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102 pilgrims were huddled below deck and no hatches open because of continuous storms. All non-essential personnel required to stay below decks; there was the constant crying of small children; there was no chance to cook any meals.
The pilgrims spent 7 weeks in an ill-lit, rolling, pitching, stinking pit of human misery.
Still – in the midst of all this hardship, they constantly prayed and sang and confessed their sins.
This didn’t play well with the crew - one of which made it his personal agenda to mock the Pilgrims at every turn. He gloated at their sickness and delight in telling them how much he looked forward to sewing them in shrouds and feeding them to the fish. For surely some of them would soon be dying—death was a familiar late among landlubbers on these long voyages—and these were the puniest assortment of "psalmsinging puke-stockings" he’d ever seen.
But he was wrong.
There were only two deaths on the voyage of the Mayflower.
Guess who the first one to die was?
At the peak of his tormenting, this same crewman suddenly took gravely ill of an unknown fever and he died within a single day! No one else caught this mysterious disease, and his was the first shrouded body to go over side.
From that day on, the crew lost their enthusiasm to mock the pilgrims.
(The Light and the Glory Peter Marshall, David Manuel, p. 117)
When they finally reached the shores of the New World, finding a proper harbor for the Pilgrims was difficult. But they finally settled on what should have been the most disastrous piece of land available. It had been inhabited by the fiercest and most deadly Indian tribe anywhere along the coast.
But when they left their ship there were no Indians to be found.
The tribe had been decimated by a terrible plague that had swept through their people just a year or two before. When the Pilgrims left their ship they found that the land that had already been cleared for crops.
APPLY: Psalm 33 declared this:
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth—he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.” (vss. 12-15)
The Pilgrims had come to this land WITHOUT the desire to rob, or pillage or plunder. They had come (instead) to find a place to worship God in peace. And – as long as they followed God’s leading - God blessed them and they enjoyed relative peace with the Indian tribes that surrounded them.
This first group of settlers to New England were Godly people that sought God’s will in their new land. And for a couple of generations they did things of which we can be proud.
These are the people that one of patriotic songs speaks of.
Sing it with me:
“My country, ’tis of Thee, Sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountainside let freedom ring!
Our fathers’ God, to thee, author of liberty, to thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by thy might, great God, our King.”
For nearly two generations, the settlers of New England were Godly people… but over time a new generation arose that began to drift away from God. And many of the new immigrants to their area were not interested
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