The Age Of Puritanism And Reasoning Essay

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The Age Of Puritanism And Reasoning Essay, Research Paper In America, as in any civilization, societies will certainly go through numerous changes. Common customs, beliefs, and traditions evolved even in the period between now and the Colonial Period. One very significant turn of religious or philosophical direction came about during the early years of the New World. The great change in ideology during the transition between the Puritan Period and the Age of Reason came about as Americans began putting their faith in their capabilities to reason, rather than in God. The first permanent settlement was established in the New World in 1607 at Jamestown, Virginia. It was followed thirteen years later by a settlement at Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Pilgrims coming to Plymouth were

devout Puritans. They were labeled Separatists because after failed attempts at reformation, they had broken away from the Church of England. They were of a culture all their own. Their personal, social, and political lives were all God-centered. With the Colonial Period, as with any other, the best clues of its history were left in its literature. Puritans wrote to provide spiritual insight and instruction according to biblical guidelines (Thompson 11). Their writing was simple and straight to the point. Puritan writing can be easily recognized because of the many references to God. God became not only the center of their thoughts, but the center of their literature as well. After all, “A Puritan s thoughts turned to God on every occasion (Thompson 15). In trying situations or

even everyday scenarios, they always asked themselves what God would have them to do. The Puritan beliefs were based solely of the Bible. Certain generations of Englishmen, seemingly for no sufficient reason, yielded their intellects to a rigid system of dogmatic theology, and surrendered their freedom to the letter of the Hebrew Scriptures; and in endeavoring to conform their institutions as well as their daily actions to self-imposed authorities, they produced a social order that fills with amazement other generations of Englishmen who have broken with that order. (Doren 31) Most Puritans believed the same doctrine. They believed themselves to be the correct interpreters of God s commandments as revealed in the Bible (Hodgins 24). They were strict advocates of Old Testament

law, but they focused on the principle of Grace. Puritans believed that they must have an enormous change to come over them. This change, given by God, was called grace. It cleansed all the sins someone had committed and made him a new person (Hodgins 6). Most Puritans believed the Calvinistic theory. John Calvin was an advocate of predestination. They believed that God had planned who would be chosen and who would be damned. This did not mean, however, that the chosen were to take their prize for granted. They were required to serve God to the fullest (Thompson 8). Puritans were working toward a greater reward. They were firm believers in the afterlife. They believed that the chosen went to heaven and the damned went to burn in an eternal hell. The Puritans thought that the way

to heaven was obvious enough in their own lifestyle. This caused them to focus more on hell in their writings and sermons. The Puritans treasured simplicity. They especially believed that religion should be simple. They had very plain, unadorned churches and ceremonies (Hodgins 6-7). They could not see any necessity in things that others might find important. To paraphrase Perry Miller, they were very frugal and hardworking. They believed that every man should have a vocation and work diligently at it. This thought was a Puritan belief as well as a rational one. God gave everyone a talent. He is, however, responsible for improving it for himself (Miller 40). The men were in charge of providing for their families. Women were to be good mothers and wives. Their biblical beliefs