In 1636, John Cotton was invited by the Magistrates of Massachusetts Bay Colony to "make a draught of laws agreeable to the word of God, which may be the fundamentals of this commonwealth."1 Cotton's code was published as an "Abstract of Laws," called by John Winthrop "Moses his Judicials." Although not itself formally adopted by Massachusetts Bay Colony, the "Judicials" nevertheless significantly influenced subsequent Massachusetts law and became the basis of law for the New Haven Colony, later Connecticut.2
Something like a constitution in the form of Biblical commentary, the "Judicials" were constructed as compilations of passages mainly from Deuteronomy, Exodus and Leviticus. As such, the document has been dismissed as "purely Old Testament legalism."3 Theodore White Bozeman, for example, in his extensive treatment of Cotton, devotes a few passages to the "Judicials," presenting them as but another demonstration of Puritanism as a disciplinary, coercive regimen, in unyielding opposition against inner spirituality. This ultimately resulted in an "antinomian backlash" against the outward and repressive religion that fixated on Old Testament law.4
This stark division, however, between external law as betraying inner spirituality, is one that misreads both theological innovation and social vision among the Puritans, not least as posited by John Cotton. In Puritan New England, theology emerges in close relationship to polity and government.5 Questions of state and church government are a crucial dimension in which theological debates took their shape and often their meaning. "Moses his Judicials" registers specifically political and social aspects of Puritan Biblical engagement, as this was affected by new access to and interest in Hebrew Scriptures. The Reformation insistence that each Christian read the Bible him and herself led to the study of Hebrew as well as Greek and Latin, toward launching new translations in the vernacular giving direct access for all Christians to the text, without accrued Catholic traditions.6 But this Hebrew revival altered Christian Biblical paradigms and religious understanding rather than merely extending old structures and terms. It penetrated and reframed the very terms of New Testament and Old, interiority and exteriority, spirituality and legalism, as well as individual religious experience and social political formation, in structures closer to those of Hebraic Scripture and culture: not, to be sure, as a "Judaistic" betrayal of their Christian spirituality despite accusations against Puritans of doing just this, but as a different set of balances within Christian commitments and understandings.7
The Puritan engagement with the Old Testament is of course a long-recognized and intensely discussed topic. It is a truism that the Old Testament was foundational to American Puritanism, that the Puritans thought of themselves in terms of Old Testament patterns, and also that the Hebrew language was required at their institutions of higher learning. Yet surprisingly little attention has been given to exploring what their Hebrew learning actually involved, as against studies in Christian Hebraism in Europe – in England, Italy, Germany, France and the Netherlands.8 Nor has it been fully explored how the Hebrew revival itself affected and helped establish Puritan understandings of the Bible, and ultimately the American social, religious, and political culture that these in so many ways inaugurated. John Cotton was himself a legendary Hebraist: his free translation of the notoriously difficult Isaiah 3 at his exams became lore at Cambridge. Cotton's "Moses his Judicials" brings into view how American Puritans understood the political, social and religious experience in Scripture and their relationship to it, as influenced by new experience of Hebrew texts.
Cotton's "Moses his Judicials" presents an outline of political, legal and social norms that were evolving in contemporary Puritan culture. The text draws on civic as well as church institutions then in the process of formation, which, as Michael Winship explores, derived in political traditions reaching back to England and to earlier political philosophy, including emerging republican trends.9 Cotton himself, however, specifically frames these institutions in terms of Biblical precedents, particularly Old Testament ones. Cotton thus presents his contemporary culture as reflecting Biblical life, and not only regarding religious regulations but also in terms of Puritan polity, including incipient republican practices. This is not, however, mere apologetic contrivance or post-facto justification. Puritan theology and polity themselves were deeply influenced by elements in the Hebrew Scriptures, notably attitudes towards history and community articulated there. Thus Cotton's work not only cites Hebrew texts, but draws on them. The result is an altered political-historicist theology, redefining history and political community itself as meaningful dimensions of human experience which became part of early republican thinking.10
I. "Moses His Judicials" and Biblical Republicanism
"Moses his Judicials" is divided into ten sections, treating a range of subjects, beginning with the political topics of electing Magistrates, the conditions of "free Burgesses and free Inhabitants," and the "protection and provision of the Country." This is followed by sections on laws of inheritance, commerce, trespass; then on criminal law including theological crimes such as blasphemy, idolatry, witchcraft, Sabbath breaking and "Rebellious children." Moral transgressions are then taken up, including adultery, incest, "Whoredom;" also "swearing" and rape; as well as civic crimes such as perjury, treason, "Rebellion, Sedition, or Insurrection," false witness, slander, "Man-stealing," theft. The final sections are devoted to the judicial system and to foreign relations.
John Cotton was a central figure in the formulation of Puritan church polity, with his "Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven" outlining and indeed naming the Congregational Church. Cotton's vision is of a "gathered" or "covenanted" church, established when called individuals, each from his and her individual religious experience, come together to write and sign a church covenant. Members, rather than being absorbed into a corporate church, constitute the church which only comes into existence as they together establish it. The Minister is in turn called by the congregation, who join with him in the exercise of church discipline, admission and dismission, reprimand, excommunication, and readmission. The congregation may be called in turn to dismiss the Minister. The result is a specific structure of community constitution and the individual within it. The Puritan self is not the self-defined, autonomous individual of later liberal social contract theory, although it surely is one resource for Lockean individualism. But neither is the self radically absorbed into a collective that coercively directs it. Rather, the Puritan self is foundationally structured through its participation in community, even as Puritan community is foundationally constructed through the selves who participate in and compose it.
The emphasis on individual participation in government while resisting tyrannical coercion are the defining principles of what has been called "civic republicanism," while "constitutional republicanism" entails specific political distributions of power.11 Cotton's "Judicials" has elements of both. Cotton draws on republican terminology in his description of the church In "The Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven," as a "mixed government."12 The "government of the church is mixed of a monarchy, an aristocracy, and a democracy." The elders of the church, like aristocrats, have "authority," while the people have "power" and "liberty," with Christ the monarch.13 All share in church government, each participating in it and also mutually limiting each other. In "Moses his Judicials" Cotton turns from church to civil government. These remain distinct from each other, in accordance with Puritan innovations of separation of church from state, Minister from Magistrate.14 Church polity and civil government remain two discrete institutional systems, with, for example, no church judicial system such as obtained in England. But the procedures of civil government that Cotton outlines remain homologous with those he allots to the church, with both reflecting republican attitudes. Townsmen convene to debate town business and elect magistrates in the same meeting house as do church congregations, made up of the same members, something Cotton argued for in his letter to Lord Say and Sele, in order to assure, as he saw it, responsible government.15 Moreover, as the church is a gathering of individuals called in his and her inmost conscience, who then mutually recognize, confirm, and covenant with each other, so the state enlists and organizes individuals each of whom speaks and votes, yet also together form a community life that no less defines and binds the selves who compose it.16
An outstanding feature of "Moses his Judicials" is the way Cotton derives or justifies this participatory system – itself obviously drawn from British traditions of government as radicalized by Puritan practices – in Hebrew Scripture. "Moses his Judicials" opens with the Deuteronomic call to "Give your selves wise men . . . known amongst your Tribes, and I will place them for Rulers over you" (Deut. 1:3) as the basis and model for electing Magistrates. The "mixed government" described in the "Keys" materializes in the state. The first chapters of the "Judicials" on "Magistrates" and "Free Burgesses and Free Inhabitants" outline a constitution quite consciously republican in its mix and balance between delegates elected through the people's "liberty" combined with constraints on both delegates and people by concurrent procedures.
