Magnalia Christi

And now the LORD your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side Jordan. And it came to pass a long time after that the LORD had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
~ Joshua 22:4, Joshua 23:1, Hebrews 4:8-11

I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number: Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
~ Job 5:8-9, Acts 5:31-32

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
~ Ephesians 1:19-22

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
~ Matthew 28:18-20

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
~ Isaiah 43:19

Magnalia Christi Americana, Or The Ecclesiastical History of New England, From Its First Planting In the Year 1620, Unto The Year Of Our Lord, 1698, by Cotton Mather.

The First Book. Antiquities; Or A Field Prepared For Considerable Things To Be Acted Thereupon.

The Introduction.

It was not long ago, as about the middle of the former century, that under the influences of that admirable hero and martyr, of the Protestant religion, Gasper Coligni, the great Admiral of France, a noble and learned knight called Villagagnon, began to attempt the Settlement of some Colonies in America, (as it was declared) for the propagation of that religion. He sailed with several ships of no small burthen, till he arrived at Brasile; where he thought there were now shown him quiet seats, for the retreat of a people harassed already with deadly persecutions, and threatned with yet more calamities. Thence he wrote home letters unto that glorious patron of the reformed churches, to inform him, that he had now a fair prospect of seeing those churches erected, multiplied, and sheltered in the southern regions of the New World; and requested him, that Geneva might supply them with Pastors for the planting of such churches in these New Plantations. The blessed Calvin, with his colleagues, thereupon sent of their number two worthy persons, namely Richerius and Quadrigarius, to assist this undertaking; and unto these were joined several more, especially Leirus, and who became a leader to the rest, Corquillerius, an eminent man, for the cause of Christianity, then residing at Geneva. Embarked in three ships, well fitted, they came to the American country, whither they had been invited; and they soon set up an evangelical church order, in those corners of the earth where God in our Lord Jesus Christ had never before been called upon. But it was not long before some unhappy controversies arose among them, which drove their principal ministers into Europe again, besides those three that were murthered by their apostate Governour, whose martyrdom Lerius procured Crispin to commemorate in his history, but I now omit in this of ours, Ne me Crispini scrinia lecti, compilasse putes,* and as for the people that staid behind, no other can be learned, but that they are entirely lost, either in paganism or disaster: in this, more unhappy sure, than that hundred thousand of their brethren who were soon after butchered at home, in that horrible massacre, which then had not, but since hath, known a parallel. So has there been utterly lost in a little time, a country intended for a receptacle of Protestant Churches on the American Strand. It is the most incomparable De Thou, the honourable President of the Parliament at Paris, an Historian whom Casaubon pronounces, “A singular gift of Heaven, to the last age, for an example of piety and probity,” that is our author, (besides others) for this History.

‘Tis now time for me to tell my reader, that in our age there has been another essay made not by French, but by English Protestants, to fill a certain country in America with Reformed Churches; nothing in doctrine, little in discipline, different from that of Geneva. Mankind will pardon me, a native of that country, if smitten with a just fear of incroaching and ill-bodied degeneracies, I shall use my modest endeavours to prevent the loss of a country so signalised for the profession of the purest Religion, and for the protection of God upon it, in that holy profession. I shall count my country lost, in the loss of the primitive principles, and the primitive practices, upon which it was at first established: but certainly one good way to save that loss, would be to do something that the memory of the great things done for us by our God, may not be lost, and that the story of the circumstances attending the foundation and formation of this country, and of its preservation hitherto, may be impartially handed unto posterity. This is the undertaking whereto I now address myself; and now, Grant me thy gracious assistances, O my God! that in this my undertaking I may be kept from every false way: but that sincerely aiming at thy glory in my undertaking, I may find my labours made acceptable and profitable unto thy Churches, and serviceable unto the interests of thy gospel; so let my God think upon me for good; and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy in the blessed Jesus. AMEN.
* That you may not suspect me of having rifled the portfolios of Crispin.- HoRace, Sat. i. l. ver. 120.

Chapter I.

Tenisti Tandem Or, Discoveries of America; Tending To, And Ending In, Discoveries of New England.

