The 3[rd] Chapter

Of their settling in Holland, &

their manner of living, and

entertainment there.

Being now ^come^ into the Low Countries, they saw many goodly & fortified Cities, strongly walled, and guarded with troops of armed men.1 Also they heard a strange, & uncouth language, and beheld the different manners, & customs2 of the people, with their strange fashions, and attires; all so far differing from that of their plain country villages (wherein they were bred, & had so long lived) as it seemed they were come into a new world. But these were not the things, they much looked on, or long took up their thoughts; for they ^had^ other work in hand, & another kind of war to wage, & maintain. For though they saw fair, & beautiful Cities, flowing with abundance of all sorts of wealth, & riches, yet it was not long before they saw the grim, & grisly face of poverty coming upon them like an armed man;3 with whom they must Buckle; & Encounter; and from whom they could not fly; but they were armed with faith, & patience against him, and all his encounters; and though they were sometimes foiled, yet by God’s assistance they prevailed, and got the victory.

Now when Mr. Robinson, Mr. Brewster, & other principal members were Come over (for they were of the last, & stayed to help the weakest over before them), such things were [12] thought on as were necessary for their settling, and best ordering of the church affairs. And when they had lived at Amsterdam about a year, Mr. Robinson (their pastor) and some others of best discerning, seeing how Mr. John Smith & his company, was already fallen into contention with the church that was there before them, & no means they could use, would do any good to cure the same, and also that the flames of contention were like to break out in that ancient church itself (as afterwards lamentably came to pass);4 which things they prudently foreseeing, thought it was best to remove, before they were any way engaged with the same. Though they well knew it would be much to the prejudice of their outward estates; both at present, & in likelihood in the future, as Indeed it Their removal to Leidenproved to be.

For these, & some other reasons they removed to Leiden,5 a fair, & beautiful City, and of a sweet situation, but made more famous by the university wherewith it is adorned, in which (of late) had been so many learned men.6 But wanting that traffic by sea which Amsterdam Enjoys, it was not so beneficial for their outward means of Living, & estates. But being now here pitched they fell to such trades, & Employments as they best could; valuing peace, & their spiritual comfort above any other riches whatsoever. And at length they came to raise a competent, & comfortable living, but with hard, & continual labor.

Pieter Bast, Map of Leiden, 1600 (detail, showing area where Pilgrims lived), Erfgoed Leiden, The Netherlands

Being thus settled (after many difficulties) they continued many years, in a comfortable condition; Enjoying much sweet, & delightful society, & spiritual comfort together in the ways of God; under the able ministry, and prudent government of Mr. John Robinson,7 & Mr. William Brewster who was an assistant unto him, In the place of an Elder,8 unto which he was now called, & chosen by the church. So as they Grew in knowledge, & other gifts, & graces of the spirit of God; & lived together in peace, and love, and holiness; And many came unto them, from diverse parts of England, so as they grew a great congregation.9 And if at any time, any differences arise, or offences broke [13] out (as it cannot be, but some time there will, even amongst the best of men) they were ^ever^ so met with, and nipped in the head betimes; or otherwise so well composed, as still love, peace, and communion was continued. Or else the church purged of those that were Incurable, & Incorrigible; when after much patience used no other means would serve, which seldom came to pass. Yea such was the mutual love, & reciprocal respect that this worthy man had to his flock, and his flock to him; that it might be said of them, as it once was of that famous EmperourGolden Book, &c. Marcus Aurelius, and the people of Rome; That it was hard to Judge whether he delighted more in having such a people, or they in having such a pastor.10 His love was great towards them, and his care was always bent for their best good both for soul and body; for besides his singular abilities in divine things (wherein he excelled) he was also very able to give directions in Civil affairs, and to foresee dangers & inconveniences; by which means he was very helpful to their outward estates, & so was every way as a common father unto them. And none did more offend him, than those that were close, and cleaving to themselves, and retired from the common good; as also such as would be stiff, & rigid in matters of outward order, and Inveigh against the evils of others, and yet be remiss in themselves, and ^not^ so careful to express a vertuous conversation. They in like manner had ever a reverent regard unto him, & had him in precious estimation11 as his worth & wisdom did deserve; and though they Esteemed him highly whilst he lived, & laboured amongst them; yet much more after his death, when they came to feel the want of his help, and saw (by woeful experience) what a treasure they had lost, to the grief of their hearts and wounding of their souls; yea such a loss (as they saw[)] could not be repaired. For it was as hard for them to find such another leader, and feeder (in all respects[)], as for the Taborites to find another Ziska.12 And though they did not call themselves orphans (as the other did) after his death, yet they had cause as much; to lament (in another regard) their present condition, and after-usage. But to return, I know not but It may be spoken, to the honour of God, & without prejudice to [14] Any; that such ^was^ the true piety, the humble Zeal, & fervent Love, of this people (whilst they thus lived together) towards God, and his ways; and the single-heartedness, & sincere affection one towards another, that they came as near the primitive pattern of the first Churches; as any other church of these later times have done, according to their rank, & quality.

