MEETING IN SECRET
OR a time all went well, but after a few months King James
was told that the people of Scrooby were not going to
Scrooby church. Everybody knew they were men and women who
worshiped God, so they must have meetings somewhere.
One Sabbath morning two strangers came to Scrooby. As they
walked through the street they noticed a number of people
going into William Brewster's house.
"I believe they are going there to worship," said one of
"I think so, too, but we will wait until we are sure,"
answered the other.
Far down the road they saw a carriage coming, so they
stepped behind a wall. The carriage came slowly on and
turned in at Brewster's gate. In it were John Robinson and
his family. The men knew this man was a pastor from the way
he was dressed, and so knew that they had found the place
where the people were at worship.
A little later they went into the house and up the stairs.
There in the chapel they found John Robinson preaching to
The strangers handed him a message from the king and left
 After Master Robinson had finished speaking, he read the
message. Even the little children felt that this letter
meant trouble for those who had come there to worship God.
"My friends," said their pastor, "King James has ordered us
to go to his church and worship according to the laws of
England, or not worship at all. He says if we do not obey
him we shall be punished."
What could the good men and women do? They did not believe
as the king did, and thought it was not right for them to go
to his church. They would not do what they believed to be
For several minutes all were silent. Then William Bradford
"This house will be watched every Sabbath," he said. "This
large, pleasant room has been our church home for a long
time, but it will not be safe to meet here any more."
After talking for a while about the best thing to be done,
the pastor prayed that God would help and protect them, and
all went sadly home.
After some time King James heard that the people were not
yet going to the village church, and again he sent his men
"Watch William Brewster's house and take every man who goes
there on Sunday," he said.
The next Sunday two soldiers watched that house. They
watched the front door and the
 back door, but not a person did they see. Had the people
obeyed the king and gone to the old church? No, indeed! The
soldiers were watching the wrong house. If they had been at
the other end of the village they might have seen where the
people went to worship that morning.
The next Sunday the worshipers met at Doctor Fuller's and
the week after that at Master Allerton's. Each Sabbath they
met in a different house, and each Sabbath the soldiers
tried to find them. At last they met only at night, when it
was harder for the soldiers to see where they went.
William Brewster was an elder in John Robinson's church. The
pastor did not live in Scrooby, and sometimes he was not
able to go to meeting. Then Elder Brewster led the service.
One very dark winter night they again met at Elder
Brewster's house. The last persons to come were Master
Chilton and his little daughter. Mary's face was pale, and
her hands trembled as she tried to untie her hood.
"What is the matter, Mary?" asked Mistress Brewster,
helping her to take off her wraps. "Are you so cold?"
" 'What is the matter, Mary' asked
"I have had such a fright!" said the child. "There are two
soldiers at your gate, Mistress Brewster. Father and I did
not see them until we were almost at the bridge. We did not
look toward the house but walked right by, as though
 we were not coming here. When we were sure they were not
following us, we went around and came in by the stable
Elder Brewster looked out of the window. Yes, there were two
men walking up and down in front of the house.
"Brewster's house is dark and still. There is no one there,"
said one. "They are obeying the king very well."
"No doubt they are all asleep, as we ought to be. I am stiff
with cold," answered the other,
 as they walked away. They would have been much surprised if
they had seen the little group on their knees in the dark
When the meeting was over they did not all go home at once.
The soldiers would notice so many people together and know
they had been to some place to worship.
Still King James did not believe the people were obeying
him. He thought if these soldiers could not find where the
meetings were held, he would send some who could.