CHAP. VII. To our selves, in behalse of the Natives to∣wards their conversion.
IT is the unfeigned desire of every pious soule, that God would please to guide and blesse some holy and happy hand, in taking up the differences that are growne up among those that are named by the sweet name of Christ, that all who love the Lord Jesus in sincerity, would also sincerely love one another; that mutuall forces were conjoyned to promote the glo∣ry of our common Master, not onely every man in his owne person, family, place, and Countrey, but by ap∣prehending all opportunities to publish the eternall Gospell of our Lord even to those other ends of the earth. Gregory the great a did willingly encourage himselfe in his desire to Christianize our Ancestors the Saxons from hints of his owne observation, for see∣ing Page 88 children of beautifull feature offered to sale in the market at Rome, as then the manner was, hee sighed within himselfe, and said, when he understood they were not Christians, Alas that the Prince of darkenesse should possesse such faire and lightsome countenances; enquiring further after their names, Angles, they have Angels faces indeed said hee, and tis meet all diligence be used that they be as the Angels of God in Heaven; when hee asked of what Province they were, it was an∣swered Deiri, or Deira, for so was then that b seventh Kingdome called, Northumberland, in the time of the Saxons, Dei ira eruti saith hee, being made Christians they shall be delivered from the wrath of God; and up∣on demand, hearing that their Kings name was Aelle, he said Allelu jah, and praises to God must be sung there: In this worke if that may be any invitation, we have the like allusions, the whole Countrey is called the New world in the generall, and particularly there is New Spaine, New France, New Netherland, New Scot∣land, New England, why should not there be solicitous endeavours that all the Natives of that New World, should be made a world of New creatures; and if upon occasion and enquiry the Inhabitants be called Barbari∣ans, such were we our selves in the common acceptati∣on of the word, being neither Jewes nor Greekes; if Salvages, tis a name of hope that they are a salvable ge∣neration, and shall in due time be partakers of the com∣mon salvation; their complexion indeed is darke and duskish, as tis made after birth, but their soules are the more to be pittied, that yet bee in a farre more un∣lovely hue, even in the suburbs of that darkenesse, that blacknesse of darknesse, which is so terrible to thinke of: It was Gregories desire that Hallelu-jahs should bee Page 89 sung to and for the English, then heathen, the Christian English may observe and wonder at that very word of frequent use among the Indians, as hath already been mentioned; finally there is a constellation or starre, called the crosse, peculiar to that Countrey, saith Aco∣stac, and it is so named because foure notable starres make the forme of a crosse, set equally, and with good proportion, a good omen I wish it may be, and that a starre may leade them also to their Saviour, that Christ may be made knowne to them, and his peace through the bloud of his Crosse, Col. 1. 20. To which employment wee have likewise other perswasions, besides what hath been formerly sprinkled here and there. 1. The neces∣sity of the poore Natives require this care, who stand so much in need of spirituall bread, and so few prepare to breake it to them, they yet walke in the vanity of their minde, having their understanding darkned, being aliena∣ted from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, &c. Eph. 4. 17. &c. and the lesse sensible they be of their owne forlorne condition, the more sollicitous should others be to acquaint them therewith, together with the way of their deliverance. When dAustin the Monke came hither among the Saxons to preach the Gospell, King Ethelbert opposed him not, but said I cannot so easily forsake my owne Religion, and embrace theirs that is new; yet seeing these strangers are come so farre and bring that to us which they esteem most ex∣cellent, wee will use them kindly, they shall want no∣thing for their work: And surely were the Americans but a little civiliz'd, they would by degrees understand their owne miserable estate, and themselves would then bespeake further enlightning; yea this is already in some of their fervent desires, e as hath been intimated also formerly.
