« ZurückWeiter »
hearts taken up with these thoughts. The Indians carried them from place to place, and showed them their forts and curious wigwams and houses, and encouraged them to be merry. But the poor souls, as Israel, could not frame themselves to any delight or mirth under so strange a king. They hanging their harps upon the willow trees, gave their minds to sorrow; hope was their chiefest food, and tears their constant drink. Behind the rocks, and under the trees, the eldest spent her breath in supplication to her God; and though the eldest was but young, yet must I confess the sweet affection to God for his great kindness and fatherly love she daily received from the Lord, which sweetened all her sorrows, and gave her constant hope that God would not nor could not forget her poor distressed soul and body; because, saith she, his loving kindness appeareth to me in an unspeakable manner. And though sometimes, saith she, I cried out, David-like, I shall one day perish by the hands of Saul, I shall one day die by the hands of these barbarous Indians; and specially if our people should come forth to war against them. Then is there no hope of deliverance. Then must I perish. Then will they cut me off in malice. But suddenly the poor soul was ready to quarrel with itself. Why should I distrust God? Do not I daily see the love of God unspeakably to my poor distressed soul? And he hath said he will never leave me nor forsake me. Therefore I will not fear what man can do unto me, knowing God to be above man, and man can do nothing without God's permission. These were the words that fell from her mouth when she was examined in Seabrooke fort. I having command of Seabrooke fort, she spake these things upon examination, in my hearing.
Christian reader, give me leave to appeal to the hearts of all true affectioned Christians, whether this be not the usual course of God's dealing to his poor captivated children, the prisoners of hope, to distil a great measure of sweet comfort and consolation into their souls in the time of trouble, so that the soul is more affected with the sense of God's fatherly love, than with the grief of its captivity. Sure I am, that sanctified afflictions, crosses, or any outward troubles appear so profitable, that God's dear saints are forced to cry out, Thy loving kindness is better than life, than all the lively pleasures and profits of the world. Better a prison sometimes and a Christ, than liberty without him. Better in a fiery furnace with the presence of Christ, than in a kingly palace without him. Better in the lion's den, in the midst of all the roaring lions and with Christ, than in a downy bed with wife and children without Christ. The speech of David is memorable, that sweet affectionate prince and soldier, "How sweet is thy word to my taste; yea, sweeter than the honey and the honey-comb." He spake it by experience. He had the sweet relish of God's comforting presence, and the daily communion he had with the Lord, in the midst of all his distresses, trials, and temptations that fell upon him. And so the Lord deals to this day. The greater the captivities be of his servants, the contentions amongst his churches, the clearer God's presence is amongst his, to pick and cull them out of the fire, and to manifest himself to their souls, and bear them up, as Peter above the water, that they sink not.
But now, my dear and respected friends and fellow soldiers in the Lord, are not you apt to say, If this be the fruit of afflictions, I would I had some of those, that I might enjoy these sweet breathings of Christ in my soul, as those that are in afflictions. But beware of those thoughts, or else experience will teach all to recall or to unwish those thoughts, fo/ic is against the course of Scripture to wish for evil, that good might come of it. We cannot expect the presence of Christ in that which is contrary to him, (a man laying himself open to trouble), but we are rather to follow Christ's example, "Father, not my will, but thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven." And when thou art brought thus prostrate before the Lord like an obedient child, ready to suffer what he will impose on thee; then if he think good to try us, we may exclude no trial, no captivity, though burdensome or tedious to nature, for they will appear sweet and sanctified in the issue, if they be of the Lord's laying on; specially when the Lord is pleased to impose trouble on his in way of trial (as he said to Israel of old—I did it to prove you, and to see what was in your hearts), whether a soul would not do as the foolish young man in the Gospel, cling more closer to his honor, or profit, or ease, or peace, or liberty, than to the Lord Jesus Christ. And therefore the Lord is pleased to exercise his people with trouble and afflictions, that he might appear to them in mercy, and reveal more clearly his free grace unto their souls. Therefore consider, dear brethren, and err not, neither to the right hand nor to the left, and be not as Ephraim, like an untamed heifer, that would not stoop unto the yoke. But stoop to God's afflictions, if he please to impose them, and fear them not when they are from God. And know that Christ cannot be had without a cross. They are inseparable. You cannot have Christ in his ordinances, but you must have his cross. Did ever any Christian read, that in the purest churches that ever were, that Christians were freed from the cross? Was not the cross carried after Christ? And Andrew must follow Christ, but not without a cross. He must take it, and bear it, and that upon his shoulders; implying, it was not a light cross, but weighty. Oh, let not Christians show themselves to be so forgetful, as I fear many are, of the old way of Christ. Ease is come into the world, and men would have Christ and ease. But it will not be in this world. Is the servant better than the master? No, he is not, neither shall he be. But you may demand what is meant by this cross. We meet with many crosses in the world, losses at home and