Wednesday, May 25, 2011

1698 The Story of Squanto by Cotton Mather

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"The Story of Squanto" from 1698 Magnalia Christi Americana by Cotton Mather

Cotton Mather

A most wicked shipmaster being on this coast a few years before, had wickedly spirited away more than twenty Indians; whom having enticed them aboard, he presently stowed them under hatches, and carried them away to the Streights, where he sold as many of them as he could for Slaves. This avaritious and pernicious felony laid the foundation for grievous annoyances to all the English endeavors of settlements, especially in the Northern parts of the land for several years ensuing. The Indians would never forget or forgive this injury. . .




But our good God so ordered it, that one of the stolen Indians, called Squanto, had escaped out of Spain into England; where he lived with one Mr. Slany, from whom he had found a way to return unto his own country, being brought back by one Mr. Dermer, about half a year before our honest Plymotheans were cast upon this continent. This Indian having received much kindness from the English, who generally condemned the man that first betrayed him, now made unto the English a return of that kindness: and being by his acquaintance with the English language, fitted with a conversation with them, he very kindly informed them what was the present condition of the Indians; instructed them in the way of ordering their Corn; and acquainted them with many other things, which it was necessary for them to understand.


But Squanto did for them a yet greater benefit than all this: for he brought Massasoit, the chief Sachim or Prince of the Indians within many miles, with some scores of his attenders, to make our people a kind visit; the issue of which visit was, that Massasoit not only entred  into a firm agreement of peace with the English, but also they declared and submitted themselves to be subjects of the King of England; into which peace and subjection many other Sachims quickly after came, in the most voluntary manner that could be expressed. It seems that this unlucky Squanto having told his countrymen how easie it was for so great a monarch as K. James to destroy them all, if they should hurt any of his people, he went on to terrifie them with a ridiculous rhodomantado, which they believed, that this people kept the plague in a cellar (where they kept their gunpowder), and could at their pleasure let it loose to make such havock among them, as the distemper had already made among them a few years before. . .


Moreover, our English guns, especially the great ones, made a formidable report among these ignorant Indians; and their hopes of enjoying some defence by the English, against the potent nation nation of Narraganset Indians, now at war with them, made them yet more to court our friendship. This very strange disposition of things, was extreamly advantageous to our distressed planters: and who sees not herein the special providence of the God who disposeth all?
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Recreating 17th-Century America

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Historic Saint Mary's City, Maryland

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1681 Virginia Anglican Priest Proposes Teaching Slaves Christianity

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1681 Morgan Goodwyn, Proposes Teaching the Slaves Christianity

Goodwyn was a Church of England (Anglican) minister who served in both Virginia and Barbadoes. He was one of the rare voices of ministers calling for the religious education of African slaves. Goodwyn's sentiments would be repeated 20 years later, when the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts began to send missionaries to the colonies and encourage the conversion or religious training of slaves.


Before we enter upon this Debate, to prevent all troublesome Clamors and Objections against it, upon the score of lnterest, this Position should first be laid down, and as a Principle fixt and Eternal, and from which a true Christian cannot recede, be resolved on, (viz.) That no Interest how great or (otherwise) just soever, may be admitted to stand in Competition with Christianity. .

And here also in this Consideration, we are especially to avoid Splitting upon this Solecism, both in Policy and Discretion, and against which, Ecclus hath so wisely cautioned us, ch. 37, v.11. [Not to ask Counsel for Religion of one that hath no Religion, nor of Justice of him that hath no Justice] nor of a Coward about Matters of War, nor of a Merchant concerning Exchange, nor of a Buyer concerning selling &c. for such will counsel for themselves, ver. 8. So likewise for a Christian not to be guided or led by Self-ended Men, Enemies to his Profession, in these Debates and Proposals made for the Advancement of it. Such being only like to raise Obstructions, as hitherto they have always done; and (as lately) to render that for impossible, which has not the least difficulty in it, where a right Method is used for effecting it.

No more are we to proceed herein, by the sole Advice of Persons unacquainted with the true State and Condition of the places where this Settlement or Conversion is to be wrought. . . .

These things being agreed on, we must then fall to consider of the People amongst whom we are to take our lot, and thereto to have an especial regard: As, whether they be Slaves, subject to the English, such as most of the Negro's there are; or free People living of themselves, either amongst, or distant from the English; such as most of the Indians on the Continent (in Virginia, &c.) are. Or lastly, whether this is to be performed by way of further Settling and Establishment, even amongst the English themselves, which also is no less necessary. . . .

Now concerning the Negro's, whom I should think fit to be first taken in hand (as being the easiest Task, would their Owners be perswaded to consent thereto; & the most absolutely necessary, this neglect being the most scandalous, and withal, the most impossible to be defended or excused:) The first and great step will be to procure (what I but just mentioned) their Owners consent, as being to be supposed averse thereto: not altogether, as is here believed, out of Interest (it being already secured to them by Laws of their own but by reason of the trouble, and the fancied needlessness of the Work and to prevent all danger from their Slaves being furnisht with knowledge, consequent, they conceive thereto. However, because they pretend the other (and something there may be in that too,) to take off that pretence, it will be requisite,

I. That a Law be enacted to confirm such Laws of theirs, as are or shall be hereafter made to secure their just Interest in their Slaves; That they may thereby be continued in their present State of Servitude notwithstanding their being afterward baptised.

2. That all unjust Interests, and ungodly Advantages arising from their Slaves Sunday-labour and Polygamie (neither of them sufferable among Christians) be upon severest Penalties prohibited; and this as well to the unbaptised, as to the rest. . . .

These pretences being thus fairly removed, if any Aversion still remains (as 'tis feared there will, and that for the truest Reasons above mentioned,) they must afterwards be invited thereto by good Sermons & Books, Preacht and Writ upon this Subject, and by discoursing with them in private. As also by the Example of the Ministers themselves in their Families. And lastly, (and which will do more then all the rest) by Encouragments from the Government.

Another way, and which 'tis possible might prove most effectual, would be to get this impiety decryed here in England, where our Planters have an extraordinary Ambition to be thought well of, and thereby to shame them into better Principles. . . .

Now for the Planter's late Objections against this Work, as I have heard them represented (and I believe they are the best they had), . . .

I. They object their Negro's want of English; Whereas 'tis certain that there are some thousands of them, who understand English, no worse than our own People. Let them begin with those.

2. That it would make them less governable; the contrary to which is experimentally known amongst their Neighbours, both French & Spaniards in those parts. Now 'twould be too great a blemish to the Reformation, to suppose that Popery only makes its Converts better, but Protestancy worse; as this Allegation being admitted, it must be granted. And to prevent any fond conceit in them of Libertie, (an especial Branch of the same Article,) if there be any such danger, let two or three of each great Family be first baptised; whereby the rest seeing them continued as they were, that Opinion would soon vanish: . . .

3. As for their pretended Aversion to Christianity, the contrary thereto is known of most of them. And tho it is to be confessed that some are more careless and indifferent (having bin taught by the English to be needless for them) yet for the general they are observed to be rather ambitious of it. Nor, I dare affirm, can any single Instance of such aversion in any one of them, be produced.

4. As to their (alike pretended) Stupidity, there is as little truth therein: divers of them being known and confessed by their Owners, to be extraordinary Ingenious, and even to exceed many of the English. And for the rest, they are much the same with other People, destitute of the means of knowledge, and wanting Education.

5. One thing more there remains to be added, of which, tho they may be most afraid, yet they carefully keep it to themselves, and that is the possibility of their Slaves Expectation, not of Freedom, but of more merciful Usage from them. . . .

Yet now after this, if difficulties shall still be urged, (as no doubt but there will) and this Work upon that stale pretence must be further neglected and deferred; I shall in opposition thereto, be bold to make some few demands: As, what those difficulties should be, which are so much greater, it seems, than those our Ancestors encountered with, even in Pagan Regions, and happily overcame? Whether we ever tryed how difficult the Work was, thereby to satisfie our selves, whether (indeed) it be such as it is apprehended (or, at least, pretended?) And whether such a trial would not justify us more, than thus, without trying, to conclude it Impossible ? . . .

