Drawing on an exceptional collection of church admission relations from the town of Haverhill, Massachusetts, Part 1 examines the widely shared religious vocabulary through which Congregational church membership candidates during the period between 1680 and 1740 pledged to "walk answerably" to their doctrinal professions in the hope that a vengeful deity would not pour out affliction on their bodies, families, and communities. The multiple demands of a "Godly Walk" entailed spiritualizing everyday occurrences, meditating in secret, baptizing children in a timely fashion, and raising them in church fellowship. During the early decades of the eighteenth century, the rhythms of church affiliation were closely tied to family formation and social maturation, and women emerged as the primary source of religious authority. A godly walk was the key to safety and prosperity in this world, if not salvation in the next.
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