Tears of Repentance, Book

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Full Title: Tears of repentance: Or, A further narrative of the progress of the Gospel amongst the Indians in New-England: Setting forth, not only their present state and condition, but sundry confessions of sin by diverse of the said Indians, wrought upon by the saving power of the Gospel; together with the manifestation of their faith and hope in Jesus Christ, and the work of grace upon their hearts. Related by Mr. Eliot and Mr. Mayhew, two faithful laborers in that work of the Lord. Published by the corporation for propagating the Gospel there, for the satisfaction and comfort of such as wish well thereunto

Excerpt from Original Text:

Monequassun, The Confession which he made on the Fast day before the great Assembly was as followeth

I Confess my sins before the Lord, and before men this day: a little while since I did commit many sins, both in my hands and heart; lusts thefts, and many other sins, and that e∣very day: and after I heard of praying to God, and that others prayed to God, my heart did not like it, but hated it, yea and mocked at it; and after they prayed at Cohannet I stil hated it, and when I heard the Word I did not like of it, but thought of running away, because I loved sin: but I loved the place of my dwelling, and therfore I thought I wil rather pray to God, and began to do it; a little I desired to learn the ten Commandements of God, and other points of Catechisme; and then a little I repented, but I was quickly weary of repentance, and fell again to sin, and full of evil thoughts was my heart: and then I played the Hypocrite, and my heart was full of sin: I learned some things, but did not do what God commanded, but I sinned and playd the Hypocrite; some things I did before man, but not before God. But afterward I feared because of my sins, and feared punishment for my sins, therefore I thought again I would run away; yet again I loving the place, would not run away, but would pray to God: and I asked a Question at the Lecture▪ which was this, How I should get wisdom? the Answer made me a little to understand: but afterward I heard the word If any man lack wisdom, let him ask it of God, who giveth liberal∣ly to all that ask, and upbraideth none. But then I did fear Gods anger, because of all my sins, because they were great. Afterward hearing that Word, That Christ is named Jesus, because he redeemeth us from all our sins: I thought Christ would not save me, because I repent not, for he savet only penitent Beleevers; but I am not such an one, but still a daily sinner.

TO HIS EXCELLENCY The Lord General CROMWEL.

What the Jews once said of their Centurion, He loved our Nation, and built us a Synagogue, the same may we affirm upon a more Noble Accompt of Your Lordship, and of those faithful Centurions and Soldiers under Your Conduct; by how much the Adventure of your Lives in the Cause of God, for the Good of your Country, is a more infallible Demonstration of your Love to it: for as much as the King of Saints, is also King of Nations, and when he shall be the desire of all Nations, will prove their safest Interest. Ʋpon consideration whereof, it was but equal that Mr. Eliot a faithful Laborer of Christ in spreading the Everlasting Gospel to the Poor Indians, should prefix Your Lordships Name to his Relation of the Progress of Divine Grace amongst them: And with his Judgment, We of the Corporation, who are subordinately intrusted, do so far concur, especially moved there unto by that liberal and Exemplary Contribution to this Glorious Work lately promoted by Your Lordship, and Your Officers with the Army, that we thought not fit either to sever that Narrative, and this of Mr. Mayhew‘s, or to send them abroad under any other Name to the Publick View.

Coopers-Hall, London,March, 26. 1653. Signed in the Name, and by the Appointment of the said Corporation, by William Steel, President.

To the much Honored Corporation in London, Chosen to Place of Publick Trust for the promoting of the Work of the Lord among the Indians in NEW-ENGLAND.

Worthy Sirs,

It hath not been from any disrespect to your selves, that I have not formerly directed to your Presence, and presented into your Hand, what have already been let go, which made Relation of the Work of God among the Indians in this Island (commonly called Martins Vineyard) This year there was an opportunity not to be refused, of certifying the Right Worshipful John Endicot Esquire, Governor of the Massachussets in New-England of what I had to communicate concerning the Indians, from whose hand also you will receive it; but yet I may not for several causes, neglect the writing to your selves the same things, with more particulars since adjoyned, in the conclusion to accompany the former unto your Pious and Prudent consideration, to which they are committed to be (as I have received them from God) the tokens of more Grace in store to be bestowed on Indian souls.

