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Sovereignty - Final

Sovereignty - Final - Ashley Weeks HIST127 001 M Wolf 12...

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Ashley Weeks HIST127: 001 M. Wolf 12 September 2007 Puritanism in The Sovereignty and Goodness of God Puritans, by definition, were “member[s] of a group of English Protestants who in the 16 th and 17 th -centuries advocated strict discipline and simplification of religious ceremonies” (“Puritan”). However, in order to truly understand Puritanism, one must examine the history and
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2 theology behind it. The Massachusetts Bay Colony, chartered by the Massachusetts Bay Company under King Charles I (Brinkley 37), was made up of about one thousand Puritan merchants and led by Governor John Winthrop. Together, they created a Covenant with God, known as “A Model of Christian Charity,” so that they would be granted spiritual happiness and peace (Wolf). Within this Covenant, the Puritans communicated that they wished to be “a holy commonwealth, a model –a ‘city upon a hill’– for the corrupt world to see and emulate” (Brinkley 37). The Covenant did more than create a theocracy: it laid the guidelines by which Puritans were expected to live. The concept of brotherhood amongst believers was greatly emphasized, stating that all Puritans were “fellow members of Christ,” that they “must bear one another’s burdens,” and that “the care of the public must oversway all private respects” (Winthrop). By these means, Puritan New England was born. As a minister’s wife and a self- portrayed “devout Puritan,” Mary Rowlandson’s narrative, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God, was destined to be full of Puritan theology and thinking (Salisbury 5). Through her continual assertion of God’s supreme authority over the lives of herself and others, and her constant references to the Bible, Rowlandson demonstrated such a mindset; however, she neither remains entirely consistent in her piety nor steadfast in her faith throughout the narrative. Because “she was a Puritan Saint,” Mary Rowlandson “recognized in her experience a testimony to her utter dependence on God’s grace for salvation in the afterlife and on his providence for her fate while still on earth,” and this belief is evident throughout her narrative (27). Consistent with Puritan theology, Rowlandson recognized that “the end is to improve our lives to do more service to the Lord” (Winthrop). This ideal explains why, instead of an objective narrative of captivity during Metacom’s War, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God is described as “a Narrative of the wonderfully awfull, wise, holy, powerfull, and gracious
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3 providence of God” (“Preface” 63). Beginning with the account of her capture, Rowlandson immediately acknowledges God’s role in it, stating that “the Lord hereby would make us the more to acknowledge his hand, and to see that our help is always in him” (Rowlandson 69). In
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