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afford to wait for their Pastor Robinson, even some years. It is rather surprising that they did not, when it was found that their whole hope of Robinson's coming must be relinquished, especially when God had taken him from the world, that they did not then elect and ordain Elder Brewster for their Pastor and Teacher. Perhaps, as he was verging towards seventy, they looked for a younger man. They might have looked far, and not found one who was, or ever would be, so gifted of the Holy Spirit for the work of the gospel ministry. That faculty, so quaintly described by Governor Bradford, of ripping up the heart and conscience before God, was an invaluable one. Combined with Elder Brewster's affectionate disposition and heart, it made him rarely qualified for the work of saving souls. He was of a social, sympathizing nature, and took part in the distresses as well as joys of those with whom he mingled. None of the trials of the Pilgrims ever made any
of them misanthropic. The experience of misfortune taught him to succor the tempted and oppressed; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. "He was tender-hearted,” says Governor Bradford, “and compassionate of such as were in misery, but especially of such as had been of good estate and rank, and were fallen into want and poverty, either for goodness or religion's sake, or by the injury and oppression of others. He would say, of all men these deserve to be most pitied; and none did more offend and displease him, than such as would haughtily and proudly carry and lift up themselves, , being risen from nothing, and having little else in them but a few fine clothes, or a little riches more than others."
Under the ministry and example of two such men as Robinson and Brewster for more than twenty years, it was to be expected that God would raise up and prepare a company of his children for a great work. Meanwhile he was disciplining and preparing the Pastor and the Elder, as well as their flock.
While he was at Leyden, Mr. Brewster pursued the honorable trade of a Printer, though when he had learned it, we know not. He had the merit of being hunted for punishment by the agents of the English government, because the works which he printed were obnoxious to the Established Church. It would even seem that when the Pilgrims embarked for Plymouth, and he with them, he was the object of inimical search, and escaped it only by keeps ing close till the sailing of the vessel.
He had enjoyed a good early education, having learned both Latin and Greek, and spent some time at Cambridge. He was afterwards employed at Court and on the Continent, in the service of William Davison, the unfortunate Secretary of Queen Elizabeth at the time of the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. Davison was a man of parts, says Hume, but easy to be imposed upon ; and for that very reason at that time made Secretary, that the gross dissimulation and murderous purpose of the Queen might be successfully, and yet with seeming irresponsibility, accomplished. He was a man of piety, ability, and various worth, “beloved," as the Earl of Essex said, “ of the best and most religious of the land," but sacrificed and brought to ruin by the detestable meanness, perfidy, and cruelty of Elizabeth. As far as he could, Mr. Brewster continued to serve this unfortunate victim of State treachery, after the Queen had thrown him into prison, and brought him to utter poverty, by a fine of ten thousand pounds, for his obedience to her own commands in the duties of his office.
While under the employment of Davison, Mr. Brewster became well acquainted with civil affairs, having travelled with him for state purposes on the Continent, where his master continued with him, and trusted him as rather than a servant.
Under Davison's influence and example, his religious character likewise seems to have been more fully developed, and when at length he departed from his service, the company with which he associated in
the rural parts of England, where he lived, was more especially among the religious gentlemen of that region. What the extent of his worldly means then was, we know not; but Governor Bradford tells us that he was deep in the charge of promoting and furthering religion, by procuring good preachers in all places thereabouts, and sometimes above his ability. And so for many years he walked according to the light he saw, till God's providence led him into clearer light, about the year 1600, when he was 36 years
and Robinson 24. Robinson was then entering the degree of Master of Arts in Cambridge, and was in a fair way to great preferment, had he been so minded. Perhaps they neither of them, at this time, dreamed of what was to follow, nor had any idea of the possibility of two or three Christians, with Christ, constituting a Church. But in Governor Bradford's words, “ by the tyranny of the bishops against godly preachers and people, in silencing the one and persecuting the other, he, and many more of those times, began to look further into particulars, and to see into the unlawfulness of their callings, and the burden of many antichristian corruptions, which both he and they endeavored to cast off.”
