William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America

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Bradford's Letterbook - 1


To the church of God, at Plymouth in New England.


Much beloved brethren, neither the distance of place, nor distinction of body,
can at all either dissolve or weaken that bond of true christian affection in
which the Lord by his spirit hath tied us together. My continual prayers are to
the Lord for you; my most earnest desire is unto you; from whom I will not
longer keep (if God will) than means can be procured to bring with me the wives
and children of divers of you and the rest of your brethren, whom I could not
leave behind me without great, both injury to you and them, and offence to God
and all men. The death of so many our dear friends and brethren; oh I how
grievous hath it been to you to bear, and to us to take knowledge of, which, if
it could be mended with lamenting, could not sufficiently be bewailed; but we
must go unto them and they shall not return unto us: And how many even of us,
God hath taken away here, and in England, since your departure, you may
elsewhere take knowledge. But the same God has tempered judgment with mercy, as
otherwise, soin sparing the rest, especially those by whose godly and wise
government, you may be, and (I know) are so much helped. . In a battle it is not
looked for but that divers should die; it is thought well for a side, if it get
the victory, though with the loss of divers, if not too many or too great. God,
I hope, hath given you the victory, after many difficulties, for yourselves and
others; though I doubt not, but many do and will remain for you and us all to
strive with. Brethren, I hope I need not exhort you to obedience unto those whom
God hath set over you, in church and commonwealth, and to the Lord in them. It
is a christian's honour, to give honour according to men's places; and his
liberty, to serve God in faith, and his brethren in love orderly and with a
willing and free heart. God forbid, I should need to exhort you to peace, which
is the bond of perfection, and by which all good is tied together, and without
which it is scattered. Have peace with God first, by faith in his promises, good
conscience kept in all things, and oft renewed by repentance; and so, one with
another, for his sake, who is, though three, one; and for Christ's sake who is
one, and as you are called by one spirit to one hope. And the God of peace and
grace and all goodness be with you, in all the fruits thereof, plenteously upon
your heads, now and for ever. All your brethren here, remember you with great
love, a general token whereof they have sent you.

Yours ever in the Lord,

Leyden, (Holland;) June 30, Anno 1621.

JOHN ROBINSON.

 

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