In short, there is nothing upon Earth more feasible than this Design, were it but heartily undertaken, and, as I have said, a right Method used for the effecting of it. . . .

Source: M. G. [Morgan Godwyn], A Supplement to the Negro's & Indian's Advocate (London, 1681), reprinted in Albert Bushnell Hart, ed., American History Told by Contemporaries (New York, 1898), volume 1, 299-301.
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1666 A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina

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Robert Horne, A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina (1666)

This is one of the earliest descriptions of Carolina. It was published by Robert Horne in London (although he may not have been the author). The explicit purpose of the pamphlet was to entice English men and women to migrate to the colony, and thereby increase the value of the Proprietors' estate.

John White c 1587 Natives Fishing in North Carolina

CAROLINA is a fair and spacious Province on the Continent of America: so called in honour of His Sacred Majesty that now is, Charles the Second, whom God preserve; and His Majesty hath been pleas'd to grant the same to certain Honourable Persons, who in order to the speedy planting of the same, have granted divers privileges and advantages to such as shall transport themselves and Servants in convenient time; This Province lying so neer Virginia, and yet more Southward, enjoys the fertility and advantages thereof; and yet is so far distant, as to be freed from the inconstancy of the Weather, which is a great cause of the unhealthfulness thereof; also, being in the latitude of the Bermudas may expect the like healthfulness which it hath hitherto enjoy'd, and doubtless there is no Plantation that ever the English went upon, in all respects so good as this: for though Bermudas be wonderful healthy and fruitful, yet is it but a Prison to the Inhabitants, who are much streightned for want of room, and therefore many of them are come to Carolina, and more intend to follow. There is seated in this Province two Colonies already, one on the River Roanoak (now called Albemarle River) and borders on Virginia; the Other at Cape Feare, two Degrees more Southerly; of which follows a more perticular Description. . . .

The Perticular Description of Cape Feare.

In the midst of this fertile Province, in the Latitude of 34 degrees, there is a Colony of English seated, who Landed there the 29 of May, Anno 1664. and are in all about 800 persons, who have overcome all the difficulties that attend the first attempts, and have cleered the way for those that come after, who will find good houses to be in whilst their own are in building; good forts to secure them from their enemies; and many things brought from other parts there, increasing to their no small advantage. The entrance into the River, now called Cape-Feare River, the situation of the Cape, and trending of the Land, is plainly laid down to the eye in the Map annexed. The River is barred at the entrance, but there is a Channel close abord the Cape that will convey in safety a ship of 300 Tons, and as soon as a ship is over ihe Bar, the River is 5 or 6 fathom deep for a 100 miles from the Sea; this Bar is a great security to the Colony against a forreign Invasion, the channel being hard to find by those that have not experience of it, and yet safe enough to those that know it.

The Earth, Water, and Air.

The Land is of divers sorts as in all Countryes of the world, that which lyes neer the Sea, is sandy and barren, but beareth many tall Trees, which make good timber for several uses; and this sandy ground is by experienced men thought to be one cause of the healthfulness of the place: but up the River about 20 or 30 mile, where they have made a Town, called Charles-Town, there is plenty of as rich ground as any in the world. It is a blackish mold upon a red sand, and under that a clay, but in some places is rich ground of a grayer colour, they have made Brick of the Clay, which proves very good; and Lime they have also for building. . . . The Woods are stored with Deer and Wild Turkeys, of a great magnitude, weighing many times above 50lbs a piece, and of a more pleasant tast than in England, being in their proper climate; other sorts of Beasts in the Woods that are good for food; and also Fowls, whose names are not known to them. This is what they found naturally upon the place; but they have brought with them most sorts of seeds and roots of the Barbadoes which thrive very well, and they have Potatoes, and the other Roots and Herbs of Barbadoes growing and thriving with them; as also from Virginia, Bermudas, and New England, what they could afford: They have Indigo, Tobacco very good, and Cotton-wool; Lime-trees, Orange, Lemon, and other Fruit-Trees they brought, thrive exceedingly: They have two Crops of Indian-Corn in one year, and great increase every Crop; Apples, Pears, and other English fruit, grow there out of the planted Kernels: The Marshes and Meadows are very large from 1500 to 3000 Acres, and upwards, and are excellent food for Cattle, and will bear any Grain being prepared; some Cattle both great and small, which live well all the Winter, and keep their fat without Fodder; Hogs find so much Mast and other Food in the Woods, that they want no other care than a Swine-herd to keep them from running wild. The Meadows are very proper for Rice, Rape-seed, Lin-seed, etc., and may many of them be made to overflow at pleasure with a small charge. Here are as brave Rivers as any in the World, stored with great abundance of Sturgeon, Salmon, Bass, Plaice, Trout, and Spanish Mackrill, with many other most pleasant sorts of Fish, both flat and round, for which the English Tongue hath no name. . . . Last of all, the Air comes to be considered, which is not the least considerable to the well being of a Plantation, for without a wholsome Air all other considerations avail nothing; and this is it which makes this Place so desireable, being seated in the most temperate Clime, where the neighbour-hood of the glorious Light of Heaven brings many advantages, and his convenient distance secures them from the Inconvenience of his scortching beams. The Summer is not too hot, and the Winter is very short and moderate, best agreeing with English Constitutions. . . .

If therefore any industrious and ingenious persons shall be willing to pertake of the Felicites of this Country, let them imbrace the first opportunity, that they may obtain the greater advantages.

The chief of the Privileges are as follows.

First, There is full and free Liberty of Conscience granted to all, so that no man is to be molested or called in question for matters of Religious Concern; but every one to be obedient to the Civil Government, worshipping God after their own way.

Secondly, There is freedom from Custom, for all Wine, Silk, Raisins, Currance, Oyl, Olives, and Almonds, that shall be raised in the Province for 7. years, after 4 Ton of any of those commodities shall be imported in one Bottom.

Thirdly, Every Free-man and Free-woman that transport themselves and Servants by the 25 of March next, being 1667. shall have for Himself, Wife, Children, and Men-servants, for each 100 Acres of Land for him and his Heirs for ever, and for every Woman-servant and Slave 50 Acres, paying at most 1/2d. per acre, per annum, in lieu of all demands, to the Lords Proprietors: Provided always, That every Man be armed with a good Musquet full bore, 10lbs Powder, and 20lbs of Bullet, and six Months Provision for all, to serve them whilst they raise Provision in that Countrey.

Fourthly, Every Man-Servant at the expiration of their time, is to have of the Country a 100 Acres of Land to him and his heirs for ever, paying only 1/2d. per Acre, per annum, and the Women 50. Acres of Land on the same conditions; their Masters also are to allow them two Suits of Apparrel and Tools such as he is best able to work with, according to the Custom of the Countrey.

Fifthly, They are to have a Governour and Council appointed from among themselves, to see the Laws of the Assembly put in due execution; but the Governour is to rule but 3 years, and then learn to obey; also he hath no power to lay any Tax, or make or abrogate any Law, without the Consent of the Colony in their Assembly.

Sixthly, They are to choose annually from among themselves, a certain Number of Men, according to their divisions, which constitute the General Assembly with the Governour and his Council, and have the sole power of Making Laws, and Laying Taxes for the common good when need shall require.

These are the chief and Fundamental privileges, but the Right Honourable Lords Proprietors have promised (and it is their Interest so to do) to be ready to grant what other Privileges may be found advantageous for the good, of the Colony.

