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"The absolute essentials in experimental religion
are described in his own words as 'that thorough change of heart,
usually denominated regeneration; that distressing conviction
of our undone condition by sin, and utter inability to relieve
ourselves by virtue of that strength common to mankind in general;
that humble acceptance of Christ as our only Saviour and Lord,
by a faith of divine operation; that humbling sense of the corruption
of human nature, and eager pursuit and practice of universal holiness'.
These characteristics were certainly present in his life to a
very high degree."
These are materials written by various authors about the Puritans or other Reformed subjects. There are separate listings for the sermons and extracts in the Table of Contents and for poetry . New
About the Puritans in General
Biographies of Individual Puritans
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In the late 1800’s the influence of Puritanism started to decline. People were not as religious as their ancestors and many became more practical in the world and did not give much importance to the Bible, as they used to. This attitude of Puritans was influenced by several things. Such as, many Puritans didn’t rely on God that much, the presence of Quakers and Anabaptists changed the Puritan thinking as they introduced their new customs and lifestyles in the society and many Puritans were impressed. Church laws were violated more often and no one even cared about it because people were losing faith in God. As a result of the witch trials people were so depressed with the innocent deaths that their faith in God became weaker and colonies decided to separate the laws of the church and the laws of the government. Family governing was also becoming unpopular. The sins of sex and alcohol increased as there were no strict laws to stop these practices. Laboring also became uncommon, and societies were greatly lacking proper behaviors. All these things add up to the decline of Puritanism in the New World.
Puritan values, ideas, and beliefs are evident in the works of Anne Bradstreet, William Bradford, and Jonathan Edwards. Through her poetry, Bradstreet reveals her Puritan values and ideals. Bradstreet was aware of a woman’s role in Puritan society and tried to portray herself as a humble, pious, obedient, and modest wife. William Bradford’s work also encompasses beliefs, values, and ideas of Puritan life. One can see that in Bradford’s writing such as Of Plymouth Plantation, Bradford emphasizes Puritan suffering specifically through the Mayflower journey and how, with the grace of God, they prevailed. Jonathan Edwards’ work also displays Puritan beliefs, values, and ideals through the installation of fear. In an excerpt from Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, Puritan minister Edwards uses the effective element of fear when addressing his congregation. Puritan values, ideals, and beliefs are reflected and expressed in the works of all three of these influential writers.
A passage from James Russell Lowell’s “The Bigelow Papers”, stresses how literature was not as significant in Puritan society because the prominent men and women were occupied “...putting their force into the strong and most urgent tasks pertaining to this world and the next.” (“The Bigelow Papers”). Anne Bradstreet was a poet who knew and respected the ideals and expectations of Puritan society. She realized that women were not as highly respected as men were and accepted this fact of life. Bradstreet wrote about personal experiences and feelings while remaining faithful to God in her writings. In her poem, “Upon the Burning of Our House July 10th, 1666” Bradstreet mentions the pain and suffering she went through when her belongings perished in her house fire...
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...hat terrifying sermons that Jonathan Edwards applies the elements of Puritan values and ideals, and portrays his strong and faithful Puritan beliefs.
As it was considered sinful to read literature that was not Puritan or in relation to the Bible and the divinity of God, many Puritans did not value many types of literature as a whole. As James Russell Lowell noted in “The Bigelow Papers”, aside from the Bible, many Puritans spent most of their time devoted to pertinent matters. However, the works of Anne Bradstreet, William Bradford, and Jonathan Edwards exhibited many common ideals and values shared throughout Puritan society. Despite the fact that Puritan religious beliefs, traditions, values, and ideals vary strongly from those of present-day America, it remains eminent that Puritan beliefs were the cornerstones of common religious practices and beliefs of today.
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