§ 1. It is the opinion of some, though ’tis but an opinion, and but of some learned men, that when the sacred oracles of Heaven assure us, the things under the earth are some of those, whose knees are to bow in the name of Jesus, by those things are meant the inhabitants of America, who are Antipodes to those of the other hemisphere. I would not quote any words of Lactantius, though there are some to countenance this interpretation, because of their being so ungeographical: nor would I go to strengthen the interpretation by reciting the words of the Indians to the first white invaders of their territories, we hear you are come from under the world to take our world from us. But granting the uncertainty of such an exposition, I shall yet give the Church of God a certain account of those things, which in America have been believing and adoring the glorious name of Jesus; and of that country in America, where those things have been attended with circumstances most remarkable. I can contentedly allow that America (which, as the learned Nicholas Fuller observes, might more justly be called Columbina) was altogether unknown to the penmen of the Holy Scriptures, and in the ages when the Scriptures were penned. I can allow, that those parts of the earth, which do not include America, are, in the inspired writings of Luke and of Paul, stiled all the world. I can allow, that the opinion of Torniellus and of Pagius, about the apostles preaching the gospel in America, has been sufficiently refuted by Basnagius. But I am out of the reach of Pope Zachary’s excommunication. I can assert the existence of the American Antipodes: and I can report unto the European churches great occurrences among these Americans. Yet I will report every one of them with such a Christian and exact veracity, that no man shall have cause to use about any one of them the words which the great Austin (as great as he was) used about the existence of Antipodes; it is a fable, and nulla ratione credendum.+

§ 2. If the wicked one in whom the whole world lyeth, were he, who like a dragon, keeping a guard upon the spacious and mighty orchards of America, could have such a fascination upon the thoughts of mankind, that neither this balancing half of the globe should be considered in Europe, till a little more than two hundred years ago, nor the clue that might lead unto it, namely, the Loadstone, should be known, till a Neapolitian stumbled upon it, about an hundred years before; yet the overruling Providence of the great God is to be acknowledged, as well in the
+ Utterly incredible.

concealing of America for so long a time, as in the discovering of it, when the fulness of time was come for the discovery: for we may count America to have been concealed, while mankind in the other hemisphere had lost all acquaintance with it, if we may conclude it had any from the words of Diodorus Siculus, that Phoenecians were, by great storms, driven on the coast of Africa, far westward, een Fonas ‘musgas, for many days together, and at last fell in with an Island of prodigious magnitude; or from the words of Plato, that beyond the pillars of Hercules there was an Island in the Atlantick Ocean, αμα λιβυης και Ασιας μειζων, larger than Africa and Asia put together: nor should it pass without remark, that three most memorable things, which have born a very great aspect upon humane affairs, did, near the same time, namely, at the conclusion of the fiftzenth, and the beginning of the sixteenth century, arise unto the world: the first was the resurrection of literature; the second was the opening of America; the third was the Reformation of Religion. But, as probably, the devil seducing the first inhabitants of America into it, therein aimed at the having of them and their posterity out of the sound of the silver trumpets of the Gospel, then to be heard through the Roman Empire; if the devil had any expectation, that by the peopling of America, he should utterly deprive any Europeans of the two benefits, Literature and Religion, which dawned upon the miserable world, one just before, the other just after, the first famed navigation hither, ’tis to be hoped he will be disappointed of that expectation. The Church of God must no longer be wrapped up in Strabo’s cloak; Geography must now find work for a Christiano-graphy in regions far enough beyond the bounds wherein the Church of God had, through all former ages, been circumscribed. Renowned Churches of Christ must be gathered where the Ancients once derided them that looked for any inhabitants. The mystery of our Lord’s garments, made four parts, by the soldiers that cast lots for them, is to be accomplished in the good sense put upon it by Austin, who, if he had known America, could not have given a better: Quadripartita vestis Domini Jesu, quadripartitam figuravit ejus Ecclesiam, tolo scilicet, qui quatuor partibus constat, terrarum orbe diffusam.*

§ 3. Whatever truth may be in that assertion of one who writes: “If we may credit any records’ besides the Scriptures, I know it might be said and proved well, that this New World was known, and partly inhabited by Britains, or by Saxons from England, three or four hundred. years before the Spaniards coming thither;” which assertion is demonstrated from the discourses between the Mexicans and the Spaniards at their first arrival; and the Popish reliques, as well as British terms and words, which the Spaniards then found among the Mexicans, as well as from undoubted passages, not only in other authors, but even in the British
* The parting of the garment of our Lord Jesus into four pieces was a type of a like division of Iris Church, which is distributed through the four quarters of the globe.

