THE RELIGIOUS CORPORATION
The Pilgrims believed in the coterminal responsibility of church and state in promoting moral and social discipline. Church and state were rigidly separate in polity but complemented the work of each other. The two covenants -- civil and church derived from the same body of people. The interaction of church and state constituted an establishment for religion -- in a sense, they were a "dual corporation."1 Although having been dissenters against the hierarchal control of the Church of England, the Pilgrims held no brief against church establishment per se, only that it reflect the majority will of congregational authority.
In America, the Pilgrims had the task of re-creating their religious community and a civil body politic as well, both bound by the ties of kinship and neighborhood they had known in England. But the challenge to build any society they wanted to out of the wilderness void fortified their feeling of Providential sanction and their utopian vision of "the triumphant and glorious Church." The Pilgrim search for a "lost community,"2 therefore, provided impetus to the mutual succor of church and state.
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Publication information: Book title: Statism in Plymouth Colony. Contributors: Harry M. Ward - Author. Publisher: Kennikat Press. Place of publication: Port Washington, NY. Publication year: 1973. Page number: 52.
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