Is there therefore any younger Brother who is born of Gentile [Genteel] blood, and whose Spirit is elevated above the common sort, and yet the hard usage of our Country hath not allowed suitable fortune; he will not surely be afraid to leave his Native Soil to advance his Fortunes equal to his Blood and Spirit, and so he will avoid those unlawful ways too many of our young Gentlemen take to maintain themselves according to their high education, having but small Estates; here, with a few Servants and a small Stock a great Estate may be raised, although his Birth have not entitled him to any of the Land of his Ancestors, yet his Industry may supply him so, as to make him the head of as famous a family.

Such as are here tormented with much care how to get worth to gain a Livelyhood, or that with their labour can hardly get a comfortable subsistance, shall do well to go to this place, where any man what-ever, that is but willing to take moderate pains, may be assured of a most comfortable subsistance, and be in a way to raise his fortunes far beyond what he could ever hope for in England. Let no man be troubled at the thoughts of being a Servant for 4 or 5 year, for I can assure you, that many men give mony with their children to serve 7 years, to take more pains and fare nothing so well as the Servants in this Plantation will do. Then it is to be considered, that so soon as he is out of his time, he hath Land, and Tools, and Clothes given him, and is in a way of advancement. Therefore all Artificers, as Carpenters, Wheelrights, Joyners, Coopers, Bricklayers, Smiths, or diligent Husbandmen and Labourers, that are willing to advance their fortunes, and live in a most pleasant healthful and fruitful Country, where Artificers are of high esteem, and used with all Civility and Courtesie imaginable, may take notice, that

There is an opportunity offers now by the Virginia Fleet, from whence Cape Feare is but 3 or 4 days sail, and then a small Stock carried to Virginia will purchase provisions at a far easier rate than to carry them from hence; also the freight of the said Provisions will be saved, and be more fresh, and there wanteth not conveyance from Virginia thither.

If any Maid or single Woman have a desire to go over, they will think themselves in the Golden Age, when Men paid a Dowry for their Wives; for if they be but Civil, and under 50 years of Age, some honest Man or other, will purchase them for their Wives.

Those that desire further advice, or Servants that would be entertained, let them repair to Mr. Matthew Wilkinson, Ironmonger, at the Sign of the Three Feathers, in Bishopsgate Street, where they may be informed when the Ships will be ready, and what they must carry with them.

Thus much was convenient to be written at present, but a more ample Relation is intended to be published in due time.

Source: Robert Horne, A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina . . . (London, 1666), reprinted in Alexander S. Salley, Jr., ed., Narratives of Early Carolina, 1650-1708 (New York, 1911), 66-73.
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1662 Anglican Church Catechism

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1662 Anglican Church Catechism

That is to say, an Instruction to be Learned of Every Person, Before he be Brought to be Confirmed by the Bishop.




QUESTION. What is your Name?
Answer. N. or M.
Question. Who gave you this Name?
Answer. My Godfathers and Godmothers in my Baptism; wherein I was made a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.


Question. What did your Godfathers and Godmothers then for you?
Answer. They did promise and vow three things in my name. First, that I should renounce the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanity of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh. Secondly, that I should believe all the Articles of the Christian Faith. And thirdly, that I should keep God's holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of my life.


Question. Dost thou not think that thou art bound to believe, and to do, as they have promised for thee?
Answer. Yes verily: and by God's help so I will. And I heartily thank our heavenly Father, that he hath called me to this state of salvation, through Jesus Christ our Saviour. And I pray unto God to give me his grace, that I may continue in the same unto my life's end.

Catechist
Rehearse the Articles of thy Belief.
Answer.
BELIEVE in God the Father Almighty, Maker of and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried, He descended into hell; The third day he rose again from the dead, He ascended into heaven, And sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; The holy Catholick Church; The Communion of Saints; The Forgiveness of sins; The Resurrection of the body; And the Life everlasting. Amen.
Question. What dost thou chiefly learn in these Articles of thy Belief?
Answer. First, I learn to believe in God the Father, who hath made me, and all the world.
Secondly, in God the Son, who hath redeemed me, and all mankind.
Thirdly, in God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth me, and all the elect people of God.

Question.
OU said, that your Godfathers and Godmothers did promise for you, that you should keep God's commandments. Tell me how many there be?
Answer. Ten.
Question. Which be they?


Answer.
HE same which God spake in the twentieth Chapter of Exodus, saying, I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
I. Thou shalt have none other gods but me.
II. Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, and visit the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and shew mercy unto thousands in them that love me, and keep my commandments.
III. Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his Name in vain.
IV. Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath-day. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all that thou hast to do; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. In it thou shalt do no manner of work, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, thy cattle, and the stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it.
V. Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
VI. Thou shalt do no murder.
VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
VIII. Thou shalt not steal.
IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his servant, nor his maid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is his.


Question.
HAT dost thou chiefly learn by these Commandments?
Answer. I learn two things: my duty towards God, and my duty towards my Neighbour.
Question. What is thy duty towards God?
Answer. My duty towards God, is to believe in him, to fear him, and to love him with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul, and with all my strength; to worship him, to give him thanks, to put my whole trust in him, to call upon him, to honour his holy Name and his Word, and to serve him truly all the days of my life.
Question. What is thy duty towards thy Neighbour?
Answer. My duty towards my Neighbour, is to love him as myself, and to do to all men, as I would they should do unto me: To love, honour, and succour my father and mother: To honour and obey the Queen, and all that are put in authority under her: To submit myself to all my governors, teachers, spiritual pastors and masters: To order myself lowly and reverently to all my betters: To hurt no body by word nor deed: To be true and just in all my dealing: To bear no malice nor hatred in my heart: To keep my hands from picking and stealing, and my tongue from evilspeaking, lying, and slandering: To keep my body in temperance, soberness, and chastity: Not to covet nor desire other men's goods; but to learn and labour truly to get mine own living, and to do my duty in that state of life, unto which it shall please God to call me.


Catechist
Y good Child, know this, that thou art not able to do these things of thyself, nor to walk in the Commandments of God, and to serve him, without his special grace; which thou must learn at all times to call for by diligent prayer. Let me hear therefore, if thou canst say the Lord's Prayer.


Answer.
UR Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil. Amen.
Question. What desirest thou of God in this Prayer?
Answer. I desire my Lord God our heavenly Father, who is the giver of all goodness, to send his grace unto me, and to all people: that we may worship him, serve him, and obey him, as we ought to do. And I pray unto God, that he will send us all things that be needful both for our souls and bodies; and that he will be merciful unto us, and forgive us our sins; and that it will please him to save and defend us in all dangers ghostly and bodily; and that he will keep us from all sin and wickedness, and from our ghostly enemy, and from everlasting death. And this I trust he will do of his mercy and goodness, through our Lord Jesus Christ. And therefore I say, Amen, So be it.

Question.
OW many Sacraments hath Christ ordained in his Church?
Answer. Two only, as generally necessary to salvation, that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.
Question. What meanest thou by this word Sacrament?
Answer. I mean an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us, ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof.
Question. How many parts are there in a Sacrament?
Answer. Two: the outward visible sign, and the inward spiritual grace.
Question. What is the outward visible sign or form in Baptism?
Answer. Water: wherein the person is baptized In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Question. What is the inward and spiritual grace?
Answer. A death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness: for being by nature born in sin, and the children of wrath, we are hereby made the children of grace.
Question. What is required of persons to be baptized?
Answer. Repentance, whereby they forsake sin: and Faith, whereby they stedfastly believe the promises of God made to them in that Sacrament.
Question. Why then are Infants baptized, when by reason of their tender age they cannot perform them?
Answer. Because they promise them both by their Sureties: which promise, when they come to age, themselves are bound to perform.
Question. Why was the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper ordained?
Answer. For the continual remembrance of the sacrifice of the death of Christ and of the benefits which we receive thereby.
Question. What is the outward part or sign of the Lord's Supper?
Answer. Bread and Wine, which the Lord hath commanded to be received.
Question. What is the inward part, or thing signified?
Answer. The Body and Blood of Christ, which are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's Supper.
Question. What are the benefits whereof we are partakers thereby?
Answer. The strengthening and refreshing of our souls by the Body and Blood of Christ, as our bodies are by the Bread and Wine.
Question. What is required of them who come to the Lord's Supper?
Answer. To examine themselves, whether they repent them truly of their former sins, stedfastly purposing to lead a new life; have a lively faith in God's mercy through Christ, with a thankful remembrance of his death; and be in charity with all men.
The Curate of every Parish shall diligently upon Sundays and Holy-days, after the second Lesson at Evening Prayer, openly in the Church instruct and examine so many Children of his Parish sent unto him, as he shall think convenient, in some Part of this Catechism.


