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Cape Cod The Meaning of Puritan

The title Puritan bears several meanings, including one that distinguished two groups of dissatisfied members of the church of England.

One group separated from the Church in the early seventeenth century; the other remained within the Church and attempted to break down the doctrines and rules that irked them.

The first group were called Separatists; separating from the Church was regarded as a most serious thing to do; the Pilgrims were Separatists. The second group those who determined to remain and complain were nicknamed Puritans. But ultimately the term Puritan came to apply to both groups, and also to matters and principles savoring of their ideals in religion, politics, and government.

The first use of the term Puritan seems to have occurred about the year 1566, in England, of course; and in the year 1567 a congregation composed of such persons as it denoted, were spoken of as “Puritans or Unspottyd Lambs of the Lord.” These people used to meet secretly, and they referred to their sect as “the pure or stainless religion.” Puritan for a long while was a term of obvious reproach, if not of contempt. But eventually, the “Unspottyd Lambs of the Lord” became powerful enough politically and by force of arms to overthrow (whom they murdered,) the King and the Church and set up the “Commonwealth of England.” This was in turn over-overthrown and Crown and Church restored, in the year 1660.

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Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 09/15/06
Categories: History
Keywords: history, pilgrims


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