Puritanical Pleasures: Affections Rule

On Mondays we’ve been listening to some of the wisdom of Kenneth Myers in small, digestible chunks. Now, on Mondays over the next weeks, were going to see what Thomas Chalmers has to say about “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection.” See if the modern stereotype of Puritans being stiff, heartless theologs, with no place for desire and passion, is always (often?) fair. It’s one of the slanders against the Puritans which doesn’t usually hold up, I find in my early studies. But I’m far from expert. Of course the greater lie is that loving truth (sound doctrine) is at odds with passionate love for God and fellow man. One bit of anecdotal evidence to contradict many of the modern slanders against the Puritans is the amazing Anne Bradstreet. She was the first woman published as a poet, a Puritan, and she and her husband had eight children. You can figure out for yourself how many slanders are countered just with that little bit of info. Enjoy!  -Sam

“There is not one of these transformations in which the heart is left without an object. Its desire for one particular object may be conquered; but as to its desire for having some one object or other, this is unconquerable. Its adhesion to that on which it has fastened the preference of its regards, cannot willingly be overcome by the rending away of a simple separation. It can be done only by the application of something else, to which it may feel the adhesion of a still stronger and more powerful preference.

Such is the grasping tendency of the human heart, that it must have a something to lay hold of – and which, if wrested away without the substitution of another something in its place, would leave a void and a vacancy as painful to the mind, as hunger is to the natural system. It may be dispossessed of one object, or of any, but it cannot be desolated of all.”

Thomas Chalmers, The Expulsive Power of a New Affection (PDF here)


  1. Yeah for Thomas Chalmers! And thanks, S.D., for putting it here in small chunks. The whole sermon is intimidating to try to absorb in one sitting! I’m looking forward to sampling it in smaller bites here.

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