And all Fathers, Mothers, Masters, and Dames, shall cause their Children, Servants, and Prentices (which have not learned their Catechism,) to come to the Church at the time appointed, and obediently to hear, and be ordered by the Curate, until such time as they have learned all that is here appointed for them to learn.


So soon as children are come to a competent age, and can say, in their Mother Tongue, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments; and also can answer to the other questions of this short Catechism; they shall be brought to the Bishop. And every one shall have a Godfather, or a Godmother, as a witness of their Confirmation.


And whensoever the Bishop shall give knowledge for Children to be brought unto him for their Confirmation, the Curate of every Parish shall either bring, or send in writing, with his hand subscribed thereunto, the names of all such persons within his Parish, as he shall think fit to be presented to the Bishop to be confirmed. And, if the Bishop approve of them, he shall confirm them in manner following.
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Recreating 17th-Century America

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Historic Saint Mary's City, Maryland

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1649 Maryland Act of Toleration

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The Maryland Toleration Act (1649) An Act Concerning Religion.

The Maryland Toleration Act did not bring complete religious freedom. Nor did it come about because of a profound humanistic conviction on the part of Cecil (Cecilius) Calvert, Second Lord Baltimore (1605-1675) the Maryland proprietor, who remained in England instead of sailing to Maryland to live.

Lord Baltimore Cecilius Calvert

The act was a pragmatic solution to a serious problem. The Catholics in originally Catholic Maryland had become a minority of the population although still powerful politically. They were in great danger of being ill-treated by the Protestant majority.

The Toleration Act, it was believed, was a way of providing protection for Catholics while at the same time representing a nod in the direction of the English government, which in 1649, and for a dozen years thereafter was firmly under the control of the English Puritans.

Nonetheless, the document is important because it did provide modest although impermanent protection for Catholic Marylanders and set a precedent to which others could refer.

Despite Baltimore's Catholic background and his desire to use Maryland as a refuge for Catholics persecuted elsewhere, the Catholic Church never became the established church. In the eighteenth century this distinction was given to the Church of England.

Forasmuch as in a well governed and Christian Common Weath matters concerning Religion and the honor of God ought in the first place to bee taken, into serious consideracion and endeavoured to bee settled, Be it therefore ordered and enacted by the Right Honourable Cecilius Lord Baron of Baltemore absolute Lord and Proprietary of this Province with the advise and consent of this Generall Assembly:


That whatsoever person or persons within this Province and the Islands thereunto helonging shall from henceforth blaspheme God, that is Curse him, or deny our Saviour Jesus Christ to bee the sonne of God, or shall deny the holy Trinity the father sonne and holy Ghost, or the Godhead of any of the said Three persons of the Trinity or the Unity of the Godhead, or shall use or utter any reproachfull Speeches, words or language concerning the said Holy Trinity, or any of the said three persons thereof, shalbe punished with death and confiscation or forfeiture of all his or her lands and goods to the Lord Proprietary and his heires.


And bee it also Enacted by the Authority and with the advise and assent aforesaid, That whatsoever person or persons shall from henceforth use or utter any reproachfull words or Speeches concerning the blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of our Saviour or the holy Apostles or Evangelists or any of them shall in such case for the first offence forfeit to the said Lord Proprietary and his heirs Lords and Proprietaries of this Province the summe of five pound Sterling or the value thereof to be Levyed on the goods and chattells of every such person soe offending, but in case such Offender or Offenders, shall not then have goods and chattells sufficient for the satisfyeing of such forfeiture, or that the same bee not otherwise speedily satisfyed that then such Offender or Offenders shalbe publiquely whipt and bee imprisoned during the pleasure of the Lord Proprietary or the Lieutenant or cheife Governor of this Province for the time being. And that every such Offender or Offenders for every second offence shall forfeit tenne pound sterling or the value thereof to bee levyed as aforesaid, or in case such offender or Offenders shall not then have goods and chattells within this Province sufficient for that purpose then to bee publiquely and severely whipt and imprisoned as before is expressed. And that every person or persons before mentioned offending herein the third time, shall for such third Offence forfeit all his lands and Goods and bee for ever banished and expelled out of this Province.


And be it also further Enacted by the same authority advise and assent that whatsoever person or persons shall from henceforth uppon any occasion of Offence or otherwise in a reproachful manner or Way declare call or denominate any person or persons whatsoever inhabiting, residing, traffiqueing, trading or comerceing within this Province or within any the Ports, Harbors, Creeks or Havens to the same belonging an heritick, Scismatick, Idolator, puritan, Independant, Prespiterian popish prest, Jesuite, Jesuited papist, Lutheran, Calvenist, Anabaptist, Brownist, Antinomian, Barrowist, Roundhead, Separatist, or any other name or terme in a reproachfull manner relating to matter of Religion shall for every such Offence forfeit and loose the somme of tenne shillings sterling or the value thereof to bee levyed on the goods and chattells of every such Offender and Offenders, the one half thereof to be forfeited and paid unto the person and persons of whom such reproachfull words are or shalbe spoken or uttered, and the other half thereof to the Lord Proprietary and his heires Lords and Proprietaries of this Province. But if such person or persons who shall at any time utter or speake any such reproachfull words or Language shall not have Goods or Chattells sufficient and overt within this Province to bee taken to satisfie the penalty aforesaid or that the same bee not otherwise speedily satisfyed, that then the person or persons soe offending shalbe publickly whipt, and shall suffer imprisonment without baile or maineprise [bail] untill hee, shee or they respectively shall satisfy the party soe offended or greived by such reproachfull Language by asking him or her respectively forgivenes publiquely for such his Offence before the Magistrate of cheife Officer or Officers of the Towne or place where such Offence shalbe given.


And be it further likewise Enacted by the Authority and consent aforesaid That every person and persons within this Province that shall at any time hereafter prophane the Sabbath or Lords day called Sunday by frequent swearing, drunkennes or by any uncivill or disorderly recreacion, or by working on that day when absolute necessity doth not require it shall for every such first offence forfeit 2s 6d sterling or the value thereof, and for the second offence 5s sterling or the value thereof, and for the third offence and soe for every time he shall offend in like manner afterwards 10s sterling or the value thereof. And in case such offender and offenders shall not have sufficient goods or chattells within this Province to satisfy any of the said Penalties respectively hereby imposed for prophaning the Sabbath or Lords day called Sunday as aforesaid, That in Every such case the partie soe offending shall for the first and second offence in that kinde be imprisoned till hee or shee shall publickly in open Court before the cheife Commander Judge or Magistrate, of that County Towne or precinct where such offence shalbe committed acknowledg the Scandall and offence he hath in that respect given against God and the good and civill Governement of this Province, And for the third offence and for every time after shall also bee publickly whipt.


