Cushman’s Discourse


Dr. Belknap remarks, that “this discourse may be considered as a specimen of the prophesyings of the brethren. The occasion was singular; the exhortations and reproofs are not less so, but were adapted to the existing state of the colony.” Judge Davis says that “the late Isaac Lothrop, of Plymouth, often mentioned an intimation, received from an aged relative, as to the spot where this sermon was delivered. It was at the common house of the Plantation, which is understood to have been erected on the southerly side of the bank, where the town brook meets the harbour. Mr. Lothrop died in 1808, aged seventy- three. Not many years before his death he had the satisfaction of being called to view sundry tools and implements which were dug up at that spot, and which he carefully preserved.”

Prefixed to the discourse is an “Epistle Dedicatory, to his loving friends, the adventurers for New England, together with all well-willers and well-wishers thereunto, grace and peace, &c.” The Epistle is here printed entire, and all that is of any general or historical interest in the discourse.

New England, so called not only (to avoid novelties) because Captain Smith hath so entitled it in his Description, but because of the resemblance that is in it of England, the native soil of Englishmen; it being much-what the same for heat and cold in summer and winter, it being champaign ground, but not high mountains; somewhat like the soil in Kent and Essex, full of dales and meadow ground, full of rivers and sweet springs, as England is. But principally, so far as we can yet find, it is an island,2

and near about the quantity of England, being cut out from the main land in America, as England is from the main of Europe, by a great arm of the sea,3 which entereth in forty degrees, and runneth up northwest and by west, and goeth out either into the South Sea, or else into the Bay of Canada. The certainty whereof, and secrets of which, we have not yet so found as that, as eye-witnesses, we can make narration thereof; but if God give time and means, we shall ere long discover both the extent of that river, together with the secrets thereof; and also try what territories, habitations, or commodities may be found, either in it, or about it.

It pertaineth not to my purpose to speak any thing either in praise or dispraise of the country. So it is, by God’s providence, that a few of us are there planted to our content and have with great charge and difficulty attained quiet and competent dwellings there. And thus much I will say for the satisfaction of such as have any thought of going thither to inhabit; that for men which have a large heart, and look after great riches, ease, pleasures, dainties, and jollity in this world, (except they will live by other men’s sweat, or have great riches), I would not advise them to come there, for as yet the country will afford no such matters. But if there be any who are content to lay out their estates, spend their time, labours and endeavours, for the benefit of them that shall come after, and in desire to further the Gospel among those poor heathens, quietly contenting themselves with such hardship and difficulties, as by God’s providence shall fall upon them, being yet young, and in their strength, such men I would advise and encourage to go, for their ends cannot fail them.

And if it should please God to punish his people in the Christian countries of Europe, for their coldness, carnality, wanton abuse of the Gospel, contention, etc., either by Turkish slavery, or by popish tyranny (which God forbid), yet if the time be come, or shall come (as who knoweth?) when Satan shall be let loose to cast out his floods against them, here is a way opened for such as have wings to fly into this wilderness; and as by the dispersion of the Jewish church through persecution, the Lord brought in the fulness of the Gentiles, so who knoweth, whether now by tyranny and affliction, which he suffereth to come upon them, he will not by little and little chase them even amongst the heathens, that so a light may rise up in the dark, and the kingdom of heaven be taken from them which now have it, and given to a people that shall bring forth the fruit of it? This I leave to the judgment of the godly wise, being neither prophet nor son of a prophet. But considering God’s dealing of old, and seeing the name of Christian to be very great, but the true nature thereof almost quite lost in all degrees and sects, I cannot think but that there is some judgment not far off, and that God will shortly, even of stones, raise up children unto Abraham.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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