Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature: An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891. Vols. III: Colonial Literature, 16071764
Heresy in Marthas Vineyard
By Daniel Gookin (16121687)
[From Historical Collections of the Indians in New England. Written in 1674.]
AND here I may take occasion to mention a short, but true story, of certain Quakers, who landing upon that island, went to some of the Indian wigwams; and discoursing with some of the Indians that understood English, as divers of them do, the Quakers persuaded and urged the Indians to hearken to them; and told the Indians that they had a light within them, that was sufficient to guide them to happiness; and dissuaded the Indians from hearing Mr. Mayhew, or reading the Scriptures; and said, that those ministers that preached from, or used the Scriptures, were as Baals priests and hirelings, etc. And at last the Quakers offered the Indians some of their pamphlet books, which they always carry with them; exhorting the Indians to read them; and they would be of greater benefit to them than the Bible.
The Indians heard all this discourse patiently; and then one of the principal of them that could speak English, gravely answered the Quakers after this manner: You are strangers to us, and we like not your discourse. We know Mr. Mayhew, that he is a good and holy man; but you we know not. You tell us of a light within us, that will guide us to salvation; but our experience tells us that we are darkness and corruption, and all manner of evil within our hearts. You dehort us from using the Bible; but offer your books and commend them to us. We cannot receive your counsel, contrary to our own experience, and the advice and exhortations of our ancient and good teachers. Therefore we pray you, trouble us no further with your new doctrines; for we do not approve it.