When this raised problems for second-generation residents, they adopted the Half-Way Covenant , which permitted baptized , moral, and orthodox persons to share the privileges of church membership. Article Media. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents.
Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree See Article History. Britannica Quiz. Despite the emergence of an independent English church, religious loyalties remained deeply divided for decades.
In fact, the Church of England differed little from the Catholic Church, except for the central issue of allegiance to the pope. This lingering similarity was a matter of deep concern to many who felt that the English Reformation had not gone far enough. The name "puritan" came to be used to describe members of the Church of England who wished to purify it of all semblances to the Roman Catholic Church, in particular the liturgy, vestments and episcopal hierarchy.
The Puritans emphasized that they did not wish to destroy the Church of England, nor did they want to separate from it. They did not like the Puritans any better than they liked the Roman Catholics. Eventually sold by the Puritans , the house and gardens were purchased by Dr.
Harvey and given to the society. Cactus aficionados, don't get left in the dust with this quiz on desert plants. Find out if you have the knowledge to survive this prickly foray into the desert! Some Puritans left for New England , particularly from to the Eleven Years' Tyranny under King Charles I , supporting the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and other settlements among the northern colonies.
The large-scale Puritan immigration to New England ceased by , with around 21, having moved across the Atlantic. Puritan hegemony lasted for at least a century.
That century can be broken down into three parts: the generation of John Cotton and Richard Mather , —62 from the founding to the Restoration, years of virtual independence and nearly autonomous development; the generation of Increase Mather , —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 , — 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.
The Puritans in the United States were great believers in education. 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. This then leads to thinking for themselves, which is the basis of democracy. The Puritans in the United States, almost immediately after arriving in , set up schools for their sons.
They also set up what were called dame schools for their daughters, and in other cases taught their daughters at home how to read. As a result, Americans were the most literate people in the world. 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, people in them. The Puritans also set up a college Harvard University only six years after arriving in the United States.
By the time of the Revolution, the United States had 10 colleges when England had only two. Puritanism broadly refers to a diverse religious reform movement in Britain committed to the continental Reformed tradition. They believed that all of their beliefs should be based on the Bible , which they considered to be divinely inspired.
The concept of covenant was extremely important to Puritans, and covenant theology was central to their beliefs. 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. As sinners, every person deserved damnation. 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.
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 believed in unconditional election and irresistible grace —God's grace was given freely without condition to the elect and could not be refused. Covenant theology made individual salvation deeply personal. It held that God's predestination was not "impersonal and mechanical" but was a "covenant of grace" that one entered into by faith.
Therefore, being a Christian could never be reduced to simple "intellectual acknowledgment" of the truth of Christianity. Puritans agreed "that the effectual call of each elect saint of God would always come as an individuated personal encounter with God's promises".
The process by which the elect are brought from spiritual death to spiritual life regeneration was described as conversion. Over time, however, Puritan theologians developed a framework for authentic religious experience based on their own experiences as well as those of their parishioners. Eventually, Puritans came to regard a specific conversion experience as an essential mark of one's election. The Puritan conversion experience was commonly described as occurring in discrete phases.
It began with a preparatory phase designed to produce contrition for sin through introspection, Bible study and listening to preaching. 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. For some Puritans, this was a dramatic experience and they referred to it as being born again.
Confirming that such a conversion had actually happened often required prolonged and continual introspection. 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". Puritan clergy wrote many spiritual guides to help their parishioners pursue personal piety and sanctification. 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.
Many Puritans relied on both personal religious experience and self-examination to assess their spiritual condition. Puritanism's experiential piety would be inherited by the evangelical Protestants of the 18th century.
While most Puritans were members of the Church of England, they were critical of its worship practices. In the 17th century, Sunday worship in the established church took the form of the Morning Prayer service in the Book of Common Prayer. This might include a sermon, but Holy Communion or the Lord's Supper was only occasionally observed. 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 were concerned about biblical errors and Catholic remnants within the prayer book. 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. The sermon was central to Puritan piety. Puritans taught that there were two sacraments : baptism and the Lord's Supper. Puritans agreed with the church's practice of infant baptism.
However, the effect of baptism was disputed. Puritans objected to the prayer book's assertion of baptismal regeneration. It could not be assumed that baptism produces regeneration. 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 also objected to priests making the sign of the cross in baptism.
Private baptisms were opposed because Puritans believed that preaching should always accompany sacraments. Some Puritan clergy even refused to baptise dying infants because that implied the sacrament contributed to salvation. 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. Instead, Puritans embraced the Reformed doctrine of real spiritual presence , believing that in the Lord's Supper the faithful receive Christ spiritually.
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".
For example, the requirement that people kneel to receive communion implied adoration of the Eucharist , a practice linked to transubstantiation.
Puritans also criticised the Church of England for allowing unrepentant sinners to receive communion. 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 did not believe confirmation was necessary and thought candidates were poorly prepared since bishops did not have the time to examine them properly.
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. They suggested it be rewritten as "we commit his body [etc. Puritans eliminated choral music and musical instruments in their religious services because these were associated with Roman Catholicism; however, singing the Psalms were considered appropriate see Exclusive psalmody.
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.
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. In addition, these Puritans called for a renewal of preaching, pastoral care and Christian discipline within the Church of England. Like the episcopalians, the presbyterians agreed that there should be a national church but one structured on the model of the Church of Scotland.
The Westminster Assembly proposed the creation of a presbyterian system, but the Long Parliament left implementation to local authorities. As a result, the Church of England never developed a complete presbyterian hierarchy. Featured Media. Featured Animal. Amphibians and Reptiles. Extinct Animals. Insects and Other Arthropods. Other Sea Animals. Featured Activity. Puritans in America.
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Improved homework resources designed to support a variety of curriculum subjects and standards.Recorded in London and Prague, mixed in Los Angeles, Mastered at Metropolis Studios, London. B3 based on 'Where Corals Lie' by Sir Edward Elgar (words by Richard Garnett C.B.). A2 contains a recorded sample licensed courtesy of Collegium Records taken from the album 'Sea Change: The Choral Music of Richard Rodney Bennett' (CSACD ), performed by the Cambridge Singers under the /5(75).