In J. R. R. Tolkien’s fictional universe shaped by his deep knowledge of European mythology and history, there was a race of men known as the Numenor. They were the most deeply learned, noble, conscientious and advanced of the men who lived in Middle Earth or the “West”. They lived on an island off the mainland of Middle Earth, an Atlantis of sorts and thrived there. They were allied with the free peoples of Middle Earth and fought against the dark forces there with them. In their victory, they succumbed to the wiles of those they had defeated. Their enemy decided he couldn’t overcome them in force of arms and was captured. He was highly intelligent and flattering, and ever slowly persuaded the Numenoreans to question their religion, civilization, and very identity. Through this corruption their power and influence turned to evil, they began to meddle in the affairs of other peoples on the mainland, exploiting and enslaving them. Eventually they even turned against God and their religion committing abominations of human sacrifice and persecuting and killing anyone who clung to the old ways.
A faithful remnant fled their island home and planted themselves on the mainland of Middle Earth. Their homeland and it’s royal line continued on their wicked path, eventually incurring the wrath of God and resulting in the outright destruction of their island. The faithful remnant persisted as well as a junior branch of the royal line thrived founding great cities, centers of learning and beauty across Middle Earth. This beautiful story stands on it’s own two feet, but like many events and stories in mythology and history can connect with other unrelated events in a very real way.
As it was with the Numenor it was in the settling of the North American continent by our forefathers. The state of religion and morals had not sunk so low as it had now, but the English people were being subjected to an Anglican Church founded by King Henry VIII so that he could have one divorce after another. People of conscience whether Catholic or Puritan were repressed, persecuted and even killed by the government. Religion was subjected to the pettiness of politics. America was largely settled by English men and women of not only great spirit but also great of deed who were willing to risk great discomfort, poverty, and even death by hunger or warfare with the various Indian tribes.
In the Northern colonies entire Puritan nuclear families and congregations came by the boatload to settle what would become greater New England. These hardy founders were of a devout and particular brand of Congregational Calvinism. During the period of what has been termed “The Great Migration” some 80,000 people left England in the period between 1620-1640. Of that number 20,000 came to the wilderness of New England founding a multitude of colonies and settlements. They were largely well to do and the most literate population of any in Western Civilization during their time. Such an emphasis on learning and literacy in particular was felt necessary for the formation of a good conscience and thereby a well ordered and godly society. Besides learning there was great emphasis on God and Family, fathers were the spiritual and temporal leaders of their home with their wives as strong partners in a dangerous and difficult environment.
The family in particular was seen as the foundation of religion and society much like other ancient cultures who followed Natural Law such as the ancient Romans. Besides being a foundational stone of society, the family had a relationship with God beyond the individual. John Cotton a prominent minister wrote of this covenantal relationship ” The Covenant of God is, I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed after thee.” Furthermore like Biblical patriarchs of old, or the Patrician families of Republican Rome genealogy was seen as something of utmost and religious importance. Minister William Stoughton wrote that “the books that shall be opened at the last day will contain Genealogies among them. There shall be brought forth a Register of the Genealogies of New-England’s sons and daughters.” The settlers of New England doubled their population every generation for several generations, resulting in explosive population growth.
Today tens of millions of American’s trace their ancestry to these founders, and carry with them their hopes and desires for their descendants, as well as their legacy. As we enter through the gates beyond 2021 we have surpassed or approach the 400 year old anniversary of many of these ancestors of ours having settled the North American continent. My own surname traces to one of these brave men who came to this land almost 400 years ago. My goal for myself, my children and you and your children is to cherish this great legacy. Keep the embers of your ancestors and their memory alive. Many people don’t even know who their great grandparents are and if they did it would hardly matter to them.
Honor your father and mother, one of the Ten Commandments and some version of this commandment is seen throughout cultures that follow ancient law, whether in East Asia or Ancient Rome or Greece, they all venerated and honored their ancestors. Our colonial founders understood this and sought to revive this mentality and important aspect of family and religion. This veneration of course can be corrupted to an idolatrous worship, but in our era this hardly seems to be what we are in danger of. With this in mind I encourage you to meditate on the founders of your family line in this land, speak of them to your children, make a family tree or family lineage for display in your home. Fight the destruction of their monuments, statues, and memory. There are also various organizations that you can become a member of that are dedicated to this purpose such as the National Society of the Sons of Colonial New England amongst many others. There is a fraternal organization for descendants of anyone hailing from any of the other American colonies too.
So many of us wonder what we can do in the face of such hatred for ourselves, our ancestors and our posterity. The answer for many of us as individuals is we can do very little. Our foes did not subvert or turn our institutions or government against us as individuals, but as organizations and fraternities. We are stronger together and can do the same thing. Make our colonial patriarchs a point of honor and pride again. They came to this land and forged a new civilization with roots tracing back to Old England and ancient Europe, often with their bare hands and under enemy attack. Let us seize back their vision and reforge America; one family, fraternal organization and church at a time.