From Here to Forever


Chapter 16—Seeking Freedom in a New World

Though the authority and creed of Rome were rejected, not a few of her ceremonies were incorporated into the worship of the Church of England. It was claimed that things not forbidden in Scripture were not intrinsically evil. Their observance tended to narrow the gulf which separated the reformed churches from Rome, and it was urged that they would promote acceptance of the Protestant faith by Romanists. HF 181.1

Another class did not so judge. They looked upon these customs as badges of the slavery from which they had been delivered. They reasoned that God has in His Word established the regulations governing His worship, and that men are not at liberty to add to these or to detract from them. Rome began by enjoining what God had not forbidden, and ended by forbidding what He had explicitly enjoined. HF 181.2

Many regarded the customs of the English Church as monuments of idolatry, and they could not unite in her worship. But the church, supported by civil authority, would permit no dissent. Unauthorized assemblies for worship were prohibited under penalty of imprisonment, exile, or death. HF 181.3

Hunted, persecuted, and imprisoned, Puritans could discern no promise of better days. Some, determined to seek refuge in Holland, were betrayed into the hands of their enemies. But steadfast perseverance finally conquered, and they found shelter on friendly shores. HF 181.4

They had left their houses and their means of livelihood. They were strangers in a strange land, forced to resort to untried occupations to earn their bread. But they lost no time in idleness or repining. They thanked God for the blessings granted them and found joy in unmolested spiritual communion. HF 181.5