annals also: nevertheless, mankind generally agree to give unto Christopher Columbus, a Genoese, the honour of being the first European that opened a way into these parts of the world. It was in the year 1492, that this famous man, acted by a most vehement and wonderful impulse, was carried into the northern regions of this vast hemisphere, which might more justly therefore have received its name from him, than from Americus Vesputius, a Florentine, who, in the year 1497, made a further detection of the more southern regions in this continent. So a world, which has been one great article among the Res deperdite* of Pancirollus, is now found out, and the affairs of the whole world have been affected by the finding of it. So the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, well compared unto a ship, is now victoriously sailing round the globe after Sir Francis Drake’s renowned ship, called, The Victory, which could boast,

Prima ego velivolis ambivi cursibus orbem.+

And yet the story about Columbus himself must be corrected from the information of De la Vega, that “one Sanchez, a native of Helva in Spain, did before him find out these regions.” He tells us that Sanchez using to trade in a small vessel to the Canaries, was driven by a furious and tedious tempest over unto these western countries; and at his return he gave to Colon, or Columbus, an account of what he had seen, but soon after died of a disease he had got on his dangerous voyage. However, I shall expect my reader, e’er long, to grant, that some things done since by Almighty God for the English in these regions, have exceeded all that has been hitherto done for any other nation: If this New World were not found out first by the English; yet in those regards that are of all the greatest, it seems to be found out more for them than any other.

§ 4. But indeed the two Cabots, father and son, under the commission of our King Henry VII, entering upon their generous undertakings in the year 1497, made further discoveries of America, than either Columbus or Vesputius; in regard of which notable enterprises, the younger of them had very great honours by the Crown put upon him, till at length he died in a good old age, in which old age King Edward VI. had allowed him an honourable pension. Yea, since the Cabots, employed by the King of England, made a discovery of this continent in the year 1497, and it was the year 1498 before Columbus discovered any part of the continent; and Vesputius came a considerable time after both of them; I know not why the Spaniard should go unrivalled in the claim of this New World, which from the first finding of it is pretended unto. These discoveries of the Cabots were the foundation of all the adventures, with which the English nation have since followed the sun, and served themselves into an
* The Catalogue of Lost Things,” – title of a book.
+ “I first, with canvas to the gale unfurl’d,
Made the wide circuit of the mighty world.”

acquaintance on the hither side of the Atlantick Ocean. And now I shall drown my reader with myself in a tedious digression, if I enumerate all the attempts made by a Willoughby, a Frobisher, a Gilbert, and besides many others, an incomparable Rawleigh, to settle English colonies in the deserts of the western India. It will be enough if I entertain him with the History of that English Settlement, which may, upon a thousand accounts, pretend unto more of true English than all the rest, and which alone therefore has been called New England.

§ 5. After a discouraging series of disasters attending the endeavours of the English to swarm into Florida, and the rest of the continent unto the north ward of it, called Virginia, because the first white born in those regions was a daughter, then born to one Ananias Dare, in the year 1585, the courage of one Bartholomew Gosnold, and one captain Bartholomew Gilbert, and several other gentlemen, served them to make yet more essays upon the like designs. This captain Gosnold in a small bark, on May 11, 1602, made land on this coast in the latitude of forty-three; where, though he liked the welcome he had from the Salvages that came aboard him, yet he disliked the weather, so that he thought it necessary to stand more southward into the sea. Next morning he found himself embayed within a mighty head of land; which promontory, in remembrance of the Cod fish in great quantity by him taken there, he called Cape-Cod, a name which I suppose it will never lose, till shoals of Cod-fish be seen swimming upon the top of its highest hills. On this Cape, and on the Islands to the southward of it, he found such a comfortable entertainment from the summerfruits of the earth, as well as from the wild creatures then ranging the woods, and from the wilder people now surprised into courtesie, that he carried back to England a report of the country, better than what the spies once gave of the land flowing with milk and honey. Not only did the merchants of Bristol now raise a considerable stock to prosecute these discoveries, but many other persons of several ranks embarked in such undertakings; and many sallies into America were made; the exacter narrative whereof I had rather my reader should purchase at the expense of consulting Purchas’s Pilgrims, than endure any stop in our hastening voyage unto the history of a New-English Israel.