And whereas the inforceing of the conscience in matters of Religion hath frequently fallen out to be of dangerous Consequence in those commonwealthes where it hath been practised, And for the more quiett and peaceable governement of this Province, and the better to preserve mutuall Love and amity amongst the Inhabitants thereof, Be it Therefore also by the Lord Proprietary with the advise and consent of this Assembly Ordeyned and enacted (except as in this present Act is before Declared and sett forth) that noe person or persons whatsoever within this Province, or the Islands, Ports, Harbors, Creekes, or havens thereunto belonging professing to beleive in Jesus Christ, shall from henceforth bee any waies troubled, Molested or discountenanced for or in respect of his or her religion nor in the free exercise thereof within this Province or the Islands thereunto belonging nor any way compelled to the beleife or exercise of any other Religion against his or her consent, soe as they be not unfaithfull to the Lord Proprietary, or molest or conspire against the civill Governement established or to bee established in this Province under him or his heires. And that all and every person and persons that shall presume Contrary to this Act and the true intent and meaning thereof directly or indirectly either in person or estate willfully to wrong disturbe trouble or molest any person whatsoever within this Province professing to beleive in Jesus Christ for or in respect of his or her religion or the free exercise thereof within this Province other than is provided for in this Act that such person or persons soe offending, shalbe compelled to pay trebble damages to the party soe wronged or molested, and for every such offence shall also forfeit 20s sterling in money or the value thereof, half thereof for the use of the Lord Proprietary, and his heires Lords and Proprietaries of this Province, and the other half for the use of the party soe wronged or molested as aforesaid, Or if the partie soe offending as aforesaid shall refuse or bee unable to recompense the party soe wronged, or to satisfy such fyne or forfeiture, then such Offender shalbe severely punished by publick whipping and imprisonment during the pleasure of the Lord Proprietary, or his Lieutenant or cheife Governor of this Province for the tyme being without baile or maineprise.


And bee it further alsoe Enacted by the authority and consent aforesaid That the Sheriff or other Officer or Officers from time to time to bee appointed and authorized for that purpose, of the County Towne or precinct where every particular offence in this present Act conteyned shall happen at any time to bee committed and whereupon there is hereby a forfeiture fyne or penalty imposed shall from time to time distraine and seise the goods and estate of every such person soe offending as aforesaid against this present Act or any part thereof, and sell the same or any part thereof for the full satisfaccion of such forfeiture, fine, or penalty as aforesaid, Restoring unto the partie soe offending the Remainder or overplus of the said goods or estate after such satisfaccion soe made as aforesaid. The freemen have assented.
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Recreating 17th-Century America

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Plimoth Plantation 1627 Massachusettes

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1644 Roger Williams' Plea for Religious Liberty

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A PLEA FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY by Roger Williams

Roger Williams

Roger Williams (ca. 1603-83), religious leader and one of the founders of Rhode Island, was the son of a well-to-do London businessman. Educated at Cambridge (A.B., 1627) he became a clergyman and in 1630 sailed for Massachusetts. He refused a call to the church of Boston because it had not formally broken with the Church of England, but after two invitations he became the assistant pastor, later pastor, of the church at Salem. He questioned the right of the colonists to take the Indians' land from them merely on the legal basis of the royal charter and in other ways ran afoul of the oligarchy then ruling Massachusetts. In 1635 he was found guilty of spreading "new authority of magistrates" and was ordered to be banished from the colony. He lived briefly with friendly Indians and then, in 1636, founded Providence in what was to be the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. His religious views led him to become briefly a Baptist, later a Seeker. In 1644, while he was in England getting a charter for his colony from Parliament, he wrote the work from which this dialogue is taken. During much of his later life he was engaged in polemics on political and religious questions. He was an important figure in the intellectual life of his time.

First, that the blood of so many hundred thousand souls of Protestants and Papists, spilt in the wars of present and former ages, for their respective consciences, is not required nor accepted by Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace.

Secondly, pregnant scriptures and arguments are throughout the work proposed against the doctrine of persecution for cause of conscience.

Thirdly, satisfactory answers are given to scriptures, and objections produced by Mr. Calvin, Beza, Mr. Cotton, and the ministers of the New English churches and others former and later, tending to prove the doctrine of persecution for cause of conscience.

Fourthly, the doctrine of persecution for cause of conscience is proved guilty of all the blood of the souls crying for vengeance under the altar.

Fifthly, all civil states with their officers of justice in their respective constitutions and administrations are proved essentially civil, and therefore not judges, governors, or defenders of the spiritual or Christian state and worship.

Sixthly, it is the will and command of God that (since the coming of his Son the Lord Jesus) a permission of the most paganish, Jewish, Turkish, or antichristian consciences and worships, be granted to all men in all nations and countries; and they are only to be fought against with that sword which is only (in soul matters) able to conquer, to wit, the sword of God's Spirit, the Word of God.

Seventhly, the state of the Land of Israel, the kings and people thereof in peace and war, is proved figurative and ceremonial, and no pattern nor president for any kingdom or civil state in the world to follow.

Eighthly, God requireth not a uniformity of religion to be enacted and enforced in any civil state; which enforced uniformity (sooner or later) is the greatest occasion of civil war, ravishing of conscience, persecution of Christ Jesus in his servants, and of the hypocrisy and destruction of millions of souls.

Ninthly, in holding an enforced uniformity of religion in a civil state, we must necessarily disclaim our desires and hopes of the Jew's conversion to Christ.

Tenthly, an enforced uniformity of religion throughout a nation or civil state, confounds the civil and religious, denies the principles of Christianity and civility, and that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.

Eleventhly, the permission of other consciences and worships than a state professeth only can (according to God) procure a firm and lasting peace (good assurance being taken according to the wisdom of the civil state for uniformity of civil obedience from all forts).

Twelfthly, lastly, true civility and Christianity may both flourish in a state or kingdom, notwithstanding the permission of divers and contrary consciences, either of Jew or Gentile....

TRUTH. I acknowledge that to molest any person, Jew or Gentile, for either professing doctrine, or practicing worship merely religious or spiritual, it is to persecute him, and such a person (whatever his doctrine or practice be, true or false) suffereth persecution for conscience.

But withal I desire it may be well observed that this distinction is not full and complete: for beside this that a man may be persecuted because he holds or practices what he believes in conscience to be a truth (as Daniel did, for which he was cast into the lions' den, Dan. 6), and many thousands of Christians, because they durst not cease to preach and practice what they believed was by God commanded, as the Apostles answered (Acts 4 & 5), I say besides this a man may also be persecuted, because he dares not be constrained to yield obedience to such doctrines and worships as are by men invented and appointed....

Dear TRUTH, I have two sad complaints:

First, the most sober of the witnesses, that dare to plead thy cause, how are they charged to be mine enemies, contentious, turbulent, seditious?

Secondly, shine enemies, though they speak and rail against thee, though they outrageously pursue, imprison, banish, kill thy faithful witnesses, yet how is all vermilion'd o'er for justice against the heretics? Yea, if they kindle coals, and blow the flames of devouring wars, that leave neither spiritual nor civil state, but burn up branch and root, yet how do all pretend an holy war? He that kills, and he that's killed, they both cry out: "It is for God, and for their conscience."

'Tis true, nor one nor other seldom dare to plead the mighty Prince Christ Jesus for their author, yet (both Protestant and Papist) pretend they have spoke with Moses and the Prophets who all, say they (before Christ came), allowed such holy persecutions, holy wars against the enemies of holy church.

TRUTH. Dear PEACE (to ease thy first complaint), 'tis true, thy dearest sons, most like their mother, peacekeeping, peacemaking sons of God, have borne and still must bear the blurs of troublers of Israel, and turners of the world upside down. And 'tis true again, what Solomon once spake: "The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water, therefore (saith he) leave off contention before it be meddled with. This caveat should keep the banks and sluices firm and strong, that strife, like a breach of waters, break not in upon the sons of men."

Yet strife must be distinguished: It is necessary or unnecessary, godly or Ungodly, Christian or unchristian, etc.

It is unnecessary, unlawful, dishonorable, ungodly, unchristian, in most cases in the world, for there is a possibility of keeping sweet peace in most cases, and, if it be possible, it is the express command of God that peace be kept (Rom. 13).

Again, it is necessary, honorable, godly, etc., with civil and earthly weapons to defend the innocent and to rescue the oppressed from the violent paws and jaws of oppressing persecuting Nimrods 2 (Psal. 73; Job 29).

