Chapter Three: Settling the Northern Colonies
John Calvin:John Calvin:John Calvin:John Calvin:From Geneva, Switzerland. Elaborated on Martin Luther’s ideas, resulting inCalvinism becoming the dominant religion of New England Puritans and otherAmerican settlers, such as the Scottish Presbyterians, French Huguenots, andcommunicants of the Dutch Reformed Church.Spelled out basic doctrine in
Institutes of the Christian Religion
in 1536.God was all-powerful, all-good, and all-knowing
as a result, he knew whowas going to heaven and going to hell.Humans were weak and wicked.Good works were irrelevant.The “Elect”The “Elect”The “Elect”The “Elect”::::According to Calvinism, certain souls had been destined for eternal bliss.However, the elect could not be sure of their predetermined salvation. Thus,Calvinists sought, in themselves and others, signs of “conversion” or the receiptof God’s free gift of saving grace.Conversion was thought to be an intense, identifiable personal experience inwhich God revealed to the elect their heavenly destiny. Afterwards, they wereexpected to lead “sanctified” lives to demonstrate that they were of the “visiblesaints.”PredestinationPredestinationPredestinationPredestination::::“Predestination:” one’s fate was already decided upon birth. Some werepredestined for the infernal fires.““““VisibleVisibleVisibleVisible Saints”Saints”Saints”Saints”::::People who had felt the stirrings of grace in their souls and could demonstrateits presence to their fellow Puritans.Most devout Puritans thought only “visible saints” should be admitted to churchmembership. However, Church of England enrolled all subjects, whether “saints”or “damned.” As a result, Separatists vowed to break away from Church ofEngland.PuritansPuritansPuritansPuritans::::Henry VIII’s break with the Roman Catholic Church prompted some Englishreligious reformers, the Puritans, to undertake a total purification of EnglishChristianity.Calvinism, with message of stark but reassuring order in the divine plan, fed onthe social unrest of people in commercially depressed woolen districts, Calvinismalso provided spiritual comfort to economically disadvantaged.SeparatistsSeparatistsSeparatistsSeparatists::::Separatists were unhappy with unrestricted church membership. They vowedto break away from the Church of England. King James I threatened toharass the more bothersome Separatists out of the land.Most famous congregation of Separatists fled England for Holland in 1608.After 12 years, negotiated with Virginia Company and secured rights to settle.