Exiles who were forced to flee England under the reign of "Bloody Mary", returned under the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603) to cry out against the "ease in Zion". They had read their Bibles and had developed their own ideas about a true reformation in England, differing from Elizabeth’s establishment. We know these reformers as "Puritans", preachers of personal and national righteousness.
In its day Puritanism stood for change and a new day in England. The first Puritans had little confidence in traditional religion. Their plans for a new England arose from a deep conviction that spiritual conversion was crucial to Christianity. This rebirth separated the Puritan from the mass of mankind and endowed him with the privileges and the duties of the elect of God. The church may prepare a man for this experience, and, after it, the church may guide him, but the heart of the experience, the reception of the grace of God, is beyond the church’s control.
In its crusade to reshape England the Puritan movement passed through three clearly marked periods: First, under Queen Elizabeth (1558-1603) it tried to "purify" the Church of England along the lines of Calvin’s Geneva. Second, under James I and Charles I (1603-1642) it resisted the claims of the monarchy and suffered under royal pressures designed to force conformity to a "High Church" style Christianity. Third, during England’s Civil War and Oliver Cromwell’s rule (1642-1660), Puritans had a chance to shape the national church in England but failed because of their own internal dissensions.
[tags]BlogRodent, Charles-I, church-history, Church-of-England, ChurchRodent, Elizabeth-I, history, James, Oliver-Cromwell, Puritanism, Reformation[/tags]