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The Science of the Soul in Colonial New England$
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Sarah Rivett

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807835241

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807838709_Rivett

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Evidence of Grace

Evidence of Grace

(p.23) 1 Evidence of Grace
The Science of the Soul in Colonial New England

Sarah Rivett

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter shows how throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries demonstrating God's grace became the prime focus of radical sects such as the Independents, Congregationalists, and Baptists. The chapter cites the writings of John Calvin in which he explains how Adam's fall removed all “primal and simple knowledge” of God from Earth. The chapter also discusses how Puritan ministers took recourse to philosophy to identify evidence of divine grace and collect data to validate the feeling—the nebulous phenomenon—of the presence of this grace. And so by the mid-seventeenth century, for theology and natural philosophy, grace became the “Holy Grail” that would link the visible and invisible worlds.

Keywords:   John Calvin, Puritan ministers, God's grace, theology, natural philosophy

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