Background: Puritans Embarkation of the Pilgrims," by Robert Walter Weir (1837).William Bradford is depicted at center, symbolically behind Gov. John Carver (holding hat) whom Bradford would succeed.
William Bradford (1590-1657)• Mayflower: Bradford came to the Plymouth colony • Written with nostalgia: As historian Walter Wenska aboard the crowded Mayflower in 1620 with 100 states, "Bradford writes most of his history out of passengers. his nostalgia, long after the decline of Pilgrim fervor and commitment had become apparent. Both the• Harsh Winter: The first winter in the new colony early annals which express his confidence in the was a terrible in that half the colonists died, Pilgrim mission and the later annals, some of which including the colonys leader, John Carver. Bradford reveal his dismay and disappointment, were written was selected as his replacement on the spring of at about the same time"(152.) 1621. • A crafted history: The• Thanksgiving: Bradford is credited as the first to history was “not a yearly proclaim what popular American culture now views chronicle of events, but a as the first Thanksgiving, mentioned in his Of retrospective attempt to Plymouth Plantation . interpret God’s design for… that exclusive group of• Not a private journal but a history: Of Plymouth believers predestined for Plantation was a detailed history of the founding of eternal salvation… The the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the lives of the genre of Puritan history Puritan colonists from 1621 to 1646. It is a common served a distinctly useful misconception that the manuscript was Bradford’s purpose in enhance private journal. Rather, it was a retrospective spiritual life” and to account of his recollections and observations, demonstrate the working of written in the form of two books. The first book was divine providence. (Gould written in 1630; the second was never finished, but 246). was written between 1646 and 1650.
Winthrop’s City Upon a Hill• John Winthrops 1630 sermon "A Model of • Puritan leaders, writers, and speakers Christian Charity” was written by aboard the developed literary and theological parallels ship Arbella, on their way to the new world. to the people of Israel and the Exodus agreement with God to go into an unknown• He derived this image from the Bibles place and live out a calling they believed Sermon on the Mount: "You are the light of prophetically placed upon them. the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden." • Winthrops charge to the group about to land in New England is an early example of this• Winthrop instructed the future sense of visionary self-definition. Massachusetts Bay colonists that their new community would be a "city upon a hill," watched by the world: For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken... we shall be made a story and a by-word throughout the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God... We shall shame the faces of many of Gods worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us til we be consumed out of the good land whither we are a- going. (158)
Influences of Winthrop’s "A Model of Christian Charity”• Winthrops sermon “A Model of Christian Charity” • President Ronald Reagan referenced Winthrop in his gave rise to the widespread belief in American 1984 acceptance of the Republican Party folklore that the United States of America is Gods nomination as well as in his January 11, 1989 country because metaphorically it is a Shining City farewell speech to the nation: upon a Hill. Ive spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I dont know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks• In 1961, President-Elect John F. Kennedy made stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and reference to Winthrop’s work in his address teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and delivered to the General Court of Massachusetts: peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce ...I have been guided by the standard John Winthrop set and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls before his shipmates on the flagship Arbella three hundred had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and thirty-one years ago, as they, too, faced the task of and the heart to get here. Thats how I saw it and see it still. building a new government on a perilous frontier. "We must always consider", he said, "that we shall be as a city upon a • Somewhat ironically, Winthrop was not a proponent hill—the eyes of all people are upon us". Today the eyes of all people are truly upon us—and our governments, in every of democracy: Winthrop stated in his letters, "If we branch, at every level, national, state and local, must be as should change from a mixed aristocracy to mere a city upon a hill — constructed and inhabited by men democracy, first we should have no warrant in aware of their great trust and their great responsibilities. scripture for it: for there was no such government For we are setting out upon a voyage in 1961 no less in Israel ... A democracy is, amongst civil nations, hazardous than that undertaken by the Arabella in 1630. We are committing ourselves to tasks of statecraft no less accounted the meanest and worst of all forms of awesome than that of governing the Massachusetts Bay government. [To allow it would be] a manifest Colony, beset as it was then by terror without and disorder breach of the 5th Commandment.“ within. History will not judge our endeavors—and a government cannot be selected—merely on the basis of color or creed or even party affiliation. Neither will • How else do we see influences of Winthrop’s competence and loyalty and stature, while essential to the concept of the United Sates as a “city upon a hill” utmost, suffice in times such as these. For of those to whom today? much is given, much is required.
Anne Bradstreet (1612?-1672)• Traveled on the same boat as Winthrop: Anne and • Publishing women’s writing: The purpose of the her family emigrated to America in 1630 on the publication appears to have been an attempt by Arbela. devout Puritan men (i.e. Thomas Dudley, Simon Bradstreet, John Woodbridge) to show that a godly• Female Poet: In 1647 Bradstreets brother-in-law, and educated woman could elevate the position Rev. John Woodbridge, sailed to England, carrying held by a wife and mother, without necessarily her manuscript of poetry without her knowledge, placing her in competition with men. Very few men where it was published in London. Bradstreet of that time agreed with that belief. became the first female poet ever published in both England and the New World. • A Woman of Puritan Values: Brother-in-law Woodbridge inserted a preface to assure readers of the books authenticity and of Bradstreets character as a humble woman of Puritan values: The worst effect of his [the readers] reading will be unbelief, which will make him question whether it be a woman’s work, and ask, is it possible? If any do take this as an answer from him that dares avow it; it is the work of a woman, honored, and esteemed where she lives, for her gracious demeanor, her eminent parts, her pious conversation, her courteous disposition, her exact diligence in her place, and discreet managing of her family occasions, and more than so, these poems are the fruit but of some few hours, curtailed from her sleep and other refreshments.
