Puritans

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"Puritan" redirects here. Puritans_sentence_0

For other uses, see Puritan (disambiguation). Puritans_sentence_1

The Puritans were English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who sought to purify the Church of England of Roman Catholic practices, maintaining that the Church of England had not been fully reformed and should become more Protestant. Puritans_sentence_2

Puritanism played a significant role in English history, especially during the Protectorate. Puritans_sentence_3

Puritans were dissatisfied with the limited extent of the English Reformation and with the Church of England's toleration of certain practices associated with the Roman Catholic Church. Puritans_sentence_4

They formed and identified with various religious groups advocating greater purity of worship and doctrine, as well as personal and corporate piety. Puritans_sentence_5

Puritans adopted a Reformed theology and, in that sense, were Calvinists (as were many of their earlier opponents). Puritans_sentence_6

In church polity, some advocated separation from all other established Christian denominations in favour of autonomous gathered churches. Puritans_sentence_7

These Separatist and independent strands of Puritanism became prominent in the 1640s, when the supporters of a presbyterian polity in the Westminster Assembly were unable to forge a new English national church. Puritans_sentence_8

By the late 1630s, Puritans were in alliance with the growing commercial world, with the parliamentary opposition to the royal prerogative, and with the Scottish Presbyterians with whom they had much in common. Puritans_sentence_9

Consequently, they became a major political force in England and came to power as a result of the First English Civil War (1642–1646). Puritans_sentence_10

Almost all Puritan clergy left the Church of England after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 and the 1662 Uniformity Act. Puritans_sentence_11

Many continued to practice their faith in nonconformist denominations, especially in Congregationalist and Presbyterian churches. Puritans_sentence_12

The nature of the movement in England changed radically, although it retained its character for a much longer period in New England. Puritans_sentence_13

Puritanism was never a formally defined religious division within Protestantism, and the term Puritan itself was rarely used after the turn of the 18th century. Puritans_sentence_14

Some Puritan ideals, including the formal rejection of Roman Catholicism, were incorporated into the doctrines of the Church of England; others were absorbed into the many Protestant denominations that emerged in the late 17th and early 18th centuries in North America and Britain. Puritans_sentence_15

The Congregational churches, widely considered to be a part of the Reformed tradition, are descended from the Puritans. Puritans_sentence_16

Moreover, Puritan beliefs are enshrined in the Savoy Declaration, the confession of faith held by the Congregationalist churches. Puritans_sentence_17

Terminology Puritans_section_0

Main article: Definitions of Puritanism Puritans_sentence_18

In the 17th century, the word Puritan was a term applied not to just one group but to many. Puritans_sentence_19

Historians still debate a precise definition of Puritanism. Puritans_sentence_20

Originally, Puritan was a pejorative term characterizing certain Protestant groups as extremist. Puritans_sentence_21

Thomas Fuller, in his Church History, dates the first use of the word to 1564. Puritans_sentence_22

Archbishop Matthew Parker of that time used it and precisian with a sense similar to the modern . Puritans_sentence_23

Puritans, then, were distinguished for being "more intensely protestant than their protestant neighbors or even the Church of England". Puritans_sentence_24

As a term of abuse, Puritan was not used by Puritans themselves. Puritans_sentence_25

Those referred to as Puritan called themselves terms such as "the godly", "saints", "professors", or "God's children". Puritans_sentence_26

"Non-separating Puritans" were dissatisfied with the Reformation of the Church of England but remained within it, advocating for further reform; they disagreed among themselves about how much further reformation was possible or even necessary. Puritans_sentence_27

They were later termed "Nonconformists". Puritans_sentence_28

"Separatists", or "separating Puritans", thought the Church of England was so corrupt that true Christians should separate from it altogether. Puritans_sentence_29

In its widest historical sense, the term Puritan includes both groups. Puritans_sentence_30

Puritans should not be confused with more radical Protestant groups of the 16th and 17th centuries, such as Quakers, Seekers, and Familists, who believed that individuals could be directly guided by the Holy Spirit and prioritized direct revelation over the Bible. Puritans_sentence_31

In current English, puritan often means "against pleasure". Puritans_sentence_32

In such usage, hedonism and puritanism are antonyms. Puritans_sentence_33

Puritans embraced sexuality but placed it in the context of marriage. Puritans_sentence_34

Peter Gay writes of the Puritans' standard reputation for "dour prudery" as a "misreading that went unquestioned in the nineteenth century", commenting how unpuritanical they were in favour of married sexuality, and in opposition to the Catholic veneration of virginity, citing Edward Taylor and John Cotton. Puritans_sentence_35

One Puritan settlement in western Massachusetts banished a husband because he refused to fulfill his sexual duties to his wife. Puritans_sentence_36

History Puritans_section_1

Main article: History of the Puritans Puritans_sentence_37

Puritanism had a historical importance over a period of a century, followed by fifty years of development in New England. Puritans_sentence_38

It changed character and emphasis almost decade by decade over that time. Puritans_sentence_39

Elizabethan Puritanism Puritans_section_2

Further information: History of the Puritans under Elizabeth I Puritans_sentence_40

The Elizabethan Religious Settlement of 1559 established the Church of England as a Protestant church and brought the English Reformation to a close. Puritans_sentence_41

During the reign of Elizabeth I (r. 1558-1603), the Church of England was widely considered a Reformed church, and Calvinists held the best bishoprics and deaneries. Puritans_sentence_42

Nevertheless, it preserved certain characteristics of medieval Catholicism, such as cathedrals, church choirs, a formal liturgy contained in the Book of Common Prayer, traditional clerical vestments and episcopal polity. Puritans_sentence_43

Many English Protestants—especially those former Marian exiles now returning home to work as clergy and bishops—considered the settlement merely the first step in reforming England's church. Puritans_sentence_44

