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Turns of the Centuries Exhibit > Newcomers 1680-1720 > Beliefs
This theme in other eras: 1680-1720 | 1780-1820 | 1880-1920

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.

Beliefs : A City upon a Hill


The people known as Puritans are among the most studied people in American history. Their unrelenting Calvinism and utopian vision make them among the most compelling of early European newcomers to the Americas.

Puritanism was a set of beliefs and values that placed its followers among what one English historian has called the "hotter sort of Protestant." The Puritans believed that all people were totally depraved and could do nothing to save themselves from eternal damnation. Only God, in His infinite and unknowable wisdom, determined whom He would save and whom He would damn for all eternity. No one could resist the power of God's grace. And, once saved, no one could lose that salvation. The Puritans also believed that only a few fortunate souls would be among the saved: the "elect." Armed with this doctrine, the Puritans set out to "purify" the Protestant Church of England. When the King and Church proved hostile to the Puritan prescription for reform, many of these "hotter" Protestants left England to establish their own godly communities. The Puritans of New England did not see themselves as isolated exiles. Rather, they saw themselves as part of a worldwide Calvinist movement. Their colony would be, Governor John Winthrop assured his fellow colonists "a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us."

Like other Protestants, the Puritans rejected all of the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church except for Communion and Baptism. The members of the First Church of Deerfield, Massachusetts, used this imported pewter flagon to bring wine to the communion table in the 1680s. Like other Christians, the Puritans regarded Communion as a holy sacrament. Unlike Catholics, however, Puritans and other Protestants believed the wine and bread used at the Lord's Supper were symbols of rather than the actual transubstantiated body and blood of Christ.


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First Church of Deerfield Pewter Flagon

creator   Thomas Lupton (Attributed to)
date   1680-1700
location   London, England
process/materials   pewter
item type   Ceremonial Artifact/
accession #   #MH.H.02

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See Also...

Two-handled cup

Footed Baptismal Basin

First Church of Deerfield Pewter Flagon

First Church of Deerfield Interior

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