Highly esteemed in the Lord Jesus,

When the Lord first brought me to these poor Indians on the Vinyard, they were mighty zealous and ear∣nest in the Worship of False gods, and Devils; their False gods were many, both of things in Heaven, Earth, and Sea: And there they had their Men-gods, Women-gods, and Children-gods, their Companies, and Fellowships of gods, or Divine Powers, guiding things amongst men, besides innumerable more feigned gods belonging to many Creatures, to their Corn, and every Colour of it: The Devil also with his Angels had his Kingdom among them, in them; account him they did, the terror of the Living, the god of the Dead, under whose cruel power and into whose deformed likeness they conceived them∣selves to be translated when they died; for the same word they have for Devil, they use also for a Dead Man, in their Language: by him they were often hurt in their Bodies, distracted in their Minds, wherefore they had many meetings with their Pawwaws (who usually had a hand in their hurt) to pacifie the Devil by their Sacrifice, and get deliverance from their evil; I have sometimes marvelled to see the vehemency of their Spirits, which they acted with no less bodily violence therein. The Pawwaws counted their Imps their Preservers, had them treasured up in their bodies, which they brought forth to hurt their enemies, and heal their friends; who when they had done some notable Cure, would shew the Imp in the palm of his Hand to the Indians, who with much amazement looking on it, Deified them, then at all times seeking to them for cure in all sicknesses, and counsel in all cases: This Diabolical way they were in, giving heed to a multitude of Heathen Traditions of their gods, and many other things, under the observation whereof, they with much slavery were held, and abounding with sins, having only an obscure Notion of a good greater than all, which they call Mannit, but they knew not what he was, and therefore had no way to worship him.

What an entrance I had at first amongst these miserable Heathen, how called thereunto, and what success God blessed us with, hath been in some measure already published, which will I hope through the dew of Gods blessing from Heaven, have such a gracious increase, that the blossoming and budding time shal at least be acknowledged, and by many more God blessed for it, in the growth of the fruit to more maturity; Since it hath pleased God to send his Word to these poor captivated men (bondslaves to sin and Satan) he hath through mercy brought two hundred eighty three Indians (not coun∣ting yong children in the number) to renounce their false gods, Devils, and Pawwaws, and publickly in set meetings, before many witnesses, have they disclaimed the Divinity of their formerly adored multitude, defied their tyrannical Destroyer the Devil, and utterly refu∣sed the help of the Pawwaws in any case; neither have they at any time, either by threatnings or flatteries been drawn thereto, although their lives have been in hazard; yea, eight of their Pawwaws have forsaken their Devil∣lish craft, and profitable trade as they accounted it, for to embrace the Word and Way of God. The Indians which do pray to God, were not compelled thereto by power, neither also could they be allured by gifts, who received nothing for about seven years time, much less that which counterpoyse their troubles, and exceed to the drawing of them from the beloved waies of their own Worships: Surely it were great uncharitableness, and derogatory from the glory of God, to think that none of these are truly changed, and that God himself by his Word and Spirit, hath not in mercy prevailed in their hearts against these evils; nay, may we not hope and be perswaded by this, and some other appearances of God amongst them, that some of them are truly tur∣ned to God from Idols, to serve the Living and true God? Serve him, through mercy they do in some hopeful Reformations, walking inoffensively and diligently in their way, which I hope will more plainly appear when they are in a way more hopeful (by the blessing of God to their further well-being) which I hope will be in the best time.