The years of exile during the Marian Restoration had exposed them to practices of the Continental Reformed churches, and the most impatient clergy began introducing reforms within their local parishes. Puritans_sentence_45

The initial conflict between Puritans and the authorities included instances of nonconformity such as omitting parts of the liturgy to allow more time for the sermon and singing of metrical psalms. Puritans_sentence_46

Some Puritans refused to bow on hearing the name of Jesus, to make the sign of the cross in baptism, use wedding rings or the organ. Puritans_sentence_47

Yet, the main complaint Puritans had was the requirement that clergy wear the white surplice and clerical cap. Puritans_sentence_48

Puritan clergymen preferred to wear black academic attire. Puritans_sentence_49

During the vestments controversy, church authorities attempted and failed to enforce the use of clerical vestments. Puritans_sentence_50

While never a mass movement, the Puritans had the support and protection of powerful patrons in the aristocracy. Puritans_sentence_51

In the 1570s, the primary dispute between Puritans and the authorities was over the appropriate form of church government. Puritans_sentence_52

Many Puritans believed the Church of England should follow the example of Reformed churches in other parts of Europe and adopt presbyterian polity, under which government by bishops would be replaced with government by elders. Puritans_sentence_53

However, all attempts to enact further reforms through Parliament were blocked by the Queen. Puritans_sentence_54

Despite such setbacks, Puritan leaders such as John Field and Thomas Cartwright continued to promote presbyterianism through the formation of unofficial clerical conferences that allowed Puritan clergymen to organise and network. Puritans_sentence_55

This covert Puritan network was discovered and dismantled during the Marprelate controversy. Puritans_sentence_56

For the remainder of Elizabeth's reign, Puritans ceased to agitate for further reform. Puritans_sentence_57

Jacobean Puritanism Puritans_section_3

Further information: History of the Puritans under James I Puritans_sentence_58

The accession of James I to the English throne brought the Millenary Petition, a Puritan manifesto of 1603 for reform of the English church, but James wanted a religious settlement along different lines. Puritans_sentence_59

He called the Hampton Court Conference in 1604, and heard the teachings of four prominent Puritan leaders, including Laurence Chaderton, but largely sided with his bishops. Puritans_sentence_60

He was well informed on theological matters by his education and Scottish upbringing, and he dealt shortly with the peevish legacy of Elizabethan Puritanism, pursuing an eirenic religious policy, in which he was arbiter. Puritans_sentence_61

Many of James's episcopal appointments were Calvinists, notably James Montague, who was an influential courtier. Puritans_sentence_62

Puritans still opposed much of the Roman Catholic summation in the Church of England, notably the Book of Common Prayer but also the use of non-secular vestments (cap and gown) during services, the sign of the Cross in baptism, and kneeling to receive Holy Communion. Puritans_sentence_63

Some of the bishops under both Elizabeth and James tried to suppress Puritanism, though other bishops were more tolerant and, in many places, individual ministers were able to omit disliked portions of the Book of Common Prayer. Puritans_sentence_64

The Puritan movement of Jacobean times became distinctive by adaptation and compromise, with the emergence of "semi-separatism", "moderate puritanism", the writings of William Bradshaw (who adopted the term "Puritan" for himself), and the beginnings of Congregationalism. Puritans_sentence_65

Most Puritans of this period were non-separating and remained within the Church of England; Separatists who left the Church of England altogether were numerically much fewer. Puritans_sentence_66

Fragmentation and political failure Puritans_section_4

Further information: History of the Puritans from 1649 Puritans_sentence_67

The Puritan movement in England was riven over decades by emigration and inconsistent interpretations of Scripture, as well as some political differences that surfaced at that time. Puritans_sentence_68

The Fifth Monarchy Men, a radical millenarian wing of Puritanism, aided by strident, popular clergy like Vavasor Powell, agitated from the right wing of the movement, even as sectarian groups like the Ranters, Levellers, and Quakers pulled from the left. Puritans_sentence_69

The fragmentation created a collapse of the centre and, ultimately, sealed a political failure, while depositing an enduring spiritual legacy that would remain and grow in English-speaking Christianity. Puritans_sentence_70

The Westminster Assembly was called in 1643, assembling clergy of the Church of England. Puritans_sentence_71

The Assembly was able to agree to the Westminster Confession of Faith doctrinally, a consistent Reformed theological position. Puritans_sentence_72

The Directory of Public Worship was made official in 1645, and the larger framework (now called the Westminster Standards) was adopted by the Church of Scotland. Puritans_sentence_73

In England, the Standards were contested by Independents up to 1660. Puritans_sentence_74

The Westminster Divines, on the other hand, were divided over questions of church polity and split into factions supporting a reformed episcopacy, presbyterianism, congregationalism, and Erastianism. Puritans_sentence_75

The membership of the Assembly was heavily weighted towards the Presbyterians, but Oliver Cromwell was a Puritan and an independent Congregationalist Separatist who imposed his doctrines upon them. Puritans_sentence_76

The Church of England of the Interregnum (1649–60) was run along Presbyterian lines but never became a national Presbyterian church, such as existed in Scotland, and England was not the theocratic state which leading Puritans had called for as "godly rule". Puritans_sentence_77

Great Ejection and Dissenters Puritans_section_5

Further information: History of the Puritans from 1649 Puritans_sentence_78

At the time of the English Restoration in 1660, the Savoy Conference was called to determine a new religious settlement for England and Wales. Puritans_sentence_79

Under the Act of Uniformity 1662, the Church of England was restored to its pre-Civil War constitution with only minor changes, and the Puritans found themselves sidelined. Puritans_sentence_80

