At what points in his History of Plymouth Plantation does Bradford give inner, spiritual significance to outward events?Chapters 9 and 11

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Bradford's providential view of history is clear throughout his history of the colony. Being a man of deep religious faith, he sees God's hand in the events that occur. For instance, Bradford tells the story of "a proud and very profane young man" on the voyage, one of the sailors on board the Mayflower. This "haughty" sailor chose to curse and torment the Puritans while they suffered terribly from sea sickness, vowing to throw their bodies overboard when they died and then to enjoy their belongings. Instead, the young man falls ill and dies, and his body is the first to be cast overboard. Bradford wrote this represented "the just hand of God upon him." Bradford believed that God himself made the man ill to punish him.

When a main beam of the Mayflower was damaged, the Puritans sailed on: "So they committed themselves to the will of God and resolved to proceed." When John Howland was lost over the side, "it pleased God that he caught hold of the topsail halyards," was saved, and lived a long life as a "profitable member both in church and commonwealth."

Another example of Bradford's providential view is the story of Samoset and Squanto, Indians who appeared out of the wilderness, spoke English, and befriended the Pilgrims. Squanto remained with the Pilgrims for the rest of his life, acting as their guide and interpreter, teaching them how to plant corn and find fish. Bradford considered Squanto "a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation."

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