the Orient.  Writer
Robert Hughes expressed the conventional wisdom: "Sometime
between 1478 and 1484, the full plan of self-aggrandizement and
discovery took shape in his mind.  He would win glory, riches,
and a title of nobility by opening a trade route to the untapped
wealth of the Orient.  No reward could be too great for the man
who did that."
     That's true, but incomplete--so incomplete it's misleading.
At least later, Columbus saw his voyage in much greater terms:
"Who can doubt that this fire was not merely mine, but also the
Holy Spirit who encouraged me with a radiance of marvelous
illumination from his sacred Scriptures,...urging me to press
forward?'
     Columbus felt that Almighty God had directly brought about
his journey: "With a hand that could be felt, the Lord opened my
mind to the fact that it would be possible...and he opened my
will to desire to accomplish that project...The Lord purposed
that there should be something miraculous in this matter of the
voyage to the Indies."
     There may be many things we don't know about history's most
famous mariner.  We don't know exactly what Columbus looked like.
We don't know the precise design of his three ships.  And most
bizarre of all, we don't know--and will probably never know--the
spot where he came ashore.
     But we know beyond doubt that Columbus sailed, in part, to
fulfill a religious quest.  Columbus's voyages were intense
religious missions.  He saw them as a fulfillment of a divine
plan for his life--and for the soon-coming end of the world.  As
he put it in 1500, "God made me the messenger of the new heaven
and the new earth of which he spoke in the Apocalypse of St. John
[Rev. 21:1] after having spoken of it through the mouth of
Isaiah; and he showed me the spot where to find it."
     
Saint Christopher?
     Columbus was visibly and verbally "an exceptionally pious
man," writes historian Delno C. West.  "Throughout his journals
and letters, we find him constantly in prayer, invoking the names
of Christ, Mary, and the saints and solemnly giving praise to
God."
     It was typical for Spanish crewmen daily to recite the "Our
Father" and other prayers.  Columbus's men did, to.  But Columbus
went far beyond conventional practice.
     His son Ferdinand wrote, "He was so strict in matters of
religion that for fasting and saying prayers he might have been
taken for a member of a religious order."  He knew the Vulgate
Bible thoroughly, and he probably took it (or a collection of
Scriptures) on his voyages.  Whenever he faced a storm, a
waterspout (tornado-like whirl of seawater), or a rebellious
crewmen, he made vows to God.  "Religion was always his first
refuge in adversity," writes Columbus scholar Felipe Fernandez-
Armesto.
     A main source for information about Columbus is his
contemporary Bishop Bartolome de Las Casas.  Las Casas fearlessly
criticized many fellow Spaniards, yet he did little but praise
the mariner: "He was calm and serious, friendly to strangers,
gentle and kind to his family....In nearly everything, he
undertook to plan of to accomplish, he would begin with 'In the
name of the Holy Trinity I will do this of look to that.'...He
fasted most observantly on all the fast days of the church; he
participated frequently in confession and Communion; he prayed at
all the daily canonical hours, just as the priests and
monks;...He was extremely zealous for the honor and glory of God;
with deep longing he yearned for the evangelization of these
peoples and for the planting and flourishing everywhere of
people's faith in Jesus Christ.
 
Medieval "evangelical"
     The overwhelming evidence has led Delno C. West to conclude
that Columbus "is best viewed as an 'evangelical' but not in the
sense of the Catholic tradition and the church of the times."
     Evangelical?  In 1501 Columbus wrote, "I am only a most
unworthy sinner, but ever since I have cried out for grace and
mercy from the Lord, they have covered me completely.  I have
found the most delightful comfort in making it my whole aim in
life to enjoy his marvelous presence."  He constantly associated
with reform-minded Franciscans and spent perhaps five months at
the white-walled monastery of Santa Maria de La Rabida.  He may
have been a member of the Franciscan Third Order (for lay
people).  At least once he appeared in public wearing a
Franciscan habit and the order's distinctive cord.
     But he and his faith were wholly medieval.  He died more
than a decade before Martin Luther would post his 95 Thesis
protesting the abuse of indulgences.  In fact, advances on
indulgences helped pay for Columbus's voyage.  He read from the
Vulgate Bible and the church fathers but, typical for his era,
mingled astronomy, geography, and prophecy with his theology.
Columbus and his faith reflected, to use Alexander von Humboldt's
phrase, "everything sublime and bizarre that the Middle Ages
produced."
     But only in the last 40 years--and particularly in the last
10--have scholars examined Columbus's religious motivations.  Not
until last year was his most important religious writing--the
Libro de las profecias, or Book of Prophecies--translated into
English.
     Columbus's deep Christian faith still causes academic
bewilderment.  Some scholars attribute his recurring encounters
with a heavenly voice to mental instability, illness, or stress.
Others complain that Columbus biographers described him as more
religious than he really was.  Some protest that Columbus was
greedy and obsessively ambitious, so he couldn't have been truly
religious, as if competing qualities cannot exist in one person.
     But why explain away his intense religious devotion, when it
was obvious to those who knew him and persistent throughout his
writings.
     Concludes Pulitzer-Prize-winning biographer Samuel Eliot
Morison, "There can be no doubt that the faith of Columbus was
genuine and sincere, and that his frequent communion with forces
unseen was a vital element in his achievement."
 