But seeing it is not my purpose to treat of the several passages that befell this people whilst they thus lived in the Low Countries (which might worthily require a large treatise of itself), but to make way to shew the beginning of this plantation, which is that I aim at. Yet because some of their adversaries, did (upon the rumor of their removal) cast out slanders against them; as if that state had been weary of them, & had rather driven them out (as the heathen Historians did fain of Moses, & the Israelites when they went out of Egypt) than that it was their own free choice & motion. I will therefore mention a particular or two, to shew the contrary; and the good acceptation they had in the place where they lived. And first though many of them were poor, yet there was none so poor, but if they were known to be of that congregation; the Dutch (either bakers or others) would trust them in any reasonable matter when they wanted money. Because they had found by experience how careful they were to keep their word, and saw them so painful, & diligent in their callings.13 Yea they would Strive to get their custom, and to Employ them above others, in their work, for their honesty & diligence.

Again the magistrates of the city, about the time of their coming away, or a little before, in the public place of Justice; gave this Commendable testimony of them (in the reproof of the Walloons, who were of the French church in that city). “These English” (said they) “have lived amongst us now these 12 years and yet we never had any suit, or accusation came against any of them; but your strifes, & quarrels are continual,” &c.14

In these times also were the great troubles raised by the Arminians, who as they greatly molested the whole state, so this city in particular (in which was the chief university), so as there were daily & hot disputes in the schools thereabout; and as the students, & other learned were divided in their opinions herein; so were the 2 professors, or divinity readers themselves; the one daily teaching for it, the other against it.15 Which grew to that pass, that few of the disciples, of the one, would hear the other teach. But Mr. Robinson (though he taught thrice a week himself,16 & writ sundry Books besides his manifold pains otherwise[)]; yet he went constantly [15(1)]17 To hear their readings, and heard the one as well as the other; by which means he was so well grounded in the controversy, and saw the force of all their arguments, and knew the shifts of the adversary. And being himself very able; none was fitter to buckle with them, than himself.18 As appeared by sundry disputes, so as he began to be terrible to the Arminians; which made Episcopius (the Arminian profesor) to put forth his best strength, and set forth sundry Theses,19 which by public dispute he would defend against all men.20 Now Polyander the other professor, and the chief preachers of the City, desired Mr. Robinson to dispute against him; but he was loath, being a stranger; yet the other did Importune him. And told him, that such was the ability, and nimbleness of the adversary; that the truth would suffer, if he did not help them. So as he condescended, & prepared himself against the time; and when the day came, the Lord did so help him to defend the truth, & foil this adversary; as he put him to an apparent nonplus, in this great, & public audience. And the like he did a 2[nd] or 3[rd] time, upon such like entreaties & occasions. The which as It caused many to praise God, that the truth had so famous victory; so it procured him much honour, & respect from those learned men, & others which loved the truth.21 Yea so far were they from being weary of him, & his people, or desiring their absence; as it was said by some (of no mean note) that were it not for giving offence to the state of England; they would have preferred him otherwise if he would, and allowed them some public favour. Yea when there was speech of their removal into these parts, sundry of note, & Eminency of that nation, would have had them come under them, and for that End made them large offers.22 Now though I might alledge many other particulars & examples of the like kind, to shew the untruth, & unlikelihood of this slander, yet these shall suffice. Seeing it was believed of few; being only raised by the malice of some, who laboured their disgrace.

Jan Luycken after Claess Jansz Visscher, Fort qui à été sur le Breestraat [Fort which has been on the Breestraat], Arminian Barricade of 1617–18. Engraving from Les Délices de Leyde (1715)