abroad, in church and commonwealth. What cross doth Christ mean? Was it a cross to be destitute of a house to put his head in 1 Or was it his cross, that he was not so deliciously fed as other men? Or to be so mean, wanting honor as others had? Or was it that his habit was not answerable to the course of the world, or to be destitute of silver and gold, as it is the lot of many of God's saints to this day? This was not the cross of Christ. You shall not hear him complain of his estate, that it is too mean, or his lodging too bad, or his garments too plain; these were not the troubles of Christ; these are companions to the cross. But the chief cross that Christ had, was that the word of his Father could not take place in the hearts of those to whom it was sent, and suffering for the truth of his Father, that was Christ's cross. And that is the cross, too, that Christians must expect, and that in the purest churches. And, therefore, why do you stand and admire at New England, that there should be contentions there, and differences there, and that for the truth of Christ? Do you not remember that the cross followed th$ dwell? Hath it nat beep already said that Christ's cross followed him, and Andrew must carry it? And that Paul and Barnabas will contend together for the truth's sake 1 And doth not the Apostle say, Contend for the truth (though not in a violent way)? Doth not Christ say, I came not to bring peace, but a sword? And why should men wonder at us, seeing that troubles and contentions have followed the purest churches since the beginning of the world to this day? Wherefore should we not look b^ck to the Scriptures, and deny our own reason, and let that be our guide and platform? And then shall we not so much admire, when we know it is the portion of God's church to have troubles and contentions. And when we know also it is God that brings them, and that for good to his church. Hath not God ever brought light out 'of darkness, good out of evil 1 Did not the breath of God's spirit sweetly breathe in the souls of these poor captives whiqh we now related 1 And do we not ever find, the greater the afflictions and troubles of Gocf's people be, the more eminent is his grace in the souls of his servants? You that intend to go to New England, fear not a little trouble.
More men would go to sea, if they were sure to meet with no storms. But he is the most courageous soldier, that sees the battle pitched, the drums beat an alarm, and trumpets sound a charge, and yet is not afraid to joiti in the* battle. Show not yourselves cowards, but proceed on in your intentions, and abuse not the lenity of our noble prinqe, and the sweet liberty he hath from time to time given to pass and repass according to our desired willsv Wherefore do ye stop 1 Are you afraid? May not the Lord do this to prove your hearts, to see whether you durst follow him in afflictions or not? What is become of faith? I will not fear that man can do unto me, saith David, no, nor what troubles can do, but will trust ip the Lord, who is my God.
I^et the ends and aims of a man be good, and he may proceed with courage. The bush may be in the fire, but so long as God appears to Moses out of the bush, there is no great danger. More good than hurt will come out of it. Christ knows how to honor himself, and to do his people good, though it be by contrary means, which reason will not fathom. Look but to faith, and that will make us see plainly, that though afflictions for the present are grievous, as doubtless it was with these two captive maids, yet sweet and comfortable is the issue with all God's saints, as it was with them,. But to go on.
paving embarked our soldiers, we weighed anchor at Seabrooke fort, and set sail for the Narraganset Bay, deluding the Pequeats thereby, for they expected us to fall into the Pequeat river; but crossing their expectation, bred in them a security. We landed our men in the Narraganset Bay, and marched over land above two days' journey before we came to Pequeat. Quartering the last night's march within two miles of the place, we set forth about one of the clock in the morning, having sufficient intelligence that they knew nothing of our coming. Drawing near to the fort, yielded up ourselves to God, and entreated his assistance in so weighty an enterprise. We set on our march to surround the fort ;* Captain John Mason, approaching to the west end, where it had an entrance to pass into it; myself marching to the south side, surrounding the fort; placing the Indians, for we had about three hundred of them, without side of our soldiers in a ring battalia, giving a volley of shot upon the fort. So remarkable it appeared to us, as we could not but admire at the providence of God in it, that soldiers so uaexpert in the use of their arms, should give so complete a volley, as though the finger of God had touched both match and flint. Which volley being given at bteak of day, and themselves fast asleep for the most part, bred in them such a terror, that they brake forth into a most doleful cry; so as jf God had not fitted the hearts of men for the service, it would have bred in them a commiseration towards them. But every man being bereaved of pity, feH upon the work without compassion, considering the blood they had shed of our native countrymen, and how barbarously they had dealt with them, and slain, first and last, about thirty persons. Having given fire, we approached near to the s entrance, which they had stopped full with arms of trees, or brakes., Myself approaching to the entrance, found the work too heavy for me, to draw out all those which were strongly forced in. We gave order to one Master Hedge, and some other soldiers, to pull out those brakes. Having this done, and laid them between me and the eatrance, and
* This fort, or/palisado, was well nigh an acre of ground, which was surrounded wltlt frees and half Itrees, set into the ground three feet deep* and fastened cjose one to another, as you may see more clearly described in the figure of it before the book,