cont'd

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« Reply #64 on: June 20, 2006, 06:44:38 AM »

Reaching land-but where?
     Columbus would need that vital element.  The voyage was
immediately beset by calamities--a broken rudder, leaks so bad
they needed immediate repair, and threatened capture by the
Portuguese.  A week after losing sight of the Canary Islands, the
pilots discovered to their consternation that the compasses no
longer worked right.  (They varied a full degree at various times
of the day, because of the rotation of the North Star, which
pilots had thought was fixed in its location.)
     On September 23, the ship hit a calm, causing the seamen to
complain they'd never be able to get back to Spain.  But later,
the sea rose without the aid of any wind.  This "astonished
them," and Columbus compared it to the miracles that accompanied
Moses.
     After going a month without seeing land , the men belly-
ached about the endless voyage.  But on October 11, the ship's
log records, they began seeing signs of shore: seabirds, bits of
green plants, sticks that looked they had been carved, a small
plank.  At 10 that evening, Columbus saw a faint, flickering
light like a candle in the distance.  Few took it as a sign of
land, but when the crew gathered to sing Salve Regina ("Hail,
Queen"), Columbus instructed his men to keep careful lookout.  He
would give the first person to sight land a silk jacket and
10,000 maravedis.  At about 2 A.M., a crewman yelled "Terra!"--
land.
     At daylight, the wide-eyed Europeans saw people "as naked as
their mother bore them"  and many ponds, fruits, and green trees.
Columbus and his captains went ashore in an armed launch and
unfurled the royal banner and two flags.  Each was white with a
central bright ceross flanked by a green F and Y for "Ferdinand"
and "Isabella."  Columbus declared that these obviously inhabited
lands now belonged to the Catholic sovereigns.
     But what land was this?  Where was he?  The natives called
the island Guanahani.  Columbus dubbed it San Salvador, "Holy
Savior."  He probably figured it was, in one writer's words, at
the "gateway to the kingdom of the Grand Khan."
     Columbus had woefully miscalculated--by thousands of miles.
Historian Jeffrey Burton Russell explains, "In six stages of
calculations, Columbus had cooked the figures to suit himself and
reduced the width of the Ocean Sea to 60 degrees, less than a
third of the modern figure of 200 degrees for the distance
between the Canary Islands and Japan....Providence--or fool's
luck--placed America in the middle of the sea to save him."
     Columbus said it was Providence.  As he wrote to Ferdinand
and Isabella late in his life, "I spent six years here at your
royal court, disputing the case with so many people of great
authority, learned in all the arts.  And finally they concluded
that it was all in vain, and they lost interest.  In spite of
that it later came to pass as Jesus Christ our Savior had
predicted and as he had previously announced through the mouths
of His holy prophets....I have already said that reason,
mathematics, and maps of the world were of no use to me in the
execution of the enterprise of the Indies.  What Isaiah said was
completely fulfilled."
     Now here he was, standing in the distant isles of the
Indies.  So he called the Taino-speaking peoples of the Arawak
tribes "Indians."  The name, though flatly wrong, stuck.
 
