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Thrift and Thriving in AmericaCapitalism and Moral Order from the Puritans to the Present$
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Joshua Yates and James Davison Hunter

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199769063

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199769063.001.0001

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Saving Grace and Moral Striving

Saving Grace and Moral Striving

Thrift in Puritan Theology

(p.88) 4 Saving Grace and Moral Striving
Thrift and Thriving in America

James Calvin Davis

Charles Mathewes

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the rich theological framework within which the Puritan ideal of thrift first developed. The Puritans believed quite explicitly that thrift was a necessary condition for human thriving because it was the proper response to divine grace. As such, Puritan thrift expressed an ethic of responsible, profitable, and pious management of time, talents, and treasure. As important as such “inner-worldly asceticism” may have been as a mark of salvation to the individual believer, thrift was not reducible to a private, individual practice for the Puritans. Rather, it was as much a spiritual calling for whole communities as it was for the individuals who constituted them.

Keywords:   Puritans, thrift, commercial system, thriving, asceticism

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