Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647 Book 1, Chapters 1-3 Analysis
God’s providence– that is, protection and foresight– is among the most prominent styles in Of Plymouth Plantation, and Bradford starts to develop it in these first few chapters. According to Bradford, the Pilgrims become part of a choose group of Christians who actually practice Christianity as originally meant; in fact, he recommends that other Christians remain in the truest sense of the word not Christians at all.
The Pilgrims, simply put, are a kind of “picked” people, which Bradford states appears from both their behavior and their successes; their piety, Bradford recommends, undoubtedly impresses those around them, while their luck (i. e., their escape from the storm at sea) attests to the reality that they enjoy God’s favor. There is a tension here, nevertheless, since the Pilgrims rather plainly suffer their reasonable share of problems. More particularly, they make numerous enemies for themselves in England, which would appear to contradict the concept that their knowledge and devoutness are immediately obvious to anybody close by.
In the extremely first paragraphs of the book, however, Bradford offers his explanation for why this is so. The Pilgrims’ piety is immediately recognizable, however it is identifiable not just to those who follow God but likewise to those who (knowingly or not) follow the Devil. In other words, because the Pilgrims are members of the “real” Christian Church, they bring in the notification of evil forces working to undermine them. For this reason, Of Plymouth Plantation often checks out as if the Pilgrims were continually under siege.
Bradford continuously accentuates corrupt external forces that threaten the pureness or even existence of the Pilgrims’ community. Eventually, Bradford’s focus on the outer manifestations of the Pilgrims’ faith will pertain to resemble what the sociologist Max Weber called the “Protestant Work Principles.” The Pilgrims (and other Calvinist-based sects) stressed the teaching of predestination, which preserved that people could not accomplish salvation through their own actions: some were just destined to be saved, while others were predestined to be damned.
Paradoxically, nevertheless, this motivated numerous Protestants to work more difficult to make and conserve cash since this type of industriousness and diligence might be taken as signs that an individual was among the “elect,” or “conserved.” As a result, lots of Puritan settlers in the Americas did rather well financially. Surprisingly, nevertheless, the churchgoers at Leyden is not especially flourishing, however Bradford draws a spiritual lesson from this also: that worldly success is an interruption from the spiritual life that waits for humans after death