The Mayflower Compact is not the little car our Pilgrim forefathers drove after landing at Plymouth Rock. It is a short, powerful treatise on the purpose, policy and preservation of—not only these Pilgrims—but a new nation.
The Compact is our Nation’s first great governmental document. Signed before the Pilgrims even disembarked from the Mayflower, it revolutionized all governmental thoughts of the day. This one small document influenced all other constitutional instruments and set the stage for American exceptionalism.
The Mayflower Compact made clear the purpose of our Forefathers coming to a New World–the Gospel of Christ. They wrote, “having undertaken, for ye glorie of God, and advancement of ye Christian faith, and honour of our king & countrie, a voyage to plant ye first colonie in ye Northerne parts of Virginia”. There it is, they wanted to advance the Gospel of Jesus and build a home where freedom of faith would flourish.
The policy of America is explained in the very next paragraph of the Mayflower Compact: “doe by these presents solemnly & mutually in ye presence of God, and one of another, covenant & combine our selves together into a civil body politick, for our better ordering & preservation & furtherance”. Fully aware of the seriousness of the decision they were making these amazing men actually determined that they could and would govern themselves for the benefit of all. No despots. No kingly hierarchy. No Lords ruling the land. As the Signers of the Declaration of Independence one hundred fifty six years later would state “We, the People”.
How could these humble Pilgrims not only build, but maintain the Freedom of which they dreamed? The preservation of America can be seen in the wisdom of the system these God-gifted men employed: “by vertue hearof to enact, constitute, and frame such just & equall lawes, ordinances, acts, constitutions & offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete & convenient for ye general good of ye Colonie, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience”. There it is….we shall survive by governing ourselves. Again, no king ruling from on high. No dictator barking orders. The people would speak their will. And have we not lost sight of the last phrase, “all due submission and obedience”.
There is required submission and obedience for a civil society to survive. Imagine if all drivers did “what seemed right in their own eyes” at a busy intersection where the traffic lights have ceased functioning. To prevent confusion…and potential severe damage or even loss of life….there must be order and to that order we must submit.
This powerful document signed into being on November 11, 1620 off the shore of America still breathes life into our Republic today.
This Thanksgiving, enjoy your turkey and pumpkin pie, watch your football game and bask in the presence of your family. I pray that at some point in time today you thank God for granting our Pilgrim Forefathers great wisdom in dedicating America to HIM and giving us the blueprint for the Freedoms we enjoy.