In his History of Plymouth Plantation , Bradford objects to the behavior of a Mr. Robinson, who has dealings with the Native Americans that Bradford does not like, such as trading them guns. Bradford alludes to the apostle Paul when he condemns Robinson's religious beliefs as "French" and apart from...
In his History of Plymouth Plantation, Bradford objects to the behavior of a Mr. Robinson, who has dealings with the Native Americans that Bradford does not like, such as trading them guns. Bradford alludes to the apostle Paul when he condemns Robinson's religious beliefs as "French" and apart from the true faith. Bradford writes:
The Apostle Paule would have none to follow him in any thing but wherin he follows Christ, much less ought any Christian or church in ye world to doe it.
Bradford, as is typical of early Puritan settlers, was not seeking religious pluralism and toleration in colonizing North America: he was seeking freedom to worship in a different way from the Church of England. He was perfectly willing to impose religious conformity on all the people in his colony, believing his version of Christianity to be the same, true, "primitive" Christianity practiced by Paul. He says that he is enforcing purity just as Paul did and leans into Paul as a respected authority.
Second, Bradford opens his account of the year 1643 by noting the death of William Brewster. He mentions that Brewster survived many of the sufferings involved with establishing the new colony. Bradford then alludes to Thessalonians and Peter, both books of the Bible, writing,
It is a manifest token (saith ye Apostle, 2. Thes: 1. 5, 6, 7.) of ye righeous judgmente of God that you may be counted worthy of ye kingdome of God, for which ye allso suffer; seing it is a righteous thing with God to recompence tribulation to them yt trouble you: and to you who are troubled, rest with us, when ye Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels. 1. Pet. 4. 14.
Bradford states in the first reference that because Brewster suffered, as all the early colonists did, this has made him worthy of the kingdom of heaven. Bradford then cites Peter to show how Brewster has been rewarded for his faithfulness after death. He is now able to see the Lord Jesus with his angels. Brewster's story is part of the overarching narrative of suffering and redemption that reveals how Bradford understood the colonizing of the New World by the Puritans.