I cannot but take notice of this good providence of God by the way, That he hath mercifully preserved all the Indians which call upon his Name (from the begin∣ing of the Work unto this day) from all extraordinary evil, whereby the Devil and Witches use to torment the Bodies and Minds of Men, not one of them or their children (as I know) or have heard have been touched by them in this kind (only a Pawwaw or two, have not been delivered from his Imps presently after his renouncing of them, but for some time have had the sence of them in his Body with much pain:) The mischief that the Pawwaws and Devils usually do to the common Indian this way, is both by outward and bodily hurt, or inward pain, torture, and distraction of mind, both which I have seen my self: To accomplish the first, the Devil doth abuse the real body of a Serpent, which comes directly towards the man in the house or in the field, looming or having a shadow about him like a man, and do shoot a bone (as they say) into the Indians Body, which sometimes killeth him. An instance whereof I can give, whereby it may the more plainly appear, that it is a great mercy to be delivered therefrom; and it is of a youth, who living with his Parents upon a neck of Land, They did not pray unto Jehovah, yet their Neighbors who lived there with them, did; This Youth was hurt after the same manner, and then presently his Parents pulled down the house they lived in, and fled to an Island near by, where I saw the Indian thus hurt in his Thigh, he was grievously tormented, and his Kindred about him mourning, not knowing where to find any comfort, or help, for cure could not be had from their gods or Pawwaws: I then took the opportunity to reason with them about their way, with the best wisdom God gave me, but all in vain, for they would not hear to seek the true God, notwithstanding he had shewn his displeasure so apparantly against them for their former refusing of Him, but they still followed on their wonted Serpentine Machinations: The Pawwaws, and their devillish train, with their horrible outcries, hollow bleatings, painful wrestlings, and smiting their own bodies, sought delive∣rance, but all in vain, for he died miserably. Hereby, and by several other things, I perceive that they are not (in a manner) indifferent, whether they serve their own gods or not, or change them (as some think) for they are naturally like the Heathens of Chittim and Kedar, which would not change their gods, which yet are no gods; when God blames his people for changing their glory for that which doth not profit; I hope therefore that it is something of Grace, that many chuse to worship the true God. But touching the former vexing mischiefs, A Sachem, and no good friend to the work, could not but acknowledg the blessing of God among the Praying Indians; When I came over (said he) at the further end of the Island, there was a storm (mentioning the aforesaid evils, with some more) but when I came to this end I found a calm, the Praying Indians were all well, they arose in the morning, Prayed to God, and went about their business, and they are not hurt nor troubled like the other Indians: And the Pawwaws themselves, some of them do say, That they cannot make their Power seize on any of them: Questionless they have tried their Skill, and Satan hath not been wanting to assist them, who is so unwilling to fall down from his Rule, and to be driven from his old Possessions. A Pawwaw told me, who was of no small note among the Heathen formerly, and also with the best, now he hath forsaken his Pawwawing, That after he had been brought by the Word of God to hate the Devil, and to renounce his Imps (which he did publickly) that yet his Imps remained still in him for some months tormenting of his flesh, and troubling of his mind, that he could never be at rest, either sleeping or waking: At length one time when I went down to keep the farthest Lecture about seven miles off, he asked me some Questions, whereof this was one, viz. That if a Pawwaw had his Imps gone from him, what he should have instead of them to preserve him? Whereunto it was Answered, That if he did beleeve in Christ Jesus, he should have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in him, which is a good and a strong Spirit, and will keep him so safe, that all the Devils in Hell, and Pawwaws on Earth, should not be a∣ble to do him any hurt; and that if he did set himself a∣gainst his Imps, by the strength of God they should all flee away like Muskeetoes: He told me, That he did much desire the Lord, it might be so with him. He further said, That ever since that very time God hath in mercy delivered him from them, he is not troubled with any pain (as formerly) in his Bed, nor dreadful visions of the night, but through the blessing of God, he doth lie down in ease, sleeps quietly, wakes in Peace, and walks in safety, for which he is very glad, and praises God.

