What is a definition and example of three types of religious writing in the Colonial period?

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Colonial literature features these three types of religious writing: spiritual autobiographies, poetry, and sermons.

Puritans believed that God granted some people grace by changing their sinful human feelings into the ability to love purely. This belief inspired many Puritans to keep diaries to record signs that they were moving closer to a state of grace. Those who felt they had achieved grace often wrote of their experiences in spiritual autobiographies. One spiritual autobiography is John Bunyan's Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (1666).

Religious poetry was also a part of Colonial literature. Edward Taylor and Anne Bradstreet wrote religious poetry. Bradstreet was the first woman poet in America who wrote of everyday experiences in terms of her deep belief in a loving God. One of her most famous poems is "Upon the Burning of Our House."

Finally, sermons were important in Colonial religious literature. "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" by Cotton Mather is an example of a famous Colonial sermon.

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