The Mayflower Compact underlines in no uncertain terms the faith in God characteristic of America's early settlers.
The authoritative language is there. Even though present-day atheists attempt to rewrite history, what they cannot expunge from the historical annals are the exact quotations from persons and documents. They wrestle with interpretations to historical events, but they cannot erase that which is there as documented fact.
One of the main documents highlighting the colonists' faith in the God of the Bible is the Mayflower Compact. It became the "primary text" for researchers who would follow.
Note the words of colonial leader William Bradford:
"In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwriten, by the loyall subjects of our dread soveraigne Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britaine, Franc, and Ireland king, defender of the faith, etc.
"Haveing undertaken, for the glorie of God, and advancemente of the Christian faith, and honour of our king and countrie, a voyage to plant the first colonie in the Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine our selves togeather into a civill body politick, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by vertue hereof to enacte, constitute and frame shuch just and equall lawes, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete and convenient for the generall good of the Colonie, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.
"In witnes whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cap-Codd the .11. of November, in the year of the raigne of our soveraigne lord, King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fiftie-fourth. Anno Dom. 1620."
There was no apology from the early settlers when it came to their belief that their mission was God ordained. They were listening to the Holy Spirit. The Lord Himself was providing them with providential care. Therefore, they were more than willing to heed His every directive.
It was the Bible that was at their fingertips. It was the Bible that was preached forthrightly from the early Christian pulpits.. It was the Bible that was revered in the homes. From this Bible, colonists came to understand salvation and the will of the divine in their personal lives.
Therefore, when it came to such documents as the Mayflower Compact, it was as natural as breathing for the document to begin with "In the name of God, Amen." It was a matter of spiritual course for the wording to continue with underlining the "grace of God." Furthermore, there was attention given to the colonies' understanding of the "glorie of God." It was the "glorie" which they prayed for. It was the "glorie" that they revered and worshiped.
J. Grant Swank Jr.