A first-hand recount of William Penn from 1687, telling of his interactions with the natives.
“But what is most striking in Penns delineation of the Indians character, is the often repeated eulogy of the Indians natural piety. Again and again he dwells on the fact that the Indian shames the Christian in the sincerity of his religious belief and the correctness of his moral conduct”.
Describing the frugal meal that satisfies them, “pumpkin without butter or spice, the bare ground for a table, shells for spoons and leaves of the forest for plates”, he winds up exclaiming, “these wild men who never in their life heard Christs teaching of temperance and contentment, herein far surpass the Christian”
Ten years later he goes on again with his praises; “They live far more contented and unconcerned for the morrow than we Christians. They do not over-reach in trade. They know nothing of our everlasting pomp and stylishness. They neither curse nor swear, are temperate in food and drink, and if any of them get drunk, the fault of the Christians for the sake of accursed lucre”.
They intentionally liquored the Indians to cheat them. Even as absolute surety demonstrated the Indian surpassed them in every way as human beings, they still sought them to Christ as the only way of true living. It most certainly is not, but may soon become such through attrition—our course is set.
He said; “meanwhile, we use the wild man for day labor and gradually acquire their language and make them acquainted with the teachings of Christ”—1687
The arrogance of monotheism and the conceit of faith is not a virtue. We have little hope but a Herculean breakthrough of some type or another. It won’t come by belief, but by uncultured minds that don’t yet know it’s not possible.
Italics ref—Google Books
Vol 29, pp 68-69
Andover-Harvard Theological Library