Posted by: Santos Garcia | Friday, November 21, 2014

“The First Thanksgiving”

Acknowledging the Awesome Provision of GOD.

Acknowledging the Awesome Provision of GOD.

As in most areas of our contemporary American society, we must recover the Biblical Christian foundations in our national history.  There has been a clear agenda of taking GOD out of our educational system, our social and political arenas of discourse, and most glaringly in our western media’s united chorus of disdain for the Holy Bible, the LORD Jesus Christ as the ONLY way to YHVH, and the truth of His abundant life in the Eternal Kingdom offered to all mankind.  For my entire life over the past six (+) decades, I went from starting the day in public school in New York City with a simple prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, to the banning of prayer, eliminating the Scriptures, and anything related to Jesus, and the desperate moral breakdown of the generations- and now our entire way of life is sliding into the abyss!  In order for our nation and western civilization to survive, the church MUST be about the Father’s business, representing Him in reality as ambassadors of the Kingdom of GOD.

I have been fortunate to find literary resources that can help in the process of rescuing our culture, and one that stands out above the crowd is“The Light and the Glory” by Peter Marshall and David Manuel (384 pages in 18 chapters).  The authors cover the true history of North America from Christopher Columbus to George Washington, in an exciting and vivid manner.  When our children and grandchildren may ask us about America and its humble beginnings, this book would greatly encourage them in the truth as opposed to what is now being taught as clearly revisionist history.  This post focuses on the LORD’s providential care of the early Pilgrims, as one of many examples of Divine Intervention throughout this outstanding book.  Please enjoy the ‘story’ of the First Thanksgiving in our common history as a nation, and may we ALL have a Blessed Thanksgiving Holiday Season! 

"In everything give thanks, for this is the Will of GOD concerning you"

“In everything give thanks, for this is the Will of GOD concerning you”

 

Rejoicing in the family of man, according to GOD's Amazing Grace!

Rejoicing in the family of man, according to GOD’s Amazing Grace!

 

All excerpts are from Chapter 6- “GOD Our Maker Doth Provide”

Pg. 128… “If any one event could be singled out to mark the turning of their fortunes, it would have been what happened on a fair Friday in the middle of March.  The weather had slowly been warming, and with the iron grip of winter beginning to loosen its hold on the earth, the first shoots of green would soon be appearing.  The men were gathered in the common house to conclude their conference on military instruction, when the cry went up, “Indian coming!”… His name was Samoset.  He was a sagamore (or chief) of the Algonquins, from what is now Pemaquid Point in Maine…. He had been sent to explore the coast for the Council for New England… Apparently Samoset’s sole motivation was his love of travel, and he had learned his English from various fishing captains who had put in to the Maine shore over the years.

Now they asked the crucial question:  What could he tell them of the Indians hereabouts?  And the story he told gave every one of them cause to thank GOD in their hearts.  This area had always been the territory of the Patuxets, a large, hostile tribe who had barbarously murdered every white man who had landed on their shores.  But four years prior to the Pilgrims’ arrival, a mysterious plague had broken out among them, killing every man, woman, and child.  So complete was the devastation that the neighboring tribes had shunned the area ever since, convinced that some great supernatural spirit had destroyed the Patuxets.  Hence the cleared land on which they had settled literally belonged to no one!  Their nearest neighbors, said Samoset, were the Wampanoags, some fifty miles to the southwest.  These Indians numbered about sixty warriors.  Massasoit, their sachem (or chief), had such wisdom that he also ruled over several other small tribes in the general area.  And it was with Massasoit that Samoset had spent most of the past eight months…

…By the time he was done with his tale-telling, it was nightfall… That was the last they saw of him, until the following Thursday when he returned accompanied by another Indian who also spoke English, and who was- of all things, a Patuxet!  The second Indian was Squanto, and he was according to Bradford, “a special instrument sent of GOD for their good, beyond their expectation.”  The extraordinary chain of “coincidences” in this man’s life is in its own way no less extraordinary than the saga of Joseph’s being sold into slavery in Egypt.  Indeed, in the ensuing months there was not a doubt in any of their hearts that Squanto, whose Indian name was Tisquantum, was a Godsend.

On a Mission from GOD- Fulfilling his destiny!

On a Mission from GOD- Fulfilling his destiny!

His story really began in 1605, when Squanto and four other Indians were taken captive by Captain George Weymouth, who was exploring the New England coast at the behest of Sir Ferdinando Gorges.  The Indians were taken to England, where they were taught English, so that Gorges could question them as to what tribes populated New England, and where the most favorable places to establish colonies would be.  Squanto spent the next nine years in England, where he met Captain John Smith, recently of Virginia, who promised to take him back to his people on Cape Cod, as soon as he himself could get a command bound for there.  Actually, he did not have too long to wait.  On Smith’s 1614 voyage of mapping and exploring, Squanto was returned to the Patuxets, at the place Smith named New Plymouth.

