Early American Literature
1. Throughout the writing, Bradford gives numerous examples of how God directs the history of the pilgrims. At the beginning when describing the fate of the “proud and very profane” young man, Bradford begins with “And I may not omit here a special work of God’s providence”, that providence being Bradford’s death to illness, which according to Bradford was by the hand of God, “But it pleased God before they came half seas over, to smite this young man with a grievous disease”. This is an example of the control God had over the pilgrim’s fate. Bradford also gives examples of how God may not always direct the history, but is at least watching over the pilgrims. For example, when John Howland falls into the sea and catches hold of the ship, it pleases God, “but it pleased God that he caught hold of the topsail halyards”. When the pilgrims arrive at Cape Cod and decide to sail to its shores, they do so by “God’s good providence”, indicating that their decision to head for the cape and ultimately safety was essentially backed up by God. Bradford also writes how the pilgrims were in gratitude to God’s protection, “they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all their perils and miseries thereof”. During The Starving Time, Bradford also gives a clear example of how certain individuals are supported by God, “Mr. William Brewster, their reverend Elder, and Myles Standish, their captain and military commander, unto whom myself and many others were much beholden in our low and sick condition. And yet the Lord so upheld these persons as in this general calamity they were not at all infected either with sickness or lameness.” This is one of the most definite examples Bradford gives us of how God truly directs the history of individual pilgrims. As explained through these quotes, Bradford clearly tells us that the...
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