CHAP. IX. The Novangles religious care to advance Piety and Learning.
IT hath been laid and left at the doores of those whom some call Independents here in this England, that they have shewed little love to others going astray, and that their zeale hath been wanting against those blas∣phemies and heresies that have manifestly dishonoured the most sweet and holy name of God, Father, Son, and Spirit. Our booke tells us of a a good man in former times when hee was accused of lust, pride, &c. He said, I confesse I am a sinner, and I beseech you pray for me, but when they laid heresie to his charge, his heart was hot within him, his zeale was inflamed, and hee said, Haereticus non sum, & hoc vitium nulla pa∣tientia possum aut vole dissimulare, hoeresis enim separat hominem a Deo, & adsociat Diabolo: alienatus a Christo non habet Deum, quem oret propeccatis suis. Tis not for me to judge any, every one shall stand or fall to his owne Ma∣ster, Rom. 14. 4. but I would remember my selfe and Page 98 others of his zeale, who said bfateor in causa fidei etiam vitam negligendam; I finde this grace very warme and working in our Novangles, for whom I have some few words more to mention in this particular, that my rea∣ders may be invited to thinke well of them, to doe well to them, and for them, or for the poore Indians ra∣ther, or rathest for Christ himselfe, who shall have ho∣nour from us all, if wee all by communication of coun∣sells, prayers, purses, and every other way endeavour the furtherance of their conversion to our Lord Jesus; and to procure our cordiall conjunction with our bre∣thren there in this, I shall transcribe some things out of their owne late printed booke of the lawes and liber∣ties concerning the inhabitants of Massachusets, by which their love to truth, godlinesse, peace, and learning will be evident, together with their liberall and enlar∣ged care to propagate the eternall Gospell of our Lord among the Natives.
At the title of haeresie, c this is the preface. Al∣though no humane power be Lord over the faith and consciences of men, and therefore may not constraine them to believe or professe against their consciences, yet because such as bring in damnable heresies, tending to the subversion of the Christian Faith, and the de∣struction of the soules of men, ought duly to be restrai∣ned from such notorious impiety, it is therefore ordered and decreed by this Court:
That if any Christian within this jurisdiction shall goe about to subvert and destroy the Christian Faith and Religion, by broaching or maintaining any dam∣nable heresie, as denying the immortality of the soule, or the resurrection of the body, or any sinne to be re∣pented of in the regenerate, or any evill done by the Page 99 outward man to be accounted sinne, or denying that Christ gave himselfe a ransome for our sinnes, or shall affirme that wee are not justified by his death and righ∣teousnesse, but by the perfection of their owne workes, or shall deny the morality of the fourth Commande∣ment, or shall endeavour to seduce others to any the heresies aforementioned, every such person continuing obstinate therein after due meanes of conviction shall be sentenced to banishment. 1646. And before d having said, that the open contempt of Gods word, and the messengers thereof is the desolating sinne of civill States, &c. It is therefore ordered, and decreed, That if a∣ny christian, so called, within this jurisdiction, shall con∣temptuously behave himself towards the word preached, or the messengers thereof—either by interrupting him in his preaching, or by charging him falsely with any error, which he hath not taught, or like a son of Korah cast upon his true doctrine, or himselfe, any reproach—every such person or persons (whatsoever censure the Church may passe) shall for the first scandall be con∣vented and reproved openly by the Magistrate at some Lecture, and bound to their good behaviour, and if a second time they breake forth into the like contemptu∣ous carriages, they shall either pay five pounds to the publique treasury, or stand two houres openly upon a blocke or stoole foure foot high on a Lecture day with a paper fixed on his breast, written in capitall letters, AN OPEN AND OBSTINATE CONTEM∣NER OF GODS HOLY ORDINANCES, that others may feare and be ashamed of breaking out into the like wickednesse. 1646.
There be some in this England that account it piety and Religion to speake evill of Christs Ministers, and Page 100 cast off his Ordinances; now blessed of God from hea∣ven and earth be our Novangles, Magistrates, Ministers, and people that have so seasonably witnessed against these abominations.
They are great lovers of peace and government, these therefore be their words in another place; e For as much as experience hath plentifully & often proved that since the first-rising of the Anabaptists about an hun∣dred yeeres past they have bin the Incendiaries of Com∣mon-wealths, and the infectors of persons in maine matters of Religion, and the troublers of Churches in most places where they have been, and that they who have held the baptizing of infants unlawfull, have usual∣ly held other errors or heresies together therewith (though as heretiques use to doe they have concealed the same untill they espied a fit advantage and opportunity to vent them by way of question or scruple) and whereas divers of this kinde have since our comming into New-England appeared amongst our selves, some whereof, as others before them, have denyed the Ordinance of Magistracy, and the lawfulnesse of making warre, o∣thers the lawfulnesse of Magistrates and their inspe∣ction into any breach of the first Table, which o∣pinions, if connived at by us, are like to be increased among us, and so necessarily bring guilt upon us, infe∣ction and trouble to the Churches, and hazard to the whole Common-wealth: It is therefore ordered by this Court and authority thereof, that if any person or persons shall either openly condemne or oppose the baptizing of infants, or goe about secretly to seduce o∣thers from the approbation, or use thereof, or shall purposely depart the Congregation at the administra∣tion of that Ordinance, or shall deny the Ordinance of Page 101 Magistracy, or their lawfull right, or authority to make warre, or to punish the outward breaches of the first Table, and shall appeare to the Court willfully and obstinately to continue therein, after due meanes of conviction, every such person or persons shall be senten∣ced to banishment. 1644.
