By John Corrigan

Boston Congregationalist ministers Charles Chauncy and Jonathan Mayhew have been one of the such a lot influential social and non secular thinkers in Boston within the mid-eighteenth century. This learn argues, opposed to the interpretations of a few prior historians, that Chauncy and Mayhew produced a fancy yet coherent physique of principles, and that those rules have been geared up heavily and self-consciously round the precept of "balance." Writings on society and govt are taken care of along theological works, instead of except them, and every man's corpus is positioned opposed to the history of English rules in addition to in the context of highbrow and social existence in Boston. Chauncy and Mayhew have been the major architects of the mid-eighteenth century New England transition from Puritanism to spiritual rationalism. They have been additionally instrumental in formulating and popularizing the political and social criticisms that ended in the yank Revolution. The Hidden stability illustrates the connections among their spiritual management and their political management, and in so doing clarifies our knowing of why Chauncy and Mayhew exercised this sort of profound impact upon their contemporaries.

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Extra info for The Hidden Balance: Religion and the Social Theories of Charles Chauncy and Jonathan Mayhew

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Though the spiritual life of New Englanders became less visible - that is, more private or personal - it did not decline in quality. Norman Pettit has argued that Stoddardeanism in fact established conditions more conducive to spiritual growth than the circumstances of life in earlier New England society. "27 The inner life may have become less visible, but it remained a strong undercurrent in Puritan New England. This is not to say that social life - less connected to personal religious experience - then degenerated into immorality.

38 Mayhew's approval of the revival is clear beyond doubt from such language, and from his summary statement: "With my whole Soul bless God for it, that here is a Revival of Religion. "39 RELIGION 31 The positive impression the revival made upon Mayhew as a young man is detectable in all of Mayhew's later thinking. In The Duty of Religious Thankfulness Explainyd and Inculcated (1758) Mayhew wrote: "For it may be asked, if a man is wholly sensible of the worth of those blessings which he enjoys .

Chauncy often attributed substantially more authority to a minister than such a statement would suggest. He likewise at times so pointedly emphasized the freedom of individuals that pressure of any sort on the direction of one's spiritual life might be considered interference. "77 So rigid were the qualifications, and so important was the office, that one ought to censor the attempts o£"private Christians in quitting their own proper station, to act in that which belongs to another. "78 Even in the "body mystical" it was wrong for all except the distinguished few to serve in the ministerial office: "There is in the body of CHRIST, the Church, a distinction of members.

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