It is as necessary, yea more honorable, godly, and Christian, to fight the fight of faith, with religious and spiritual artillery, and to contend earnestly for the faith of Jesus, once delivered to the saints against all opposers, and the gates of earth and hell, men or devils, yea against Paul himself, or an angel from heaven, if he bring any other faith or doctrine....

PEACE. I add that a civil sword (as woeful experience in all ages has proved) is so far from bringing or helping forward an opposite in religion to repentance that magistrates sin grievously against the work of God and blood of souls by such proceedings. Because as (commonly) the sufferings of false and antichristian teachers harden their followers, who being blind, by this means are occasioned to tumble into the ditch of hell after their blind leaders, with more inflamed zeal of lying confidence. So, secondly, violence and a sword of steel begets such an impression in the sufferers that certainly they conclude (as indeed that religion cannot be true which needs such instruments of violence to uphold it so) that persecutors are far from soft and gentle commiseration of the blindness of others....

For (to keep to the similitude which the Spirit useth, for instance) to batter down a stronghold, high wall, fort, tower, or castle, men bring not a first and second admonition, and after obstinacy, excommunication, which are spiritual weapons concerning them that be in the church: nor exhortation to repent and be baptized, to believe in the Lord Jesus, etc., which are proper weapons to them that be without, etc. But to take a stronghold, men bring cannons, culverins, saker, bullets, powder, muskets, swords, pikes, etc., and these to this end are weapons effectual and proportionable.

On the other side, to batter down idolatry, false worship, heresy, schism, blindness, hardness, out of the soul and spirit, it is vain, improper, and unsuitable to bring those weapons which are used by persecutors, stocks, whips, prisons, swords, gibbets, stakes, etc. (where these seem to prevail with some cities or kingdoms, a stronger force sets up again, what a weaker pull'd down), but against these spiritual strongholds in the souls of men, spiritual artillery and weapons are proper, which are mighty through God to subdue and bring under the very thought to obedience, or else to bind fast the soul with chains of darkness, and lock it up in the prison of unbelief and hardness to eternity....

PEACE. I pray descend now to the second evil which you observe in the answerer's position, viz., that it would be evil to tolerate notorious evildoers, seducing teachers, etc.

TRUTH. I say the evil is that he most improperly and confusedly joins and couples seducing teachers with scandalous livers.

PEACE. But is it not true that the world is full of seducing teachers, and is it not true that seducing teachers are notorious evildoers?

TRUTH. I answer, far be it from me to deny either, and yet in two things I shall discover the great evil of this joining and coupling seducing teachers, and scandalous livers as one adequate or proper object of the magistrate's care and work to suppress and punish.

First, it is not an homogeneal (as we speak) but an hetergeneal 3 commixture or joining together of things most different in kinds and natures, as if they were both of one consideration....

TRUTH. I answer, in granting with Brentius 4 that man hath not power to make laws to bind conscience, he overthrows such his tenent and practice as restrain men from their worship, according to their conscience and belief, and constrain them to such worships (though it be out of a pretense that they are convinced) which their own souls tell them they have no satisfaction nor faith in.

Secondly, whereas he affirms that men may make laws to see the laws of God observed.

I answer, God needeth not the help of a material sword of steel to assist the sword of the Spirit in the affairs of conscience, to those men, those magistrates, yea that commonwealth which makes such magistrates, must needs have power and authority from Christ Jesus to fit judge and to determine in all the great controversies concerning doctrine, discipline, government, etc.

And then I ask whether upon this ground it must not evidently follow that:

Either there is no lawful commonw earth nor civil state of men in the world, which is not qualified with this spiritual discerning (and then also that the very commonweal hath more light concerning the church of Christ than the church itself).

Or, that the commonweal and magistrates thereof must judge and punish as they are persuaded in their own belief and conscience (be their conscience paganish, Turkish, or antichristian) what is this but to confound heaven and earth together, and not only to take away the being of Christianity out of the world, but to take away all civility, and the world out of the world, and to lay all upon heaps of confusion? . ..

PEACE. The fourth head is the proper means of both these powers to attain their ends.

First, the proper means whereby the civil power may and should attain its end are only political, and principally these five.

First, the erecting and establishing what form of civil government may seem in wisdom most meet, according to general rules of the world, and state of the people.

Secondly, the making, publishing, and establishing of wholesome civil laws, not only such as concern civil justice, but also the free passage of true religion; for outward civil peace ariseth and is maintained from them both, from the latter as well as from the former.

Civil peace cannot stand entire, where religion is corrupted (2 Chron. 15. 3. 5. 6; and Judges 8). And yet such laws, though conversant about religion, may still be counted civil laws, as, on the contrary, an oath cloth still remain religious though conversant about civil matters.

Thirdly, election and appointment of civil officers to see execution to those laws.

Fourthly, civil punishments and rewards of transgressors and observers of these laws.

Fifthly, taking up arms against the enemies of civil peace.

Secondly, the means whereby the church may and should attain her ends are only ecclesiastical, which are chiefly five.

First, setting up that form of church government only of which Christ hath given them a pattern in his Word.

Secondly, acknowledging and admitting of no lawgiver in the church but Christ and the publishing of His laws.


Thirdly, electing and ordaining of such officers only, as Christ hath appointed in his Word.

Fourthly, to receive into their fellowship them that are approved and inflicting spiritual censures against them that o end.

Fifthly, prayer and patience in suffering any evil from them that be without, who disturb their peace.

So that magistrates, as magistrates, have no power of setting up the form of church government, electing church officers, punishing with church censures, but to see that the church does her duty herein. And on the other side, the churches as churches, have no power (though as members of the commonweal they may have power) of erecting or altering forms of civil government, electing of civil officers, inflicting civil punishments (no not on persons excommunicate) as by deposing magistrates from their civil authority, or withdrawing the hearts of the people against them, to their laws, no more than to discharge wives, or children, or servants, from due obedience to their husbands, parents, or masters; or by taking up arms against their magistrates, though he persecute them for conscience: for though members of churches who are public officers also of the civil state may suppress by force the violence of usurpers, as Iehoiada did Athaliah, yet this they do not as members of the church but as officers of the civil state.

TRUTH. Here are divers considerable passages which I shall briefly examine, so far as concerns our controversy.

First, whereas they say that the civil power may erect and establish what form of civil government may seem in wisdom most meet, I acknowledge the proposition to be most true, both in itself and also considered with the end of it, that a civil government is an ordinance of God, to conserve the civil peace of people, so far as concerns their bodies and goods, as formerly hath been said.

But from this grant I infer (as before hath been touched) that the sovereign, original, and foundation of civil power lies in the people (whom they must needs mean by the civil power distinct from the government set up). And, if so, that a people may erect and establish what form of government seems to them most meet for their civil condition; it is evident that such governments as are by them erected and established have no more power, nor for no longer time, than the civil power or people consenting and agreeing shall betrust them with. This is clear not only in reason but in the experience of all commonweals, where the people are not deprived of their natural freedom by the power of tyrants.

And, if so, that the magistrates receive their power of governing the church from the people, undeniably it follows that a people, as a people, naturally consider (of what nature or nation soever in Europe, Asia, Africa, or America), have fundamentally and originally, as men, a power to govern the church, to see her do her duty, to correct her, to redress, reform, establish, etc. And if this be not to pull God and Christ and Spirit out of heaven, and subject them unto natural, sinful, inconstant men, and so consequently to Satan himself, by whom all peoples naturally are guided, let heaven and earth judge....

PEACE. Some will here ask: What may the magistrate then lawfully do with his civil horn or power in matters of religion?


