Cain helps Abel
In Spring God provided another extraordinary "special providence." At the end of March 1621 a solitary Indian walked out of the forest and up to them. Just when the colony was at its lowest strength, this tall Indian warrior walked boldly into the Plymouth settlement and startled the settlers by saying in English, "Welcome. I am Samoset." He explained to them how he had learned English while sailing on British ships. He also explained why there were no Indians at Plymouth. Plymouth was formerly the site of an Indian village, Patuxet. In 1617 all the Indians there had died of a disease. This was a three year preparation for the Pilgrims.
Samoset was from Maine and was visiting a tribe called the Wampanoag who lived about 40 miles away. Samoset explained that it was led by a friend of his, Chief Massasoit. The Pilgrims were amazed to speak to him. It was another obvious gift from God. Before he would answer their flood of questions, he asked for some food. They gave him some and also gave him a long red coat to wear because they were embarrassed because he was practically naked (like all religious people they were very modest). He told them that in 1617 the tribe that had lived where the Pilgrims had now settled had all died from some disease. Their tribe had been a large one and the Pilgrims thanked their lucky stars that they didn't have to fight anyone for Plymouth.
A few days later he brought an Indian named Squanto, saying that he "had been in England and could speak better English than himself."
Squanto also introduced them to Chief Massasoit and became their interpreter. Massasoit and the Pilgrims drew up a treaty and it ensured the Pilgrim's survival. This treaty was in effect for fifty years by the Chief and later his sons. God protected them and they knew it.
Squanto had been captured six years earlier by a captain of a trading ship who took him to Spain. Squanto escaped to England and came back. He was the only one of his whole tribe to survive. Brewster said of the death of the Indians and the corn: "It must have been the hand of God that guided our steps toward Plymouth." Squanto taught them how to plant and fertilize the seeds with fish. Their wheat and peas that they brought over did not grow but the lifesaving maize did and Squanto taught them how to fertilize it.
Bradford said Squanto was, "a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectations." How could they possibly imagine that there would be a savage Indian speaking English saving their life, welcoming them to the New World, and he had every reason to hate the white man for kidnapping him and taking him to Europe from which he had to escape!
Squanto fulfilled the role of Cain by restoring what the original Cain failed to do love, not kill, his brother. The Pilgrims were in the Abel position. Later Squanto accepted Christ and his last dying words were that they pray for his soul that it may be with Jesus in heaven. This unity of Cain and Abel is extraordinary. It is like the unity of Jacob and Esau and had tremendous consequences. It laid the foundation for America's blessing. America could become God's chosen nation.
He had been their first welcome to America, their guide, interpreter and teacher. In many ways he made their survival possible. Squanto stayed with them for the rest of his life. Massasoit's statue stands in Plymouth today, but perhaps it ought properly to be Squanto's, for the debt owed to him by the United States is incalculable. He was like a guardian angel.
Kate Caffrey writes of how amazing it is that Squanto would befriend the Pilgrims after the mistreatment by whites. It is a beautiful example of Cain forgiving and helping Abel. In her book The Mayflower, she writes: "Newfoundland; in 1619 Mason lent him to Captain John Dermer, who was setting out to explore the New England coast. Dermer dropped Squanto at Patuxet, or perhaps Squanto jumped ship there: it was the place his people came from. He found nothing left of them but bones: the Indians of Patuxet had all died of the plague two years before. Dermer died of arrow wounds on Martha's Vineyard early in 1620; Squanto, roaming upcountry looking for friendly shelter, threw in his lot with Massasoit."
After all his experiences it seems astonishing that Squanto was willing to go anywhere near a paleface ever again, but he proved to be worth his weight in gold to the Plantation. In the book Stepping Stones we read, "He taught them where and how to catch fish, how to find game, how to plant and tend their corn. This was highly important that first year."
"The soil was 'old ground', meaning it had been over-cropped. Squanto taught them to put two or three herring in each hill of corn for fertilizer. He told them how deep to plant and how to tend the corn. None of them had grown corn previously -- it was an Indian grain."
"Without this knowledge there might have been a meager crop and the second winter could have been worse than the first. With their home supplies now virtually depleted, they were largely dependent on the corn. Further, the improvident Adventurers sent them 35 more settlers - without provisions -- on the Fortune at the end of November. Here were 35 more mouths to feed. What had been thought an abundant harvest turned into an inadequate granary, and the colonists existed on half rations and what the sea and forest could provide. Without a good crop of corn, there would have been starvation."
In April the following Spring Captain Jones of the Mayflower stood before the Pilgrims and told them that he would take any of them who wanted to go back with him. But not one Pilgrim stood forward. They would not look back. Their commitment was total. Not one Pilgrim returned. And the story of their sufferings did not prevent their fellow church members in the Old World from joining them. Within a few years all who remained were reunited in the Plymouth colony.
No one asked to go back after all this death and suffering. They could easily have gone. They could have given up. They had experienced death of loved ones, disease, terror and extreme privation but they were undaunted and totally united. Nothing would stop them and they expected their friends and relatives to come which all did even after hearing of the terrors of America. The captain of the Mayflower thought they had the "hearts of lions", and indeed they did. The Pilgrims knew that what they were doing was a "miracle" of God.
They never doubted that God's will had placed them in the New World. As Bradford says, "as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone to many, yea in some sort to our whole nation."
It is so impressive that not one sailed back.
After the first harvest in the Fall of 1621 they celebrated their first Thanksgiving. The Indians celebrated with them. This is a case of Cain and Abel uniting. This laid the foundation for America to become God's champion.
The first thanksgiving was probably in October instead of the November date we celebrate. There were 140 people 90 Indians and 50 settlers.
During the first three years there was often a meager meal. They were lucky sometimes to have a thin bean porridge, or succotash made with beans and corn. Yet the meal was always served on a clean tablecloth. This was to show respect for God who gave these precious gifts.
The leaders had faults but many were genuine heroes. They were
They could laugh at their troubles in some of the worse times. During the 3 years of hunger one Pilgrim wrote a ballad, part of which had the following lines:
"The place where we live is a wilderness wood,
Where grass is much wanting that's fruitful and good;
Instead of pottage and puddings and custards and pies,
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies;
We have pumpkin at morning and pumpkin at noon;
If it was not for pumpkin we should be undoon."
Everyone, including children, worked from sunup to sunset. At sunset the children were taught their ABC's and religion. Then they had their evening meal. After the meal they read a chapter of the Bible and prayed together. The parents were loving and strict with their children. They taught their children that the hardships in the New World was a test of their faith in God.
Children worked all day. Every morning the head of the household read a chapter of the Bible and had prayers before breakfast.
The Pilgrims slept on the floor. Every morning they rolled up their sleeping bags and placed them in a corner out of the way. In the early history of the Unification Church in America, members slept in sleeping bags.
They wore russet or deep green. Many women had dark blue dresses with wide white collars. Brewster had a violet coat and a red cap. The stereotype that they dressed in black is wrong.
The Pilgrims worked relentlessly day and night. They had to tend to the corn constantly. At night they had to build huge bonfires and keep watch by shooting squirrels, rabbits and woodchucks that came at night to eat the plants. Boys spent days chasing away blackbirds and crows that tried to swoop down on the young plants. Squanto taught the children how to dig around the roots and find the cutworms and kill them.
Through everything, they sang often and loud. Rev. Moon also has a tradition of always singing. Through his long, tortuous life he has always sang songs. He teaches that we should always feel joy in being a son or daughter of God, no matter what is going on around us.