Chapter

The Puritans

Gary Scott Smith

in Heaven in the American Imagination

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199738953
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897346 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199738953.003.0002
The Puritans

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More than most other American Christians, the Puritans lived with one eye on eternity. Especially as put forth by Increase Mather, the Puritan conception of heaven was theocentric, focusing on the glory and majesty of God and Christ. Well versed in scripture, frequently reminded of the perilousness of life, eager to reap the rewards of heaven, and desirous of being reunited with loved ones, many Puritans thought frequently about the nature of heaven and salvation. They frequently exhorted one another to receive Christ as their savior and work out their salvation with fear and trembling so that they could spend eternity with God and loved ones. While some later Christians rhapsodized as much about the wonders of heaven, no other group stressed the horrors of hell or the difficulties pilgrims encountered in the journey to the celestial city as much as the Puritans did.

Keywords: Puritans; Mather; heaven; theocentric; salvation; hell; rewards

Chapter.  8448 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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