Although the core of their sermons remained consistent, changes made over time reflected an adjustment to a changing environment. Best places in Hawaii to visit The principal themes remained at all times those of personal piety and liberty. These themes are linked by a shared sense of cultural and religious destiny, the city set on a hillâ mission, in which New England would fulfill the goal of Calvin’s Geneva to create the perfect society so that the Kingdom of God might be fully realized on earth. The New England preacher, more than the statesman or soldier, was the preeminent power in the colonial period. His sermon was both religious and political, reflecting a conceptual marriage of church and state.
There were multiple connections between religious and political thinking in early Country life, and the sermon played a pivotal role in the development of that life. The sermon was also an excellent educational experience. Sunday morning might be a time to hear the latest news or see old friends and neighbors, but it was also an opportunity for many to sit under a man of God who had spent many hours preparing for a two-, three-, or even a four-hour sermon. Many a colonial pastor, such as Jonathan Edwards, spent eight to twelve hours daily studying, praying over, and researching his sermon. Colonial sermons were filled with the fruits of years of study and were designed to appeal not only to the emotions and will, but also to the intellect.
As Daniel Boorstin has noted, the sermon was one of the chief literary forms in colonial Country. Realizing this, listeners followed sermons closely and would often discuss them later with family and fellow congregants. Thus, without ever attending a college or seminary, a churchgoer in colonial Country could gain an intimate knowledge of biblical doctrine, church history, and classical literature. Often, a sermon was later published, and listeners could review what they had heard previously.
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