A traditional estimate of historian Calamy is that around 2,400 Puritan clergy left the Church in the "Great Ejection" of 1662. Puritans_sentence_81

At this point, the term "Dissenter" came to include "Puritan", but more accurately described those (clergy or lay) who "dissented" from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Puritans_sentence_82

The Dissenters divided themselves from all Christians in the Church of England and established their own Separatist congregations in the 1660s and 1670s. Puritans_sentence_83

An estimated 1,800 of the ejected clergy continued in some fashion as ministers of religion, according to Richard Baxter. Puritans_sentence_84

The government initially attempted to suppress these schismatic organisations by using the Clarendon Code. Puritans_sentence_85

There followed a period in which schemes of "comprehension" were proposed, under which Presbyterians could be brought back into the Church of England, but nothing resulted from them. Puritans_sentence_86

The Whigs opposed the court religious policies and argued that the Dissenters should be allowed to worship separately from the established Church, and this position ultimately prevailed when the Toleration Act was passed in the wake of the Glorious Revolution in 1689. Puritans_sentence_87

This permitted the licensing of Dissenting ministers and the building of chapels. Puritans_sentence_88

The term "Nonconformist" generally replaced the term "Dissenter" from the middle of the 18th century. Puritans_sentence_89

Puritans in North America Puritans_section_6

Further information: History of the Puritans in North America Puritans_sentence_90

Some Puritans left for New England, particularly from 1629 to 1640 (the Eleven Years' Tyranny under King Charles I), supporting the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and other settlements among the northern colonies. Puritans_sentence_91

The large-scale Puritan immigration to New England ceased by 1641, with around 21,000 having moved across the Atlantic. Puritans_sentence_92

This English-speaking population in the United States was not descended from all of the original colonists, since many returned to England shortly after arriving on the continent, but it produced more than 16 million descendants. Puritans_sentence_93

This so-called "Great Migration" is not so named because of sheer numbers, which were much less than the number of English citizens who immigrated to Virginia and the Caribbean during this time. Puritans_sentence_94

The rapid growth of the New England colonies (around 700,000 by 1790) was almost entirely due to the high birth rate and lower death rate per year. Puritans_sentence_95

Puritan hegemony lasted for at least a century. Puritans_sentence_96

That century can be broken down into three parts: the generation of John Cotton and Richard Mather, 1630–62 from the founding to the Restoration, years of virtual independence and nearly autonomous development; the generation of Increase Mather, 1662–89 from the Restoration and the Halfway Covenant to the Glorious Revolution, years of struggle with the British crown; and the generation of Cotton Mather, 1689–1728 from the overthrow of Edmund Andros (in which Cotton Mather played a part) and the new charter, mediated by Increase Mather, to the death of Cotton Mather. Puritans_sentence_97

The Puritans in the Colonies were great believers in education. Puritans_sentence_98

They wanted their children to be able to read the Bible themselves, and interpret it themselves, rather than have to have a clergyman tell them what it says and means. Puritans_sentence_99

This then leads to thinking for themselves, which is the basis of democracy. Puritans_sentence_100

The Puritans in the Colonies almost immediately after arriving in 1630, set up schools for their sons. Puritans_sentence_101

They also set up what were called dame schools for their daughters, and in other cases taught their daughters at home how to read. Puritans_sentence_102

As a result, Puritans were the most literate society in the world. Puritans_sentence_103

By the time of the American Revolution there were 40 newspapers in the United States (at a time when there were only two cities – New York and Philadelphia – with as many as 20,000 people in them). Puritans_sentence_104

The Puritans also set up a college (Harvard University) only six years after arriving in the United States. Puritans_sentence_105

By the time of the Revolution, the United States had 10 colleges (when England had only two). Puritans_sentence_106

Beliefs Puritans_section_7

Calvinism Puritans_section_8

Main article: Calvinism Puritans_sentence_107

Puritanism broadly refers to a diverse religious reform movement in Britain committed to the continental Reformed tradition. Puritans_sentence_108

While Puritans did not agree on all doctrinal points, most shared similar views on the nature of God, human sinfulness, and the relationship between God and mankind. Puritans_sentence_109

They believed that all of their beliefs should be based on the Bible, which they considered to be divinely inspired. Puritans_sentence_110

The concept of covenant was extremely important to Puritans, and covenant theology was central to their beliefs. Puritans_sentence_111

With roots in the writings of Reformed theologians John Calvin and Heinrich Bullinger, covenant theology was further developed by Puritan theologians Dudley Fenner, William Perkins, John Preston, Richard Sibbes, William Ames and, most fully by Ames's Dutch student, Johannes Cocceius. Puritans_sentence_112

Covenant theology asserts that when God created Adam and Eve he promised them eternal life in return for perfect obedience; this promise was termed the covenant of works. Puritans_sentence_113

After the fall of man, human nature was corrupted by original sin and unable to fulfill the covenant of works, since each person inevitably violated God's law as expressed in the Ten Commandments. Puritans_sentence_114

As sinners, every person deserved damnation. Puritans_sentence_115

Puritans shared with other Calvinists a belief in double predestination, that some people (the elect) were destined by God to receive grace and salvation while others were destined for Hell. Puritans_sentence_116

No one, however, could merit salvation. Puritans_sentence_117

According to covenant theology, Christ's sacrifice on the cross made possible the covenant of grace, by which those selected by God could be saved. Puritans_sentence_118

Puritans believed in unconditional election and irresistible grace—God's grace was given freely without condition to the elect and could not be refused. Puritans_sentence_119

Conversion Puritans_section_9

Covenant theology made individual salvation deeply personal. Puritans_sentence_120

It held that God's predestination was not "impersonal and mechanical" but was a "covenant of grace" that one entered into by faith. Puritans_sentence_121

