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God's Glory and the Puritan beliefs

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 5 (1055 words)
Categories: Belief, Beliefs, God
Downloads: 19
Views: 1

Edward Taylor was considered to be one of America’s foremost colonial poet’s. Taylor was a devoted Puritan, and agreed with the Calvinistic beliefs of his time. The Literature Criticism by Person states, “Puritans felt that “Man’s duty is to seek and to emulate God, which he can do by a kind of reverse metaphorical process, though full symbolic embodiment is beyond human process” (11: 401). In Taylor’s poem, “God’s Determinations”, he shows a similarity to English metaphysical poets.

“Taylor’s metaphors, be they allegory or conceit, call attention to themselves, I will argue, not simply to flaunt poetic power but, simultaneously and somewhat paradoxically, to abuse themselves before the infinitely superior metaphors created by God” (Person 11: 401). Throughout the poem it seemed like Taylor had a personal desire to spread his in depth thoughts of God, and mankind. Taylor starts out the poem by talking about how the earth was made. He says, “Infinity, when all things it beheld, In nothing, and of nothing all did build,” (Taylor 177).

I think that Taylor is captivated by how powerful the almighty God is. “Also established is a movement by paradox, a sense of contradiction which only the Infinity capable of creating All from Nothing can contain” (Person 11: 401). Throughout the first part of the poem he is asking who created earth like he didn’t know it was God; “Who Earman 2 laced and filleted the earth so fine, With rivers like green ribbons smaragdine? (Taylor 178). It seems Taylor wonders how just one God could accomplish such a big task.

Taylor also seems to ask a lot of these questions concerning how just one God ever created the earth, yet his conviction does not seem to be in doubt. On the other hand, “They may also be read as enacting on a small and private scale the main “plot” of the larger and more public work, the demonstration of God’s Justice and Mercy in determining the Elect” (Person 11: 401). Meaning, Taylor might just have been expressing how eminent God really was. He was religiously excessive, yet his devotion was sincere. Taylor uses a lot of everyday images in the first half of the poem to talk about the world.

For example, “Like a quilt ball within a silver box? Who spread its canopy? Or curtains spun? Who in this bowling alley bowled the sun? (Taylor 178). At this point Taylor is still asking rhetorically who made the earth. The biography of Edward Taylor by Thomas Miles states, “For Taylor this form of writing was pure worship of the Lord. Taylor saw the beauty and mystery of God’s hand in all of humankind and all of nature and wrote about it” (1). The intensity of Taylor’s emotionalism was evident throughout the poem. This level of devotion is prevalent among the Puritans.

The Puritans seemed to have been very open and willing to praise God, but were very reserved and strict when it came to giving praise to the common man. “… the notion of the special call and the general call, the inefficacy of good works in winning salvation, the methods used by Satan in his temptation of the elect, the perseverance of the saints, the worthlessness of natural man, and the complete sovereignty of God… ” (Unger 4: 158). Earman 3 Then, Taylor finally answers his own question; “It’s only might almighty this did do” (178). This is were the poem switches to a more natural image.

For example, ” Whose might almighty can by half a looks Root up the rocks and rock the hills by th’roots,” and ” Whose single frown will make the heavens shake Like as an aspen leaf the wind makes quake” (178). I believe Taylor switched to these images to emphasize God with complete power. This is a belief of the Puritans that comes through in Taylor’s writing. Taylor, a Puritan minister, believed in an omnipotent God; for example, “Can take this mighty world up in His hand, And shake it like a squitchen or a wand” (178). I also think that Taylor was compelled to use incredibly dramatic comparisons to articulate his immense devotion to God.

When Taylor speaks of God he repeatedly uses words like noble, glorious, and glorify, but when Taylor speaks of man he says things like, “But nothing man did throw down all by sin, And darkened that lightsome gem in him” (178). I believe that Taylor was talking about how God gave man, who had nothing, everything, and man threw it all away. “It is a characteristic of Taylor’s nature (as everywhere discovered in his poetry) that the drama concerns itself with the souls of the elect: this Puritan poet nowhere contemplates the situation of the damned or touches his lips to the minatory trumpet” (MacGregor 60: 351).

Puritans believed that only a small percentage of the people would actually make it to heaven, leaving the majority of the population sinners who were on their way to hell. This belief probably leads Taylor to think so poorly of mankind. Taylor’s contempt for mankind was evident when he says, “That know His brightest diamond is grown Darker by far than any coalpit stone” (178). Earman 4 “The Preface” describes the creation of everything, pronouncing God’s grace and trepidation towards the natural man.

“The scale of “The Preface” is vast and we see God as Architect and Builder (and other Craftsmen) of the Universe, whose Creation is compared to the building-blocks of human artistry” (Person 11: 401). In my opinion, Taylor was seeking God’s approval as a Puritan minister. Throughout the poem I felt like Taylor was devoting himself and his talent for writing only to God, not to becoming an historical American author. “Throughout the poem, the mechanism of inspiration is God-centered, rather than poet-centered.

Like the pen which represents him, the poet is a passive instrument “mov’de by skill” not entirely or primarily his own” (Person 11: 402). Furthermore, I believe that if Taylor’s writings had been discovered while he was still alive he would have rejected any success from outside the Puritan church. The guilt from popularity I’m sure would have ended Taylor’s writing career. “His most powerful psychological attack is to tempt the soul to doubt the reality of its conversation because the conversion occurred too easily” (Unger 4: 159).

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God’s Glory and the Puritan beliefs. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/gods-glory-puritan-beliefs-11131-new-essay

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