Freedom Hero: William Brewster

What can you do when you live in a time of great change and upheaval? How can you make a difference when you are just one person or family up against powerful elites who seemingly control the destinies of everyone? The following story reveals what one person can do.

The hot conflict between tyranny and liberty was lighting up the cities of Europe in the late 16th century. The kings of Europe were in a full attack and annihilate mode. They were systematically attempting to silence or kill the truth seekers and believers who were daring to challenge their right to tyrannize and plunder in the name of God. In Germany millions were dying in the 30 Years War. In the Netherlands, King Phillip of Spain was killing and torturing hundreds of thousands for their faith in Christ. In France, their demented king celebrated St. Bartholomew’s Day, 1572, by butchering tens of thousands of French Huguenots. He killed the flower of France, as they had come in peace, unarmed, for a royal wedding. And the grand island of England, newly released from the tortures and burnings of Bloody Mary, was now ruled by her half-sister. The “Virgin” Queen Elizabeth, though less cruel, still ruled with an iron fist, even as the Bible for the first time was rearranging the very order of mankind itself in the minds of the people.

In the midst of this caldron of fearful reprisal and war, William Brewster was born in 1566 in Scrooby, England. He grew up in the old, but grand Scrooby Manor House, owned by the archbishop and cared for by his father. The manor had a mote, 40 rooms, a grand hall, stables, bakeries, and outbuildings.

It was an exciting time to live. Elizabethan England was filled with energy and mirth as long as the common people kept their heads down and did not rock the established order of the royalty and its state church. Young Brewster was educated by his parents and the local church school where he learned Latin. Then William was sent at the age of 15 to the one place in England where the ideas of liberty of conscience and the truth of Scripture were being debated and prepared to bring down the tyranny of the age – Cambridge University.

At Cambridge, William came face to face with the liberating truths from the Book of books, which alone were mankind’s hope for freedom. In the great struggle for liberty in which William Brewster became a major combatant for the next 50 years, “many brave men and women would lay down their lives – not on the battlefield, charging up to the cannon’s mouth, but on the scaffold, or else wasting away in loathsome prisons,” according to historian Charles Coffin.

Young Brewster had a close friendship with John Davison, who became the secretary to the queen’s secretary of state. Brewster assisted Davison for several years through the intrigues, glamour as well as miseries of the royal court of Queen Elizabeth. Just as Brewster’s career was rising, his boss, Davison, was deceived by the queen as she chose him as a scapegoat for the beheading of her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, in 1588. Davison was sent to the Tower prison. Young Brewster was forced to leave the court and go home to Scrooby where he took over his ailing father’s supervision of the Manor house, inn, post office and livery stable.

Read the rest at World History Institute