Therefore, being a Christian could never be reduced to simple "intellectual acknowledgment" of the truth of Christianity. Puritans_sentence_122

Puritans agreed "that the effectual call of each elect saint of God would always come as an individuated personal encounter with God's promises". Puritans_sentence_123

The process by which the elect are brought from spiritual death to spiritual life (regeneration) was described as conversion. Puritans_sentence_124

Early on, Puritans did not consider a specific conversion experience normative or necessary, but many gained assurance of salvation from such experiences. Puritans_sentence_125

Over time, however, Puritan theologians developed a framework for authentic religious experience based on their own experiences as well as those of their parishioners. Puritans_sentence_126

Eventually, Puritans came to regard a specific conversion experience as an essential mark of one's election. Puritans_sentence_127

The Puritan conversion experience was commonly described as occurring in discrete phases. Puritans_sentence_128

It began with a preparatory phase designed to produce contrition for sin through introspection, Bible study and listening to preaching. Puritans_sentence_129

This was followed by humiliation, when the sinner realized that he or she was helpless to break free from sin and that their good works could never earn forgiveness. Puritans_sentence_130

It was after reaching this point—the realization that salvation was possible only because of divine mercy—that the person would experience justification, when the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the elect and their minds and hearts are regenerated. Puritans_sentence_131

For some Puritans, this was a dramatic experience and they referred to it as being born again. Puritans_sentence_132

Confirming that such a conversion had actually happened often required prolonged and continual introspection. Puritans_sentence_133

Historian Perry Miller wrote that the Puritans "liberated men from the treadmill of indulgences and penances, but cast them on the iron couch of introspection". Puritans_sentence_134

It was expected that conversion would be followed by sanctification—"the progressive growth in the saint's ability to better perceive and seek God's will, and thus to lead a holy life". Puritans_sentence_135

Some Puritans attempted to find assurance of their faith by keeping detailed records of their behavior and looking for the evidence of salvation in their lives. Puritans_sentence_136

Puritan clergy wrote many spiritual guides to help their parishioners pursue personal piety and sanctification. Puritans_sentence_137

These included Arthur Dent's The Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven (1601), Richard Rogers's Seven Treatises (1603), Henry Scudder's Christian's Daily Walk (1627) and Richard Sibbes's The Bruised Reed and Smoking Flax (1630). Puritans_sentence_138

Too much emphasis on one's good works could be criticized for being too close to Arminianism, and too much emphasis on subjective religious experience could be criticized as Antinomianism. Puritans_sentence_139

Many Puritans relied on both personal religious experience and self-examination to assess their spiritual condition. Puritans_sentence_140

Puritanism's experiential piety would be inherited by the evangelical Protestants of the 18th century. Puritans_sentence_141

While evangelical views on conversion were heavily influenced by Puritan theology, the Puritans believed that assurance of one's salvation was "rare, late and the fruit of struggle in the experience of believers", whereas evangelicals believed that assurance was normative for all the truly converted. Puritans_sentence_142

Worship and sacraments Puritans_section_10

Further information: Reformed baptismal theology Puritans_sentence_143

While most Puritans were members of the Church of England, they were critical of its worship practices. Puritans_sentence_144

In the 17th century, Sunday worship in the established church took the form of the Morning Prayer service in the Book of Common Prayer. Puritans_sentence_145

This might include a sermon, but Holy Communion or the Lord's Supper was only occasionally observed. Puritans_sentence_146

Officially, lay people were only required to receive communion three times a year, but most people only received communion once a year at Easter. Puritans_sentence_147

Puritans were concerned about biblical errors and Catholic remnants within the prayer book. Puritans_sentence_148

Puritans objected to bowing at the name of Jesus, the requirement that priests wear the surplice, and the use of written, set prayers in place of improvised prayers. Puritans_sentence_149

The sermon was central to Puritan piety. Puritans_sentence_150

It was not only a means of religious education; Puritans believed it was the most common way that God prepared a sinner's heart for conversion. Puritans_sentence_151

On Sundays, Puritan ministers often shortened the liturgy to allow more time for preaching. Puritans_sentence_152

Puritan churchgoers attended two sermons on Sundays and as many weekday sermons and lectures they could find, often traveling for miles. Puritans_sentence_153

Puritans were distinct for their adherence to Sabbatarianism. Puritans_sentence_154

Puritans taught that there were two sacraments: baptism and the Lord's Supper. Puritans_sentence_155

Puritans agreed with the church's practice of infant baptism. Puritans_sentence_156

However, the effect of baptism was disputed. Puritans_sentence_157

Puritans objected to the prayer book's assertion of baptismal regeneration. Puritans_sentence_158

In Puritan theology, infant baptism was understood in terms of covenant theology—baptism replaced circumcision as a sign of the covenant and marked a child's admission into the visible church. Puritans_sentence_159

It could not be assumed that baptism produces regeneration. Puritans_sentence_160

The Westminster Confession states that the grace of baptism is only effective for those who are among the elect, and its effects lie dormant until one experiences conversion later in life. Puritans_sentence_161

Puritans wanted to do away with godparents, who made baptismal vows on behalf of infants, and give that responsibility to the child's father. Puritans_sentence_162

Puritans also objected to priests making the sign of the cross in baptism. Puritans_sentence_163

Private baptisms were opposed because Puritans believed that preaching should always accompany sacraments. Puritans_sentence_164

Some Puritan clergy even refused to baptise dying infants because that implied the sacrament contributed to salvation. Puritans_sentence_165

Puritans rejected both Roman Catholic (transubstantiation) and Lutheran (sacramental union) teachings that Christ is physically present in the bread and wine of the Lord's Supper. Puritans_sentence_166

Instead, Puritans embraced the Reformed doctrine of real spiritual presence, believing that in the Lord's Supper the faithful receive Christ spiritually. Puritans_sentence_167

In agreement with Thomas Cranmer, the Puritans stressed "that Christ comes down to us in the sacrament by His Word and Spirit, offering Himself as our spiritual food and drink". Puritans_sentence_168

They criticised the prayer book service for being too similar to the Catholic mass. Puritans_sentence_169

For example, the requirement that people kneel to receive communion implied adoration of the Eucharist, a practice linked to transubstantiation. Puritans_sentence_170

Puritans also criticised the Church of England for allowing unrepentant sinners to receive communion. Puritans_sentence_171

Puritans wanted better spiritual preparation (such as clergy home visits and testing people on their knowledge of the catechism) for communion and better church discipline to ensure that the unworthy were kept from the sacrament. Puritans_sentence_172

Puritans did not believe confirmation was necessary and thought candidates were poorly prepared since bishops did not have the time to examine them properly. Puritans_sentence_173

The marriage service was criticised for using a wedding ring (which implied that marriage was a sacrament) and having the groom vow to his bride "with my body I thee worship", which Puritans considered blasphemous. Puritans_sentence_174

In the funeral service, the priest committed the body to the ground "in sure and certain hope of resurrection to eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ." Puritans_sentence_175

Puritans objected to this phrase because they did not believe it was true for everyone. Puritans_sentence_176

They suggested it be rewritten as "we commit his body [etc.] believing a resurrection of the just and unjust, some to joy, and some to punishment." Puritans_sentence_177

Puritans eliminated choral music and musical instruments in their religious services because these were associated with Roman Catholicism; however, singing the Psalms was considered appropriate (see Exclusive psalmody). Puritans_sentence_178

Church organs were commonly damaged or destroyed in the Civil War period, such as when an axe was taken to the organ of Worcester Cathedral in 1642. Puritans_sentence_179

Ecclesiology Puritans_section_11

While the Puritans were united in their goal of furthering the English Reformation, they were always divided over issues of ecclesiology and church polity, specifically questions relating to the manner of organizing congregations, how individual congregations should relate with one another and whether established national churches were scriptural. Puritans_sentence_180

On these questions, Puritans divided between supporters of episcopal polity, presbyterian polity and congregational polity. Puritans_sentence_181

The episcopalians (known as the prelatical party) were conservatives who supported retaining bishops if those leaders supported reform and agreed to share power with local churches. Puritans_sentence_182

They also supported the idea of having a Book of Common Prayer, but they were against demanding strict conformity or having too much ceremony. Puritans_sentence_183

In addition, these Puritans called for a renewal of preaching, pastoral care and Christian discipline within the Church of England. Puritans_sentence_184

Like the episcopalians, the presbyterians agreed that there should be a national church but one structured on the model of the Church of Scotland. Puritans_sentence_185

They wanted to replace bishops with a system of elective and representative governing bodies of clergy and laity (local sessions, presbyteries, synods, and ultimately a national general assembly). Puritans_sentence_186

During the Interregnum, the presbyterians had limited success at reorganizing the Church of England. Puritans_sentence_187

The Westminster Assembly proposed the creation of a presbyterian system, but the Long Parliament left implementation to local authorities. Puritans_sentence_188

As a result, the Church of England never developed a complete presbyterian hierarchy. Puritans_sentence_189

Congregationalists or Independents believed in the autonomy of the local church, which ideally would be a congregation of "visible saints" (meaning those who had experienced conversion). Puritans_sentence_190

Members would be required to abide by a church covenant, in which they "pledged to join in the proper worship of God and to nourish each other in the search for further religious truth". Puritans_sentence_191

Such churches were regarded as complete within themselves, with full authority to determine their own membership, administer their own discipline and ordain their own ministers. Puritans_sentence_192

Furthermore, the sacraments would only be administered to those in the church covenant. Puritans_sentence_193

Most congregational Puritans remained within the Church of England, hoping to reform it according to their own views. Puritans_sentence_194

The New England Congregationalists were also adamant that they were not separating from the Church of England. Puritans_sentence_195

However, some Puritans equated the Church of England with the Roman Catholic Church, and therefore considered it no Christian church at all. Puritans_sentence_196

These groups, such as the Brownists, would split from the established church and become known as Separatists. Puritans_sentence_197

Other Separatists embraced more radical positions on separation of church and state and believer's baptism, becoming early Baptists. Puritans_sentence_198

Family life Puritans_section_12

Based on Biblical portrayals of Adam and Eve, Puritans believed that marriage was rooted in procreation, love, and, most importantly, salvation. Puritans_sentence_199

Husbands were the spiritual heads of the household, while women were to demonstrate religious piety and obedience under male authority. Puritans_sentence_200

Furthermore, marriage represented not only the relationship between husband and wife, but also the relationship between spouses and God. Puritans_sentence_201

Puritan husbands commanded authority through family direction and prayer. Puritans_sentence_202

The female relationship to her husband and to God was marked by submissiveness and humility. Puritans_sentence_203

Thomas Gataker describes Puritan marriage as: Puritans_sentence_204

The paradox created by female inferiority in the public sphere and the spiritual equality of men and women in marriage, then, gave way to the informal authority of women concerning matters of the home and childrearing. Puritans_sentence_205

With the consent of their husbands, wives made important decisions concerning the labour of their children, property, and the management of inns and taverns owned by their husbands. Puritans_sentence_206

Pious Puritan mothers laboured for their children's righteousness and salvation, connecting women directly to matters of religion and morality. Puritans_sentence_207

In her poem titled "In Reference to her Children", poet Anne Bradstreet reflects on her role as a mother: Puritans_sentence_208

