Rise and Fall of Puritanism

 

Strengths of the Faith

1. Believed in the right to govern itself

2. Held open meetings of stockholders and free men

3. Set up a democratic organization of the church (Congregationalism); Mayflower Compact
    set in place rule by the governed for the "civic
    body politik."  Theocracy --state and church governed hand in hand

4.  Moved to governance in which purifying became rigid way of life

5.  Valued education (allotted land for school; emphasized literacy to read the Scriptures, for
     example the "Old Deluder Satan Act")

6.  Worked "unto the Lord" valuing all professions and calling for working hard and
      purposeful "for His glory"  (Puritan Work Ethic)

7. Dreamed of a better life with freedom to worship, speak, and provide for themselves in
    America

Decline of Puritanism

1. More non-Puritans, not seeking salvation arrived as immigrants.

2. Descendants began to question the rigidity of the faith.

3. They began to pursue worldly goods.

4. The inflexibility of the faith was its strength and its weakness.

5. A  middle class of ambitious merchants, partisans , and indentured servants progressed
     later.

    The Great Awakening called for a revival of the faith of the founding fathers.

II.  Puritans'' Beliefs versus Beliefs in the Age of Enlightenment

Philosophical
Principle
Puritans Enlightenment
Nature of Man natural depravity moral perfection
Universe mysteries, God's providence rationally understandable, natural laws
Authority Bible reason and science
Interest works of God man and natural universe
Responsibility glorification of God's ways perfection of man's possibilities, humanism
Hope, salvation God's grace worldly success