TRUTH. His horn not being the horn of that unicorn or rhinoceros, the power of the Lord Jesus in spiritual cases, his sword not the two-edged sword of the spirit, the word of God (hanging not about the loins or side, but at the lips. and proceeding out of the mouth of his ministers) but of an humane and civil nature and constitution, it must consequently be of a humane and civil operation, for who knows not that operation follows constitution; And therefore I shall end this passage with this consideration:

The civil magistrate either respecteth that religion and worship which his conscience is persuaded is true, and upon which he ventures his soul; or else that and those which he is persuaded are false.

Concerning the first, if that which the magistrate believeth to be true, be true, I say he owes a threefold duty unto it:

First, approbation and countenance, a reverent esteem and honorable testimony, according to Isa. 49, and Revel. 21, with a tender respect of truth, and the professors of it.

Secondly, personal submission of his own soul to the power of the Lord Jesus in that spiritual government and kingdom, according to Matt. 18 and 1 Cor. 5.

Thirdly, protection of such true professors of Christ, whether apart, or met together, as also of their estates from violence and injury, according to Rom. 13.

Now, secondly, if it be a false religion (unto which the civil magistrate dare not adjoin, yet) he owes:

First, permission (for approbation he owes not what is evil) and this according to Matthew 13. 30 for public peace and quiet's sake.

Secondly, he owes protection to the persons of his subjects (though of a false worship), that no injury be offered either to the persons or goods of any....

...The God of Peace, the God of Truth will shortly seal this truth, and confirm this witness, and make it evident to the whole world, that the doctrine of persecution for cause of conscience, is most evidently and lamentably contrary to the doctrine of Christ Jesus the Prince of Peace. Amen.
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1640 Preface to the Bay Psalm Book

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Preface to the 1640 "Bay Psalm Book" Probably written by Richard Mather

Richard Mather Born in Lancashire, England, 1596. Died in Dorchester, Mass. 1669

The singing of Psalms, though it breath forth nothing but holy harmony, and melody: yet such is the subtlety of the enemy, and enmity of our nature against the Lord, and his ways, that our hearts can find matter of discord in this harmony, and crotchets [i.e., whimsical notions] of division in this holy melody.—for.—There have been three questions especially stirring concerning singing. First, what psalms are to be sung in churches? whether David’s and other scripture psalms, or the psalms invented by the gifts of godly men in every age of the church. Secondly, if scripture psalms, whether in their own words, or in such metre as English poetry is wont to run in? Thirdly, by whom are they to be sung? whether by the whole churches together with their voices? or by one man singing alone and the rest joining in silence, and in the close saying amen.
 
Touching the first, certainly the singing of David’s psalms was an acceptable worship of God, not only in his, but in succeeding times. as in Solomon’s time 2 Chron. 5:13. in Jehosaphat’s time 2 Chron. 20:21. in Ezra’s time Ezra 3:10,11. and the text is evident in Hezekiah’s time they are commanded to sing praise in the words of David and Asaph, 2 Chron. 29:30. which one place may serve to resolve two of the questions (the first and the last) at once, for this commandment was it ceremonial or moral? some things in it indeed were ceremonial, as their musical instruments, etc. but what ceremony was there in singing praise with the words of David and Asaph? what if David was a type of Christ, was Asaph also? was everything of David typical? are his words (which are of moral, universal, and perpetual authority in all nations and ages) are they typical? what type can be imagined in making use of his songs to praise the Lord? If they were typical because of the ceremony of musical instruments was joined to them, then their prayers were also typical, because they had that ceremony of incense admixt with them: but we know that prayer then was a moral duty, notwithstanding the incense; so singing those psalms notwithstanding their musical instruments. Beside, that which was typical (as that they were sung with musical instruments, by the twenty-four orders of Priests and Levites 1 Chron. 25:9) must have the moral and spiritual accomplishment in the New Testament, in all the Churches of the Saints principally, who are made kings and priests Rev. 1:6 and are the firstfruits unto God Rev. 14:4. as the Levites were Num. 3:45. with hearts and lips, instead of musical instruments, to praise the Lord; who are set forth (as some judiciously think) Rev. 4:4. by twenty-four Elders, in the ripe age of the Church, Gal. 4:1,2,3. answering to the twenty-four orders of Priests and Levites 1 Chron. 25:9. Therefore not some select members, but the whole Church is commanded to teach one another in all the several sorts of David’s psalms, some being called by himself MyrOmzm: psalms, some Myllyht: hymns, some Myryw: spiritual songs. So that if the singing of David’s psalms be a moral duty and therefore perpetual; then we under the New Testament are bound to sing them as well as they under the old: and if we are expressly commanded to sing Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, then either we must sing David’s psalms, or else may affirm they are not spiritual songs: which being penned by an extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, for the sake especially of God’s spiritual Israel, not to be read and preached only (as other parts of holy writ) but to be sung also, they are therefore most spiritual, and still to be sung of all the Israel of God: and verily as their sin is exceeding great, who will allow David’s psalms (as other scriptures) to be read in churches (which is one end) but not to be preached also, which is another end so their sin is crying before God, who will allow them to be read and preached, but seek to deprive the Lord of the glory of the third end of them, which is to sing them in Christian churches.
 
Obj. 1. If it be said that the Saints in the primitive Church did compile spiritual songs of their own inditing [i.e., composition], and sing them before the Church. 1 Cor. 14:15,16.


Ans. We answer first, that those Saints compiled these spiritual songs by the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit (common in those days) whereby they were enabled to praise the Lord in strange tongues, wherein learned Paraeus proves those psalms were uttered, in his Comment[ary] on that place vers 14 which extraordinary gifts, if they were still in the Churches, we should allow them the like liberty now. Secondly, suppose those psalms were sung by an ordinary gift (which we suppose cannot be evicted [i.e., evidenced]) does it therefore follow that they did not, and that we ought not to sing David’s psalms, must the ordinary gifts of a private man quench the Spirit still speaking to us by the extraordinary gifts of his servant David. there is not the least foot-step of example, or precept, or color reason for such bold practice.


Obj. 2. Ministers are allowed to pray conceived prayers, and why not to sing conceived psalms? must we not sing in the Spirit as well as pray in the Spirit?


Ans. First because every good minister has not the gift of spiritual poetry to compose extemporaneous psalms as he has of prayer. Secondly, suppose he had, yet seeing psalms are to be sung by a joint consent and harmony of all the Church in heart and voice (as we shall prove) this cannot be done except he that composes a psalm, brings into the Church set forms of psalms of his own invention; for which we find no warrant or precedent in any ordinary officers of the Church throughout the scriptures. Thirdly, because the book of psalms is so complete a system of psalms, which the Holy Ghost himself in infinite wisdom has made to suit all conditions, necessities, temptations, affections, etc. of men in all ages; (as most of all interpreters on the psalms have fully and particularly cleared) therefore by this the Lord seems to stop all men’s mouths and minds ordinarily to compile or sing any other psalms (under color that the occasions and conditions of the Church are new) etc. for the public use of the Church, seeing, let our condition be what it will, the Lord himself has supplied us with far better; and therefore in Hezekiah’s time, though doubtless there were among them those which had extraordinary gifts to compile new songs on those new occasions, as Isaiah and Micah etc. yet we read that they are commanded to sing in the words of David and Asaph, which were ordinarily to be used in the public worship of God: and we doubt not but those that are wise will easily see; that those set forms of psalms of God’s own appointment not of man’s conceived gift or human imposition were sung in the Spirit by those holy Levites, as well as their prayers were in the Spirit which themselves conceived, the Lord not then binding them therein to any set forms; and shall set forms of psalms appointed of God not be sung in the Spirit now, which others did then?


Question. But why may not one compose a psalm and sing it alone with a loud voice and the rest join with him in silence and in the end say amen.