Bradstreet alludes to the temporality of motherhood by comparing her children to a flock of birds on the precipice of leaving home. Puritans_sentence_209

While Puritans praised the obedience of young children, they also believed that, by separating children from their mothers at adolescence, children could better sustain a superior relationship with God. Puritans_sentence_210

A child could only be redeemed through religious education and obedience. Puritans_sentence_211

Girls carried the additional burden of Eve's corruption and were catechised separately from boys at adolescence. Puritans_sentence_212

Boys' education prepared them for vocations and leadership roles, while girls were educated for domestic and religious purposes. Puritans_sentence_213

The pinnacle of achievement for children in Puritan society, however, occurred with the conversion process. Puritans_sentence_214

Puritans viewed the relationship between master and servant similarly to that of parent and child. Puritans_sentence_215

Just as parents were expected to uphold Puritan religious values in the home, masters assumed the parental responsibility of housing and educating young servants. Puritans_sentence_216

Older servants also dwelt with masters and were cared for in the event of illness or injury. Puritans_sentence_217

African-American and Indian servants were likely excluded from such benefits. Puritans_sentence_218

Demonology and witch hunts Puritans_section_13

Further information: Christian demonology Puritans_sentence_219

Like most Christians in the early modern period, Puritans believed in the active existence of the devil and demons as evil forces that could possess and cause harm to men and women. Puritans_sentence_220

There was also widespread belief in witchcraft and witches—persons in league with the devil. Puritans_sentence_221

"Unexplained phenomena such as the death of livestock, human disease, and hideous fits suffered by young and old" might all be blamed on the agency of the devil or a witch. Puritans_sentence_222

Puritan pastors undertook exorcisms for demonic possession in some high-profile cases. Puritans_sentence_223

Exorcist John Darrell was supported by Arthur Hildersham in the case of Thomas Darling. Puritans_sentence_224

Samuel Harsnett, a skeptic on witchcraft and possession, attacked Darrell. Puritans_sentence_225

However, Harsnett was in the minority, and many clergy, not only Puritans, believed in witchcraft and possession. Puritans_sentence_226

In the 16th and 17th centuries, thousands of people throughout Europe were accused of being witches and executed. Puritans_sentence_227

In England and the United States, Puritans engaged in witch hunts as well. Puritans_sentence_228

In the 1640s, Matthew Hopkins, the self-proclaimed "Witchfinder General", was responsible for accusing over two hundred people of witchcraft, mainly in East Anglia. Puritans_sentence_229

In New England, few people were accused and convicted of witchcraft before 1692; there were at most sixteen convictions. Puritans_sentence_230

The Salem witch trials of 1692 had a lasting impact on the historical reputation of New England Puritans. Puritans_sentence_231

Though this witch hunt occurred after Puritans lost political control of the Massachusetts colony, Puritans instigated the judicial proceedings against the accused and comprised the members of the court that convicted and sentenced the accused. Puritans_sentence_232

By the time Governor William Phips ended the trials, fourteen women and five men had been hanged as witches. Puritans_sentence_233

Millennialism Puritans_section_14

Further information: Christian eschatology Puritans_sentence_234

Puritan millennialism has been placed in the broader context of European Reformed beliefs about the millennium and interpretation of biblical prophecy, for which representative figures of the period were Johannes Piscator, Thomas Brightman, Joseph Mede, Johannes Heinrich Alsted, and John Amos Comenius. Puritans_sentence_235

Like most English Protestants of the time, Puritans based their eschatological views on an historicist interpretation of the Book of Revelation and the Book of Daniel. Puritans_sentence_236

Protestant theologians identified the sequential phases the world must pass through before the Last Judgment could occur and tended to place their own time period near the end. Puritans_sentence_237

It was expected that tribulation and persecution would increase but eventually the church's enemies—the Antichrist (identified with the Roman Catholic Church) and the Ottoman Empire—would be defeated. Puritans_sentence_238

Based on Revelation 20, it was believed that a thousand-year period (the millennium) would occur, during which the saints would rule with Christ on earth. Puritans_sentence_239

In contrast to other Protestants who tended to view eschatology as an explanation for "God's remote plans for the world and man", Puritans understood it to describe "the cosmic environment in which the regenerate soldier of Christ was now to do battle against the power of sin". Puritans_sentence_240

On a personal level, eschatology was related to sanctification, assurance of salvation, and the conversion experience. Puritans_sentence_241

On a larger level, eschatology was the lens through which events such as the English Civil War and the Thirty Years' War were interpreted. Puritans_sentence_242

There was also an optimistic aspect to Puritan millennianism; Puritans anticipated a future worldwide religious revival before the Second Coming of Christ. Puritans_sentence_243

Another departure from other Protestants was the widespread belief among Puritans that the conversion of the Jews to Christianity was an important sign of the apocalypse. Puritans_sentence_244

David Brady describes a "lull before the storm" in the early 17th century, in which "reasonably restrained and systematic" Protestant exegesis of the Book of Revelation was seen with Brightman, Mede, and Hugh Broughton, after which "apocalyptic literature became too easily debased" as it became more populist and less scholarly. Puritans_sentence_245

William Lamont argues that, within the church, the Elizabethan millennial beliefs of John Foxe became sidelined, with Puritans adopting instead the "centrifugal" doctrines of Thomas Brightman, while the Laudians replaced the "centripetal" attitude of Foxe to the "Christian Emperor" by the national and episcopal Church closer to home, with its royal head, as leading the Protestant world iure divino (by divine right). Puritans_sentence_246

Viggo Norskov Olsen writes that Mede "broke fully away from the Augustinian-Foxian tradition, and is the link between Brightman and the premillennialism of the 17th century". Puritans_sentence_247