Roger Williams Overview • Land Rights for Native Americans: Williams study of the Native Americans lead him to question the validity of the• Williams was the first American proponent of religious colonial charters. In 1632 openly condemned the Kings freedom and the separation of church and state. charters and questioned the right of Plymouth to the land Although he was not the first to advocate separation of without first buying it from the Indians. He charged that King church and state, he was the first to establish a place James had uttered a "solemn lie" when he asserted that he where it could be practiced. was the first Christian monarch to have discovered the land.• Williams studied Indian languages and wrote A Key into • Banishment: In 1635 he was convicted of sedition and the Languages of America. heresy, spreading "diverse, new, and dangerous and, as a result, was banished. He walked 105 miles in winter from• He was an advocate for fair dealings with Native Salem to the Narragansett Bay. Americans. • Providence Colony: In 1636 Williams and his followers• In 1636, he began the colony of Rhode Island, which purchased land from the Narragansetts, establishing the provided a refuge for religious minorities. settlement "Providence,” named because Gods Providence• He began the First Baptist Church in America. had brought Williams to this place. This settlement was to be a haven for those "distressed of conscience," and it soon attracted quite a collection of dissenters and otherwise- minded individuals. A More Detailed History • Freedom of Conscience: In 1663 William’s colony in Rhode Island received a royal charger from England’s King Charles II in which “freedom of conscience” was guaranteed, a freedom• Separation of Church and State: The General Baptists in not practice in England. We see this freedom expressed in England had advocated separation as early as 1611. Williams the First Amendment of the 1791 Bill of Rights. read the writings of these Baptist leaders, and this, combined with his own experience of religious persecution in England and the bloody wars of in Europe, convinced him that a state church had no basis in Scripture. When he arrived in the Colonies in 1631, he criticized the Massachusetts Bay government for mixing church and state. He declared that the state could legitimately concern itself only with matters of civil order, but not religious belief.
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)• A New Century: He writes his sermon “Sinners in the Dismissal: The community in Connecticut dismissed him Hands of an Angry God” in 1741, some 110 years after from the church in 1750 after Edwards published in a Winthrop wrote “A Model of Christian Charity.” church meeting the names of certain members of the church who were suspected of reading improper books, and also the names of those who were to be called as• Native Puritan: Edwards was born in Connecticut, unlike witnesses in the case. the other Puritan’s we have read who have immigrated to the new world. Death: He died of small pox as the result of a small pox inoculation shortly after became the president of the• Harkening back to early Puritans : With his work, College of New Jersey (later known as Princeton). Edwards is trying to bring back the religious commitment from the early days of the Great Migration of Puritans to the new world, which he felt had been lost during the time of the 18th Century “Enlightenment.”• Gender Equality: Edwardss letters to his wife and his considerations of other important biblical women, including Sarah, Mary and Anna, likewise indicate that he viewed women in a progressive manner ahead of his time.• Great Awakenings: He was widely published during this period of religious revival called the “Great Awakening” between 1734 and 1750.
Jonathan Edward’s “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” Most of the sermons text consists of 11 "considerations“• "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" is a typical based in the Scriptures: sermon of the Great Awakening, a revival of the Puritan faith from the previous century. 1. God may cast wicked men into hell at any given moment. 2. The Wicked deserve to be cast into hell. Divine justice does not• The sermon emphasizing the widely held belief that prevent God destroying the Wicked at any moment. Hell is a real and functional place. 3. The Wicked, at this moment, suffer under Gods condemnation to Hell. 4. The Wicked, on earth - at this very moment - suffer the torments• Edwards used vivid imagery to awaken his audience of Hell. The Wicked must not think, simply because they are not to the horrific reality that he argued awaited them physically in Hell, God (in whose Hand the Wicked now reside) is - at this very moment - as angry with them as He is with those should they continue without Christ. He believed miserable creatures He is now tormenting in hell, and who - at that Christians should do more than understand this this very moment - do feel and bear the fierceness of His wrath. reality, but should be moved by it. Religious faith 5. At any moment God shall permit him, Satan stands ready to fall was an experience—an intense emotional upon the Wicked and seize them as his own experience (as characteristic of religious revivalism). 6. If it were not for Gods restraints, there are, in the souls of wicked men, hellish principles reigning which, presently, would kindle and flame out into hellfire,• The underlying point of the sermon is that God has 7. Simply because there are not visible means of death before them, given humanity a chance to rectify their sins. at any given moment, the Wicked should not, therefore, feel Edwards says that it is the will of God that keeps secure. wicked men from the depths of Hell; this act of 8. Simply because it is natural to care for oneself or to think that others may care for them, men should not think themselves safe restraint has given humanity a chance to mend from Gods wrath. their ways and return to Christ. 9. All that wicked men may do to save themselves from Hells pains afford them nothing if they continue to reject Christ.• Jonathan Edwards sermon continues to be the 10. God has never promised to save us from Hell, except for those contained in Christ through the covenant of Grace. leading example of a Great Awakening sermon and 11. The wicked will not escape the wrath of God unless they repent. is still used in religious and academic settings today.
References• Gould, Philip. “William Bradford 1590-1657.” Heath Anthology of American Literature Volume 1. Second Edition. Ed. Paul Lauter. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath and Company, 1994.• Wenska, Walter P. "Bradford’s Two Histories: Pattern and Paradigm in Of Plymouth Plantation". Early American Literature. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 13.2 (1978): 151–164.