Achieving a Stronger Faith through Sacrifice and Adversity
Puritanism is concerned with how adversity has a larger divine purpose as God tests people through their willingness to put their faith in him before everything else. Puritans believe that God is sovereign and has complete control over all affairs. They believe that people must conform to the wisdom and guidance behind pain and suffering. Puritans believe that every human being is plagued by sin and can only achieve redemption and salvation through God. Anne Bradstreet’s poem “Upon the Burning of Our House” focuses on how a fire compels the speaker to remind herself of the importance of faith as a vehicle for overcoming adversity. Winthrop’s “A Model of Christian Charity” is a speech that argues that in order for society to achieve a healthy balance, sacrifices must be made for the common good. Winthrop and Bradstreet incorporate the Puritan belief that sacrifice and adversity are part of the redemption as God creates trials that the faithful must overcome.
Puritanism emphasizes that misfortune is part of spiritual growth as it allows perceptions to evolve along with the deeper understandings of the soul. In her poem “Upon the Burning of Our House,” Anne Bradstreet focuses on how the incident of the fire burning allows the speaker to acknowledge what really matters to her: her faith in God. The speaker relies on her faith in God in order to overcome the moment of seeing her home being consumed by flames. She views this moment of adversity as a means to gain a closer proximity to God through her faith: “I, starting up, the light did spye, And to my God my heart did cry To strengthen my in my distress And not to leave me succorless” (Bradstreet 105-106). The speaker derives a source of strength and comfort from her faith as she realizes that the burning of the house is part of God’s test for her. She acknowledges the need to keep her faith strong in the face of adversity in order to become stronger in...
Cited: Bradstreet, Anne. “Upon the Burning of Our House.” The American Tradition in Literature. 12th ed. Eds. George Perkins and Barbara Perkins. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2009. 105-106. Print.
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