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‘ [304] things, active if the thing commanded be not against
Chap. VIII.} 1617.
God's word, or passive if it be.’ They denied all power to ecclesiastical bodies, unless it were given by the temporal magistrate. They pledged themselves to honor their superiors, and to preserve unity of spirit in peace with all men. ‘Divers selecte gentlemen of the council for Virginia were well satisfied with their statement, and resolved to set forward their desire.’ The London company listened very willingly to their proposal, so that their agents ‘found God going along with them;’ and, through the influence of ‘Sir Edwin Sandys, a religious gentleman then living,’ a patent might at once have been taken, had not the envoys desired first to consult ‘the multitude’ at Leyden.

On the fifteenth of December, 1617, the Pilgrims transmitted their formal request, signed by the hands of the greatest part of the congregation. ‘We are well weaned,’ added Robinson and Brewster, ‘from the delicate milk of our mother country, and inured to the difficulties of a strange land; the people are industrious and frugal. We are knit together as a body in a most sacred covenant of the Lord, of the violation whereof we make great conscience, and by virtue whereof we hold ourselves straitly tied to all care of each other's good, and of the whole. It is not with us as with men whom small things can discourage.’

The messengers of the Pilgrims, satisfied with their reception by the Virginia company, petitioned the king for liberty of religion, to be confirmed under the king's broad seal. But here they encountered insurmountable difficulties. Of all men in the government of that day, Lord Bacon had given the most attention

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