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The PuritansA Transatlantic History$
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David D. Hall

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151397

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151397.001.0001

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The End of the Beginning, 1640–1660

The End of the Beginning, 1640–1660

(p.252) Chapter Eight The End of the Beginning, 1640–1660
The Puritans

David D. Hall

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses how the “windings and overturnings” of the 1640s and early 1650s were unprecedented in British history. For the Puritan movement, they were devastating. At the debut of the 1640s, the godly in England seemed on the verge of securing the reformation they had sought since the 1570s. As late as 1646 or possibly 1647, the classic goals of the movement still seemed within reach. Yet by 1650, the principles of a comprehensive state church and magistracy–ministry alliance had been displaced by voluntary versions of Protestantism and state support for liberty of conscience. Not in name but in practice, moral discipline had virtually collapsed. Doctrine, too, had become unhinged, although blasphemy remained a civil crime. Order of a quite different kind returned in 1660–62 with the restoration of the monarchy. With it came episcopacy throughout Britain and a line drawn in the sand about conformity. Some 1,600 ministers were unwilling to conform and, thereafter, became Dissenters (as did some of their congregations) who could not worship openly.

Keywords:   Puritan movement, liberty of conscience, England, reformation, state church, Dissenters, Protestantism, moral discipline, doctrine, episcopacy

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