Good Christians, good slaves
     Soon many natives gathered.  They had coarse black hair--
"almost like the tail of a horse"--with "handsome bodies and
faces" painted with black, red, or white paint.  "I recognized
that they were people who would be better freed [from error] and
converted to our Holy Faith by love than by force," Columbus
concluded.
     "To some of them I gave red caps, and glass beads which they
put on their chests, and many of other things of small value, in
which they took so much pleasure and became so much our friends
that it was a marvel."  The natives soon brought "parrots and
cotton thread in balls and javelins and many other things," which
they traded for "small glass beads and bells."
     "They should be good and intelligent servants," Columbus
wrote," for I see that they say very quickly everything that is
said to them; and I believe that they would become Christians
very easily, for it seemed to me that they had no religion.  Our
Lord pleasing, at the time of my departure I will take six of
them from here to Your Highnesses in order that they may learn to
speak."
     In other words, they would make good Christians and good
slaves.  The cross and sword have come together.  The modern
concept of separating church and state had never entered
Columbus's mind.  His sovereigns were Christian princes; to
extend his nation's borders was to extend Christianity; to
conquer and enslave new lands was to spread the gospel.  Even
when Columbus forcibly subjugated Hispaniola in 1495, he believed
he was fulfilling a divine destiny for himself and for Aragon and
Castile and for the holy church.
 

cont'd

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« Reply #65 on: June 20, 2006, 06:45:22 AM »

The "Christ-bearer"
     Indeed, he saw himself on an evangelistic mission.  In the
prologue to his account of the first voyage, Columbus wrote to
King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella: "I had given [a report] to
your Highnesses about the lands of India and about a prince who
is called 'Grand Khan,'...how, many times, he and his
predecessors had sent to Rome to ask for men learned in our Holy
Faith in order that they might instruct him in it...and thus so
many people lost, falling into idolatry and accepting false and
harmful religions; and Your Highnesses, as Catholic Christians
and Princes, lovers and promoters of the Holy Christian
Faith...thought of sending me, Cristobal Colon...to see how their
conversion to our Holy Faith might be undertaken."
     Columbus was the advance man for a mighty evangelistic
campaign.  He would open new worlds and unseen peoples to the
gospels.  In a sense, he would be like the legendary giant
Christopher, who carried Christ on his back across a wide river.
He also, a Christopher, a "Christ-bearer," would carry Christ
across the wide Ocean Sea to peoples who had never heard the
Christian message.
     In his later Book of Prophecies, he cited various Scriptures
that validated that mission:
     *John 10:16--"And other sheep I have, which are not of this
fold: them I also must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and
there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."
     *And especially Isaiah 60:9--"For, the islands wait for me,
and the ships of the sea in the beginning: that I may bring thy
sons from afar, their silver and their gold with them, to the
name of the Lord thy God."  In Columbus's mind, the islands were
waiting for him; he would bring their sons to the Lord (and not
incidentally, bring their silver and gold as well).
     Las Casas agreed that "Columbus showed the way to the
discovery of immense territories" and many peoples "are now ready
and prepared to be brought to the knowledge of their Creator and
the faith."  As a sign of that work, on every island he explored,
Columbus erected a large wooden cross.
     
Voice in the storm
     After ten weeks of exploring the coastline of Cuba and
Hispaniola, continually trading trinkets for gold, Columbus and
his men hit a problem.  In the wee hours of Christmas morning, a
sailor decided to catch some sleep and left the tiller in the
hands of a boy.  The Santa Maria ran aground.
     But what most would have viewed as a calamity, Columbus did
not: "It was a great blessing and the express purpose of God"
that his ship ran aground so he would leave some of his men.
Yes, the ship was wrecked beyond repair, but now he had lumber--
lots of it--for building the necessary fort.  He left a small
garrison of men with instructions: treat the natives well and
don't "injure" the women; explore for gold; seek a place for
permanent settlement.
     The Nina and Pinta sailed for home in january.  On February
12, the ships encountered a frightening storm.  Waves broke over
the ships, sails had to be lowered, and soon they were driven by
the wind until they were wildly lost.  "i knew that my life was
at the disposal of him who made me," Columbus wrote, "and I have
been near death so often....What made it so unbearably painful
this time was the thought that after our Lord had been pleased to
enflame me with faith and trust in this enterprise, and had
crowned it with victory,...His divine Majesty should now choose
to jeopardize everything with my death....I tried to console
myself with the thought that our Lord would not allow such an
enterprise to remain unfinished, which was so much for the
exaltation of His Church."
     The storm raged on. On February 14th, Columbus gathered his
crew on the heaving and rolling deck to pray and make vows.  They
put chick-peas in a cap and had sailors draw to see which one
picked the chick-pea with a cross cut into it.  that sailor would
go on a holy pilgrimage to a shrine of the Virgin Mary if they
landed safely.  Columbus drew the cross-marked bean.
     Apparently, on that frightening day, Columbus also heard a
celestial voice.  In his youth, he felt God had promised him,
that his name would be proclaimed throughout the world.  And at
age 25, ha had survived a shipwreck and six-mile swim--a sign, he
told his son Ferdinand, that God had a plan for him.  But this
was different.
     Although the words are recorded only indirectly, God spoke
to Columbus and assured that God would take him to safety.  God
had given him great favor in allowing him to accomplish this
great feat.  God would allow him to complete what he had begun.
     The next day Columbus's men spotted an Island in the Azores;
less than three weeks later they landed triumphantly on the
Iberian peninsula.

cont'd

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« Reply #66 on: June 20, 2006, 06:46:01 AM »

"Communion with celestial joys"
     When Columbus anchored the Nina in Palos, seven months after
he'd left, shops closed and church bells rang.  Columbus had
forwarded a letter to Ferdinand and Isabella: "Our Redeemer has
given this triumph....for all of this Christendom should fell
joyful and make great celebrations and give solemn thanks to the
Holy Trinity...for the great exaltation which it will have in the
salvation of so many peoples to our holy faith and, secondly, for
the material benefits which will bring refreshment and profit."
     Columbus was greeted in the Barcelona court as "Don
Cristobal Colon, our Admiral of the Ocean Sea and Viceroy and
Governor of the Isles discovered in the Indies."
     According to Las Casas, "The King and Queen heard
[Columbus's report] with profound attention and, raising their
hands in prayer, sank to their knees in deep gratitude to God.
The singers of the royal chapel sang the 'Te Deum laudamus'...and
indeed it seemed a moment of communion with all the celestial
joys."
     Spain had now emerged, in one historian's words,"as the
greatest empire since antiquity."  In "a year of marvels," to
quote historian Garry Wills, three profound changes had occurred:
     1. Ferdinand and Isabella, who had just united their
kingdoms, soundly defeated the Moors, signaling the end of an
Islamic presence in Europe.
     2. The Catholic sovereigns had expelled all Jews and seized
their assets.  Columbus had used the port of Palos, i fact,
because the larger Cadiz was flooded with thousands of fleeing
Jewish refugees.
     3. A Spanish pope had been elected.  And now this--a new
gateway to the Indies.  A new country, militantly untied behind
Christianity, had arisen and would dominate the world for a
hundred years.
 
 
An end-times crusade
     To Columbus, all this was a sure sign of the end times.
     For years a prophecy had circulated that "the restorer of
the House of Mt. Zion will come from Spain."  For hundreds of
years, the holy sites of Jerusalem had been held captive by the
infidel Muslims.  But according to ancient prophecy, that day
would soon end.  And Columbus believed he would be part of making
it happen.
     Following St. Augustine's teaching, Columbus knew that all
history fell into seven ages--and he was in the sixth, the next
to last.  Furthermore, Augustine had said that the world would
end 7,000 years after its creation.  That was a mere 155 years
away, and much had to happen: all peoples of the world would
convert to Christianity, the Holy Land would be rescued from the
infidels, the Antichrist would come.
     Columbus thought that Ferdinand and Isabella were God's
chosen instruments to recapture Jerusalem and place the Holy City
under Christian control.  This was not some sidelight in
Columbus's mind; it was a central passion.  As scholar Pauline
Moffitt Watts has written, "This was Columbus's ultimate goal,
the purpose of all his travels and discoveries--the liberation of
the Holy Land."
     Not that he would personally lead the armies.  No, he would
help pay for the expensive crusade.  The Crusaders' Book of
Secrets, written in the early fourteenth century, said that it
would take 210,000 gold florins to mount a crusade.  If Columbus
could find enough gold in the Indies--especially if he could find
the lost mines of Solomon, which were known to be in the East--he
could pay for a Holy Land crusade.
     When Columbus had left his men on Hispaniola in early
January, he told them he hoped "in God that on the return...he
would find a barrel of gold that those who were left would have
acquired by exchange; and that they would have found the gold
mine and the spicery, and those things in such quantity, that the
sovereigns before three years will undertake and prepare to
conquer the Holy Sepulcher."
     Columbus thirsted for gold; he was obsessed by it.  When he
says sincerely, "Our Lord in his goodness guides me so that I may
find this gold," we cringe.  But writers who accuse Columbus of
raw greed miss part of the point.  Columbus wanted gold not only
for himself, but also for a much larger reason: to pay for the
medieval Christian's dream, the retaking of the holy Land.  "The
primary motivation in his quest for gold was spiritual," argues
Delno C. West.
     As soon as Columbus had returned to Spain, he told Ferdinand
and Isabella he would provide 50,000 soldiers and 4,000 horses
for them to free Christ's Holy Tomb in Jerusalem.  "You are
assured of certain victory in the enterprise of Jerusalem,"
Columbus later wrote to them, "if you have faith."
     But much to Columbus's disappointment, the longed-for
crusade to recapture the Holy City was never undertaken.
Although Ferdinand and Isabella made military strikes into
Muslim-held North Africa, they never mounted a grand-crusade.
 

