nature remained the same, whether in the crowded cosmopolitan streets of Holland
, or upon the desolate shores of Cape Cod
But the moral strain of the old insoluble conflict between “fixed fate” and “free will” was heightened by the physical loneliness of the colonists.
Each soul must fight its own unaided, unending battle.
In that moral solitude, as in the physical solitude of the settlers upon the far northwestern prairies of a later epoch, many a mind snapped.
Unnatural tension was succeeded by unnatural crimes.
But for the stronger intellects New England
Calvinism became a potent spiritual gymnastic, where, as in the Swedish system of bodily training, one lifts imaginary and ever-increasing weights with imaginary and ever-increasing effort, flexor and extensor muscles pulling against one another, driven by the will.
Calvinism bred athletes as well as maniacs.
The new situation, again, turned many of the theoretical speculations of the colonists into practical issues.
Here, for example, was the Indian
Was he truly a child of God, possessing a soul, and, if so, had he partaken of the sin of Adam
These questions perplexed the saintly Eliot
and the generous Roger Williams
But before many