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Gratitude to God: Remembering William Bradford and the Mayflower Compact



William Bradford was a leader of the Pilgrim settlers of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, and became Governor of the Plymouth Colony. He was the second signer and primary architect of the Mayflower Compact, which was signed into law on November 11, 1620. As Governor of Plymouth, Bradford is also credited as being the first to proclaim what popular American culture viewed as the first Thanksgiving.


In his book Of Plymouth Plantation, William Bradford acknowledged God’s hand in the founding of these early pilgrim colonies. His words continue to give us hope that God will use our seemingly insignificant efforts to do great work. He wrote, “Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and, as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation.”


On his deathbed, Bradford said, “Though I bequeath you no estate, I leave you in the enjoyment of liberty.” Though we are not asked to leave our comfortable homes and settle in an unknown land, we can show gratitude to God for the blessing of this land, the sacrifices and faith of those early Pilgrims, and for His goodness as He continues to help us seek the good, true, and beautiful. Mercifully, in seeking the good, true, and beautiful, we inherently find Him, and upon finding Him, we are called to “shew for the praises of him who hath called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light.”


By Cortney Wright

Teacher of Classical Composition, Literature, Grammar, Spelling, Bible Study and French