Cotton has often been described as opposing democracy, based on his comment in a letter to Lord Say and Sele that "Democracy, I do not conceive that ever God did ordayne as a fitt government eyther for church of commonwealth. If the people be governors, who shall be governed?" Indeed, one possible reason for the failure of the Bay Colony to adopt the "Judicials" was Cotton's stipulation (shared by John Winthrop) that magistrates be "chosen for life," with tenure in office only threatened by bad behavior (Chapter 1 section 4). This was seen to grant too much power to the magistrates. But as Edmund Morgan warns, the meaning of "democracy" is different for Cotton than for us.17 If Cotton rejects direct rule by the people, in the "Judicials" nevertheless the people share authority in election, judgment, and jury duty; while limiting certain powers of elected officials. And in direct tension with Cotton's desire to extend the tenure of the Magistrate is his striking insistence against hereditary rule. To the inquiries of Lord Say and Sele about his settling in Massachusetts, Cotton remarkably responded by inviting him to join the Colony but refusing his request for title or governing role once arrived: "Hereditary honors both nature and scripture doth acknowledge (Eccles. xix.17) but hereditary authority and power . . . is no where communicated, together with his honors, unto all his posterity."18
In the "Judicials," Magistrates govern, but they do so, like Ministers, only as elected within and from specific and particular communities as a function of the "liberty" of the people. The balance between governors and governed is maintained through concurrent decision- making wherein "nothing shall be concluded but with common consent of the greater part of the governor and assistants together with the greater part of the deputies of the Towns." This "joint power" between Magistrates and Assistants is seen to be Biblically derived. In the Discourse about Civil Government in a New Plantation, Cotton posits "the form of government where the people that have the power of choosing their Governors are in Covenant with God" as based in Exodus 19:5 and Deut. 1: 13-14.19 In the "Judicials," he refers his discussion of elections of delegates and other civil appointments to scenes in Exodus and Deuteronomy when Moses is told by Yitro to appoint judges over the people, "to make it lighter for thee, and they shall beare the burden with thee" (Ex. 18: 22, Deut. 17: 8) and where it is written: "And thou shalt place over them rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, and rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all seasons (Ex. 21:22). The appointment of judges within every town he bases on the verse: "Judges and Officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates" (Deut. 16. 18). "Judicials" Chapter IX stipulates that "Tryall by Jurors not be denyed. . . partly to preserve the liberty of the people, and partly to prevent suspicion of partiality of any Magistrate in the Court." The jurors themselves "are not to be chosen by any Magistrates, or Officers, but by the free Burgesses of each towne," with punishment or imprisonment executed only in the presence of a Magistrate and duly "declared and tried in the next court." This is referred to 2 Sam. 23:3, "He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God" (cf. Deut. 25: 43-46, Ex. 1: 13-14.)
Such deputies, officers, and judges are drawn from lay people of the Colony. Ministers were barred from office. Cotton underscores in the "Keys" that the "ministerial power of the keys, though it be independent in respect of derivation of power from the power of the sword to the performance of any spiritual administration, yet it is subject to the power of the sword in matters which concern the civil peace."20 The limitation on power fundamental to republicanism is instituted between as well as within the church and the civic realm. In the church, the elders have "authority" while the brethren "preventeth the tyranny and oligarchy and exorbitancy of the elders" through their "power and liberty to choose their officers," a "power" also to share judgment in juries of peers as "an act of popular liberty."21 Similarly, the state consists in the "right and due establishment and balancing of the liberties or privileges of the people (which is in a true sense, may be called a power) and the authority of the magistrate." As Cotton wrote to Lord Say and Sele:
the word, or scriptures of God doe contain a platform not only of theology but also of other sacred sciences . . . which he maketh ethicks, economics, politics, church-government, prophecy, academy. . . God's institutions (such as the government of church and of commonwealth be) may be close and compact, and coordinate one to another and yet not confounded. God hath so framed the state of church government and ordinances, that they may be compatible to any commonwealth, though never so much disordered in his frame.22
The "Judicials," in granting to the people the power to the "election of officers" and "judging matters of offence against the law" (Chapter II.4) draws on and reflects the political theories and trends in Cotton's immediate and contemporary political world. But the Biblical references in which he grounds them are not mere apparatus. The emerging republican politics of 17th century England itself has strong roots in the Puritan revolution and its own democratizing senses grounded in Biblical notions of sanctity of the individual in the divine image, radicalized through Puritan senses of individual conscience.23 This sense of individual sanctity gives rise to a new sense of equality – limited, it should be noted, in the social and political status of women, although also granting to them religious equality and enlarged participation in church affairs.24 Magistrates and other delegates are drawn from among the people, as in Exodus 18.21, cited in the first chapter of the "Judicials," which instructs to "provide out of all the people able men" to serve as "rulers." Such "able men" no doubt remained associated with the more privileged class, although education was open, and indeed legally required, of all boys – and also girls, a momentous consequence of Puritan insistence that everyone be able to read the Bible the better to be governed by it. At the same time, to be a ruler, and in fact to be a member of the "people," is not to be an independent individual, but to be defined, as a self, in ways that already embed the individual within community. Instead of radical opposition between individual liberty and community discipline, the two take shape in relation to each other. It is this reciprocal construction of self and community that emerges from and governs the political vision of the "Judicials."
II. American Hebraism
The sense of community as res publica can be seen in the "Judicials" in the textures of language Cotton uses, the Biblical citations he brings, and also the glosses on Hebrew translation which he includes as marginalia to the Judicials. For, alongside the Biblical references and citations, "Moses his Judicials" contains in its margins Hebrew notations and comments on the Hebrew language. The Biblical citations themselves seem to follow the Authorized (King James) Bible Cotton had used during his twenty-year ministry in England before his migration to America.25 But Cotton's Hebrew training at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, is reflected in his textual glosses.