Sailing with Smith’s expedition on another ship was Captain Thomas Hunt, whom Smith ordered to stay behind and dry their catch of fish and trade it for beaver skins before coming home.  But Hunt had another, more profitable cargo in mind.  As soon as Smith departed, he slipped back down the coast to Plymouth, where he lured twenty Patuxets aboard, including Squanto, apparently to barter, and promptly clapped them in irons.  He proceeded down to the Cape, where he scooped up seven unsuspecting Nausets.  All of these he took to Malaga, a notorious slave-trading port on the coast of Spain, where he got 20 pounds for each of them ($1400 a head).  No wonder the slave trade was such a temptation!  Most of them were shipped off to North Africa, but a few were bought and rescued by local friars, who introduced them to the Christian faith.  Thus did GOD begin Squanto’s preparation for the role he would play at Plymouth…

Replica of The Mayflower

Replica of The Mayflower

…When Squanto stepped ashore six months before the Pilgrims arrive, he received the most tragic blow of his life:  not a man, woman, or child of his tribe was left alive!  Nothing but skulls and bones and ruined dwellings remained.

Squanto wandered aimlessly through the lands he had played as a child, the woods where he learned to hunt, the place where he had looked forward to settling, once his career with the English was finished.  Now there was nothing.  In despair he wandered into Massasoit’s camp, because he had nowhere else to go.  And that chief, understanding his circumstances, took pity on him.  But Squanto merely existed, having lost all reason for living.

Fervent Supplication to GOD for help in the midst of extended crisis.

Fervent Supplication to GOD for help in the midst of extended crisis.

That is, this was his condition until Samoset brought news of a small colony of peaceful English families who were so hard pressed to stay alive, let alone plant a colony at Patuxet.  They would surely die of starvation, since they had little food and nothing to plant but English wheat and barley.  A light seemed to come back to Squanto’s eye, and he accompanied Samoset, when the latter came to Plymouth as Massasoit’s interpreter.  For the chief himself had come with all sixty of his warriors, painted in startling fashion…

…But out of the meeting came a peace treaty of mutual aid and assistance which would last forty years and would be a model for many that would be made thereafter.  Massasoit was a remarkable example of GOD’s providential care for His Pilgrims.  He was probably the only other chief on the northeast coast of America who (like Powhatan to the south) would have welcomed the white man as a friend.  And the Pilgrims took great pains not to abuse his acceptance of them.  On the contrary, the record of their relations with him and his people is a strong testimony to the love of Christ that was in them.

When Massasoit and his entourage finally left, Squanto stayed.  He had found his reason for living. These English are like little babes, so ignorant were they of the ways of the wild.  Well, he could certainly do something about that!  The next day, he went out and came back with all the eels he could hold in his hands– which the Pilgrims found to be “fat and sweet” and excellent eating.  How had he ever caught them?  He took several young men with him and taught them how to squash the eels out of the mud with their bare feet, and then catch them with their hands.

But the next thing he showed them was by far the most important, for it would save every one of their lives.  April was corn planting month in New England, as well as Virginia.  Squanto showed the Pilgrims how to plant corn the Indian way, hoeing six-foot squares in toward the center, putting down four or five kernels, and then fertilizing the corn with fish.  At that, the Pilgrims just shook their heads; in four months they had caught exactly one cod.  No matter, said Squanto cheerfully; in four days the creeks would be overflowing with fish.

The Pilgrims cast a baleful eye on their amazing friend, who seemed to have adopted them.  But Squanto ignored them and instructed the young men in how to make the weirs they would need to catch the fish.  Obediently the men did as he told them, and four days later the creeks for miles around were clogged with alewives making their spring run.  The Pilgrims did not catch them; they harvested them! 

So now the corn was planted.  Pointing spokelike to the center of each mound were three fishes, their heads almost touching.  Now, said Squanto, they would have to guard against wolves.  Seeing the familiar bewildered look on his charges’ faces, he added that the wolves would attempt to steal the fish.  The Pilgrims would have to guard it for two weeks, until it had a chance to decompose.  And so they did, and that summer, twenty full acres of corn began to flourish.

He IS Faithful, Even When We Are Not!

He IS Faithful, Even When We Are Not!

