upon divine subjects, which he preached lectures to them in a put into their hands.

stated course, and took much And this good man had the pains to Christianize and civilize pleasure to find, that both adults them.* and children made laudable pro-It being difficult, if not imficiency in Christian knowledge. practicable to supply all the vilAnd he had the happiness to un- lages of the Christianized Inderstand, that many of the prose-dians, or even the most of them, lytes, and after a time the gene- with fixed English ministers; rality, prayed in their families to remedy, in some measure, morning and evening, and that this defect, Mr. Eliot, in declinwith much apparent affection ing years, used special endeavand reverence.

ors to qualify some of the natives Mr. Eliot was desirous of to be teachers of their countrybeing as extensively useful as Mr. Gookin gives an acmight be to communicate the count of this in the words followknowledge of the divine Sa- ing : “ Mr. Eliot has, of late 'viour to as great numbers, as years (i.e. for some years prewas in his power : He therefore “ ceding the year 1674) fallen not only visited the various vil-“ into a practice among the Inlages of the natives, as often as dians, the better to prepare, circumstances would allow ; but “ and furnish them with abilities was careful to take journies to “ to explain and apply the scrippreach the gospel in places, “ tures, by setting up a lecture where, upon special occasions," among them in logic and thelarge numbers of them were 6 ology, once every fortnight, all collected ; as when, from vari- “ the summer, at Natick, at ous parts, they resorted to the "which he reads and explains best fishing places, when they “ to them the principles of those assembled to attend the court of “ arts. And God has been please the English magistrate who was “ed graciously so to bless these superintendent in their civil con- means, that several of them, cerns, &c.t

especially young men of acute So intent was he upon propa-“ parts, have gained much knowgating the gospel among them, “ ledge, and are able to speak that he used his influence, by methodically, and properly, conversation and letters, to ex- unto any plain text of scripcite other ministers and scho-“ ture ; yea, as well as can be lars, both in the Massachusetts“ imagined such little means of and other colonies, to qualify" learning can enable them to themselves, and to engage in “ do. From this church and the benevolent and important “ town of Natick have issued work, and prosecute it, as far as “ forth, as from a seminary of circumstances would permit : “ virtue and piety, sundry teachAnd some good success attend- ers, that are employed in seyed, and followed these endea:- " eral new preaching towns." ors ; several worthy men learn- Mr. Eliot continued his mised the language of the natives, sionary labors among the In

[ocr errors]

dians 'till very old age, and its * Gookin's Historical Collections, * Gookin, p. 186.

* Gookin, p. 172.

p 169.

attendant infirmities, obliged Nor was Mr. Eliot negligent him to give them over. Perhaps in making attempts to introduce to no man, since St. Paul, and regular civil government, and his inspired brethren, could the the arts of civil life among the title of, " A Teacher, la Minis-natives ; sensible that to civilter, and an Apostle of the Gen- ize them, was of importance, as tiles," be affixed with greater well as to gospelize them; and propriety, than to him. He was that the former contributed, in in the service of the gospel a- no small degree, to the advancemong them much of his time ment of the latter. He paid for more than forty years in suc- careful and unwearied attention cession ; took frequent, and dis- both to the civil and religious intant, teclious, and perilous jour- terests of the Indians in the vanies to visit their various tribes, rious plantations which he visitand plantations. He taught ed. His heart was in the work ; them with plainness and fidel- He engaged in it from the most ity, the important doctrines of pure and noble motives; and the Christianity ; and was uncom- toils, hardships, and dangers monly diligent in the work. with which it was attended, did

Through the whole of his not discourage his generous and missionary course, he acted with pious mind : And the observable that uprightness, which be- success which he met with, in came a Christian minister ; de many instances, stimulated him testing such fraudulent and dis- to pursue the service with unre. honorable measures, as have mitting vigor and diligence. been taken by certain missiona- Mr. Gookin, a friend and comries of another communion, Ipanion of Mr. Eliot, who was mean the Romish, some of whom well acquainted with many of the have been detected in using the Indians, as he was their supermost base,and unchristian ways, to induce the heathen to imbibe

and with great admiration and extheir doctrines, and become pectation they told the Dutch of what members of their church,*

