Puritanism Covenant And The Perfect Society In New England

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When the Puritans came to New England, they came to settle with a clear society in mind. Not only would this society be free from the persecution that they endured in Old England; it would be free to create what the leader of the religion referred to as a "perfect" society. In their attempt to escape the persecution they had come so accustomed to, they set up their own rigid belief system based on the inclusion of the human soul and the exclusion of everything else as being unimportant (Wolff 14). The belief system of the Puritans allowed for several different types of theologies, two of which are the Covenant theology and the Paradise theology. The Covenant Theology is, in fact, the theology upon which the Puritan sect of religion is based upon. In essence the word covenant means agreement, contract or promise. The term "keeping the covenant" can mean many things. In the Puritan belief system, the phrase can mean keeping the covenant of marriage, keeping the covenant of the church, or keeping the covenant to God. In Puritan society, keeping the covenant of marriage was contractual (Johnson 107). The ideal marriage was taken directly from the bible; the wife should have only three purposes. The first purpose of the Puritan wife should be "friend," the Puritan wife should be a constant companion to her husband until they both reach old age. The second purpose of the Puritan wife is "lover," meaning that relationship must be consummated. Finally the third purpose of the Puritan wife is "servant" (Johnson 110). However, it was also believed that the Puritan marriage should be made up of three factors that should be exhibited by both parties and one factor exhibited by one party, the husband. The husband and wife should always be friends, companions, and lovers (Johnson 110). However, instead of the wife being the "servant" to her husband, for by no means should she have been a slave, the husband instead should have the ultimate authority over every member of his household (110). The theology of keeping the covenant to the church stated that the people not only must keep their promise to the Church, but the Church must also keep its promise to the people. The first priority in the Puritan organization is the people's promise to the Church.

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