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[34] many a rude bridge in the Plantations: “it is this, that after you have got over the black brook of some soul bondage yourselves, you tear not down the bridge after you.”

It is for such wise and humane counsels as this that Roger Williams is remembered. His opponents had mightier intellects than his, but the world has long since decided against them. Colonial sermon literature is read today chiefly by antiquarians who have no sympathy for the creed which once gave it vitality. Its theology, like the theology of Paradise lost or the Divine comedy, has sunk to the bottom of the black brook. But we cannot judge fairly the contemporary effect of this pulpit literature without remembering the passionate faith that made pulpit and pews copartners in a supreme spiritual struggle. Historians properly insist upon the aesthetic poverty of the New England Puritans; that their rule of life cut them off from an enjoyment of the dramatic literature of their race, then just closing its most splendid epoch; that they had little poetry or music and no architecture and plastic art. But we must never forget that to men of their creed the Sunday sermons and the week-day “lectures” served as oratory, poetry, and drama. These

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