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(solution) Long before Christopher Columbus sailed, Europeans had dreamed of

Long before Christopher Columbus sailed, Europeans had dreamed of a land of abundance, riches, and ease beyond the western horizon.  Once the "discovery" of this New World had taken place, they invented an America of the imagination, projecting onto it their hopes for a better life.  Here, many believed, would arise unparalleled opportunities for riches, or at least liberation from poverty.  Europeans envisioned America as a religious refuge, a society of equals, and a source of power and glory.  They searched the New World for golden cities and fountains of eternal youth.  Some of these dreams would indeed be fulfilled.  To many European settlers, America offered a far greater chance to own land and worship as they pleased than existed in Europe, with its rigid, unequal social order and official churches.  Yet the New World also became the site of many forms of unfree
The Divine Right to Occupy the Land by John Cotton (1630)


Web Version:



The placing of a people in this or that country is from the appointment of the


Lord. . .


Quest. Wherein doth this work of God stand in appointing a place for a people?


Answ. First, when God espies or discovers a land for a people, as in Ezek. 20:6:


"He brought them into a land that He had espied for them." And, that is, when either He


gives them to discover it themselves, or hears of it discovered by others, and fitting them.


Second, after He hath espied it, when He carrieth them along to it, so that they plainly see


a providence of God leading them from one country to another, as in Ex. 19.-4; "You


have seen how I have borne you as on eagles' wings, and brought you unto Myself" So


that though they met with many difficulties, yet He carried them high above them all, like


an eagle, flying over seas and rocks, and all hindrances.


Third, when He makes room for a people to dwell there, as in Ps. 80:9: "Thou


preparedst room for them. . ."


Now, God makes room for a people three ways: First, when He casts out the


enemies of a people before them by lawful war with the inhabitants, which God calls


them unto, as in Ps. 44:2- "Thou didst drive out the heathen before them." But this course


of warring against others and driving them out without provocation depends upon special


commission from God, or else it is not imitable.


Second, when He gives a foreign people favor in the eyes of any native people to


come and sit down with them, either by way of purchase, as Abraham did obtain the field


of Achpelah; or else when they give it in courtesy, as Pharaoh did the land of Goshen


unto the sons of Jacob.


Third, when He makes a country, though not altogether void of inhabitants, yet


void in that place where they reside. Where there is a vacant place, there is liberty for the


sons of Adam or Noah to come and inhabit, though they neither buy it nor ask their


leaves. . . . So that it is free from that common grant for any to take possession of vacant


countries. Indeed, no nation is to drive out another without special commission from


Heaven, such as the Israelites had, unless the natives do unjustly wrong them, and will


not recompense the wrongs done in a peaceable fort [way]. And then they may right


themselves by lawful war and subdue the country unto them- selves. . .


This may teach us all, where we now dwell or where after we may dwell: Be sure you


look at every place appointed to you from the hand of God. We may not rush into any


place and never say to God, "By Your leave." But we must discern how God appoints us


this place. There is poor comfort in sitting down in any place that you cannot say, "This


place is appointed me of God." Canst thou say that God spied out this place for thee, and


there hath settled thee above all hindrances? Didst thou find that God made room for the


either by lawful descent, or purchase, or gift, or other warrantable right? Why, then, this


is the place God hath appointed thee; here He hath made room for thee, He hath placed


thee in Rehoboth, in a peaceable place. This we must discern or else we are but intruders


upon God. And when we do withal discern that God giveth us these out- ward blessings



from His love in Christ, and maketh comfortable provision as well for our soul as for our


bodies by the means of grace, then do we enjoy our present possession as well by


gracious promise as by the common, and just, and bountiful providence of the Lord. Or,


if a man do remove, he must see that God hath espied out such a country for him. . .




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