The History Of Plymouth Plantation: God Essay, Research Paper
The presence of God is evident in the passage from The History of Plymouth Plantation in every event significant or not. In his diary, William Bradford describes several occurrences in which God played a major role in deciding the outcome. According to Bradford, God can help or hurt according to His will.
The first of these displays of God?s will in this passage was of revenge toward a sailor. He was as Bradford described him ?a proud and very profane young man… of a lusty, able body.? The sailor would ?always be condemning the poor people? of the Mayflower because of their seasickness. The sailor went as far as to say that he hoped to help cast them overboard before they reached the mainland. Bradford believed that God was pleased to smite this young man with a grievous disease and ironically cause him to be the first to die and be thrown overboard. This proves that Bradford?s god is all-powerful and able to seek and gain revenge against those who go against god?s chosen people.
In a later reference, God helps ?one of his chosen people? survive during a storm. A young man named of John Howard was coming up from below deck when he was swept overboard. But, because it pleased God, the man grasped a main line and was able to be saved. Bradford believed that because the man was saved he was one of God?s chosen people and, therefore, later went on to become an important member of their society. This incident verifies that Bradford believes that God punishes bad people but keeps his chosen out of harm?s way.
In this passage, there are also several allusions to events that take place in past religious writings including the Bible. In one, Bradford speaks of Mount Pisgah, where the Hebrews could see what lay before them. Bradford infers that the pilgrims have it harder because they do not know what lies ahead of them. In another citation he speaks of ?wise? Seneca, who said he would rather take 20 years and go by land than in shorter time travel via the ocean. In some way, Bradford believed that he is similar to other historical religious journeys and he considers that his journey is much like, if not more difficult and significant, than those before him.
When they come ashore, Bradford describes the pilgrims falling to their knees and blessing the ? God who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element.? Here, Bradford gives God credit for the pilgrims? survival. The passage does not say that God indirectly gives the sailors the strength and integrity to enable them safely come to the end of the journey, but it states a direct connection with God and the pilgrims ability to survive their trek.
William Bradford concludes this part of the trip with details on how miserable it is in the new land, and how he doesn?t mind because it is what God intended. ?What could now sustain them but the spirit of God and his grace?? Bradford asks redundantly. Bradford then speaks of how the future generations should and should not speak of the voyage to the new land. He believes that God will deliver them from evil by helping them survive in a place with no city, no food and no drink.
Every event that Bradford selected to describe in his journal has a direct link to God?s will. William Bradford believes that things do not just happen, but are part of God?s plan. This belief is clear in the way he discusses certain occurrences, both honorable and ill fated, pleased God. The fact that Bradford expressed these beliefs in a private journal makes it more convincing that he truly believes in what he writes.