The Power of Congregational Memory
This chapter shows how early nineteenth-century church people talked about their ancestors in surprisingly immediate ways, as people with a continuing interest in the work of the living and a moral claim on them. This sense of personal connection is the beginning point for measuring all the changes that followed, the emerging sense of history and time that this book describes. It demonstrates the continuing power of old Puritan ideals within nineteenth-century Congregational churches, especially a faith in God as the author of time and the directing force behind human history. Deference to ancestors was not just a nod to Yankee traditionalism—it rested on a deep sense of obligation forged between people and families over time.
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