Scottish Puritanism, 1590-1638

By David George Mullan | Go to book overview

4 The Pilgrim's Progress

We are strangers before thee, and sojourners as were all our fathers: our dayes on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.

I Chronicles 29: 15. 1

I can resemble our Saviour to nothing better, then to a wise and skilfull Pylot, who seeing his company sicke, and weary with continuall stormes at sea, when he knoweth hee is neere any land, letteth his sick, and faint hearted company go on shore to refresh themselves, to get aire of the land, to take in new victuals and provision, to serve the necessitie of their succeeding voyage: but if hee finde them to begin to be enamored with love of the land, and the pleasures thereof, straight wayes hee sendeth a boat on shoare, & reclaimes them from the surfet of their pleasures, telling them, that if any amongst them would bee at home, at his owne Countrie, hee must come aboard againe; for it is not the dallying with the pleasures of a strange country, that will bring him home to his owne soyle.

William Wishart, An exposition of the Lords prayer (1633), 302-3.
Scottish puritan piety was restless, introspective, and subject to dramatic emotional swings. Puritans were driven to scrutinize and interpret their innermost thoughts and feelings, and moving outward, to locate themselves accordingly upon the human landscape. This enabled them to generate a community which reinforced the internalized life of piety, and also supplied the means of satisfying the deepest human needs for affiliation. However, the strength of this fellowship and its public self-manifestation as a rigidly moralistic and even censorious way of life served also to undermine a sense of social solidarity, and might well foster deep psychological and sociological tensions. It necessitated a careful definition of the godly community, and despite attempting to maintain a societal and political corpus Christianum, led ineluctably toward a more sectarian notion of religion.

-111-

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Scottish Puritanism, 1590-1638
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Scottish Puritanism 1590-1638 iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • List of Abbreviations xii
  • Prologue 1
  • 1: A Puritan Brotherhood 13
  • 2: A Ministry of the Word 45
  • 3: Conversion and Assurance 85
  • 4: The Pilgrim's Progress 111
  • 5: The Ambiguity of the Feminine 140
  • 6: Covenants and Covenant Theology 171
  • 7: A Schism Defined 208
  • 8: Political and National Divinity 244
  • 9: The Damnable Covenant 285
  • Epilogue 318
  • Bibliography 323
  • Index 361
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