Some of these comments on the Hebrew are merely philological. But others point to notable concerns and patterns. There is, firstly, a persistent imagery in the Biblical citations of midsts, of being among, within, and out of. Regarding the election of magistrates in "Judicials" Chapter I, Cotton stipulates that they must be chosen "from among thy brethren" (Deut. 17.15). Nobles and governors "shall proceed from the midst of them" (Jer. 30:21). The power of the governor is "to consult and provide for the maintenance of the State and people" (Numbers 11: 4-16). The Towns are to "have Judges within themselves," which "Judges and Officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates" (Deut 16: 18). "Able men" shall be "provided" (in the Hebrew gloss, "taken or received") "out of all the people" (Ex. 18:21-22). In Chapter II free burgesses shall choose judges "out of themselves," and will be able "to call the Governour and all the rest of the publick Magistrates and Officers unto place, and to call them to account for the breach of any laws." Chapter III "Of the protection and provision of the Country" institutes the Deuteronomic law for provision for the poor, the widow and fatherless "within thy gates" (Deut. 14: 28-29). Taxes must help preserve "the livelihood of each Town within it self," including overseeing inheritances that transfer land out of the township, to be balanced against the individual right that "to everyone shall his inheritance be given" (Chap. IV:3, Numbers 26:53-54, 35:3).
Chapter IV very interestingly includes what proved to be a significant element in the shaping of New English polity, the requirement that "no man shall set his dwelling house above the distance of half a mile (or a mile at furthest from the meeting house of the Congregation." Based on the Sabbath rules limiting distances for travel, the requirement to live within easy distance of the meeting house distinguished New England's townships with its modes of self-government from the South's plantation life, where considerable distances prevented the growth of bounded civic involvement.26 This emphasis on the town, and on judges as being directly connected within them, is emphasized in the Bible as the context for the passages Cotton cites. The treatment of torts is significantly entitled "Of Trespasses" (chapter VI); while the "Crimes" treated in chapters VII and VIII very much flow (as they do in the Bible itself) from a sense of breaches in the integrity of the community. "All Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you" (Deut 13 1-11). Or, as Cotton notes in the margins regarding the translation, "Heb: in the midst of thee."
The Hebrew terms that thread through the text and marginalia build an abiding sense of boundary and trespass, of incursion and guards against it, integrity maintained and defended. This is highlighted around the issues of crime and punishments. "Blasphemy" itself is translated by Cotton as "boring through" the name of God ((nokev shem, Lev. 24:15), that is, of compromising divine integrity. As to penalties for crimes – and it is worth noting that the sentences Cotton proscribes are, in criminal cases, less harsh than those then current in England; while conviction required, as in the Bible, two witnesses – Cotton focuses on banishment, death, and very prominently karet, the punishment of being "cut off from the people" (VII.9: Numbers 15: 30-31).27 This punishment is assigned for treason as betrayal of the community, public Sabbath breaking and open sedition, and for the rebellious son who is taken "to the gate" and in this sense expelled from the city (Lev 20.9). Rape, incest, false witness, adultery, sodomy: each of these as well may be seen by Cotton to involve the transgression of various boundaries, concluding with a chapter treating transgressions between "our people and foreign Nations." Chapter X sums the "Judicials" up in just this imagery of bounding and binding: "All wickedness is to be removed out of the camp. . . for Jehovah thy God walketh in the midst of the camp" (Deut 23: 9-14).
Cotton's Biblical quotations and imagery, in thus persistently speaking of "midsts" and of constituted units, yields an image of society as closely knit together. The Scriptural texts and comments weave a social fabric at once founded upon each individual's integrity but also on mutual responsibility towards a common good. A second strand to emerge from the Hebrew textures of "Moses his Judicials" is a vision in which daily life and its conduct are consecrated through, and inseparable from, a concrete reality of religious and social commitment. In an image that tellingly intercrosses just such material and religious intention, Cotton for example translates the Biblical injunction to maintain "Just balances, just weights between buyers and sellers" (meoznei tzedek, avnei tzedek) as "balances of righteousness and stones of righteousness"(chap. V, Lev 19. 36).
Throughout "Moses his Judicials," Cotton often features a word's underlying material meaning, with a pattern of synecdoche linking the word to a body politic. Thus in chapter I he notes that the word translated as "rulers" in Hebrew signifies "heads" (roshechem, Deut 1:13); that "side" is "thigh" (yarecho, 1:3 Exod. 32.27); "purpose" is "face" (u-panavlemilchamah, 2 Chr. 32.2 ); "spake comfortably" is "to their heart" (vayidaberal livavam 2 Chr. 32.6); "turnes after" is "setteth his face" (Chapter VII: tifneh, Lev. 20:6) In each case the effect is to concretize, often as synecdoches of parts and wholes. This assumes moral meaning when "do not respect persons" is notated to be to "acknowledge faces" (lo takiruh panim, Deut 1: 16-17). Its injunction to an impartial justice takes on a sense of direct relationship. Another pattern of translation emphasizes the Word as spoken. In Chap. IV "Commandment" and "Word" of Lord are translated as "mouth" (al pi, Josh. 15.13, Josh. 19: 49-50) and "obey" as hear (shomeah, Deut 21: 18). In Chap. X the "edge of the sword" is glossed as the "mouth of the sword" (peh).
This insistence and emphasis on materiality is highly suggestive. It is consistent not only with Hebrew language but Hebrew practices – not least as seen from the viewpoint of Christian polemic, not only against Jews but also between Protestants and Catholics. Christianity both in its origins and in its evolution assigned and defined Judaism as external form, directed to mere body, a "literal" meaning as the "letter" of "law" disconnected from "spirit," as against a Christian interior spirituality above mere material meanings. But such accusation of empty form also became a recurring event in Christian historical self-definition. As the Catholic Church defined itself as spirit against Jewish letter, so Protestants came to define themselves against Catholicism, attacking its institutional church structure as "works" as opposed to a pure "faith" in the free gift of spirit. The "Covenant of Works" as empty and harsh legal regimen is a Christian polemic displacing every prior religious form, beginning with the Jews, as inadequate and requiring correction and fulfillment. The very meaning of "Old Testament legalism" is grounded and embedded in this history of Christian self-understanding. Within the Jewish world this distinction between practice and faith is essentially denied, with the two, rather, enacting and enhancing each other.
III. Spirit, Letter, History
Hebrew Scriptural reference such as Cotton presents in "Moses his Judicials" has many ramifications. In the "Judicials" they ultimately point not only to a theological but specifically to a social vision: to the concept of community and its foundations, and to forms of selfhood seen to comprise it.
