Puritan Works

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William Bradford

“Of Plymouth Plantation” is a documentation of the pilgrims’ experiences in America. In summary, it talks about the trials and tribulations that they encountered. The passage begins with an arrogant seaman who agitates the other members onboard by cursing at them. He ends up being the first person to fall overboard and die. This is significant because it is the first instance in the passage that the author alludes to God intervening to protect the good. Throughout the passage there are allusions to God intervening in the pilgrims’ journey. They eventually landed at Cape Cod and had to find a place for habitation. At first, they explored around their landing spot, including the woods. They encountered some natives during their search, and had a confrontation with them, but no one got hurt. It turned out that they couldn’t find a suitable place to settle, so they set out to sea again. While sailing, they encountered rough seas, but managed to reach harbor. Once on land, they found a suitable place to settle down, and built the first house on land. Later, they proceeded to set up a government for their people. Then the harsh winter hits and kills many of the people in the colony, but the colony survived. There was fear that Indians could do damage to their home, but then they met Samoset, an Indian who could speak English. He enlightened the pilgrims to what was going on around the area, and the natives’ situation in the area. Samoset introduced the settlers to Squanto, who became an invaluable source of information for the colony. He ended up living with the settlers until he died. The final page of the passage talks about the church deliberating whether the settlers should move to Nauset.

The language used in the passage is probably based on old English, for it seemed rather confusing. Many of the sentences would be considered run-on sentences if examined under today’s standards. I feel that the language could be a little more straight-forward. I could hardly understand what he was trying to say on the final page, but I am assuming that he said that some of the settlers decided to move to Nauset, while others decided to stay back. However, he does give a good description of the arduous journey that the pilgrims had to make. As I said earlier, he makes a lot of references to God. The author rarely failed to mention how God intervened to protect the settlers in virtually every challenging situation.

The second passage, “A Model of Christian Charity,” goes a little more in depth about some religious themes, and God in general. An overriding theme is that much of what is done on earth is for God, or is in the control of God himself. In the beginning of the passage, Winthrop mentions moral laws which should govern how we live our day-to-day lives. He also makes a distinction between the law of nature and the law of grace. Winthrop then goes into a question and answer mode to develop guidelines that people should follow when confronted with various situations. These guidelines are based on the law of grace. Later, Winthrop goes into the many definitions of love, and mentions how the sum of parts makes up the whole. He is basically alluding that we need each other to survive. Next he goes into the inward and outward exercise of love. In part two of his passage, Winthrop starts off by saying that we should apply the guidelines to four things the persons, the work, the end, and the means. For the persons, he mentions that we are members of Christ. Work is by mutual consent. The end is to improve our lives so as to perform more services to God. The means consists of conformity with work and the result that we hope to achieve. In summary, Winthrop discusses how God intends us to live our lives and treat one another, as well as what guidelines we should follow to serve God. Next, John Winthrop chronicles some significant events in his journal. Most of the accounts have to do with Anne Hutchinson, and her experiences with going against the beliefs of the church. She was eventually banished, and later killed. The purpose of the Anne Hutchinson saga is to show that t0hose who go against God will eventually be punished, which is what Winthrop was trying to convey in his journal. Overall, it seems as though this passage was intended to inform the reader of the religious beliefs held during that time. It appears that the church had a significant influence upon the daily lives of the people. It also gave them fairly strict guidelines to follow, and if they didn’t adhere to them, they would be ridiculed by the people and punished by God.

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