Squanto helped in a thousand similar ways, teaching them how to stalk deer, plant pumpkins among the corn, refine maple syrup from maple trees, discern which herbs were good to eat and good for medicine, and find the best berries.  But after the corn, there was one other specific thing he did which was of inestimable importance to their survival.  What little fishing they had done was a failure, and any plan for them to fish commercially was a certain fiasco.  So Squanto introduced them to the pelt of beaver, which was then in plentiful supply in northern New England, and in great demand throughout Europe.  And not only did he get them started, but he guided them in the trading, making sure they got their full money’s worth in top-quality pelts.  This would prove to be their economic deliverance, just as corn would be their physical deliverance…

[Many had died due to sickness and the bitter winters] …The sickness had ravaged them: only four of the couples who had arrived on the Mayflower still had each other, and a number had lost children.  Yet not one of the Pilgrims responded to Captain Jones’ entreaties [to return on his ship to England].  Something special had been born among them in the midst of the dying- they had shared the love of Jesus Christ in a way that only happens when people are willing to suffer together in His causes.  This was what they had come to the wilderness to find, and now none of them wished to leave it…

…Fear and discouragement… were two of satan’s most potent weapons.  These could be dealt with best by the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of GOD.  So passages of Scripture like Isaiah 41:8-10, read aloud in the blockhouse, would have lifted their hearts:

But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are My servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed for I AM your GOD;  I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My victorious Right Hand.

In May, as the weather began to warm up and the wild flowers were coming into full blossom, the little community had a occasion for real joy: their first wedding!…

…That summer of 1621 was beautiful.  Much work went into the building of new dwellings, and ten men were sent north up the coast in the sailing shallop to conduct trade with the Indians.  Squanto once again acted as their guide and interpreter.  It was a successful trip, and that fall’s harvest provided more than enough corn to see them through winter.

The Pilgrims were brimming over with gratitude- not only to Squanto and the Wampanoags who had been so friendly, but to their GOD.  In Him they had trusted, and He had honored their obedience beyond their dreams.  So, Governor Bradford declared a Day of public Thanksgiving, to be held in October.  Massasoit was invited, and unexpectedly arrived a day early- with ninety Indians!  Counting their numbers, the Pilgrims had to pray hard to keep from giving in to despair.  To feed such a crowd would cut deeply into their food supply that was supposed to get them through the winter.

He Cares For ALL of His Own Children!

He Cares For ALL of His Own Children!

 

But if they had leaned one thing through their travails, it was to trust GOD implicitly.  As it turned out, the Indians  were not arriving empty-handed.  Massasoit had commanded the braves to hunt for the occasion, and they arrived with no less than five dressed deer, and more than a dozen fat wild turkeys!  And they helped with the preparations, teaching the Pilgrim women how to make hoecakes and a tasty pudding out of cornmeal and maple syrup.  Finally, they showed them an Indian delicacy:  how to roast kernels in an earthen pot until they popped, fluffy and white- popcorn!

Sharing the Bounty of the LORD's Provision!

Sharing the Bounty of the LORD’s Provision!

The Pilgrims in turn provided many vegetables from their household gardens: carrots, onions, turnips, parsnips, cucumbers, radishes, beets, and cabbages.  Also, using some of their precious flour, they took summer fruit which the Indians had dried and introduced them to the likes of blueberry, apple, and cherry pies.  It was all washed down with sweet wine made from the wild grapes.  A joyous occasion for all!

Extended visit with 'new friends'...

Extended visit with ‘new friends’…

Between meals, the Pilgrims and Indians happily competed in shooting contests with gun and bow.  The Indians were especially delighted that John Alden and some of the younger men of the plantation were eager to join them in foot races and wrestling.  There were even military drills staged by Captain Standish.  Things went so well (and Massasoit showed no inclination to leave) that Thanksgiving Day was extended for three days.

Surely, one moment stood out in the Pilgrims’ memory- William Brewster’s prayer, as they began the festival.  They had so much for which to thank GOD:  for providing all their needs, even when their faith had not been up to believing that He would do so; for the lives of the departed and for taking them home to be with Him; for their friendship with the Indians- so extraordinary when settlers to the south of them had experienced the opposite; for all His remarkable providences in bringing them to this place and sustaining them.  [end of citation- sg]

“O Lord our God and heavenly Father, which of Thy unspeakable mercy towards us, hast provided meate and drinke for the nourishment of our weake bodies. Grant us peace to use them reverently, as from Thy hands, with thankful hearts: let Thy blessing rest upon these Thy good creatures, to our comfort and sustentation: and grant we humbly beseech Thee, good Lord, that as we doe hunger and thirst for this food of our bodies, so our soules may earnestly long after the food of eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, Amen.”

May ALL Who Love The LORD In Spirit & In Truth- Praise Him Forevermore For His Blessings Beyond Measure!

May ALL Who Love The LORD In Spirit & In Truth- Praise Him Forevermore For His Blessings Beyond Measure!

Happy Holy Thanksgiving to all who enjoy our sacred history!  in HIM ~Santos

“My Lighthouse”- Rend Collective

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