Stranger and Pilgrim – Part Two

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william brewster


After joining himself to the Pilgrim congregation, Brewster was a “special help and support to them.”opening his home to them for meeting at “great expense to himself”. An elder who took seriously the command to “lover of hospitality” (Titus 1:8) and did so “without grudging” (1 Peter 4:9).

Brewster’s association with the Pilgrims, his freedom as “[h]e was the leader of those who were captured at Boston in Lincolnshire, suffering the greatest loss, and one of the seven who were kept longest in prison”. Suffering continued even after the move to Holland when Brewster found great difficulty in finding employment, though always bearing “his troubles with much cheerfulness and contentment.” His diligence eventually was rewarded when “through his knowledge of Latin he was able to teach many foreign students English.” In addition he employed a printing press, publishing many books which were banned in England.

The entire ordeal would try him yet again though with the move to America. Yet his spirit grew only brighter, for “he was in no way unwilling to take his part and bear his burden with the rest, living often for many months without corn or bread, with nothing but fish to eat, and often not even that…yet by the blessing of God he lived in health to a very old age.”. A living testimony that “in the days of famine they [upright] shall be satisfied” (Psalm 37:19) living a full life laboring “in the fields as long as he was able” teaching in the church when no minister could fill the office “to the edification and comfort of his hearers, many being brought to God by his ministry. He did more in this way in a single year, than many who have their hundreds a year to do in all their lives.”

As for who he was as person he was “wise” and a man of discretion on the one hand while also cheerful and “very sociable and pleasant among his friends” – in stark contrast to the gloomy one-dimensional personalities we are led to believe characterized our Pilgrim forefathers. Throughout his long life, William Brewster was a beloved man who kept the course of faith despite great trial and temptations. Yet such strength is not reserved only for those we consider “great in faith”. William Brewster was a human being with sins, failings, and fears just like us. And his Heavenly Father is our Heavenly Father Who still delights in girding us with strength when we trust in Him. (Psalm 18:32) Run the race and listen for the cheers.


Kenzi Knapp is a follower of Christ, homeschool graduate and student of history. A fourth generation Missourian she enjoys writing about daily life enrolled in Gods great course of faith and His story throughout the ages at her blog, Honey Rock Hills.



Source: Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford, rendered into modern English by Harold Paget in 1909 and published by The Vision Forum 2009: p. 316-318

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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).