Protestantism in general and Puritanism in particular is often cited as a religion of radical individual experience, as against Catholic corporatism. Yet Puritanism is also often satirized as coercive social control. This apparent schizophrenia in one sense brings into stronger and less mediated confrontation core impulses of Christian Biblicism itself, with the Old Testament traditionally seen as coercive exterior form, and the New Testament representing a spiritual interiority that Jewish legalism betrays. But in another way, the Puritan desire was exactly to heal this breach, to bring back into mutual confirmation New Testament and Old, inner spirituality and concrete historical practice, and, in political terms, individual selfhood and community life.
John Cotton himself famously elaborated the core Puritan idea of "calling" as at once spiritual and mundane, within the early Modern renegotiation of earthly and heavenly loyalties and priorities. As against earlier Medieval Christian theologies, at least as seen by Protestants, which directed religious life out of this world towards the City of God, the Reformation newly invested religious meaning in daily calling rather than monastic vocation, in wedded life rather than celibacy, in individual religious conversion as the basis of rather than as organized through a hierarchical Church institution. Cotton himself speaks of calling as the epitome of "living by faith in our outward and temporal life, both as "civil" and as "natural;" for "not only my spiritual life but even my civil life in this world, all the life I live, is by the faith of the Son of God: he exempts no life from the agency of his faith."28
This interrelationship between spiritual and temporal, faith and civic life, characterizes the daily walk of life. But it extends beyond each individual's course into a notion of historical life as extended in time and as joint venture. Interiority and exteriority intercross in each one's everyday undertakings but also in the common life led together, as individual selves join with each other in community.
Such investment of concrete sequences and events as a dynamic sphere of human and divine activity is itself strongly normative in Hebrew Scriptures, and extends into, or rather expresses and constructs a larger interpretation of history itself. At issue are not only the events and norms of Hebrew Scripture, but its vision of history itself. In this historical vision, history itself, as immediate mundane reality and its sequences, takes on religious meaning. Religious values and faith in divine concern are seen to be manifested in mundane events and material orders, both for each individual and as selves bound together in historical community. Such a "theology of history" as it has been called, gives to history new theological meaning, but also transforms theology itself.29
Cotton's "Moses his Judicials" confirms the relevance of Hebrew Scripture to Puritan society in the most concrete senses, and not only as analogous or as ideological background to the Puritan venture. In doing so he projects a Hebraicized vision of history itself as a religiously meaningful, indeed sacred dimension, which is also to say a social and political one. For to insist on religious life as not only spiritual but also historical is to insist on its social dimension. It is to grant to religious life an external, public and not only an interior private dimension.30 Not only inward but social experience, realized in the historical course of concrete actions and events, takes on religious significance as the space of enacting religious life. This historical vision emerges as an enduring concern for Cotton. In "Moses his Judicials," Cotton presents Biblical precedents as immediately lived in his contemporary community, whose course follows the pattern, but also extends and recasts in new terms, the Biblical past. This does not mean, as has been argued, a "primitivist" emulation of things past in an attempt to recover a lost past in eternal recurrence outside of time.31 It is rather an embrace of history, and is so in several senses. It places the Puritan venture in the historical unfolding begun at the creation and continuing until the last days (whether tacitly or actively, pre- or post-millennialist).32 Even more, it views history itself as a divinely sanctioned process, in which both divine will and religious life take form and shape, yet as directed towards this world and not only to the next one. Such religiously meaningful history both elaborates patterns and forwards progress. History is sacred, not as mere repetition or regressive return but as what Sacvan Bercovitch calls a "developmental historiography" from Biblical texts among each other and into contemporary events.33
Patterns of Biblical corollaries in Puritan culture are of course fundamental to their much studied practices of typological interpretations of Scripture. Cotton's own views of typology are fully dramatized in his long dispute with Roger Williams. It was in fact Cotton's misfortune, as he himself felt, to figure centrally in both of America's founding controversies: the Antinomian controversy concerning Anne Hutchinson, and also the controversy against Roger Williams's separatist anti-institutionalism. Interestingly, both of these controversies overlap with the very period in which Cotton was composing "Moses his Judicials." Moreover, Cotton's position in each is almost diametrically opposed. In the Antinomian controversy, Cotton stands implicated, as Hutchinson's pastor, in her radical arguments of inner grace as against works, cited by her as her theological source.34 But in the Williams controversy, Cotton is cast in legalistic and coercive opposition to Williams's separatist anti-institutionalism.
In both controversies, however, questions of Biblical hermeneutics are pivotal, albeit in different ways. In the separatist controversy, Cotton viewed Williams's separatism as an abrogation of exterior practices for perfect inner purity that would make religious community impossible. Indeed, Williams's religious position that no person be admitted to communion other than in his or her own church, with no institutional continuity from congregation to congregation, eventually led him to take communion only with his wife. But to forego all institutional forms in such wise is, Cotton felt, to disintegrate not only the church, but the community as an earthly enterprise. Thus Williams wrote to John Winthrop: "Abstract yourselfe with a holy violence from the Dung heape of this Earth."35 Cotton's ideal instead is a community commitment, albeit one which was based upon individual choice and initiative and not merely absorbing and directing it.
These contrasting visions of Cotton and Williams were argued largely through contrasting understandings of Scriptural patterns. Both Williams and Cotton, as Sacvan Bercovitch shows, formulated their positions foremostly in Biblical and especially in typological terms of relationship between the Old Testament and the New.36 Typology posits correlations between the Old and New Testaments, seeing the former as prefiguration and the latter as fulfillment.37 But within this correspondence there is also tension, in varying degrees and combinations. Williams radicalized the tension. He would sever any direct continuity between the two. For Williams, the Biblical narrative must not be confused with history. Thoroughly spiritualized, it is removed from the letter of actual practice, certainly regarding worldly government. In a "Reply" to Cotton in their ongoing back-and-forth disputation, Williams himself declares "the vast difference between that holy nation of typical Israel and all other lands and countries: how unmatchable then and now, and never to be paralleled . . . [since] the Israel of God and the kingdom of Christ Jesus such only are to be chosen spiritual officers and governors."38 Or again, in his answer to "Mr. Cotton's Letter Lately Printed", Williams asserts: "the church of the Jews under the Old Testament in the type and the church of the Christians under the New Testament in the antitype were both separate from the world." As Perry Miller writes, there is for Williams an "utter impossibility of New England's magistrates or of any other rulers in the world being antitypes of Israel's sovereigns."39
While Williams insisted on "absolute separation of the literal and the spiritual," Cotton upheld the "interrelationship" between them, such that, in Bercovitch's words, America itself emerges as "simultaneously literal and spiritual." Cotton is thus committed to what Bercovitch describes as "the literal-spiritual continuity between the two Testaments and the colonial venture in America."40 The Puritans, as Christians, necessarily saw the two Testaments as distinct from each other, with the New one completing the Old. But Puritan religiosity, as expressed by Cotton, nevertheless regarded the Hebrew Scripture as strongly continuous with the New Testament and as an ongoing unfolding in their own venture.