The dam broke in 1641 when the traditional retrospective reverence for Thomas Cranmer and other martyred bishops in the Acts and Monuments was displaced by forward-looking attitudes to prophecy among radical Puritans. Puritans_sentence_248

Cultural consequences Puritans_section_15

Further information: New England Puritan culture and recreation Puritans_sentence_249

Some strong religious beliefs common to Puritans had direct impacts on culture. Puritans_sentence_250

Puritans believed it was the government's responsibility to enforce moral standards and ensure true religious worship was established and maintained. Puritans_sentence_251

Education was essential to every person, male and female, so that they could read the Bible for themselves. Puritans_sentence_252

However, the Puritans' emphasis on individual spiritual independence was not always compatible with the community cohesion that was also a strong ideal. Puritans_sentence_253

Anne Hutchinson (1591–1643), the well educated daughter of a teacher, argued with the established theological orthodoxy, and was forced to leave colonial New England with her followers. Puritans_sentence_254

Education Puritans_section_16

Further information: History of education in the United States Puritans_sentence_255

At a time when the literacy rate in England was less than 30 percent, the Puritan leaders of colonial New England believed children should be educated for both religious and civil reasons, and they worked to achieve universal literacy. Puritans_sentence_256

In 1642, Massachusetts required heads of households to teach their wives, children and servants basic reading and writing so that they could read the Bible and understand colonial laws. Puritans_sentence_257

In 1647, the government required all towns with 50 or more households to hire a teacher and towns of 100 or more households to hire a grammar school instructor to prepare promising boys for college. Puritans_sentence_258

Philemon Pormort's Boston Latin School was the only one in Boston, the first school of public instruction in Massachusetts ". Puritans_sentence_259

Boys interested in the ministry were often sent to colleges such as Harvard (founded in 1636) or Yale (founded in 1707). Puritans_sentence_260

Aspiring lawyers or doctors apprenticed to a local practitioner, or in rare cases were sent to England or Scotland. Puritans_sentence_261

Puritan scientists Puritans_section_17

The Merton Thesis is an argument about the nature of early experimental science proposed by Robert K. Merton. Puritans_sentence_262

Similar to Max Weber's famous claim on the link between the Protestant work ethic and the capitalist economy, Merton argued for a similar positive correlation between the rise of English Puritanism, as well as German Pietism, and early experimental science. Puritans_sentence_263

As an example, seven of 10 nucleus members of the Royal Society were Puritans. Puritans_sentence_264

In the year 1663, 62 percent of the members of the Royal Society were similarly identified. Puritans_sentence_265

The Merton Thesis has resulted in continuous debates. Puritans_sentence_266

Behavioral regulations Puritans_section_18

Further information: Christmas in Puritan New England Puritans_sentence_267

Puritans in both England and New England believed that the state should protect and promote true religion and that religion should influence politics and social life. Puritans_sentence_268

Certain holidays were outlawed when Puritans came to power. Puritans_sentence_269

In 1647, Parliament outlawed the celebration of Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide. Puritans_sentence_270

Christmas was outlawed in Boston from 1659. Puritans_sentence_271

Puritans objected to Christmas because the festivities surrounding the holiday were seen as impious. Puritans_sentence_272

(English jails were usually filled with drunken revelers and brawlers.) Puritans_sentence_273

Puritans were opposed to Sunday sport or recreation because these distracted from religious observance of the Sabbath. Puritans_sentence_274

Other forms of leisure and entertainment were completely forbidden on moral grounds. Puritans_sentence_275

For example, Puritans were universally opposed to blood sports such as bearbaiting and cockfighting because they involved unnecessary injury to God's creatures. Puritans_sentence_276

For similar reasons, they also opposed boxing. Puritans_sentence_277

These sports were illegal in England during Puritan rule. Puritans_sentence_278

While card playing by itself was generally considered acceptable, card playing and gambling were banned in England and the colonies, as was mixed dancing involving men and women because it was thought to lead to fornication. Puritans_sentence_279

Folk dance that did not involve close contact between men and women was considered appropriate. Puritans_sentence_280

In New England, the first dancing school did not open until the end of the 17th century. Puritans_sentence_281

Puritans condemned the sexualization of the theatre and its associations with depravity and prostitution—London's theatres were located on the south side of the Thames, which was a center of prostitution. Puritans_sentence_282

A major Puritan attack on the theatre was William Prynne's book Histriomastix. Puritans_sentence_283

Puritan authorities shut down English theatres in the 1640s and 1650s, and none were allowed to open in Puritan-controlled colonies. Puritans_sentence_284

Puritans were not opposed to drinking alcohol in moderation. Puritans_sentence_285

However, alehouses were closely regulated by Puritan-controlled governments in both England and the United States. Puritans_sentence_286

Early New England laws banning the sale of alcohol to Native Americans were criticised because it was "not fit to deprive Indians of any lawfull comfort aloweth to all men by the use of wine". Puritans_sentence_287

Laws banned the practice of individuals toasting each other, with the explanation that it led to wasting God's gift of beer and wine, as well as being carnal. Puritans_sentence_288

Bounds were not set on enjoying sexuality within the bounds of marriage, as a gift from God. Puritans_sentence_289

Spouses were disciplined if they did not perform their sexual marital duties, in accordance with 1 Corinthians 7 and other biblical passages. Puritans_sentence_290

Women and men were equally expected to fulfill marital responsibilities. Puritans_sentence_291

Women and men could file for divorce based on this issue alone. Puritans_sentence_292

In Massachusetts colony, which had some of the most liberal colonial divorce laws, one out of every six divorce petitions was filed on the basis on male impotence. Puritans_sentence_293

Puritans publicly punished drunkenness and sexual relations outside marriage. Puritans_sentence_294