Page 90 2. Christians have a care of this for Christ their Masters sake, good subjects wish the ampliation of their Soveraignes honour, and how glad should wee bee when the kingdome of darknesse is empaired, and there be continuall accresses to the Kingdome of Gods deare Sonne, Col. 1. 14. Tis our daily prayer, Hallowed be thy name, divulged, and made glorious all the world o∣ver, wee cannot better improve our interest and power, then by being active & industrious instruments thereof; wee endeavouring as much as wee may that the Kingdoms of this world may become the Kingdomes of the Lord, and of his Christ, Revel. 11. 15. Non est zelus sicut Zelus ani∣marumf, this zeale for soules carries in the wombe thereof glory to God, and honour to the zealots them∣selves, Dan. 12. 3. and unutterable comfort and benefit to them that are warmed thereby, Iam. 5. 20. and their debtors in this verily we are, if the words of another Apostle be with a little mutation applyed hither, for if wee be made partakers of their carnall things, our du∣ty it is also to minister unto them in spirituall things, Rom. 15. 17.
3. The severall Patents to severall Planters call for this endeavour, such was that first granted to the Virgi∣nians by King Iames, it intended principally the pro∣pagation of the Christian faith; the like is to be read in the Patents and confirmations made by him and King Charles to others. And in the beginning of this Parli∣ament, that Honourable Committee of Lords and Commons were appointed chiefely for the advance∣ment of the true Protestant Religion, and further sprea∣ding of the Gospell of Christ among the Natives in A∣merica. Yea and in the Charter to Mary-land, the pi∣ous zeale for the spreading of the Gospel is first menti∣oned, Page 91 and what ever suggestions be made, or aimes o∣therwise, there is a speciall proviso against the pr eju∣dice, or diminution of Gods holy and truly Christian Religion, and the allegiance due to the Kings Majesty, his heires, and successors; it is not well then if Romish designes have been mannaged there, injurious to Religi∣on, and offensive to our other Plantations, but herein stands the force of this Motive, the mutuall and inter∣changeable Pact and Covenant of Donor and Receiver is in all those Charters and Patents the conversion of the Natives.
4. I finde another encouragement from a Doctor lately lapsed into popery g, yet professing his wil∣lingnesse to returne upon Protestants successes this way; for he deemes it improbable, that ever they should con∣vert any Nation, or so much as any one single person, except some poore wretch or other, whom feare or gaine will drive, or draw to any thing; but if ever the historicall relation of Gods wonderfull workings upon sundry of the Indians, both Governours and common people, in bringing them to a willing and desired sub∣mission to the Ordinances of the Gospell, and framing their hearts to an earnest enquiry after the knowledge of God the Father, and Jesus Christ the Saviour of the World; I say if ever those discourses come to the Doctors view, hee may once againe change his minde, how ever the happy progresses of our Countrey men in that worke, if they be knowne and well considered of by the Papists themselves, they may be carried to admirati∣on, expectation, and it may be further.
5. The honour of our Nation may be another argu∣ment to this undertaking, that as to Charlemaine of old h the Saxons owe their Christianity, and those of Page 92Phrysia, Dithmarse and Holsatia, the Vandalls also and Hungarians: It will be glorious for the Chronicles and Annalls of England, that by the meanes of this Na∣tion the Nansamonds were brought to the true and sa∣ving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and so were the Sasque∣hannockes, Wicomesses, Conecktacoacks, Massa∣chuseuks, Mouhacks, Aberginians and others; Thus will the renowne of the English name and Nation, ring over all the Westerne World. Gregory complaines * more then once, that those Angles our Ancestors were willing to become Christians, but the Priests of France refused to give help and instruction. The Britons also refused to joyne with Austin here in his preaching to the Saxons, not out of pride and contempt as Bedai reporteth, but for that those people, invited hither as friends, became their onely enemies, driving them from their possessions, which themselves invaded as their owne, but these Indians give harbour to our Nation, whose faire and free accomodating of our Countrey men hath fully purchased to themselves all the spirituall favour wee and they are able to afford them, of which, when they also become sensible, honour will redound to this England, not onely from ours there, who professe truly, if they prosper, we shall be the more glorious, but the Natives enlightned by us will returne hither the tribute of their abundant thankfulnesse. And that every one of us may be cordiall coadjutors of our Countrey men in this most glorious undertaking, let me endeavour to warme the affections of the English there, and at home, by proposing a trafficke in a threefold stock for the promotion of this designe.