This extends to notions of covenant. In one of his first responses to Williams's separatist agitation, his "Sermon delivered at Salem" in 1636, Cotton, even while also outlining the precedence of the New Testament over the Old, opens with the deep continuity of covenant between them: "Doctrine: the church covenant, wherewith the people of Israel and Judah did join themselves to the Lord, especially after their return from Babel; and yet more especially under the days of the New Testament, was a perpetual covenant." Like William Perkins, Cotton accepted the "use of law" even under the Covenant of Grace: "It guides them to new obedience in the whole course of their life."41 In a Cotton manuscript called "How Far Moses Judicialls Bind Massachusetts" Cotton affirms that "if the Jewes be now still under the bond of them & so to observe them when they are an established commonwealth; then we are bound to observe them because there is no other revelation: that they shall be other Lawes." He concludes: "tis part of the happiness of Christian nations yet they are subject to the Lawes of the commonwealth of Israel."42 And in his "Bloody Tenent Washed Clean" reply to Williams, Cotton insists: "Though Christ abolished a National Church-State and instead thereof set up a Congregational Church: yet Christ never abolished a National Civil state, nor the Judicial Laws of Moses, which were of Moral equity, but established them rather in their place and order."43
Cotton's attempt, against Williams, to maintain a continuity between Hebrew Scripture and Protestant religion within the framework of Christian spirituality and grace is echoed in his awkward positioning in the Antinomian controversy. Each controversy shows, in themselves and in Cotton's involvements in them, the challenge of formulating relationship between letter and spirit, material and spiritual, within the Puritan religious commitments. Cotton's writings with regard to Hutchinson's antinomianism displays this strain. In his "Treatise on the Covenant of Grace," he responds against those who teach "freedom from the law of Moses and if they commit any sin they plead they are not bound unto the law, but we say: all the people of God know that the Lord is an avenger of every such wickedness. There is none under the Covenant of Grace that dare allow himself any such sin." For this would be to separate Word from Spirit. Cotton most certainly denounced pure works as mere exterior empty proscription. But Cotton also resisted a pure spirit untethered from act and institution. Instead, he envisioned spirit and letter, interiority and exteriority, as joined together: "Let this teach and exhort us not to look for any revelation out of the word; for the Spirit comes in the mouth of the word, and the word in the mouth of the spirit. . . take heed therefore of all revelations in which the word of God is silent; for the spirit of God will speak Scripture to you."44 Similarly, in a letter to Thomas Shepard clarifying his role and position vis a vis Anne Hutchinson and the Antinomians, Cotton wrote: "The word, & Revelation of the spirit, I suppose doe as much differ, as, letter, & spirit. & therefore though I consent to you, that the spirit is not separated from the word, but in it, & ever according to it: yet above, & beyond the letter of the word it reacheth forth comfort & Power to the soule, though not above the sense, & Intendment of the Word." As he goes on to write: "For the Spirit comes in the mouth of the word, and the word in the mouth of the spirit."45
Cotton here is struggling to formulate letter and spirit as reciprocal necessities: to resist the reduction of religious experience to "letter" as an empty form of outward behavior without spirit, and instead to embrace it as intentional actions and behaviors necessary and not supererogatory to spiritual life. His own straining rhetoric here as well as his ambiguous positions through the course of the Antinomian hearings suggests just how difficult such reciprocal formulation was for him.46 With regard to Williams as well, Cotton's position is an awkward one. His responses to Williams show his discomfort, given his own emphasis on radical inner call and conscience as the foundational religious experience, with arguing for religious constraint, which he restricts only to theological fundamentals and basic challenge to social order.47
Williams' separatism, like Hutchinson's antinomianism, is for Cotton not only theological errors but social disruptions that threaten the Puritan venture as at once civic and religious. Their theologies of inward spirit dissevered from institutional life and community he regarded as isolating and atomizing, cutting off the individual from society and meaning from joint history. Each, by radically interiorizing religious experience as spiritual only, destroys in Cotton's view the grounds of fellowship in both church and state, emptying and threatening the core Puritan vision of historical venture. They therefore destabilize what Cotton himself called the Puritan church's "middle way,"whose very mission was to balance just these opposing pulls and trends: interiority and exteriority, spirit and letter, and not least, individual experience and religious social life.48
In this ideal, Biblical interpretation provided both guidelines and was itself a paradigmatic experience. The Bible as covenant fully stands in a double sense of both text and as community commitment – text binding each member to community. Indeed, the Bible itself formed a basis of social-religious interaction. The Puritan injunction that each person read Scripture for him and herself made Biblical reading and discussion a fundamental part of their forms of worship.49 Puritan services focused on Biblical readings, Biblical sermons (Cotton gave 3 to 4 lectures a week to packed audiences) and Biblical discussion among the congregants – the practices of the "conventicle" meetings that had been proscribed by the Anglican Church in England. In Cotton's words, the Bible is the "key of knowledge . . . belonging to all the faithful."50 Alongside the Protestant "Sola Fide" emphasis on "faith alone" was the no less foundational "Sola Scriptura," with its commitment to "Scripture alone." Cotton did not see here the potential for multiplying and diverse interpretations that indeed emerged from Protestant Biblical practices. To him, instead, faith and Bible each acts as both a check and an inspiration to the other. With regard, for example, to preaching, Cotton, while he recognizes the motion of spirit and of prophesying, also emphasizes its boundaries within institutional structures and limits.51 As he writes even in his "Treatise on the Covenant of Grace," "If any spirit shall speak and not according to the word it is but a delusion, rest not therefore in any assurance nor revelation unless thou hast a word for it."52 In "Moses his Judicials," Cotton quotes at length Deut. 13 on false prophesy. Though the prophet give a "sign," if what he says is inconsistent with Scripture, then "thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that Prophet," but shall "walk after Jehovah your God, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and cleave unto him" (Chapter VII).
Cotton's position is neither an antinomian anti-institutionalism, denouncing the letter of law and releasing the individual from community and Biblical bonds; nor is it repressive, legalistic denial of spirit. Rather, Cotton invests in concrete social forms as the proper and necessary conduct of a life at once spiritual and historical, individual and communal. In Cotton's Puritanism, Biblical discourses enact the mutual constitution of individual and community Puritan society sought. Individual interpretation is fundamental; yet it is also bounded by the Word as accepted authority.53 The Scriptural Word stands neither for repressive and punitive discipline nor for rote compulsion; but rather as the arena of religious experience, not as exterior to and crushing of spirit, but as integral to realizing it.