cont'd

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« Reply #67 on: June 20, 2006, 06:46:41 AM »

High point of his life
     Columbus was at high point of his life.  In his remaining 14
years, difficulties would only intensify the qualities in his
life:
     * His wanderlust.  He took three more voyages across the
Atlantic, each lasting several years and filled with harrowing
storms, crew rebellions, illnesses (at one point his eyes bled),
and encounters with native Americans.
     * His passion for evangelism. In May 1493, he asked
Ferdinand and Isabella to set aside 1 percent of all gold taken
from the islands to pay for establishing churches and sending
monks.  They instructed him "to win over the peoples of the said
islands and mainland by all ways and means to our Holy Catholic
faith" and sent 13 religious workers on his second voyage.  In
his will, Columbus instructed his son Diego to support from his
trust four theology professors to live on Hispaniola and convert
the Indians.
     * His inflexibility. To his death he continued to argue
(against other evidence) that he had landed in Asia.  As a
colonial governor, he ruled the farmers and settlers with such a
heavy hand they rebelled.  Columbus was arrested and shipped back
to Spain in chains.
     * His drive for titles and money.  Columbus became
absolutely wealthy, "a millionaire by any standard." But he had
driven such a hard bargain with the crown--hereditary titles and
"the tenth part of the whole" of gold he found--that the monarchs
continually had to limit his power and wealth.  Columbus spent
his last years in legal battles and worries that his estate would
be whittled away.
     * His encounters with the voice of God.  Columbus had at
least two more, both in dark hours.
     In 1499, he said, "When all had abandoned me, I was assailed
by the Indians and the wicked Christians [the Spanish settlers
who were rebelling against his inept administration].  I found
myself in such a pass that in an attempt to escape death I took
to the sea on a small caravel.  Then the Lord came to help,
saying, 'O man of little faith, be not afraid, I am with thee.'
And he scattered my enemies and showed me the way to fulfill my
promises.  Miserable sinner that I am, to have put all my trust
in the vanities of this world!"
     In the Americas again four years later, he found himself
alone.  His worm-eaten ship was trapped by low waters from
getting out into open sea.  A local Indian cacique [ruler] had
vowed to massacre the Spaniards.  Some of Columbus's men had been
killed.  Feverish and in deep despair, he wrote, "I dragged
myself up the rigging to the height of the crow's nest...Still
groaning, I lost consciousness.  I heard a voice in pious accents
saying, 'O foolish man and slow to serve your God, the God of
all!  What more did he accomplish for Moses or for his servant
David?  From the hour of your birth has always had a special care
of you."  The voice continued at length and closed with "Be not
afraid, but of good courage.  All your afflictions are engraved
in letters of marble and there is a purpose behind them all."
     * His belief in his role in end-times prophecy.  Late in
life, with the help of a friend, a monk, Columbus assembled
excerpts from the Bible and medieval authors.  The unfinished
work, titled Book of Prophecies, uses Scriptures to show that God
had ordained his voyages of discovery and that God would be doing
further wonderful things for the Church.  Some have criticized
Columbus for the "providential and messianic delusions that would
come to grip him later in life" and accused him of megalomania.
     Columbus was often egocentric and, by today's standards,
loose in his hermeneutics.  But he wasn't the first or last
Christian to read his personal destiny into a Scripture verse.
Scholar Kay Brigham writes that he was "a man who had an
extensive knowledge of God's plan for the world, revealed in the
Holy Scriptures, and of the particular role that he was to play
in the fulfillment of the divine purposes."
     So why did Columbus sail?  Certainly he sailed to "make a
great lord of himself," as his crew members grumbled.  But he
sailed for far more.  As Samuel Eliot Morison wrote, "This
conviction that God destined him to be an instrument for
spreading the faith was far more potent than the desire to win
glory, wealthy, and worldly honors, to which he was certainly far
from indifferent."
     Columbus concluded the log of his first voyage with one
simple desire: "I hope in Our Lord that it [the recent voyage]
will be the greatest honor to Christianity that, unexpectedly,
has ever come about."
 
