It is hardly too much to say that the Puritans created the Christian family in the English-speaking world.  The Puritan ethic of marriage was to look not for a partner whom you do love passionately at this moment but, rather, for one whom you can love steadily as your best friend for life and then proceed, with God’s help, to do just that.

The Puritan ethic of nurture was to train up children in the way they should go, to care for their bodies and souls together, and to educate them for sober, godly, socially useful adult living.  The Puritan ethic of home life was based on maintaining order, courtesy, and family worship.  Good will, patience, consistency, and an encouraging attitude were seen as the essential domestic virtues.  In an age of routine discomforts, rudimentary medicine without painkillers, frequent bereavements (most families lost at least as many children as they reared), an average life expectancy of just under thirty years, and economic hardship for almost all save merchant princes and landed gentry, family life was a school for character in every sense, and the fortitude with which Puritans resisted the all-too-familiar temptation to relieve pressure from the world by brutality at home, and labored to honor God in their families despite all, merits supreme praise.  At home, the Puritans showed themselves mature, accepting hardships and disappointments realistically as from God, and refusing to be daunted or soured by any of them. – J. I. Packer (born in 1926)


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