Transgressing the Bounds: Subversive Enterprises among the by Louise A. Breen

By Louise A. Breen

This examine bargains a brand new interpretation of the Puritan "Antinomian" controversy and a skillful research of its wider and long-term social and cultural value. Breen argues that controversy either mirrored and fostered greater questions of identification that might persist in Puritan New England throughout the seventeenth century. a few matters mentioned the following comprise the life of individualism in a society that valued conformity and the reaction of individuals of an inward-looking, localistic tradition to these between them of a extra "cosmopolitan" nature. principal to Breen's learn is the traditional and Honorable Artillery corporation of Massachusetts, an elite social membership that attracted a heterogeneous but trendy club, and whose variety contrasted with the social and non secular beliefs of the cultural majority.

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Setting aside questions concerning Wheelwright’s doctrines as matters for “conscience” and not courts, Winthrop condemned this misguided elder for failing to exercise due discretion or, in effect, to censor himself. ”38 Stoughton’s act of “sedition” had been far tamer than Wheelwright’s. Having backed down and suffered the full indignities the Court had to offer, Stoughton may well have believed that the unrepentant Wheelwright had gone too far. Indeed, Wheelwright was so full of pride that he refused even to read the Court’s explanation (the “apology”) for charging him with sedition.

After the righteousness of Christ was imputed to them in justification, the saints, both out of gratitude and because God had ordained that a “good tree” must produce “good fruit,” began to feel compunction for their sins and to live “sanctified,” outwardly moral, lives. 73 The antinomian controversy thus pitted two very different conceptualizations of truth against one another. For orthodox lights, like Shepard, sin and the law operated as a kind of reality check: “The Law is that Glass that sheweth a Man his own Face, and what he himself is.

But in a polity where church membership was made a precondition for full citizenship,Winthrop’s claim that only the “application” of Wheelwright’s doctrines and not the religious ideas themselves had been condemned was strained. Wheelwright could easily be proceeded against because he allegedly “taught” that the “former Governour [Vane] and some of the Magistrates then were friends of Christ and Free-grace [not works-righteousness], but the present [Winthrop et. ” If Winthrop hung back from explicitly denouncing false doctrine—an office befitting a minister but not a magistrate—he nonetheless expressed freely his disregard for the way that Wheelwright attributed belief in a “covenant of works” to those who based their “assurance” of salvation not on their “justification,” or the silent whisperings of the spirit to the sinsick soul, but rather on their “sanctification,” the active belief, godly behavior, and “mourning” for sin that were thought to flow from “justification” but could easily be “counterfeited” by hypocrites.

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