America's Hidden History is full of interesting facts that we don’t learn is school about the early European settlers in North America.
We all like to think that they were a peaceful group struggling to survive in a new land. What I learned was that Pilgrims were killing Puritans for religious differences, Puritans were killing Pilgrims for religious reasons and everybody was killing Catholics. So much for brotherly love.
One story that especially touched me was about Anne Hutchinson. She was put on trial by the Puritan leaders for holding Bible studies in her home and telling people that 1) according to Scripture salvation in not determined by your own works, 2) that God can and will speak directly to one’s heart as well as through the Scriptures and 3) the Native Americans should be treated more humanely.
She was found guilty. She and her family were kicked out of Boston. A few years later she and all but one daughter were killed during an Indian raid. Her opponents looked at her demise as her just rewards for blaspheming God.
The Puritan leaders in Boston decided that to prevent anyone else from spreading false ideas they needed to establish the colony’s first college to train new clergymen. This college was built in the same location that Anne’s trial had taken place. In 1638, when John Harvard died leaving his four-hundred-volume library and half of his considerable estate to the school, it was renamed Harvard.
Someone recently said to me, “I know God won’t allow me to fail because in my heart I’m trying to do the right thing.” I thought of Anne. She was doing all the right things and was pleasing God but bad things still befell her. How foolish of us to think that just because we are doing good deeds we will reap nothing but good. God’s promises are greater than our circumstances. He cares more about the condition of our hearts and spirits and our relationship with Him. His plans for us are greater than our plans for ourselves. God’s good for life’s bad.