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« Reply #68 on: June 20, 2006, 09:11:10 AM »

William Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation

A great hope and inward zeal they had of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way thereunto, for the propagating and advancing the Gospel of the Kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world; yea, though they should be but even as stepping  stones unto others for the performing of so great a work.

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« Reply #69 on: June 20, 2006, 09:15:13 AM »

William Bradford: History of Plymouth Plantation, c. 1650


On the Mayflower

Being thus arrived in a good harbor, and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the fast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element. And no marvel if they were thus joyful, seeing wise Seneca was so affected with sailing a few miles on the coast of his own Italy, as he affirmed, that he had rather remain twenty years on his way by land than pass by sea to any place in a short time, so tedious and dreadful was the same unto him.

But here I cannot but stay and make a pause, and stand half amazed at this poor people's present condition; and so I think will the reader, too, when he well considers the same. Being thus passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before in their preparation (as may be remembered by that which went before), they had now no friends to welcome them nor inns to entertain or refresh their weatherbeaten bodies; no houses or much less towns to repair to, to seek for succor. It is recorded in Scripture as a mercy to the Apostle and his shipwrecked company, that the barbarians showed them no small kindness in refreshing them, but these savage barbarians, when they met with them (as after will appear) were readier to fill their sides full of arrows than otherwise. And for the season it was winter, and they know that the winters of that country know them to be sharp and violent, and subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known places, much more to search an unknown coast. Besides, what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wild beasts and wild men--and what multitudes there might be of them they knew not. Neither could they, as it were, go up to the top of Pisgah to view from this wilderness a more goodly country to feed their hopes; for which way soever they turned their eyes (save upward to the heavens) they could have little solace or content in respect of any outward objects. For summer being done, all things stand upon them with a weatherbeaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and savage hue. If they looked behind them, there was the mighty ocean which they had passed and was now as a main bar and gulf to separate them from all the civil parts of the world. If it be said they had a ship to succor them, it is true; but what heard they daily from the master and company? But that with speed they should look out a place (with their shallop) where they would be, at some near distance; for the season was such that he would not stir from thence till a safe harbor was discovered by them, where they would be, and he might go without danger; and that victuals consumed space but he must and would keep sufficient for themselves and their return. Yea, it was muttered by some that if they got not a place in time, they would turn them and their goods ashore and leave them. Let it also be considered what weak hopes of supply and succor they left behind them, that might bear up their minds in this sad condition and trials they were under; and they could not but be very small. It is true, indeed, the affections and love of their brethren at Leyden was cordial and entire towards them, but they had little power to help them or themselves; and how the case stood between them and the merchants at their coming away hath already been declared.

What could now sustain them but the Spirit of God and His grace? May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: "Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness; but they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice and looked on their adversity," etc. "Let them therefore praise the Lord, because He is good: and his mercies endure forever. Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, show how He hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered in the desert wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them." "Let them confess before the Lord His lovingkindness and His wonderful works before the sons of men."
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« Reply #70 on: June 20, 2006, 09:15:46 AM »

How they sought a place of habitation (1620)

Being thus arrived at Cape Cod the 11th of November, and necessity calling them to look out a place for habitation (as well as the master's and mariner's importunity); they having brought a large shallop with them out of England, stowed in quarters in the ship, they now got her out and set their carpenters to work to trim her up; but being much bruised and shattered in the ship with foul weather, they saw she would be long in mending. Whereupon a few of them tendered themselves to go by land and discover those nearest places, whilst the shallop was in mending; and the rather because as they went into that harbor there seemed to be an opening some two or three leagues off, which the master judged to be a river. It was conceived there might be some danger in the attempt, yet seeing them resolute, they were permitted to go, being sixteen of them well armed under the conduct of Captain Standish, having such instructions given them as was thought meet.