Michael Winship, tracing the antecedents to New England Puritanism to the English Presbyterians, describes them, after their defeat, as defending their "ecclesiastical political theorizing on the basis that scripture demanded it without drawing on the traditions of classical political theory to explain why." Cotton's "Moses his Judicials" takes Scripture as a central resource for emerging Puritan republicanism, and indeed as background for early Modern political theory itself. The two strands complement and influence each other. Winship himself points to this complementarity when he discusses the positive relationship between civic virtue and godliness. "There was," he writes, "a significant overlap between the values of classical republicanism and godly discipline: industry, frugality, honesty, public spiritedness, self-restraint, and sobriety." What needs to be emphasized is that godly discipline is not simply imposed through external coercion, but is also a voluntarist undertaking. Among Puritans it remains directed towards concrete action in the world and enlisted as civic values. As Christians, for the Puritans the "body politic" is, as Winship states, identified "as closely as possible with the body of Christ." But the notion of body politic itself also took on new forms and meanings not only in emulation of what was thought to be the character of early Christian congregations but also as modeled after Hebrew Scripture's vision of polity and community.54
Biblical and specifically Hebraic precedents form a vital part of Puritan practices and theorizing of polity in both church and state, including their republican tendencies. What resulted was a peculiarly median society between the kind of individualist association that characterizes Gesellschaft, and the collective organicism of Gemeinschaft.55 In this median configuration, community structures are granted a priority and authority that remains however both constituted and limited by the individuals that comprise it. Neither autonomous individualism nor collectivist authoritarianism, but rather a social constitution between them defines the Puritan "middle way" in both church and state. The individual and his (and to some extent her) liberty are seen to be realized within community, while community respects and enlists individual initiative and spiritual life.
The "Judicials" project a specific social vision in which, while individual actors are drafted to participation, each active in his (and to some extent her) involvement as constituting both town and church, authority and value are granted equally to community as a shared life among them. The community is made up of, although also shapes and in this sense is prior to individuals; the individuals make up, but also are shaped by community, whose historical course itself as covenanted membership has religious meaning. This community of selves and selves in community Cotton associates with the Hebrew Scriptures.
Cotton's involvements in early Puritan controversies particularly underscore the tensions and potential instability in balancing self against community, commitment to social order against individual liberty and conscience. These are not tensions that are readily eased or addressed. Communities inevitably entail constraints, which are always at work when human beings, in their natures as social animals, attempt to build a mutual life together. Yet Mary Douglas, in discussing ritual practices, argues that there can be no religious life without some form of social enactment.
It is a mistake to assume that there can be religion which is all interior, with no rules, no liturgy, no external signs of inward states. As with society, so with religion, external form is a condition of its existence. . . Social rituals create a reality which would be nothing without them. . . it is impossible to have social relations without symbolic acts.56
The question becomes how the constraints that any social life entails are instituted and how revised, how distributed and how enacted, its forms of dissent and of confirmation, which is to say, what sort of community is at issue, in relation to what structure of individual. Puritan constructions of self and community attempt to found a mutually bonded community that yet recognizes the full force of individual integrity, even as they attest to the difficulty and contradictions of such an effort. This reciprocal structure they sought, and, as they felt, found in Hebrew Biblical models.
John Winthrop's Journal (ed. 1908) I 105, 110, 196 Massachusetts Colonial Records I, 174.
2 "Abstract of Laws and Government" first printed in 1641, reprinted by Will Aspinwall 1655, Early English Books Online. Edward Chauncey Baldwin in "The Permanent Elements in the Hebrew Law" shows how Cotton's laws influenced and were incorporated into subsequent Massachusetts and Connecticut basic laws, claiming that "The Connecticut Colony, like Massachusetts, adopted in part the Hebrew Torah," International Journal of Ethics, Vol. 25, No. 3. (Apr., 1915), pp. 360-371, p. 364. Isabel Calder remarks in "John Cotton and the New Haven Colony" NEQ Vol 3 No 1 Jan 1930 82-94 that the code was not adopted probably because it was "too brief and general. But she also notes that it was not rejected. p. 87. Cf. J. F. Maclear "New England and the Fifth Monarchy: The Quest for the Millennium in Early American Puritanism," The William and Mary Quarterly Third Series, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Apr., 1975), pp. 223- 260
3 Everett Emerson uses this phrase in John Cotton (NY: Twayne, 1965) p. 145. [Cf. 1990 revised edition] While rightly noting that "English common law and the established practices of the Colony are nearly as important as the Bible," he sees biblical usages as external to the real business of the "Abstract," inaccurately claiming that "whole sections do not refer to the Bible in important ways, p. 146. This failure to see the full role of the Bible in the "Judicials" also appears in Isabel Calder's "John Cotton and the New Haven Colony" NEQ Vol 3 No 1 Jan 1930 82-94, where the code is described as "not biblical in a sense that its contents were drawn from the Bible but rather that its "provisions [are] supported by marginal scriptural references to prove that they are in harmony with the word of God." But scriptural reference is systematic and formative throughout.
4 Theodore Dwight Bozeman, To Live Ancient Lives (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988, e.g. p. 160 "the English Reformation had embraced a legalist and covenantal element which laid distinctively heavy emphasis upon obedience to scriptural law;" The Precisionist Strain (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004, e.g. p. 243: "Christian liberty meant freedom from the harsh demand and curse of the legal covenant of works, not from obedience to divine commandments;" p. 339: Cotton later, in betrayal of his original antinomian leanings, urged Bostonians to "to walke more exactly and more accurately" under threat of "Deuteronomic punishments" etc.. Cf. Bozeman ""Federal Theology and the 'National Covenant'" Church History ol. 61, no. 4 (Dec. 1992), 394-407, "kingship, law and obedience" are "themes drawn essentially from Old Testament sources. . . through a strict regimen of duty and obedience," p. 396. Here he argues that the effort to promote "both a corporate and an individual form of rite" led to a coercive "readiness to subsume the self in the social whole," p. 399. William Schiek notes Bozeman's "emphasis on the letter of the law over the spirit" in "Disciplinary Religion and Antinomian Backlash in Puritanism to 1638 17th Century News Vol 62 no 384 Fall Winter 2004, p. 236. Cf. David Como, Blown by the Spirit (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004).
5 Michael Winship reviews the relative neglect of the "political aspects of Puritanism" as against its theological engagements in "Godly Republicanism and the Origins of the Massachusetts Polity" the William and Mary Quarterly Vol. 63 no. 3 July 2006 427-464. Winship is contesting views such as J.G.A. Pockock's that "puritanism and republicanism were incompatible," that republicanism involved a "reaction against Calvinist orthodoxy” as claimed by Blair Worden (p. 458) and trends in Puritan studies "dismiss any possible relationship between Calvinist church polity and the processes that led to modern secular representative government (p 457, fn. 53). But in redressing this opposition between Puritanism and republicanism Winship emphasizes the resources of Puritanism republicanism, in political philosophy, rather than within biblical tradition itself. Indeed, he seems, following Bozeman, to regard, Biblicism as a drive for "purity, community, and discipline" as against "puritanism’s civic republicanism," p. 435, footnote 16.