Ans. If such a practice was found in the Church of Corinth, when any had a psalm suggested by an extraordinary gift; yet in singing ordinary psalms the whole Church is to join together in heart and voice to praise the Lord.—for—


First, David’s psalms as has been shown, were sung in heart and voice together by the twenty-four orders of the musicians of the Temple, who typed out the twenty-four Elders all the members especially of Christian Churches Rev. 5:8. who are made Kings and Priests to God to praise him as they did: for if they were any other order of singing Choristers beside the body of the people to succeed those, the Lord would doubtless have given direction in the gospel for their qualification, election, maintenance etc. as he did for the musicians of the Temple, and as his faithfulness had done for all other church officers in the New Testament.


Secondly, others beside the Levites (the chief singers) in the Jewish Church did also sing the Lord’s songs; else why are they commanded frequently to sing: as in Ps. 100:1,2,3. Ps. 95:1,2,3. Ps. 102. title with verse 18. and Ex. 15:1. not only Moses but all Israel sang that song, they spake saying (as it is in the orig[inal language]) all as well as Moses, the women also as well as the men. v. 20,21. and Deut. 32. (whereto some think, John had reference as well as to Ex. 15:1. when he brings in the Protestant Churches getting the victory over the Beast with harps in their hands and singing the song of Moses. Rev. 15:3.) this song Moses is commanded not only to put it into their hearts but into their mouths also: Deut. 31:19. which argues, that they were with their mouths to sing together as well as with their hearts.


Thirdly, Isaiah foretells in the days of the New Testament that God’s watchmen and desolate lost souls, (signified by waste places) should with their voices sing together, Isa. 52:8,9. and Rev. 7:9,10. the song of the Lamb was by many together, and the Apostle expressly commands the singing of psalms, hymns, etc. not to any select Christians, but to the whole Church. Eph. 5:19. Col. 3:16. Paul and Silas sang together in private Acts 16:25 and must the public hear only one man sing? to all these we may add the practice of the primitive Churches; the testimony of ancient and holy Basil is instead of many Epist. 63 [letter 207; sec. 3]. When one of us (says he) has begun a psalm, the rest of us set in to sing with him, all of us with one heart and one voice; and this says he is the common practice of the Churches in Egypt, Libya, Thebes, Palestine, Syria, and those dwelling on Euphrates, and generally everywhere, where singing of psalms is of any account. To the same purpose also Eusebius gives witness. Eccles. Hist. Lib. 2 cap. 17. The objections made against this do most of them plead against joining to sing in heart as well as in voice, as that by this means others out of the Church will sing as also that we are not always in a suitable estate to the matter sung, and likewise that all cannot sing with understanding; shall not therefore all that have understanding join in heart and voice together? are not all the creatures in heaven, earth, seas: men, beasts, fishes, fowls, etc. commanded to praise the Lord, and yet none of these but men, and godly men too, can do it with spiritual understanding?


As for the scruple that some take at the translation of the Book of Psalms into metre, because David’s psalms were sung in his own words without metre: we answer—First, there are many verses together in several psalms of David which run in rhythms (as those that know Hebrew and as Buxtorf shows Thesau. pa. 629.) which shows at least the lawfulness of singing psalms in English rhythms.


Secondly, the psalms are penned in such verses as are suitable to the poetry of the Hebrew language, and not in the common style of such other books of the Old Testament as are not poetical; now no Protestant doubts but that all the books of scripture should by God’s ordinance be extant in the mother tongue of each nation, that they may be understood of all, hence the psalms are to be translated into our English tongue; and in it our English tongue we are to sing them, then as all our English songs (according to the course of our English poetry) do run in metre, so ought David’s psalms to be translated into metre, that so we may sing the Lord’s songs, as in our English tongue so in such verses as are familiar to an English ear which are commonly metrical: and as it can be no just offense to any good conscience to sing David’s Hebrew songs in English words, so neither to sing his poetical verses in English poetical metre: men might as well stumble at singing the Hebrew psalms in our English tunes (and not in the Hebrew tunes) as at singing them in English metre, (which are our verses) and not in such verses as are generally used by David according to the poetry of the Hebrew language: but the truth is, as the Lord has hid from us the Hebrew tunes, lest we should think ourselves bound to imitate them; so also the course and frame (for the most part) of their Hebrew poetry, that we might not think ourselves bound to imitate that, but that every nation without scruple might follow as the grave sort of tunes of their own country songs, so the graver sort of verses of their own country poetry.


Neither let any think, that for the metre sake we have taken liberty or poetical license to depart from the true and proper sense of David’s words in the Hebrew verses, no; but it has been one part of our religious care and faithful endeavour, to keep close to the original text.


As for other objections taken from the difficulty of Ainsworth’s tunes, and the corruptions in our common psalm books, we hope they are answered in this new edition of psalms; which we here present to God and his Churches. For although we have cause to bless God in many respects for the religious endeavours of the translators of the psalms into metre usually annexed to our Bibles, yet it is not unknown to the godly learned that they have rather presented a paraphrase than the words of David translated according to the rule 2 Chron. 29:30. and that their addition to the words, detractions from the words are not seldom and rare, but very frequent and many times needless, (which we suppose would not be approved of if the Psalms were so translated into prose) and that their variations of the sense, and alterations to the sacred text too frequently, may justly minister matter of offense to them that are able to compare the translation with the text; of which failings, some judicious have often complained, others have been grieved, whereupon it has been generally desired, that as we do enjoy other, so (if it were the Lord’s will) we might enjoy this ordinance also in its native purity: we have therefore done our endeavour to make a plain and familiar translation of the psalms and words of David into English metre, and have not so much as presumed to paraphrase to give the sense of his meaning in other words; we have therefore attended herein as our chief guide the original, shunning all additions, except such as even the best translators of them in prose supply, avoiding all material detractions from words or sense. The word v which we translate and as it is redundant sometimes in the Hebrew, so sometimes (though not very often) it has been left out and yet not then, if the sense were not fair without it.


As for our translations, we have with our English Bibles (to which next to the original we have had respect) used the idioms of our own tongue instead of hebraisms, lest they might seem English barbarisms.


Synonyms we use indifferently: as folk for people, and Lord for Jehovah, and sometimes (though seldom) God for Jehovah; for which (as for some other interpretations of places cited in the New Testament) we have the scripture’s authority Ps. 14 with 53. Heb. 1:6. with Psalm 97:7. Where a phrase is doubtful we have followed that which (in our own apprehension) is most genuine and edifying:


Sometime we have contracted, sometimes dilated the same Hebrew word, both for the verse and the verse sake: which dilation we conceive to be no paraphrastical addition no more than the contraction of a true and full translation to be any unfaithful detraction or diminution: as when we dilate who healeth and say he it is who healeth; so when we contract, those that stand in awe of God and say God fearers.


Lastly, because some Hebrew words have a more full and emphatic signification than any one English word can or does sometimes express, hence we have done that sometimes which faithful translators may do, viz. not only to translate the word but the emphasis of it; as lx mighty God, for God. jrb humbly bless for bless; rise to stand, Psalm 1. for stand. truth and faithfulness for truth. Howbeit, for the verse sake we do not always thus, yet we render the word truly though not fully; as when we sometimes say rejoice for shout for joy.


As for all other changes of numbers, tenses, and characters of speech, they are such as either the Hebrew will unforcedly bear, or our English forceably calls for, or in no way changes the sense; and such are printed usually in another character.


If therefore the verses are not always so smooth and elegant as some may desire or expect; let them consider that God’s altar needs not our polishings: Ex. 20. for we have respected rather a plain translation, than to smooth our verses with the sweetness of any paraphrases, and so have attended conscience rather than elegance, fidelity rather than poetry, in translating the Hebrew words into English language, and David’s poetry into English metre; that so we may sing in Sion the Lord’s songs of praise according to his own will; until he take us from hence, and wipe away all out tears, and bid us enter into our Master’s joy to sing eternal hallelujahs.
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Songs of the Puritans: The first book printed in America. Supervised by Richard Mather, Thomas Weld and John Eliot. The preface was written by Mather. Printed by Stephen Daye, at Cambridge, Mass., 1640