Who were the Puritans?
They were heavenly minded, and thus, earthly good.
And today, as back then, so misunderstood.
They are not just a proud piece of Americana-
not all left England, in case you wonder.
They were not rigid, legalistic, prudes.
Though Victorian, they were a humble group.
Persecuted for their simple style of worshipping,
they received the ill-willed title of Puritan.
Born in Queen Elizabeth’s church of England,
they wanted a full steam reformation engine.
When unable to conform to Romish worship,
later ejected, for now some went aboard ship: Mayflower.
Now was the hour of brilliance-
to be “a city on a hill” seen in the distance.
Hunted, murdered, with tormented conscience,
instead of murmur they planted colonies.
In New England they could freely practice
everything God commanded without additives.
A new Geneva, no, a new Jerusalem founded!
Aiming up toward God and doctrinally grounded.
This is how in God’s plan they all got ready,
but where on earth were they theologically?
Down to earth definitely, and most applicable.
Their books are tattered, Anglican ones not so.
Though agreeing with the church universally,
they had quite a knack for furthering diversity.
Who says angels don’t assist in regeneration?
Isaac Ambrose here borders on the pagan.
What about the doctrine of justification?
Baxter walked out when they drafted a statement.
But for all the ways they were inclined to differ,
their Confession of Faith was sealed at Westminster.
1646, eleven-hundred-sixty-three sessions, one voice.
Two Catechisms, and two Directories by Scots’ choice.
With all their books, sermons, and commentaries,
we see one thing with them that was customary:
“Theology is the doctrine or teaching of living to God,”*1
“the chief end of man is the glory of God.*2
How else to live when predestined for this;
and also created, saved, and in covenant for this?
The Triune God is worthy of right worship,
by all, alone, in families, and in corporate.
Think of the majesty and yet meekness of Jesus!
He, for our sake, a Prophet, King, and Priest is!
A pure Human Nature put to the test,
glorified now, but with a bruised heart in His chest.
For the church He bled and died to woo her,
now He calls through preaching to pursue her.
Wins her to His pierced side by His mighty Spirit,
effectually wrought upon so that they will hear it.
Carried into His arms and embraced by faith,
the proper end of all true means of grace.
Repentance sore, and afflictions many,
but out of the Rock issues water, no, honey!
Perseverance is the clearest mark of grace,
through all the faults, fears, and failings of saints.
In order to prevail against a 3-headed enemy,
world, flesh, and devil must die off steadily.
As pilgrims going from this world to the next one,
we must at the same time eye hell and heaven,
working out our salvation while waiting
for the glorious day of earth’s restoration:
Antichrist crushed, Jews brought to Christ,
as He descends to judge all the earth right.
Then will unfold Heaven’s Glories, Hell’s Terrors;*3
then we’ll serve God, adoring without sin or error.
“What is the end of all this dispensation?
The glory of God in our salvation.
Glory be to God on high!”*4
So who exactly were the Puritans?
Simon Ashe (Simeon Ashe)
John Bond (Puritan)
John Brinsley the elder
Thomas Brooks (Puritan)
Jonathan Edwards, American heir of the Puritans who is often listed with them
William Fiennes, 1st Viscount Saye and Sele
Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon
Thomas Hastings (colonist)
Robert Hill (clergyman)
Morgan Llwyd (Arminian)
Walter Marshall (Puritan)
John Maynard (MP)
John Norton (Puritan divine)
Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick
Rev. John Russell, Jr of Hadley, Mass.
Thomas Taylor (clergyman)
Samuel Ward (minister)
Samuel Ward (scholar)
Roger Williams (theologian)
George Wither (became Puritan from c. 1620)
Soli Deo Gloria!
*1 Quote by William Ames
*2 Adapted from WCF Shorter Catechism Q/A. 1
*3 The name of one of Christopher Love’s books
*4 Quote from one of John Owen’s Two Short Catechisms
*5 List from www.semperreformanda.com