The Pilgrim Fathers And The Message Of Puritanism -- By: Dwight Hillis

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 055:218 (Apr 1898)
Article: The Pilgrim Fathers And The Message Of Puritanism
Author: Dwight Hillis

The Pilgrim Fathers And The Message Of Puritanism1

Dwight Hillis

For full two hundred and seventy years and more have men assembled upon Forefathers’ Day to celebrate the landing of the Pilgrim fathers; to revere their virtues, to sympathize with their sufferings, to recall the thrilling story of their first winter upon the bleak coast of New England; to marvel at their victory over the wilderness, famine, winter, disease, savages, and death itself, and for themselves and their children to swear anew fidelity to their fathers’ God, to law and love, to liberty and learning, that these sacred fires may not die out upon the altars of the human heart. In scores of cities in our land, in church and hall, and around the banqueting board, the sons and daughters of the Puritans through oration and eulogy, through song and story, recall the famous men of old, with wit and laughing jest indeed hitting off their fathers’ foibles, but in the secret heart reverencing their ancestors and emulating their example—for thus alone we prove that we are not the ignoble sons of a noble heritage. For if the giants of misrule and despotism may be forgotten, no race can afford to forget its heroes. God raised up the famous men of yesterday as soul food and stimulus for the youth of today. Standing at Plymouth rock, Webster looked up toward the fathers, that he might himself be lifted to their level. Lingering long upon those shores, where the first

pilgrim stepped foot upon this new world, Webster uncovered his head and joyfully confessed that the patriotism, fortitude, and faith of the heroes had entered into his; soul, as iron enters into the rich blood of the physical system. For the faith of the fathers is, indeed, “the elixir of the children.”

Final Victory of Puritanism

Looking back upon our history, we now do see that the Puritan spirit and principles first conquered New England; that the ideals and institutions the Pilgrims developed soon repeated themselves in New York and the Reserve of Ohio, and afterward journeyed into the towns and cities of this great North and West. Then, when the civil conflict came and the whole land shook with the earthquake of civil war, it was the Puritan spirit that again went forth in-battle array to conquer servitude and make our soil too pure for the feet of slaves. To thinking men it must now be evident that the time is surely coming when this entire land is to be puritanized. As loyal patriots and true Christians, we may also look forward to an era when our republic shall educate the world in free institutions. Should that time ever come it will be found that all the nations will recall Forefathers’ Day as o...

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