Richard and later Increase Mather supported him, as did Edward Taylor; but Solomon Stoddard of Northampton maintained that, according to the Halfway Covenant, no man was allowed to participate in the Lord`s Supper until he had some knowledge and certainty of salvation; Without this knowledge, the Lord`s visit to the Lord`s Supper was devastating. Stoddard said that no man could know with absolute certainty that he was saved; Therefore, all well-behaved Christians should be admitted to the sacrament in the hope of obtaining saving grace or being converted by it. (Grabo 32) The Puritans gathered in different groups and made a covenant (formal agreement) with God to obey His will as revealed in the Bible. In these “covenant communities,” they focused on reading, preaching, and obeying God`s biblical laws. In 1630, the Puritans sailed for America. Unlike the pilgrims who had left 10 years earlier, the Puritans did not break with the Church of England, but tried to reform it. In search of comfort and comfort in the Bible, they imagined reconstructing the story of the Exodus. Like the ancient Israelites, they were freed from oppression by God and bound to Him by a covenant; Like the Israelites, they were chosen by God to fulfill a special role in human history: to establish a new pure Christian community. Aboard the flagship Arbella, their leader John Winthrop reminded them of their duties and obligations under the alliance. If they lived up to their obligations to God, they would be blessed; If they failed, they were punished.
Covenant of Grace. This covenant requires active faith and, as such, softens the doctrine of predestination. Although God always chooses the elect, the relationship becomes a contractual relationship in which punishment for sin is a judicially appropriate response to disobedience. During the Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards later rejected federal theology in order to return to Orthodox Calvinism. Those who were bound by the covenant were entrusted with a mission of God. Salvation did not depend on outward behavior, but on a radical effort that required each individual to explore the depths of his heart and soul. This “covenant of grace” contrasted with the “covenant of works,” which emphasized the importance of righteous behavior. Faith, not works, was the key to salvation. The conversion experience did not happen suddenly; It unfolded in crises and began to be interrupted by doubts as divine power was found on the fragile human material. Salvation Covenant. It was believed that the Salvation Covenant preceded the Grace Covenant.
He noted that Christ, who willingly chose to sacrifice himself for fallen man, compelled God to accept him as a representative of man. After accepting this covenant, God is compelled to fulfill the covenant of grace. According to Perry Miller, as a contemporary source has said, “God made a covenant with Christ that if He were to pay the full price for the redemption of the Bedoués, they would have to be discharged. Christ has paid the price, God must be unjust, otherwise He must deliver you from all evil” (New England Mind 406). John Winthrop understood that people inevitably disagreed and were willing to tolerate a range of opinions and beliefs. But he also realized that if dissent was not contained, it would undermine the community. And that`s exactly what happened. Two members of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, defied the religious authority of the Puritan Commonwealth and threatened to destroy Wintrop`s vision of a “city on a hill.” Cotton`s sermon in Salem in 1636 described the basic elements of this system, in which people who ally with each other and promise to obey God`s Word could become a self-sustaining church.
Checks and balances in this model of self-government included the requirement for members to testify of their experience of grace (to ensure the purity of the Church and its members) and the election of Church leaders to ensure the appropriate distribution of power to preach with a pastor, a teacher who “cares about doctrine,” elders who oversee “acts of spiritual domination.” and a deacon who directs the daily tasks of ecclesiastical organization and care for the poor (St. 19). The system of interlocking alliances that connected households with each other and with their officials in an autonomous and autonomous community was reflected in the organization of cities. In each city, male church members could vote to elect the “elected” to regulate the day-to-day affairs of the city, although municipal assemblies were held to vote on legislation. Thus, the ultimate authority in the political and religious spheres was the Word of God, but the commitments made to the Church and the community through voluntary obedience to covenants ensured order and a functional system of religious and political leadership. This system was called the Congregational or “New England Way”. According to Stout, “By locating power in the respective cities and defining institutions in terms of local alliances and mutual commitments, the dangers of mobility and atomism – the main threats to stability in the New World – have been minimized. Since churches were created only by a local covenant, individual members could only be released from their sacred oath with the consent of the local organization. People who left without the consent of the body sacrificed not only church membership, but also title deed, which depended on local residence.
Through such measures, which combined economic and spiritual constraints, New England cities achieved an extraordinarily high level of perseverance and social cohesion” (23). The Covenant of Works records that God promised Adam and his descendants eternal life if they obeyed the moral law. After Adam broke this covenant, God made a new covenant of grace with Abraham (Genesis 18–19). But it wasn`t just individual salvation that mattered; The mental health and well-being of the community as a whole was also of paramount importance, as it was the community that honored and held the alliance. The integrity of the community required religious conformity. Dissent was tolerated, but only within narrow limits. The pilgrims settled in Plymouth instead of Virginia because the pilgrims were diverted from their path by a storm and landed far north. Aboard the Ship Mayflower, the pilgrims spent more than two months before arriving on the coast of North America. The pilgrims decided to stay in Plymouth. Another reason for the decline of the Puritan religion was the increasing competition from other religious groups.
Baptists and Anglicans founded churches in Massachusetts and Connecticut, where the Puritans had once been the most powerful group. Political changes also weakened the Puritan community. Like the pilgrims, the Puritans were English Protestants who believed that the reforms of the Church of England did not go far enough. From their point of view, the liturgy was still too Catholic. The bishops lived like princes. The ecclesiastical courts were corrupt. Since the King of England was both the head of the church and the state, the Puritans` opposition to religious authority meant that they also opposed the civil authority of the state. The Puritans were a branch of dissidents who decided that the Church of England was beyond reformation. Fleeing persecution from church leaders and the king, they came to America. The Puritans believed that the Bible was god`s true law and that it provided a plan for life. Further information can also be found in the following works proposed by earam-L members: The Halfway Alliance, designed by Richard Mather and approved in 1662, suggested that members of the second generation should be granted the same baptismal privilege (but not communion) that had been granted to the first generation. According to Norman Grabo, “this encouraged individual congregations to baptize the young children of church members, but not to accept them as full members until they were at least 14 years old” and could profess conversion.
“Participation in the sacrament has become a temptation for members in mid-term difficulty to discover their right to full membership and a public sign of the purest in the congregation.” According to Samuel Eliot Morison`s Oxford History of the American People, the Puritans were “deeply impressed by a story told by their favorite church father, St. Augustine, in his confessions. He heard a voice say, “Pick up and read.” When he opened the Bible, his eyes lit up on Romans xiii:12-14: “The night is far past, the day is near; neither in cruelty and drunkenness, nor in debauchery and lust, nor in conflict and jealousy. But bet on the Lord Jesus Christ and do not make sure that the flesh fulfills desires” (62). Those who regularly missed the church were fined. The sermon became a way to address the problems or concerns of the city. The church was sometimes patrolled by a man holding a long pole. At one end, there was a collection of feathers to tickle the chins of the old men who had fallen asleep. The colony survived, but over time, his religious zeal diminished. Researchers disagree on when and why this happened. The Puritans themselves have struggled to keep a society in a state of creative uncertainty. In 1679, a Puritan synod met to discuss the causes of the widespread spiritual malaise.
This was due to an increase in swearing; a tendency to sleep during sermons; the spread of sex and alcohol, especially in taverns, where women were known to strip their arms and sometimes even their breasts; and, more tellingly, the significant increase in lies and complaints. .