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HIS OFFICIAL CHARACTER. 469
and displease him, than such as would haughtily and Chap. 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.
In teaching, he was very stirring, and moving the affections; also very plain and distinct in what he taught; by which means he became the more profitable to the hearers. He had a singular good gift in prayer, both public and private, in ripping up the heart and conscience before God, in the humble confession of sin, and begging the mercies of God in Christ for the pardon thereof. He always thought it were better for ministers to pray oftener, and divide their prayers, than to be long and tedious in the same; except upon solemn and special occasions, as on days of Humiliation and the like. His reason was that the heart and spirits of all, especially the weak, could hardly continue and stand bent (as it were,) so long towards God, as they ought to do in that duty, without flagging and falling off.
For the government of the church, which was most proper to his office, he was careful to preserve good order in the same, and to preserve purity both in the doctrine and communion of the same, and to suppress any error or contention that' might begin to arise amongst them; and accordingly God gave good success to his endeavours herein all his days, and he saw the fruit of his labors in that behalf. But I must break off, having thus touched a few heads of things.1
1 William Brewster, the rul- He was probably the oldest of the
ing elder of John Robinson's Pilgrims, being 56 when he arrived
church, and whose name stands at Plymouth. On account of his
fourth among the signers of the age and office he probably was not
Compact, was born in 1564; but much employed in the civil affairs
the place of his birth is not known, of the Colony, and consequently
CHAP. h1s name seldom oceur9 in the preXXVII. ceding History. The reason why —-v"" he was not chosen governor after the death of Carver in 1621, is stated in note 1 on page 197. It appears from this Memoir that he had "many children;" but the exact number has not been ascertained. He brought his wife with him, and four other individuals, who were probably his children. The following are known to have been his children — Jonathan, Love, Wrestling, Patience, and Fear. The last two came in the Ann in 1623; Patience married in 1624 Thomas Prince, who was afterwards governor, and Fear married Isaac Allerton in 1626. It appears from page 173 that the venerable elder had a house lot assigned him in 1621, in Plymouth, on the street now called Leyden-street. In the
latter part of his life, he built a house in Duxbury, near Captain's Hill, and resided there a short time. His sons Jonathan and Love settled in Duxbury. Love died there, and his son William was deacon of the church in that place. Jonathan, with his family, removed to Connecticut after 1648. There are many descendants of the worthy elder in Plymouth, Duxbury, Kingston, Pembroke, and in Connecticut, and elsewhere. A town on Cape Cod was named after him in 1803, and it is believed that the Brewsters, in Boston harbour, were so called in compliment to him. See note 2 on page 27; Belknap's Am. Biog. ii. 252—266; Hutchinson's Mass. ii. 460; Mitchell's Bridgewater, p. 361; Mass. Hist. Coll. x. 73, xx. 57—68.
"That is the best History, which is collected out of Letters."
"Letters of affairs, from such as manage them, or are privy to them, are of all others the best instructions for history, and to a diligent reader the best histories in themselves."
ROBINSON TO THE CHURCH.
To the Church of God at Plymouth, in New England.1
Much Beloved Brethren,
Neither the distance of place, nor distinction of Chap. body, can at all either dissolve or weaken that bond of -—~ true Christian affection in which the Lord by his spirit 1621hath tied us together. My continual prayers are to the Lord for you; my most earnest desire is unto you;2 from whom I will not longer keep (if God will) than means can be procured to bring with me the wives and children of divers of you and the rest of your brethren, whom I could not leave behind me without great injury both to you and them, and offence to God and all men. The death of so many our dear friends and brethren,3 oh! how grievous hath it been to you to bear, and to us to take knowledge of; which, if it
1 This and most of the following nately destroyed, having been put
letters are taken from a fragment to the most ignoble uses. See
of Gov. Bradford's Letter Book, Belknap's Am. Biog. ii. 246, and
which was rescued about fifty years Mass. Hist. Coll. iii. 45.
since from a grocer's shop in Hali- * See note on page 453.
fax, Nova Scotia. The earlier and 'See note 1 on page 198. more valuable part was unfortu