6 On the revival of Hebrew studies and its importance see Jeffrey Shoulson, Milton and the Rabbis (NY: Columbia University Press, 2001) and (ed.) Hebraica Veritas: Christian and the Study of Judaism in Early Modern Europe (Phil: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004); Jason Rosenblatt, Renaissance England's Chief Rabbi: John Selden (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006).
7 Eugene R. Fingerhut emphasizes this almost definitional point that despite their Judaizing the Puritans were not Jews, "Were the Massachusetts Puritans Hebraic?" The New England Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 4. (Dec., 1967), pp. 521-531.
8 Shalom Goldman, God's Sacred Tongue: Hebrew and the American Imagination (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 2004; Hebrew and the Bible in America: The First Two Centuries (Hanover: University Press of New England, 1993). Cf. David Katz, Philo-Semitism and the Readmisson of the Jews to England 1603-1655 1982
9 Michael Winship points out that the term "republican" is multivalent and contested in both meaning and history; yet he argues for its application to early Puritanism, especially in America, "Godly Republicanism."
10 For comparative discussion of Hebraic theologies of history, see Robert Hanning, The Vision of History in Early Britain, New York: Columbia University Press, 1966. Also Avihu Zakai and Anya Mali, "Time, History and Eschatology: Ecclesiastical History from Eusebius to Augustine," The Journal of Religious History Vol. 17, no. 4, December 1993, 393- 417.
11 Blair Worden distinguishes between "civic republicanism" and "constitutional republicanism" in "Republicanism, Regicide and Republic" in Republicanism: A Shared European Heritage¸ ed. Martin van Gelderen and Quentin Skinner (Cambridge, 2002). p. 307-8
12 In their preface to the "Keys," Thomas Goodwin and Philip Nye praises the "dispersion of several portions of power and rights into several hands, jointly to concur and agree in acts and process of weight and moment, which causeth that healthful mixture and constitution of them, which makes them lasting and preserves their peace, when none of all sorts find they are excluded, but as they have a share of concernment, so that a fit measure of power or privilege is left and betrusted to them," p. 73. John Cotton, "The Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven," in John Cotton on the Churches of New England, ed. Larzer Ziff, (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1968, 71-166.
13 "Keys," p. 134. See Avihu Zakai, Theocracy in Massachusetts, (Lewiston, N.Y.: Mellen University Press, 1993), for discussion of Christ as monarch of the Massachusetts theocracy.
14 On Cotton's relative support for separation of church and state, and his support for voluntary contributions, see Edmund Morgan, Roger Williams, The Church and the State, (NY: Harcourt Brace and World, 1967), p. 63, 75.
15 Edmund Morgan, ed. Puritan Political Ideas , (NY: American Heritage Society, 1965), pp. 166-7.
16 There was not, of course, universal suffrage until two centuries later; and voting rights were first granted only to male church members. Yet Massachusetts represents a significant extension of the franchise compared to English and other societies.
17 Correspondence, p. 245; Edmund Morgan, ed. Puritan Political Ideas , (NY: American Heritage Society, 1965), p. 161.
18 Quoted in Morgan, Puritan Political Ideas, p. 165.
19 The authorship of the Discourse has been disputed. First published under John Cotton's name, it was then reattributed to John Davenport by Cotton Mather. Isabel Calder The Authorship of a Discourse About Civil Government in a New Plantation Whose Design is Religion" in the American Historical Review, Vol. 37 no. 2, argued for a re-reattribution of the "Discourse" to John Cotton once more. B.F.Steiner in "Disssension at Quinnipiac: The Authorship and Setting of a Discourse about Civil Government in a New Plantation Whose Design Is Religion" (New England Quarterly Vol. 54 no. 1 March 1981 14-32) returns to the disputed attribution, arguing for John Davenport. Michael Winship in "Godly Republicanism" refers to the authorship of the Discourse as Cotton's or Davenport's, footnote 47. Richard Ross in a paper on "Puritan Godly Discipline in Comparative Perspective" presented at the Center for the Study of Law and Society at the University of California, Berkeley in 2007 gives to Cotton the authorship.
20 "Keys", 152.
21 "Keys" 101-104.
22 Correspondence, p. 244.
23 On the revolutionary elements in Protestantism see, for example, A. S. P. Woodhouse, Puritanism and Liberty , (London : J.M. Dent, 1950, C1938).Michael Walzer, Revolution of the Saints (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965); and Christopher Hill, The World Turned Upside Down (London: Temple Smith, 1972).
24 Kathleen M. Davies "The Sacred Condition of Equality – How Original were Puritan Doctrines of Marriage?" Social History Vol. 2 no. 5 (1977) 563-580 p. 570 the puritan doctrine of equality insisted only upon the difference of sexual roles in which the female was certainly subordinate to the ale and not upon the equality of the woman in kind. "The result of this partnership," Davies explains, "was a definition of mutual and complementary duties and characteristics."
25 Larzer Ziff, John Cotton on the Churches (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1968) p. 44. Bozeman notes the Hebrew marginalia of the Judicials but cites them simply as another proof of Cotton's legalistic and coercive "biblical extremism," without further investigating or analyzing them, pp. 173, 171.
26Carl Degler, Out of Our Past (NY: Harper, 1984). Cf other histories
27 General discussions of the legal system's background composition see George Lee Haskins, Law and Authority in early Massachusetts , (NY: Anchor Books, 1968). On the relative leniency of Puritan law see David Flaherty, Privacy in Colonial NewEngland, (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1972). Everett Emerson notes the leniency of New England Law compared to contemporary English law, p. 148, also discussed by Bozeman, p. 174. Cf. Edgar McManus Law and Liberty in Early New England (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press,1993)
28 The Puritans, ed. Perry Miller and Thomas Johnson, (N.Y.: Harper Torchbooks 1963 p. 319.
29 Salo Baron begins his Social and Religious History of the Jews (NY: Columbia University Press, 1952/1983) noting that "the Jewish religion has been from the very beginning, and in the progress of time has increasingly become, an historical religion, in permanent contrast to all natural religions," p. 4. Robert Hanning, The Vision of History in Early Britain, New York: Columbia University Press, 1966 traces the Christian "theology of history" to this "Hebrew religious thought and tradition: and those elements of the ritual observance of the Jews which manifested a timeless or semicyclical pattern were kept within a living context of the historically-centered prophetic tradition. . . The Hebrews saw history as a dynamic process established and controlled by God, and ratified in a series of covenants made between God and man to guarantee, as it were, the eternal value of a world of becoming," p. 6. Cf. Tom Driver, The Sense of History in Greek and Shakespearian Drama, NY Columbia UP 1960, pp. 39-66. Also Michael Walzer, Two Kinds of Universalism, The Tanner Lectures (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1990), where he describes the Hebrew God as one "active in history, engaged in the world," whose "strength of hand is everywhere in evidence," pp. 515-516.