Couples who had sex during their engagement were fined and publicly humiliated. Puritans_sentence_295

Men, and a handful of women, who engaged in homosexual behavior, were seen as especially sinful, with some executed. Puritans_sentence_296

Religious toleration Puritans_section_19

Puritan rule in England was marked by limited religious toleration. Puritans_sentence_297

The Toleration Act of 1650 repealed the Act of Supremacy, Act of Uniformity, and all laws making recusancy a crime. Puritans_sentence_298

There was no longer a legal requirement to attend the parish church on Sundays (for both Protestants and Catholics). Puritans_sentence_299

In 1653, responsibility for recording births, marriages and deaths was transferred from the church to a civil registrar. Puritans_sentence_300

The result was that church baptisms and marriages became private acts, not guarantees of legal rights, which provided greater equality to dissenters. Puritans_sentence_301

The 1653 Instrument of Government guaranteed that in matters of religion "none shall be compelled by penalties or otherwise, but endeavours be used to win them by sound Doctrine and the Example of a good conversation". Puritans_sentence_302

Religious freedom was given to "all who profess Faith in God by Jesus Christ". Puritans_sentence_303

However, Catholics and some others were excluded. Puritans_sentence_304

No one was executed for their religion during the Protectorate. Puritans_sentence_305

In London, those attending Catholic mass or Anglican holy communion were occasionally arrested but released without charge. Puritans_sentence_306

Many unofficial Protestant congregations, such as Baptist churches, were permitted to meet. Puritans_sentence_307

Quakers were allowed to publish freely and hold meetings. Puritans_sentence_308

They were, however, arrested for disrupting parish church services and organising tithe-strikes against the state church. Puritans_sentence_309

In New England, where Congregationalism was the official religion, the Puritans exhibited intolerance of other religious views, including Quaker, Anglican and Baptist theologies. Puritans_sentence_310

The Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were the most active of the New England persecutors of Quakers, and the persecuting spirit was shared by the Plymouth Colony and the colonies along the Connecticut river. Puritans_sentence_311

Four Quakers, known as the Boston martyrs, were executed. Puritans_sentence_312

The first two of the four Boston martyrs were executed by the Puritans on 27 October 1659, and in memory of this, 27 October is now International Religious Freedom Day to recognise the importance of freedom of religion. Puritans_sentence_313

In 1660, one of the most notable victims of the religious intolerance was English Quaker Mary Dyer, who was hanged in Boston for repeatedly defying a Puritan law banning Quakers from the colony. Puritans_sentence_314

The hanging of Dyer on Boston Common marked the beginning of the end of the Puritan theocracy. Puritans_sentence_315

In 1661, King Charles II explicitly forbade Massachusetts from executing anyone for professing Quakerism. Puritans_sentence_316

In 1684, England revoked the Massachusetts charter, sent over a royal governor to enforce English laws in 1686 and, in 1689, passed a broad Toleration Act. Puritans_sentence_317

Anti-Catholic sentiment appeared in New England with the first Pilgrim and Puritan settlers. Puritans_sentence_318

In 1647, Massachusetts passed a law prohibiting any Jesuit Roman Catholic priests from entering territory under Puritan jurisdiction. Puritans_sentence_319

Any suspected person who could not clear himself was to be banished from the colony; a second offense carried a death penalty. Puritans_sentence_320

Historiography Puritans_section_20

Puritanism has attracted much scholarly attention, and as a result, the secondary literature on the subject is vast. Puritans_sentence_321

Puritanism is considered crucial to understanding the religious, political and cultural issues of early modern England. Puritans_sentence_322

In addition, historians such as Perry Miller have regarded Puritan New England as fundamental to understanding American culture and identity. Puritans_sentence_323

Puritanism has also been credited with the creation of modernity itself, from England's Scientific Revolution to the rise of democracy. Puritans_sentence_324

In the early 20th century, Max Weber argued in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism that Puritan beliefs in predestination resulted in a Protestant work ethic that created capitalism. Puritans_sentence_325

Puritan authors such as John Milton, John Bunyan, Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor continue to be read and studied as important figures within English and American literature. Puritans_sentence_326

A debate continues on the definition of "Puritanism". Puritans_sentence_327

English historian Patrick Collinson argues that "There is little point in constructing elaborate statements defining what, in ontological terms, puritanism was and what it was not, when it was not a thing definable in itself but only one half of a stressful relationship." Puritans_sentence_328

Puritanism "was only the mirror image of anti-puritanism and to a considerable extent its invention: a stigma, with great power to distract and distort historical memory." Puritans_sentence_329

Historian John Spurr writes that Puritans were defined by their relationships with their surroundings, especially with the Church of England. Puritans_sentence_330

Whenever the Church of England changed, Spurr argues, the definition of a Puritan also changed. Puritans_sentence_331

The analysis of "mainstream Puritanism" in terms of the evolution from it of Separatist and antinomian groups that did not flourish, and others that continue to this day, such as Baptists and Quakers, can suffer in this way. Puritans_sentence_332

The national context (England and Wales, as well as the kingdoms of Scotland and Ireland) frames the definition of Puritans, but was not a self-identification for those Protestants who saw the progress of the Thirty Years' War from 1620 as directly bearing on their denomination, and as a continuation of the religious wars of the previous century, carried on by the English Civil Wars. Puritans_sentence_333

English historian Christopher Hill, who has contributed to analyses of Puritan concerns that are more respected than accepted, writes of the 1630s, old church lands, and the accusations that William Laud was a crypto-Catholic: Puritans_sentence_334

Puritans Puritans_section_21

Main article: List of Puritans Puritans_sentence_335

Puritans_unordered_list_0

See also Puritans_section_22

Puritans_unordered_list_1


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puritans.