Divine Providence – A Give and Take Relationship.
The Indian freedom fighter, Mahatma Gandhi once said ‘Providence has its appointed hour for everything. We cannot command results, we can only strive’. Providence is the outward provision which God makes through the ages of the world for the temporal benefit and comfort of mankind, in causing his sun to shine and his rain to descend upon them, and in numberless other things. The Puritans saw God as the Father-God and that He was maintaining and directing everything in the universe as providence to man-kind. They believed that God’s providence was His promise to Adam, in return for perfect obedience. In other words, providence was God’s reward to Adam for his obedience towards God. This reward does not result from grace; rather, it is a debt owed to Adam for being obedient to God. Unfortunately, Adam failed to keep the covenant and after the fall, the reward withdrawn. Thus, the puritans strived to earn God’s providence by considering all their hardships as the divine will while hoping that God ‘had their back’ while they went through it. From the book ‘The literature of the Puritans’ we can see that almost all of the early puritans believed this and as a result no one ever spoke or murmured against the trials and hardships of their life but instead as Anne Bradstreet puts it – ‘they blest His name, who gave and took’ (232). Below are my thoughts on three of the Puritan writers, Anne Bradstreet, Mary Rowlandson and William Bradford who explain how the Puritans earned their divine providence through strife. Among the Puritan writers was a true poetic writer named Anne Bradstreet who lived in a difficult time for women. She had followed her father, brothers and husband to a new land. As is evident from her poetry, the women if her time were not able to express themselves openly so she used her poetry. Bradstreet is an example of the extent to which the Puritans strived to earn providence of God. In her poem ‘Here...
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