Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

good to call our company together; and when . they were assembled, said unto them; my dear friends, let us know ourselves, and how it standeth with us. We are men cast on land, as Jonas was, out of the whale's belly, when we were as buried in the deep : and now we are on land, we are but between death and life; for we are beyond both the old world and the new ; and whether ever we shall see Europe, God only knoweth. It is a kind of miracle hath brought us hither: and it must be little less that shall bring us hence. Therefore in regard of our deliverance past, and our danger present and to come, let us look up to God, and every man reform his own ways. Besides we are come here amongst a christian people, full of piety and humanity : let us not bring that confusion of face upon ourselves, as to shew our vices, or unworthiness before them. Yet there is more : for they have by commandment, (though in form of courtesy,) cloyster'd us within these walls for three days: who knoweth, whether it be not to take some taste of our manners and conditions: And if they find them bad, to banish us straightways; if good, to give us farther time. For these men, that they have given us for attendance, may withal have an eye upon us. Therefore for God's love, and as we love the weal of our souls and bodies, let us so behave ourselves, as we may be at peace with

* God, and may find grace in the eyes of this people. Our company with one voice thanked me for my good admonition, and promised me to live soberly ahd civilly, and without giving any the least occasion of offence. So we spent our three days joyfully, and without care, in expectation of what would be done with us, when they were expired. During which time, we had every hour joy of the amendment of our sick; who thought themselves cast into some divine pool of healing; they mended so kindly, and so fast. The morrow after our three days were past, there came to us a new man that we had not seen before, cloathed in blue as the former was, save that his turban was white, with a small red cross on the top. He had also a tippet of fine linen. At his coming in he did bend to us a little, and put his arms abroad. We of our parts saluted him in a very lowly and submissive manner; as looking that from him we should receive sentence of life or death. He desired to speak with some few of us; whereupon six of us only stayed, and the rest avoided the room. He said; I am by office governor of this house of strangers, and by vocation I am a christian priest; and therefore am come to you, to offer you my service, both as strangers, and chiefly as Christians. Somethings I may tell you, which I think you will not be unwilling to hear. The state hath given you licence to stay on land for the space of six weeks: and let it not trouble you if your occasions ask farther time, for the law in this point is not precise; and I do not doubt but myself shall be able to obtain for you such farther time as may be convenient. Ye shall also understand, that the strangers house is at this time rich, and much beforehand; for it hath laid up revenue these thirty-seven years; for so long it is since any stranger arrived in this part : and therefore take ye no care; the state will defray you all the time you stay; neither shall you stay one day the less for that. As for any merchandize you have brought, ye shall be well used, and have your return either in merchandize, or in gold and silver; for to us it is all one. And if you have any other request to make, hide it not. For ye shall find, we will not make your countenance to fall by the answer ye shall receive. Only this I must tell you, that none of you must go above a karan, (that is with them a mile and an half) from the walls of the city without special leave. We answered, after we had looked a while upon one another, admiring this gracious and parent-like usage; that we could not tel; what to say; for we wanted words to express our thanks; and his noble free offers left us nothing to ask. It seemed to us, that we had before us a picture of our salvation in heaven ; for we that were a while since in the jaws of death, were now brought into a place, where we found nothing but consolations. For the commandment laid upon us, we would not fail to obey it, though it was impossible but our hearts should be inflamed to tread farther upon this happy and holy ground. We added; that our tongues should first cleave to the roofs of our mouths, ere we should forget, either his reverend person, or this whole nation in our prayers. We also mosthumbly besought him to accept of us as his true servants, by as just a right as ever men on earth were bounden, laying and presenting, both our persons, and all we had at his feet. He said; he was a priest, and looked for a priest's reward; which was our brotherly love, and the good of our souls and bodies. So he went from us, not without tears of tenderness in his eyes; and left us also confused with joy and kindness, saying amongst ourselves, that we were come into a land of angels, which did appear to us daily, and present us with comforts which we thought not of, much less expected. The next day about ten of the clock, the governor came to us again, and after salutations said familiarly ; that he was come to visit us; and called for a chair, and sat him down; and we being some ten of us (the rest were of the meaner sort, or else gone abroad) sat down with him. And when we were set, he begun thus: We of this. island of Bensalem (for so they call it in their language) have this ; that by means of our solitary situation, and the laws of secrecy which we have for our travellers, and our rare admission of strangers; we know well most part of the habitable world, and are ourselves unknown. Therefore because he that knoweth least is fittest to ask questions, it is more reason for the entertainment of the time, that ye ask me questions, than that I ask you. We answered; that we humbly thanked him, that he would give us leave so to do; and that we conceived by the taste we had already, that there was no worldly thing on earth more worthy to be known, than the state of that happy land. But above all (we said) since that we were met from the several ends of the world, and hoped assuredly that we should meet one day in the kingdom of heaven (for that we were both parts Christians :) we desired to know (in respect that land was so remote, and so divided by vast and unknown seas, from the land where our Saviour walked on earth) who was the Apostle of that nation, and how it was converted to the faith ? It appeared in his face that he took great contentment in this our question: he said, ye knit my heart to you, by asking this question in the first place; for it sheweth that you first seek the kingdom of

« ZurückWeiter »