§ 6. Perhaps my reader would gladly be informed how America came to be first peopled; and if Hornius’s “Discourses,” De origine Gentium Americanarum, do not satisfie him, I hope shortly the most ingenious Dr. Woodward, in his Natural History of the Earth, will do it. In the mean time, to stay thy stomach, reader, accept the account which a very sensible Russian, who had been an officer of prime note in Siberia, gave unto Father Avril. Said he, “There is beyond the Obi a great river called Kawoina, at the mouth whereof, discharging it self into the Frozen Sea, there stands a spacious Island very well peopled, and no less considerable for hunting an animal, whose teeth are in great esteem. The inhabitants go frequently upon the side of the Frozen Sea to hunt this monster; and because it requires great labour with assiduity, they carry their families usually along with them. Now it many times happens that being surprized with a thaw, they are carried away, I know not whither, upon huge pieces of ice that break off one from another. For my part, I am perswaded that several of those hunters have been carried upon these floating pieces of ice to the most northern parts of America, which is not far from that part of Asia that jutts out into the sea of Tartary. And that which confirms me in this opinion, is this, that the Americans who inhabit that country, which advances farthest towards that sea, have the same Physiognomy as those Islanders.”—Thus the Vayode of Smolensko. But all the concern of this our history, is to tell how English people first came into America; and what English people first came into that part of America where this History is composed. Wherefore, instead of reciting – the many Adventures of the English to visit these parts of the world, I shall but repeat the words of one Captain Weymouth, an historian, as well as an undertaker of those Adventures; who reports, “that one main end of all these undertakings, was to plant the gospel in these dark regions of America.” How well the most of the English plantations have answered this main end, it mainly becomes them to consider: however, I am now to tell mankind, that as for one of these English plantations, this was not only a main end, but the sole end upon which it was erected. If they that are solicitous about the interests of the gospel, would know what and where that plantation is; be it noted, that all the vast country from Florida to Nova Francia, was at first called Virginia; but this Virginia was distinguished into North Virginia and South Virginia, till that famous Traveller Captain John Smith, in the year 1614, presenting unto the court of England a draught of North Virginia, got it called by the name of New England; which name has been ever since allowed unto my country, as unto the most resembling daughter to the chief lady of the European world. Thus the discoveries of the country proceeded so far, that K. James I. did by his letters patents under the great seal of England, in the eighteenth year of his reign, give and grant unto a certain honourable council established at Plymouth, in the county of Devon, for the planting, ruling, and ordering, and governing of New England in America, and to their successors and assigns, all that part of America, lying and being in breadth, from forty degrees of northerly latitude, from the equinoctial line, to the forty-eighth degree of the said northerly latitude inclusively; and the length of and within all the breadth aforesaid, throughout all the firm lands from sea to sea. This at last is the spot of earth, which the God of heaven spied out for the seat of such evangelical, and ecclesiastical, and very remarkable transactions, as require to be made an history; here ’twas that our blessed Jesus intended a resting place, must I say? or only an hiding place for those reformed churches, which have given him a little accomplishment of his eternal Father’s promise unto him; to be, we hope, yet further accomplished, of having the utmost parts of the earth for his possession?

§7. The learned Joseph Mede conjectures that the American Hemisphere will escape the conflagration of the Earth, which we expect at the descent of our Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven: and that the people here will not have a share in the blessedness which the renovated world shall enjoy, during the thousand years of holy rest promised unto the Church of God: and that the inhabitants of these regions, who were originally Scytheans, and therein a notable fulfilment of the prophecy, about the enlargement of Japhet, will be the Gog and Magog whom the devil will seduce to invade the New-Jerusalem, with an envious hope to gain the angelical circumstances of the people there. All this is but conjecture; and it may be ’twill appear unto some as little probable, as that of the later Pierre Poiret in his L’Economy Divine, that by Gog and Magog are meant the devils and the damned, which he thinks will be let loose at the end of the thousand years, to make a furious, but a fruitless attempt on the glorified saints of the New-Jerusalem. However, I am going to give unto the Christian reader an history of some feeble attempts made in the American hemisphere to anticipate the state of the New-Jerusalem, as far as the unavoidable vanity of human affairs and influence of Satan upon them would allow of it; and of many worthy persons whose posterity, if they make a squadron in the fleets of Gog and Magog, will be apostates deserving a room, and a doom with the legions of the grand apostate, that will deceive the nations to that mysterious enterprise.