contrary to their present-day image (or the views of their supposed heirs), Puritans were not opposed to drinking alcohol in moderation or to enjoying their sexuality within the bounds of marriage as a gift from God, (p. 129–130)which, coupled with Erskine's poem on tobacco, gave rise to the following amusing summary in my mind: the true Puritans smoked, drank and made love to their wives. Hardly matches Mencken's description of puritanism as "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy," does it?
Sunday, June 14, 2009
The true puritan
I have been reading William Naphy's The Protestant Revolution (a Christmas gift; I got rather a lot of books), which was the book which sparked the BBC series of the same name, presented by Tristram Hunt. The series was moderately insightful with some silly bits, and I suspect the same will be true of the book: as Richard Holloway put it in his review, "Naphy has brought his sweeping command of church history towards a controversial conclusion." I have not read the end, but I think his conclusion is going to be that the Protestant spirit is in favour of gay marriage, abortion, and general social decay and godlessness. But I digress.There is a brilliant bit on the Puritans, which I have just been reading. He writes,