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in Christ, which is to come. On the summit of the Burying Hill, the spectator will perhaps think of the missionary enterprise ; for here lies the body of him, who as one of the Pilgrims bore testimony, that with the reasons which constrained them to quit their native land and seek a habitation among the heathen, was mingled the hope and design of spreading the Gospel where the tidings of salvation had never reached. Their mission, they thought, was with the Indians of this Western Continent; but how would they have adored the riches of God's Providence, could they have seen in vision the rising and increase of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, spreading its labors over the whole habitable globe! A missionary movement growing out of that infant colony of New England, and which perhaps God sees to be directly connected with the infant flame of missionary zeal which he had kindled in the souls of those Pilgrims.

In that flame of benevolence, that sense of duty to God, that supreme regard to his Will, Word, and Kingdom, that religious impulse of combined civil and religious freedom, missionary and personal, was the beginning of America. Carlyle has intimated as much, but not in the religious direction. And America was not only a New World, but, ensouled by the Pilgrims, was to make a New World out of the Old. The soul of it was in that soul-seed in the May Flower, sifted out of God's seed in three kingdoms. But nobody knew then what God was doing. Who knew, or thought, or cared for the sailing of that little vessel, and the landing and the toils of those poor men and their families ? Aye! ye see your calling, brethren, if ye would be at the foundation of so great a work for God. Not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble ; perhaps, in a given case, not one.

God was just here choosing the foolish things of the world to confound the mighty, and base things of the world, and things despised, yea and things that are not, to bring to naught

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things that are, that no flesh should glory in his presence. This is the beauty and the glory of this our Pilgrim ancestry, that the more minutely we trace it, the more directly it brings us to God, the more it throws us upon him, the more it forbids us to glory but in him. It shows his wonder-working Providence and grace,“ deep in unfathomable mines of never-failing skill.”

Puritanism,” says Thomas Carlyle,“ was only despicable, laughable, then ; but nobody can manage to laugh at it

It is one of the strongest things under the sun at present.” And how wonderfully its calm strength looms up now before the world, in contrast with the laboring, creaking, straining hulks of old dismasted despotisms, flying before the revolutionary gales of Europe to swift destruction. We should like to have had a man like Edmund Burke spared to behold this scene, and to describe the contrast. We should like to have had such a mind, touched with divine grace, to take a view of the Providence of God from the day of the sailing of the May Flower and the compact in Cape Cod Harbor, down to this present autumn of 1848. “Nothing in the history of mankind,” said Burke in his speech upon the taxation of the colonies, " is like their

progress.

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my part, I never cast an eye on their flourishing commerce, and their cultivated and commodious life, but they seem to me rather ancient nations, grown to perfection through a long series of fortunate events, and a train of successful industry, accumulating wealth in many countries, than the colonies of yesterday, than a set of miserable outcasts, a few years ago not so much sent as thrown out on the bleak and barren shore of a desolate wilderness, three thousand miles from all civilized intercourse.”

Now in fact it was this barrier of three thousand miles, across which the exiles were thus flung in scorn out of their native kingdom, that under God preserved them from the infection of vicious example, and the rapacious despotism of a Church and State Establishment. If the ocean had not rolled between America and England, with the cost of a month's time, at least, to pass it, the experiment of liberty and religion had failed. Now that God in his Providence is so lessening time and space between us and Europe, we may hope, notwithstanding all dangers, that he is about to bring to some glorious crisis the great purposes of the vast Providential preparations he has been making for two hundred years.

CHAPTER XVI.

THE FIRST FAST DAY AND THANKSGIVING.

The festival of an Annual Thanksgiving, original among the Jews, and of God's own appointment, was never in like manner observed among any Gentile nation, that we are aware of, till our Pilgrim Fathers renewed it in New England. Days of feasting and merriment there have been many; Saints' days copied from the Romish Calendar, almost numberless; festivals of Christmas, and spring carnivals, and holidays; but nothing like the Thanksgiving feast of harvest for the annual bounties of God's providence, of which the grateful, joyful feast of Tabernacles among the Hebrews was so perfect and delightful an example. Yet not as an imitation did it grow up into a habit with our fathers; it was the suggestion and the dictate of their own habitual and grateful piety; and it is so accordant with every impulse of religion, and every feeling of a thankful heart, that from its home and birth-place in New England, the custom has at length found its way over the whole United States, a custom, we trust in God, which never will be broken.

We find in this volume the very first instance of the New England Thanksgiving. It is referred to by Mr. Winslow in his letter to a friend. It was after the gathering in of the harvest, and a fowling expedition-was sent out

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for the occasion by the Governor, that for their Thanksgiving dinners and for the festivities of the week they might have more dainty and abundant materials than ordinary. That week they exercised in arms, and hospitably feasted King Massasoit and ninety men. The Governor is said by Mr. Winslow to have appointed the game-hunt after harvest, that so the Pilgrims "might after a more special manner rejoice together, after they had gathered the fruit of their labors.” This admirable annual New England custom of Thanksgiving dates back therefore to the first year of our Forefathers' arrival. The custom of an annual fast began somewhat later, on occasion of the prospect of famine in the infant colony, in 1623. The discipline of God's providence, as well as the guidance of his word, led them onward in the appointment and celebration of both these solemnities, which they did not then know God was designing to be fixtures of devout habit from the youth to the manhood of New England. In all things they waited. on God; and God built up all things with them and among them, not suddenly, violently, or by any imagination of a miracle; or by will-worship of angels after the commandments and doctrines of men ; but gradually, gently, naturally, by grace and heavenly wisdom, in a growth which should be lasting, because it came from God.

Yes! the process was kind and gentle, though with apparent severity. And there were passages in God's word so singularly applicable to God's discipline and the event of it with them even from the beginning, that they must have enjoyed peculiar delight in dwelling upon them ; for neither the church nor the world had ever seen a case so marvellously resembling God's providence and grace with his people of old under a miraculous dispensation. “And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers; and thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying,

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