Randomness With Influence From God: William Bradford And The Puritan Movement

716 words - 3 pages

Language is the universal means by which man has communicated and conversed for thousands of years. Language is deeply rooted in entertaining via storytelling; however, also in the church. One principle thought of the Puritans was that most of the happenings are connected to God. This mindset is not very logical according to today’s standards but were a common belief during the 17th century. Religious explanation for earthly events is very prevalent in William Bradford’s writings. Are these events only sudden freak events that occur or are they really interference from a higher being?
Deaths in the 17th century were common occurrences, but when a health hearty seaman dies suddenly Bradford is suspect. Earlier in the voyage, this same “lusty” seaman was criticizing the seasick passengers. The seaman even threatened harsh decisions such as just throwing the sick travelers overboard to clear out some of the human cargo on the boat. He was overruled by the crew thankfully; however continued to curse often and distastefully. His untimely sickness and soon death was in Bradford’s words, “the just hand of God upon him.” (line 3-4 p. 60) This situational irony is comical because this lusty, able bodied seaman was one day complaining and insulting the ailing passengers then suddenly getting sick and coming quickly to the end of this time on Earth. In today’s society, this event would not necessarily be seen as revenge from God, but possibly a rare disease or possibly a tumor of some sort making him moody and aggressive. Whether or not this was God’s punishment or just a consequence is still a mystery, yet Bradford’s Puritain beliefs left him with no confusion.
Further on the journey, a young man by the name of John Howland was almost killed by the sea. He was above deck during a strong storm then the boat hit a wave, launching him into the air. He would have been taken by the sea if he had not caught ahold of a small pole. He held his grip until the other men could safely retrieve him from the waters edge. Bradford said, “it pleased God,” (pg. 60) that he did...

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