This last spring, the Indians of their own accord made a motion to me they might have some way ordered a∣mongst them, as a means whereby they might Walk in good Subjection to the Law of God, wherunto they desi∣red to enter into Covenant; they told me that they were very desirous to have their sins suppressed which God did forbid, and the duties performed, which he hath Commanded in his Word; and thereunto they desired me to inform them, what punishment the Lord did appoint to be inflicted on those which did break any part of His Law, for they were very willing to sub∣mit themselves to what the will of the Lord is in this kind. I was not willing on the sudden to draw forth in writing an Answer to their desire, but rather chose to take a longer time of Consideration in a Work of so great Concernment, and refer them to the Word of God, shewing them many places for their information, most whereof they had heard of formerly: They also fur∣ther desired, That they might have some men Chosen amongst them with my father and my self, to see that the Indians did walk orderly, and that such might be incouraged, but that those which did not, might be dealt with acording to the word of the Lord; I could not but approve and incourage the motion, seeing they spake not as those in Psal. 2. 3. Let us break their bands asunder and cast away their cords from us, but sought totall subjection and strict obedience to God: yet I told them that it was a matter of great weight, shewing them many things which I thought necessary for them to know, but need∣less now to relate. A day of fasting and prayer to repent of our sins, and seek the gracious help of our God for Christ Jesus sake, we appointed; and another shortly after to finish the work in: Some of the Indians spake somthing for their benefit; and about ten, or twelve of them prayed, not with any set Form like Children, but like Men indued with a good measure of the knowledg of God, their own wants, and the wants of others, with much affection, and many Spiritual Petitions, savoring of a Heavenly mind; and so are they streitned in respect of help from man, that it appears the more plainly to be the Dictates of Gods Spirit. A Platform of the Covenant in Answer to their desires, I drew forth the same morning in the Indian Language, which I have here sent in English.

Wee the distressed Indians of the Vineyard (or Nope, the Indian name of the Island) That beyond all memory have been without the True God, without a Teacher, and without a Law, the very Servants of Sin and Satan, and without Peace, for God did justly vex us for our sins; having lately through his mercy heard of the Name of the True God, the Name of his Son Christ Jesus, with the holy Ghost, the Comforter, three Persons, but one most Glorious God, whose Name is JEHOVAH: We do praise His Glorious Greatness, and in the sorrow of our hearts, and shame of our faces, we do acknowledg and renounce our great and many sins, that we and our Fathers have lived in, do run unto him for mercy, and pardon for Christ Jesus sake; and we do this day through the blessing of God upon us, and trusting to his gracious help, give up ourselves in this Covenant, Wee, our Wives, and Children, to serve JEHOVAH: And we do this day chuse JEHOVAH to be our God in Christ Jesus, our Teacher, our Law-giver in his Word, our King, our Judg, our Ruler by his Magistrates and Ministers; to fear God Himself, and to trust in Him alone for Salvation, both of Soul and Body, in this present Life, and the Everlasting Life to come, through his mercy in Christ Jesus our Savior, and Redeemer, and by the might of his Holy Spirit; to whom with the Father and Son, be all Glory everlasting. Amen.

After I had often read this Covenant and expounded it unto them, they all with free Consent willingly and thankfully joyned therein, and desired Jehovah his blessing for Jesus Christ his sake, the Lord be gracious to our beginnings.

Within two or three weeks there came an Indian to me in business, and by the way he told me, that some Indians had lately kept a day of Repentance to humble themselves before God in prayer, and that the word of God which one of them spake unto, for their Instructi∣on, was Psal. 66. 7. He ruleth by his Power for ever, his eyes behold the nations, let not the rebellious exalt themselves. I asked him what their end was in keeping such a day? He told me those six things: First, they desired, That God would slay the rebellion of their hearts. Secondly, That they might love God, and one another. Thirdly, That they might withstand the evil words and temptations of wicked men, and not to be drawn back from God. Fourthly, That they might be obedient to the good Words and Commands of their Rulers. Fiftly, That they might have their sins done away by the Redemption of Jesus Christ. And Lastly, That they might walk in Christs way.

Cite this page:

Eliot, J. and Mayhew, T., Mather, R.. 1653. "Tears of Repentance, Book." History of Higher Education. https://higheredhistory.gmu.edu/primary-sources/tears-of-repentance/