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THE following Lectures were delivered to the First Congregational Society in Norwalk, Conn., in the latter part of A. D. 1843, and early in 1844. They are designed to set forth the causes which brought the PILGRIMS to these shores; to exhibit their PRINCIPLES; to show what these principles are worth, and what it cost to maintain them; to vindicate the character of the Puritans from the aspersions which have been cast upon them, and to show the PURITANIC SYSTEM OF CHURCH POLITY,-as distinguished from the Prelatic,-broadly and solidly based on the Word of God; inseparable from religious Purity and religious Freedom; and of immense permanent importance to the best interests of mankind.
In accomplishing this design, the author found it necessary to enter, to some extent and with some minuteness, upon the HISTORY of the Puritans and of their times; to trace their progress from the discovery of one important principle to another; to exhibit them in their sufferings; and to trace the Pilgrims in their wanderings, to their landing upon these then desolate shores. The matter of CHURCH POLITY the author has attempted to discuss in its fundamental principles as well as in its particular details. The claims of PRELACY he has endeavored to subject to the test of Reason, of History, and of the Word of God.
In the whole, the author has endeavored to bring together matters of information of which no descendant of the Puritans should ever be ignorant, and of which an adequate knowledge can scarcely be attained at present, without an expenditure for books, and a labor of research, beyond the means and leisure of most people in the ordinary walks of life. JANUARY, 1846.