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deluded votaries. They were constantly applied to for advice and protection; and, by the practice of ridiculous tricks, and cruel ceremonies, they wrought effectually on the imaginations of their poor followers. Many wonderful stories are related about their skill in curing the sick, and leading the gods to satisfy their desires.
The morality of the American savages, as we may naturally expect from a consideration of their depraved theology, was extremely lax. Strangers to the gentle affections of mankind, they prosecuted their enemies with unrelenting cruelty, and seldom extended forgiveness to those who had offended them. They even considered themselves bound to avenge the injuries of their friends. A natural consequence of this was a frequency in wars--in carrying on which they used bows and arrows, tomahawks, and scalping-knives. They were much addicted to lying, stealing, and impurity,—and they indulged in drunkenness, as far as they possessed the means of gratifying their desires in this respect. They delighted greatly in dancings and revellings, and wasted much of their time in gaming.
The Indians mouined much for the dead. When they came to a grave, they appeared to be deeply affected with grief; and after they
finished an interment, they made great lamentation. They believed in the immortality of the soul,—but the joys of their heaven, which was supposed to be in the south-west, were entirely of a carnal kind. &
Such is a brief account of the poor Pagans among whom Mr Eliot proposed to labour ; and it must be evident from it, that though their wretched condition loudly called for the interference of Christian benevolence, there were many circumstances connected with them, calculated to repel, and few to attract his attentions. The Holy Spirit, however, who had set him apart for the work of evangelizing them, had inspired him with those feelings and desires, which led him to overlook whatever was repugnant in their situation and character, and to trust in the efficacy of that word of God, which is “ sharper than any two
& Roger Williams' Key into the language of. America, in Coll. of Mass. Hist. Soc. vol. iii. p. 203—238. Winslow's Account of New England, annexed to his Narrative of the Plantations, A. D. 1624, apud Belknap's American Biography, vol. ii. New-Englands' Plantation, London, 1630. Hutch. Hist. of Mass. Bay, chap. vi. Gookin, in Coll. of Mass. Hist. Soc. vol. i. Mather, b. iii. p. 191–193,-b. vi. p. 50-53. Neal's Hist. New-England, vol. i. p. 22–46.
edged sword, and mighty, through God, to the pulling down of strong-holds," -and in the suitableness of that gospel, which is “the wisdom and the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” In this respect, his views were infinitely more just than those of some individuals, in the present day, who, overlooking the plainest declarations of the word of truth, and the most striking events in the history of the church, and of missions, are inclined to excuse their indolence, and want of faith, and want of feeling, by alleging, that man must be civilized, before an attempt should be made to Christianize him.
“ Mr Eliot,” says Major Gooking in his Historical Collections of the Indians in New-England, “ engaged in this great work of preaching unto the Indians, upon a very pure and sincere account; for I, being his neighbour and intimate friend, at the time when he first attempted this enterprize, he was pleased to communicate unto me his design, and the motives that induced him thereunto; which, as I remember, were principally these three : First, the glory of God, in the conversion of some of these poor desolate souls. Secondly, his compassion and ardent affection to them, as of mankind in their great blindness and
ignorance.' Thirdly, and not the least, to endeavour, as far as in him lay, the accomplishment and fulfilling the covenant and promise that NewEngland people had made to their king, when he granted them their patent or charter, viz. that one principal end of their going to plant these countries was, to communicate the gospel unto the native Indians. By that which hath been said in this particular, it doth evidently appear that they were heroic, noble, and Christian principles, that induced this precious servant of Christ to enter upon this work, and not any carnal or by-ends, for in those times nothing of outward encouragement did appear.
:”h Dr Mather gives a similar testimony to the exalted character of Mr Eliot's motives for engaging in the work of an evangelist, and observes, that the “ remarkable zeal of the Romish missionaries, compassing sea and land, that they might make proselytes, made his devout soul think of it with a further disdain, that we should come any
whit behind in our care to evangelize the Indians." i
h Magnalia, b. iii. p. 191.
Eliot acquires the Indian language-Account of his four
first visits to the Indians, and the impressions produced by his sermons and conversations-His application to the General Court of Massachusetts in behalf of the Indians-Grant of land to the Indians by the Court-Nonanetum built under Eliot's directionProgress of the Indians in civilization-Eliot establishes a lecture at Neponsitt-Extract from one of his letters relating his success in the conversion of the Indians-Facts illustrative of the preceding extract.
The first object to which Mr Eliot directed his attention, after he had resolved, in the strength of the Lord, to attempt the instruction of the Indians, was, the acquisition of their language. A perfect knowledge of this he conceived to be indispensably necessary to his success ; and accordingly he resolved to use whatever means were within his reach, with the view of being enabled to communicate the truths of the gospel to the poor heathen with whom he was surrounded. a
· Mather, b, iii. p. 193.