previous next
[295] it is not unfair to claim, nor improbable in the sequence of events to suppose that a large share of those most eminent and excellent characteristics of New England, which have made her what she is, and saved her for the future, came from the brain of John Calvin.

Luther's biography is to be read in books. The plodding patience of the German intellect has gathered up every trait and every trifle, the minutest, of his life, and you may read it spread out in loving admiration on a thousand pages of biography. Calvin's life is written in Scotland and New England, in the triumphs of the people against priestcraft and power. To him, more than to any other man, the Puritans owed republicanism,--the republicanism of the Church. The instinct of his day recognized that clearly, distinguishing this element of Calvinism. You see it in the wit of Charles II., when he said, “Calvinism is a religion unfit for a gentleman.” It was unfit for a gentleman of that day, for it was a religion of the people. It recognized--first since the earliest centuries of Christianity — that the heart of God beats through every human heart, and that when you mass up the millions, with their instinctive, fair-play sense of right, and their devotional impulses, you get nearer God's heart than from the second-hand scholarship and conservative tendency of what are called the thoughtful and educated classes. We owe this element, good or bad, to Calvinism.

Then, we owe to it a second element, marking the Puritans most largely, and that is action. The Puritan was not a man of speculation. He originated nothing. His principles are to be found broadcast in the centuries behind him. His speculations were all old. You might find them in the lectures of Abelard; you meet with them in the radicalism of Wat Tyler; you find them all over the continent of Europe. The distinction between

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
New England (United States) (2)
Scotland (United Kingdom) (1)
Europe (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Wat Tyler (1)
John Calvin (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: