Monday, November 29, 2010

The Man of the Big Pray

Edward Bulkeley, son of the English-American Puritan Peter Bulkeley (1583-1659), was known eminently as a man of prayer, as described by his descendant Ralph Waldo Emerson in a most interesting anecdote.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Life of Rev. Joseph Emerson, p. 442:

[Edward Bulkeley] was distinguished as a scholar, an author, and a preacher; and perhaps still more, for his ardor and gifts in prayer. Respecting this, tradition has left us an anecdote that is worthy of permanent record. When Concord [Massachusetts] has arrived at some degree of consideration, it attracted the notice of a neighboring tribe of Indians, who panted for its goods and thirsted for the blood of his inhabitants. Having conspired its destruction, they held a council upon the best time and means of attacking Concord. Several animating speeches were made in favor of the enterprise. At length an old chief arose, and said to this effect: "Brothers, your plan is not good; you cannot take Concord; the great spirit will not suffer it. Don't you know, Bulkley is there, the man of the big pray! You can never take Concord." This frustrated their plot and delivered Concord. This deliverance was no doubt in answer to the good man's prayers, though at that time he probably knew nothing of those machinations.

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