THANKSGIVING PRODUCES THANKS – LIVING
THE THREE MAJOR CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE PILGRIMS TO
- They believed in “Reformation without tarrying for any” – as demonstrated by an individual and personal responsibility to obey God’s Word. To the Pilgrim it meant “voluntary conformity to the rules and principles given in the New Testament, without waiting for others to obey, without waiting for the Church to change, and especially not waiting for the King to reform the church. Reformation presupposes repentance, and the Pastor of the Pilgrim, Rev. John Robinson, exhorted the Pilgrim church to “daily renew our repentance with our God, especially for our sins known, and generally for our unknown trespasses…”
- The Pilgrims were separatists and believed in the local, self governing, independent congregational form of church government. That is the form of church government to which we adhere. The Pilgrims “All had gained the intelligence that comes from the diligent study of the Bible and … were honest and earnest believers in the Christ of the New Testament. Such were the men and the women who were thus driven out of their native England, yet hunted and intercepted in their flight, as if they were criminals escaping from justice. Why did they suffer the spoiling of their goods, arrest, imprisonment, exile? They had caught from the Bible the idea of a church independent alike of the pope and the queen, independent of Parliament as well as of prelates (politicians), and dependent only on Christ. It was their mission to work out and organize that idea.” (Leonard Bacon, Genesis of the New England Churches, 1874) Individual self government and independent self governing churches produced a free, independent local civil government under the Mayflower Compact.
- THEY CAST ASIDE COMMUNISM IN LABOR AND SUPPLY FOR INDIVIDUAL ENTERPRISE. Did you know that the Pilgrims signed a contract with some London businessmen to obtain “their meat, drink and apparel and ALL PROVISIONS OUT OF THE COMMON STOCK AND GOODS of the said colony?” Agreeing to the condition that all property be publicly owned and that every person will get an equal share of their common labor and supplies – a form of communism / socialism in labor and supply — was the only way they could obtain the funds to acquire the religious liberty they wanted. The Pilgrims strove for two years to keep this part of the contract but the result was such dissention, discord and want that their Governor cast off communism and established INDIVUDUAL ENTERPRISE. He assigned all the unmarried folks and orphans to live with more complete families, assigned each family their own plot of ground as their private property, and left every household to “shift for itself or suffer want.”
Governor Bradford lists nine reasons why communism in labor and supply did not work:
- taking away private property and sharing everything in common did not make them happy and flourishing – as if they were wiser than God.
- communism in labor and supply breeds much confusion and discontent;
- it retards employment;
- the younger, able and stronger men complained that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without recompense or reward;
- the most able men thought it unjust not to receive more food or clothing than he that was weak and less productive;
- the older and “graver” or serious and solemn men did not like to be ranked as equal to the younger men in labor, food or clothing and saw such equality as an “indignity and disrespect”;
- neither husbands or wives wanted to be commanded to serve other men by fixing their food, washing their clothes – they saw this as a form of slavery;
- the idea of all persons sharing alike, doing alike, being alike did not agree with “those relations that God hath set among men”;
- communal property and communism in labor and supply diminished the mutual respect that should be practiced between people;
The Governor wisely displaced communism/socialism for individual enterprise and industry and productively increased enormously, but God intended the Pilgrims learn to trust Him not their own wisdom by permitting a DROUGHT and heat wave to descend on the land for nearly two months during spring time. The corn withered away and the ground was parched so the Pilgrims “set apart a day of humiliation” and sought the Lord by humble and fervent prayer in their great distress—and the rains came.
Thank God together this Thursday in remembrance of how the Pilgrims taught, illustrated and demonstrated SELF GOVERNMENT – THE CORNERSTONE OF OUR NATION, AND THEIR THANKS LIVING GIFT TO US AS AMERICAN CHRISTIANS.
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