And that wee may discerne how worthy they are that wee should doe all the good wee can for them, for they love the nation where they inhabite, and are very seri∣ous in preparing them for one husband, to present them a pure virgin unto Christ, 2 Cor. 11. 2. Severall there∣fore are their decrees in order to their conversion.
f 1. Every Towne shall have power to restraine all Indians from prophaning the Lords day. 1633. 1639. 1641.
2. The English shall not destroy the Indians corne, but shall help them to fence in their grounds.
3. Considering one end in planting these parts was to propagate the true Religion unto the Indians, and that divers of them are become subjects to the English, and have engaged themselves to be willing and ready to un∣derstand the Law of God; It is therefore ordered and decreed, that such necessary and wholesome Lawes which are in force, and may be made from time to time, to reduce them to civility of life, shall be once in the yeer (if the times be safe) made knowne to them, by such fit persons as the generall Court shall nominate, having the helpe of some able Interpreter.
4. Considering also that interpretation of tongues is appointed of God for propagating the truth; It is therefore decreed that two Ministers shall be chosen e∣very yeer, and sent with the consent of their Churches (with whomsoever will freely offer themselves to ac∣company Page 102 them in that service) to make knowne the heavenly counsell of God among the Indians, and that something be allowed them by the Generall Court to give away freely to those Indians whom they shall perceive most willing and ready to be instructed by them.
5. They decree further that no Indian shall at any time Powaw, or performe outward worship to their false gods, or to the devill, and if any shall transgresse this law, the Powawer shall pay 5 l. the procurer 5 l. &c. 1646.
Their love to learning also is meet to be remembred, and encouraged, wherein they have g observed a chief project of that old deluder Satan to keepe men from the knowledge of the Scriptures, as in former times kee∣ping them in an unknowne tongue, so in these latter times by perswading from the use of tongues, that so at least the true sense and meaning of the originall might be clouded with false glosses of saint-seeming deceivers, and that learning may not be buried in the graves of our forefathers in Church and Common wealth, the Lord assisting our endeavours, It is therefore ordered by this Court and authority thereof, That every Town∣ship encreasing to the number of fifty housholds, shall appoint one within their Towne to teach all such chil∣dren as shall resort to him, to write and read, whose wages shall be paid either by the Parents or Masters of such children, or by the Inhabitants in generall by way of supply, as the major part of those that order the Pru∣dentialls of the Towne shall appoint, and where any town shall encrease to an hundred families or househoul∣ders, they shall set up a Grammer school, the Masters thereof being able to instruct youth so far, as they may Page 103 be fitted for the University, and if any town neglect this above a yeere, every such Towne shall pay five pound per ann. to the next such Schoole, till theyshall performe this order. 1647.
And an Academy or University is not onely in their aime, but a good while since they had more than begun well, and therefore wee read these words in another h part of their lawes, Whereas through the good hand of God upon us there is a College founded in Cambridge in the County of Middle sex, called Harvard College, for incouragement whereof this Court hath given the sum of four hundred pounds, and also the revenue of the Ferry betwixt Charles Towne and Boston, and that the well ordering and mannaging of the said College is of great concernment; It is therefore ordered by this Court, &c. Then follow directions for the President and Commissioners to establish orders and dispose gifts, &c. 1636. 1640. 1642.
Mr. Coleman that was Erastianly principled, prea∣ched publikely that except some other way be found to * keepe up learning, our Universities will be but uselesse places, and learning it selfe an unnecessary thing; for under this notion of Independency, Weavers and Tailors may become Pastors, so that if some stop be not, the issue may be, that one may binde his sonne Apprentice to a Cobler, and at seven yeeres end he may go out a free Minister, &c.
But our Brethren of New England wee see have other principles and practises, and notwithstanding that they went out as exiles hence, mextra anni solisque viam—yea as Iacob of old with his staffe onely passed over Ior∣dan, and suddenly became two bands, Gen. 32. 10. These ventured upon the wide and wild Ocean with Page 104 poore and small provision, and how great how many are the mercies that our God hath shewed unto his ser∣vants there, that they are not onely furnished them∣selves with necessaries of all sorts, and have made large steps in an Academicall way, having Acts, Degrees, and Commencements according to the commendable fashion of England, as their own words are; The theses at their Commencements disputed upon have been printed severall yeeres at Cambridge in New England, and thence dispersed here; but they have also industri∣ously furthered by their godlinesse, gentlenesse, and good orders, the conversion of a miserable people that have lien so long in darkenesse. To warme the affecti∣ons of the English here, to raise all our hearts and en∣deavours to joyne all possible forces here and there in this soule-worke, the next chapter is added.