CHAP. IV. Cautions.
1. TAke heed and beware of cruelty, the God of mercy hates nothing so much, saith aThe∣ophilact as unmercifulnesse; the badge of Christ is clemency, his livery love; by this it shall be knowne that you are my Disciples, saith our deare Master himselfe, if yee love one another, Ioh. 13. 35. Other mens followers were known by their garments and colours, but charity and love made the first Chri∣stians Page 73 famous over all the old heathen world, but in the new World the Spaniards die was not so black as blou∣dy, and the Indians called them b Yares, i. e. devills, so little humanity, as they conceived, was visible among them. The same Bishop, when he made an whole book of the Spanish cruelties which he saw executed by them on the Indians, protesteth it was his opinion, that hee scarce mentioned one of a thousand of their tyrannies; * and more than once or twice he averreth, that they all∣waies grew from bad to worse, and exceeded themselves in their diabolicall doings. Nothing is more odious * to this day than their name in those Countries; for where ever the spanish Christians displayed their ban∣ners saith Benzoc, they imprinted upon the Natives by their horrid cruelties, eternall monuments of im∣placable hatred towards them; but the faire, civill, and gentle deportment of our Nation to the Natives, hath already wonne much upon them, as is acknowledged by a d forraigne pen.
2. Take heed and beware of covetousnesse, tis our sweet Saviours own ingeminated command, Luk. 12. 15. hap∣py shall the Natives be, and we also, if they find our conversation without covetousnesse, Heb. 13. 5. that they may see and say, the Englishmen seeke not ours, but us, and us, not to make us slaves to themselves, but fel∣low servants to Christ our common Master; they saw the Spaniards so guilty of this e evill, that they con∣ceived them to adore no other God but gold, the obser∣vation of which fetched from fBenzo that pious ex∣optation, I wish to God, saith hee, wee were no more addicted to earthly things than they, the name of Chri∣stian would be glorious were it not for our covetousnes; the Spaniards indeed tell faire stories, some of them, as Page 74 if their sole desire had been to Christianize the Na∣tives, when indeed all their endeavour was to satisfie their lust and avarice; and Acostag himselfe cannot deny but that his Countreymen did commit many great outrages for gold and silver; but where those metalls were not to be found, they made no stay, con∣tinued not in such places; and Benzoh is large in producing their frequent and suddaine removes upon this occasion, and he tells that the Bracamorians are unsubdued by the Spaniards to this day, not so much because they are a warlike people in their kind, but es∣pecially by reason of their poverty and indigence.
3. Take heed and beware of complying with them in any of their rites and ceremonies, if we intend they should indeed come out of Egypt, let not an hoofe be left, as Exod. 10. 25. let them have Christian religion pure∣ly, without blinding or blending; the wisdome of the flesh must not here be heard, wee must listen to no other but the counsell of the Spirit. It was l good advice the godly Bishop and martyr Hooper gave to King Ed∣ward the sixth and his honourable privy Councellors, As yee have taken away the Masse from the people, so take from them her feathers also, the Altar, vestments, and such like as apparell'd her: there hath not doubt∣lesse, been any one thing so powerfull in begetting and maintaining doctrinall quarrells in Christendome, as the unhappy complication with nations and people in some of their supposed tollerable rites at their first ap∣proaching to Christianity; the Pagans of old, saith Rhenanusm, were relieved by the mutation of some things in their religion, whose universall abolition had irritated, if not totally scared them from us; and Aco∣stan concurres with him in this matter, even in refe∣rence Page 75 to the Indians: How this policy prevailed at first in the Church was long ago observed, and it became the lamentation of latter times, when men were more tenaci∣ous of humane superstructures, than of the fundamen∣talls laid by Jesus Christ, the shell and shadow of Gen∣tile ceremony is yet more carefully hunted after by the Man of Rome, than the most solid and substantiall truths of the Gospel; pitty it is, that sense and eye∣dazlelings should prevaile more than divine verities, that abundance of good things should breed surfets, and yet it will ever be thus, where there is want of care and spirituall exercise at home, and but cold endeavours to promote piety and godlinesse abroad.
4. Take heed and beware of all and every ungodli∣nesse, not onely for your owne sakes, but that the sweet name of our God be not blasphemed among the Nations, Rom. 2. 24. Holy examples are a nearer way to righte∣ousnesse than verball precepts and instructions; the In∣dians may, even without the word, be won to the truth by a godly conversation, as St. Peter speaketh in the like case, 1 Pet. 3. 1. a corrupt life is a violent argument per∣swading to evill; the Americans were scared from Chri∣stianity by the scandalous iniquities of the Spaniards.
The evil example of one ungodly Christian did more hinder the Indians conversion, than an hundred of their religious could further it, * he saith it, who saw what * he spake, for they are verily perswaded that of all the Gods in the world, the Spaniards God is the worst, because hee hath such abominable and wicked servants. *Benzoi tells of a confabulation himselfe had with an old Indian, who in serious discourse said unto him, O Christian! what kind of things be Christians, they ex∣act Mayz, Honey, Silke, an Indian woman for a concu∣bine, Page 76 they require gold and silver, Christians will not worke, they dice, blaspheme, &c. when I replyed, evil Christians onely doe such things, not such, as be good, his answer was ready, but where are those good Chri∣stians? I could never yet see one of them; and not this American onely, but a Franciscan Fryer publickly af∣firmed, that not a Priest, nor Monke, nor Bishop in all India, was worthy of the name of a good man; Dida∣cus Lopezk in his Epistle to the Bishop of Guattimala, saith, the Christians were so prodigiously wicked, that they were odious not onely to heaven and Angells, but even to the earth, and devills; doe you believe saith hee, the Indians will become Christians, when your selves are not so but in name onely, and in title? surely those silly nations will sooner be perswaded to good by the ex∣ample of one daies conversation, than by an whole yeers preaching; for to what purpose doe wee strew among the people odoriferous roses with our tongues and lan∣guage, if we sting and vex them in the meane time with the thornes of our wicked doings.
But our Countrey men take care to follow the afore∣mentioned injunction of the holy Apostle, Col. 4. 5. they walke righteously, or as in our old English it was, in right wisenesse, so they called righteousnesse, towards them without; and so their charter on earth, as well as those letters patents from Heaven, wills that the Eng∣lish be so religiously, peaceably, and civilly governed, as their good life and orderly conversation may winne and incite the Natives of the Countrey to the knowledg and obedience of the onely true God and Saviour of mankinde, and the christian faith, which in our regall intention and the Adventurers free profession, is the * principall end of this plantation.
Page 77 And let these words be understood, as awakenings to those of our Nation there, and our selves also, that wee all labour mutually, and from our hearts, to propagate the Gospell there, because wee, who eate every man of his owne vine, and of his owne figtree, and drinke every man water out of his own cisterne, Esa. 36. 16. should wit∣nesse our thankfulnesse unto God, for these favours, by sympathizing affections towards our brethren there, and the Natives.