The PURITANS – “ISRAELITES” in AMERICA
The Puritans Identified with the ISRAEL-ites and Practiced Covenants
Like the PILGRIMS, the PURITANS who came to AMERICA IDENTIFIED with the ancient ISRAELITES of the Bible.
The Israelites were God’s people who, with God’s help, ESCAPED from captivity in Egypt, agreed to follow God’s commandments, and settled in the PROMISED LAND of Canaan
The Puritans similarly saw themselves as God’s CHOSEN PEOPLE who had FLED OPPRESSION in Europe and SETTLED in their PROMISED LAND of America.
During the Puritans’ voyage to America, Puritan leader John Winthrop expressed the PURITAN’s IDENTITY with the ISRAELITES in his famous Model of Christian Charity sermon, saying, “The Lord will be our God and delight to dwell among us as His own people.
“The God of ISRAEL is among us.”
Following the practice of the Israelites and reformed Covenant Theology, the Puritans enacted a covenant with God in coming to America.
As conveyed in Winthrop’s Model sermon, the Puritans promised to follow God’s moral law in the Bible, to love God and one another, and to uphold justice and mercy.
Winthrop writes, “Thus stands the cause between God and us. We are entered into a covenant with Him for this work. …Now if the Lord is pleased to bring us in peace to the place we desire, then he has ratified this covenant and sealed our commission.”
Covenants are based on the assumption that the participants are FREE and able to make pacts with GOD and one ANOTHER.
Such binding agreements are enacted by mutual consent.
The PURITANS, like the ISRAELITES in the Bible, enacted their covenant when they moved into a FREE environment.
The PRINCIPLE of COVENANTS, therefore, is one of the bases for a people’s claim to LIBERTY.
Covenants would later SHAPE the United States’ founding documents — the Declaration of Independence and U. S. Constitution – and its civil government.