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By Jonathan D. Sassi

This booklet examines the talk over the relationship among faith and public existence in society in the course of the fifty years following the yankee Revolution. Sassi demanding situations the traditional knowledge, discovering an important continuity to the period's public Christianity, while such a lot prior reviews have noticeable this era as one within which the nation's cultural paradigm shifted from republicanism to liberal individualism. concentrating on the Congregational clergy of recent England, he demonstrates that all through this era there have been american citizens serious about their company future, preserving a dedication to developing a righteous neighborhood and assessing the cosmic which means of the yankee scan.

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Ephraim Ward arranged two exchanges during July 1787, the month when he and his neighbors were preoccupied with gathering in their hay. At their meetings, the members of the Brookfield Association also sought to sharpen each other’s theological awareness and pulpit presence. In September 1782, they discussed the controversial pamphlet Salvation for All Men, perhaps with an eye toward issuing a rebuttal. On August 13, 1794, the association made this practice of conversing upon theological topics a regular part of its activities; a doctrinal question was to be posed The Standing Order’s Corporate Vision 33 at each meeting for discussion at the next.

Historians have tended to agree with Peter Thacher’s assessments. 2 Thacher’s pamphlet gives two more impressions, both of which have left their mark on the secondary literature on religion in the early republic. Historians have used remarks like his to depict the Congregational clergy as in a steep decline in the post-Revolutionary years. Confronted with a surge in religious dissenters, we are told, the old standing order appeared ossified and irrelevant. Moreover, one could extrapolate from Thacher’s pamphlet a general inference that by 1783 the established clergy’s mood was downcast and its fund of social pronouncements depleted.

Rather, the standing order’s corporate ethic drew on these and other discourses to explain the links between Christianity and the destiny of society as a whole. If there was one overarching theme to this creole of inclusive languages, it was the conviction that God’s Providence oversaw and guided human affairs. Faith in the providential superintendence of nations had become especially relevant at the time of the American Revolution, because it made the momentous upheavals of the 1770s and 1780s explicable.

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