Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Well, its that time of year! It's Thanksgiving!

My sister and I are 14th generation direct descendants of Elder William Brewster the Leader and Spiritual guide of the Pilgrims.

Here are a few thoughts from Doug Phillips and William Bradford.


"The story of the Pilgrims is remarkable in the annals of Christian history because it is the real account of fathers and mothers who left the ease of the city in order to protect their children from the influences of an ungodly youth culture, and who risked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor for the hope of building a multi-generational legacy of faithfulness. Theirs is the ultimate success story, and a testimony to the goodness of God and the wisdom of patriarchy."

-Doug Phillips


Excerpt from William Bradford's Pilgrim Vision

Having found a good haven and being brought safely in sight of land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the cast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all perils and miseries of it, again to set their feet upon the firm and stable earth, there proper element. And no marvel that they were thus joyful when the wise Seneca was so affected with sailing a few miles off the coast of his own Italy, that he affirmed he had rather taken twenty years to make his way by land, than go by sea to any place in however short a time,--so tedious and dreadful it was to him.

But here I cannot but make a pause, and stand half amazed at this poor people's present condition; and so I think will the reader too, when he considers it well. Having thus passed the vast ocean, and that sea of troubles before while they were making their preparations, they now had no friends to welcome them, nor inns to entertain and refresh their weather-beaten bodies, nor houses--much less towns--to repair to.

It is recorded in Scripture (Acts 28) as a mercy to the apostle and his shipwrecked crew, that the barbarians showed them no small kindness in refreshing them; but these savage barbarians when they met with them (as will appear) were readier to fill their sides full of arrows than otherwise! As for the season, it was winter, and those who have experienced the winters of the country know them to be sharp and severe, and subject to fierce storms, when it is dangerous to travel to known places,--much more to search an unknown coast.

Besides, what could they see but a desolate wilderness, full of wild beasts and wild men; and what multitude there might be of them they know 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 gain little solace from any outward objects. Summer being done, all things turned upon them a weather-beaten face; and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, presented a wild and savage view.

If they looked behind them, there was the mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now a gulf separating them from all civilized parts of the world. If it be said that they had their ship to turn to, it is true; but what did they hear daily from the captain and crew? That they should quickly look out for a place with their shallop, where they would be not far off; for the season was such that the captain would not approach nearer to the shore till a harbour had been discovered which he could enter safely; and that the food was being consumed apace, but he must and would keep sufficient for the return voyage. It was even muttered by some of the crew that if they did not find a place in time, they would turn them and their goods ashore and leave them.

Let it be remembered, too, what small hope of further assistance from England they had left behind them, to support their courage in this sad condition and the trials they were under; for how the case stood between the settlers and the merchants at their departure has already been described. It is true, indeed, that the affection and love of their brethren at Leyden towards them was cordial and unbroken; but they had little power to help them or themselves.

What, then, could now sustain them but the spirit of God, and His grace? Ought not the children of their fathers rightly to say: Our fathers were Englishmen who came over there 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… Let them therefore praise the Lord, because He is good, and His mercies endure forever. Yea, let them that have been redeemed of the Lord, show how he hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered forth into 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 loving kindness, and His wonderful works before the sons of men!

-William Bradford


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