Why is so little heard about John Cotton, who was acknowledged in his own lifetime as the greatest Puritan preacher in America? Why has he alone remained an enigma among the founding fathers of American protestantism? Professor Ziff examines Cotton’s career as a teacher and preacher, both in England and New England; comparing Cotton’s preaching and theology with that of his contemporaries in both the established church and the various Puritan sects, he shows Cotton as a significant man of his own time. Yet his influence, although of great importance to the crucial early beginnings of the protestant churches in America, could not extend itself beyond his generation. In this study, Cotton emerges clearly as a vital stabilizing influence between the separatist extremists and those who sought to re-establish the old order in the new world.
Originally published in 1962.
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