two people, a man and a woman, holding hands and walking among the clouds

To My Dear and Loving Husband

by Anne Bradstreet

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What were the Puritans experts in?

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The Puritans were experts in endowing all areas of life with deep religious significance. In the wake of the Reformation, Puritans took religious life from the convents, monasteries, and priories and placed it firmly in the home, the marketplace, and the place of business. Puritans became renowned for their hard work and business acumen, and they always maintained that their worldly success was a sign of God's favor and that they were part of the elect, who would go to heaven on the Day of Judgment.

As with all Protestants, Puritans didn't believe that marriage was a sacrament—a physical, outward sign of God's grace—the reason being that there was no such explicit warrant in Scripture. Nevertheless, they did regard marriage as a very special institution, one where the love between a husband and wife was sanctified.

It is this attitude toward married love which is prominently on display in "To My Dear and Loving Husband." Puritans, such as Anne Bradstreet, would never express themselves in such a heartfelt gush of emotion toward a mere lover, as secular poets of the time often did. The object of the speaker's love is her husband, joined together with her in a bond of holy matrimony. Theirs is a permanent commitment made in the presence of God; their love is truly sanctified, taking it out of the realm of the worldly and into the sublime.

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The Puritans were experts on the Bible. As their name implies, they sought to purify the Church of England by insisting on returning to the Bible in their forms of worship. Therefore, they were generally far more literate than other people of their age (so they could read the Bible themselves and not just hear it preached out in church), and they founded universities and schools when they went to New England. One such institution was Harvard College, founded in 1636, which was initially founded to train clergy. The college had the first printing press in North America. The Puritans did not necessarily believe in creativity, though the poem "To My Dear and Loving Husband" by Anne Bradstreet is an example of a creative piece of literature written by a Puritan poet. They were, however, known for their adherence to the Bible.

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I would say the Puritans were experts on the Bible, or at least their interpretation of it.  They did not beleive in creativity.  They certainly did not appreciate the arts, and they were appalled by Pagan traditions.

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