In the year 1602, they gathered the first Pilgrim Church “ as the Lord's free people in the fellowship of the gospel,” under covenant with him and one another, to walk in his ways, cost what it might. And much did it cost them after a year or two, when the vigilant and bitter persecutions of the Establishment were turned upon them as they became known, and they were hunted and persecuted on
Some were thrown into prison, and most were compelled to flee from their houses, habitations, and means of livelihood. But so long as they could stay in England, Mr. Brewster was of great aid to them, being free and forward in his friendship. For a while, until the persecution grew too hot, they usually met at his house on the Lord's day, “and with great love he entertained them
when they came, making provision for them to his great charge." And when at length in 1607 they were driven to the enterprise of their pilgrimage to Holland, he was one of the greatest sufferers and most faithful men in that perilous, disastrous, and treacherous expedition ; disastrous in its course, through the wickedness of men, but glorious in its issue, through the goodness of God. He was one of the company who hired the ship at Boston in Lincolnshire, and were betrayed by the Judas of a Captain. His money and books were taken from him, and with six other of the principal men he was thrown into prison, and kept there some months. At length, in the course of 1607 and 1608, he, with Robinson and others, succeeded, after great difficulty, peril, and suffering, in getting into Holland.
There again he suffered much hardship, with his large family, for years, until he could get employment and the means of support, which afterwards became plentiful and abundant. He does not appear at first to have “set up printing,” but besides that vocation he taught English very successfully to foreigners, with great facility, by a system of his own, through the medium of the Latin, so that among the Danes and Germans, he had many pupils, and some of them of noble families. Being thus established, he was pleasantly situated in Holland, and at the age of sixty, nothing would have induced him to flee with his brethren into the wilderness, except his love to his Redeemer, and to them for Christ's sake, and to the cause of Christ and Christian Liberty with them.
The names of his children were striking developments of the qualities of the man. They were genuine waymarks of his experience in Divine Providence and grace, and not a mere imitation of the Hebrew custom of names as sacred memorials. They were actual memorials of events and states of mind in his chequered pilgrimage. There were among his offspring, Love, Wrestling, Patience, and Fear; and there were whole periods in his life charac
terized by the discipline of God in reference to each of these qualities.
Mr. Brewster was as remarkable for the virtues of frugality and temperance, as he was for the graces of charity and love. The habits of self-denial, patience, and sympathizing kindness, early learned, were of inestimable value when he came to grapple with the realities of pain and want. He was noted for his submissive and cheerful endurance of the famine, in the second winter of the colony. And when nothing but oysters or clams could be set upon the table, with neither bread, nor parched corn, nor vegetables, he would pleasantly and heartily give thanks,“ that they were permitted to suck of the abundance of the seas, and of the treasures hid in the land.”
Belknap says that Mr. Brewster was the owner of a very considerable library, part of which was lost when the vessel in which he embarked was plundered at Boston, in Lincolnshire. After his death, his remaining books were valued at forty-three pounds in silver, as appeared from the Colony Records, where a catalogue of them is preserved.
Some statements have been made through a careless reading of manuscripts; or wrong interpretation of sentences, quite incorrect; as for example, we find it stated in one or two instances, in biographical memoirs of Brewster, that while he was in the employment of Davison, on an embassy from Queen Elizabeth into the Low Countries, the keys of Flushing were delivered to him, and the States honored him with a gold chain. In this case Brewster by mistake is put in the place of Davison himself, as any one may see on reading the original from whence this historical item is taken, which is the Memoir of Brewster by Governor Bradford. The memoir is printed by Dr. Young, from the manuscript records of Plymouth Church, and occupies the 27th chapter of his Chronicles of the Pilgrims. It was Davison himself whom the States honored with the golden chain, and on his return into England, Davison