They set forth the 15 of November; and when they had marched about the space of a mile by the seaside, they espied five or six persons with a dog coming towards them, who were savages; but they fled from them and ran up into the woods, and the English followed them, partly to see if they could speak with them, and partly to discover if there might not be more of them lying in ambush. But the Indians seeing themselves thus followed, they again forsook the woods and ran away on the sands as hard as they could, so as they could not come near them but followed them by the track of their feet sundry miles and saw that they had come the same way. So, night coming on, they made their rendezvous and set out their sentinels, and rested in quiet that night; and the next morning followed their track till they had headed a great creek and so left the sands, and turned another way into the woods. But they still followed them by guess, hoping to find their dwellings; but they soon lost both them and themselves, falling into such thickets as were ready to tear their clothes and armor in pieces; but were most distressed for want of drink. But at length they found water and refreshed themselves, being the first New England water they drunk of, and was now in great thirst as pleasant unto them as wine or beer had been in foretimes.

Afterwards, they directed their course to come to the other shore, for they knew it was a neck of land they were to cross over, and so at length got to the seaside and marched to this supposed river, and by the way found a pond of clear, fresh water, and shortly after a good quantity of clear ground where the Indians had formerly set corn, and some of their graves. And proceeding further they saw new stubble where corn had been set the same year; also they found where lately a house had been, where some planks and a great kettle was remaining, and heaps of sand newly paddled with their hands. Which, they digging up, found in them divers fair Indian baskets filled with corn, and some in ears, fair and good, of divers colors, which seemed to them a very goodly sight (having never seen any such before). This was near the place of that supposed river they came to seek, unto which they went and found it to open itself into two arms with a high cliff of sand in the entrance but more like to be creeks of salt water than any fresh, for aught they saw; and that there was good harborage for their shallop, leaving it further to be discovered by their shallop, when she was ready. So, their time limited them being expired, they returned to the ship lest they should be in fear of their safety; and took with them part of the corn and buried up the rest. And so, like the men from Eshcol, carried with them of the fruits of the land and showed their brethren; of which, and their return, they were marvelously glad and their hearts encouraged.

After this, the shallop being got ready, they set out again for the better discovery of this place, and the master of the ship desired to go himself. So there went some thirty men but found it to be no harbor for ships but only for boats. There was also found two of their houses covered with mats, and sundry of their implements in them, but the people were run away and could not be seen. Also there was found more of their corn and of their beans of various colors; the corn and beans they brought away, purposing to give them full satisfaction when they should meet with any of them as, about some six months afterward they did, to their good content.

And here is to be noted a special providence of God, and a great mercy to this poor people, that here they got seed to plant them corn the next year, or else they might have starved, for they had none nor any likelihood to get any till the season had been past, as the sequel did manifest. Neither is it likely they had had this, if the first voyage had not been made, for the ground was now all covered with snow and hard frozen; but the Lord is never wanting unto His in their greatest needs; let His holy name have all the praise. . . .
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« Reply #71 on: June 20, 2006, 09:16:23 AM »

The Mayflower Compact (1620)

I shall a little return back, and begin with a combination of made by them before they came ashore; being the first foundation of their government in this place. Occasioned partly by the discontented and mutinous speeches that some of the strangers amongst them had let fall from them in the ship: That when they came ashore they would use their own liberty, for none had power to command them, the patent they had being for Virginia and not for New England, which belonged to another government, with which the Virginia Company had nothing to do. And partly that such an act by them done, this their condition considered, might be as firm as any patent and in some respects more sure.

    The form was as followeth:

    IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN.

    We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the faith, etc.

    Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honor of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the llth of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620.

