The Pilgrims had a spiritual impetus to what they did, where they went, and what they thought. It was not a political agenda that governed their futures. It was belief in God and His guidance that would propel them and their future generations into what God had planned for the new country.
With the Pilgrims, there was a conviction that they were to separate themselves unto the holiness of God. They took seriously the admonition of the apostle Paul in II Corinthians: "Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord."
William Bradford set forth the mindset of the Pilgrims when he said they had "great hope, for the propagating and advancing the gospell of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world."
In other words, the Pilgrims were on a divine mission. It was not egocentric. It was God ordained. They were to answer to God in their daily lives. They were going to answer to God for what they did with their new land. In that new geography they would have the chance to give forth the gospel - the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.
There are those in present-day textbook writing who would never include that fact in the pages read by today's pupils. However, it is history. Therefore, there are those intent on putting back into the public schools' texts that spiritual truth about America's start. That will include such statements as William Bradford.
This settlers' new world would become a light - a beacon for God, from God. These early settlers regarded themselves "agents of Providence." They would live out a divine narrative. William Bradford underscored that thought in his writings.
John Winthrop, Puritan, wrote that the New World would eventuate as the divine light shining as a "citty upon a hill." It would be the "citty" of God. It would be a reflection of the holy Jerusalem. It would be inhabited by those who feared God, loved God, served God.
So when a passenger aboard ship was saved from drowning, those watching on regarded it as the Lord's deliverance. When Puritans came upon corn to eat, it was providential. Other instances of blessing were looked upon as "the spetiall providence of God" lived out in everyday life by the obedient believers.
Today's America is in need of a spiritual reawakening. It may come upon just that as the righteous remnant remains faithful in prayer and thanksgiving.
J. Grant Swank Jr.