30 It is on this public, social dimension of history that Sacvan Bercovitch perhaps above all insists. In his discussions of typology in Williams and Cotton, for example, he underscores that a rejection of history "denies the applicability of typological exegesis to the public, social life of man" p. 8.
31 This is Bozeman's argument in To live Ancient Lives, pp. 238, 357-359. Bozeman's reading of Bible and history as "myth" in the sense of Mircea Eliade's myth of eternal recurrence misses the movement of Hebraic historicism. Rather than the constant reference to the Bible being both disciplinary and regressive, where to go forward is to go back, the reverse is more true: that to go back is to go forward in a jointly divine/human historical venture.
32 The question of Puritan millennialism is an enormous one I cannot enter into here. But it is reasonable to assume a millennialist context for Cotton himself, which does not, however, erase the importance of history but rather frames it towards an expected end.
33 Sacvan Bercovitch, The American Jeremiad, (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1978); Puritan Origin of the American Self (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1975).
34 On the terms "grace" and "works" see Michael McGiffert, "Grace and Works: The Rise and Division of Covenant Divinity in Elizabethan Puritanism," Harvard Theological Review 40, (1982), 492-493.
35 Edmund Morgan, The Puritan Dilemma Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1958, pp. 130-131.
36 Sacvan Bercovitch, "Typology in Puritan New England: The Williams-Cotton Controversy Reassessed," American Quarterly Vol 19 No 2 Part 1 Summer 1967 166-191. CHECK Winship Making Heretics
37 Erich Auerbach's Mimesis is the classic general discussion of typology (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1953).
38 Perry Miller, Roger Williams: His Contribution to the American Tradition, NY Atheneum, 1962, 38, 152. Miller essentially conflates Williams' typology into ahistorical allegory, p. 34.
39 Perry Miller, Roger Williams: His Contribution to the American Tradition, NY Atheneum, 1962, 38, 152. Miller essentially conflates Williams' typology into ahistorical allegory, p. 34.
41 Quoted Larzer Ziff, The Career of John Cotton, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1962), p. 19.
42 Worthington C. Ford, Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 2nd series Vol XVI 1902 280-284.
43 John Cotton, The Bloody Tenent Washed Clean New York, Arno (reprint) 1972, p. 126.
44 "Treatise on the Covenant of Grace" 1671 Early English Books Online, pp. 87, 178-179.
45 Correspondence of John Cotton , ed. Sargent Bush, Jr. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001), p. 231. Bozeman cites this letter as proof of Cotton's own antinomian suspicion against the "letter" that he, in Bozeman's argument, nevertheless slavishly betrays religion to, pp. 275-278.
46 Bozeman's description of Cotton's as an inscrutable "ambivalence" fails, I believe, to penetrate into the integrity of his position and the inner relationship between these apparently inverse stances. Bozeman, Precisionist Strain pp. pp. 211, 241, 251.
47 Cotton specifies action is to be taken only when a "heretick" is "cast out by the Church yet he still remaineth obstinate, and proceedeth to seduce and destroy the faith of some (it may be of many), "Bloody Tenant Washed," p. 66; Psalm 110.3, p. 124. Edmund Morgan points out that Williams himself supported coercive 'moral' action on the part of the civil government, Review of The Complete Writings of Roger Williams by James Hammond New England Quarterly 1965 vol 38 no 3 513-23, p. 522.. Morgan goes on to describe Williams's vision as "subversive," "seditious," and "dangerous" as well as "noble," p. 516, 523. He similarly describes Williams's position as a "pinnacle of isolation" in The Puritan Dilemma Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1958, pp. 130-131.
48 "Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven" p. 77 (134). This attempt to integrate spirit and letter is another reflection of what Edmund Morgan famously called "the Puritan dilemma," which he sums up as "the question of what responsibility a righteous man owes to society," xii, "the problem of doing right in a world that does wrong" 203.The Puritan Dilemma, (Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1958).
49 Stephen Foster explores and emphasizes this Scriptural framework, "New England and the Challenge of Heresy," William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., 38:4 Oct. 1981, 624-660, pp. 644-5.
50 "Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven," p. 100.
51 The "Keys" validates prophesying, the voice of individual inspiration, but also enjoins that the "people of God were to examine all prophecies by the law and testimony and to receive them but according to that rule" (Psalm 8:20), p. 113.
52 "Treatise on the Covenant of Grace," p. 179.
53Stephen Foster explores and emphasizes this Scriptural framework, "New England and the Challenge of Heresy," William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., 38:4 Oct. 1981, 624-660, pp. 644-5. Cf. Foster's Their Solitary Way
54 Winship, "Godly Republicanism," pp. 436, 454. Stephen Foster and Timothy Breen emphasize that the "social cohesion" of Puritan society derived in its forces of accommodation, with its covenantal-contractual model essentially based on "free will: the individual voluntarily promised to obey civil and scriptural law." Thus the "strong sense of communal responsibility developed out of this voluntary commitment," responsibility not imposed but exercised through "broad participation," frequent elections, careful monitoring of elected magistrates, etc. "The Puritans' Greatest Achievement: A Study of Social Cohesion in Seventeenth-Century Massachusetts," The Journal of American History Vol. 60, no. 1, (Jun. 1973) 5-22, pp. 12-13. Michael Walzer describes this internalized discipline in Revolution of the Saints. pp.
55 Leonard G. Boonin proposes the possibility of a third model besides and between Gesellschaft and Gemeinschaft in "Man and Society: An Examination of Three Models," Voluntary AssociationsNomos XI ed. J. Roland Pennock and John W. Chapman (NY: Atherton Press, 1969), 69-86.
56 Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger, (London: Ark Paperbacks, 1984), pp. 128, 60-62. Douglas's particular discussion of boundaries as ritually maintaining the integrity of community is particularly relevant to both the biblical texts and the Puritan laws Cotton derives from them, as well as to the texture of his very language both in citations and in glosses as it underscores the sense of community these references and laws construct. As she notes, policing of boundaries finds its "sociological counterpart" as "care to protect the political and cultural unity of a minority group," which the Israelites always were. Douglas, 124. Cf. Larzer Ziff, "The Social Bond of Church Covenant," American Quarterly 10:4 winter 1958, 454-462 describes the social power of the covenant to create cultural identity beyond "principles" through "customs," p. 455.