The Puritans Covenant With God As Revealed — страница 2

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captors constantly moved Mary from place to place, and despite her injury and subservient status, she was occasionally given special consideration. Mary attributed this compassion to God, not to the benevolence of the Indians. According to Mary, ?By the advantage of some brush which they had laid upon the raft to sit upon, I did not wet my foot (which many of themselves at the other end were mid-leg deep) which cannot but be acknowledged as a favor of God to my weakened body? (306). A special relationship with ?the man upstairs? inevitably results in special treatment, which seems to defy conventional explanation. Mary believed God was keeping His ever-watchful eye firmly affixed to her, and would never give her a greater hardship than she could bear. This exclusive relationship

the Puritans maintained with God is also evident in Mary Rowlandson?s observations about the Indians, and their success in their battles with the English. She wrote, ?I cannot but take notice of the strange providence of God in preserving the heathen… On that very day came the English army after them to this river, and saw the smoke of their wigwams, and yet this river put a stop to them. God did not give them courage or activity to go over after us. We were not ready for so great a mercy as victory and deliverance? (306). Incredibly, despite being separated from her family, and witnessing the deaths of her sister, child and neighbors, Mary did not believe that she had suffered enough for her sins against God. In her fleeting moments alone, when she could read the Bible one of

her charitable captors secured for her, Mary realized that her comfortable old life made her lose sight of her Puritan role as a ?chosen? person to follow in God?s footsteps. She became more influenced by superficiality than by spirituality. The Indian attack and her subsequent capture was the ?jolt? into reality both Mary and her fellow Puritans needed, as they retraced the journey of the historical Israelites. While nonbelievers may well have perished under similarly harrowing circumstances, Mary Rowlandson, miraculously, persevered. Whenever her situation looked particularly bleak, something would happen which would enable her to overcome. Mary?s covenant with God became her sustenance. She would find charity in the most unlikely places. As she recalled in her memoir, ?As I

was eating, another Indian said to me, he seems to be your good friend, but he killed two Englishmen at Sudbury, and there lie their clothes behind you: I looked behind me, and there I saw bloody clothes, with bullet-holes in them. Yet the Lord suffered not this wretch to do me any hurt? (321). Mary?s message is clear: Her Indian attackers were not evil in and of themselves. They were merely messengers of God. When one does not live up to his or her contractual obligations, sooner or later, there is ?pay-back time.? Mary Rowlandson was spiritually ?content? to bide her time until her God was satisfied that she had paid sufficient penance for her waywardness. Amazingly, although she frequently demonstrated her unflappable allegiance, the God Mary depicted in her narrative was not

always the traditional ?loving father? figure. He would inflict hardship on his people if He contended they had significant strayed from His teachings. It was God and His ?over-ruling hand? (324) which was halting the English from defeating the Indians. As Mary observed, ?It was thought, if their corn were cut down, they would starve and die with hunger, and all their corn that could be found, was destroyed, and they driven from that little they had in store, into the woods in the midst of winter; and yet how to admiration did the Lord preserve them for His holy ends, and the destruction of many still amongst the English! strangely did the Lord provide for them; that I did not see (all the time I was among them) one man, woman, or child, die with hunger.. yet by that God

strengthened them to be a scourge to His people? (324-325). Mary Rowlandson?s faith was eventually rewarded by her release and reunion with her family. The Indians had served their purpose as the devices of punishment for the sinning Puritans. Now, it was time to bring the nightmare to its end. Upon her release, a ?redeemed? Mary had written, ?Blessed be the Lord… for great is His power, and He can do whatsoever seemeth Him good… Now I have seen that scripture also fulfilled….If any of thine be driven out to the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee… And thine God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee (328). Although this story had a happy ending, at least for Mary Rowlandson and