It had to be a solemn, tearful, yet joyful moment when with hugs and fond farewells the Pilgrims said goodbye at Leyden. This small local church had voted for about one half of their members to go to America. Their journey for religious liberty had taken them from Scrooby, England, to Leyden, Holland. Now it was off to America.
The day before they left Leyden was spent in fasting and prayer along with a message from their much loved pastor, John Robinson. He preached from Ezra 8:21, “Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of Him a right way for us, and our little ones, and for all our substance.” Then this small band of Christian Pilgrims embarked in a small Dutch boat for Southampton, England.
The loving pastor had one last exhortation for his departing members. This was in the form of a letter dated July 27, 1620. He challenged them to practice five things. First, they were to renew their relationship with their Lord each day through repentance and prayer. Secondly, they were to work at being at peace with all men. He warned them of the attacks of Satan. The third admonition was to be willing to bear the crosses that God put upon them in the new land. They should not complain or take offense at God. The fourth challenge was to not become lazy and seek selfish advantage. Lastly, they were warned not to esteem any elected official higher than anyone else.
Each of us is on a journey- not across the Atlantic but on the path of life. Maybe today we could determine anew to follow the encouragement given by Dr. John Robinson and live a more dedicated and less, selfish life.
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,” Matt. 6:33