The History of Plymouth Plantation: God

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The presence of God is evident in the passage from The History of Plymouth Plantation in every event significant or not. In his diary, William Bradford describes several occurrences in which God played a major role in deciding the outcome. According to Bradford, God can help or hurt according to His will.

The first of these displays of God's will in this passage was of revenge toward a sailor. He was as Bradford described him "a proud and very profane young man... of a lusty, able body." The sailor would "always be condemning the poor people" of the Mayflower because of their seasickness. The sailor went as far as to say that he hoped to help cast them overboard before they reached the mainland. Bradford believed that God was pleased to smite this young man with a grievous disease and ironically cause him to be the first to die and be thrown overboard. This proves that Bradford's god is all-powerful and able to seek and gain revenge against those who go against god's chosen people.

In a later reference, God helps "one of his chosen people" survive during a storm. A young man named of John Howard was coming up from below deck when he was swept overboard. But, because it pleased God, the man grasped a main line and was able to be saved. Bradford believed that because the man was saved he was one of God's chosen people and, therefore, later went on to become an important member of their society. This incident verifies that Bradford believes that God punishes bad people but keeps his chosen out of harm's way.

In this passage, there are also several allusions to events that take place in past religious writings including the Bible. In one, Bradford speaks of Mount Pisgah, where the Hebrews could see what lay before them. Bradford infers that the pilgrims have it harder because they do not know what lies ahead of them. In another citation he speaks of "wise" Seneca, who said he would rather take 20 years and go by land than in shorter...
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