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tion; perhaps the authorship of the following stanzas is his.
A FEW POEMS,
MADE BY A FRIEND, ON THE DEPLORED DEATH OF MR. JOHN ROBINSON,
THE WORTHY PASTOUR OF THE CHURCH OF LEYDEN, AS FOLLOWETH:
1 Blessed Robinson hath run his race
from earth to heaven is Gone,
2 A burning and a shining light,
was hee whiles hee was heer,
3 What tho hees dead, his workes alive
and live will to all aye;
to living saints each day.
the fountain of all grace,
Ő To lead us to and guide us in
the way to happiness
6 That whosoever Gospel preacher be
or waterer of the same,
There is in these lines, which beyond doubt are the expression of the feelings of the whole church, a very different sentiment from that sometimes ascribed to the colony. It has been intimated that the brethren were so fond of their own prophesyings, and so gifted in the same, that their pastors in after years found themselves depreciated, discouraged, and disesteemed thereby. It is very certain that God saw fit to discipline the colony with some very disastrous experiences in the endurance of men, who proved hypocrites in the ministry or incapacitated for it. It was God's own providence, not their choice, that threw them upon the exercise of their own gifts so long and so habitually. And there could not have been much irregularity, or disesteem of the ministry, in a church educated under Robinson's guidance, while such men as Brewster, Bradford, and Edward Winslow, were their elders and “ prophets.” The jealousy of prophesyings among the brethren savors a little of that spirit of the Establishment, which afterwards threw Winslow himself into prison in England, on the charge of having publicly exercised his gifts for the edification of the Church, when they wanted a minister. The last stanza in this simple poem on the death of Robinson conveys without doubt the sentiment of the whole church in regard to such preachers of the gospel as the Lord might be pleased to grant them for the guidance of his flock.
That whoso gospel preacher be,
Or waterer of the same,
Give glory to thy name.
THE FIRST NEW ENGLAND CHURCH AND THEIR ELDER, WILLIAM
BREWSTER. -THE VINE BROUGHT OUT AND PLANTED.
The first New England Church was composed of the Pilgrims in the May Flower. Its organization must be regarded as having taken place before they left Leyden, even on that important day of fasting and prayer, early in the year 1620, when, having received accounts of the completion of arrangements in England for their departure, they gathered together to ask counsel of the Lord. That day they heard a sermon from their pastor, Robinson, on the appropriate text in First Samuel xxiii. 4. “ And David's men said unto him, Behold we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines? Then David inquired of the Lord yet again. And the Lord answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand.” What a treasure would it have been, could that sermon have been preserved to us! We have no record of it whatever, save in two lines from Governor Bradfare where he says that Mr. Robinson preached that day fran that text, “strengthening them against their fears, and ere couraging them in their resolutions." It could not but have been one of Robinson's wisest, most affectionate, most fervent and animating sermons; for he was full of a devout fire himself in this great Pilgrim and Missionary enter
prise ; he intended to go in person, and his whole heart was bound up in the undertaking. And every step which he and his beloved fellow-disciples of Christ adopted in it was taken in prayer. If ever a church sought God's guidance, they did. With what energy, and beauty, and heavenlymindedness he would, on that occasion, have led his flock by the streams of God's promises, telling them that they should find the same streams in the wilderness, and brooks to drink of by the way, yea, and in the New World to which they were travelling, new and unexpected springs of light, comfort, and power.
Their next business, after seeking God in prayer, and listening to the counsels of that beloved pastor, whom God had given them, was to “ conclude how many, and who should prepare to go first ; for all that were willing could not get ready quickly." It is from Governor Bradford that we derive our direct and valuable notice of this day's services and doings. “ The greater number," says he, “ being to stay, require their pastor to tarry with them ; their Elder, Mr. Brewster, to go with the other. Those who GO FIRST, TO BE AN ABSOLUTE CHURCH OF THEMSELVES, AS WELL AS THOSE WHO stay'; with this proviso, that as any go over or return, they shall be reputed as members, without farther dismission or testimonial. And those who tarry, to follow the rest as soon as they can.”
We have marked an important sentence in this record. From this day, the Church of the Pilgrims in the May Flower, the First Congregational Church in Plymouth and in New England, and in all America, dates its organization. "ere was no other formal organization, that we are aware
nor was any other necessary. It was as simple and ciural as the growth of two cedars from one stock, of two branches from the same vine, of two rose trees from the same root. They had the same covenant with the Parent Church, the same officers, and the same usages. They carried from Leyden into New England that primitive,
New Testament Congregational organization which they had brought from Old England into Leyden. Their covenant was with Christ, and with one another in him, " to walk in all his ways, made known, or to be made known unto them, according to their best endeavors, whatever it cost them.”
Perfectly and nobly in accordance with this covenant was the spirit and letter of Mr. Robinson's last remarkable sermon to his departing flock, when they observed their final Fast Day, ready to depart on the morrow. That day their pastor took his text from Ezra the eighth, 21 : “ Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance." The old prophetic spirit seemed to have descended upon the preacher, as he reminded them of the terms of their covenant, and drew forth its meaning before them. The record of this discourse, as preserved by Gov. Winslow, is so characteristic of Robinson, so filled with the same wisdom and grace shining in his letters to the Pilgrims, that it bears the strongest internal evidence of its authenticity.
“He charged them before God and his blessed angels, to follow him no further than he followed Christ. And if God should reveal anything to them by any other instrument.of his, to be as ready to receive it as ever they were to receive any truth by his ministry; for he was very confident the Lord had more truth and light yet to break forth out of his Holy Word. He took occasion also miserably to bewail the state of the Reformed Churches, who were come to a period on religion, and would go no further than the instruments of their Reformation. As for example, the Lutherans could not be drawn to go beyond what Luther saw; for whatever part of God's Word he had further revealed to Calvin, they had rather die than embrace it; and so, said he, you see the Calvinists, they also stick where he