After this they chose, or rather confirmed, Mr. John Carver (a man godly and well approved amongst them) their Governor for that year. And after they had provided a place for their goods, or common store (which were long in unlading for want of boats, foulness of the winter weather and sickness of divers) and begun some small cottages for their habitation; as time would admit, they met and consulted of laws and orders, both for their civil and military government as the necessity of their condition did require, still adding thereunto as urgent occasion in several times, and as cases did require.

In these hard and difficult beginnings they found some discontents and murmurings arise amongst some, and mutinous speeches and carriages in other; but they were soon quelled and overcome by the wisdom, patience, and just and equal carriage of things, by the Governor and better part, which clave faithfully together in the main.

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« Reply #72 on: June 20, 2006, 09:16:52 AM »

Treaty with the Indians (1621)

All this while the Indians came skulking about them, and would sometimes show themselves aloof off, but when any approached near them, they would run away; and once they stole away their tools where they had been at work and were gone to dinner. But about the 16th of March, a certain Indian came boldly amongst them and spoke to them in broken English, which they could well understand but marveled at it. At length they understood by discourse with him, that he was not of these parts, but belonged to the eastern parts where some English ships came to fish, with whom he was acquainted and could name sundry of them by their names, amongst whom he had got his language. He became profitable to them in acquainting them with many things concerning the state of the country in the east parts where he lived, which was afterwards profitable unto them; as also of the people here, of their names, number and strength, of their situation and distance from this place, and who was chief amongst them. His name was Samoset. He told them also of another Indian whose name was Sguanto, a native of this place, who had been in England and could speak better English than himself.

Being after some time of entertainment and gifts dismissed, a while after he came again, and five more with him, and they brought again all the tools that were stolen away before, and made way for the coming of their great Sachem, called Massasoit. Who, about four or five days after, came with the chief of his friends and other attendance, with the aforesaid Squanto. With whom, after friendly entertainment and some gifts given him, they made a peace with him (which hath now continued this 24 years) in these terms:

   1. That neither he nor any of his should injure or do hurt to any of their people.
   2. That if any of his did hurt to any of theirs, he should send the offender, that they might punish him.
   3. That if anything were taken away from any of theirs, he should cause it to be restored; and they should do the like to his.
   4. If any did unjustly war against him, they would aid him; if any did war against them, he should aid them.
   5. He should send to his neighbors confederates to certify them of this, that they might not wrong them, but might be likewise comprised in the conditions of peace.
   6. That when their men came to them, they should leave their bows and arrows behind them.

After these thing he returned to his place called Sowams, some 40 miles from this place, but Squanto continued with them and was their interpreter and was a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation. He directed them how to set their corn, where to take fish, and to procure other commodities, and was also their pilot to bring them to unknown places for their profit, and never left them till he died. He was a native of this place, and scarce any left alive besides himself. He we carried away with divers others by one Hunt, a master of a ship, who thought to sell them for slaves in Spain. But he got away for England and was entertained by a merchant in London, and employed to Newfoundland and other parts, and lastly brought hither into these parts by one Mr. Dermer, a gentleman employed by Sir Ferdinando Gorges and others for discovery and other designs in these parts.
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« Reply #73 on: June 20, 2006, 09:17:18 AM »

New governor, first marriage  (1621)

In this month of April, whilst they were busy about their seed, their Governor (Mr. John Carver) came out of the field very sick, it being a hot day. He complained greatly of his head and lay down, and within a few hours his senses failed, so as he never spake more till he died, which was within a few days after. Whose death was much lamented and caused great heaviness amongst them, as there was cause. He was buried in the best manner they could, with some volleys of shot by all that bore arms. And his wife, being a weak woman, died within five or six weeks after him.

Shortly after, William Bradford was chosen Governor in his stead, and being not recovered of his illness, in which he had been near the point of death, Isaac Allerton was chosen to be an assistant unto him who, by renewed election every year, continued sundry years together. Which I here note once for all.

May 12 was the first marriage in this place which, according to the laudable custom of the Low Countries, in which they had lived, was thought most requisite to be performed by the magistrate, as being a civil thing, upon which many questions about inheritances do depend, with other things most proper to their cognizance and most consonant to the Scriptures (Ruth iv) and nowhere found in the Gospel to be laid on the ministers as a part of their office.
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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« Reply #74 on: June 20, 2006, 09:17:47 AM »

First harvest (1621)

They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was a great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to the proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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