There are some who love to enumerate the singu-
larities of the early Puritans.
They were opposed to wigs; they could preach against veils; they denounced long hair; they disliked the cross in the banner, as much as the people of Paris
disliked the lilies of the Bourbons, and for analogous reasons.
They would not allow Christmas day to be kept sacred; they called neither months, nor days, nor seasons, nor churches, nor inns, by the names common in England
; they revived Scripture names at christenings.
The grave Romans
legislated on the costume of men, and their senate could even stoop to interfere with the triumphs of the sex to which civic honors are denied; the fathers of New England
prohibited frivolous fashions in their own dress; and their austerity, checking extravagance even in woman, frowned on her hoods of silk and her scarfs of tiffany, extended the length of her sleeve to the wrist, and limited its greatest width to half an ell. The Puritans were formal and precise in their manners; singular in the forms of their legislation; rigid in the observance of their principles.
Every topic of the day found a place in their extemporaneous prayers, and infused a stirring interest into their long and frequent sermons.
The courts of Massachusetts
respected in practice the code of Moses
; the island of Rhode Island
enacted for a year or two a Jewish masquerade; in New Haven, the members of the constituent committee were called the seven pillars, hewn out for the house of wisdom.
But these are only the outward forms, which gave to the new sect its marked exterior.
If from the outside peculiarities, which so easily excite the sneer of the superficial observer, we look to the genius of the sect itself, Puritanism was Religion struggling for the People.