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Written by Nancy Ruegg @ http://nancyaruegg.com
View original post @ http://nancyaruegg.com/2014/11/24/in-the-name-of-god-the-mayflower-compact/
In the Name of God: The Mayflower Compact
November 24, 2014 by Nancy Ruegg
They had been at sea for sixty-six days, enduring overcrowded conditions. Storms had caused damage to their ship and sea sickness plagued them all– passengers and crew alike. Meager provisions and no heat on chilly autumn days caused further discomfort.
So on November 9, 1620, when they finally saw the coastline of North America in the distance, the Pilgrims and others aboard the Mayflower must have cheered enthusiastically. Soon they could abandon the cramped, cold, and fetid ship and begin new lives in a new world.
But. All had not been peaceful and congenial among the passengers during the crossing. And when it became apparent the storms had blown them too far off course to land in the Virginia Colony as planned, relations deteriorated further.
Not all of the travelers were Pilgrims. Also aboard were merchants, craftsmen, skilled workers, and indentured servants. The Pilgrims called them “strangers.”
No sooner had the decision been made to anchor off Cape Cod, than an argument ensued. Several of the “strangers” pointed out that, since they were not going to be under the jurisdiction of the Virginia Company, they would “use their own libertie” and do as they pleased. “None had the power to command them, they said.” (Quoted words are from William Bradford’s records. He served as historian for the Pilgrims.)
To avoid anarchy, five men gathered in the cabin of the ship to create a basis for law and order. The result of their efforts: the Mayflower Compact.
The first words of the document give strong indication of the Pilgrims’ hearts.
In the name of God, Amen.
“Everything they did started with God” (The Founders’ Bible, p. 187).
Next, the Pilgrims stated their purpose for coming to America.
We, whose names are underwritten,…by the grace of God,…having undertaken for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and country…
Several phrases indicate the Pilgrims’ desires for their new colony:
- “For the glory of God” would be a guide for all manner of decisions.
- “Advancement of the Christian faith” would encourage them to remain strong in Christian faith among themselves and to introduce others to Jesus.
- “Honor of our King and country” indicates their loyalty to native England and its monarch, in spite of his untoward actions that caused their flight to America in the first place.