An Errand into the Fires of Injustice
The myth of the millennial nation is one that describes the vision and perception held by the American people that suggests that the United States is the Nation responsible for heralding in the second coming of Jesus Christ. Hughes ties this vision to the American idea of manifest destiny which held much responsibility for our nation's growth and overpowering force, not merely in our hemisphere but in all of the world. Hughes initially dissects the myth into its national cause and effect, both good and bad. His emphasis on the crude and regrettable parts of our nation's history may lead readers to assume his discontent with our nation's history; though eventually his revealed views are more salutary and beneficial. I find Hughes' apparent apathy and objectivity on this subject to be most disturbing and even perplexing. Hughes starts the chapter by giving consideration to the millennial myth by using it as a means to harmonize the other myths into a quintessential and more universally held belief. From this, the nation could legitimize its expansion and influence into the remaining and unestablished parts of the New World. Hughes begins this explanation by tying these thoughts to earlier Puritan values and movements (95-96). As the Puritans came to America they brought values such as religious reform and social uniformity to the religious melting-pot. They found that their influence would not be felt as readily as they had anticipated. As a result of this and rising competition felt from rival religions; Puritans convened into a synod to hopefully recoup lost membership. The result was reforms such as half-family membership and Old Testament-style preaching (97-99). One of the most famous pastors that spoke in this style was Jonathan Edwards. He enhanced the preaching style by pushing to its theological limits and bringing Premillenialism to the forefront of its message. Edwards used the examples like the Great...
Cited: Hughes, Richard T. Myths America Lives By. Board of Trustees of the University of
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