"For we must consider that we shall be as a citie upon a hill." -- John Winthrop, "A Model of Christian Charitie"
"But in process of time, my convictions and affections wore off; and I returned like a dog to his vomit, and went on in ways of sin." --Jonathon Edwards, "Personal Narrative"
Readings Due: John Winthrop, "A Model of Christian Charity," 107-112 (bottom) of Norton Shorter Anthology of American Literature; and 116-118. Also read Anne Bradstreet, "To My Children,"144; and Jonathan Edwards, "Personal Narrative, 176-180 (bottom), 183-186.
In Class: Discussion of "Who is this Puritan?" Come to class prepared with a list of quotations that identify points that illuminate, perplex, evoke empathy or admiration, or provoke dislike. In preparation for class, you should also consider the portrait and questions listed below. How can we use this portrait to help us develop a better understanding of the Puritans?
The picture you see here is a self portrait painted by Thomas Smith in 1680. In fact, this is the first portrait painted in America for which we can identify the artist; and the painting is here in Worcester. As you may have guessed, Smith was a Puritan.
The paper resting on his desk bears the following inscription:
Why why should I the World be minding
therein a World of Evils Finding.
Then Farwell World: Farwell thy Jarres
thy Joies thy Toies thy Wiles thy Warrs
Truth Sounds Retreat: I am not sorye.
The Eternall Drawes to him my heart
By Faith (which can thy Force Subvert)
To Crowne me (after Grace) with Glory.
Since this is a self portrait, we can assume that Smith carefully chose all of the elements in the painting in order to convey a particular image of himself. What elements in this painting are consistent with your ideas about Puritan beliefs and culture? Are there any elements in this painitng that seem to clash with your expectations, or that surprise you for some reason?
To find out more about this painting, consult the discussion of Smith Self Portrait provided by the Worcester Art Museum in their Catalogue of Early American Portraits.
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