was to come to pass: The Dutch re

plied, This was no more than every * Instances of this kind occur in child among them could foretel ; tbey history. Dr. Mather communicates all knew there would be an eclipse of the the following, which he thus introdu- sun ; but, said they, speak to Monsieur, ces : “ The Popish falsity disposes that he would get the sun extinguished them to so much legerdemain in their a day before, or a day after what be applications (to the Indians) as is speaks of ; and if he can do that, believe very disagreeable to the spirit and pro- him. When the Indians thus undergress of the gospel. My worthy stood what a trick the Frenchman friend, Mynheer Dellins, who has would have put upon them, they bebeen sedulous and successful among came irreconcilably prejudiced against the Maquas (Mohawks) assures me, all his offers ; nor have the French that a French predicator (preacher) been since able to gain much upon having been attempting to bring over that considerable people. The Newthose Indians into the interest, not of Englanders have used no such strataour Saviour so much as, of Canada ; gems and knaveries ; 'tis the pure at last, for a cure of their infidelity, light of truth, which is all that has told them, that he would give them a been used for the affecting of the rude sign of God's displeasure at them for people, whom it was easy to have it ; The sun should such a day be put chcated into our profession. out. This terrified them at a sad rare ;

Magnalia, h. iii. p. 204.

intending magistrate, observes, thing ; my understanding leaves “ For my own part, I have no me ; my memory fails me ; my doubt, but am fully satisfied, ac- utterance fails me; but, I thank cording to the judgment of char- God, my charity holds out still i ity, that divers of them do fear I find that rather grows than God, and are true believers ; but fails.”* Love to his poor Indians, yet I will not deny, but there as well as the other branches of may be some of them hypocrites, charity, remained unimpaired to that profess religion, and yet are the last. not sound hearted.” He ob- When the good work among serves further, “ In all acts of them appeared to decline, as it public worship (for I have been did towards the close of his life, often present with them) they his mind was filled with tender demean themselves visibly with grief : And to some of his reverence, attention, modesty, friends, a little before his death, and solemnity."*

he expressed himself in the folMr. Eliot continued to itstruct lowing pathetic strain : “ There the Indians till within two or is a cloud, a dark cloud upon

the three years of his death. Tho' work of the gospel among the near the close of his mission, poor Indians; the Lord revive his very advanced age, and con- and prosper that work, and grant sequent debility prevented him it may live, when I am dead.” from doing so much for their The converted Indians had a spiritual and temporal interests great veneration for Mr, Eliot ; as he ardently desired ; yet he and appeared to have a deep earnestly improved, in this ex- sense of his kind and laborious cellent work, the little strength services, among them. “ And and ability which remained : it is no wonder he was in such And when he could no longer high esteem among them that labor among them, their interest they consulted him as their oralay as Rear his heart as ever ; cle in all difficult cases--that and he fervently prayed, that they loved him with a very God would give success to the strong affection, and would run exertions of others, who had, or all hazards to serve him : He might enter into his labors. really deserved highly of them;

He was conscious of the de- for it may be doubted, whether cay, not only of his bodily, but any man, since the apostolic age, mental powers; but was equal. ever took more pains in the ly conscious of the strength of missionary work, than himself: his love: The venerable old man His name therefore will be mentowards the close of life, when tioned with honor, as long as his age had rendered him unfit there is a Christian Indian in the for almost all employments, and world.”+ bereaved him, in a great meas

Mr. Eliot was in high esteem, ure, of those gifts and parts, particularly as a missionary, not which once he had been accom- only with his brethren in the plished with, being asked how ministry, but also with gentie, he did, would sometimes an- men in civil life ; some of whom swer, 6 Alas! I have lost every

Magnalia, b. iii. p. 181. * Historical Collections, P

183. + Neil's History, vol. i. p. 262.


left behind them written testi- Christian, and not any carnaland 'monials of the sentiments they by-ends ; for in those times noentertained of his solid worth. thing of outward encouragement Capt. Roger Clap, one of the did appear : He preached sevearly settlers, and for many eral years without receiving any years commander of the Castle pecuniary reward—was unweain Boston bay; who resided ried in his endeavors to promote 'within a few miles of him, was the salvation of the poor Indians personally, and for a long time was, to a very advanced age, acquainted, gives him the follow- exceeding diligent, and careful ing character; “ Among others, to instruct them in the sound [who instructed the natives in principles of the Christian relithe Christian religion] the prin- gion.”+ cipal was that reverend man of God, Mr. John Eliot, teacher of the church of Christ at Roxbu

