History of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford

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In chapter 7 of History of Plymouth Plantation, a letter from John Robinson implores patience among the Pilgrims. With whom, specifically, does he say that they must be patient, and why? (3 answers)

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Although John Robinson did not make the voyage with the Pilgrims in 1620, he sent two letters to John Carver, both dated in July of 1620, with advice for the Pilgrims once they establish the colony in what is now Massachusetts. The second letter, most likely dated after July 20, 1620, reaches the Pilgrims after John Carver has died, but it is considered so important that William Bradford includes it as an appendix in Of Plymouth Plantation.

Robinson's letter comprises a set of spiritual and practical admonitions to the Pilgrims who are embarking on a perilous journey with an uncertain outcome. Robinson's motive is to remind the Pilgrims to exercise patience with themselves, their new life in an unknown land, and their new ways of governance.

As befitting a minister, Robinson first reminds the Pilgrims that

we are daily to renew our repentance with our God, especially for our sins known, and generally for our unknown trespasses, so doth the Lord call us in a singular manner upon occasions of such difficulty and danger as lieth upon you.

In other words, only through the acknowledgement of sins, both visible by others and those that are invisible to others, can the soul be at peace—in Robinson's words, leading to "peace in all dangers... with happy deliverance from all evil." In an important sense, the Pilgrims must be patient with themselves and recognize both their outward sins as well as sins that only they perceive.

A second warning centers on how the Pilgrims live with each other, and Robinson reminds them of their interdependence. After they have made their peace with God by confessing both outward and inward sins, Robinson encourages the Pilgrims to

provide for peace with all men what in us lieth, especially with our associates. ...watchfulness must be had that we neither at all in ourselves do give, no, nor easily take offense being given by others.

Robinson is acutely aware that the Pilgrims are completely reliant on each other for both religious and everyday life, and one of the most important attributes is patience with one another. He is, in short, admonishing the Pilgrims to "get along" with each other, even if, under other circumstances, they might take offense at...

(The entire section contains 727 words.)

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