The Pilgrims and the Defense of Liberty

George Henry Boughton’s (1833-1905) painting Pilgrims Going to Church in 1867 was originally called The Early Puritans of New England Going to Church.  Boughton was known as the “painter of New England Puritanism” and here portrayed the Pilgrim Church of men, women and children walking to the meetinghouse on guard in defense of their liberty. …

The Economics of the Pilgrims

Before the Pilgrims could navigate the waters of the Atlantic, they had to navigate the economic challenges of raising funds.  They sought God at every turn in the face of financial obstacles.  Though the 1606 Charter of James I for exploration had a mission of “propagating (the) Christian Religion,” it took God’s intervention to allow…

Pilgrim Worship from the Book of Psalms

About the time we get the first glimpse of the Pilgrim’s order of worship in 1612, Henry Ainsworth published his Book of Psalms.  Containing lyrical and metrical versions of 39 Psalms from the Bible, it became the spiritual expression of musical joy brought by the Pilgrims to the new world 400 years ago.  On July…

Why They Came: Pilgrim Character

What kind of character did the Pilgrim Church embrace?  It is apparent that Pastor Robinson and William Brewster did embrace and teach good character.  In addition it is clear that they demonstrated it as an example as well. When the Pilgrim Church emigrated from Amsterdam to Leyden, they had to ask permission from the civil…

Why They Came: Betrayal

Almost immediately after their conversion, the Pilgrims were persecuted by “the profane multitude.”  Bradford then writes “Seeing themselves thus molested, and that there was no hope of their continuance there, by a joint consent they resolved to go into the Low Countries, where they heard was freedom of religion for all men.”  Persecution, and eventually…

The Pilgrim Church Service

The Pilgrim or Separatist church began in the home but focused on the exaltation and presence of Christ.  The revival of “hearth and home” in England was nurtured by families who had access to own the Geneva translation of the Bible in their own tongue.  Fathers would read from the Scriptures in the morning and…

Why They Came: Rhetoric Matters

The doctrine of discovery was built on pride, aggression, and disrespect of others.  It condoned methods of aggression for the “end” of “conversion.”  But there was another movement, a remnant, born of true revival, that was arising as well.  In that movement, true conversion was sought, one from the heart and voluntary.  Though not as…

Why They Came: Church by Coercion

What makes the Pilgrim movement so unique is that it stands in such contrast to the coercion practiced by the State Church of England?  The State (in this case King James) was the head of the Church and thus there was little religious liberty.  Richard Clyfton had such pressure when pastoring in Babworth, England where…

Why They Came: Let us not Forget

Consider for a moment the year 1820 at the two hundredth anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims.  Daniel Webster came to Plymouth, Massachusetts and on Forefathers Day declared: …let us not forget the religious character of our origin.  Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion.  They journeyed by…

Why They Came: Conversion

Conversion, or spiritual liberty, was the origin and root of why the Pilgrims came to the shores of New England.  Conversion is an act of God whereby He regenerates the heart and puts His Spirit into the believer.  It is an act of surrender on our part, choosing to follow the risen Lord Jesus Christ…

Interesting Providences: Bradford Manuscript

William Bradford, second Governor and historian of the Pilgrims, began his “journal” about ten years after they landed.  With providential foresight, he said the purpose of history was, “That their children may see with what difficulties their fathers wrestled in going through these things in their first beginnings, and how God brought them along notwithstanding…