THE FAITH AND THE PRAYERS OF THE HUGUENOTS OF FLORIDA
FIRST LANDING IN FLORIDA BY JEAN RIBAULT: MAY 1, 1562
The first expedition by the French Huguenots to America was exploratory in nature, and was led by two men: Captain Jean Ribault and Rene de Laudonniere. Here is the story of that landing, taken from the book, Our Country, Volume I, available online - Click here .
Jean Ribault was an experienced mariner of Dieppe and an earnest Protestant. Ribault sailed from Havre de Grace on the 18th of February, 1562, with sailors and soldiers, and a few gentlemen of fortune who were prompted by curiosity, the love of adventure, or the prospect of gain, to accompany him. They arrived off the coast of Anastacia Island (it is supposed) below the site of St. Augustine, at the close of April. Sailing along the "sweet-smelling coast" northward, the two vessels entered the broad mouth of the River St. John, where the company landed and were most kindly received by the natives. The Frenchmen were delighted with everything -- the soft climate; the sweetest blossoms; the magnificent trees festooned from root to top with grape-vines; birds of gay plumage and sweetest notes; and mulberry trees, on "the boughs of which were silkworms in marvelous numbers," and with people of finest forms and kindliest natures. They seemed to have entered a paradise. "It is a thing unspeakable," wrote Captain Ribault, "to consider the things that be seen there, and shall be found more and more in this incomparable land, which, never yet broken with plough irons, bringeth forth all things according to its first nature, wherewith the eternal God endowed it."
Under the shadow of a wide-spreading magnolia tree laden with blossoms at the edge of a green savannah, with half-naked men, women and children, painted and decorated with gold and pearls -- wondering sun-worshippers -- standing a little way off, the Christians knelt upon the soft sward and poured forth thanksgiving to God for his mercy in giving them a safe voyage to such a delightful land. It was a bright May-day. At twilight they returned to their ships, and early the next morning the whole company went ashore again, in small boats, carrying a column of hard stone upon which was carved the arms of the French king. They set it up on a broad grassy knoll surrounded by tall cypress and spreading palmetto trees and sweet flowering shrubs; and with the usual ceremonies, they took possession of the country in the name of Charles the Ninth.
PRAYERS UPON LANDING TO ESTABLISH THE FRENCH COLONY IN FLORIDA
Upon landing on June 30, 1564, Rene de Laudonniere led his group in expressing the following prayer of thanksgiving to God for their safe passage:
"On the morrow about the break of day, I commanded a trumpet to be sounded, that being assembled we might give God thankes for our favourable and happie arrival. Then wee sang a Psalme of thanksgiving unto God, beseeching him that it would please him of his grace to continue his accustomed goodnesse toward his poore servaunts, and ayde us in all our enterprises, that all might turne to his glory and the advancement of our King." The prayer ended, and every man began to take courage.
(Source: "http://www.plimoth.org/library/Thanksgiving/al ternat.htm" Plimouth-on-the-Web, Claimants for the First Thanksgiving, pp. 1-2)
THE FINAL PRAYER OF JEAN RIBAULT:
ESTABLISHING A COVENANT WITH ZION
When Jean Ribault uttered his last words on the land, as he was being speared through, his words were a prayer from Psalm 132: (Personalized) "Lord, remember Jean Ribault, and all his afflictions: How he swear unto the LORD, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob; Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob." (Psalm 132:1-5)
Clearly, the heartcry of this Huguenot leader was to devote his life to establishing "an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob." As Jean Ribault lay dying in the sands of Matanzas inlet that day, 442 years ago, his sacrifice established our land as a permanent "place for the Lord." May we never forget this legacy, as we remain in covenant relationship today with Zion - the land of the mighty God of Jacob.
.. This beautiful silver coffee pot is a fine example of the silverware created by the Huguenot refugees in Jersey This beautiful silver coffee pot is a fine example of the silverware created by the Huguenot refugees in Jersey