It may not be unacceptable to ry, whose great labor, and pains ber with the principal part of a

some readers to finish this num. in catechising, preaching the word, and translating the Bible letter from the Honorable Robert into the Indian language, God Boyle, Esq. (first governor of has blessed, I doubt not, to the the society for propagating the converting

of many among them. gospel among the Indians in He that converteth souls, shall New England, under the Charshine as the sun in the firm- ter granted by king Charles the ament. Oh ! how glorious will second,) to the commissioners the shining of that star be in of the United Colonies, together heaven! I rejoice to think of

with their answer. I

« Honored Gentlemen, The Hon. Daniel Gookin, who

" A letter of yours being bro't was intimately acquainted with hither, directed to Mr. Ashurst Mr. Eliot, living within a few and Mr. Hutchinson ; though miles of him, and accompanying

the former of these two gentlehim in many of his visits to the men, did, by the last ship, as he Indians, gives him the following ceipt of it, and intimate the rea

tells us, acknowledge the recharacter, principally as an evangelist : He styles' him, “ A sons of our silence ; yet now we learned, and worthy man

ma pi

think it meet to assure you also ous servant of God one endow- ourselves, how acceptable it was ed with an extraordinary spirit

, to us to be informed, partly by suitable for the work [of the that letter of yours, and partly by gospel ministry, and particular

the relation of some learned mily evangelizing the heathen]– nisters, that came, a while since a worthy, and active instrument from New-England, that you

continue one divinely assisted by the

your care, and concern Spirit of God. The principles of Christ among the poor In

for the propagating the gospel which induced this precious servant of Christ to undertake the

dians. And we are glad, that work of Christianizing the heathen were heroic, noble, and

+ Gookin's Historic Collections, p. 168, &c.

| Cookin's Historical Collections, Clap's Memoirs, p. 21.



p. 215.

through the goodness of God, comply, as formerly you have we are now in a condition to in- done, with our directions here: form you, that since the receipt in : The business wherein we of your lastly mentioned letter, desire to engage you, being such, it has pleased the king's Majes- as we thing it truly honorable to ty in Council, to grant a Charter be engaged in ourselves; and of incorporation, wherein many the design being of a nature to of the nobility, and other persons which the greatest and most of quality, and most of those precious promises are annexed : gentlemen, that were formerly Besides, that the civilizing and employed in the like work, are converting of your barbarous and authorized and appointed to en- unbelieving neighbors, is that, deavor the carrying on that pri- whose success will be, in some ous design for converting the hea- regards, of more immediate adthen natives : Wherein they de- vantage to yourselves, than to servedly esteem it both an hon- us. or and advantage to be employed “Our good wishes to so Chrise in this new establishment; being, tian a work, makes it much our among other particulars, enjoin- trouble to see the means of cared to appoint commissioners in rying it on no greater than we New England, to prosecute there, now, at our entrance, find them : by our directions, his Majesty's Which we mention, not by way pious intentions."

of reflection upon those, to whose We judge this to be a mat. hands the management of them ter of highest concernment that was committed before the grant belongs to the work intrusted to of our charter ; but because it is.

For all our endeavors here, necessary for us to acquaint you and all the supplies we may pro- with the condition we are bro't cure from hence will be but inefto, partly by the great charge fectual, though not to our own you and we have been at on sevsouls, yet to the work we would eral necessary occasions, and promote, unless there be a pru- partly, and indeed chiefly by the dent and faithful managementof injurious dealing of some, who what we send over, by the com- take advantage of the letter of missioners we shall appoint in the law, against all justice and New-England, and those they equity, to repossess themselves, shall employ. And therefore, of what they formerly sold, since having obtained the best in- whereby the greatest part of our formation we can, and seriously revenue is, at present, detained ; considered the matter, we have which will prove, we fear, very, pitched on the same course, that expensive, and somewhat diffihath been formerly taken in pur- cult to recover.

We cannot suance of the same ends and be so despondent, as not to hope care. Accordingly, determined that the Providence of God will, at present to desire you to take by some means or other, provide upon you again the care and for the supply of a work, so management of this work upon much tending to His own glory, the place. We hope you will and so acceptable to those, who discern, how great à trust we are so heartily concerned for it." willingly repose in you ; and we

“That[money] which doubt not of your readiness to l is from time to time laid out, we


« VorigeDoorgaan »