Of Plymouth Plantation
And first of the occasion, and inducements thereunto; the which that I may truly unfold, I must begin at the very root, and rise of the same. The which I shall endeavor to manifest in a plain style; with singular regard unto the simple truth in all things, at least as near as my slender judgment can attain the same.
It is well known unto the godly, and judicious, how ever since the first breaking out of the light of the gospel, in our honorable nation of England (which was the first of nations, whom the Lord adorned therewith, after the gross darkness of popery which had covered and overspread the Christian world) what wars, and oppositions ever since Satan hath raised, maintained, and continued against the saints, from time, to time, in one sort, or other. Sometimes by bloody death and cruel torments, other whiles imprisonments, banishments, and other hard usages: as being loath his kingdom should go down, the truth prevail; and the churches of God revert to their ancient purity; and recover their primitive order, liberty, and beauty. But when he could not prevail by these means, against the main truths of the gospel, but that they began to take rooting in many places; being watered with the blood of the martyrs and blessed from Heaven with a gracious increase. He then began to take him to his ancient stratagems, used of old against the first Christians: that when by the bloody, and barbarous persecutions of the heathen emperors, he could not stop, and subvert the course of the gospel; but that it speedily overspread, with a wonderful celerity, the then best known parts of the world. He then began to sow errors, heresies, and wonderful dissensions amongst the professors themselves (working upon their pride, and ambition, with other corrupt passions, incident to all mortal men; yea to the saints themselves in some measure) by which woeful effects followed; as not only bitter contentions, and heartburnings, schisms, with other horrible confusions: but Satan took occasion and advantage thereby to foist in a number of vile ceremonies, with many unprofitable canons, and decrees which have since been as snares, to many poor, and peaceable souls, even to this day. So as in the ancient times, the persecutions